Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 156

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 156 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

Frequent filler focus Cho-Cho takes center stage in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations' latest one-off. Despite putting her best foot forward when training with her father, Cho-Cho is unable to summon her full power when in Super Cho-Cho Butterfly Mode. Hoping to replenish her strength with some sweet bean soup, the younger Akimichi is dismayed to discover that the village is experiencing an azuki bean shortage due to rampant bandit activity. However, when attempting to bring the thieves to justice, Cho-Cho and Anko (who's equally distraught by the bean robberies) find themselves in a pinch. Anko becomes trapped and immobilized, and Cho-Cho, who accidentally performed the real Akimichi Butterfly Mode, is unable to regain her original size and free her sensei. Even after a quick carb load, Cho-Cho can't summon her full strength, but upon reflecting on some advice from Choji—conjuring one's hidden power requires focusing on the desire to protect those you wish to protect—she's able pull off Super Cho-Cho Butterfly Mode without losing any strength. With the bandits defeated and the Hidden Leaf's azuki bean supply replenished, Cho-Cho basks in the praise of her father and friends as she indulges in some well-earned sweet bean soup.

On the plus side, it's nice to see a Cho-Cho-focused installment not revolve around the character's appearance (sort of) or an ill-fated crush. However, while previous Cho-Cho episodes have generally ended with the character learning a valuable life lesson, this one's main takeaway—focusing on the people and things you wish to protect will enable you to summon your true strength—is predictable, even by Shonen Jump standards. Other characters in this franchise (and many others) have learned this same generic lesson, and it's disappointing to see the show make no effort at adding its own spin to such a tired trope—unless food being among the things Cho-Cho wished to protect was intended as a subversion. In addition, while this is more an issue with filler episodes in general, this week's antagonists are far too weak to have presented as much of a challenge as they did. Even as a genin, Cho-Cho has been in far worse scrapes than this, and there's no way a kunoichi as powerful as Anko would have any trouble against a group of low-rent bandits.

Despite being one of Boruto's lighter episodes, none of the featured jokes are particularly inspired, and the narrative largely feels like it's just going through motions and trying to run out the clock. The episode also wastes a potentially good joke opportunity by never explaining why the bandits are specifically targeting azuki beans. Given how bumbling and eccentric this group seems—and how committed they are to recovering every last bean—revealing their intentions to be comedic in nature could have added some originality to the proceedings.

While not exactly bad, Boruto's latest outing makes no effort at being anything more than an inconsequential by-the-numbers filler episode. This lack of ambition is particularly disappointing in light of the show's decent track record with side-stories and one-offs. Although Cho-Cho is among the series' most frequent focuses of anime-original episodes, the screenwriters may be better-served by shifting their focus to other characters if they can't utilize her better than this.

Rating:

Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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