Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ‒ Episode 168

3 months ago 37

After a little downtime, two-thirds of Team 7 throw themselves into training in this week's Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Although Kakashi grudgingly agrees to oversee Boruto's training, the younger Uzumaki is crushed to discover that in the absence of the Nine Tails' chakra, the Giant Rasengan will remain a pipe dream. Instead, Boruto's new sensei suggests that he find a way to combine the Rasengan with the Wind Style. Though Boruto initially struggles with this concept, his father's advice and Kakashi's teachings eventually inspire him to utilize a shadow clone to get a handle on the Wind Rasengan. Meanwhile, hoping to awaken a two-Tomoe Sharingan, Sarada trains with Sasuke, who bombards her with ball bearings in an attempt to mimic Deepa's barrage of bullets.

While the genin attend to their training, Mugino and Konohamaru travel to the Land of Valleys and receive a tour of Victor's company. (Why Victor would willingly allow this is somewhat clear.) After the men trade a few barbs and argue over who has a better claim to the Hashirama Cell, Victor insists that his visitors leave. To the surprise of no one, they opt to stay behind and remain hidden until Victor seemingly drops his guard.

Kakashi's reticence to help Boruto is mined for just the right amount of comedy. Instead of building an entire episode around Boruto hounding the famously lazy Copy Ninja, the screenwriters wisely opt to limit this conceit to the cold open. It's unclear whether his initial hesitance is due to finding Boruto annoying or an opposition to doing work of any kind, but either explanation is fairly amusing. The manner in which Boruto ultimately learns to craft a Wind Ransegan is predictable but well-suited to the franchise's core themes of friendship and protecting things that are important. Although his training seems set to continue, Boruto makes a surprising amount of progress in a relatively short span of time, which is both a nod to his natural talent and the show's comparatively brisk pacing.

When discussing Tomoe with his daughter, Sasuke comes perilously close to confessing what kinds of “emotional incidences” led to his evolving eye. Considering how ignorant the current generation of genin are about the Leaf's recent history, this might have been a good opportunity for him to reveal a little more info about the history of the Uchiha and/or the dark path he once traveled down, but perhaps he (and the producers) felt this would be too much of a distraction from the task at hand. While this revelation is likely being saved for a storyline in which it can serve as the central focus, the children of the Hidden Leaf 12 being unaware of pivotal events from about two decades ago continues to confound. Has the village's top brass actively tried to hide this information, or are the kids just thoroughly uninterested?

It seems more than a little strange for Victor to allow Konohamaru and Mugino—men he was trying to kill days earlier—to simply stroll right into his company's headquarters, even if he admits he understands they were “just on a mission” when they clashed. Perhaps he's afraid of souring the Land of Valley's relationship with the Land of Fire, but wouldn't his recent actions already have set that in motion? It would be weird enough for him to allow other envoys from the Leaf into his den, but rolling out the welcome mat for people to whom he's revealed his true colors is just foolish. This is likely meant to illustrate Victor's confidence, but it does so to a credulity-straining degree. Perhaps there's still something sinister about that sweet medicinal tea he served them, too; the shinobi never should have drunk any—assuming Mugino actually did.

Though training episodes don't always make for riveting entertainment, this week's Boruto does a good job of making the audience feel invested in the training journeys of two of the show's central players and making their progress feel earned. Boruto coming up with a unique twist on the Rasengan helps set him apart—a point that's driven home when Kakashi observes that he's the ideal mixture of his grandfather's natural talent and his father's unflinching determination.

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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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