Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 31 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
How would you rate episode 32 of
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ?
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations wraps up its third story arc in a satisfying—albeit altogether predictable—manner in episodes 31 and 32. Although the field trip arc was in many ways the weakest of the show's three big storylines, the positive aspects largely outweighed the negative as the series continues to prove itself a worthy successor to Masashi Kishimoto's magnum opus. Whether the screenwriters decide to take Boruto and company outside of the village again or keep things rooted in the Hidden Leaf for a while, we likely have a lot to look forward to.
Episode 31 brings the Shizuma conflict to an action-packed conclusion. After Mitsuki reveals that Shizuma's group has been murdering Chojuro's political opponents in an attempt to frame the Mizukage and start a rebellion, Kagura learns his senpai's true nature and joins the fight against him. Shizuma, however, refuses to go down without a fight, resulting in him being completely overtaken by Samehada and becoming a frightening man/shark hybrid. Although Kagura initially insists on handling the situation by himself, Boruto convinces him that certain tasks can't be undertaken alone, and together, the two wield the Hiramekarei and defeat the powered-up Shizuma.
While it's interesting that the show didn't go the full black-or-white route with Kagura's character, he gives off the impression of being too malleable. It's good that he sees the light after the bombshell Mitsuki drops, but it's not like Shizuma had made any bones about wanting a bloody coup prior to this. The fact that Kagura isn't being punished for what essentially amounts to treason (especially when the other Seven Swordsmen are) is also unfair, but he at least seems somewhat cognizant of this. Kagura being afraid to see Boruto in person before his departure nicely lines up with his perpetual uncertainty and self-doubt.
Visually, episode 31 is a feast for the eyes. The action is fast-paced, fluidly animated, and downright fun to watch. Boruto, Mitsuki, Kagura, and Shizuma all get a chance to show off their signature moves in addition to rolling out a few new ones. Shizuma merging with Samehada and becoming a man-shark also helps give the final few minutes a delightfully over-the-top feel. If the show were strictly beholden to a concurrently-running manga, it's unlikely the final battle would have played out so quickly.
Episode 32 functions as both an epilogue to the latest arc and a humorous piece of fluff. Following his recent adventure, Boruto returns home to find Himawari acting detached and distant as a result of him forgetting to bring her a souvenir. Adding to Boruto's worries, Kagura never said a proper goodbye to him after the fight with Shizuma. Hoping to square things with his little sister, Boruto embarks on a quest to obtain one of the Hidden Mist's signature confections, which eventually brings him to the hole-in-the-wall specialty shop Sarada discovered a couple months back. Unfortunately, the grumpy proprietress is none too keen on selling her wares to noisy children. In the end, Boruto uses the power of honesty to win over the crotchety old lady and make things right with Himawari. He also receives a letter from Kagura, who apologizes for snubbing him and vows to become a worthy wielder of the Hiramekarei.
Perhaps because children are the show's primary audience, most of episode 32's events are tied together by the theme of honestly—bad things happen when you lie, and good things happen when you're honest. For example, Boruto refusing to be upfront with Iruka about what transpired on the field trip results in him being punished. (Since he was likely trying to avoid an international incident, his dishonesty in this case is at least somewhat justified.) Conversely, being forthright with the shopkeeper earns him the confections he was seeking. Learning this lesson ultimately prompts Boruto to tell his sister that he simply forgot to buy her a souvenir. The moral seems a bit contrived, but the show's intended viewership may get more out of it.
As seen in both of the aforementioned episodes, Mitsuki remains one of the most intriguing characters in the Boruto canon. Often a passive observer, there are times when he jumps in to directly influence events, like when Boruto is going up against Shizuma. He also tries to subtly manipulate Boruto, his own friend, into being dishonest—cheating at Shinobi Bout and not being honest with Himawari. While it's hard to deny that he's one of the good guys, it's nice to have a shades-of-gray character among the main cast.
All in all, episodes 31 and 32 serve as a solid conclusion to the latest storyline. Although Boruto himself was frequently overshadowed throughout the arc, he's once again able to prove that in the world of shonen heroes, hard work, friendship, and honesty always triumph in the end.
Episode 31 Rating: A-
Episode 32 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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