Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 58 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
With the third round of the Chunin exams underway, it's do or die time for Boruto and company. Now that the bulk of would-be Chunin have been eliminated, the time has come for the remaining examinees to fight each other one-on-one. Using Katasuke's invention, Boruto is able to defeat Yurui, his would-be nemesis from the Hidden Cloud. With the help of his enhanced observation skills and superior intellect, Shikadai pulls out a win against the Hidden Sand's Yodo. Similarly, Sarada and Mitsuki are able to defeat the remaining two Cloud ninja in short order. However, the Leaf's winning streak is broken when an overconfident Inojin is beaten by Araya of the Hidden Sand. The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with Cho-Cho set to face off against Gaara's adopted son, Shinki, who warns his opponent that he's not good at using discretion.
Since this phase of the exam didn't receive a lot of focus in the feature film, it makes sense for the long-form version of the story to give it more attention. At the time of the film's release, none of the supporting characters had been fleshed out or given distinctive personalities, but now that the audience has gotten to know them, it's only natural for their matches to be treated with more importance. Unfortunately, episode 58's animation is fairly choppy, especially for an action-heavy installment. It's a definite downgrade from the past few episodes, although in fairness, many of the action sequences found therein were taken directly from the movie.
Due to the unique nature of each match, plowing through one fight after another seldom feels repetitive. While it could be argued that Sarada and Mitsuki's matches are a little too brief, the brisk pacing is a welcome alternative to drawing each battle out for one or more episodes—as the parent series was wont to do. Since Yurui and Yodo had the most creative techniques out of all the enemy characters, it's easy to see why their matches are given the most screen time. Having grown accustomed to using Katasuke's invention, Boruto seems less conflicted about cheating this week compared to previous episodes. Naruto's lack of reaction to his son's easy win seems to indicate that he has slight doubts regarding Boruto's performance, though he hasn't yet voiced them. It is, after all, the first time he's seen Boruto in combat.
Seeing the parents' reactions to their children's matches is one of the highlights of this episode. Temari in particular comes across as a strict soccer mom, which perfectly suits her condescending, controlling nature. Her feigned ignorance of the fact that she and her brothers attacked the Hidden Leaf during the previous generation's Chunin exams is particularly amusing, as is Shikamaru “bothering” to show off a little excitement when his son manages to best a skilled opponent.
With so many battles covered in one week, episode 58 certainly had the potential to feel overcrowded, but each match is able to entertain despite its brief runtime. It's almost odd for it to conclude on the prelude to the Cho-Cho vs. Shinki battle rather than one featuring the titular character, but considering how much the show has built up Shinki, this definitely makes sense—especially since he'll likely face off against Boruto later on.
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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