I think if I continue writing about this show, I might as well change this website to: The Boruto Corner: A Place For Boruto Opinions. I’m obsessed with this series. And though that may be bad, or show that I have terrible taste, I don’t really care. It’s a show I enjoy. And usually with these pieces about Boruto I start out with my defense of the show or I talk about the idiotic people who complain about it without having their receipts. I mean sure it’s fine to complain if you know what you’re talking about, but if you’re a viewer of this show comparing non-graduate academy students/ pre-Genin kids to the characters in Naruto Shippuden and call them weaker than Shippuden characters or if you complain about how Naruto was facing Zabuza by this point, I need you to understand, Boruto and his supporting cast haven’t graduated yet. They’re not even ninja yet. And for the people complaining about the graduation exam being soft in comparison to the Chunin exam, I mean, my peeps, they’re not the same thing. I…ugh.
Anyways, the second (Naruto Gaiden: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring) and third (Hidden Mist) arcs have ended, and we’re currently covering the graduation exam in the show. I’ll talk about these two past arcs and the good and bad about them. The coverage for one of these arcs will be shorter than the other mainly because one of these arcs was shorter. Then I’ll talk about what’s currently going on and continue my ongoing conversation about what I want to happen, what I think will happen, and what can be improved for this show, because as I’ve said before, I love this show.
Naruto Gaiden: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring (or Sarada Gaiden for short)
So this arc was was adapted from the Naruto manga where Kishimoto decided to give the fans a few more chapters set after the original ending of the Naruto series. When I read this arc many years (two? two probably.) ago I enjoyed the narrative of it. Sarada wondering who her real mother is (though it’s the one she’s been living with the entire time). The reunion between Team 7. Sasuke and Naruto being badasses. It was great. It’s just that when I saw that it was being adapted for Boruto, I didn’t know how to quite feel about it. As I had mentioned in a previous Boruto post, I didn’t know how to feel about this arc in the context of the show being called Boruto and being primarily about the character Boruto. If the series were fifty or so episodes in an arc about other characters barely featuring the titular character would be fine, but it hadn’t even been twenty episodes into the series yet, so separating him from the narrative felt odd. Luckily the series made a nice move by making the “arc” five episodes. Any longer would have been too much separation, though most fans who hate Boruto would have liked that. Viewers came out this arc hardcore Sarada fans, but it made me wonder what Boruto would do to keep up, much in the same as the original Naruto series. Every time Sasuke would get a power up I’d wonder when Naruto would get his (until Shippuden where I became a Sasuke apologist).
But for the most part this arc was great, and unfortunately I had to view the same comments with the anime adaptation of this arc that I viewed with the manga. People who don’t fully understand or refuse to understand would misunderstand that Sakura was Sarada’s actual mother etc. etc.
I enjoyed the return of Sasuke and seeing him in anime action again makes me look forward to the adaptation of the movie and for the time where he’ll actually teach Boruto things (cause let’s face it the two main fixtures of this new generation are likely going to go opposite of their parents). But the best part of this arc was that they changed a few things from the manga. Sakura was more useful, had more scenes, and had one of the best action sequences of the arc and that’s pretty dope.
Over all this arc was amazing and didn’t really have any issues outside of the original issues I had from the manga. Sasuke should know what his daughter looks like/ he’s smart enough to know that Sarada wasn’t a Shin clone. That’s really all I have for this arc, but the next one…woo-wee.
Hidden Mist Trip
So this arc, contrary to a good number of fans’ beliefs, is canon. In the manga Boruto mentions this trip to the Hidden Mist, he doesn’t get into the details of it all, but he mentions it and I’ll take that as a win. Now when this trip to the Hidden Mist was mentioned I felt as though the show was taking a trick from the Naruto playbook. I didn’t know how to really feel about it (I don’t know how to feel about most things, kids, ‘cept Nazis. they’re bad). The last thing I want this show to be is a rehash of Naruto or a remix of the original formula. I want this show to try and stray away from Naruto as much as it can. I want this show to stand its own ground and try not to rely on the nostalgia that fans have, because nostalgic fans will never truly love this show as much as they loved the previous one. There’s a bias and an unfair comparison where they look at Naruto with rose tinted glasses, while I watched the chunin exam arc during the summer (and kind of had my pair of rose tints smashed).
Now with this arc, I expected it to maybe almost go beat for beat with the Zabuza arc, but then it was completely different (as it should be. the set ups are different, one’s for an actual mission the other is for a class field trip. one group is expected to risk their lives because they’re actually ninja the other group has pre-graduates and they aren’t expected to risk anything because it’s a class trip. one gets over glamorized because of nostalgia and the other gets ripped because it doesn’t keep up with people’s insane expectations.). Rather than a rehash or a throwback to keep older Naruto fans hooked, we get a field trip that goes to the wayside. Boruto and friends end up dealing with delusional youth who want this peaceful time to be over with. They want to return to being the Bloody Mist. And for the most part that seemed cool. The battles were awesome. Boruto showed off his experimental skills which further proved how much of a genius he is (which is one of the reasons I like his character. too often we’re presented shonen protagonists who are just stupid. with Boruto, he’s a goof ball, but he’s actually smart).
