Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 116 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
After several months of being persona non grata, Konohamaru is brought back into the fold. After he and Boruto rescue a mysterious woman named Remon Yoimura from a group of pursuers, they spend the day giving her the grand tour of the Hidden Leaf while acting as her bodyguards. Almost immediately, Konohamaru develops a crush on Remon, who's inspired by his words and amused by his trademark verbal tic. As the sun begins to set, Remon reveals that the men pursuing her are servants of her family and resigns herself to returning home with them. However, before taking her leave, she expresses a desire to enjoy another day of fun with her new friends. Sometime later, Konohamaru is still pining for Remon, prompting Boruto to recommend a surprise visit to her family's stately manor. Upon their arrival, the guys are greeted by a luxuriously-dressed Remon, who calmly approaches them and states that she never wishes to see them again.
Based on its premise, episode 116 seems like a prime candidate for self-contained status, but the abrupt turn the story takes at the end signals the start of a new arc. It's easy to see the story concluding with Konohamaru and Remon parting ways after a friendly goodbye, so having the latter address her lovesick suitor with cruel indifference is an intriguing narrative hook to hang the ending on. Although Boruto and Konohamaru are thoroughly shocked by Remon's cold attitude, her wedding attire and the appearance of a steely-eyed man give the audience a pretty clear indication of what's going on. It's entirely possible that what follows will be a standard-grade “stop the damsel from marrying an evil jerk” story, but if nothing else, it should be interesting to see how things will play out.
As has become the norm, Boruto himself largely serves as a supporting player in this week's adventure. In addition to acting as Konohamaru's wingman, he receives some lessons in love from Sarada and Cho-Cho, who inexplicably invite him to see a Casablanca-esque romance film with them. When all is said and done, he's likely to receive a real-world lesson in love from this experience and develop a better understanding of what the girls were trying to teach him. (This will presumably coincide with Konohamaru's story continuing to mirror the one from the aforementioned movie.) Luckily, Boruto's presence doesn't seem terribly forced this time around, and his colorful commentary and easygoing nature help drive a lot of the humor and keep the narrative moving at a steady pace.
As far as stories about heiresses flying the coop for a day of freedom go, episode 116 is fairly par for the course. Remon herself isn't a particularly original character, and the proceedings play out as predictably as possible. (Granted, mirroring a traditional romance film may have been the point.) Still, given how little attention has been paid to Konohamaru throughout the course of the series, seeing him receive a turn in the spotlight is a welcome change of pace. Since virtually every shinobi from Naruto's generation has a family or is in a committed relationship, a single adult ninja trying to find love is a potentially interesting avenue for the show to explore.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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