Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 27 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
The class trip continues in this week's surprisingly action-lite Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. In many respects, episode 27 is the show's dullest outing to date, although we're finally given the lowdown on Kagura's past, as well as some information on the Mist Village's political situation. Going off the preview and the final moments of the episode, this installment is meant to serve as the calm before the storm, but taken on its own, it's pretty boring.
With Kagura's help, Boruto and his crew are able to rescue Denki from Hachiya's gang without much difficulty. During the skirmish, Hachiya reveals that Kagura is the grandson of Yagura, the Fourth Mizukage, and that he had a tendency to take things too far during his time at the Mist's Ninja Academy. While bonding with Boruto and company over a game of Shinobi Bout, Kagura claims to enter a trance-like state during battles, during which he feels an intense need to draw blood. (We got a glimpse of this last week during his practice match with Boruto.) Following an incident in which he severely injured several classmates, Kagura has actively fought against voices that instruct him to kill. Boruto is able to lift his new friend's spirits by once again reassuring him that the Mist's blood-soaked past has nothing to do with Kagura and therefore shouldn't weigh him down. The next morning, Kagura informs Chōjūrō that he's prepared to take the test to succeed the Hiramekarei sword. Unfortunately, things aren't looking quite as bright for Hachiya, who's grievously wounded by Shizuma in response to his failure the previous evening.
Meanwhile, Shino and Anko meet with Mei to discuss a peace treaty between the nations surrounding the Middle Sea—i.e. Fire, Water, Waves, and Sea. Because the Land of Water's feudal lords believe that instability along the Middle Sea provides opportunities for power grabs and expansion, they're hesitant to sign the treaty. However, the Mist, which is the Water's hidden village, doesn't agree with the lords. Intimately familiar with the horrors of war, the Mist only wishes to preserve stability. Still, as Mei acknowledges, the Mist will be put in a precarious position if the Waves and the Sea continue their quests for expansion.
Given that the previous episode concluded with a threatening message written in blood, it's strange that the actual rescue operation takes up only a small portion of this week's installment. The cavalier way the episode treats the kidnapping of Denki feels off, as does Boruto refusing to inform the adults of his friend's predicament out of fear that doing so will result in the field trip's cancellation. Is Denki's life not even worth a cancelled field trip? If Hachiya had threatened to kill his hostage if the adults were alerted, Boruto's actions would have made more sense. Although he's every bit as impulsive as his dad, Boruto usually at least seems capable of acting rationally when actual lives are stake. Boruto being eager to answer a challenge is perfectly in-character, but after the serious manner in which the previous episode treated Denki's kidnapping, the levity it's regarded with this week is jarring.
Even more jarring is the tonal shift that occurs immediately following the rescue. After setting their lives on the line, the boys simply return to the hotel and play a collectible card game. This wouldn't have seemed too unusual in the parent series, but unlike his dad, Boruto isn't exactly accustomed to this type of situation, so his desensitization to what went down is perplexing. Even though the Shinobi Bout scene provides us with some valuable background info on Kagura, it plays out slowly and feels intentionally drawn out. Not every episode needs to be an action extravaganza, but between this scene and the long discussion about politics, there isn't a lot to keep the audience riveted this week.
With unnatural character reactions and strange pacing choices, this arc is starting to exhibit some of the most notable shortcomings of its parent series' anime-original material. However, in light of how entertaining the show has proven itself thus far, perhaps episode 27 will prove a small slip-up in an otherwise solid series.
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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