Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Episode 9

by Amy McNulty,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?

As has become the custom, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations delivers another tightly-plotted half-hour. Although there wasn't quite as much progress made in the overarching plot as the end of last week's episode seemed to indicate, for the most part, the latest installment aptly combines action and comedy with some reflection and character development. Unfortunately, the show looks to be reverting back to its usual victim-of-the-day formula after this, as indicated by a weaker second half.

After going up against her nephew in a one-on-one battle, Hanabi concludes there's no evidence that the Byakugan has awakened in Boruto. Still, she's quick to point out that it's still possible for the boy to acquire the technique in the future. Having seen how committed his son is to his story, Naruto reasons that he couldn't have been lying about the things he experienced, but regrettably, he doesn't share this sentiment with Boruto. Boruto's Byakugan-esque gift reemerges when he and Sarada randomly encounter the actor who portrays Evil Jammer Kagemasa, the latest victim of the mysterious force. Despite being out of shape and considerably heavier than the character he portrays, the man is able to put up a pretty good fight, but Boruto and Sarada are able to take him down using the same trick their fathers used when battling Zabuza and Haku. (Whether their dads actually shared this tale with them or this is simply a case of great minds thinking alike is never revealed.) With his confidence now restored, Boruto ends the episode by deciding to learn more about his unique technique, Byakugan or no, and to prove its existence to his father and peers.

This episode contains two fairly impressive fight sequences—the first being Boruto vs. Hanabi and the second being Boruto and Sarada vs. Kagemasa. The sparring match between Boruto and his aunt contains some of the best raw action this series has featured to date. Despite being family, neither combatant appears to pull any punches, though Hanabi could probably destroy Boruto at his current skill level if she were so inclined. The Kagemasa fight is notable for being the first time Boruto and Sarada have taken on an enemy without the help of any other classmates. Although Sarada continues to be shoved aside in favor of Shikadai and Mitsuki, it seems like she and Boruto could develop an effective rapport if they were able to spend more time together one-on-one.

Kagemasa is fairly unique as far as the show's victims go in that he has no direct connection to the main cast. Still, the kids just passing by him in the street seems contrived. It's also unclear whether or not the unseen enemy caused him to gain weight or if it simply latched on to existing insecurities. Although the screenwriters clearly want to mine the character's weight problem for comedy, this bit gets old almost immediately. Despite how often the parent series tried its hand at the “fat=funny” angle, Choji was pretty much the only character who was able to pull it off without it being overly offensive.

Episode 9 is something of a mixed bag. The first half is above average in tone and execution, marking a bit of growth for the main character, while the latter half returns things to their victim-of-the-week status quo. It seems like the usual formula will be in place for the foreseeable future, but now that Boruto has resolved to learn more about his powers, the occasional shakeup is bound to occur.

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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