Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 148

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 148 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

Following the previous arc's unexpectedly dark conclusion, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations returns to lighter fare as a new conflict against the Mujina Gang commences. When Ikkyu Madoka, the Land of Fire's current feudal lord, visits the Hidden Leaf to meet with Naruto, his spoiled son, Tento, hits the town with a limitless credit card and his faithful butler, Yamaoka. A big fan of shinobi trading cards, Tento proceeds to buy out every store in the Leaf. However, when he happens upon Boruto and company in the middle of his shopping spree, he discovers that Iwabe has the one card he wants more than anything: a vintage Naruto. Iwabe's refusal to part with the card prompts Tento to throw his money around at every turn, and when the boys arrive at Thunder Burger, they find that Tento has purchased the restaurant. A timely lecture from Boruto gets the young man to relent, but the very next day, Konohamaru informs Boruto that Tento has taken a shine to him and assigns him to be the boy's bodyguard for the next few days. Although this seems like an easy enough mission, the presence of Mujina Gang spies on Hokage Rock would suggest that things are going to heat up in the coming weeks.

As any introductory chapter to the latest arc, episode 148 does a solid job of introducing us to this story's primary guest character and setting up his rapport with Boruto. To be clear, this type of story has been told repeatedly throughout the Naruto-verse's history, but as long as things stay entertaining, the franchise's propensity for dusting off old ideas is mostly forgivable. (Episode 175 of the original Naruto series, for example, featured a very similar guest character, central conflict, and dynamic between Naruto and a spoiled rich kid.) The lesson Tento is being set up to learn seems pretty clear, but how the show gets us there may hold a few surprises in store. It's also interesting to see a feudal lord appear for more than a few seconds and potentially play an active role in the story. The lords have always been infrequent players in the franchise—often to the point of viewers forgetting they exist—so the prospect of spending more time with Ikkyu is certainly enticing.

The collectible card game lets Boruto, Iwabe, Inojin, and Shikadai seem like actual kids for a bit. Anyone who ever “had to have them all” in some kind of childhood collection can feel the palpable excitement when Boruto opens his pack of cards looking for the exact right one. The running gag of Boruto being unhappy with getting his father's card—the rarest of the rare—continues to amuse, even if his frustration mainly stems from already having multiples of that particular card. After seeing the gang engineer a tension-fraught prison break, getting a chance to watch them play with trading cards and deal with normal kid problems is a fun change of pace.

While the full stakes of this new arc are just alluded to in this week's installment, episode 148 does a good job of introducing the personality clash between Tento and Boruto that's sure to drive most of their interactions moving forward. Though Tento is portrayed as unlikable, he's also sheltered, pampered, and young, so it stands to reason that once he actually finds himself in a situation with actual stakes and sees real shinobi in action, he'll learn a thing or two and become more empathetic. Furthermore, Boruto being placed in the mentor role—when he's usually the student—may provide some good opportunities for growth on his part as well.

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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