Team 7 investigate a robbery of a cold vault with temperature sensors. The thieves, known as the Byakuya Gang, have taken a jewel from the safe for sale, proclaiming that they are “noble” in their actions. Boruto and friends take great effort to get the jewel back, even against Konohamaru’s wishes. Sarada notices a frozen flower at the vault and theorizes that the one who stole it might have used Ice Style jutsu, possibly from a Kekkei Genkai or Bloodline Trait. They get the help of Katasuke, a scientist in ninjutsu, as well as familiar with Ninja Craig’s List where the Byakuya Gang has posted an offer for the jewel. They pose as buyers, but are outsmarted by one of the gang members. He leaves a trail for them to follow to a poor village. They have used the money they got for the jewel (that they had already sold) to repair that village’s water wheel, showing they may truly be committed to helping those who are ignored and marginalized. This leaves Boruto confused about whether or not he’s helping the right side.
Meanwhile, Shikadai is trying to crack a Shogi strategy so Shikamaru will give him more money, but meets a boy who also has an interest. And he’s voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch, so he’s GOTTA be important! They end up playing Shogi late into the night, but promise to meet up to play more later, but doesn’t show the next day. Little does he know that this boy is actually one of the Byakuya Gang, specifically the thief that encountered Team 7.
Thus begins a new arc that we’ll be looking at for the next few weeks against these thief guys with the name that makes me double take. Seriously, when I first saw that, I assumed this was going to turn to be a group of rogue Hyuga Clan members up to something and kept waiting for that to be the big reveal at the end of the episode. But instead of the possibility of Boruto finally getting his Byakugan, we’re getting a bit of a callback to Haku and a reminder that Studio Pierrot seems to think the Naruto movies were canon, because they specifically reference the Land of Snow! Honestly, the best thing to come out of that first movie was the legendary Abridger feud between the creators of Yugioh and Naruto Abridged that brought about three (technically four) separate abridgings of that movie. It was gloriously petty and we will never see its like again.
As for the ostensible villain group we’ll be focusing on, the Byakuya Gang, the idea of a band of noble thieves is a potentially interesting concept. Naruto has not had much of a history of villains fighting for good causes, but they usually make up for that with style and personality. I wish someone told the people working on Boruto that you don’t need to get rid of one to get the other because the only notable design these guys have is their dumb looking owl costumes which…I’m not seeing much of a correlation between stealing from the rich and owls. Maybe I’m missing some super important but super subtle symbolism, but I doubt it. Still, throwing in the idea of increasing poverty within the Hidden Leaf Village is certainly not what I expected, so I’m willing to see where this goes.
Also kinda cool that we’ll be giving Shikadai some of the spotlight, even if he is just basically a smaller Shikamaru from Part 1. It’ll be refreshing to not focus on Boruto so much for once, but it kinda just highlights how the next generation is partly made up of just straight up clones of the old cast. I feel like we could stand to get some more Temari in Shikadai, considering she makes up half of his DNA. And don’t get me started on my theories for how Metal Lee came into being because THEY GET WEIRD. Like “asexual reproduction” weird.