This is going to be a two way discussion: 1. Can Boruto surpass his father as a ninja and 2. Can Boruto: Naruto Next Generation surpass Naruto the series. The latter half being the most difficult… Allow me to share a tweet that inspired this work.
Mind blowing that a group of Japanese youth does not know the number one knuckle head ninja for his original series. Naruto was the second or third Japanese created anime I had ever watched. I remember staying up late and sneaking downstairs while my mom slept to watch late night Toonami. As I grow older my taste mature and can’t put Naruto in the same category as Death Note or Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. These anime are great for different reasons outside of popularity. Naruto is a great anime because it made me an anime junkie. It was a catalyst for my obsession to find better and better animated series.
However, we’re not in 2004 anymore. Fast forward fourteen years later and Naruto has moved into the category of “classic” and his leaf headed son is holding down the fort. Unfortunately for Boruto those are some MASSIVE shoes to fill. Naruto literally becomes a demi-god after splitting half of the Six Sages power with Sasuke. He can fly, free flow natural energy through his body, and can sense every universal presence.
I’m being unfair; however, because I’m comparing Naruto’s long-term growth to Boruto’s short-term growth. As I’m writing this 78 episodes of Boruto: Naruto Next Generation have been released. To be fair let’s take a look at Naruto’s accomplishments in his first 80 episodes:
- Stole a sacred scroll containing thousands of forbidden jutsu from the Hokage residence and learned shadow clone jutsu, a jonin level technique in only a few hours.
- Used that technique to defeat Mizuki, a chunin.
- Held his own against Zabuza Momochi, one of the seven swordsmen of the hidden mist and also known as Demon of the Hidden Mist.
- Defeated Haku whose strength rivaled Kakashi’s.
- Passed the chunin written exam with Ibiki Morino as the proctor.
- Fearlessly attacked Orochimaru in the forest of death.
- Survived the forest of death.
- Defeated Kiba Inuzuka, a fellow genin revered as one of the strongest of Naruto’s class.
- Learned summoning justu under the tutelage of the pervy sage.
- Defeated Neji Hyuga, the most gifted gentle fist user in the hyuga clan.
- Lastly defeated Gaara of the Sand and the Shukaku.
Thinking back on the series it’s hard to believe Naruto accomplished this much, but let’s not sell Boruto short. Boruto’s capabilities far exceed Naruto’s at his age.
- At academy age Boruto already learned the shadow clone jutsu, in addition to wind and lightning release techniques.
- Solved the “ghostly incident” with the help of new Dojutsu, a result of his two strong bloodlines mixing.
- Defeats Shizumu and the new seven swordsmen of the mist.
- Learns the Rasengan from the teachings of Konahamaru.
- There’s also the part where he deafeats Momoshiki, but let’s be honest he had almost nothing to do with that.
The area where Boruto lacks in comparison to Naruto is experience. Oddly enough Boruto didn’t to well in the chunin exams despite his ability. Probably due to not having the correct field experience. The pressures to perform well and show off to his father lead him to deciding to cheat.
It’s important to note that Boruto doesn’t want to be like his father. He wants to be like Sasuke who in fact takes on Boruto as a student, and this is why I think Boruto as a ninja will surpass Naruto. In terms of aptitude Boruto is more similar to Sasuke and, being a student of Kakashi, should know how to handle talent. It’s even more important to note that Boruto doesn’t have a choice but to surpass his father. We already know that Naruto has been killed presumably by Kawaki.
The real question is will Boruto: Naruto Next Generations surpass Naruto and Naruto Shippuden. Although I like the idea of the Boruto spin off series I hate the way they go about it. I’m a unfamiliar with the manga and will go give it a try after this review, but they direct Boruto the same way they direct Naruto filler. Very obvious shortcuts in animation and still shots. And just like Naruto when the show wants to deliver some stunning and quick shots it will.
Let’s get to the thing that I hate the most about this show. The characters. Boruto’s generation is supposed to be comparable to the real world millennial’s. A generation with the stigma of being lazy and unreliable. Whether or not you think that to be true the people of that generation are that understand their position. It’s not laziness or incompetence; our values are just different, as they should be. You’re living in a generation with different technology and governed by different rules. It would be weird if you chased the same ideologies and wanted the same experiences out of life. The show makes no attempt on embracing this and instead tries its hardest to recreate smaller versions of their parents. They even take it a step further and try to recreate the same events.
The current arc of Boruto is my least favorite. Mitsuki leaves the village with a group of Hidden Stone Ninja for some unknown purposes. Boruto agonizes over Mitsuki being labeled as rouge and a traitor to the village. He leaves with Sarada to go bring him back. Hm. Where have I seen this before?
This whole arc is supposed to draw a parrallel to the whole plot of Naruto. It’s so forced and random that it makes the emotions of Boruto feel fake. He’s just as upset as Naruto was when Sasuke left, but the difference is Naruto has known Sauske since they were young academy students. Naruto thought of Sasuke as a brother even though they didn’t talk much, because he was just like him. Boruto has known Mitsuki for less than a year and they have no commonality.
And while we’re on the subject I HATE MITSUKI. Mitsuki is a character solely made to make Boruto’s existence more important. Multiple times he expresses the reason for coming to the leaf village was to find out if Boruto was his “light”, making it seem that the dynamic between them is something deeper. I can only assume as the series progresses they’re going to build on why Mitsuki is so fixated with Boruto, but as of right now it’s just bad writing.
Do you want to know who my favorite character in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is? Chocho. Chocho is the realest character in Boruto. She wants two things:
- Eat tasty food.
- Date cute boys.
Now THAT is something a “next generation” would want!
I do have mild expectation for the remainder of the series, because the new opening looks amazing and I hope the actual episodes capture some of that. I will be back for more after I catch up with the manga and hopefully they make an anime about Boruto’s dad so I can review that too.