My expectations for Boruto: Naruto the Movie were, like many longtime fans of the Naruto franchise, particularly low when I walked into the theater. The ten-chapter manga sequel depicting Sarada Uchia’s quest to know her father, Sasuke, fell short of many expectations in plot, action, and emotional depth that have kept readers and audience captured for over fifteen years. So, with the same prospects of failure, I watched the new film. However, I was completely wrong.
Hiroyuki Yamashita, animation director on The Last, makes his directorial debut with Boruto: Naruto the Movie. Set years after the end of the Shinobi War, the world of Naruto has taken a step towards technology with televisions, computers, and ninja handheld games. Scientists have created a machine that enables those without chakra (the life force behind every ninja), to use powerful chakra-based attacks, or jutsu, via miniature scrolls. But with many the old “Ninja Way” is still alive and well. Naruto, reprised by Junko Takeuchi, the 7th Hokage, has forbidden such technology in training new ninja and their qualifying exams.
The film begins with an explosive fight scene between Sasuke (Noriaki Sugiyama) and the film’s new enemies, Kinshiki and his master Momoshiki, who is capable of stealing chakra and jutsu. The beautiful art and fight choreography that has made Naruto so attractive over the years was on display here, and set a high-speed, thrilling pace for the rest of the movie.
Returning to the village, we begin to follow the story of Boruto Uzumaki, voiced by Yuuko Sanpei, and his whirlwind relationship to his father.
Despondent over Naruto’s absence due to his duty as Hokage, Boruto lashes out against him after a mission with Konohamaru-sensei and his team Sarada Uchiha (Kokoro Kikuchi) and Mitsuki (Ryūichi Kijima). Upset and eager to prove himself at the upcoming Chunnin Exams, Boruto takes an apprenticeship under Sasuke.
Nonetheless, Boruto continues to feel a lack of confidence in his skills as the exams begin. He uses the new chakra machine to one-up the other contestants, but the jutsu-stealing Momoshiki interrupts the exams to abscond with the artificial jutsu and much more. Together with his teacher and father, Boruto fights Momoshiki in an extravagant fifteen-minute final battle.
Boruto perfectly balances an intricate plotline that holds the audience’s attention, intense action sequences, and the signature character depth that has kept fans in love with the series to this day. The previous film, Naruto: The Last, while a well-expressed love story, lacked the action scenes we expect from Naruto, and Boruto definitely made up for that.
That said, the action scenes, as with many Naruto films completely failed to depict the female characters as strong fighters as well. In the series and manga, Kishimoto flaunts the strength of his female characters, but in this film, even the strongest female character of the Naruto universe, Sakura, was only given two to three seconds of fighting glory.
But on the whole, the dread I felt entering the movie theater was completely replaced by a feeling of elation and satisfaction. It felt like watching one of the first Naruto films where the bad guys were cool but relatively unimportant, and the point of the film was to see how the team works together and kicks ass. The heavy doom and gloom felt in the franchise during the final arcs of the series and the dramatic teenage love song that was the previous movie were completely non-existent in this film.
Overall, Boruto: Naruto the Movie was an exciting film for all ages and fans of Naruto and anime. The U.S. and Canadian release date is set for October 10, and I suggest you go grab a ticket and enjoy the ride.
So, what’s next for the franchise? Is this the end of the Naruto series? Maybe for a little while, but I have a feeling this won’t be the last we see of Boruto and his friends on screen.
– The Last: Naruto The Movie Review
– Naruto Art Exhibition Reveals Kakashi’s Face, New Character
You’ll Never Guess How Much Naruto’s Apartment Costs
– Japanese Fans Rank Anime’s Most Memorable Rivalries