On March 26, Viz Media announced that the Naruto sequel series, Boruto: Naruto The Next Generations, will be ending soon. Part I of the Boruto finale will air on March 26, and Part II is currently in production. Although this news was expected by most Boruto enthusiasts, the ending has a lot to live up to, given that many fans have hyped the Naruto series up as “peak anime” for years.
Why is the Ending So Important?
While Naruto is in its post-ending phase, the Boruto anime has been ongoing from the perspective of Naruto’s son, Boruto. Boruto manga was released two years after the Naruto manga ended and its anime began airing a month after Naruto Shippuden, which means that Naruto hasn’t left the public consciousness since it began in 1999.
However, the Boruto anime ending doesn’t just mark the end of Naruto; it also serves as the moment the Boruto fandom’s year-long claims that the series, particularly the Code’s Assault arc (the anime’s final season), is the best shonen anime ever made will finally be put to the test. This claim has led to a fandom war between Boruto and One Piece fans on TikTok, because the latter regard the long-running anime as the best ongoing shonen anime.
Why is it Controversial?
Part of why lapsed fans like myself had no interest in reading or watching Boruto is due to series creator, Masashi Kishimoto, not being directly involved with it until recently. Boruto was written by Naruto manga assistant and Fate/Grand Order screenwriter Ukyō Kodachi and fellow Naruto manga assistant Mikio Ikemoto, according to Anime News Network. However, Kishimoto took over writing Boruto in November 2020.
Kishimoto’s previous absence made committing to Boruto difficult, especially with the anime’s release of non-canon content, like the Time Slip and Great Sea Battle of Kirigakure arcs, and the bizarre SoundCloud rapper aesthetic of its zoomer ninjas. Going off of Boruto’s middling user score against Naruto and Naruto Shippuden on MyAnimeList, the sequel anime hasn’t connected with fans as well as its predecessor.
Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, by contrast, are the eighth and fifteenth most popular anime on MAL and have won multiple anime and manga awards. Meanwhile, Boruto has no such awards to its name.
Despite its lack of awards, Boruto was one of Crunchyroll’s most-watched series in 2020 and was nominated twice for the Anime Awards’ best fight scene category and was a runner-up for the best continuing series. Kishimoto picked up writing Boruto shortly after his new manga, Samurai 8, was canceled by Shonen Jump in March of that year because it failed to captivate readers like Kishimoto’s magnum opus. Samurai 8 ended with only five volumes;
whenever fans like myself check up on the current goings-on in Boruto, we collectively scratch our heads at the absurdity of arcs like Sasuke Retsuden, in which Sasuke battled and befriended a velociraptor in order to defeat a brontosaurus. Despite the weirdness of this canon storyline depicting Sasuke sparking more chemistry with a dinosaur than his own wife, Boruto fans still stand by their hype over Boruto’s Code’s Assault Arc being anime the year quality.
The Fandom War
This steadfast dedication somehow spun off into an all-out fandom war between Boruto and One Piece fans over the quality of the popular shonen anime’s sakuga, i.e., how fluidly the animation frames blend into each other in key action sequences. It’s all very tiresome and juvenile. Both parties desperately need to take a chill pill.
Time will tell whether Boruto fandom’s years of hype will be vindicated as “peak fiction” in the same year as the return of the irreverently popular and worldwide box office record-setter Demon Slayer: Swordsman Village Arc’s release or if the Boruto anime’s finale will go out like the bizarro version of the megapopular Attack on Titan: The Final Chapters’ finale. Regardless, the world would benefit from the series ending by virtue of the fandom warfare dying out.
What to Look Forward To
In the meantime, Naruto fans can enjoy “new” reanimated episodes of the anime by Studio Pierrot in celebration of the show’s 20th anniversary in September. Fans can also look forward to the “new” Naruto x Boruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Connections game, which is slated to release sometime later this year for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.