Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 106 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
As Boruto: Naruto Next Generations heads into a new arc, the titular character and his friends are given an extended vacation. Instead of chronicling one of Team 7's adventures, the latest storyline (an adaptation of a 2016 novel) is a road trip comedy starring Mirai, Kakashi, and Guy. Upon learning that she's been tasked with escorting Kakashi, one of her personal idols, and Guy (whom she has far less reverence for) on a trip, Mirai is over the moon. Believing her latest assignment surpasses an S-rank mission, she can't wait to hit the road with two of the Leaf's greatest heroes. However, by the end of the first day, it becomes clear that Kakashi and Guy aren't on a mission—but rather a hot springs tour. Furthermore, just as Mirai begins getting comfortable with the idea, Kakashi reveals that this “mission” is set to last for 20 days—as opposed to the two-day timeline Mirai had prepared for. With the Land of Steam being the gang's next stop, Mirai ends the episode by reflecting on the prospect of visiting the home country of her father's killer.
It's always nice to get an extended peek at what the previous generation's key players are up to, and Kakashi and Guy make for a consistently fun pairing. Throw in Mirai to act as both an audience-insert and an effective comic foil, and you've got a winning combination of old and new. Her unwavering dedication to her “mission” provides an amusing juxtaposition to Kakashi's and Guy's laidback attitudes, and since the bit would have gotten old if drawn out for too long, her misreading of the situation is cleared up fairly quickly. Given this arc's premise, it should come as no surprise that episode 106 contains a bevy of hilarious moments, most notably Kakashi treating a specific filming location from Make-Out Paradise's big-screen adaptation like hallowed ground.
While this isn't necessarily a mark against the franchise, side stories like this demonstrate that Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is often more focused on being a sequel or continuation to the parent series than a starring vehicle for Boruto. Again, this isn't really a bad thing, as this series' connection to what came before is likely what drives fan interest, and as a protagonist, Boruto isn't quite as interesting as his old man. Plus, with an enormous cast comprised of two generations of characters, having to shoehorn the current iteration of Team 7 is liable to seem cumbersome. That being said, it is a little strange to see Boruto so frequently omitted or reduced to supporting status on his own show.
With a premise that's ripe for shenanigans, the latest arc is off to a very strong start. Kakashi and Guy continue to play off one another nicely, and it's nice to see Mirai receive some time in the spotlight. Having grown up without a father, she may have even more in common with Naruto than his own son, and seeing her come to terms with this absence might provide some compelling parallels to Naruto's journey. Assuming this level of quality is maintained, RobiHachi may have some steep competition for unconventional road trip comedy of the season.
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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