When Naruto The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring was first serialized as part of the Naruto Project in 2015, it was everything I could have asked for as a childhood fan of Masashi Kishimoto. Some days it really haunts me that Kishimoto was in NYC for Comic Con (which I attended!) and I never got to meet him.
Naruto is the character I grew up with; he means to me what Harry Potter must mean to a lot of readers. 72 volumes, incredibly long amounts of anime filler, and quite a few spin-offs later, we ended up with the anime Boruto: Naruto Next Generation. Maybe this show isn’t everyone’s flavor, and maybe Boruto is a fairly entitled brat with a father’s complex. But I remember a similarly bratty child Naruto, a good for nothing but jokes Naruto, and the struggles of not having any parents and any friends that Naruto had to overcome. Yes, Boruto has a father. Having a largely absent father may not be the same type of struggle as growing up without one, but it is a struggle nonetheless. Boruto may grate on my nerves occasionally because I just want him to communicate (how hard can a hi i miss you let’s hangout dad be please), but he isn’t the only one who has a father that’s almost never home.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generation is an anime series I’m honestly excited about, but it largely has more to do with seeing the dynamics of the older original characters I spent 72 volumes of Naruto with rather than Boruto and the other children on their new adventures. A lot of the children of the original characters share a 99% match on personality with the parents, so it isn’t difficult to see what I loved about Shikamaru in Shikidai. My favorite scenes are always moments like Naruto spending time with his children, and there is something incredibly gratifying about seeing Konoha at peace 15 years after the events of the final Naruto volume. Boruto is the anime that gives me a real glance into the what happens after the last page is finished. Not only do I get to see Naruto accomplish his dreams, I get to see Naruto living his dream as the Seventh Hokage.
As a child, Sasuke was admittedly my favorite character. It was the mysterious bad boy attitude alright it
got me gets me. Then he turned very mood and got in a cylinder thing and was carted off by four Sound Ninja. I’ll never be a Sakura when it comes to Sasuke’s character, but I definitely still have a soft spot for the silent protector adult I-am-on-a-never-ending-atonement-trip Sasuke. At the very least, every time he shows up there’s always action.
The Actual Review:
Episode 21 is the third episode of a Sarada-centered arc, and it animates the content provided by the one volume Naruto The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring. From episode 1, Boruto: Naruto Next Generation has been an impressive display of consistently good animation and sometimes it’s easy for me to forget to acknowledge the time and effort that must have been put in.
“Listen, treat my movements as a top secret mission only the top brass know about.” “Not knowing anything hurts, you know. Sarada should, at least…” “Knowing will only cost unnecessary anxiety.” “She may resent you some day.” “Even if she does, the future ought to stay bright.” – Sasuke and Naruto
Sasuke you dumbo — because the fact that she has no idea who her father is or what he’s like or even if he wears glasses is definitely not going to cause unnecessary anxiety. You definitely had no anxiety whatsoever when Itachi went on a killing spree and left you alive without telling you why. Sometimes, it’s enough to know.
We establish our antagonists of the arc, a seemingly father and a billion of the same son combo sharing one name, as Shin Uchiha who has the very admirable goal of reviving the Akatsuki. It’s definitely the kind of dream you proudly put on a career form
but really can’t you get a creepy organization of your own stop stealing their cloaks and stop stealing the Uchiha name. As the source material concludes in one volume, Shin is not the kind of villain that escapes only to come back to wreck more havoc. It’s gonna take a lot more than a bunch of Sharigans to overcome Naruto and Sasuke, even if they are distracted by the presence of children. This fight was a good excuse to see Kurama though. I always want to see more of Naruto’s relationship with Kurama as actual partners. Does he talk to Kurama on a daily basis or does Kurama just sleep away the days in Naruto’s body?
I never felt that Kishimoto was particularly good at developing most romantic relationships (Minato and Kushina was really really touching though I live for it), but he creates a lot of touching familial and platonic moments.
At the end of the day, it’s a lot of fun to see content I already enjoyed in another medium. It’s a lot more common to find me watching anime than it is to find me reading manga, but I just started re-reading through the Naruto volumes I own and nostalgia has never been on fuller blast. I read somewhere that Sasuke chooses not to return to Konoha even when Naruto says things like, “No one has any bitterness toward you anymore,” because he will always attract enemies wherever he goes. Does he really stay away to just chase Kaguya, because otherwise it couldn’t hurt to pop in Konoha once in a while to say, “Hey Sarada I don’t wear glasses.”
Maybe when she’s older you can even tell her how you betrayed the village and left to join a snake-man.