WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Chapter 65 of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, “Karma Power,” by Masashi Kishimoto, Mikio Ikemoto, Mari Morimoto and Snir Aharon, now available in English from Viz Media.
In the Naruto franchise, Naruto's love for his friends has been detrimental to his duty as a shinobi in a world that calls for ruthless actions. Fans do love how he's gone through hell to protect Sarada and the other Konoha-nin -- and even Sasuke when he broke bad -- but this often put the Hidden Leaf in harm's way. His faith, optimism and unwavering belief almost allowed the likes of Madara, Obito and Kaguya to break the heroes, but thankfully it all worked out. However, in Chapter 65 of the Boruto manga, Naruto's biggest weakness emerges and sadly, the cost is dire.
It occurred when the Hokage rushed into the forest outside Konoha to rescue Boruto and Kawaki, sensing Code was beating them down. As Naruto barreled in with Shikamaru, his best friend and advisor, little did he know Momoshiki had already possessed his son.
Just as Momoshiki was about to knock Kawaki out -- wanting the teen for himself rather than letting Code have the sacrifice for the Ten Tails -- Naruto grabbed his adoptive 'son,' making it clear the boys are off limits. A scramble ensued with Code, Naruto and Momoshiki attacking each other, but in the fracas, Shikamaru was taken hostage by Code.
Naruto's hands were tied as he was facing Momoshiki on one side, while watching Code crush Shikamaru's neck on the other. Code tried to bargain Kawaki for Naruto's buddy, but Shikamaru begged the Hokage to fire on them, even if it meant killing him -- something Momoshiki took pleasure in as Code and Shikamaru dying would mean less stress for him.
Naruto held back, however, insisting he couldn't harm his friend. Shikamaru was someone who's emboldened him since their teen years, helping Naruto fight so many wars to the point that many consider them brothers. But as in the past, Naruto's love for Shikamaru won't allow him to make a judgment call to give himself a much-needed advantage in Boruto's latest conflict.
Naruto's choice is acceptable given how high the stakes are, as Code wants to enact the God Tree plan Kaguya failed at -- which would destroy the planet. Shikamaru has been sloppy as advisor, allowing villains to penetrate Konoha while also alienating Kawaki and botching Amado's asylum. It's left fans questioning how emotional, illogical and unwise he's become since the Naruto days when he was considered the smartest ninja around.
Still, Naruto doesn't care if his bud's a liability strategically or if he's fodder in this Boruto fight, which basically finds Shikamaru as a weakling compared to the others. He's loyal to his friend, but it wasted the chance to kill Code.
Additionally, apart from having Code and Momoshiki still alive to deal with, Momoshiki's blast has forced Kawaki to use his Karma mark and power up once more as an unpredictable WMD. Thus, it wasn't a smart tactic as Naruto inadvertently pushed the kid to alter his form, failing to embrace that this bit of collateral damage would have taken a major enemy off the table.