Boruto Episode 149: Friends!!

In the latest arc’s second installment, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations delivers another by-the-numbers but wholly enjoyable half hour. Although Boruto is understandably unhappy about serving as Tento’s bodyguard, it isn’t long before the boys form a friendlier rapport and come to understand one another better. Being a full-fledged shinobi otaku, Tento requests that Boruto teach him ninjutsu. Despite being skeptical of the boy’s abilities, Boruto relents and gives him a crash course in the basics of shuriken throwing, and after a full day of practice, Tento becomes surprisingly adept at tossing shurikens.

After learning that Tento’s obsession with the collectible card game stems from wanting attention from his busy father, Boruto begins to feel a kinship with his new friend, and by the time Tento’s departure day approaches, the boys have grown much closer. However, the episode-ending reveal that Shojoji has switched places with Tento’s butler, Yamaoka, would suggest that the story is far from over.
After having the worst of his traits showcased in the previous installment, Tento only spends a small portion of episode 149 in spoiled rich kid mode. Although it was clear from the onset that he and Boruto would eventually become friends, the show does a solid job of casting the character in a sympathetic light and making the evolution in the boys’ relationship feel both organic and believable. In some respects, it might have been more effective to roll out Tento’s character progression across multiple installments, but it’s easy to see his same schtick from last week getting old fast. This way, the audience is more likely to empathize with the kid when he’s faced with peril in the coming weeks. Not only is he likely to find himself in physical danger, but if Shojoji has taken on Yamaoka’s appearance, there’s a good chance the latter is dead, meaning Tento has lost one of the most important people in his life.

Despite his own maturity issues, Boruto steps into the role of mentor with ease and continues to demonstrate, on the whole, far more levelheadedness than his father did at the same age. He initially becomes frustrated in the face of Tento’s snobbishness, but he’s ultimately able to keep his cool and knows almost instinctively how to channel Tento’s love for ninja into a lesson the kid takes to heart. Boruto gifting his protégé the Seventh Hokage trading card for which he’s been pining as a reward for all his hard work is a particularly touching moment of bonding that helps bring the relationship full-circle.

Though largely uneventful on the surface, this week’s installment contains tangible character progression for both the primary guest character and the guy whose name is in the title. Though Boruto is technically a child, too, it’s great to see him step into the role of teacher and protector. By episode’s end, we believe the bond between them will be strong when tested by whatever the Mujina Gang has in store for them next week.