Being a sequel of an iconic manga regarded as one of the “Big Three,” Boruto: Naruto Next Generations’ manga was off to a shaky start for sure.
However, it made readers come around with the introduction of a new Akatsuki parallel, and Boruto manga’s very own ‘mysterious crime organization ‘— Kara, and a new Ohtsutsuki antagonist — Isshiki.
With Kara and Ohtsutsuki came a new curse seal-like mark — Karma. With several theories going around, let’s look at what Karma is and whether it’s a boon or a bane for the main characters.
1. What Is a Karma Seal in Boruto?
The Karma seal in Boruto acts like a compressed backup file that the Ohtsutsuki clan uses to overcome death and become immortal.
Whenever an Ohtsutsuki is on the verge of death and wishes to be reborn, they compress themselves into the Karma seal and place it onto a suitable vessel’s body. From then on, the mark starts to extract the data slowly from the Karma into the vessel’s body.
Once the extraction is complete, the vessel’s body is overwritten by the Ohtsutsuki’s data, and hence the latter transcends death and is resurrected again.
2. Known Users of Karma
I. Boruto Uzumaki
Boruto got his Karma seal when he went along with Sasuke and the other Kage to save Naruto.
Since the Ohtsutsuki clan members have the ability to transcend death with the help of seals, just before he died, Momoshiki gave Boruto a Karma mark in the form of a dot on the latter’s right palm.
The Karma seal on Boruto means that he is marked as the chosen vessel of Momoshiki Ohtsutsuki, and once the extraction is complete, he will be resurrected into Boruto’s body.
Isshiki Ohtsutsuki gave Kawaki the Karma seal after he realized that Jigen’s body could not withstand his powers.
It was later revealed in the manga that Kawaki’s cursed seal acts as a wormhole to different dimensions and is under the control of Jigen (Isshiki) rather than Kawaki himself.
Upon activation, the mark spreads over the left side of his body in a pattern uncannily similar to Boruto’s. Furthermore, Kawaki sprouts tiny horns similar to that of Isshiki Otsutsuki, the owner of the chakra and Karma seal.
Did Kawaki Lose His Karma?
Kawaki lost his Karma when Isshiki reincarnated using Jigen’s body, resulting in other vessels’ marks to be erased.
When an Ohtsutsuki dies, the transfer into one’s vessel begins immediately. It is a strict rule of Karma, and even Isshiki cannot control it.
While Jigen may be medically dead, as an Ohtsutsuki vessel, he is still functional. Hence, Isshiki ultimately reincarnated using Jigen’s body.
When this happened, the Karma mark on Kawaki disappeared because once an Ohtsutsuki reincarnates, all other Karma marks implanted onto other vessels are simultaneously erased.
This is a safety measure to prevent the risk of creating duplicates of the same person.
Jigen was Isshiki Ohtsutsuki’s first vessel on Earth after Kaguya betrayed him. Isshiki, who was now on the brink of death, managed to find a weak and unfortunate disciple, Jigen.
To save himself, Isshiki shrank and infiltrated Jigen’s body to control it from the inside. Eventually, he put a karma mark on Jigen and overrode his body data. Now, Jigen no longer bears a Karma seal as he is Isshiki Ohtsutsuki himself.
3. Karma Seals – Powers & Abilities
The Karma seals or Karma Mark are the culmination of Ohtsutsuki data itself. They provide the vessel with several Ohtsutsuki clan abilities, such as Chakra Absorption and Chakra Dispersion.
In general, Karma helps in healing wounds and accelerates the vessel’s regeneration.
It is important to note that these seals’ true powers are usually activated during emotional distress or through arduous training. This is because the Ohtsutsuki will (conscience) tries to protect its host under distress.
For example, Momoshiki Ohtsutsuki was briefly able to take over Boruto’s body when he was knocked unconscious by Boro.
The karma seals possess the simple function of absorbing and redistributing Jutsu. Although this is its foundational power, the seals’ abilities vary from mark to mark, depending on the original Otsutsuki members.
For example, Boruto’s Karma seal has the ability to absorb ninjutsu and amplify its power before releasing it against his opponents. Upon activation, the Karma spreads over the right side of his body in angular patterns and reaches his eye, turning it blue.
On the other hand, Kawaki’s Karma gives him the ability to open different dimensions and gives his eye a red color.
I. Drawbacks of Karma Seal Powers
They are many drawbacks of Karma seals, the first being the vulnerability of losing one’s body to the Ohtsutsuki data and vanishing forever.
This means that the Karma mark that Momoshiki and Isshiki put into Boruto and Kawaki’s body respectively are extracting the data right this second.
Once the extraction is complete, both Boruto and Kawaki will die, or their personality will be ‘overwritten, ‘and Momoshiki and Isshiki Ohtsutsuki will be reborn in their bodies.
Another drawback is the massive strain that comes from activating the Karma seal. When facing Naruto and Sasuke, Jigen had to rely heavily on the mark, which resulted in him needing two whole days to reach peak strength again.
The most important drawback of the Karma seal is the erosion of humanity and willpower within Kawaki that calls into question the fate of Boruto and the irony of his “blessing.”
4. Does Naruto Have a Karma Seal Too?
A Karma seal is something that can be given by an Otsusuki member to someone else only when they die. By doing so, they mark that person their vessel, which they use to transcend death, and resurrect themselves.
Naruto does not have a Karma seal because he hasn’t killed an Ohtsutsuki, which is a prerequisite for receiving one.
Whenever he faced an Ohtsutsuki opponent, he sealed them (in the case of Kaguya) instead of killing, thus making sure that they would never reincarnate.
Furthermore, Naruto is already way too overpowered without a Karma seal. He can already destroy half the moon alone and the world itself with the help of Sasuke.
It is difficult to imagine just how strong he will become after gaining Karma. If this happens, Boruto will lose all meaning, and the series will just become Naruto 2 all over again (not that I’m complaining).
5. About Boruto
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is written and illustrated by Mikio Ikemoto, and supervised by Masashi Kishimoto. It came into serialization in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump in June 2016.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is the series that follows the exploits of Naruto’s son, Boruto, during his academy days and further on. The series follows the character development of Boruto and the looming evil that challenges the fate of him and his loved ones.Originally Written By Epic Dope