Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 57 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
This week, Boruto and company fight their way through the second round of the exams as various Kage prepare for the Otsutsukis' assault. As Gaara reveals to Sasuke and Chōjūrō, he was attacked by Urashiki, who used an otherworldly fishing pole to extract some form of Jinchuriki essence from his body during his journey to the Hidden Leaf. (Since this seems to be a fairly important plot point, it's strange to see it revealed through flashback.) Fearing that postponing the exams would anger the feudal lords, the group decides to proceed with the test as planned. The second round of the exams is a team-based capture-the-flag exercise proctored by Tenten. Although most of their classmates fail this leg of the test, Team 7 is able to muddle through thanks to Boruto's timely use of Katasuke's device. Since this technically constitutes cheating, Boruto experiences slight pangs of guilt, but receiving warm words of encouragement from Naruto make him even more determined to become a Chunin at any cost.
Boruto's decision to rely on Katasuke's invention after getting by on his own merits last week helps set things off for a big emotional payoff down the line. Naruto is expressing pride in his son for something he shouldn't have been able to do, and this tenuous step toward reconciliation between the two of them is bound to backfire when Naruto discovers the truth. The show continues to do a decent job of meshing the Boruto from the feature film with the one established on the show. This version of the character isn't quite as eager to take the easy way out as his movie counterpart, and his hesitant willingness to cheat is primarily a result of being under tremendous pressure from both his teammates and father. The further he advances in the exams, the more pressure he'll feel—and the more likely he'll be to cheat.
Eliminating most of the show's supporting characters in the second round makes sense, as it provides a narratively appropriate excuse for their absence from the remainder of the story. The bullies from the Cloud leave Boruto alone this week, although this team makes short work of Sumire, Wasabi, and Namida during the capture-the-flag exercise. Meanwhile, Metal's team being beaten by the Sand shinobi is a great callback to Lee and Gaara's fight in the parent series' Chunin exam arc. These fights also provide the perfect opportunity to showcase the Cloud and Sand teams' abilities and show the audience what our heroes will be up against in the finals.
Since the power of hard work is one of this franchise's central themes, Boruto's use of Katasuke's invention is bound to bite him in the behind at some point. However, seeing how he'll be able to salvage the respect of Naruto, Sasuke, and Sarada in the aftermath of his comeuppance should prove interesting. With the final round of the exams fast approaching and the Otsutsukis closing in, Boruto is likely in for his biggest challenge yet.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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