Naruto, unlike any other anime show I have ever watched, had become the one series that everyone loved to hate. Endless fillers, one of the behemoths of the modern anime industry with an international appeal and recognition, the story of the young ninja took over the world with its extensive lore and endless wars of over-the-top jutsu. Being a ludicrous franchise of movies, games, and of course, TV episodes, we all kind of knew that his story, or at least the story of his world, wouldn’t end after the manga finished almost a year ago.
So, when we were introduced to Naruto’s son, Boruto, in the Last Naruto Movie, the speculations ended at that moment. A new manga series started with Boruto at the helm and just recently a new TV show titled “Boruto: Naruto Next Generations”. There was never a doubt, to be honest, but no one knew for sure when the next series would start and if you ask me, Spring 2017 might not have been the best time considering that other prominent anime shows like “Attack On Titan” and “Boku no Hero Academia” returned for their second seasons.
But, like its predecessor, Boruto is in for the long run, and since I was one of those fans that loved to hate Naruto, I decided to turn over a new leaf (pun intended) and start watching the new show. This is the review of episode one of “Boruto: Naruto Next Generations” titled “Boruto Uzumaki”.
First, a quick recap of the episode. If you still haven’t watched it, you better do so before reading because there are major spoilers ahead. Don’t you know where to watch it? Worry not. You can find all the Boruto episodes here.
Now that this is over and done with, let’s start. The show starts with Boruto fighting a mysterious character named Kawaki on the Hokage Rock in the back of the village. Like the movie before it, we see big changes to the Village Hidden in the Leaf. It has expanded like never before even though now it’s once again destroyed after what seems like a devastating battle between the two ninjas.
Boruto activates his right eye the moment Kawaki says that the age of shinobi is over. Boruto counters him by telling him that he is a shinobi too. That’s all the info we get about the future of Boruto many years in the future. Back to the present (I guess), it’s the day prior the start of the new year in the Ninja Academy. We see Boruto running through the village with Shikamaru’s son, Shikadai. Their goal is to ride the train to the other side of the town to buy a sandwich. It’s then that we learn that tomorrow they both start attending the Ninja Academy.
Boruto seems to have forgotten everything about it and Shikadai warns him to not be late because his mother always scolds him to take care of Boruto since he is Naruto’s son. Boruto, however, doesn’t seem all too excited to bear the title of the Hokage’s son. In his way back home, Boruto notices a young boy getting bullied by a gang of young boys. They want to steal his lunch money. Boruto, not being able to behold the wrongdoing of the three children gets in the middle and saves the boy by using the Shadow Clone Jutsu.
After running away from the bullies, Boruto asks the young boy why he didn’t defend himself. Denki, the boy Boruto saved, tells him that he didn’t have to do it because the lunch money was nothing for him since his father is one of the richest men in the modern Konoha. However, he also is someone that presses his son to become a shinobi due to the respect he holds towards them since it’s because of them that his business managed to flourish. After hearing his story, Boruto tells Denki that he has to stand up to his father and pursue the path he wants to and not what the others tell him.
Later on the episode, we see Denki following Boruto’s advice but instead being turned out by his father. After the scene, Denki seems to be afflicted by a strange kind of dark jutsu. Boruto, on the other side, returns home only to find his mother, Hinata, and sister waiting for him. Naruto is nowhere to be found after he has taken over the duty of becoming Hokage, something that seems to reflect negatively on Boruto.
The next day, we see Boruto starting late for school, only to find out it was part of his plan to catch up on his sleep and use the train to get there in time. However, on his way to the Academy, he witnesses a scene with the three bullies. Denki, having used his father’s business, has set up two faulty trains on a route to collide with each other. After some events transpire, we see Boruto witnessing the dark chakra around Denki and not too long ago, he manages to save Denki and the bullies.
In the last scene, the train gets away from the tracks and straight into Naruto’s rock face just in time to get to the academy.
Now, let’s proceed to the review.
First, the good parts: the art of the show has remained mostly intact. The action scenes are a bit flashier than those of the past and the character design is inspired by the original characters of the show. Boruto resembles Naruto, Shikadai resembles Shikamaru, and so on. The story follows the same tone that Naruto did. Funny with bits of inspirational talk here and there, but it’s still too early to see if it’ll follow the same formula the show did in the past.
Now, for the not-so-good parts. Boruto is pretty much how Naruto would have ended up if he was neglected by his father. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see a continuity to the story of both the adult Naruto and his son, Boruto but I think that the writer is stretching the plot a bit thin to give us content for this show. Naruto who had a difficult time growing up without parents doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would neglect both his children in the worst way possible.
I get the whole “Naruto is too busy to take care of his family” trope but after countless episodes of getting to know him, this doesn’t seem all that too plausible in the end. The same thing goes for Shikadai. Except for some minor changes to his design, Shikadai is pretty much Shikamaru when he was younger. Also, I’m not sure I dig in so much in the whole modern era Konoha. It’s great that now they have a train, video games, and sandwiches, but one thing that made Naruto great was its consistency.
Overall, “Boruto: Naruto Next Generations” pilot episode was equal parts refreshing and confusing. In my opinion, it’ll get me some time to get used to it before I start enjoying it, but I wish it doesn’t follow the same mistakes its predecessor did. If it’s low on fillers and gives us interesting arcs to follow, then it’ll be a nice addition to the Naruto family.
Did you like the episode or will you stick with your memories of the original Naruto show? Let me know in the comments section below. Until next time, keep devouring them anime shows!