Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
This week's Boruto: Naruto Next Generations isn't quite as Cho-Cho-centric as last week's post-credits preview seemed to indicate, although she does factor prominently into the story's conclusion. It turns out last week's fight against Shino didn't really mark a turning point in the overall story arc, as the show has gone right back to its familiar victim-of-the-day setup. At present, these types of formulaic episodes aren't entirely a slog, but fans hoping for progress in the overarching plot would be justified if they're getting frustrated.
The latest victim du jour is Magire Kakuremino, a withdrawn young man from the main characters' neighboring class who harbors a crush on Sumire and stalks her around town. After the object of his affection refuses to reciprocate his feelings, Magire is possessed by the mysterious force and blossoms into a more threatening stalker. Using his Disappearing Jutsu, Magire turns himself invisible and pursues Sumire and her friends through the halls of the Academy. When Boruto and company eventually corner him on the roof, Cho-Cho is able to talk him down and end his reign of terror without throwing a single punch, causing the mysterious force to retreat. Magire finds himself drained of chakra, and as Shikamaru reveals to Naruto at the end of episode, a number of other Hidden Leaf citizens have experienced chakra drains as well.
One big problem with episode 7 is its tonal inconsistency, particularly as it relates to Sumire's predicament. The show sloppily fluctuates between regarding Magire's behavior with absolute horrific seriousness and treating it as a source of comedy. The episode wants it both ways—frightening but silly, cruel to one character (Cho-Cho, whose self-confidence seems to be framed at odds with her weight, as if it's “ridiculous” she would find herself attractive) but sympathetic to another (Magire—who hardly deserves it, possession or no). Although there were still humorous moments when the boys were battling their teacher, the show made it clear that a possessed Shino represented a significant threat. However, this time around, the producers can't seem to decide how seriously the featured antagonist should be taken.
Tonal issues aside, it's nice to see an episode mostly headlined by supporting players. Cho-Cho is an interesting choice to receive focus, as she's too confident to be a target for the mysterious force herself, so this kind of story allows her to step into the spotlight without being reduced to a victim-of-the-week role. Unfortunately, despite the somewhat misleading preview, she doesn't really come across as the episode's central character. Additionally, the game-changing lecture she delivers to Magire feels forced, and it's difficult to buy that this would ultimately bring the boy back to his senses.
While Sumire's plight doesn't seem to be meant to be taken too seriously, the tonal yo-yo-ing gives this week's episode's an uncomfortably disjointed feel. The idea of a Cho-Cho-focused episode is certainly intriguing, but it felt like the screenwriters couldn't decide just how much focus she should receive. Despite being a reasonably solid piece of shonen anime, episode 7 is also Boruto's weakest entry to date.
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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