Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 59 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
The third round of the Chunin exams rolls on as Cho-Cho faces off against Shinki and Boruto goes toe-to-toe with Shikadai. Despite pulling out all the stops with the Expansion Jutsu and Human Bullet Tank, Cho-Cho is ultimately no match for Shinki's Iron Sand, resulting in her loss. When the time comes for Boruto to square off against Shikadai, Naruto's brood decides he doesn't need Katasuke's invention to win the match. However, after finding himself at the mercy of Shikadai's Shadow Paralysis, Boruto uses the device to produce a shadow clone, which helps him instantly turn things around and emerge the victor. Although he's devastated by the loss, Shikadai doesn't bear his friend any ill will and wishes him luck in the finals. However, now that someone he cares about has been directly affected by his corner-cutting, Boruto's guilt is becoming more palpable than ever.
Instead of rolling out another deluge of matches this week, episode 59 features only two. However, this is far from a negative, as both fights are briskly paced, somewhat important to the overarching story, and best of all, a lot of fun to watch. Cho-Cho's face-off against Shinki provides Gaara's adoptive son with the perfect opportunity to show off his powers and gives the audience a glimpse of how Cho-Cho handles herself in a real battle. As evidenced by the second fight, Shikadai is every bit as skilled as his father was at this age, and if not for his opponent's hesitant willingness to cheat, he would have easily advanced to the finals. Since the show has established Boruto and Shikadai as best friends, it should be interesting to see how the discovery of Boruto's trickery impacts their relationship.
Between chomping on chips, touting her attractiveness, and going gaga over boys, Cho-Cho is often in danger of becoming a rather flat character. However, her willingness to use the Expansion Jutsu, thereby letting go of her concern over her physical appearance, is probably an indication that there's more to her than meets the eye. Shinki never gloats about his superior skills—other than suggesting that his opponent should end the match quickly—which makes him a more compelling rival for the main characters than the generic Cloud bullies who were eliminated last week. Contrary to his claim that he's not good at using discretion, he seems very much in control of his powers throughout the entire match.
There's been neither hide nor hair of the Otsutsukis for two solid episodes, which is making their inclusion in this storyline feel at odds with the rest of the proceedings. This isn't terribly surprising, however, since the Chunin exams constituted a lengthy arc (two lengthy arcs, if you count the terrible filler arc from Naruto Shippūden) in the parent series, and this set-up is ideal for all kinds of battles. Whereas the movie largely glossed over this phase of exams, its television counterpart is all too happy to show the audience how each match transpired.
This week's Boruto contains fewer fights than the previous episode, but the proceedings never drag as Cho-Cho, Shinki, and Shikadai show off some serious skills—and Boruto stumbles to a win. His continued reliance on the tool still seems forced, but he comes very close to breaking his dependency on it this week—until he's faced with the prospect of losing and disappointing his father. With Team 7 set to take on Shinki next week, fans are likely in for another action extravaganza.
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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