Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 76 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Still stuck on a side-quest, Boruto and the gang don't come any closer to locating Mitsuki this week. While making their way through the deepest recesses of Ryuichi Cave, our heroes have their first encounter with the gargantuan Garaga, who very nearly does Sarada in. However, thanks to a last-minute save by Aoda, a Summoning Snake with a sworn allegiance to Sasuke, the young shinobi are able to retreat to safety and formulate a new plan of attack. Unfortunately, even with Aoda's assistance, this plan quickly backfires when Garaga's venom turns Cho-Cho to stone. Back in the Leaf, the unconscious Chunin guard is still receiving medical treatment and inching closer to regaining consciousness—and a suspicious Leaf ninja named Yurito meticulously keeps track of his progress.
In its second installment, the Ryuchi Cave adventure continues to feel like an odd detour from the gang's original quest. To wit, the group is now working with a giant snake to steal another giant snake's Reverse Scale for the White Snake Sage in exchange for her asking another snake about Mitsuki's whereabouts. Despite the out-of-left-field nature of this latest mission, it sets the stage for a couple of decent action sequences and a number of humorous character interactions. Still, spending (at least) three episodes on what essentially amounts to a side quest smacks of padding and calls to mind some of Naruto's worst filler tendencies. Aside from the prevalent theme of snakes, the Mitsuki connection feels pretty weak.
Perhaps sensing that the Garaga debacle is too much of a divergence from the main story, the screenwriters make sure the portion of the episode set in the Leaf is focused on the actual plot. Unfortunately, there isn't much new information to glean, aside from Yurito clearly having something to hide. The conversations between the adults restate facts the audience already knows, and at certain points, it feels like the show is stalling for time. With Yurito taking a special interest in the guard's recovery, it's clear that Mitsuki isn't the only Leaf resident with something to hide, assuming he actually is trying to hide something. That being the case, it seems like Boruto and company engaging in detective work would be more entertaining and narratively appropriate than the loosely-related cave quest the gang is currently on.
After a couple weeks off, Boruto's first episode in its brand new timeslot isn't anything special. It may be the current arc's weakest entry to date. It isn't boring, and there are fun moments scattered throughout, but since the show isn't exactly working against the publication schedule of its companion manga, there doesn't seem to be much point in stalling for time.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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