This week's episode of Boruto was a dense one; as the first real stage-setter for the upcoming "Chunin Exam Arc", episode 53, "Himawari's Birthday", manage to introduce a new villain, set up Boruto and Team 7's fight to rise above the Chunin Exams, brought back Sasuke for an important new story arc, and even managed to break a few hearts along the way!
Indeed, if you have any issues at all with your parents - or being a parent - then this latest episode of Boruto was not an easy one for you to digest. The ongoing saga of Boruto's tumultuous relationship with his father, Naruto, took a drastic turn, after Naruto broke a solemn promise to his son.
Back in episode 51, "Boruto's Birthday", Naruto's duties as Hokage kept him from attending the party, which let Boruto down in a major way. In order to let his father no how he felt, but still save face, Boruto displaced his hurt feelings into a "man-to-man" promise he declared to his father: it was okay to miss Boruto's birthday, but there would be consequences if he also missed Himawari's Birthday and made her cry.
Well, episode 53 through fans for a sickening loop during the scene of Himawari's birthday celebration in the Uzumaki household. The sequence starts off so warm and wholesomely: Naruto, Hinata, Boruto, and Himawari are all around the table enjoying a meal and each other's company with big, bright, smiles. At the end of the meal, a lovely little birthday cake is brought out; however, as Naruto is retrieving it from the kitchen and bringing it back to the table, he suddenly evaporates in a plume of smoke, revealing that it was a shadow clone the whole time. The cake ends up splattered on the floor; Boruto is livid; Hinata is left trying to muster up excuses for her absentee husband; and the combination of those events make Himawari feel a deep sadness on her special day.
Naruto has made some questionable choices throughout the long saga of his story, but this is the first time we can really step back and officially say that he was a bad father. Not only did he let both of his children down in a fundamental way, but this was also the worst abuse of Naruto's Shadow Clone Jutsu that we've seen, as well. And that's saying a lot.
This development is a significant moment in Boruto's life - one that will now push him away from his father, and under the wing of Sasuke. It's one of the clear "fork in the road" moments that will propel Boruto toward his destiny as a hardened and powerful Shinobi, as revealed in the series very first opening scene. For a series criticized for its pacing and filler, Boruto just hit us hard, right in the feels.
Boruto airs new episodes Wednesdays on Funimation and Hulu.