English Dub Review: Boruto: Naruto Next Generations “The Sharingan vs. The Lightning Blade, Kiba the Fang!”

Who let all these children run around out here?

Overview (Spoilers Below)

The fight between Boruto, Chojuro, Sarada and the new Seven Swordsmen of the Mist begins. The three split up and face their individual battles: Boruto faces Kagura, Sarada faces Buntan Kurosuki and Chojuro faces three of the swordsmen who work together to beat him. Sarada makes good use of her sharingan to keep Buntun at bay, but she has the use of the “Lightning Fang” swords, which can attack with electricity. She explains to Sarada that these swords were originally used by her father, who was killed by Naruto in the past.

Meanwhile, Chojuro’s battle doesn’t start well, his opponents use their swords to entangle him in a thread prison. Though despite the paralysis they inflict on Chojuro, he doesn’t seem to be phased and goads his opponents to intimidate them. Though the three swordsmen do their worst to injure Chojuro, he takes their blows as one who is prepared for their coming. Injured and bloody, Chojuro is able to free himself and knock out his attackers with merely a broken sword. Another of the swordsmen readies himself to fight Chojuro, but is interrupted by Iwabee, who stands to take him on. Boruto, meanwhile, fights against Kagura, but doesn’t fare as well as the others. He tries to hold his own, but Kagura repeatedly knocks Boruto to the ground. Kagura insists that he has to fight Boruto despite his protestations that they should stop fighting.

Sarada’s battle with Buntan continues as Sarada continues dodging Buntan’s many attacks against her. She uses her sharingan to great effect, copying Buntan’s attacks and returning them back to her. Eventually, Sarada is able to use her sharingan to entrap Buntan in a genjutsu that gives her the advantage she needs. As it turns out, the electricity that Buntan has been flowing throughout the water beneath them has turned the air around it into hydrogen through electrolysis. Sarada, knowing this, (From science class, I guess) uses an explosive talisman to engulf Buntan in an explosion, defeating her for.

Our Take:

I’m just chock full of questions watching the strangeness that is Boruto. Reckless and wistful, it doesn’t seem to know what kind of world it wants to build but insists on trying for these “pie in the sky” fight scenes that simply make no sense. From beginning to end, I found myself groaning in-between aggressively rolling my eyes at the way these battles go. Anime has, for the most part, been a medium that can deliver good stories regardless of the age range, unlike American cartoons that always seem to be targeted towards younger audiences. Yet, here, Boruto is so half-baked in its plot, so slipshod in its execution of this fight, you can’t help but wonder if you’re watching something that someone isn’t supposed to think about very much. It’s a weak fight this week, and a weak episode.

From the get-go, this fight unravels at the seams in its very concept. Are we really to believe that Chojuro, who occupies the highest position of power in the land, is so weak that he is going blow-for-blow with a bunch of angsty teenagers? And if those angsty teenagers are so strong that they can nearly defeat the Mizukage, then how is it that a couple of 12-year-olds still in middle school can fight them on even ground? I’m reminded of one of the first arcs of the original “Naruto”, where Kakashi implores to his students that they simply cannot face Zabuza head on because he has power completely beyond anything they can muster. Things like that remind us that our heroes are not invincible and that children taking part in dangerous battles are still merely children. How can I take anything about this fight seriously when the battle defies every bit of common sense one has about what can and can’t happen in an adventure? Without knowing that the heroes can fail, then there is no tension.

Besides that, there are plenty of other frustrating holes and murky character motivations. I’m still uncertain as to why Kagura felt that betraying his principles to run off and start this “revolution” is something he had to do. And why doesn’t Chojuro bring any other ninjas to help him put down this squabble? I can understand that he wouldn’t want to bring attention to the matter, but he’s putting the lives of children from a foreign land in danger by not using the forces he no doubt has available to him as Mizukage.

This episode is a joke in a series already full of jokes. I was initially interested in what this arc had to offer, but when the chips are down Boruto completely fails to exhibit even the most basic understanding of how to tell a story.

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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