English Dub Review: Boruto: Naruto Next Generations “Crisis: The Threat of Failing!”

Oh boy, it’s a Genki episode.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

Genki is having trouble at school. Despite his academic ability, Genki has a hard time mastering the chakra techniques that allow him to perform essential ninja moves like walking up walls.

After embarrassing himself in front of his classmates, Genki seeks outside assistance and finds it in the form of Metal Lee, his hardworking friend. Metal introduces him to Rock Lee, his mentor, who offers to train Genki and show him to really wield the power of youth. However, Genki finds the two Lees to not really suit him, and so he looks elsewhere.

Genki finds an unlikely friend in Iwabe, who also has trouble in school, but with academics. The two become fast friends as they help each other master their particular areas of struggle in their ninja training. Their time together comes to a head when they come across a burning building, and jump into action to save the innocent children trapped inside. Using their newly developed skills, they’re able to work together to save everyone and emerge as heroes.  They return to the ninja academy proud and are commanded by Shino for their excellent use of ninja skills in the real world.

Our Take:

Our episode this week follows a story between Denki and Iwabe, as they work together to improve their standing in school by working together and sharing their individual skills. This takes them through a few mildly entertaining training sequences, along with a run-in with everyone’s favorite martial artist, Rock Lee. It’s a wholly unremarkable episode with a tepid conflict and a setup that’s been done time and time again. This episode embodies everything that’s wrong with Boruto. What’s present here is little more than a boring, uninspired plot with a predictable, obvious resolution.

There’s little that makes a show more boring than a lack of conflict. Real, human interaction demands a collision of characters and ideas that push the story forward, adding more spice and excitement to the story at hand. Some shows, especially those for more mature audiences, can have more subtle conflicts at play relative to the complexity of their characters, but shows like Boruto need to be more direct. However, this episode showcases just one of the biggest issues this show has: a neutered cast of characters that fail to bring a real conflict to the table. Boruto has an unnaturally large cast for how long its been going, but despite all these different characters, everyone just gets along all the time. This is fine in real life, of course, but in a story, if you don’t have a conflict you don’t have much for the characters to do, and I can only watch everyone happily work together so much before I start to fall asleep in my chair. The original “Naruto” didn’t have this problem because, while the four teams of ninjas that comprised its main cast were technically allied, they were also competing with each other, bringing stakes and tension to the story. In short, I have absolutely no interest in Denki and Iwabe working together to do well in class. This is the kind of story I expect from “Dora The Explorer”, not the successor to a challenging and tragic action anime like “Naruto.”

There’s a small attempt near the end to enliven things for the episode with a house fire, but anyone who’s been watching this far knows that there are no real stakes for Iwabe’s fate because the show is so toothless. In essence, your enjoyment of this episode is probably going to revolve around how entertaining you find Rock Lee’s cameo appearance in the show to be. Other than that, this is an extraordinarily standard episode that isn’t worthy of your time and attention.

Oh boy, it’s a Genki episode.

Score
4/10

Erich Hau

Erich is a northern California based writer on the front lines of the nerd frontier. When he's not burning the midnight oil he enjoys musicals, smooth jazz, and a good cup of dark roast. Cream and sugar not included.

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