Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 16

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 16 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

With the Ghost arc concluded, this week's Boruto: Naruto Next Generations opts to slow things down and shift the focus to Denki and Iwabe, two supporting characters who haven't done much since their respective introductions. While episode 16 may constitute “filler” due to its lack of importance to the show's overarching plot, it's an enjoyable diversion that allows viewers to become better acquainted with two underused members of the main cast. True, the story plays out as predictably as possible, but being by-the-books isn't necessarily a bad thing in this instance.

With test season underway at the Academy, Denki and Iwabe have both found themselves in unique predicaments. Denki, who excels at written exams, has considerable trouble utilizing his chakra and passing physical tests. On the flipside, the physically-gifted Iwabe, who's already repeating the year, is doing abysmally bad on his written tests. Eventually, the boys decide to help one another out, with Iwabe schooling Denki on the basics of chakra control and Denki helping Iwabe study math and electrical engineering. Following a hefty amount of training, the duo comes across an out-of-control apartment fire while en route to their final exams. Even though it means missing their tests, the boys decide to step in and rescue three children who have been trapped by the blaze. Denki uses his newfound physical prowess to enter the building and help carry the kids to safety, while Iwabe uses his newly-acquired technical knowledge to fix the apartment's unresponsive sprinkler system. Upon learning of their heroism, Shino decides to issue both boys passing grades, much to the delight of their peers.

Denki and Iwabe's unlikely friendship helps drive home the theme of using individual strengths to overcome weakness and sheds some additional light on both characters' personalities. While the apartment fire comes off as hackneyed, it provides both boys with the opportunity to demonstrate what they've learned. (Also, why were two preteens the only ninja in the vicinity qualified to help out? This is the Hidden Leaf Village, for crying out loud.) As Shino states, what they're learning in school is actually the ability to respond to real crises, and seeing them apply their knowledge in a real-life setting is a better indicator of their overall skill than a traditional test.

Episode 16 is also notable for marking Rock Lee's first notable appearance in the new series. Although it only accounts for a small portion of the episode, Denki's training session with the Lees provides some solid laughs and fits nicely into the story. Rock Lee's gimmick has always been using hard work to overcome a lack of natural talent, so it makes sense to pair him (or Metal) with Denki. While Denki has more book smarts than Lee did at his age, he also lacks skills that are innate in other ninja. It'd be interesting to see Denki and Metal together more often.

An eventful if unimportant episode, this week's Boruto Naruto Next Generations is a fun side-story that gives a couple of supporting players some time in the limelight. Although Boruto himself is largely sidelined this time around, his absence doesn't really take anything away from the story. If episode 16 is an indication of what viewers can expect from Boruto's “filler” excursions, these types of episodes may not elicit the same negative reaction similar adventures often did in the parent show.

Rating: B+

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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