Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 158 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
By the time Boruto and company reach the general area in which Anato disappeared, they find Mr. Victor, the founder of the pharmaceutical company that employs Anato, and a group of his shinobi guards. According to Victor, who lost a leg in the Fourth Great Ninja War, his company is researching an affordable, widely accessible way for humans to regenerate lost limbs and damaged organs, and Anato was lost while gathering materials for this research. Although Victor seems to be on the level, the ever-vigilant Mugino cautions Boruto against placing his trust in someone he just met. Soon after, Team 7 locates the missing Anato, who's unable to form words and struggling to contain a monster-like rage.
As the latest arc's introductory chapter, episode 158 does its job competently. Aside from the appearance of a cloaked Kara figure in the episode's cold open and Victor's resemblance (at least height-wise) to one of the Kara generals shown last week, the general narrative seems fairly in line with what we've come to expect from this series, but with Kara now very much a presence in Boruto's world, the stakes are likely to increase dramatically as the story rolls on. Even without the show's recent pandemic-facilitated hiatus, it's been a while since Boruto himself acted as a central figure in the show that bears his name, and it's nice to see him back in the spotlight after an extended stint as a supporting player. His desire to track down Kara posthaste deftly echoes young Naruto's insistence on searching for the wayward Sasuke in the face of more immediate work.
Though his interactions with Boruto are brief, Mugino makes for an interesting presence, and his strict, by-the-books demeanor provides a good counterbalance to the titular hero's take-'em-by-the-horns approach to everything he does. He's no-nonsense, reluctant to talk about himself, straight-to-the-point, and a nihilist, going so far as to instruct Boruto not to trust him, given their lack of familiarity. Mugino's seeming lack of reciprocation for the more jovial, easygoing Konohamaru's claims of close friendship also provides some solid laughs.
While Kara may not be front and center this week, their connection to Anato's disappearance and Victor's research is likely to become more apparent as things wear on. With the introduction of a perpetually deadpan new Leaf Shinobi, some background into the Naruto-verse's pharmaceutical industry, and a new country to explore, Boruto's latest adventure is off to a promising start.
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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