Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 19 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations begins its adaptation of the Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring side story, kicking off its second big arc. This appears to be a fairly straightforward presentation of the source material, which was also quite good. In light of how underused Sarada was in the Ghost arc, this seems like a good time to give her the spotlight. Whether you're familiar with this side story (which is now two years old) or this is your first time experiencing it, the latest arc's freshman outing will leave you eager to see how things unfold.
After witnessing her schoolmates bonding with their dads and Cho-Cho expressing embarrassment in response to Choji's behavior, Sarada realizes that she has no memories of her father. This prompts Sarada to launch an investigation into her parentage, but the deeper she digs, the more questions she has. Sakura's responses to her daughter's inquiries range from frustration to outright anger; the library's records on Sasuke are sealed, and the village doesn't seem to have any record of Sarada's birth. Furthermore, after uncovering an old photograph of Sasuke with his Taka comrades, Sarada can't help but notice the strong physical resemblance she bears to Karin. Sarada soon realizes that if she wants answers, she'll have to track down her father and grill him herself. However, her journey to find Sasuke kicks off at an inopportune time, as the elder Uchiha is currently facing off against a new enemy—one strong enough to require the use of the Sharingan.
A Sarada-centric narrative is long overdue, and this story, which grapples with her identity issues, is an interesting way to examine the character in more detail. Her striking physical similarities to Karin make for a compelling narrative hook, especially when juxtaposed with Cho-Cho's comically misguided notion that Karui and Choji aren't her actual parents. Sakura and Sasuke's relationship has certainly never been ordinary, but for the show to reveal that he's never once visited them since Sarada was a baby underscores how unhealthy the relationship is. True love and noble intentions aside, it's clear that Sasuke will never be as devoted to Sakura as she is to him—and another character (the couple's daughter, no less) pointing this out so matter-of-factly makes for a nice bit of drama.
Although the laughs are relatively spaced-out this week, episode 19 contains some fantastic jokes. Sakura ending her dramatic exchange with Sarada by inadvertently destroying their home and subsequently passing out from shock is a great way to lighten the mood after a truly heart-wrenching exchange. Cho-Cho's belief that her parents (both of whom she strongly resembles in appearance and behavior) aren't biologically related to her paves the way for some humorous moments.
Although the episode is somewhat slow compared to previous installments, this introductory chapter aptly paves the way for what's to come. Boruto himself is all-but-absent this week, but since this isn't his story, his lack of presence doesn't take anything away. Interestingly, the manga version of this story was the first piece of Boruto media to be released (though the feature film was in production at the time of its publishing), and it sometimes feels like the audience is being introduced to the characters for the first time. So even if you've avoided this series altogether or simply lost interest during the Ghost storyline, now is the perfect time to jump in.
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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