Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 109 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Mirai and company tackle their latest misadventure and meet up with another familiar face as the hot springs tour enters its fourth week. After arriving at a hidden hot spring resort, the gang is shocked to discover that the famous spring has been plugged up by a giant boulder that fell from a nearby mountain. Choji's Super Expansion Jutsu could hold the key to fixing this problem, and as luck would have it, the man himself just completed a mission in the area. Unfortunately, after going 30 minutes without inhaling potato chips, Choji is in no shape to perform his signature technique, which prompts Mirai and Tatsumi to cook up a batch of homemade chips. While awaiting his snack, Choji waxes nostalgic about the late Asuma, providing Mirai with new insight into her father's relationships with his students.
After eating his fill, Choji is able to extract the massive boulder with some help from Mirai and a group of locals. Just as Asuma inspired his students to do their best, Choji's perseverance inspires the people around him to put forth their best efforts. (As Asuma did with Shikamaru, Choji refuses to reveal the King's true meaning to Mirai.) With their latest obstacle conquered, Mirai and Tatsumi end the day with a relaxing soak in the newly-uncovered spring. Now aware that Mirai wants to learn more about her father, Tatsumi admits that the story about going on a hot spring tour in honor of her late mother was a lie—and that her true goal is visiting a hot spring that allows the living to see the dead.
Despite featuring a fair amount of humor, this latest installment is this arc's least comedic chapter to date—which is appropriate in light of its reflective tone and subject matter. While she's no doubt heard stories from her mother and Shikamaru, interacting with Kakashi, Guy, and various guest characters has helped Mirai form a much clearer picture of who Asuma was and the impact he had on the people around him. Since Choji is the first guest character to have actually been a part of Team 10, it makes sense that his walk-on role isn't quite as humor-centric as Kiba's and Tenten's. Sure, there are a couple jokes about his voracious appetite, and his finickiness about potato chips provides a few laughs, but narratively, he's here to teach Mirai about Asuma and help her develop a new appreciation for her father's legacy. For example, she discovers that Choji came to appreciate his teacher's lessons more as he aged, though it seems odd for this to be the first time he'd share this information with her.
The alleged existence of a hot spring that allows visitors to see the dead is a nice hook to end the episode on and could potentially serve as a thematically appropriate plot device in this arc's climax. Mirai gradually learning more about her father has been this storyline's unifying theme, so her being forced to make a decision about whether to communicate with his sprit seems like a satisfying way to wrap things up. Despite learning about Asuma through his former pupils and contemporaries, she still aches to know him personally, although it isn't hard to see her ultimately turning down this chance—assuming this hot spring is even the real deal.
With the reveal of Tatsumi's true intentions and Mirai's continued eagerness to learn more about Asuma, episode 109 helps set the stage for this arc's endgame. The quick mention of young women disappearing in the area is also likely to play into this storyline's bigger picture in the coming weeks. Here's hoping the broader details of the plot will prove to be as interesting as everything that came before.
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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