Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 37 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
After 37 episodes of fighting mysterious enemies, learning the basics of ninjutsu, and proving their mettle, Boruto and his classmates officially become Genin. Although using the Ninja Academy as the backdrop for a super-powered school anime was an interesting hook, it was practically a given that Shino's students would graduate at some point and embark on the same type of adventures as their elders. While the current premise had some mileage left in it, changing things up at this stage isn't necessarily a bad idea—particularly if the show is able to maintain the level of quality established in its first few arcs.
Picking up from the previous installment, episode 37 opens on Boruto being pinned to the ground by Kakashi, who informs him that the current crop of students lacks the resolve to become shinobi—primarily due to Boruto's influence. Shortly thereafter, Mitsuki is able to rescue his friend from the tough-as-nails proctor and get him to a safe location, where they meet up with various other classmates. Angered by Kakashi's assertion, Iwabe insists that Boruto is the nucleus of the class (he is the titular character, after all) and that his influence on his peers has been nothing but positive. Re-energized, the students join forces and formulate several clever strategies to take out their teachers. Although the kids are ultimately unable to steal Kakashi's bell, the Sixth rewards their ingenuity and teamwork by allowing them all to become Genin. (As he reveals, there's no way they would have gotten the bell, anyway.) This being Kakashi, he also makes sure to rattle off his favorite quote: “Those who break the rules are called scum, but those who don't value their comrades are worse than scum.”
Anyone familiar with the original series (or Kakashi's exam style) probably guessed the true lesson the class is meant to learn from the test: teamwork is a core tenet of ninjutsu. However, it's somewhat unclear how Kakashi expects Boruto to come to this conclusion by claiming he lacks resolve. Although he's more than likely trying to get into his opponent's head with trash talk, this critique rings hollow, as Boruto has never shown himself not to be a team player. Not only has he displayed a consistent willingness to help people, he's not exactly shy when it comes to enlisting the aid of his friends. Then again, Kakashi is a brilliant strategist, and it's possible his plan all along had been for Boruto to relay the insults to his peers, thus inspiring them to rally behind him.
While it was basically a certainty that the entire class would band together at some point, it's still satisfying to see everyone join forces to outmaneuver more seasoned shinobi. Even hitherto unimportant bit players like Wasabi and Namida play prominent roles in taking down the proctors. Boruto and Sarada's brilliant coordinated attack on Konohamaru is arguably the episode's highlight, as it showcases just how well the two complement one another. Even if the combined efforts of an entire class can't take down Kakashi, Shino's students (most notably Boruto, Sarada, and Mitsuki) have proven themselves a force to be reckoned with.
Though only a handful of episodes were devoted to Boruto's final days at the Academy, the individual installments seldom felt rushed or lacking in substance. (It's easy to see an arc like this lasting for a full season in the parent series.) With the three-man cells set to be chosen next week, the newly-anointed Genin will soon get a taste of the real ninja 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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