Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 53

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 53 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

With the Zetsu-centric prelude out of the way, Boruto: Next Generations dives headlong into the events of 2015's Boruto: Naruto the Movie. The episode begins with Toneri Otsutsuki, the villain from The Last: Naruto the Movie, being confronted on the moon and imprisoned in a time-freeze by new arrival Urashiki Otsutsuki, who claims that the main family has been observing his actions, aware that he's done something to Boruto. Back on Earth, Boruto reluctantly agrees to participate in the Chunin exams at Sarada's urging, even though he isn't particularly keen on the idea of ranks. Meanwhile, after failing to convince Naruto to allow examinees to use his latest invention—a wrist-based device that enables wearers to use complex techniques with little effort—the overeager scientist is apprehended by an unseen figure. Later, Boruto's disdain for his father reaches a fever pitch when Naruto has a shadow clone stand in for him at Himawari's birthday party. However, after an unexpected visit from Sasuke, Boruto begins to formulate a plan to get back at his old man once and for all.

Adapting a feature film that came out before production on the series even began requires the staff to walk a thin tightrope. Some of Boruto's behaviors in the movie don't make much sense in light of all the development he's undergone over the past year, and the show's producers certainly seem to be aware of this. For example, Boruto's lackadaisical attitude and general laziness in the film don't really mesh with his personality as established on the show. The writers try to get around this by predicating Boruto's actions on anger toward his father instead of a desire to always take the easy way out, and for the most part it works. Since the film came first, it makes sense that Boruto was essentially treated as a blank canvas of a character, but now that he has several seasons of adventures under his belt, his personality needs to be adjusted accordingly.

Of course, this isn't to say that the show hits a homerun in this area. Ever since this arc began, Boruto has been particularly angsty and self-centered, and while he is at a prepubescent age, it's a little strange to see his personality shift this dramatically. Furthermore, his initial refusal to take part in the Chunin exams is somewhat at odds with his established character. Like his father, TV Boruto has never been shy about answering a challenge or proving his mettle, so his blasé attitude toward the upcoming exams feels inconsistent.

Another drawback to tackling the film at this juncture is that certain elements that felt fresh in the movie now feel worn-out and repetitive. Examples of this include Naruto skipping out on Himawari's party and Boruto's subsequent anger towards his father. Since their relationship had been improving slowly but steadily, it's disappointing for the show to take things back to square one. In fairness, however, Boruto needs to be at odds with Naruto for certain plot points to fall into place.

Aside from the appearance of Toneri and Urashiki, the first installment of Boruto: Naruto the Movie's small screen adaptation doesn't offer much in the way of new content. However, even if you've seen the film in question, the inclusion of the aforementioned characters suggests that some key elements will be different this time around, making it appointment viewing for fans of Boruto and its parent series.

Rating: B

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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