Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 138

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 138 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

This week, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations shines a spotlight on unflinchingly-strict-Hyuga-clan-patriarch-turned-doting-grandpa Hiashi Hyuga. With Hiashi's birthday fast approaching, Naruto and Hinata task their kids with finding appropriate gifts for the occasion. Unfortunately for Boruto, his general ignorance about his grandfather's tastes and personal history ensures that this is an arduous undertaking. After consulting with the other two-thirds of Team 7, meeting with Hanabi and Kurenai, learning about Hiashi's past, and witnessing the old man's strength in action, Boruto accurately surmises that his grandfather values time with his family above all else and chooses a brand new family photo as his birthday gift. However, Boruto's gift turns out to be just a tad too effective, as Hiashi's obsession with his grandkids is kicked into overdrive by episode's end.

Although Hiashi's post-Shippūden shift in personality has been good for a few laughs, the novelty of the joke wore off fairly quickly—which may explain why Hiashi's appearances have been few and far between in the sequel series. Fortunately, this week's installment is able to split the difference and balance the one-note joke version of Hiashi with his past self. As Kurenai explains, while Hiashi is still one of the Hidden Leaf's strongest ninja, his current personality is more reflective of his true self. This is who Hiashi is when he's unfettered by the need to place the Hyuga clan's standing above the happiness of his loved ones. While the personality change Hiashi underwent between the parent series and this one didn't necessarily require a serious explanation, this ultimately helped make the transition more believable.

Mitsuki, who hasn't been a key player in months, has a number of funny moments this week. True to character, he speaks his mind and asks insensitive questions without a hint of genuine meanness. His curiosity about Boruto addressing Hanabi as “Big Sis” and his assertion that Hiashi's refusal to fight a dojo challenger may mean that he's not actually very strong are particularly amusing. Even though he was absent for almost the entirety of the previous arc, moments like this serve as a great reminder of how much fun this character can be.

As we've seen in previous stories, the new generation of Hidden Leaf shinobi are surprisingly ignorant of important events in their village's history—even things that occurred less than two decades ago. This week, for example, Boruto learns about his grandfather's somber past from a friend of the family rather than his parents or teachers. While some of this could be attributed to Naruto's generation hoping for a fresh start, it continues to come across as strange, especially since ignoring sins of the past has never really worked out for the denizens of this universe.

Equal parts comedic and emotional, episode 138 makes for a pleasantly effective one-off outing. Hiashi is treated like a three-dimensional character instead of a one-note joke, Mitsuki and Sarada are given something to do, and Boruto becomes closer to a family member he's largely ignored until this 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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