The Boruto Anime Changes Kawaki & Naurto’s First Meeting, for the Worse

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Episode 191, "Stray Dog," now streaming on Crunchyroll.

With the Vessel Recovery Arc finished, all that was left was for Kawaki to meet Naruto in the Boruto anime. Kawaki expended lots of chakra fighting Garo on the outskirts of Konoha after escaping Kara's clutches. As a result, Boruto and Team 7 were able to take him in after he collapsed, setting the stage for the big meeting.

However, the series changes the first meeting between the overpowered teen and the Hokage, and it's for the worse when compared to what transpired in the manga.

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In the latest episode, Kawaki is in the Ryutan lab outside the Hidden Leaf village. However, he escapes after running afoul of Nue and Sumire, only to end up at the mercy of Ryutan's hot-headed cops. As the melee ensues, Kawaki uses his Karma to absorb their fire bombs but as he fires back, he spots a kid in the background. He tries to divert his blast but as it veers into civilian territory, Naruto arrives and sucks it up.

He's in Sage Mode, using Kurama's energy, and grabs Kawaki's hand to let him know it's over. It leaves the kid wondering if this is the boss who wants to experiment on him but this really doesn't have much impact. It's just a cool-looking shot to show Kawaki as a weapon of mass destruction whom people must fear and the Hokage, once more glowing like a savior. The problem is we've seen this so many times before, and it forces the stigma that Kawaki is another uncontrollable teen like Sasuke was.

In Chapter #26 of the manga, there was a lot more emotion as Kawaki woke up already in Konoha, with Naruto, Konohamaru and Shikamaru by his side. It felt less intimidating and aggressive, encouraging him to contemplate life in the village as Naruto took him home. Here, we saw him trying to run away but with Naruto's shadow clones stopping him, it teased that the Hokage was as nice as he was powerful.

Most of all, that moment when he sees Naruto's power comes at the dinner table when an insolent Kawaki flips it. Naruto activates his Sage Mode to leave Kawaki in awe and a bit scared as he sees that when Naruto gets mad, he becomes a veritable god. Knowing someone is stronger than Jigen here starts Kawaki's fascination with the leader.

But in the Boruto anime, it's all flat as Kawaki isn't impressed, thinking Naruto's just another bully. It's because he hasn't met the man under the Hokage's cloak yet, which gives context to why he might be a better father than Jigen. His first impression of Naruto should have been warm, smiley and aloof. The manga version indoctrinated the idea of family in Kawaki, which is what he's searched for his entire life.

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