Born out of the feathers of Naruto, Boruto was doomed to succumb to its tradition of fillers. But what’s more frustrating to long-time fans is Boruto’s disappointing attempt to emulate its predecessor’s popularity.
Meanwhile, new-time fans have the luxury of viewing it separate from its prequel and displace it from Naruto’s shadows.
Boruto’s extremely polarized views can be quite puzzling, and therefore, here we are to analyze what makes the show tick and what doesn’t.
1. Should you watch Boruto?
One of the major reasons that drag Boruto down is its shortsighted treatment of the renowned character, Naruto. Other reasons include the lack of strong symbolism in Boruto’s journey, constant fillers, underdeveloped characters, and lack of relatability.
Nevertheless, Boruto holds room for improvement.
2. Why is Boruto sad & boring?
Boruto definitely is a sad attempt to milk the franchise’s worth. These harsh words are painful to pen down, but aren’t far from the truth. Can it get boring?
Yes, save for certain arcs of the anime such as the “Chunin Exams” and the “Vs. Momoshiki Arc” – the anime tends to be on the stale side of the spectrum.
This is to say that the anime has adopted a more ‘slice of life’ approach to many of its fillers, which don’t sit well with long-time fans of Naruto. Now, the myriad of views range from positive to downright negative, but the audience can easily be classified into two :
- Those who watched Naruto previously
- Those who are introduced to the franchise through Boruto
It is the first batch of fans that generate most of its hate. While the new batch of fans take Boruto as it is. This forms the fundamental basis for gauging Boruto’s quality.
Boruto, as a show separate from Naruto, is decent or average entertainment – something you can just sit back and enjoy (I say average because there are many better quality anime out there).
If you’re watching it for the animation, art style, and the general feel of it, it is definitely noteworthy. Whereas, if you pick up the ‘Naruto lens’ and view it through that, there are several problematic elements that hinder Boruto’s potential.
I. Lack of Individuality
Now, Masashi Kishimoto ends Naruto Shippuden in a way that offers a glimpse of Naruto’s life post the war. It is one-dimensional and meant to serve as a good ending to the series – a realization that Naruto earned his good life through hard work.
This one-dimensional narrative soon becomes the foundation for Boruto, which, without effective writing, cannot break free of its mighty prequel. One of the major problems of Boruto is the lack of individuality or originality that permeates within its narrative.
Initially, Boruto shares striking similarities to his father, such as his pranks, the ‘Talk no Jutsu’, and the need for recognition. But, all of these traits come off quite bratty in Boruto’s case due to the lack of emotional depth behind Boruto’s story.
Compared to Naruto, Boruto feels like an overpowered child with everything being handed to him on a silver platter.
Although this should not invalidate the pain and suffering of being neglected by his busy father, the narrative fails to resonate with fans who will be unable to look it past its shallow exterior.
Just to make him different from his father, he has the goal of becoming a great shinobi in his own right and not as ‘Naruto’s son’.
This sounds awfully similar to Konohamaru’s goals as well, which is pretty understandable, but it fails to evoke sympathy in fans due to his antics. This, in a major way, hinders the emotional connection between the characters and the audience.
II. Naruto’s Treatment
Naruto was a name that was known to a whole generation and remained an integral part of people’s childhood. A character that was known to even non-anime viewers. So, therefore, watching Naruto take on the role of an “absent father” is difficult to digest.
It is undeniable that our vision turns myopic after seeing a beloved character maligned due to our intensive emotional investment. Arguably, this shows that even our heroes are fallible. The kid with the largest heart has his flaws.
Yet, the show portrays this from Boruto’s perspective rather than Naruto’s, which makes the experience more foreign. Given the long and arduous journey, Naruto weathered from childhood to adulthood – it is quite hard to view him from another person’s perspective, especially when it’s negative.
The whole arc becomes more about Boruto trying to understand his dad better rather than Naruto’s journey of the self, which would admittedly be more interesting. This shows that people are more invested in the characters on the sideline than the protagonists.
Through the Time Slip Arc, Boruto comes to understand his father better by witnessing the period of his childhood. This is definitely an improvement for the show and beneficial to its progress.
But, nevertheless, it has a long way to go. Another problematic decision was to sideline Naruto. Yes, the show is titled Boruto and is about Boruto.
But the creators fail to see that most of the investment in Boruto comes from the people who’d like to see Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura again.
Sidelining of these characters is equal to stacking up the odds against the show. This would be considered fan service, but technically, wasn’t the idea to create the show fanservice to begin with?
III. Relatability & Target Audience
The lack of symbolism in Boruto’s journey is another hindrance to its potential. Naruto resonated with fans due to what he represented. He was the socially shunned kid, dubbed as “talentless” who had an ambitious dream.
It might be quite corny, but then we’re all a corny little inside, and there is a part in all of us that roots for the underdog in the story. Naruto wholeheartedly embraces the underdog identity and grows organically through the show.
Boruto does have to prove his worth on his own rather than through his father, but it isn’t a goal that hooks viewers. Boruto is already far more overpowered than Naruto was at his age to the point that the existence of Jounin or Chunin is a joke in front of this Genin.
His issues of being overshadowed by his father and the constant negligence are quite important and need to be addressed. But this aspect does not go hand in hand with its audience. Many of Naruto fans have grown up and have probably become twenty-something and beyond.
So, Boruto’s issues come off more like an adolescent issue than an adult issue. This is exactly why fans feel that Boruto is targeted towards a younger audience – which it is!
The new batch of fans are on the younger side of the spectrum and are more likely to relate to the issues of the protagonist.
