Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 95 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
The Parent and Child Day festivities conclude as the Uchihas get their turn in the spotlight. After coincidentally finding himself back in town on Parent and Child Day, Sasuke decides to use this opportunity to spend some quality time with his daughter. However, due to Sasuke's strained relationship with his late father, he's unclear on how a good father is supposed to act, and despite his best efforts at behaving like a doting daddy, Sarada proves unreceptive and embarrassed. After receiving several pieces of bad advice from Kakashi, Sasuke seeks answers from Sakura, who informs him that he should let his guard down and simply act normally around their daughter. Taking this to heart and remembering his childhood interactions with Itachi (who was more of a father to Sasuke than their actual father), Sasuke finds Sarada at the training grounds, where the two practice shuriken-throwing and discuss Sarada's aspirations of becoming Hokage.
Inspired by the Uchihas, Boruto decides to be forthright with his father and request that he train with him. Naruto, having spent the entire day with Himawari, is happy to oblige, and the episode ends with the two enjoying a sparring match with the parent-and-child-shaped kunai Naruto purchased from Tenten's shop.
While not quite as comedy-focused as the previous two installments, episode 95 contains a number of laughs. Sasuke's ill-conceived attempts at connecting with his daughter are equal parts awkward and amusing and serve as a reminder that even one of the franchise's most serious characters has his moments of levity. For the sake of humor, both Sasuke and Kakashi are conveniently dumbed down this week. While it's no secret that Kakashi swears by Make Out Tactics, it seems unlikely that even he would believe the book to be a viable roadmap for healthy parent-child relations—and even more unlikely that Sasuke would buy into this. In the same vein, while Shino fawning over his newly-purchased Kuraa-ma plush toy was initially a fairly amusing gag, drawing it out across three episodes has made it progressively less effective.
The solution to Sasuke's problem—acting more natural and allowing Sarada to see his everyday self—is somewhat predictable, but seeing the perpetually stoic Sasuke brought down to everyone else's level is always satisfying. Even when his parents were alive, his family dynamic was far from ideal, so his ignorance on the subject of healthy parent-child relationships is perfectly understandable. (Granted, if he spent more time at home, he may have been able to nip this in the bud a long time ago.) Peppering the proceedings with flashbacks to Sasuke's childhood is a great way to give the audience some insight into his mindset on this matter and to illustrate that despite all the horrible memories, young Sasuke also experienced moments of happiness.
Though Boruto himself was limited to a supporting role in each installment of this arc, it's fitting that the story closes out on him enjoying some quality time with his old man. The lesson he teaches Sarada—that she turns around and teaches him—is to opt for complete honesty when dealing with those you love, which is the perfect message for an arc that revolves around various families to end on. (It's a shame we won't be getting a Mitsuki/Orochimaru story. Even if the novel that inspired this arc didn't contain one, their absence felt like a huge missed opportunity.) Clocking in at a scant three episodes, the Parent and Child Day arc entertains without wearing out its welcome and provides the audience with a nice breather between longer storylines.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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