There comes a time in every person’s life when the story you’re creating reaches its inevitable conclusion, when the characters you’ve come to know and love and watch grow through their adventures finally reach the peak and retire from all this world-saving business to watch over the next generation.
In Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, we get a glimpse into what that next generation is and how it will tell its own, new story; and so the cycle begins anew.
You can check out my thoughts on this series below the break!
Now, surprisingly, given that this is a sequel to a very well known and popular franchise that many people in the anime community unfortunately dismiss as babby’s first anime, Boruto: NNG actually manages to capture that sense of wonder and excitement that came with the opening chapters of Naruto as he began his days as an urchin into joining the ninja school.
There’s a sense of familiarity with the city that Boruto runs through, just like his father did in Naruto’s first episode, but with a new, technological twist. The Hidden Leaf village has gotten a few upgrades over the years, and all of this furthers the feeling of progress and separation from the main series in a deeply satisfying way.
Boruto himself is even different enough from Naruto that he feels like a separate character, with only the resemblance and family scenes there to remind us that he is, in fact, Naruto’s son, and the reason for this is that Naruto is far too busy running an entire village as the Hokage he always dreamed of becoming to spend time with his family. Boruto resents his father for never having time for his family, and though he shares some traits with the boisterous Naruto of ages past, Boruto has different problems.
Instead of being abandoned and hated because of the Kyuubi inside like Naruto was, Boruto has no trouble making friends with the people around him, and in fact his charisma is far greater than Naruto’s ever was. He easily makes friends, but he is a bit headstrong and willing to do things that would put himself in danger to protect his friends or just to have a bit of fun.
What strikes me most about this new series is how it has a focus right from the get go: we know how the anime is going to end as the series starts in medias res. Considering this is an original story handed off to Ukyou Kodachi and Mikio Ikemoto, the newer generation, by the author of the Naruto manga, Masashi Kishimoto, it’s quite possible we won’t have as much filler as Naruto had, and subsequently, the anime won’t be as annoying and dumb with arcs not mattering to the overall story.
Even right now there are seeds of the future being planted in the first few episodes, so I’m looking forward to how the show handles the overall story and plot progression that the Naruto anime sadly couldn’t stick to in a meaningful fashion.
Another positive for me in this series is that we’re getting to see the schooling of these aspiring ninjas, which the Naruto series somewhat skipped over to get closer to Shippuden. Seeing Boruto in a school setting, at least when he’s not being suspended for his pranks and accidental destruction of property, is actually an enjoyable feature of the show, and a more in-depth look at how ninjas are trained, especially in this newly modernized world, is a fun storyline to watch happen.
Speaking of the modernized world, another feature of the series that I’m liking is the inclusion of the character with a penchant for technology: Denki Kaminarimon. While weak in physical strength and not one for ninjitsu like the rest of his class, Denki reminds me somewhat of pre-quirked Deku from the Boku no Hero Academia anime, though to a much lesser extent since Denki isn’t the main character.
He wants to be a hero just like Boruto seemed to be when Boruto protected him from a bunch of bullies, and the father issues Denki has actually make him a relatable character, which I always felt was Naruto’s (the series) strength.
Still, there are a few things I don’t enjoy as much from this anime, and that’s the almost copy paste of some of the kids from their parents. Rock Lee’s adopted protege, Metal Lee, is literally Rock Lee with a nervousness if people are watching him, but he still is the lesser of the copy paste, since the Lee “family” is intentionally copy-pasted in clothing/looks to increase the bond between master and apprentice.
Shikadai, Sarada, and Chouchou are all very much as if the creators blended the parents of the characters together and drizzled out what the result was, and their personalities are almost identical to their parents, which makes it hard to define them as separate characters and not just a rehash, at least at this point.
Additionally, while the animation is generally good, there are quite a few moments and scenes where the quality degrades to be noticeable, which might turn some people off from the anime. The fights in the series are often fluid and the parkour that Boruto does in the first episode, especially, are pretty great.
But if the characters are just walking around and talking, there isn’t as much care to sticking to the model, which I feel might be the most important time to stick to the model, since the mundane moments are the points we can most easily relate and compare to our real life experiences.
In the end, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations feels like a fresh take on the ninja world we grew up on in Naruto, and I’m really enjoying watching the series week to week. If you’ve ever been a fan of Naruto, or just shounen in general, I definitely recommend checking this anime out, because if you like fights, ninjas, and fun characters, you’ll definitely enjoy this series as much as I do.
If you have any suggestions for future Why You Should be Watching articles, let me know down in the comments below, and if you have any questions or concerns, you can comment or contact me directly @Croswynd on Twitter.
And if you like something with a little more visual and verbal stimulation, take a look at my YouTube channel where I discuss anime in ways I don’t see discussed very often.
Finally, enjoy the way you watch anime, because as long as you’re having fun, that’s all that really matters.
See you in the next one!