Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 102 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
The latest arc delves further into its endgame in this week's Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. With Boruto and Suigetsu temporarily paralyzed, Tosaka reveals that he was the one who infected local birds with a Curse Mark. In order to create the ultimate Curse Mark, he needed to research Jugo (whose Curse Mark is described as having infinite power and potential), and endangering wildlife was the perfect way to draw him out. Hoping to put his newly-developed Curse Mark to the test, Tosaka injects Jugo with a special drug designed to accelerate his transformation. Once Jugo is fully transformed, Tosaka will be able to pit the fruits of his research against the world's strongest Curse Mark bearer.
Meanwhile, Sarada, Karin, and Team 15 go head-to-head with the Curse Mark twins. After borrowing some of Karin's super-powered Chakra, Sarada is able to subdue the sister and break her collar. Although Team 15 initially has trouble with the brother, they're ultimately able to take him down after loaning their Chakra to Nue. Meanwhile, after meeting up in the woods, Mitsuki and Konohamaru decide to head downriver and attack the “research team” at their makeshift base.
With two separate battles beginning and ending within the course of the same episode, this latest installment contains a fair amount of action. Although this franchise's fights often entail extensive plotting and strategizing on the part of the combatants, victory in both of this week's skirmishes comes down to raw power. Both Sarada and Nue need to replenish their Chakra in order to utilize their full strength, and their comrades are perfectly willing to oblige. The fact that both teams of good guys win their battles through essentially the same means illustrates a small lack of creativity, but since teamwork and trust in one's friends are among the series' central themes, this strategy is ultimately forgivable.
While far from the show's best action-heavy installment, episode 102 features high-end-of-average fight animation and fluid, fast-paced combat. Every combatant is able to roll out a few impressive moves, and at no point do the proceedings begin to drag. Personality-wise, the Curse Mark twins are very by-the-books anime-original antagonists, but they're menacing enough to create a genuine sense of peril whenever our heroes go up against them. (Plus, their transformations look pretty cool.) By the same token, it's unfortunate that Tosaka, who began the arc as an entertaining guest character, has revealed himself to be such a one-dimensional mad scientist—complete with lofty speeches and random fits of laughter. In fairness, it's entirely possible that future installments will attempt to add more depth to him, but given his stereotypical villain theatrics this week, this seems like a tall order.
Two-thirds action-packed, episode 102 ratchets up the tension in what's been a relatively relaxed arc. The Curse Mark twins are defeated before wearing out their welcome, most of the arc's featured players get a chance to show off their moves, and Tosaka finally spills his master plan. With Jugo primed to go wild, the fisticuffs are practically guaranteed to continue into next week—and possibly beyond.
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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