Boruto: Next Generation follows closely in the footsteps of its predecessor, in that it tells a coming of age tale of young ninja who must overcome different adversity to find his place in the world; however, unlike Naruto, this story progresses at a much quicker pace, so much so that it pretty much covers approximately a quarter of its entire first arc in just the first volume. This is good considering that volumes of this manga are currently being released about twice a year. It would suck to have to wait 5 to 6 months just to get a small amount of progression, which I think the writers took into consideration when factoring in that this manga is released once a month in the weekly jump magazine. If given the choice I would prefer that the manga had weekly releases of chapters like it’s aforementioned predecessor, but that is not the situation at the moment.
As for the plot itself, it is really well constructed. In the first chapter we get a glimpse of the climax of the story then we are presented to Boruto, who seems to be just a clone of his father when he was younger in the way he acts, but he quickly comes into his own before the first volume is over. I’d describe him as a mix of Sasuke, and Naruto. He’s mostly laid back, and shares a lot of physical similarities with his father, while at the same time he is also a quick learner and a bit of a genius like Sasuke. Hence a mix of the two. Boruto is also written to include modern ingredients to its environment like smart technology, Video Games, and trading card games. In my opinion it was written in this manor to appeal to a more modern demographic, although I personally could care less about that aspect, because I don’t usually looking for that kind of representation in the content I consume.
Give me ridiculous amounts of fantasy, romantic plot-lines, and proper character development and I’m happy.
Boruto: Next Generation has a moderate amount of each of these things I prefer, as well as some great illustrations. In a way it doesn’t skip a beat from the kind of art you’d find in one of the later Naruto chapters. The line work well done, and the panels are well details without becoming too clotted. The story also serves to as a way of progressing the original Naruto plot-line in a way that as a fan I greatly appreciated. Seeing familiar characters as parents/adults was delightful. It shows a natural progression in the universe that Kishimoto-san has created. its something that I wished happened with Bleach, and in a way it did, but not until I had already lost interest in the series. With Boruto it happened at the right time in a very natural feeling way. Even the new characters are a perfect by the way they interact with their parents, and friends. Characters like Inojin, and Mitsuki were among my favorites because of the possibilities they offer.
In the first volume the story serves as a welcome back to old fans, and also as an introduction to new characters. The volume follows the plot of Boruto movie with a few additions, as well as an extra chapter that covers Mitsuki’s origin. The addition of the origin of Mitsuki in the volume was something that I found greatly enhanced the appeal of the volume, and could be a selling point for most.
All that being said, there are those that will not find the use of the plot from the movie, or the time between volumes to be appealing in the slightest. The length of time between the release of volumes may result in readers dropping the series, while the coverage of the movie in the first few volumes may not gather enough interest for those that have already seen the movie. This hurdle is one that I think could be avoided by adding more exclusive content like the Mitsuki chapter, more chapters, and potentially having the manga be a weekly release, so that the volumes can be released on a monthly, or bi-monthly schedule. Alas I don’t think that decision rests with VIZ, it’s one that I think will have to be agreed upon by the mangaka and Jump, one that I don’t see happening anytime soon.
If you liked the Naruto manga series then you may find this to be a very appeal evolution of the franchise. Its pleasant mix of familiar characters along with new ones goes a long way to scratch that nostalgia itch while remaining refreshingly new. That being said, if you plan on pick up the volumes, just keep in mind that there will be a long wait between releases.
The copy of Boruto Next Generation used for this review was provided to us by VIZ Media.