Just a few months ago, another series quickly followed the end of one of the longest running shounen anime: Naruto Shippuden. This sequel is a spin-off titled Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, set a little over ten years after Shippuden’s finale, and now starring Naruto’s titular son. It doesn’t sound like it, but the series is actually a charming show in its own right.
The first arc started with victim-of-the-week episodes featuring Boruto’s strange eye powers, followed by a plot-driven second half that unsurprisingly resolved in the most Naruto way possible. After that were filler-esque episodic adventures that was soon enough replaced by the ongoing adaptation of the side-story manga starring Sasuke’s daughter Sarada. A lot of the plot developments aren’t going to surprise, and one would justifiably accuse it of leaning too close to formula.
However, being formulaic isn’t exactly a bad thing when it does a lot of things that work. For one, the series has a good grasp of its central themes: (1) the pursuit of individuality, that one does not need to feel obligated to follow their parents’ footsteps, and (2) familial connection, particularly father-child relationships.
About that, Boruto’s awkward relationship with his father makes for some of the best written moments in the series. Naruto, being an orphan as long as he could remember, has no idea how to properly interact with his son. Meanwhile Boruto, despite outwardly resenting him for rarely coming home ever since becoming the Hokage, certainly longs for his support. The show conveys this gracefully through effective use of dialogues.
Another point in the series’ favor is its colorful and likable array of cast. Boruto certainly has Naruto’s temperament, but his outgoing nature, brimming self-confidence and drive to be his own kind of individual makes him a fully-realized character different from his father. His interactions with his classmates are fun to watch even in the most mundane of moments. Top-notch character chemistry.
Adding to that point is the wonderfully portrayed core female cast. The girls feel like their own characters with their own stories, and have personalities that don’t fall under tired stereotypes. The show doesn’t sexualize them, either.
These strengths already make the series a worthwhile experience, but the show even looks and sounds nice. Konoha may look more modern now, but it’s as atmospheric as it has always been, further amplified by memorable soundtracks. The character designs are distinctive, memorable, and lend themselves well to breathtaking animation work.
All these makes for a strongly entertaining series that anime fans should give a try. It’s also relatively newcomer-friendly; while it helps to know the previous main cast, there’s no need to see the original series to fully appreciate this show. It’s gearing up to be a long-runner as well, so it might be best to watch this as soon as possible. Boruto is pure fun so far, and it seems that it will get even better.