Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations delivers its first episode-length battle this week, as Boruto, Shikadai, and Mitsuki face off against the possessed Shino. For the most part, episode 6 does a decent job of balancing action with exposition and strategy, and after being privy to the pacing problems that plagued portions of the parent series, it's refreshing to see a fight start and end within the course of a single episode. Although we don't get any additional insight into the true nature of the mysterious force that's loose in the Hidden Leaf, watching the young heroes face off against their toughest foe to date is likely to placate viewers who found previous installments to be lacking in action.
After luring the boys into a secluded woodland area, Shino proceeds to unleash swarms of insects on his confused students. However, the boys are quickly able to infer that the insects have an aversion to water, prompting them to hatch a plan. Boruto will use his shadow clones to get Shino's attention, Shikadai will ensnare him in the Shadow Capture jutsu, and Mitsuki will use his Orochimaru-esque limb-stretching powers to dunk him into a nearby lake. Despite hitting a few snags along the way, the gang is able to carry out their plan, and the dark force promptly exits Shino's body after Mitsuki pulls him into the water and uses the Snake Lightning jutsu. With his chakra supply exhausted, Mitsuki doesn't have the strength to swim back to the surface, but Boruto and Shino are able to save him from a watery grave. Although Shino expresses a desire to resign in the wake of the incident, Boruto and company insist that he needn't go that far, and they apologize for their actions in the previous episode. With numerous possession incidents now reported, Naruto, Shikamaru, and Shino conclude that a mysterious foe has set its sights on the village and vow to track it down.
While there was little doubt that the boys would bring their teacher to his senses before he could do too much damage, possessed Shino made for a reasonably menacing antagonist. He was even genuinely frightening at points, which isn't something anyone typically says about Shino. Even though his isolation and social awkwardness are often played for laughs, these issues have clearly had an effect on the character's self-confidence and sense of worth, and it's interesting to witness a slightly darker take on them. Seeing him receive praise and recognition from Naruto and Shikamaru in the episode's closing moments is certainly satisfying, although his loneliness and lack of presence will likely continue to be fodder for jokes.
We're not given any additional info on Mitsuki's background this week, but his combat abilities betray a few clues. His newly revealed limb-stretching abilities and fondness for snakes indicate that he's related to Orochimaru in some way, but with this only being his second episode, nothing is explicitly stated regarding his parentage. Boruto seems strangely nonplussed by his new classmate's tendency to be coldly practical in the heat of battle, but it wouldn't be surprising to see this give way to conflict as time goes on.
While nothing spectacular, Boruto's first decisive battle elicits feelings of some the original show's earlier fight sequences. Of course, since Boruto and his friends are still fairly inexperienced in actual combat, it's easy to see why the fight doesn't feature any earth-shattering techniques. Now that the adults are fully aware of the mysterious threat, we may be closer to more leads on the overarching mystery. Whether it's an old enemy from the previous series or an entirely new foe, it's time to learn who's behind the rash of possessions so the story can move forward.
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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