Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 123 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
The road back to the Hidden Leaf becomes even more perilous as Urashiki resurfaces and Boruto and Shinki continue to clash. After Shinki is injured by Urashiki's sole remaining hench-puppet, Boruto, Shikadai, and Temari arrive just in time to turn the tide. Despite the last-minute save, Shinki still refuses to accept that deviating from the mission is acceptable under any circumstances. Boruto once again acknowledges the importance of sticking to a mission but refuses to accept the prospect of leaving anyone behind. While the rest of the group engages the puppet in battle, Shinki forges ahead to the Leaf with Shukaku in tow. Following a couple of setbacks, Boruto and Shikadai are able to take the puppet down, with the latter displaying a newfound prowess for the Wind Technique. While the other two stay behind to catch their breath, Boruto leaves to catch up to Shinki. However, immediately after Boruto departs, Urashiki arrives on the scene and steals Temari's and Shikadai's chakra. Shortly thereafter, Boruto and Shinki reunite as Urashiki hovers over them and vows to torment them to his heart's content.
Even though this arc is now heading into its fifth week, Boruto and Shinki continue to do the same dance every time they interact. Neither party seems any closer to accepting the other's approach to missions, and the longer the boys engage in this tired back-and-forth, the harder it is to ignore how well-worn their dynamic is. Fortunately, with the boys set to go toe-to-toe with Urashiki next week, their usual wheel-spinning may be coming to an end—and not a moment too soon. While there isn't much progress made on the plot front this week, there's a fair amount of action, which helps the episode feel livelier than the previous installment. However, despite a handful of impressive attacks and team-ups, the usual animation shortcuts make for some of this arc's least fluid fight sequences. It's a shame, because Temari's barrage of wind attacks and Boruto and Shikadai's combo strategy would have made for some great action in the absence of still shots and choppiness. While more an observation than a gripe, it's a little strange that three relatively experienced shinobi would have so much trouble defeating a single puppet.
Still the MVP, Shukaku once again offers some amusing commentary this week, and him giving Shinki the slip to cheer on the rest of the group is a truly adorable moment. However, it isn't long before he starts lecturing Shinki on how he misjudged Boruto, echoing the lecture Temari gave to Boruto last week. Rather than having either boy come to their own conclusions, the show opts for shorthand, with a wiser figure just outright telling the kids what they need to learn. Though Shinki doesn't take the lesson to heart as quickly as Boruto, it still feels lazy.
Fast-paced and full of action, this week's episode is an improvement over the last two installments despite never reaching its full potential. Still, with Temari and Shikadai temporarily out of action and Shinki and Boruto alone once more, things may soon get back on track. With the father and daughter from this arc's introductory episode set to resurface, their role in the story may not be quite as superfluous as it initially seemed.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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