Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 51 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Fresh from last week's clip show, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations continues laying the groundwork for the forthcoming feature film adaptation and begins what could potentially be an interesting arc in its own right. Angered by his father's non-presence at his birthday party and tired of being accused of nepotism, Boruto finds himself in a terrible mood throughout the entirety of episode 51. However, unbeknownst to the young man, there's actually a good explanation behind Naruto's absence: the discovery of a third ruin connected to Kaguya. Since everything involving the Otsutsuki clan is considered top secret, the Seventh can't even reveal what he knows to his family. After making Naruto promise to attend Himawari's upcoming birthday celebration, Boruto heads out in his latest mission with the rest of Team 7, to find and apprehend a band of robbers hiding out in a cave outside of a nearby village. Shortly after arriving on the scene, the team discovers that, save for one lucky survivor, all the thieves have been brutally killed—and the culprit is a hideously mutated White Zetsu.
If you've been following the show from the beginning, Naruto skipping out on Boruto's birthday party is liable to seem repetitive, especially since he's missed a number of dinners and important moments with his family before this. Cycling back to Boruto's rocky relationship with his old man is starting to wear thin, and it seems like what little progress the series has made in this area is steadily being undone. Now that the show is gradually leading into the events of the movie, the tension between Boruto and Naruto has to be pretty thick, but as a result, all the inroads these two have made basically have to be disregarded.
The appearance of a mutated White Zetsu is a nice callback to the parent series, and it will be interesting to see how Zetsu's reemergence fits into the show's bigger picture. Although Boruto has faced his fair share of opponents throughout the series' run, he's never gone up against an enemy this powerful or otherworldly, so it should be fun to see how Team 7 gets out of their latest scrape. Since Zetsu always had an entertaining personality, it's a shame to see him reduced to a mindless monster, but seeing as he didn't show up until the very end of the episode, it's entirely possible that he'll start acting more like himself next week.
As usual, the show's timeline continues to breed confusion. To the best of my recollection, Boruto's exact age has never been stated, and how much time has passed since the show began is still unclear. Adding to the confusion is Naruto's claim that the fight with Kaguya took place ten years prior to the present day, which is a virtual impossibility unless he and Hinata conceived Boruto in their teens or Boruto is considerably younger than he appears.
Boruto continues to be rough around the edges when it comes to thematic progression and continuity, but those issues don't hold back this reasonably solid episode. Not only is the show's overarching plot starting to become a little clearer, the overall tone has become noticeably darker. While there isn't much action to speak of this week, the seeds have been planted for a story that may change the ninja world as we know it.
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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