Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 24 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
The latest chapter of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations functions as both a denouement to the previous story arc and a road map for the show's overarching plot, though it gives far more attention to the latter. Despite the episode's misleading title (“Boruto and Sarada”), the proceedings have little to do with the relationship between the two leads, and the few interactions they get are fairly by-the-book. At the end of the day, this is far from a weak episode, but it's also a far cry from what last week's preview promised.
In response to the Nue incident, the emergence of Shin, and information obtained from Sasuke, Naruto convenes a Five Kage Summit in the Hidden Leaf Village. Behind closed doors, the Seventh informs his fellow Kage that the shinobi world is about to face a new threat. As is turns out, the description of a parallel dimension is a common factor in materials left behind by Danzo and Shin. Sasuke has discovered that Kaguya's White Zetsu army was created long before the existence of shinobi, indicating that their intended purpose had been to combat an even greater enemy. Sasuke's info also suggests that an even more powerful threat than Kaguya will soon descend upon the shinobi world. However, no one's clear on exactly when this threat will appear. According to Sai, it could be “a few months or years, or more.”
Fresh off her recent adventure, Sarada is now training to hone her Sharingan with the ultimate goal of becoming Hokage. Boruto, however, scoffs at the idea, describing Hokage as “old-fashioned, disgraceful, and useless.” In yet another effort to embarrass his father, Boruto once again defaces his likeness on Hokage Rock, prompting a skirmish with Sarada. (Unlike his old man, Boruto is kind of a one-trick pony when it comes to pranks.) As the two trade barbs, Mitsuki watches from nearby and opines that they make a good couple.
More than anything, this episode aims to foreshadow a much larger conflict on the horizon. Furthermore, the new enemy's intentionally vague ETA suggests that they probably won't be revealing themselves any time soon. While it's kind of hard to picture a more powerful foe than Kaguya, it was practically inevitable that this show would introduce one at some point. Although the anime adaptation shed some light on Kaguya's history, she never had much of a personality, especially compared to the other members of Naruto's rogues gallery, so if nothing else, perhaps there will be a more interesting master villain this time around. (Still, it's doubtful we'll be seeing them for a long while.)
The discussion the Five Kage have about the next generation raises some interesting points that are applicable even outside the context of ninja and alien invaders. Many people disparage the generation after them, not recognizing how the generation that came before did the same thing. Naruto and Gaara expressing hope that the next generation can rise to new challenges is true to the optimism and perseverance that have always been at the heart of this franchise. It's especially interesting when you consider that Boruto, Sarada, and many of their peers have inherited both their parents' signature techniques, suggesting that they have the potential to eventually overtake their elders.
Despite being billed as the stars of the episode, Sarada and Boruto are not the central focus, and Boruto receives very little screen time. This seemed like an opportune time for their relationship to evolve, but the show appears to be opting for a slow burn in this department. Mitsuki's shipping like a fanboy also seems forced, considering Boruto and Sarada's general lack of interaction thus far.
This week's Boruto Naruto Next Generations almost feels like a season finale, an episode-length epilogue to Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring arc that teases an exciting “sequel.” With Shino's class embarking on a trip next week, it looks like the ill-defined threat discussed by the Kage will be put on the backburner for a while, as the show returns to being an action-comedy with the Ninja Academy as its backdrop.
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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