If you were alive during the early 2000s, then chances are that you’ve heard of Naruto. It became one of the most popular shows ever produced, quickly taking its spot as one of the kings of the anime world. While the anime’s popularity certainly waned (for good reason), the manga remained popular right up until the final chapter.
And what a great final chapter it was! It perfectly wrapped up the story of Naruto in a satisfying way. We didn’t need, nor did we want, anymore from this world and these characters. Their story was over.
So why the fuck does Boruto exist?
This series is a pale shadow of Naruto in every possible way. It doesn’t feel like a triumphant and worthy continuation of the series that took the world. Rather, it feels like a cheap, lazy cash-grab that was produced with no love or passion. As of me writing this, it is sitting at one hundred and seven episodes. Most of which are really boring.
Though I won’t deny that some of the fight scenes are fucking sick as hell. That Naruto/Sasuke VS Momoshiki fight is one of the best in anime. Seriously, this show can be incredible when it actually tries.
Now, I am going to try and be fair. Few shows are without positives, after all. So let’s quickly burn through the things I actually like about Boruto!
For one, I mostly enjoy seeing how the old characters have matured. Some of them really annoy me, such as Hinata being relegated to submissive wife character for most of her screen time. But I love what they did with some of them, such as making Konohamaru the Boruto equivalent of Kakashi, or making Naruto a tired old man from being Hokage. That stuff is awesome, and it can be a ton of fun to watch.
Next, the art and animation. Sure, it is still incredibly up and down (which is what you get when you run a year-long, never stopping show like it’s the early 2000s), but when it is good, it is damn good! Its smooth, colorful, and incredibly appealing to watch! This is especially notable during the action scenes. At worst, they look like shit. At best, they’re some of the best in anime.
And that’s about it. Aside from that, I don’t enjoy anything else that this show has to offer. In between the good moments (which, mind you, are incredibly few and far between), this show is incredibly disappointing and boring.
The problem starts with the show’s central protagonist: Boruto. In comparison to his father, he is just… dull. He doesn’t have the depth that Naruto had. He doesn’t have to struggle as hard, as his life is incredibly easy in comparison. He never has the triumph of earning respect or overcoming obstacles with his cunning. Right off the bat, he’s smarter and more respected than Naruto. And within a few story arcs, he may as well be just as powerful.
Worse yet, he doesn’t have an especially clear goal. With Naruto, you knew what he wanted: to become Hokage and gain respect from the villagers. But Boruto’s only clear goal is ‘make Daddy notice me’. Then, after he learns to respect his father, all of that is gone. Thrilling.
Frankly, Sarada would have made for a far more interesting protagonist! Her story is far more interesting, as she struggles with earning her father’s respect while trying to become a better, stronger person and become Hokage. Plus, she has a whole story arc where she questions her origins and goes on a little adventure of self discovery. One which is easily better than any other arc in the show, regardless of the disappointing ending.
Now, I foreshadowed the strength of these characters a few paragraphs back. This is where the next big flaw in this show can be found. See, in the original series, it took Naruto and friends a long-ass time before they became the strongest mother fuckers around. But Boruto and friends became way too strong way too quickly. In fact, they’re already on-par with Naruto and co.
Who spent practically their entire lives getting to where they are now. Is cultivated power passed-on genetically in this world? Or are the new powers, like Boruto’s whatever-the-fuck eyes, just that fucking good?
Oh, and did I mention the pacing? Because fuck me is it slow! The story will meander for prolonged periods of time, repeating the same shit over and over before actual narrative happens. This is especially pertinent in the first story arc of the whole series, where each episode may as well be the same damn thing: Boruto complains about his dad, someone gets possessed by evil, Boruto sees it, he fights the person that is possessed and breaks said possession, rinse and repeat.
Naruto was slowly paced, yes. But at least things happened in the downtime!
I’d say this show is disappointing. That it hurts me inside to have to deal with it. But frankly, it isn’t even worth that. We had Naruto, and Naruto was great (the manga and the Storm games, don’t watch the anime). We don’t need anymore.
If you enjoy Boruto, cool! There is plenty enough to enjoy about it. But if you still haven’t watched it, then I’d recommend you keep it that way. There are so many better shows you could be spending your time with. Like My Hero Academia. Or Black Clover.
Never in my life did I think I’d say that.