WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Chapter #52, “Baryon Mode,” of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations by Masashi Kishimoto, Mikio Ikemoto, Ukyo Kocachi, Mari Morimoto and Snir Aharon, now available from Viz Media.
One of the most heated debates in the wake of the Naruto series is who could possibly succeed the title character as Hokage. The Boruto franchise has had Naruto in the job for only a few years but following the recent events of the manga, it does seem as if he may die in a fight against Isshiki as his chakra's running out. In this case, a replacement needs to be thought of.
While many assume that person would be Sasuke, or maybe even Kakashi taking back the job, this successor should be none other than Naruto's former teammate and one of his best friends, Sakura.
Let's be real, Sasuke's still redeeming himself as a Ranger after turning his back on Konoha as a teen; plus -- he prefers to roam. He just wouldn't enjoy office life, diplomacy and all the administrative work, and with his skill and dimension-hopping abilities, he's better on the outside. As for Kakashi, we got so much of him already as a mentor in Naruto. He's rightfully taken a backseat now and is enjoying retirement so it'd feel like a regressive move to have him step back into the role, not to mention a rip-off of when Hiruzen Sarutobi took the job back from Naruto's dad, Minato, decades before.
This leaves Sakura as the perfect choice. But, make no mistake, it's not just by the process of elimination. She's earned a leadership role: she was a chief medical ninja during the Kaguya war, healing the shinobi alliance and helping Naruto and Sasuke take the Rabbit Princess down. Admittedly, since then, she's taken a backseat from the action as a housewife, only recently returning to help train Sarada and reminding us she's a warrior. But the thing is, Sakura learned a lot from Tsunade, the Hokage before Kakashi, so this would feel like her journey coming full-circle.
Not only this, but it'd give Boruto a much-needed feminist boost. Sakura would gain more importance and bring new chemistry into the government among the likes of adviser, Shikamaru, by possibly bringing Hinata and Ino into the male-oriented council. Like Sakura, they've both fallen into backseat roles -- such powerful women need to be making more big decisions for the village.
Sakura also has a warmer feel to her, which can really revamp the Hokage role, especially with diplomacy being one of its key aspects now. Her perspective is kinder than the aggressive Tsunade and this could create a new dynamic for the position, especially as she'd try assiduously to live up to the title. After all, she knows the ways of a Hokage as she's trained and been prepped by some of the best to take up that mantle.
Sadly, she's long been treated as a peripheral character; a Hail Mary play in the past. Making her Hokage would help rectify that, giving Sakura a lot more poignant agency. This would also help inspire the ambitious Sarada, her daughter, to follow in her mom's footsteps, and even give Sakura more screen-time with Sasuke.
Ultimately, it just feels right to position Sakura as Naruto's successor because she deserves a lot more than pedestrian arcs. More importantly, as Naruto has always said, himself: she isn't weak -- Sakura's actually someone who Konoha should look to when the going gets tough.