If it is one thing Naruto fans can agree on – it’s that it’s sequel series Boruto is bad. But what makes this anime unanimously hated? Most reviews range from average to downright hate. Given the immense popularity of Naruto, it is quite puzzling how its sequel would crash so hard. Boruto has been quite a disappointing attempt to satisfy Naruto fans but does it have any redeeming qualities? I would like to focus on these points in the blog.
The important factor is Boruto’s treatment of Naruto. Our attachment and love for Naruto does make our perspective on this situation myopic – but who can one blame? After years of investing in a character who deserves nothing more than the best, it is hard to see him being disliked or disrespected. We can trace Naruto’s journey to becoming a Hokage with great detail and for someone to misjudge him can bring out a more protective side from the audience.
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Boruto, just like Naruto, is titled after its protagonist, Boruto Uzumaki, the son of Naruto Uzumaki. The series is set after the events of the Kaguya Otsutsuki arc in Naruto and follows the lives of the next generation – the kids of the previous generation of shinobis. Boruto is adapted from the manga of the same title Boruto: Naruto Next Generations.
WHY IS BORUTO SO BAD?
There are several facets that need to be addressed to understand why Boruto is met with a lot of criticisms from Naruto fans. These are:
1. THE CREATORS
The creator of Boruto is not Naruto’s creator Masashi Kishimoto. The manga is illustrated by Mikio Ikemoto – Kishimoto’s assistant – and written by Ukyo Kodachi. The proposal for creating a sequel was rejected by Masashi Kishimoto and the project was handed by him to his assistant. Although the anime is overseen by Kishimoto along with its creators, it’s hard to accept the foundation of the story. Especially when one can note the disparity in quality between the two.
2. LACK OF ORIGINALITY
One of the major reasons for its failure is the lack of originality on the part of the creators. Masashi Kishimoto laid the grounds for Boruto in the epilogue of Naruto which was quite one-dimensional and served the purpose of a good ending. Boruto has quite a lot of similarities to Naruto especially in his pranking tendencies which seem more like a cheap rip-off rather than an endearing trait. Boruto also inherits his father’s “Talk no Jutsu” which falls flat in front of the audience. His “Talk no Jutsu” does not resonate or evoke an emotional impact like Naruto’s did – which can be attributed to the fact that everything has been handed to Boruto on a silver platter. To make him stand out, the creators, hoped to make him the opposite of Naruto. Therefore, the dad hating prodigy was born. Naruto’s inability to make time for his family and Boruto’s frustration with it is quite understandable. Yet it does not garner sympathy from the audience as his antics come across as bratty, shallow and disrespectful.
3. BORUTO AS CHARACTER
Boruto as a character has no personality. He does share traits of loyalty and his need for acknowledgment from his father but other than that – nothing of substance. Boruto is the prodigy who can almost surpass his teacher, Konohamaru. The appeal of Naruto and its protagonist was that we were shown Naruto building his strength from scratch. Naruto was the “class clown” who gained the respect of his peers and elders with hard work and determination. His character development forms a major part of nostalgia one gets while thinking about the anime. Yet what is character development for someone who’s already at the top of the class and barely struggled as much as his father? This point wouldn’t have had such an impact if we hadn’t already seen Naruto grow into what he eventually became and invested so much in his character. Being served Boruto after that just doesn’t seem worth the time.
Naruto was able to resonate with its audience due to the optimism that Naruto displayed against his circumstances. The themes of bullying, loneliness, recognition, friendship, love, and loss struck a chord amongst the fans of all ages. It is definitely a classic. Boruto’s character does not offer that much emotional connection. Boruto feels overshadowed by his father and irritated by his negligence. These are important themes to be addressed but the drawback of it is the target audience for the anime. Boruto might not seem as annoying to kids but with the people that grew up with Naruto – their ages must have touched 20 or beyond. For them, these themes don’t hold as much value as it did during one’s teens. Therefore, even though Boruto’s irritation is understandable – it just comes off as bratty.
The characters of the anime are the sons and daughters of the previous generation introduced to us in Naruto. The creators have attempted to build an interest in these characters but it’s a dodgy one. Characters such as Shikadai, Metal Lee and more are not drastically different from their parents – therefore, it creates a sense of redundancy. I may not be wrong to suggest that the only connection from the audience to these characters are because of their parents. Even the initial excitement for Boruto came from the fact that fans wanted to see how the characters grew up to be and how they are as parents.
6. FILLERS AND PLOT
Boruto already has a lot of fillers which hinders the flow or direction of the plot. The plot in itself does not have much a direction as it has not yet revealed any overarching antagonist or a real challenge for Boruto. Fans are aware of the powers of Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura which do not build any suspense for fights that involve them. Therefore, the plot remains quite stagnant in terms of character development and action. It is only enjoyable for those who care for the Shinobi world and wish to see more of it.
IS IT REDEEMABLE?
The only character development one can think for Boruto is gaining some maturity and developing more respect for his father. The show can pull a 360 and make the anime less superficial if they provide events that actually grab your attention through its suspense. Sarada is a far more interesting character than Boruto and takes the limelight. More arcs based on her could also improve the anime’s quality. Boruto isn’t as terrible as made out to be if one can view it without any biases – but that is quite hard to do. Boruto is definitely not up to the mark and needs to work more on its characters and its action sequences – which is what made Naruto so popular.