Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 60 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
The third phase of the Chunin exams closes out on a strong note, with two-thirds of Team 7 heading into the finals next week. In this week's first bout, Sarada faces off against Araya of the Sand, who had previously beaten Inojin. After she discovers that her genjutsu attacks have no effect on her opponent, Sarada comes to realize that the “person” she's fighting is an elaborate puppet controlled by the real Araya (whose performance anxiety rivals Metal Lee's), perched atop the audience box. She then uses her Fireball Jutsu to roast the puppet and frighten the puppetmaster into submission. Next up, it's Shinki versus Mitsuki. Although Mitsuki quickly uncovers the secret of his opponent's Iron Sand technique (magnetic force), he ultimately submits to Shinki, as going all-out could “cause trouble for his parent.” (Plus, as he admits to himself later on, Shinki may have beaten him regardless.) With only three examinees remaining, next week looks to be a free-for-all between Boruto, Sarada, and Shinki.
In her fight against Araya, Sarada aptly demonstrates that she doesn't always win through brute force or unbeatable techniques; she also has the intellect and cunning necessary to root out the truth when her normal strategies aren't working. Naruto speaks for the audience by pointing out that Araya not personally being in the ring should be grounds for disqualification, but Gaara and Shikamaru reason that since he didn't leave the ring during the match, he technically didn't break any rules. As a gag, Araya's performance anxiety is drawn out for too long, but not to the point of being grating. As a whole, the fight itself is exciting and well-paced in spite of some noticeable shortcuts in the animation.
The Shinki/Mitsuki match serves as one's the arc's highlights, as both combatants are highly skilled and shrouded in mystery. (Also, the animation becomes considerably more fluid during this portion of the episode.) The abrupt manner in which Mitsuki ends the match is perfectly in line with the character's devil-may-care attitude about everything, although it's surprising that he thinks he might have lost even if he had pulled out all the stops. In some respects, eliminating Shinki at this stage and having the members of Team 7 duke it out in the finals would have been an interesting left turn for the story to take, but in light of all the build-up surrounding Shinki, that wouldn't be narratively feasible. Still, with Mitsuki now eliminated, it's hard to picture either of his teammates attaining the rank of Chunin, as that might mean the dissolution of their group.
Both of this week's featured bouts are exciting and highlight what makes Sarada and Mitsuki unique. The animation in the first half is nothing to write home about, but the Sarada/Araya bout is no less impactful than the Mitsuki/Shinki fight. Even with the Otsutsukis still MIA, episode 60 serves as the ideal lead-in to this arc's endgame.
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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