WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Episode 217, "Decisions," now streaming on Crunchyroll.
We've seen the Naruto anime's titular protagonist power up big-time thanks to Kurama in several key fights. The Nine Tails Demon Fox has granted him immense chakra, putting him on par with past Hokages such as Hashirama and Tobirama, with their bond eventually seeing him surpass them in skill. Now in the Boruto series, as Naruto unlocks his most powerful form with the fox, this Baryon Mode actually homages The Matrix's Neo when he's the One.
Neo as the One was simply sublime -- something that's become iconic in pop culture due to how badass he came off in the '90s and 2000s. When the hacker meshed the real and digital worlds together, he could freeze and dodge bullets, bend reality, fly at the speed of light, fight with one hand, and cut an intimidating bravado that left Mr. Smith and the agents clueless on how to stop him.
Naruto reaches this fever pitch height as he fights Isshiki in Boruto, rocking the same swagger and fighting style while proving he's omnipotent in a god mode that not even his solo films featured him in. His stances are similar to Neo, along with the fluidity of his movement echoing the taijutsu Neo displayed against Smith's goons. Naruto even stands to the side, defending and then hitting with one hand as if he were in the Matrix, transcended and reading Isshiki's every move.
It becomes a full tribute when he smacks Isshiki away, then beckons him in with one hand. It's that Bruce Lee arrogance, which Neo also did when he called Smith and the agents in for more during their many scraps. To top it off, the way Naruto's flying through the air with his chakra cape, hovering and dodging Isshiki's spears are all similar to Neo in his black trenchcoat in the sequels when he understood his full potential.
Sure, the color scheme is different but Naruto's look, movement and the way he keeps surprising his enemy reeks of the tricks Neo kept pulling from under his sleeves, frightening Smith and the machines that deployed agents.
It's truly amazing how many parallels there are to both cutting loose like this, realizing what their ultimate form is. And ironically, just like Neo was playing a waiting game with Smith in The Matrix Revolutions, luring him in and killing time, Naruto's doing the same and hoping his body can outlast Isshiki, thus preventing him from being reborn in Kawaki when the frame dies.
In Neo's case, he rewrote Smith's code and body. Here in Boruto, Naruto is just trying to stop Isshiki from doing that in another sense of irony. Sadly, while Neo was successful in his quest, Isshiki's getting the upper hand as he bleeds a weakened Naruto out, proving the alien is much better than agents in a program's construct.