Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 49 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
This week, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations continues shining a spotlight on its supporting cast, with the Hanabi-led Team 15 getting their very own episode. Although Sumire played a prominent role in the Nue arc, her teammates Wasabi and Namida, have received very little screen time throughout the show's run, so it's nice to finally spend some real time with them. Even though the lesson the girls wind up learning is one that the audience has seen many other teams learn in the past, their interesting group dynamic and fun interactions help make episode 49 a worthwhile watch.
After a crafty monkey engineers the escape of a large group of animals from Fire Land (an amusement park/zoo located in the Hidden Leaf), Team 15 is dispatched to the nearby woodlands to recapture the wayward wildlife. Although things get off to a smooth enough start, Wasabi and Namida soon get into a heated argument, resulting in Namida (true to her name) running away in tears. However, before she can get very far, she finds herself face-to-face with a Giant-Maned Wolf, a deadly animal that had accidentally been left off the list the girls were using. Using good old-fashioned teamwork, Sumire, Wasabi, and Namida are able to combine their unique strengths and incapacitate the wolf. By summoning Nue during the fight, Sumire finally reveals to her teammates that she was the one behind the chakra-draining incidents of many months ago—although Wasabi and Namida claim to have been aware of this for a long time.
Because the main characters' time at the Academy passed by fairly fast, character development for Namida and Wasabi has been virtually nonexistent until this point. In fact, the only noteworthy thing about Namida was her lack of confidence in her abilities during the graduation exam. Furthermore, as two of the only characters who aren't direct descendants of prominent figures from the parent series, not much is known about their respective families. Fortunately, episode 49 does a serviceable job establishing their personalities and showcasing their combat abilities. Although neither character is particularly original or developed past her surface quirks, their chemistry is entertaining to watch, and they complement each other nicely.
Unlike some of the missions Team 7 has been roped into, this week's assignment seemed appropriate enough for would-be Chunin. As a result, however, there isn't much in terms of excitement until the Giant-Maned Wolf shows up, but the comedy and cute asides ensure that boredom doesn't set in either. Since this is more of a character piece than an action-driven story, the lack of brawling doesn't present much of an issue. Sai's conversation with Hanabi, and Sumire's guilt over keeping a secret from her teammates, are appropriate continuity nods to the show's opening arc that help illustrate that the Nue incident is still fresh in certain characters' minds. If the story in question is never referenced past this point, episode 49 will serve as the perfect epilogue.
Despite being paint-by-numbers shonen, this week's installment is a fun sideroad adventure that stars some of the show's most overlooked supporting players. As the Leaf's first all-kunoichi team (or at least the first one to be given any real attention), the group's dynamics are a little different than the typical two boys/one girl team, but in many respects, that makes for a more fascinating watch.
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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