Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 139

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 139 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

This week, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations gives the seldom-seen Team 40 their first turn in the spotlight. When Enko begins having trouble keeping the Onikuma Clan's Possession-Type Summoning Jutsu under control, she injures the team's jonin leader (albeit offscreen), setting the stage for the long-absent Ibiki Morino to assume command of Team 40. Due to Doshu and Tsuru's fear of Enko's power, Ibiki immediately opts to disband the team and have Enko assist him with his work for the Torture and Interrogation Corps. Unwilling to accept this decision, Doshu and Tsuru enlist Team 7's assistance in overcoming their fear of their teammate. Ibiki soon learns that controlling Enko isn't as easy as he initially thought, and he eventually discovers that loneliness and fear of abandonment are responsible for her recent flare-ups. By refusing to express any fear in front of an out-of-control Enko, Tsuru and Doshu are able to calm their friend down and assuage her anxieties. Touched by the team's display of camaraderie, Ibiki stays on as their leader and helps them work more cohesively as a unit.

With the show currently between story arcs, the time is ripe for supporting characters to receive some time in the limelight. While the members of Team 40 have received very limited screen time for most of the series, the latest installment succinctly conveys the dynamic between Tsuru, Doshu, and Enko—but only at the most basic of levels. Unfortunately, because these characters have received virtually no focus until this point, it's hard to become invested in their predicament after being plopped directly into the middle of it. While it's easy to root for friendship to triumph in the end, a preexisting emotional connection to this week's key players would make their eventual reunion considerably more meaningful. Not much is done to distinguish Tsuru and Doshu from one another personality-wise, and if this particular trio is featured in more stories moving forward, it would be nice to see some progress made on this front. After all, their newly-invigorated friendship may prove to be a suitable starting point for future filler excursions.

Shortcomings aside, episode 139 is a reasonably solid one-off adventure. While it would be nice to see Enko and company given more distinctive personalities, their various ninja abilities all seem fascinating, and it isn't often that you see a two-girl/one-guy team. (This may even be the first one featured in the series.) Ibiki has always been an interesting character, and his gruff, intimidating exterior continues to serve as a great vehicle for comedy. As an added bonus, the friendship-conquers-all ending gives him a chance to display his inner kindness. Team 7's attempts at helping Tsuru and Doshu conquer their fear are good for a few chuckles, and the action sequences are fairly high-quality for an episode of this type—with the fully-possessed Enko being a particularly cool visual.

As evidenced by this week's installment, Kishimoto's universe is home to endless storytelling possibilities, and there are abundant opportunities to focus on characters outside of Team 7 and their closest friends. Still, depending on the type of story being told, becoming emotionally invested may prove difficult. Had Team 40 been given the same amount of focus as Team 15, for example, episode 139 would probably have gone over better.

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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