Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 34 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Graduation continues to weigh on the mind of the titular hero in this week's Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. With Boruto and company's time at the Academy soon coming to an end, the kids are determined to have one last hurrah before becoming Genin and splitting off into three-man cells. This results in the entire main cast going on a lighthearted adventure together, giving the audience the opportunity to view the ten lead characters as a cohesive unit and delivering a decent one-off episode.
Unnerved by the prospect of losing touch with his friends after graduation, Boruto organizes a fishing expedition to catch (and consume) the elusive Eternal Carp. Although Sarada doesn't buy into his “friendship is forever” line, she ultimately decides to accompany the group at the behest of Sumire. Sakura also informs her daughter that although she once viewed Naruto as childish and annoying, he became one of her best friends after graduation, suggesting that Sarada's relationship with Boruto could undergo a similar change. Upon arriving at their destination, the kids learn that the Eternal Carp has taken refuge behind some rocks following a recent rainfall, thereby making it even more difficult to catch. Never one to give up, Boruto resumes his efforts to catch the fish after the gang settles in for the night. Like his father, Boruto's determination proves infectious, and with all his friends supporting him with their respective techniques, he's able to reel in his catch. The group subsequently feasts and vows one day to return to the campgrounds to catch an even bigger fish. In a post-credits scene, Toneri Otsutsuki (the villain from The Last: Naruto the Movie who made several appearances in the Nue arc) gazes at Earth from the Moon and wonders aloud how Boruto can fight on with “destiny as his opponent,” presumably hinting at the looming danger Sasuke brought to the Kages' attention several months back.
Episode 34 is notable for bringing all of the show's principal players together to achieve a common goal. Even in episodes that feature the entire main cast, the kids are often split off into groups—i.e. the boys usually stay with the boys, and the girls usually stay with the girls. Of course, given the limited runtime, not every character is able to make an equal contribution. Iwabe and Metal don't really get to do much, with the latter remaining the most underused member of the main cast. On the plus side, Boruto and Sarada's relationship goes through a bit of growth, with Sarada going so far as apologizing for speaking too harshly. (Considering how stubborn both these characters are, that really says something.) Sumire also offers some additional closure on the first story arc by acknowledging how much the events altered her general worldview and rolling out an adorable chibi-fied Nue.
Like the past couple breather episodes, the latest chapter is fairly simplistic in theme: it's important to cherish friendships and know how to cope with growing apart from people you've grown close to. That said, it nicely lays more foundation for a deeper friendship between Boruto and Sarada, even foreshadowing them being placed on the same team. When Sarada takes her mother's advice to heart and assists Boruto in reeling in the Eternal Carp, she's beginning to step outside of her rigid definitions of what's important. In that moment, she also learns the value of friendship and helps inspire the rest of the gang to follow suit.
With graduation looming, it's only natural for Shino's students to make the most of the time they have left together. However, as this week's episode adeptly illustrates, no longer seeing each other on a daily basis doesn't automatically spell the end of close friendships—and Boruto's graduation is likely to signal a new beginning for the show and its world.
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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