It’s a new generation of ninjitsu! We’ve known for a while that the adventures of the Uzumaki family would continue past the end of Shippuden. Now, Boruto‘s finally here. The manga and anime movie both riff on the same plot, and after diving into both, we’re doubly pleased with the “timeskip” this shonen saga’s taking. There’s plenty of fun stuff in both editions, but here are five particular details that struck us like a throwing dagger to the heart.
Boruto doesn’t want to be Hokage
The first question on any fan’s mind has been “Are we just getting Naruto, Take Two?” Young Boruto may be the spitting image of his pops, and only have a slightly different sense of fashion, but he’s definitely his own little man. The simplest, and clearest, difference is that Boruto adamantly doesn’t want to become a leader when he grows up, which was Naruto’s driving desire since Day One. Also, Boruto actually having parents around, and being a popular kid from an esteemed family instead of an orphaned pariah, makes for a significant, and really interesting, difference in his upbringing.
Being Hokage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
Relating to all that, Naruto’s status in Boruto offers something unique for a lead hero in almost all of shonen anime, really. Imagine if, after hundreds of One Piece episodes, Luffy actually did become King of the Pirates. And then… he found it wasn’t nearly as exciting as he imagined? Yes, being Hokage seems to actually be a largely administrative role. Whenever we see Naruto in his office (and that’s quite often), he’s just pushing papers. Considering how the indomitable desire to become Hokage was what drove pretty much all of Naruto’s adventures, there’s some fun existential irony to the job being so ordinary.
Boruto’s authority figures
Our new lead has an oddly Oedipal relationship with our last lead. No, Boruto doesn’t have mommy issues, but he does feel so competitive with his negligent father that he actually asks around about what Naruto’s “weaknesses” are. And to whom does he turn to for such advice? None other than Sasuke. Yes, in a twist that’s both surprising and totally fitting, Boruto’s mentor winds up being his father’s longtime friend. Sasuke’s style of teaching also proves to be pointedly different than any previous Shinobi Master’s.
Hard truths at the Chunin Exams
On the subject of mentors, there’s a strong sub-plot where Boruto learns some genuine lessons about virtue as he navigates the Chunin exams. Scientific ninja gadgets, and their legality as performance enhancers, factor into these assorted wins and losses. The Naruto-verse even gets its own Kobayashi Maru test, and the junior shinobi is forced into a lose/lose situation where he must decide what the answer is for himself. These scenes breeze by fast in a training montage, but they still leave you with something philosophical to ponder.
A shipper’s dream in the end credits
As a term, “fan service” gets over-used. It’s almost lost meaning. However, the outro title cards are absolute fan service as it’s supposed to be defined. They’re completely devoted to clarifying the parentage of each new, young character. That is, there’s a succession of family portraits, showing exactly who from Shippuden got with whom. They put all fan speculation to bed, pun intended. Oh, and without saying too much about the post-credits stinger, we do get to learn how the next generation of Orochimaru carries on. Somehow.
Have you read, or watched, Boruto yourself? Is it a worthy continuation of this heroic lineage? Set the record straight in the comments.
Image Credits: Masashi Kishimoto, Ukyo Kodachi, Mikio Ikemoto/SHUEISHA Inc.