Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 126 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
This week, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations closes out its latest arc with a cute, laidback epilogue. Fearing that Shukaku will once again be targeted by the Otsutsukis, Naruto makes arrangements for him to be placed in protective custody. However, it'll be a few days until the safe house is ready, so Naruto decides to take the beast to the Uzumaki residence until everything is in order. Although Shukaku is initially resistant to cohabitating with humans, he becomes interested in Himawari after learning that she was able to knock out Naruto (and Kurama) while in Byakugan mode. However, once she reveals that she has no recollection of the incident in question, Shukaku becomes sullen and insists on being left alone. Shortly thereafter, a misunderstanding leads to the still-tea-kettle-bound Shukaku being hauled off to the scrap yard, where Himawari uses her Byakugan to rescue him seconds before he's crushed. Grateful to the little girl for her help, Shukaku comes to understand why Kurama has comfortably settled into his role as the Uzumaki family's protector.
A surly character coming around due to the infectious innocence of a child is well-tread ground, but this week's outing is entertaining enough to excuse its cutter-cookie premise. Not only does the miniaturized Shukaku (who was one of the best things about the previous arc) get plenty of screentime, we also get an extended look at how the Uzumakis function as a family unit. Since Naruto is generally an absent parent and Boruto is fairly independent despite his young age, it's rare to see the whole clan together for longer than a scene or two. However, with Boruto on a post-mission breather and Naruto actually taking some time off, the whole family is able to let their hair down and enjoy each other's company. Shukaku seeing through Kurama's aloofness by episode's end and realizing why the Nine Tails is fond of the Uzumakis is a particularly nice note for the story to go out on.
Though Himawari is indeed young, her level of maturity seems a bit uneven this week. She's slow to understand that Shukaku isn't a toy, even after being told multiple times. Furthermore, she gets hurt enough to leave Shukaku unattended after their tiff, even though she knows her father has been tasked with protecting him. This would all be more understandable if she were three or four instead of somewhere between six and ten. Still, it's impressive that she's able to summon the skill and strength necessary to save Shukaku in the end, even if the dump crisis feels rushed and contrived. (Also, it's unclear if an industrial trash compactor could harm a Tailed Beast.)
An enjoyable standalone episode that put a nice bow on the recently concluded arc, this week's Boruto serves as a nice breather from the usual action. Although Naruto's sure to resume his workaholic lifestyle, it was nice to see him spend some time with the fam without coming into conflict with his son. It's just a shame that we have to say goodbye to chibi-fied Shukaku so soon.
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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