English Dub Review: Boruto: Naruto Next Generations “The Shadow of the Mastermind”

Never underestimate the power of the disgruntled mail ninja.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

With the class rep getting injured from getting attacked in another chakra spirit incident, Boruto and his classmates are on edge. In particular, Boruto feels responsible for her injuries, since he didn’t realize what was going on at the water purification plant until it was too late. There isn’t much time for pity, though, because Naruto decides he needs to show Boruto something. Naruto takes his son to where the formerly chakra spirit possessed a person is and tells Boruto to stop playing detective and focus on his schooling.

However, Shino has something to say about that, insisting that Boruto was just following Shino’s instructions. Once Naruto leaves, Shino thanks Boruto for saving him from the chakra spirits, uplifting Boruto’s spirit. Emboldened, Boruto and friends go back to their job study delivering mail. Once they get to it, our heroes sink their teeth into their mail route, and soon, Mitsuki reports to Boruto on the latest attack site, to which they soon arrive.

Meanwhile, Sai and Naruto meet to discuss their findings on the chakra spirits and speak of a mysterious “Foundation” that may be responsible. Back in Boruto’s daily business, the other members of his class are interested in helping Boruto figure investigate the source of these attacks. Just in time, too, because a chakra spirit has invaded the body of a mail ninja, brought on by a mysterious masked figure who runs off. Two of them give pursuit, while the rest stay back to deal with the rampaging ninja.

Sadly, the masked ninja escapes, but with the help of a helpful mail ninja, Boruto is able to stop the chakra spirit and clean up the mail room. All the while, mysterious shadowy figures speak of their dark wishes coming true, all because of the continued increased negativity in people’s hearts.

Our Take:

Now that we’re eleven episodes into this show, it feels like Boruto is starting to get serious with its story. While the weak foundation of the show cannot be ignored, especially in regards to the cast, which has very little going for it in terms of character, this was a pretty good quality episode that starts and finishes well, all while having a fun little action sequence to capture your attention. It’s a decent stepping stone to what could be a better show, but only if this series can continue to build itself up instead of falling back into old habits.

The strongest part of this episode was the opening, where Naruto gets into what feels like the first legitimate conflict he’s had with his father. Up to this point, I’ve felt their strained relationship to be mostly the product of poor writing instead of any actual legitimate grievance that Boruto has with his dad. While a father wanting to protect his son is nothing new, it’s a classic trope because it usually works pretty well, and its the kind of thing that this show should have more of. After all, Boruto is directly the result of its big brother show, “Naruto”, and family drama between Naruto and his son is an easy way for this show to go, as long as it’s done well.

I’m still not totally down with the mundane subject matter that much of Boruto consists of. There’s still something kinda cheesy and lame about spirits that possess people with insecurities and make them angry at their jobs. A big ninja battle inside a mailroom is just too underwhelming for my taste, even though its done decently well. However, this isn’t so much a problem with the episode as much as it is an issue with the setting, which isn’t going to change any time soon.

In summation, this is an alright episode. Even from someone as critical as me, I can definitely say that people who have watched the show up to this point will probably like it. Its got what you’ve come to know and enjoy from Boruto while upping its game a bit with some increased drama. The question, though, is where Boruto will go from here, and if it will be able to work as its own story that can match the original Naruto. While I’m certainly skeptical, there’s nothing that says Boruto can’t grow into its own quality programming.

Score
6/10

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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