Boruto might garner a sliver of sympathy from Naruto fans but not with the intensity through which they related to Naruto. The emotional evocation of its predecessor was one of its greatest strengths, and Boruto falters in that case.
IV. Power Scaling
The power scaling in this show is almost insane and hard to believe. The action scenes of the show seem almost God-like. This is reminiscent of the battle with Kaguya towards the end of Naruto Shippuden. But Boruto, as a whole, continues with that insane power scale.
Things like Mitsuki being a Genin could master Sage Mode is slightly dubious. Boruto is extremely strong in the show as a Genin to the point that he defeats Momoshiki with a little help. We agree that the next generation evolves and is better, but this is almost unrealistic.
The power scaling towards the end of Naruto Shippuden itself was crazy but, to go beyond that, makes the whole ordeal almost otherworldly.
It’s hard to make the characters more grounded and relatable when they’re all so powerful for their age. Not to mention, the power scaling of Naruto and Sasuke in this show creates a feeling of reverence almost.
They’re capable of destroying planets together similar to the Otsutsuki clans. This erodes the charm of these characters as now they seem like entities beyond the confines of human capabilities.
Power scaling only makes sense when considering the villains of the show are the Otsutsukis, but then again, it makes for insane action sequences.
The Achilles heel of the Naruto franchise was its fillers. The period of indignation against these fillers was an experience that was universal. The creators made the poor decision of adapting the manga into an anime as soon as possible.
The manga began publishing on 9th May 2016, and the anime was released on 5th April 2017. In the time spanning less than a year, they decided to adopt the manga. This, however, was a decision without foresight.
There wasn’t enough content to peddle for the anime’s production. So the anime deviated from the manga’s route and tried to establish its own voice through fillers. Truthfully, Boruto’s fillers are more enjoyable than Naruto’s.
But they adopt a more ‘slice of life’ approach, which can only be digested to an extent. These fillers became a way to stall the people so that more content could be churned by the creator of the manga. This was evident.
They overlooked the decision to take a break and bring the episodes out season-wise like My Hero Academia, which would have been its saving grace. Recently, the anime converged with the manga to adapt its “Mujina Bandits arc” but with its end, it has reverted back to the filler cycle.
Boruto took quite a while to find its footing. Initially, the characters came across as a carbon copies of the original characters. It seemed like a poor attempt to salvage the dynamic within the show.
At one point the only interesting characters in the show were Sarada and possibly, Mitsuki. Characters like Shikadai, Metal Lee, and Chocho were so one-dimensional that it became a blot of redundancy in the story and character’s development.
The anime has seen some progression in Boruto’s development and his maturity, which feels like a refreshing turning point for the show. If the anime continues to adapt to the manga’s path, it will be able to expand on interesting characters like Kawaki, Jigen, Ao, and so forth.
VII. Boruto’s Creator
Boruto is canon as the anime is supervised by Masashi Kishimoto, and the manga creators include his former assistant. But, technically, Masashi Kishimoto is not the creator of Boruto.
He had originally rejected the proposal of creating a sequel to Naruto. Thereafter, the project was handed to his assistant, Mikio Ikemoto. Boruto manga is illustrated by Mikio Ikemoto and written by Ukyo Kodachi, who is also the story supervisor for the anime.
This makes it hard for fans to accept the canonicity of the story, especially with the dip in the quality of the sequel.
3. Is Boruto really trash?
People may argue it’s unfair to judge a series through the lens of another, but it is extremely hard to separate a sequel from its prequel. When one serves as a benchmark of the potential the franchise can reach, the other one struggles in comparison.
Given the immense popularity and the stature Naruto gained, there are a wide range of fans spread across different demographics judging Boruto with prior biases. Now, calling Boruto trash might be an overstatement, but the sentiment is understandable.
If one can remember the poor carbon copy Naruto makes of himself in the first episode of Naruto, it perfectly represents what Boruto is for many Naruto fans.
But as an anime itself, Boruto does offer awesome action sequences, decent story arcs, and a way to indulge in the beautiful world built by Masashi Kishimoto. Boruto has its moments, of course, but the overall experience is quite overshadowed by its fumbling.
Considering the various quality Shounen anime being doled out every year, It wouldn’t be on the top of my recommendations, but if you have the patience to look past these points and want a laid-back experience, then Boruto offers decent entertainment.
4. Will it ever get good?
Boruto definitely has the potential to become better than it is right now. It can actualize its potential well once it improves certain aspects. Nevertheless, it is hard to imagine whether its best will ever overshadow its prequel.
There are possibilities of certain arcs being better than Naruto’s, but I don’t see how it can climb over the powerful reputation of Naruto. But I guess, just like Boruto, the show can earn popularity in its own right and break free of the dependency on Naruto.
This reality will take time because even through Boruto’s merchandise, you can notice that they capitalize on the merch of the older characters and not the main protagonists of the show.
The manga seems to be getting quite interesting with the mystery of the Karma seals and the character of Kawaki. The current Kawaki arc seems to have gripped its audience, and therefore, the show can redeem itself once it begins to adapt to this crucial arc.
The opening scene of the series of a dark future with Boruto becoming the powerful savior offers a scenario for people to hold on to. Once the darker times set in, Boruto could get increasingly interesting.
The characters of Sarada, Boruto, Kawaki are starting to become more well-rounded, so this could improve things for the show. Also, Boruto always serves as a fun return for Naruto fans to engage with the franchise.
The wonderful animation and art style can complement the show powerfully once the character development and story development stabilizes. These points are the gateway to making Boruto a redeemable watch.
5. About Boruto
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is written and illustrated by Mikio Ikemoto, and supervised by Masashi Kishimoto himself. 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.