Anime Review: Boruto Season One Part 1

By Drew Hurley 27.08.2019

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Boruto Season 1 Part 1(UK Rating: 15)


One of the legendary Big 3, Naruto has earned itself a place alongside One Piece and Dragon Ball as one of the best and most influential Shonen series of all time, and Kishimoto-Sensei's magnum opus receiving a sequel was something few expected. This follow-up story doesn't come directly from original creator Kishimoto-sensei. Instead, Kishimoto is playing a supervisor role as one of his old assistants - Ukyo Kodachi, creator of the Boruto movie - is expanding his one-off epilogue into a full story, and that tale is finally receiving its inevitable anime adaptation in English. Coming courtesy of Manga Entertainment this initial offering contains episode 1-13 and is available from August 5th.
 
Spoiler warning, though an obvious one, but this is a sequel to Naruto, so it obviously is filled with spoilers for the conclusion to that series. For fans who watched Boruto: Naruto the Movie, or checked out the Cubed3 review, there aren't going to be any surprises in where each of the principal cast has landed years after the story of the original concluded. Naruto finally took his place as the Seventh Hokage of the Hidden Leaf, as he had always promised. He settled down with the girl all the fans hoped he'd end up with Hinata, and the pair popped out a pair of kids. One of which being the titular Boruto.
 
The opening to the first episode has a wonderful hook to get fans interested. Jumping a few years even further into the future, a young-man Boruto, and a mysterious individual, are facing off across a decimated Konoha. Both covered in strange markings, Boruto with a scratched off Konoha headband and a wicked scar across one eye, the sinister figure across from him threatening to destroy all Shinobi. Then boom! The two clash, and the story jumps back to before Boruto's first day at the Ninjutsu Academy.
 
Suddenly Konoha seems much different to both how it was portrayed in this glimpse into the future and from its past. It's peaceful. As the old cliche goes, "The world has changed." The system of villages all fighting for supremacy, the constant fighting and wars, they're all over. Peace has fallen across the land, and technology has skyrocketed in the meantime. Boruto has very different problems to what his parents and their generation had to deal with.

 
He has some big issues with his father, who has become something of an absentee thanks to the requirements of his new office. Even with Shikamaru helping out in the admin, and Sasuke helping out in the shadows, Naruto is constantly busy. Not able to make it home for the important moments and the mystique of the "Lord Seventh" isn't holding up at home, Boruto hears his dad is this legend but sees him at his truest. The Naruto the audience knows.
 
When the series starts, Kodachi is playing things safe, it's introducing Boruto and his gang of friends, and there are some very familiar faces in the crowd. The cast of the original regularly appears, especially characters like Shino who is acting as the class' teacher and Konohamaru who is taking the mentor spot for Boruto and his friends. When it comes to the friends, this next-generation includes the improbable spawn of Sasuke and Sakura in Sarada. The lackadaisical Shikadai Nara, son of Shikamaru and Temari. The chunky Chouchou Akimichi, daughter of Choji and Karui from the Hidden Cloud. Then there's Rock Lee's son Metal Lee and Inojin Yamanaka, son of the weird pairing of Ino and Sai. It's not all next-generation characters. There are some new faces including the held-back school bully Iwabe, the cute class rep who has her eye on Boruto and most importantly, an exchange student from Hidden Sound Village.
 
The majority of these 13 episodes are used just to set up this extended cast. With tons of time dedicated to developing the characters. Showing how Sarada thinks little of Boruto. Showing how different Boruto is to his father. The episodes themselves are all rather forgettable and focus instead on developing the cast and their new world. It's all about the kids in their first days at their new school. There's a little narrative running through the episodes, where people are acting crazy: losing their minds, acting aggressive, losing their inhibitions. Boruto's path crosses with these individuals throughout this collection and his right eye begins to show them as being covered by some dark shadow; possibly the lineage of his mother's Byakugan.
 
Across the board, the presentation is harkening back to its routes. It's coming from Studio Pierrot, who produced the original Naruto and Shippuden, and the anime is at the same frustrating level, where peaks at quality are bundled with flatlines of mediocrity. There aren't the same meme-creating moments that came from the filler hell of Shippuden or the comical Pain fight, but there are some dodgy looking moments. Fans of the original will be pleased to hear that the original voice cast is here in both the original Japanese dub and the English
 
6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

The prospect of an epilogue that shows the future of fan favourite characters is wonderful. Giving a chance to see what the characters did next, and a glimpse at the next-generation. A sequel takes that even further. However, while there's a lot of strength just in the premise and the nostalgia of the fans, there's little to catch their interest here yet. It's a rather toothless beginning to the series that, while not particularly bad, can't stand up to the quality of its progenitor. It's got a long way to go.
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