Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 29 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
The field trip arc heats up this week as the final battle against Shizuma's Seven Swordsmen of the Mist kicks off. Now that the story's master villain has set his plan in motion, our heroes must eliminate this new threat and bring Kagura back to the side of good—which they discover to be far more difficult than they initially thought. With Kagura under Shizuma's spell and the fate of the Land of Water at stake, Boruto is about to face his most harrowing challenge yet.
Shaken by Kagura's betrayal and the prospect of a coup d'état, Chojuro decides to regard the theft of the Mist Swords as a national emergency and eliminate the perpetrators. However, Boruto attempts to downplay things and convinces the Mizukage to treat the situation as “a fight between punks.” Moved by Boruto's words (and the implied threat of tensions with the Leaf), Chojuro accompanies Boruto and Sarada to the memorial for the ninja who died in the Fourth Shinobi World War, where Shizuma's gang has congregated. Shortly after the brawl begins, the group becomes separated, with Sarada facing off against Buton, Chojuro taking on Hassaku, Hebiichigo, & Kyoho, and Boruto coming face-to-face with the wayward Kagura.
Meanwhile, Suigetsu, who claims to have come to the Mist for a mission, informs Mitsuki that Orochimaru has instructed him not to involve himself in Boruto's battle. Although Shikadai and Inojin witness this exchange, they're not entirely sure what to make of it. Realizing that Mistuki isn't going to abide by his request, Suigetsu provides him with a special scroll with which to crush Shizuma in his place.
Boruto deescalating the situation by regarding it as a conflict between juveniles is a reasonably clever move and nicely illustrates the character's ability to think on his feet. However, in light of how quickly he becomes incapacitated, Chojuro may regret embracing this line of logic. Still, it's possible that the Mizukage is intentionally pulling his punches since he's going up against kids, albeit fairly mature ones. It would be disappointing to discover that he can't do much without the Hiramekarei. When the other Kage have had to involve themselves in fights, they unleash some pretty epic attacks. In fact, the story typically has to come up with contrived reasons for why the Kage might still struggle, like when Naruto couldn't use his chakra in the fight that marked the end of Next Generations' first arc. It's still early in this battle, but it really shouldn't come down to Boruto and Sarada so much. They're not even genin yet.
While Shizuma and company remain by-the-numbers Naruto antagonists, episode 29 does a serviceable job of laying out their motives. In failing to honor Yagura and their fallen relatives, the group believes that Chojuro is trying to relegate them to a loathsome past. They also regard turning the Mist into a tourist hotspot for foreign travelers as an affront to their culture. While this doesn't excuse their actions in the least, it does help them seem more three-dimensional. Kagura continually feeling pulled in two different directions—preserving an unsavory past or working toward a peaceful future—helps make him one of the franchise's more interesting guest characters.
The post-credits preview indicates that this fight is going to last for a few weeks—in fact, if the title is to be believed, episode 30 will focus primarily on Sarada vs. Buton. Drawn-out battles have been something of a rarity for this series, though they were fairly common in the parent series. Hopefully these fights will prove exciting enough to warrant the slow burn.
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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