Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 18 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
In its last filler excursion before the Hokage and the Seventh Spring arc, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations elects to phone things in. The first half of episode 18 is a 10-minute OVA that was included in the Boruto: Naruto the Movie feature film's home video release, while the second half finds Naruto attempting to bond with his son over a meal at Ichiraku Ramen. Despite the show's efforts to link these two tales, they don't really connect organically, and the result occasionally comes across as lazy. Of course, if you haven't seen the aforementioned OVA, you'll get a little more out of this latest installment.
While caring for a cold-stricken Himawari, Boruto is suddenly drawn to a family photograph taken on the day of Naruto's inauguration, prompting a flashback to the date in question. As it turns out, the Seventh Hokage's big day was fraught with peril. In addition to nursing a wicked hangover from a guys' night out, the soon-to-be-Seventh found himself on the receiving end of Himawari's Byakugan-fueled anger, after Boruto accidentally destroyed her favorite plush toy. As a result, he was unable to arrive to the ceremony on time, forcing Konohamaru to disguise himself as a stand-in and bringing us to the end of the OVA. In the episode's latter half, we return to the present time as Naruto takes the burger-obsessed Boruto to Ichiraku Ramen, where he attempts to connect with his son and reminisces about the good old days.
Although the two stories presented this week are only loosely connected, family appears to be the theme meant to tie them together. While neither segment was particularly boring, the episode would have been stronger had it simply stuck to one of them. There was plenty of room to expand the OVA's story, and the producers even removed a few short scenes from the home video version. Since the original version only gave the audience the bare bones of the day's events and ended on a somewhat inconclusive note, using this opportunity to fill in some of the blanks could have made for an interesting episode. Still, it contains a number of cute characters moments and funny jokes, so if this is your first time seeing it, you're likely to be entertained. There's even an added scene toward the beginning in which a heavily inebriated Naruto is delivered home by his friends.
The argument about which meal is best for Himawari notwithstanding, seeing Boruto get along with his father for an extended period is a welcome change of pace. Since Boruto often seems incapable of tolerating Naruto's presence for more than a few minutes, it's nice to see him let his guard down around his old man, if only for one evening. It's also interesting to see how much Ichiraku has expanded in the years between the parent series and this one. Seeing as the rest of the village has taken on a distinctly metropolitan appearance, it makes sense that Naruto's favorite restaurant would receive a similar upgrade. The reappearance of the lifetime all-you-can-eat coupon Mr. Teuchi gave to Naruto as a wedding gift is also a fun continuity nod to the original series.
While not as good as the previous two side stories, episode 18 definitely has strong moments. Unfortunately, the attempts at tying the stories together feel weak, and the episode probably would have been better served by only focusing on one of them. Fans who have already seen the OVA can simply skip ahead to the second half (after checking out the one added scene), while those who haven't will be able to enjoy two fun but poorly-connected stories about the Uzumaki family.
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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