Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 20

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 20 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

Sarada comes closer to getting the answers she seeks in The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring arc's exciting second installment. Not only does the audience get to spend more time getting acquainted with Sarada and Cho-Cho, we also get to hang out with Naruto, who's gotten a lot more screen time than his son in the latest storyline. While last week's installment was fairly light on action, episode 20 offers up a fun (but regrettably brief) battle between the Seventh and one of the Leaf's newest enemies.

After receiving a communiqué from Sasuke, Naruto departs the village to meet with him. Hoping to find her father, Sarada (with Cho-Cho in tow) follows Naruto under the pretense of delivering his forgotten bento. Shortly into their journey, the girls are approached by the ghostly-white Shin, whose mysterious master has tasked him with abducting Sarada. Both Shin and his cloaked cohort possess the Mangekyo Sharingan, suggesting that Sasuke and Sarada may not be the only remaining Uchiha. Shortly thereafter, Naruto arrives on the scene and goes into Sage Mode, prompting Shin's retreat. After learning of Shin's goal, Naruto decides that Sarada is safest with him and heads to the rendezvous point with her and Cho-Cho. Claiming that she has to answer the call of nature, Sarada soon heads to the meeting spot by herself in the hopes of spending some one-on-one time with her old man. However, upon her arrival, Sasuke mistakes her for an enemy, indicating that he doesn't even know what his daughter looks like.

Like her father, Sarada is reasonably skilled at hiding things from the people closest to her. She's adept at keeping her best friend in the dark about her true intentions, allowing her to believe that they're on the hunt for Cho-Cho's “real” parents. She never even reveals her true intentions to the Hokage, going so far as to ditch him in order to meet up with her father alone. While she's not as taciturn as Sasuke, his prevalent sense of self-reliance is certainly present in her. Perhaps this adventure will teach her the importance of not keeping everything bottled up—something that her father learned off and on throughout the previous series.

In the preceding feature film and monthly manga (both of which are set several years in the future), Sarada looks up to Naruto and wishes to follow in his footsteps as Hokage. Since these two characters never had any extended interactions prior to this arc in the anime, perhaps this marks the origin of her admiration for Naruto. Sarada's high opinion of Naruto presents an interesting contrast to Boruto's tsundere-like disdain for him. Furthermore, in light of what the audience knows about Naruto's childhood, Sarada's view of him is starkly at odds with many of his goofier qualities. Perhaps to underscore this, shades of the old Naruto shine through when he tells the girls that he was every bit as proficient in ninjutsu and popular with girls as Sasuke during their Academy days. In this time period, Naruto is widely viewed as the best shinobi of his time, but it's refreshing to see that he's still the same person at heart.

With Sarada and Sasuke reunited and a mysterious new enemy hot on our heroes' trail, the pieces are in place for a memorable adventure. Even though the series loves dipping into the Uchiha and Otsutsuki wells whenever it needs new villains, it makes sense this time because of the focus on Sarada. While Boruto himself remains on the sidelines, his friends and father have proven themselves capable of picking up the slack.

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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