Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 61

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 61 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

The Chunin exams conclude on a somber note as the story heads into its climax. With only three examinees remaining, Boruto, Sarada, and Shinki face off in an action-packed battle royale. Realizing the threat posed by Shinki, the remaining two-thirds of Team 7 decide to temporarily join forces against their common enemy. However, Gaara's adoptive son proves too strong for their best efforts, and Boruto must once again use Katasuke's device in order to eke out a victory. Unfortunately for the young shinobi, he overplays his hand this time. Watching his son defeat Shinki with Kakashi's signature Purple Lightning confirms Naruto's suspicions about Boruto's performance, prompting him to expose Boruto's trickery in front of the entire audience, disqualify him from the exams, and bar him from being a ninja. Before Boruto and his friends have time to fully process this, Momoshiki and Kinshiki arrive on the scene as Momoshiki declares that he's finally found Naruto.

Although only one fight is covered this week, the proceedings never drag and the characters' emotions are more palpable than ever. A force to be reckoned with, Shinki refuses to give his opponents an inch as he effortlessly counters everything they throw at him. Much like his father at that age, the young Sand ninja is brutal and direct, though he appears to have more restraint and a better understanding of his power. As has become customary, Boruto holds off on using the Shinobi Gauntlet until the eleventh hour, and as usual, he clearly has some reservations about relying on it. (Admittedly, his post-exam endgame is unclear. Did he think he'd keep secretly using it forever or that no one would ask him to reproduce those advanced techniques outside of the test?) His friends' reactions to his cheating are particularly poignant, especially Shikadai's, as he was the one friend whom Boruto used the tool against. If things are ever to return to normal, Boruto will have to make some serious amends for his actions throughout this arc.

Naruto disqualifying his own son from the exams and barring him from ever becoming a ninja is harsh, and Leaf residents and fellow Kage would be hard-pressed to accuse the Seventh of nepotism. Boruto is clearly in the wrong and ought to have known better, but he's still a child demanding his father's attention, and Naruto's lack of presence at home certainly isn't helping matters. Of course, before the father-son duo can continue their very public disagreement, the Otsutsukis show up at the perfect time, finally bringing their role in this story to a head—although the TV-original Urashiki is nowhere to be seen.

The Chunin exam arc continues to be one of the highlights of the series, and this week's Boruto/Sarada/Shinki brawl serves as another welcome expansion of the film's narrative. With the exam over, Boruto's long con revealed, and the Otsutskis finally revealing themselves, the ninja world's first joint Chunin exam is about to get a whole lot stickier.

Rating: B+

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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