Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 94 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
The Parent and Child Day arc rolls on in another comedy-centric Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. When Choji's laziness and inconsideration run afoul of Karui, he decides that showing off his redeeming quality—his appetite—will help him and his wife rekindle their passion. This leads Choji and Cho-Cho to enter the village's Parent and Child Day eating competition, which is being sponsored by some of the Leaf's most prominent eateries. This year's first prize—a year's worth of all-you-can-eat azuki soup and dumplings—is being supplied by the crotchety old owner of Ankorodo, who realizes that she's as good as bankrupt if the Akimichis emerge victorious. With the aid of a father-son gourmand duo known as “The Gluttons,” the old woman makes every effort to sabotage Choji and Cho-Cho, only to be thwarted at every turn. This culminates in Old Lady Ankorodo unleashing her ultimate attack—Infinite Dumplings—which Choji is able to suppress with the help of his monstrous appetite. In the end, Karui assuages Choji's anxiety by informing him that even if he's unable to recognize his true redeeming quality, she can still see it. Invigorated, Choji proposes that the family head to Ankorodo and chow down on some azuki soup and dumplings.
Due to the nature of the Akimichi clan's signature techniques, many of the comedic episodes in which Choji or Cho-Cho serve as the central focus heavily revolve around food. While this isn't even the first episode to feature Choji competing in an eating contest, the parent-child angle helps imbue this outing with some fresh energy. This time around, Choji isn't eating simply to sate his voracious appetite; he's spending quality time with his daughter and attempting to apologize to his wife, albeit in a very misguided manner. Ultimately, he's able to realize why Karui is upset with him and apologize accordingly, Karui actually finds herself impressed by her husband's insatiable consumption, and Cho-Cho is happy to see her parents getting along—which feels true to the spirit of the Leaf's newest holiday.
Though their desire to participate in an eating contest is never fully explained—especially after learning about the Akimichis' participation—the father-son duos of Rock and Metal, Sai and Inojin, and Shikamaru and Shikadai provide some of the episode's biggest laughs. Performance-anxiety-plagued Metal vomiting and disqualifying himself from the contest before it even begins is an amusing display of gross-out humor that's also very true-to-character. Although Metal's anxiety seems to come and go as circumstances demand, it's particularly effective in this context. In the same vein, the largely emotionless Sai arguing with Inojin over who should finish a plate of barbecue is a great example of the character's seldom-explored lighter side. Despite this franchise's mixed track record when it comes to fat jokes, episode 94 features surprisingly few of them for a story built around an eating contest, and for the most part, it shies away from regarding overweight individuals as objects of mockery—a problem the parent series often struggled with.
Another low-key affair with a strong emphasis on humor, episode 94 marks the second installment in the anime adaptation of Naruto Shinden: Family Day. While far from the franchise's funniest episode, it's an entertaining piece of sitcom fluff that helps lighten the mood after a mostly-serious five-month-long arc. With Sasuke and Sarada set to take center stage next week, we can have high hopes for what's to come.
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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