Boruto shows off the results of his efforts as Sarada's training enters a whole new phase in this week's Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Having been promised a reduced sentence if he's able to defeat Boruto, Shojoji holds nothing back during his rematch with the younger Uzumaki. Although he's able to deflect a number of Boruto's attacks with his Zephyr Shield, Shojoji is ill-prepared for Boruto's brand-new technique, the High Compression Rasengan, which knocks the prisoner unconscious, decisively ending the match. As Kakashi explains, instead of enlarging his Rasengan (which had been the initial plan), Boruto opted to condense and compress its density up to its limit.
Meanwhile, as Sarada struggles to make progress on the two-Tomoe front, Sakura steps in to assist in her daughter's training. Thanks to her mother's efforts, Sarada comes to realize that her lack of proper chakra control is the primary detriment to the leveling up of her Sharingan. During an extremely rigorous training session, Sarada is able to forcibly copy Sakura's chakra control, which leaves her physically exhausted but renews her parents' enthusiasm for helping her train. Back at Orochimaru's lair, Log informs his parent that the Hashirama Cell in Victor's possession was most likely stolen from his old research lab. According to Orochimaru, a number of Hashirama Cells have been stolen from the same location, and while he was able to retrieve most of them, some remain unaccounted for. Shortly thereafter, Mitsuki awakens and is informed by Orochimaru that some of his parts are no longer useable. While his parent intends to replace said parts, he cautions that there's no guarantee they'll work the way they used to.
Boruto's ability to defeat Shojoji so quickly and decisively illustrates the progress the boy has made in his training more effectively than a flashy, drawn-out battle would have, even if the latter might have made for a more impressive spectacle. Since Boruto has defeated the criminal shinobi before (albeit with some timely assistance), the fact that he could defeat him again isn't nearly as impressive as the speed and power with which he does so. Since the Hidden Leaf regularly sends young children on life-threatening missions (even in times of peace), Kakashi springing this test on Boruto isn't terribly surprising, but there is a bit of awkwardness here. For starters, it's hard to imagine how either of Boruto's parents would be okay with this, and using prisoners as test subjects for training exercises doesn't seem terribly humane. Even Ibiki, who oversees the village's torture and interrogation operations, finds this whole thing iffy. In fairness, Shojoji wasn't forced into anything against his will, but given how dangerous he is, the promise of a reduced sentence if he were able to remain standing at the end of the bout also seems pretty misguided.
With Boruto's rematch with Shojoji only accounting for about a third of the runtime, Sarada is the real star of the episode, helped by her mother, who's clearly come to terms with the fact that her daughter is every bit as headstrong, determined, and stubborn as her parents. Sakura's decision to remove her metaphorical restraints and unleash her full power during Sarada's training provides her daughter with a solid understanding of the level of chakra control she'll need to master if she hopes to level up. Still, it could be argued that Sakura goes a bit overboard, as taking a direct hit from her could prove fatal to Sarada. While this approach is meant to provide Sarada with a no-holds-barred hands-on experience, it proves considerably more dangerous (though also more effective) than Sasuke's training regimen.
Briskly-paced, well-animated, and visually impressive, this week's installment showcases what Boruto and Sarada can do when pushed beyond their limits. Through hard work and dedication, they've acquired impressive new skills and forced the adults in their lives to take them seriously and regard them as equals. Although next week's installment looks to be a humorous break from the main story, the presence of Orochimaru and company suggests that we may get a look at what Mitsuki's up to.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.