Well this is a bit of a blast from the past isn’t Naruto Gaiden Impressions is back! This time with a special One Shot from our author supreme Masashi Kishimoto revealing the origins of one his more enigmatic creations Mitsuki the third member of the next generation Team Seven. I’ll start by saying right off the bat this origin story involves Orochimaru, which I dont think is a big surprise considering the cover. However despite the fact I was one of the few lucky to see Boruto: Naruto the Movie in North American theaters I can say you dont need to know the plot to enjoy this Gaiden. Now without build up lets get once more to Naruto Gaiden!
The story opens with a young boy awakening from sleep in a mountainside castle, which is quickly revealed to be one of Orochimaru’s many hideouts. The young sleeping boy covered in instruments is instructed by Orochimaru to ingest a cup of medicine “to make him feel better”. Following this he entrusts the boy to Suigetsu Hōzuki who since the ending of Naruto has become a lab hand and assistant for Orochimaru, for god only knows what reason...
As Orochimaru leaves the medical room he meets with a cloaked smoking man. Orochimaru remarks it’s the “6th time” something has happened which is clearly a key piece of information to hold onto. The smoking man then responds he hopes “it goes better this time” implying something they’re about to attempt has happened five times previously.
However before we can learn more the story returns to Mitsuki and Suigetsu. Where Suigetsu attacks Mitsuki unprovoked, however Mitsuki easily counters the cheap shot. Suigetsu explains that while the boy may have forgotten being a ninja his body hasn’t.
The two then join Orochimaru who reveals that he is Mitsuki’s parent. Note he did not say Father - just parent, the reasoning will become relevant later however Mitsuki jokes is Orochimaru his “mother or father” a definitive call back to the Naruto Gaiden mini series where Sarada wonders if Orochimaru is a man or women. However after the revelation of Mitsuki’s supposed parentage, it’s Orochimaru you can’t trust what he says implicitly, Orochimaru reveals the mission that will make up the bulk of the story.
The target is “Log” a ninja with the ability to steal the memories and therefore information of any ninja. As such Orochimaru must retrieve Mitsuki’s memories and any stole information they contain. Once again showing Orochimaru probably isn’t the best parent in the world, which truth be told is really not that hard to imagine.
Moving on Orochimaru and Mitsuki have left Suigetsu behind and have moved on to their mission. However their path is blocked by a barrier field, this is only a minor inconvenience though as Mitsuki with instruction from Orochimaru is easily able to break the barrier. Once again giving me the feeling not everything is as it seems.
Too much seems too easy. It could be a product of the one shot nature of the story or the fact I wouldn’t trust Orochimaru as far as I can throw him. No by this point something was clearly off about the story and Mitsuki was certainly a driving reason behind this feeling.
However the fight is a quick one as Orochimaru’s Sage techniques are too powerful and too devious which quickly incapacitate “Log” with paralysis. As Orochimaru leaves the battlefield to search for “that” one of the goals of the mission he leaves Mitsuki alone with “Log”, who despite being paralyzed is conveniently able to still talk.
By this point the plot contrivances are reaching a ridiculous level. Causing my spider senses to tingle as if this entire set up of this one shot was on the reader as much as the actors within the story. This becomes even clearer as Mikazuki removes “Log’s” mask to reveal... AN OLDER MITSUKI! Which I’m not sure if it was supposed to be a huge surprise or a “well duh” moment for the reader.
However the older Mitsuki explains they are merely artificial humans created by Orochimaru to fulfill his “desires”, which came off WAY dirtier then I think it was intended. Moving on though Mitsuki 2 explains that their names even means “Snake” + “Empty Saki Cup” as in Orochimaru’s empty vessels.
Returning with “that” now revealed to be the key to creating artificial Mitsuki’s Orochimaru explains everything he’s done was out of “love” for his “Children”. However Mitsuki 2 will have none of its saying Orochimaru is merely using them all for his twisted desires.
Mitsuki is then given a choice to kill Orochimaru and join his older self or kill his older self and fully embrace Orochimaru. Mitsuki is torn by the choice and in this state of emotional uncertainty powers up in a way reminiscent of a Tailed Beast transformation. It’s not though instead he releases internal Sage Chakra, steals the scroll for Orochimaru and chooses a third path a path away from both Orochimaru and his older jaded self.
Here I’ll need to point this out as its important Sage Chakra is EXTERNAL, what Mitsuki used was INTERNAL. In short Mitsuki seems to be able to generate Sage Chakra making his arguably the most powerful potential Sage in the entire series. As he doesn’t need to generate the Chakra like all the others do. Point of order here Naruto is a Sage/Tailed Beast Hybrid he doesn’t count as he blends both powers.
Returning to the story Mitsuki runs away in a tantrum vowing in a sense to forge his own path out of the spotlight of his father and brother. Orochimaru remarks effectively 6th Time was the charm. Revealing himself not to be paralyzed Mitsuki 2 lights up a cigarette confirming he’s the smoking man from earlier. Which isn’t a surprise.
All around the entire “mission” was a set up to force Mitsuki to choose his own path. Orochimaru is relieved it finally succeeded as the “medicine” he gave his son earlier was actually memory erasing drugs and it was hurting him to continue to administer them. It appears surprisingly Orochimaru was never lying and in fact does love Mitsuki.
However like any parent he’s worried about his son as he finds his own path. Knowing as his son he will never truly be “the light” he hopes he can be the “moon” to another ninja’s “sun”. Heavily implying that ninja to be Boruto.
At the end of the story this make perfect sense of how it fits into the whole “Second Generation” project as Kishimoto prepairs to hand over Naruto to new writers. Effectively the new Team Seven of Boruto, Sarada, and Mitsuki are finding their stand ins. Although not perfect analogs Boruto is the new Naruto - hot headed and family issues as seen in his new movie, Sarada is the new Sakura with bad ass Sharingan powers as seen in Naruto Gaiden, and Mitsuki is clearly Sasuke complete with Brother issues. All around with less then a month to go before the Boruto manga is released the pieces are nicely set up.
I was all around pleasantly surprised by the quality of the one shot, especially after the last one The Day Naruto become Hokage was little more then a joke story. It was engaging and showed Kishimoto still has a firm grasp of his story and what makes it interesting. Also if this is really his last work in the world of Naruto its a great send off and jumping point for old and new readers alike.
As always thanks for reading and leave your comments. It’s always best when we can talk to each other! Hope you join me for Boruto in the future!