Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 101 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
The latest arc kicks off its endgame in this week's Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. In search of Jugo, Karin and Suigetsu encounter an injured Sumire, whose distrust of the duo leads Suigetsu to knock her out just before Team 7 appears on the scene. Following a heated argument between Boruto and Suigetsu about what's best for Jugo, the group decides to wait until Sumire wakes up to launch their rescue operation. Later, under cover of night, Boruto, Mitsuki, Sumire, and Suigetsu are able to infiltrate the Land of Rivers' research compound as Sarada (in the guise of Sumire) and Karin act as decoys and lure the Curse Mark twins into the woods. Although Sumire is able to free her teammates and inject them with a Curse Mark serum, the twins eventually catch wind of the gang's plan, and the as-yet-unnamed brother intercepts the girls shortly after their escape. Meanwhile, the head researcher attempts to murder Konohamaru in his sleep, only to discover that he's already escaped from the facility. Boruto and Suigetsu eventually find Tosaka, who leads them to Jugo, but before they're able to free him and make a break for it, Tosaka plunges syringes into their backs, grins maniacally, and welcomes them to his research lab.
Since Taka's occasional turns in the spotlight made for some of the parent series' most compelling episodes, it should come as no surprise that Karin and Suigetsu—and their various dynamics with the members of Team 7—serve as the latest installment's highlights. As the most talkative and forthright members of Sasuke's old team, Karin and Suigetsu tend to be the most fun to watch. Given how headstrong and determined Boruto and Suigetsu are, it makes sense that they'd clash on the subject of Jugo's best interests, and their arguments feel genuine and believable. Whereas Suigetsu has arguably changed the least of any Taka member, Karin has probably undergone the biggest change in personality. While the Karin of old cared about nothing but winning Sasuke's affection, the character has become far more levelheaded and collected in her adults years. Her Sakura-esque fits of rage are nowhere to be seen, and she now claims to view Jugo and Suigetsu (whom she was endlessly annoyed by in her younger years) as the closest thing she has to family.
Despite the rescue mission being underway, there isn't much in the way of action this week. Still, watching the remnants of Taka and Team 7 formulate and carry out a stealth mission is fairly exciting. While there aren't any large-scale clashes, the episode is able to convey a genuine sense of peril when the gang infiltrates the research facility—as if things could go horribly south at any second. Personality-wise, the Curse Mark twins continue to function as stock-grade anime-original villains, but there's never any doubt as to whether their abilities pose a significant threat. Tosaka's big reveal isn't terribly surprising, since guest characters are often reluctant friends or enemies in disguise, but learning more about his grand plan in the coming weeks should prove interesting. Whether he's a shades-of-gray antagonist or full-on evil is still up in the air, but based on how much fun he's been, the answer will hopefully be the former.
Although the fisticuffs don't begin in earnest until next week, episode 101 serves as a nice breather before the final battles commence. It's nice to see Taka (almost) fully reunited, and its members' interactions with the kids are both fun and fascinating. With almost all of the big surprises out of the way, Boruto's latest adventure now heads into its climax without overstaying its welcome.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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