Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
This week's Boruto: Naruto Next Generations takes a break from the victim-of-the-day formula to make some progress in the show's overarching plot. Even though the series has proven reasonably entertaining thus far, seeing the mysterious force infect a new Hidden Leaf citizen each week was getting repetitive. While Next Generations doesn't seem to be as serialization-heavy as its predecessor, there have been hints of a much larger story unfolding, and this latest installment confirms that a bigger adventure is on the horizon for Boruto.
While pondering why he's the only one who's able to see the ill-defined enemy, Boruto deduces that he may possess the Byakugan, the Hyuga clan's most famous Kekkei Genkai. More credence is given to this suspicion when Boruto is visited in a dream by a young man who bears a striking resemblance to a member of the Otsutsuki clan. This mysterious figure informs Boruto that with his eye, he will “shoulder the fate of this world.” Thrilled by this news, Boruto declares himself a hero and instantly adopts the swagger of one. Suspicious of his son's claims, Naruto takes the boy to see a surprisingly affectionate Hiashi Hyuga to confirm whether or not the Byakugan has truly been awakened. Given that Himawari was able to awaken the Byakugan without any formal training, Naruto's disbelief of Boruto's claim seems misguided, but it's likely meant to serve as further proof of their rocky relationship. Still, it was nice to see Naruto actually take some time off and hang out with his kids.
For the first time since the premiere's cold open, there's some genuine progression in the overall plot. Like any true shonen anime protagonist, Boruto appears to be experiencing an evolution in his powers, albeit one that's probably different from what he's expecting. The possible-Otsutsuki who invades Boruto's dreams is likely the mastermind behind all the recent possessions. If this turns out to be true, it's disappointing to see the franchise once again fall back on the Otsutsukis as villains. In addition to Kaguya serving as the parent series' major antagonist, two other members of the clan functioned as the preceding feature film's villains. Considering how diverse Kishimoto's world is, it seems lazy to continue drawing its bad guys from the same well.
On the comedy front, episode 8 features more hits than misses. Boruto providing his friends with examples of how “uncool” his father is serves as a darkly comical reminder that the impetuous star of the original series has now become an overworked adult. Additionally, Hiashi breaking character and showering his grandchildren with praise is a fun bit of fanservice for viewers who are familiar with his perpetually gruff and strict demeanor.
While basically devoid of action, this week's Boruto: Naruto Next Generations moves the plot along while providing fans with plenty of laughs. It's possible the show may not even revert to a monster-of-the-day format after this, which would be a welcome change. At the very least, Boruto has uncovered a power within him, which may play a pivotal role in shaping his future—and that of the ninja world.
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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