Hello once again, Lusites. It has been a quiet couple of weeks, and many of the readers may be wondering exactly where the anime reviews have been. Well, to keep it short and simple, the way that the reviews will be done is changing! To avoid spoiling too much about each anime that is watched, instead of following a handful of seasons and reviewing each episode every week, the approach will now be three episodes of one show every week, with a recap towards the end of the season once shows wrap up, if they are not dropped. It is this author’s opinion that, if a show does not grab you in three episodes, there is a good chance that it never will. With this format, it will be easy to cover more series while still giving an opinion on whether or not it is worth checking out. With that in mind, and now that three weeks of the anime season have passed, welcome to the first review of the Spring 2017 season! To start things off, it is time to take a look at what is effectively a sequel to one of the longest running, and most celebrated shonen series out there, Naruto!
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is set about fifteen years after the events that conclude the series of Naruto Shippuden, so for fans of the Naruto series who were sad to see that show end, the timing could not be better. Naruto has achieved his dream of becoming Hokage, and has somehow swindled someone into marrying and making children with him. The main focus of the series, as the title suggests, is Boruto, the son of Naruto and Hinata. They also have a daughter, and it seems that though Naruto never had parents and wanted them very badly, he has become something of an absentee father in the wake of all his duties to the village as its leader. The anime is written by Ukyo Kodachi, who is a different author from the original, Masashi Kishimoto, though is overseen by him. Apparently, he needed some time off after writing seven hundred chapters, one a week. What a slacker! The studio Pierrot is handling the animation, which is the same studio that did both Naruto series, and are well known for several other series including Bleach, Great Teacher Onizuka and Yuu Yuu Hakusho. English distribution is being handled by Viz Media, who also distributed the original series. With all of that out of the way, it is time to dive into the review of the first three episodes.
Episode 1: Boruto Uzumaki!
The episode opens with what this author feels is something of a huge mistake, as it seems to leap several years into the future of when the show actually starts. It shows the main character, aged and battle worn in a fight with a man who is declaring the end of the age of ninjas. Their battlefield seems to be a destroyed Konoha, the home town of the main characters. Before any actual fighting can be seen beyond Boruto revealing he has some sort of special eye power, the anime jumps back in time to the present, and introduces Boruto properly. Boruto and Shikadai, the son of Shikamaru (the best character from the original series and Now Naruto’s top adviser) are riding on top of a train and discussing the fact that the next day will be the entrance exams for the Ninja Academy. Boruto is not excited, mainly because he feels he will embarrass his dad and feels a ton of pressure what with being the Hokage’s son and all. After they part ways, Boruto sees a boy about his age being bullied by some bigger kids. He defends the boy and learns that his name is Denki, and his dad is a super rich business man who built the train system in Konoha. His father does not want him to train as a ninja and wants him to go to a proper school and learn about technology instead, but he wants to train like the other kids. Boruto encourages him to stand up to his father, and goes home to find that his father is once again nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, Denki attempts to stand up to his father, only to be shut down once again. His father claims he is not strong enough, and must prove his strength before he will let him train. The episode does a good job of setting up some of the characters, and showing that Boruto is all around a good kid, even if he does get into trouble sometimes for speaking up too much and resorting to violence. Each character that is introduced is more or less likable, and there is a sense of the original series as well as several older characters make appearances in their adult forms. While the show does cover some things that any fan of the original should already know, it is fine as this is could be a starting point for many new people.
Episode 2: The Hokage’s Son!
The episode opens with Shino, another returning character from the original (and another of the best) who seems to be a teacher now, explaining how the academy no longer simply trains kids to be strong ninjas, and has broadened its curriculum to include several other subjects as well, making it more like a real school in the process. What is sure to be a problem for the remainder of the show begins right away, as several of the kids start to talk about Boruto as if he were not there, saying that he will be coddled and pass without doing any work since his father is Hokage. He ignores this, though it does seem to anger Denki, who has convinced his father to let him train after the incidents at the end of the first episode. During practice to determine the strengths and skills of the class, Boruto finds out that he is the second best, and is annoyed that he is not first. It is revealed that a boy named Iwabe is the best, a strange kid who wears what appears to be a diaper on his head and carries a big stick with him. Iwabe has failed the exams to become a ninja several times, because he only focuses on the strength part of the exam and not the knowledge portion, so he has a couple year advantage as far as his strength scores go. After Iwabe attempts to attack Denki, Boruto jumps in to defend him. After this, Iwabe challenges him to a fight, saying Boruto is surely a weakling who has been coddled by his father. They agree no weapons will be used, and then immediately throw ninja stars at each other which apparently do not count as weapons. After a sound beating, Boruto gives a speech about how strength is not all that is important, and Iwabe grudgingly accepts he has been beaten. The next day, Iwabe, who has not been attending classes as he thinks they are unimportant, shows up for class and starts to study. Again, while the tone is a little more childish than what Naruto ended with, it does bring back memories of how the show began, and does not feel bad in any way
Episode 3: Metal Lee Goes Wild!
The episode opens with the kids learning to throw shurikens, though Boruto and his closer friends have all been forced to train with this already at home, and excel easily. Another child of an original (amazing) character, Metal Lee, is practicing quite well until he realizes he is being watched, and then he starts to be as bad as Sebahamat is at games. Boruto attempts to be the coolest by using a windmill shuriken instead of the little ones everyone else is using. Unfortunately, Metal is in his way when he throws. Metal attempts to kick the shuriken out of the way, but gets embarrassed again when he realizes many people are watching, and instead kicks the hole in the center where a hand should go and gets dragged into the target with the shuriken. Due to his antics, Boruto and several other kids are given extra work and forced to work on the statue of Naruto that was damaged in the first episode. When Metal realizes his is the only part of the statue not finished, he gets nervous and strikes to hard, causing further damage that they will all have to once again repair. Odd to have kids assigned to masonry duty, but who can say what skills these children have. On their way home, Shikadai tells Metal rather harshly that as long as he continues to get embarrassed all the time he will be a failure. On the way to class the next day, Boruto and Shikadai and Inojin run into Metal, and Boruto notices a dark aura emanating from him as his left eye changes colour briefly. The other two do not notice this, but do notice that Metal is much more aggressive and confident as he begins to hand out beatings like they were at a Lusipurr staff meeting. After they team up against him they beat him, but with the power coming from the dark aura he nearly breaks free of them, until he finally trips and knocks himself out. A little more of what will probably be the main plot of the first part of the series is introduced here with the black aura, and with Boruto’s strange eye power. Not enough has been revealed to really give an idea of where the story is headed, but things all in all seem to be headed in an interesting direction.
With that, dear readers ,the review has ended. Each episode had something to offer in character growth, and all in all they were fun to watch. The biggest positives are that the animation is overall quite decent, which is to be expected from Pierrot. A major part of the amusement comes from trying to figure out which named child in class is the offspring of which characters from the original, and there are some surprise pairings in there. The story covers some things that should be basic knowledge to anyone with even a little bit of experience with Naruto, but this can be forgiven since this is the beginning of a new series. A small idea that seems to be evident with the setting is that technology is slowly replacing the need for ninjas, which is kind of a common theme in shows like this, and hopefully does not become the main plot point. The big question, is it worth watching? In this author’s opinion, this is a show that is definitely for fans of the original, but if one is a fan of shonen then there will definitely be things to enjoy. With that, we have reached the end of the review! Leave your opinions, dear readers, as well as your requests for what series should be reviewed next! Until next week, dear readers, thank you for stopping by, and keep on watching.