Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 117 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
What began as the ninja equivalent of Roman Holiday evolves into a more familiar type of story arc this week as Boruto and Konohamaru learn more about Remon's predicament. As the boys discover, Remon's home of Daidai Village was menaced by a memory-eating monster named Soma 400 years ago. Although Kuen, a powerful shrine maiden, succeeded in sealing Soma, he was able to seal a part of himself within her, resulting in a curse that affects her bloodline to this day. To ensure that the monster remains sealed, a man and woman who bear the curse mark must wed and subsequently carry out a sealing ritual every 100 years.
As it happens, the 100-year mark is rapidly approaching, and Remon and her childhood friend Kankitsu are this century's curse mark bearers. However, Kankitsu, who had once been kind and compassionate, is now acting uncharacteristically callous and controlling, going so far as to imprison Remon in a storehouse until their wedding and confiscating her sacred hairpin, which is meant to protect her memories from Soma. (Since Soma lacks a physical form, it's possible he's taken control of the young man.) Determined to help in any way they can, Boruto and Konohamaru set to work finding ways to combat Soma and free Remon from her curse.
While episode 117 attempts to take the latest arc in a potentially interesting direction, the cursed bloodline situation feels needlessly complicated, and the details of it are conveyed to the audience via an overstuffed info dump. While it's fairly easy to get the gist of Remon's story, she presents the audience with too many pertinent plot elements in a brief timeframe, and certain aspects of the curse seem a bit too convenient. At one point, Boruto even acknowledges this by asking why the sealing ritual can't be carried out in the absence of the wedding ceremony. Remon informs him that the wedding ceremony is the only way to prevent the curse bearers' memories from being consumed but doesn't feel the need to explain why. Since Konohamaru is clearly smitten with Remon, it's easy to see why the screenwriters would want to include her looming nuptials as a plot point, but the whole wedding aspect feels more forced than organic.
Although the first half of the episode seems to be setting up Boruto and Konohamaru to solve a grand mystery, this prospect quickly goes out the window when Remon essentially tells them everything they need to know. The screenwriters don't seem to believe viewers are capable of piecing together plot elements that aren't explicitly spelled out for them. For example, by the end of the episode, it's easy to lose track of how many times Remon and other Daidai residents have made note of the fact that the once good-natured Kankitsu has recently undergone a dramatic change in demeanor. Furthermore, Remon strongly implies that she'd be happy to marry the old Kankitsu, effectively killing any possibility of Konohamaru ending this arc with a girlfriend.
While future installments may prove surprising, aside from finding a way to vanquish Soma for good, it doesn't feel like there's much mystery left to solve. Episode 117 does a lot more telling than showing, and the details surrounding Soma's curse feel more convoluted than creative. Still, with the preview implying that Boruto will be the monster's next victim, things may soon become more eventful.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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