The problems I had with this arc were the handling of the villains and the handling of Kagura. The problematic nature of the villains came when the writers tried to make them more complex than they needed to and tried to get far too intricate with the politics of the ninja world. As much as that could have been interesting, it unfortunately landed as unnecessary exposition. The villains simply could have been youths with a desire to make chaos and return to a point of being feared as a village. I would have liked all of them better if they were way over their heads ninja who wanted to emulate their heroes, the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist. But as we got further into the leader of the group, Shizuma’s, interactions with the politics of the world or the root of his anger against the Hidden Mist, things go far too muddy. If we had let that go, the pacing would’ve been better and we’d have clear intent for our antagonists.
The biggest problem of the arc was Kagura though. And it’s not because of his character arc, I get that. He has a bit of PTSD and believes himself to be a monster due to his bloodline. It’s a compelling storyline and allows him to serve as a foil to Boruto. Both characters are trying not to embrace their bloodlines, Kagura because he believes embracing the bloodline will lead to being a murderer, and Boruto because he’s a “spoiled brat” (but also because he wants to claim his own identity unshackled by his father’s lineage). Kagura, feeling as if he has no one to support him in life, follows Shizuma because Shizuma says it’s okay to be a monster. That too makes for a great storyline (even if we as the audience understand the dramatic irony going on, since we know Shizuma is only using Kagura), but the unfortunate part of this arc is the execution. We’re shown scenes to explain the relationship between Kagura and Shizuma too much. And the internal conflict of Kagura is shown so much that rather than seeming conflicted, he’s conveyed more as wishy-washy. And I don’t know if the repetitive uses of these scenes to try to convey this inner-conflict was more due to the writers being unsure of their own writing or them underestimating the audience’s ability to comprehend slightly complex motives. Either way it made for a plot line that bogged down the arc rather than enhancing it. Still at the end of the day, I was pretty entertained.
Current Stuff (Graduation Exam/ Team Formations)
Currently we’re pretty much done with the graduation exam. And our cast are now Genin. I liked every episode between the end of the Field Trip arc and the current episode (episode 38). A common complaint about these episodes are that we don’t need slice of life episodes. All we need are fights! This peaceful generation is weak etc. etc. I’m a macho man and fights get my blood pumping. More twelve year olds should die. And while I understand fans’ desires to have more action oriented episodes and keep the ball rolling to get to what essentially would be Boruto Shippuden, I quite liked the slice of life episodes. And maybe it might be because I like a lot of character driven content. I mean one of my favorite parts of DBZ was when Gohan went to high school. I just enjoyed watching him balance being a normal teen with being a half-alien superhuman. We got to understand our characters more in these episodes especially during the fishing episode. As much as Boruto cares about his friends and likes learning about being a ninja, he knows that graduating will split his friends apart. And before they graduate and break up into teams, he just wants one last memory with them. There doesn’t need to be a fight. There doesn’t need to be a serious tone. Just let ’em go fishing for one of their last times as a class. As much as fans want to compare the new generation to the older gens, the point is this: They’re in a peaceful time and I get that fans want the newer generation to reach the point of the older ones, but let them have their peace while they can. Just because older generations couldn’t afford such down time it doesn’t mean fans should want to take that away from this newer one or else you’re disregarding the work the older gens put in to get to this point.
Oh and for the people who keep commenting on Kakashi wiping the floor with the newer generation, of course a former Hokage can beat a bunch of eleven to twelve year old pre-graduates. You guys are like old NBA-heads comparing MJ to middle schoolers. Stop it.
As for the graduation exam itself it was great. It had the action everyone wanted and it brought in the extended cast who got to also put in work. It was great to learn about the other academy students outside of the main ten children. This arc also allowed for an extension in Boruto’s character development or at least pointed out a major flaw in his character that was needed. Since he’s a prodigy he doesn’t put in all of the work he should (which will then flow into the movie arc). Also it lends to the point that being at peace disallows our characters to take being ninja seriously. They don’t have to deal with many threats to their lives and they don’t yet have that decisive resolution that ninja need. Though I will say that even Naruto’s generation didn’t really have that during their Genin exams.
The next arc will be Mitsuki Gaiden, so that’ll be cool (though that might only be an episode or two). Hopefully the next full fledged arc will deal with a small mission for the new Team 7. I’d love for the show to exhibit Boruto’s development in water release since that’s something he learns before the movie. But it would also just be cool to see at least one mission arc to show our characters working together and developing before Boruto gets his true character development in the movie arc. I’d also like to see what the Sumire team and the Metal Lee, Denki, and Iwabe team do since they weren’t covered in the movie. And because I like to see the anime as a definitive version or a revisionist version of the Boruto franchise, I’d like to see more developmental narrative moves leading to the movie arc. The show can improve by slowly developing whatever exposition moves the writers want to do over the course of multiple episodes rather than cramming them in to only a few. Also the writers should trust in their ability to convey narrative threads and the emotion behind them in only a few scenes rather than repetitive beats in order to not bog things down. And for the sake of ridding the fanboy angst, the series should continue to stray down the path untraveled in order to claim its own identity outside of the shadow of its predecessor, even if that deals with making some experimental moves. The more the better, as long as it’s intentional.
I think that’s all I got. I’ll leave you with the second OP (which I don’t really know if I like it or not, I don’t think I’m down with the song). Later days.