Boruto: The Anime & Manga BOTH Botched Mitsuki’s Big Reveal To Team 7

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Boruto: Naruto Next Generations manga, available in English from Viz Media, and the Boruto anime, now streaming on Crunchyroll.

In the Boruto series, the former Naruto villain Orochimaru has been working to redeem himself, not just by working with Konoha to conduct scientific experiments to better the shinobi world, but also by leaving the Hidden Leaf a young ninja that could undo his sins of old. The identity of that ninja turns out to be one of the most shocking revelations in the series: Mitsuki is actually the son of Orochimaru.

However, while the anime and manga both flesh the reveal out differently, both also totally sell the moment short -- making it feel cheaply flippant rather than something seismic as it is.

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The episodes in the anime's Versus Momoshiki arc basically extend Boruto's solo movie, introducing him as Naruto's son. During them, apart from fighting the aliens, he, Sarada and Mitsuki -- i.e. the new Team 7 -- also had to take down a giant bear terrorizing the outskirts of Konoha. And when they do, as they talk about respecting parents in the village, Mitsuki asks them to respect his: Orochimaru.

Sarada's shocked at the reveal. As for Boruto? Well, he doesn't even know who the snake ninja is. This is pretty weird as Orocohimaru is well-documented as the legendary Sannin, so to see Boruto so non-plussed about it feels... off. It's not helped, either, by Mitsuki just dropping the detail into conversation as a 'by-the-way.' While Sarada tries to show some reverence, the entire moment falls flat, which is a shame because this is a major bombshell. Having it come off like a joke, and honestly, an afterthought doesn't sit right, nor does it resonate at all.

As for the manga, the reveal is done very differently, though still equally unsuccessful. Team 7 finds this revelation out much later on in the Kawaki arc's Chapter #25, "Resonance." There, after Kawaki kills Garo and passes out, Katasuke dissects his body, revealing he's a scientific ninja tool in and of itself. He marvels at the genetic experiment, calling it a weapon. Mitsuki concurs, saying it feels similar to the cloning he was created from. Then, as Boruto and Sarada stand there shocked, he casually mentions he's a synthetic human being made from Orochimaru before the conversation just goes right back to Katasuke talking about Kawaki. It's pretty underwhelming. Once again, this moment deserved more attention, as well as a deeper conversation about it with his friends.

The anime did the reveal earlier so there could be more filler episodes with Orochimaru, and also to add drama to Team 7, which is understandable. But the manga could have easily made it a cliffhanger rather than using it merely to show that the shinobi world is filled with weird science, like Boruto and Kawaki's Karma marks.

In both instances, there's no reason it couldn't have been given its own arc. There's also no reason Orochimaru couldn't have been present at the moment the information comes to light. That way, we could have seen him interacting with Mitsuki and the kids getting an intimidating first meeting with the newly-revealed parent. Instead, the Boruto anime just has him overlooking the genin from afar, while he's not there at all for the manga's revelation. As a result, Mitsuki's announcement really doesn't feel impactful in either scenario, leading to our first impression of this legendary character's lineage being just a bad punchline.

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