Boruto Has a Chance to Take the Risk Dragon Ball NEVER Did

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations by Masashi Kishimoto, Mikio Ikemoto, Ukyo Kocachi, Mari Morimoto and Snir Aharon, available in English from Viz Media.

Since the Boruto series began, Naruto's death has been teased time and again, but we have yet to see the Hokage actually face his end. Even now, after activating the double-edged sword Baryon Mode, Naruto has come out of it alive (for now). Whether the return of the original author, Masashi Kishimoto, has anything to do with this sudden delay is up in the air, but there's still a chance he could take the risk with Boruto that series like Dragon Ball have famously neglected to do: kill off the face of his franchise.

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After Dragon Ball Z started, every sign pointed to Gohan taking Goku's place as the protagonist. That is until the Buu Saga, wherein creator Akira Toriyama seemed to backtrack. There are conflicting sources, and Toriyama himself was inconsistent when it came to his public intentions for the story, but it isn't controversial to assume the reason Goku didn't take a backseat as the series' main protagonist is the size of the risk associated with ending/continuing the series without him at the helm.

With that in mind, here are a couple of ways this type of weighty decision could be worthwhile from a narrative perspective in the story of Boruto.

Boruto Could Truly Focus On The Next Generation With Naruto Gone

Sarada Mitsuki

The series' full title is Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, and while Boruto has had significant roles in the story so far, as conflicts escalate beyond what he and his friends can handle, the adults ultimately end up stepping in -- namely, the two most powerful ninja in Konoha, Naruto and Sasuke. This necessity, unfortunately, overshadows the new cast, especially in the latest parts of the manga's current arc: readers aren't getting much from Sarada and Mitsuki, let alone anyone else.

The last time the New Team 7 was able to truly shine was when they fought Boro after Naruto was briefly put out of commission upon losing to Jigen. If Naruto was cut from the picture entirely, more opportunities like this would be allowed for the rest of the cast to develop and really show us what they're made of.

The Power Scale In Boruto Could Be Revamped


Because two god-like beings like Naruto and Sasuke exist, in order to keep fights interesting, stronger and stronger enemies must be introduced; or overpowered characters like the famous duo need to be nerfed, put out of commission, or outright killed.

Judging by recent events, it looks like Sasuke's Rinnegan may be gone for good, which is a great way to "nerf" his abilities without completely taking him out of the picture. He has already lost an arm, but removing the Rinnegan is a much better way of depowering him so that we can get more grounded conflicts that don't involve larger-than-life techniques and enemies.

Naruto Gone Could Mitigate Plot Inconsistencies

Baryon Mode

Again, thanks to Naruto and Sasuke's existence, it's very easy to see something in the story happen and wonder "Hey, why didn't one of them just use X technique to solve this?" Fans are especially critical when it comes to abilities that have been established in the lore, and the more complicated or overpowered jutsu get, the more creative the author must be with writing/drawing around those techniques to keep things interesting, but still consistent.

But sometimes, like with Baryon Mode, readers are expected to simply suspend their disbelief. Baryon Mode exists because power-scaling forced the creators to manufacture an enemy that was too powerful, which could be viewed as a clumsy attempt at sidestepping the issue and instead, giving shoddy excuses in the narration as to why this mode wasn't brought up before.

Boruto Could Tell A More Focused Narrative

Boruto Characters Old And New

If what artist Mikio Ikemoto says is true, and Boruto's story is going to be less than 30 volumes, it is nearly halfway done at this point. The more time spent focusing on the past, the less time there is to flesh out the new generation. Naruto is a beloved character, but his story has already been told... through the course of 72 volumes, no less! In Boruto's story, it seems like Ikemoto has gone back and forth on whether to focus on the new characters or the old.

Obviously bringing back fan favorites is a great way to lure in readers month-to-month, but if Boruto is to stand apart, it must take risks. It must also justify its existence in the first place since it's a sequel that no one really asked for (except Shueisha).

Instead, it's kind of making the old guard look like chumps, as Naruto and Sasuke struggle unnecessarily against their enemy for the sake of adding tension and dragging fights out, and it's overshadowing the awesome potential of the new cast, like Sarada Uchiha for example, who should be a much cooler character.

Regardless of the end product, there's no sense of Boruto's story existing if it going to continue to play it safe and pander to its audience. Otherwise, it'll just be known as the unnecessary, boilerplate continuation of a beloved franchise; never quite hitting the peaks of the original story. If Kishimoto wants to make Sasuke a mentor who is blind and take Naruto out in a blaze of glory, he just should do it!

Thankfully, the newest chapter does show a promising turn of events, so it is possible that things could get more interesting with Kishimoto at the helm. However, Kishimoto is not perfect -- he has had his stumbles in Naruto Shippuden and Samurai 8 -- so it remains to be seen whether he'll actually be able to turn things around in a satisfying way in the end, finally taking the risk that the acclaimed Toriyama never did.

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