Anime Review: Boruto Season 1 Part 2

By Drew Hurley 29.12.2019

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Boruto Season 1 Part 2 (UK Rating: 15)

Naruto has become a true touchstone in Japan, and it's wonderful to see it lives on still through this sequel series, even if the original creator has a smaller role in its production. The first season stuttered somewhat but finally managed to hit its stride in the conclusion of the first arc, hitting its climax with a decent cliff-hanger ending. This collection wraps up that story while also introducing a whole new arc fully produced by original creator Masashi Kishimoto-Sensei. Coming courtesy of Manga Entertainment, this new collection contains episodes 14 - 26 and is available from December 9th.
The action hits a high point right from the very first episode in this collection. The first one wrapped up with the class rep Sumire revealing her true identity. The cause of all the "ghost incidents" where members of the village were infected with negative energy, all turned out to be caused by her. Sumire's family secretly belonged to Root, the sinister organisation beneath Danzo. Upon his death her family fled the village and lived in hiding, instilling an obsession with revenge within her. She acted as the unassuming quiet girl in class while building up her strength and the shadowy beast Nuei. Nuei is a summon beast that was forcibly linked to her when she was young and as the first collection concluded, the cliffhanger saw her finally unleash the beast upon the village, allowing herself to be absorbed in the process. Boruto and Mitsuki dove into a portal between worlds after her, within, Nuei's true form resides.
This episode has some great shounen action, reminiscent of the original Naruto. Seeing Boruto utilise Shadow Clones in dynamic and inventive ways, some impressively animated sequences and decent art, it finally begins to live up to its progenitor. Then, then it goes backward. The following episode is a decent epilogue to this arc, and even includes a stinger for the Boruto the Movie story, and a future arc based on the Otsutsuki clan, but following this are around six episodes that feel like filler. Silly little side stories with little character or plot development and instead has utterly forgettable stories with no weight or heart. Denki practices wall walking while bonding with the class representative, Iwabe, the unlikely pair teaching each other, Sarada delivers a lost Teddy Bear, some reminiscing about Naruto's favourite Ramen joint…

Thankfully, these episodes don't take up the entire collection. Once they've concluded the story, it's straight into the next big arc, which takes up episodes 17 to 24; the Sarada Uchiha arc. This arc adapts a side story that was originally written and drawn by original series creator Masashi Kishimoto, entitled Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring. It sees the daughter of Sakura and Sasuke start to question her parentage, and her broken relationship with her constantly absent father. She begins to doubt whether Sakura is truly her mother, and when she stumbles on a photo of Karin, wearing similar glasses she starts to put two and two together… to get five. She's not the only one questioning whether her parents really are who they seem, as Chouchou joins up with her for similar concerns, doubting Chouji to be her real father. The two embark on a mission to find their parents. Sasuke is dealing with family problems too, as a mysterious pale boy appears with the Sharingan. Naming himself Shin Uchiha. Strange. Considering Sasuke and Sarada are the last living Uchiha. This young boy is reporting to a master in a familiar cloak, black, with a red cloud upon it. That master seemingly has Sharingan too, and not just in his eye sockets.
This arc does a great job of showcasing how Naruto and Sasuke have grown, developing into their roles. Naruto as the head of his village at long last, the natural charisma that drew people to him as a child making him a peerless leader. Meanwhile, Sasuke's unparalleled ability has made him the greatest Shinobi in the world, keeping the peace from the shadows - but in taking these roles, the two have reached Goku levels of poor parenting. Sasuke doesn't even recognise his daughter, and Boruto hates how his dad is seemingly placing his work above his family. None of them knowing that the two have lived through a lifetime of war and thanks to what they achieved after the Great Ninja War, uniting all the villages, pushing back Kaguya, they won a peace for their children and they have to keep sacrificing to maintain this peace. Sasuke hunting the others of the Otsutsuki clan and other such threats, Naruto keeping the village and diplomatic relationships with the other villages smooth.
When this arc wraps up, the final three episodes in the collection return to short stand-alone stories, but these don't feel like filler. Instead developing important plot points and elaborating the history between the conclusion of Naruto and the beginning of Boruto. The first episode sees Konoha play host to a summit of the five Kage, giving a chance to reintroduce some more familiar faces from the progenitor series. It's interesting to see which characters climbed the ranks following the Great Ninja War and which now reached the rank of Kage. Then, the collection concludes in what was once the Bloody Hidden Mist village. Now revitalized under the banner of peace, the students' field trip there digs up the lands shadowy past. This collection comes with both the Japanese and English dub, along with a handful of small bonus features. There's the usual clean opening and closing, some trailers and a storyboard - but, best of all is an OVA included, the Jump Festa Special from 2016.
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10
As seen from his inclusion in the list of ambassadors for Japan for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Naruto has reached a level to stand beside Goku as a cultural icon, and it's great that his stories continue on to this day, with and without Kishimoto at the helm. This collection gives a chance to see both and really shows that the series has a lot of promise. It may not be able to live up to its lineage or some of the hot new Shonen series, but it's massively enjoyable, especially for Naruto fans out there.

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