English Dub Review: Boruto: Naruto Next Generations “Run, Sarada!”

Sarada is a clear contender for worst name of the series.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

This week’s episode follows the exciting adventure of Sarada doing chores. Her mother, Sakura, heads out of town leaving Sarada to fend for herself for the time being. Before she leaves, Sarada accepts the task of delivering a stuffed bunny to one of the patients at the hospital Sakura, being a medical ninja, works at.

Sarada hits up the train and, unsurprisingly gets caught up in some hijinx that separates her from the package, meaning she has to ride the top of the train to stay with her bag. There, she runs across Boruto and friends, who are going on a fishing trip. They see Sarada and decide to have some fun with her by catching her in the act of breaking the rules (By riding the train) and holding it against her because she’s such a stickler. Eventually, she comes across Chouchou, who offers to help her in her mildly interesting task.

After Sarada and Chouchou accidentally mix up their bag with another patron’s on their car, they end up in possession of a strange doll used by the waterfall clan up north. Sarada then has to use her ninja skills to walk on water and trade out the doll with the stuffed animal she needs which is floating downstream. Of course, she runs into Boruto and pals and ends up looking silly in front of them. With the stuffed animal retrieved, Sarada delivers the gift to the girl in the hospital and returns home to her mother satisfied.

Our Take:

Boruto continues its streak of disappointment this week as it meekly pops out a story that baffles and astounds with how poorly thought out it is. It’s becoming clear that “The good part” is never coming, and the grating slice-of-life episodes that I thought were just growing pains are the bread and butter of this troubled anime.

The “Scenario of the week” structure to this show is starting to wear on my patience. While it’s not my place to say what Boruto is “supposed” to be, the series it succeeds was so compelling because of its larger plot. Indeed, the thing that pulled my innocent, 12-year old’s attention to the show was the epic scope of its story. It was a true adventure and a story that felt as if it had been planned out in advance, where there was always something exciting around the corn. But Boruto feels as innocuous and tame as the infamous filler episodes from the original show. In fact, thinking about it, most all of these episodes have felt like filler. They’re functional, but isolated, and made to just kill time and keep viewer retention without being too ambitious.

There’s something I’ve left previously unmentioned until now, but with Sakura’s appearance in the story, its become much more readily apparent. There’s something about seeing the characters from “Naruto” all grown up that really detracts from the original show. This is a deathly sin for a follow-up series because at its minimum a show like this is supposed to add to the development of what came before. Yet, seeing the adults in Boruto, and Sakura in particular, was really quite depressing. Though it makes sense in an “Everybody grows up” kind of way, the lovable motley crew that was the original “Naruto” have all become really boring adults. Any time they’re on screen, the conversation is about paperwork, or reports, or, in Sakura’s case, cooking. The domestic element of this show does not suit the themes that the original “Naruto” created, and by extension, does not work here.

The major theme to follow with what’s wrong with this episode, and the series as a whole is that the story feels pointless. All we’re really doing in this show is running the paces, watching a generic slice-of-life spin-off that we’ve seen a thousand times before but with the addition of the “Naruto” brand. Nothing makes that more clear to me than the shallow nature of Sarada’s story in this episode. The light hijinx and awkward action sequences strike me as being indicative that is meant to be as “Fluffy” as possible. Indeed, there’s very little about this episode that would draw anyone to it because it shoots for so little. It doesn’t fail because it doesn’t try, it just repeats the kind of small episodic stories that are easy and offer nothing to challenge the viewer.

Score
3/10

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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