Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 70

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 70 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

Team 5 takes center stage this week as Metal once again finds himself at the mercy of his pervasive anxiety. Upon discovering that his son is using a phony amulet to keep his nervousness in check, Rock Lee decides to put Metal's Eight Inner Gates training on hold. Hoping to get some pointers from the master, Metal, Denki, and Iwabe assist Guy in giving a demonstration to Shino's new class at the Academy, only to have Metal's anxiety mess things up once again. In an effort to help Metal get a handle on his anxiety, his father decides to try immersion therapy and challenges him to a match—one that will take place in front of the same group of Academy students from earlier. To keep things fair, Lee agrees to admit defeat if Metal is able to land a single hit. With his anxiety in overdrive, Metal initially makes a number of mistakes and once again embarrasses himself in front of the audience. However, after incurring a few blows and being laughed at by his younger peers, Metal is able to own his embarrassment, open the First Gate, and hit his father with a Leaf Hurricane. However, Metal's most prominent quirk isn't about to go away overnight, and by episode's end, he's returned to his usual state of perpetual (comical) anxiety.

Although the lesson Metal is being set up to learn is clearly spelled out within the first minute of the episode, the story does a good job of chronicling the younger Lee's path to anxiety relief. Sure, Metal's problem is still played for laughs, but the episode is careful to never go overboard with this, opting instead to present a semi-realistic picture of anxiety in an adolescent. Spending time with the disabled Guy is a creative and narratively appropriate way to teach Metal that accepting oneself—even the parts that make life difficult—is key to dispelling self-doubt. Sure enough, the “anxiety-fu” he cobbles together makes his attacks unpredictable and hard-hitting (much like Lee's Drunken Fist), enabling him to best his far more experienced father in combat.

While it doesn't really make sense that Guy's disability is the only physical injury no one in this world is able to heal—heck, Naruto cured Kakashi's blindness, and Tsunade put herself back together after being sliced in half—keeping him disabled serves as a reminder of the war's consequences and provides the audience with a positive role model. (Though it is weird his leg is in a cast all these years later instead of a brace.) Despite one of his legs being out of commission, Guy is still able to fight—he's just adapted his fighting style to accommodate his limitations and has grown stronger in other ways. True to life, however, things like stairs still pose a challenge for him. In works of fiction, magical cures too often erase representation for disabled persons, so it's nice to see the Naruto-verse stick to its guns in this area.

Well-paced, uplifting, and intermittently amusing, Metal's tale is one of the show's best side stories in recent memory. Not only does the episode present a practical message, it also features enough action to please viewers who are only here for the combat. A far cry from Cho-Cho's three-week turn in the spotlight, episode 70 makes for an all-around diverting installment.

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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