Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 120

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 120 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

This week, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations delivers an episode-length preamble to the reintroduction of the series' most powerful antagonist to date. With some vacation time on his hands, Boruto decides to track down and train with the ever-elusive Sasuke. After learning Sasuke's current location, the intrepid young genin concocts an elaborate lie to feed his mother and sets off for the Land of Wind. While en route to his destination, Boruto passes out from exhaustion and is rescued by Gojyo and Isago, a father and daughter who live in seclusion on the outskirts of the Hidden Sand and are being pressured to abandon their property to make room for a power plant. Even though it means nearly missing his chance to meet up with Sasuke, Boruto stays behind and scares away a trio of goons who are harassing the family. (Also, the whole “power plant” story may have been a lie. It's a little unclear.)

With the help of a special railcar crafted by Gojyo, Boruto is ultimately able to catch up to Sasuke (and Gaara), whom he finds locked in battle with Urashiki. Temporarily thrown off guard by the boy's arrival, Sasuke has his chakra stolen and is thrown into another dimension by Urashiki as Boruto watches in shock.

Although impulsiveness is a large part of his character, it's strange that Boruto would go to such great lengths to see Sasuke again. Considering how bad things have turned out for him when he's experimented with dishonesty in the past, the fact that he'd lie to his friends and family members yet again is disappointing. Since this latest storyline is a follow-up to the chunin exam arc, one would think the lessons learned from that incident would still be fresh in Boruto's mind. It's believable because he's still a child, but in light of everything he's been through, this comes off feeling like character regression. Additionally, with Boruto's break only lasting three or four days, what, exactly, did he intend to learn from Sasuke in such a short timeframe? (Especially since half that time would have been spent on transport.)

Boruto's side-adventure with Isago and Gojyo is about as cookie cutter as shonen anime stories come: an innocent family being driven off their property receives help from a hero who's passing through. Despite the cut-and-dry premise, things get a little confusing toward the end, when the villains appear to imply that the story about building a power plant was merely a ruse. Why, then, did they even want the property? It wasn't exactly a prime location. Furthermore, the antagonists are flat and uninteresting even by anime-original standards, and Gojyo's transition from mistrusting to supportive is predictable to the point of boredom.

Since the grunt work of locating Urashiki was done off-screen by side characters, his appearance at the end of the episode doesn't feel earned. Boruto literally just stumbles into the big confrontation before inadvertently throwing a wrench in the works. While this was likely meant to add an element of surprise to the proceedings, it comes off as more desperate than organic. True, the series has established that Sasuke's mission post-chunin exams was to locate Urashiki, but this seems like a strange time for him to resurface—even if that was the point.

Rating:

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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