Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 124 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
The stakes are raised this week as our heroes go toe-to-toe with the freshly-resurfaced Urashiki. After the boys are able to temporarily incapacitate their foe, they set off for Gojo and Isago's place, where they hope to replenish their chakra and drop a line to the Hidden Leaf. However, upon their arrival, they discover that Urashiki has attacked the family, destroyed their communication equipment, and left Gojo pinned under rubble. After rescuing Gojo, the boys chart out a plan of action: while Boruto, armed with a teapot that resembles the one in which Shukaku is currently sealed, acts as a decoy, Shinki and the real Shukaku will forge onward to the Leaf. Since he's the only one who can perform the shadow clone jutsu, Boruto volunteers to take on the more dangerous task despite the fact that it may very well result in him sacrificing himself. Meanwhile, Sasuke, whom we haven't seen in weeks, is on the cusp of finding his way back to his home dimension.
After several weeks of wheel-spinning, this arc has finally gotten to the meat of the Boruto/Shinki mission. Without the assistance of the more experienced shinobi who have been present up until this point, the boys have no choice but to assume all the responsibility and make a number of tough choices. All things considered, they actually do pretty well on their own. Not only do they manage to incapacitate an otherworldly opponent in a timely manner, they also develop a pretty smart strategy under pressure. It helps that Urashiki acts uncharacteristically stupid and foolishly looks down on the boys at every opportunity, but they still fare much better against him than Gaara and Sasuke, two of the Naruto-verse's most powerful figures.
While the main duo's teamwork is much better than it's been in episodes past, they still engage in their trademark back-and-forth at several points throughout the latest installment. This becomes particularly annoying when they butt heads over what to do about Gojo's predicament. In the time it takes the boys to fight it out, Shinki could have extracted Gojo from the rubble ten times over. (Also, why does Boruto not immediately create shadow clones to assist in the rescue effort?) No doubt this exchange is meant to illustrate that Boruto and Shinki's differences can't be reconciled so easily, but it continues several beats too long and is more frustrating than anything else. Shinki takes longer to object to the necessity of helping a man who's moments from death than it takes him to use his ninjutsu to move the rubble, which makes the whole argument feel all the more contrived and unnecessary. Furthermore, Shinki doesn't seem moved at all to see that Gojo survived his ordeal, suggesting that he's once again learned nothing.
The latest leg of Boruto and Shinki's journey benefits from placing its focus squarely on the dynamic between the arc's two central figures. There's a bit of clunkiness and Urashiki is conveniently dumbed down, but the boys finally seem primed to appreciate one another's strengths—through action and observation rather than through lecture as in previous weeks.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
discuss this in the forum (367 posts) |