Boruto: Naruto’s Biggest Fatherhood Moment Isn’t With His Son

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Episode 195, "A Vase," now streaming on Crunchyroll.

The Boruto anime is showcasing a lot more depth to Naruto's perspective on parenthood. It took him and his son a while to warm to each other, but they're getting there and really are starting to show appreciation more often. That said, Boruto is still stubborn, which riles up the Hokage at times as it's even worse than when he was a kid.

Interestingly, Episode 195 gives Naruto his biggest fatherhood moment yet -- however, it's not with Boruto, but Kawaki.

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Naruto is trying his best to help Kawaki assimilate into Konoha after rescuing him from Kara's clutches. He's adopted the teen but finds he's still acting out, almost coming to blows with Boruto. Still, Naruto makes it clear he won't give up, as he knows what it's like to be a weapon. Even Boruto understands his dad is trying to break Kawaki's walls down to help him and also garner intel on Jigen.

Despite having a roof over his head, multiple meals and a shot at a childhood, Kawaki remains defensive and hostile, which Naruto wants him to shake off. It could help him integrate and make friends, but there's something darker haunting the teen. This comes to a head when they travel to Ino's flower shop to replace the broken vase that belonged to Himawari.

When Kawaki sees the vessel and stems being placed inside, flashbacks are immediately triggered. He remembers the horror of similar vessels used to collect Jigen's poison, only to be pumped via tubes up to incubation cells where kids like Kawaki were immersed. This dark baptizing was Jigen's way of rewriting his victims' genetic codes so he could create a new bio-weapon. These events have never left Kawaki's mind, with the PTSD jolting him into a state of panic.

As a result, his Karma mark activates with black bands spreading throughout his body as he drops the vase. However, Naruto's there to grab, console and calm him down. He makes it clear he's there for Kawaki, and the heightened emotions subside. In a most vulnerable moment, Naruto hugs the boy, comforting him. While Kawaki doesn't fully hug back, he partially embraces the Hokage as he powers down. He goes from scared to relieved knowing he's finally got a father figure.

It's something Naruto hasn't even done with Boruto because they're not intimate in that way. Their relationship involves Naruto's iconic fist bump but, while this could be seen as neglect, it shows Naruto does understand kids well. He can tell Boruto is rougher around the edges as he grew up in a warm household. Seeing as Kawaki was abused by his father, these tender moments, while foreign, work better to show him what love is -- even if it's from a relative stranger.

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