Opinions (B+):

Boruto Naruto Next Generations is nothing if inconsistent. After last week’s rather offensive episode, we actually get a pretty solid start to what seems like a decent story arc, at least in theory. We’ve been here before, however, and the results have rarely been anything other than disappointing. Its almost a finely tuned dance at this point. Boruto NNG will present a new story arc with tons of smart and interesting ideas, and then proceed to squander all of them with horribly weak execution.

Boruto haz pouty face! Incoming philosophical conundrum!

This week seems to be following in that pattern, because the setup for what’s coming is littered with good ideas. The first of which, is the whole “Robin hood” concept that the show seems to be putting as the crux of Boruto’s big “conundrum” this arc.

Its actually quite brilliant, using thieves that are actually supporting the down trodden of society, the ones that are seemingly being ignored by the well off “city folk of Konoha”. For someone like Boruto, who hates the establishment and even breaks the rules to make sure the weak and needy are helped, this is a really tough situation to be in. Until now, Boruto has more or less always been in the right, and so he’s been able to fight and win the day because of that unyielding belief.

A costume party in the desert close to the “city of Konoha”

To have that sense of righteous not only questioned, but utterly broken by the Byakuya Gang leader? Its a nice moment that sends Boruto into a spiral of self doubt and self reflection. Should Boruto really be catching these guys? They’re actually doing good, and the show even goes on to point out that “the insurance” is more or less covering the actual theft itself.

Its an interesting idea, one that puts Boruto as a privileged young kid who’s got to come to grips with the fact that those less privileged than him may need to resort to means outside of the law to survive. And I think this idea can work, provided there’s a good answer to the question that the show is so eagerly presenting its audience. There needs to be an opinion, a take, and one that either fundamentally changes the characters in this series, or at the very least, provides some kind of definitive status quo change after it happens.

The punk gangster looking elder manipulating the young smart kid, a Boruto NNG staple.

Which, incidentally, is also why I’m convinced this arc is going to fall flat on its back. Its quite clear that Shikadai’s “shogi” friend is the guy behind the mask and the “Ice Jutsu”. The problem, and one that I think the show is already starting to hint at, is the fact that this Byakuya gang isn’t actually all that noble. Red haired Shogi boy may be that way, but the show has already set up the fact that he’s probably being manipulated and used by the older head honcho of the gang.

It’s the whole Kagura and Shizuma story all over again, just reskinned to take place in Konoha this time. I suppose I’ve learned my lesson from the series’ previous story arcs, and now I’m already starting to see the show telegraph its own lackluster conclusions. Of course, this new Byakuya arc isn’t a carbon copy of the Kagura arc, and there are two more elements that I think are worth keeping an eye on.

“Why can’t we just play chess again?”

The one that I think I’m most interested in, is the whole dynamic between Shikadai and the “red haired shogi player”. For one, we haven’t really seen Shikadai connect with another character, and develop a friendship or rivalry. It seems like this Red haired kid is also the strategically superior of the two of them, so it COULD make for an interesting battle of wits. Plus there’s also a chance for some emotionally powerful moments if the show plays its cards right with this particular sub plot.

Of course, there are a ton of Coulds and ifs here, and I think we all know where those are going to lead to. I don’t have high hopes for this story arc, and coming off of what we’ve seen recently, plus the show as a whole, I guess that’s not too surprising.

“Hey kid! Want some… VIDEO GAMES??!??!” ^____________^

The final thing I’ll mention, mostly because I just found it intriguing, was the element of consistency that the show established with the introduction of the “Jutsu researcher” this week. This is a character that’s pretty key in the Boruto Movie, which of course, comes into play later on in the chronological timeline of the franchise. It was just a nice touch to use and establish this character this early on, and it was something that I wasn’t quite expecting. It doesn’t really significantly change the ball game in any way, but sometimes the small things can most certainly make a difference.

And that really is it. Lots of nice ideas and cool concepts, but I can already see the show taking steps to not use them all that well. Its par for the course at this point, so I guess when we do see the show do the obvious, it’ll probably feel a bit less disappointing. There’s also the chance that the show may very well deliver on the potential of the solid ideas its presenting, and I honestly hope that I’ll be surprised by that possibility becoming a reality. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.

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The Owner, webmaster, designer, coder and writer for the site. Anime Evo is Setsuken’s (Hassan's) proclamation of love for Anime, which he can’t seem to get enough of. He’s a 26 year old male, and current resides in the USA . A writer for a number of years Hassan is also a 3D Artist, a Game Designer, a Web Designer and a Huge Anime Obsessed Enthusiast.

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