The Chuunin Exams are right around the corner, as Genin everywhere start to receive their recommendation! But before that, Boruto celebrates his sister’s birthday! Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. After 50+ episodes, this was the first time I’ve ever been lost from not finishing the original series. Despite being called “Himawari’s Birthday”, the beginning of this episode starts in outer space with Toneri Otsutsuki, a member of the same clan as Naruto’s end series villain Kaguya. Toneri gets confronted with a different member of his clan, after believing he’d been left alone for centuries, learning they’ve noticed his desire to protect the planet Earth. That’s not a part of the Clan’s usual M.O. as they tend to just feed on the energy of a planet and move on, so the Otsutsuki Clan main branch decided to investigate. Since this is a battle shonen, things turn into a fight fairly quickly, but Toneri is surprisingly unable to keep up, and winds up being hit with a special jutsu to freeze him in time for the next ten thousand years. Yikes.
Can I just say, of all the places I saw Naruto going, the one direction I didn’t see the universe taking was: chakra comes from aliens from outer space? I mean, chakra has always been magical, but now it’s space magic. It’s absurd, but in a cool way and gives Boruto or a potential sequel a sci-fi edge to explore.
2. What sucks about having to do your own story for fifty episodes only to end up adapting someone else’s story, is there’s only so much character growth you can give someone before you have to either stop, or risk regressing a character. And slowly we’ve watched this unfold in the lead up to this arc’s beginning.
Boruto’s always had a problem with his dad because he spends so much time being the Hokage he’s never at home. Now, there’s a kind of brilliance here: from the very first episode of Naruto, all he ever wanted to be was the Hokage, because he wanted the respect and admiration from the village that came with the title. Because the village was the closest thing he had to a family. Now Naruto’s got an actual family, and the very thing he fought and bled to achieve is the very thing that’s tearing his family apart.
The problem is, Boruto (the anime) picks and chooses when it wants Boruto (the character) to deal with the emotions of living as the Hokage’s son. Some episodes he accepts it begrudgingly, and then you have episodes like this one where he’s angry about literally everything. He sees his dad talking about the recent problems the village has had on TV and complains how being Hokage is a waste of time because all you do is give speeches. He resents his father so much he refuses to even take the Chuunin Exam, which leaves Sarada down a member and stands in her way of one day becoming the Hokage. He spends this entire episode trying to emulate Sasuke because he thinks the freedom to go anywhere and do anything without being told what to do is “the greatest”, without ever realizing Sarada has to deal with the same problem he does just because her dad wants to be Konoha’s “hidden weapon”.
All of this would’ve been better if the series had started with Naruto taking over as Hokage and Boruto gradually growing apart from his dad finally leading up to this week’s episode. (They even hint this is what happened but it all occurred before the series started.) Instead we just get to see a character constantly progress only to walk back that progress as the plot requires.
3. Katasuke, head of the Scientific Ninja Weapons Team makes an appearance this week with the device that’s been hinted at for the last arc and a half: a wrist mounted device capable of activating various jutsu written on scrolls that are placed in the device. He suggests allowing them to be tested by the Genin in the new Chuunin Exam, only to be rebuffed by Naruto and Shikamaru.
It makes sense–being able to abuse powerful jutsu without actually learning them first seems like a cheat code you shouldn’t give to young ninja. Katasuke thinks they should be allowed to shine as brightly as possible, but there’s a difference between giving your children the opportunity and the platform to show off their skills, and literally doing the work for them. Katasuke as a scientist seems almost a bit…juvenile in this week’s episode, actually. I can’t imagine anyone coming up with a weapon bypassing the very need for chakra…only to hand it to a bunch of kids and think that’s a smart idea.
4. The most important part of this episode is devoted to Himawari, Boruto’s sister, and her birthday. After making Naruto promise to be there for his daughter, things seem like they might go normal for a bit as Boruto gets home and sees his father actually there. They spend a bit of time together as a family…but, at the key moment, just as Naruto’s about to bring the birthday cake, he poofs away. It was a Shadow Clone the entire time.
Now this is actually the first time Boruto’s had a legitimate reason to be angry. He’s hurt over his father not being there for him, but he seems even more hurt his father can’t even be bothered to be there for his sister. It’s the only time in the episode I feel his anger isn’t necessarily misplaced, but it’s still handled rather poorly. It’s bad enough Himawari’s cake is ruined thanks to Naruto, but then Boruto can’t help causing a scene and exploding in his mother’s face, ruining the rest of the evening. Man, the Uzumaki men are jerks.
Sidenote: What’s wrong with Naruto’s Shadow Clones? They can’t ever actually stick around when they need to at home. At this point I can’t help wondering why he even sends them home.
5. Next Episode: Enraged at Naruto’s seeming lack of care for their home, Boruto is determined to teach him a lesson! But first, he has to figure out how to do the Rasengan! Fortunately, he’s got a good teacher! …Sasuke?!
This can only go in a silly direction, but hopefully we can finally get past Boruto’s problem with his dad in this arc once and for all. Most likely, Boruto still winds up looking up to Sasuke more than he ever does his father. Nothing wrong there, but I’m legit tired of seeing him whine over his dad being the Hokage, as it’s becoming clear that it’s his turn to step up for the family.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.