Boruto: Kawaki's New Form Spells Big Trouble for Naruto

WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations #36, by Masashi Kishimoto, Mikio Ikemoto and Ukyo Kodachi, on sale now.

The Boruto franchise has been blown wide open by recent revelations about the story's main villain, Jigen. In his investigations across the space-time continuum, Sasuke learned that Jigen actually an alien tied to Kaguya's clan, and caught a glimpse of the tyrant's horned-monster form.

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Back in Konoha, coincidentally, just as Jigen invades to reclaim Kawaki -- his vessel, which Naruto is safeguarding -- the young ninja turns into something similar to Jigen, which means his evolution and overall corruption may be further along than initially assumed.

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Naruto's primary reason for adopting Kawaki was to ensure he would remain as human as possible. His science team worked to deal with Kawaki's corrupting Karma mark, and the Hokage trained Kawaki mentally and physically to resist Jigen's possession.

However, when Jigen arrives, the Karma mark spreads across Kawaki's body, and by the time the villain grabs him, Kawaki's face becomes warped. As Jigen insults him about being domesticated by Naruto, and ridicules the replacement arm provided by the Hokag, Kawaki begins to transform, and a horn sprouts on the side of his head.

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It's similar to Jigen's transformation when Sasuke spied on him in the previous chapter, and it grows worse when Kawaki becomes angry. Kawaki doesn't like hearing Jigen refer to him as his son, as he's nothing more than a weapon, genetically engineered by the Kara terrorist cell. Worse yet, when Jigen makes fun of Naruto, the only genuine and caring father-figure Kawaki has known, the boy's devilish form emerges. The angrier he gets, the more monstrous he'll become.

Jigen is in shock because he didn't think his experiment would advance so quickly. What's interesting is, when Boruto's own Karma mark -- from fighting Momoshiki -- activates, so too does Kawaki's, so there may be a link that could help Kawaki. Both of them aren't in control as yet, but that they're intrinsically linked is unique, as they received their marks from different sources: Boruto was imbued mystically while Kawaki got his in a lab.

If Kawaki ever fully loses control, Naruto might not be able to stop him, as it's an all-powerful sign the boy is closer to becoming the instrument of death he was created to be. If the corruption is complete, it's unlikely anyone will be able to break him out of it, which ultimately signifies Kawaki is the vessel Jigen was trying to perfect. When Sasuke returns, it will be even more complicated, because once he knows about Kawaki's form, he can testify it is linked to the aliens that have been trying to take over Earth since the Naruto franchise. And knowing Kawaki might become the next Jigen, Sasuke may want to kill the boy, bringing him into further conflict with Naruto.

As harsh as it might seem, that confirms Kawaki is destined to be a world-breaker, and Jigen has his nails sunk in. Of course, Naruto was viewed the same way with Kurama inside him, but rather than become a destroyer, as the village thought he would, he grew to become a hero and the seventh Hokage. Only time will tell whether Kawaki will walk the same path and harness the tremendous power inside him for good, because unlike Kurama, who wanted to help Naruto, this Karma mark doesn't seem to be anything near heroic. It's clearly intended to turn the boy into a weapon of mass destruction.

Boruto #37 will be released on Aug. 20.

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