In Boruto Episode 194, we finally discover the horrible truth about how Kawaki obtained his powerful Karma mark from Jigen within Kara’s sinister lair.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Episode 194, “The Uzumaki Household”, now broadcast on Crunchyroll.
In the Boruto manga, the flashbacks about Kawaki’s time as a test subject in Jigen’s lair were a bit light. This is why fans really appreciate the current filler in the anime as we get to see a lot more of its origin, in particular how it was sold to Kara so that Amado could experiment and turn it into a weapon.
Now, episode 194 of the anime gives us even more information about its tragic past; specifically, the horrible truth about how he got his Karma mark while locked up like a guinea pig in Jigen’s sadistic lab.
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In the episode, and at Naruto’s house, Kawaki details his ordeal in Jigen’s liquid chamber, which involved having masks attached to him. He does so because he wants Boruto to join him in finding a way to remove his marks. Seeing that he thinks Boruto is a clown, Kawaki is as blunt as ever hoping to surprise Boruto into getting serious.
In the flashbacks, Kawaki is in the stasis tanks (conscious) while Jigen talks to Amado about how they have lost more than a dozen test subjects. Jigen is frustrated that there are only three left, but proceeds with another test instead of being cautious and patient. He activates his abilities through the black Karma tattoos that appear all over his body, then he connects to a tube and the black marks become sticky, similar to Marvel’s Venom symbiote, draining through the tube and into the tank. There, it wraps around a teenager, flows into the person’s nose, and fills the entire tank, but Jigen quickly breaks the connection when he senses that the person has died.
Then he breaks the transfer center, and the group of others cracked around the place highlights how many have died so far. As he floats in his tank, a submerged Kawaki is clearly scared to hear Jigen and Amado talk about how they are doing another run. Time is running out, leaving Jigen desperate for a “container”. The boss looks at Kawaki with wide eyes, intimidates him and makes it clear that I can not fail the absorption process.
Jigen then does the same, before letting the goo flow into Kawaki’s tank and its orifices. The entire tank turns black, leaving him suffocating and screaming. At this point, the episode goes back to Kawaki telling Boruto how he barely survived; the test leaving him scarred by the poison injected into his mind, body and soul.
Boruto is curious about the black bands because he didn’t get his Karma through this process, he got it from Momoshiki. However, he now wants to get to the bottom of things and is ready to accept Kawaki as an ally, feeling real sympathy for him now.
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