WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Episode 191, "Stray Dog," now streaming on Crunchyroll.
Much of the discussion of Keanu Reeves' John Wick revolves around the kills, gore and intense action of the franchise. But the real cornerstone of the film series is John Wick's position as the truest champion of dogs. In fact, it's become so meme-worthy that once a pooch is harmed in any show or film, people immediately call back to John's revenge after assassins killed the dog his late Daisy wife left him.
Oddly enough, Episode 191 of the Boruto anime treads similar ground. As the title of the latest episode -- "Stray Dog" implies -- Kawaki bonds with a stray pup. What happens next almost makes him into Boruto's version of Wick.
When Kawaki escapes the Ryutan lab on the outskirts of Konoha under Naruto's watch, he tries to figure out if the Hidden Leaf's friend or foe. The problem is, he's already aggravated after his fight with Sumire, in which Nue bit him, and he's also hungry. Kawaki also exerted enormous amounts of chakra in the Garo battle. He's on the verge of passing out.
As he hides in the village, he sees vendors selling food and other things, but being battered, bloody and the fugitive that as he is, it's all just out of reach. It gets even more interesting, though, when a stray dog starts following him around. At first, he wants nothing to do with it but, after some initial abuse and the dog sticking around, Kawaki realizes it's hurt. He feeds him some scraps of bread he stole and uses some of his own bandages to wrap it up, not unlike John and his pitbull in John Wick 2.
Granted, the emotional connection John had to his dogs was much stronger but, thematically, it's the same. Kawaki doesn't have any family -- his father traded him off for drinking money to Kara, so he's entirely on his own, on the run and totally depressed. He sees much of himself in the dog, which is why, as much as he's annoyed, he doesn't mind Sumire arriving later on and helping patch the animal up even further.
But it takes a dark turn after the dog steals hot links for Kawaki. The butcher finds them, takes a knife and almost kills it. In the blink of an eye, however, Kawaki's arm transforms and he almost squashes the butcher. Sumire begs for him to stop and the only reason he does is that the man didn't actually kill the animal.
Had that happened, Kawaki definitely would have lost it and turned into a weapon of mass destruction. Ironically, as soon as the butcher runs off, Boruto and the cops arrive, riling Kawaki up to even more violence as he moves to defend himself and the pooch. Sumire is petrified because as she notes the bond between them, she also realizes this emotional awakening in Kawaki has left him, like John, thirsty for the blood of those encroaching on his safe space.