Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 114 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Although Shinobi Bout appears to have fallen out of fashion, the current generation of Leaf ninja find a new trading card line to obsess over in a humor-heavy Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. The Kaminarimon Company's new product, Extreme Ninja Cards (or “X Cards”), is currently taking the Leaf by storm. Featuring the likenesses of the previous generation's most heroic figures, these cards are a hit among the village's budding shinobi. However, after a bit of reflection, Boruto and Metal realize that two prominent figures are notably absent: Shino and Rock Lee. With the second series of X Cards set for release in the near future, Denki's father agrees to award the sole remaining slot to the ninja who's able to gain the most popularity.
While Boruto and Shikadai attempt to bolster the perpetually-overlooked Shino's reputation, Metal and Denki vigorously campaign for Rock Lee. After becoming aware of the efforts the children are undertaking, Shino and Lee thank the boys for thinking of them but claim that they have no need for this type of recognition. However, after saving a child from an apartment fire, their popularity increases so much that Denki's father gives both of them cards. Although Boruto and Metal are initially elated by this, they quickly become frustrated by the excessive number of doubles found in the second series packs.
Despite being a reasonably entertaining one-shot, episode 114 feels like it could have mined a lot more comedy from its silly premise. Prior to the final few minutes, none of the marketing efforts the boys undertake on their mentors' behalves are particularly over-the-top or inherently ninja-ish. Sure, there are a number of decent jokes scattered throughout, but a shinobi-themed marketing battle could have made for a riveting half-hour if properly realized—especially with Denki having access to limitless financial resources. The fact that Team Lee's big promotional push consists of putting images of Rock Lee on local trains feels underwhelming—in spite of how inexplicably amazed the Leaf's populace is. Sure, Boruto's ace-in-the-hole—having Iwabe place a stone likeness of Shino directly above Hokage Rock—is a great gag, but the other attempts at boosting Rock and Shino's popularity should have been on the same level. This hearkens back to a problem found in much of the parent series' anime-original content: a great premise with questionable execution.
Boruto going to bat for Shino is both heartening and just a touch out-of-character. The two have never had a particularly close relationship, and like every other character in the franchise, Boruto has a tendency to overlook his former teacher. Still, at the end of the day, Boruto is as empathetic as his old man, and when he feels that an injustice has been done to someone in his inner circle, he won't hesitate to try to correct it. True, by the end, he's at least partly motivated by his competitive side, but when he initially demands that Shino be given a card, Metal has yet to raise the prospect of giving one to his dad.
Episode 114 delivers another dose of self-contained fun. While the premise doesn't feel fully realized, it's nice to see Boruto and company enjoy the occasional no-stakes misadventure and act like the children they are.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
discuss this in the forum (346 posts) |