Since the one-shot manga that was released in 1997, Naruto has been delighting anime fans across the globe with various mangas, two successful television series, and multiple movies and video games. Now, in 2015, just as the original Naruto series gave way to its sequel, Naruto:Shippuden, so the movies continue the story on into the future with the release of Boruto: The Naruto Movie.
While its original release was in August of 2015, audiences nationwide were recently treated to a special two day event courtesy of Fathom Events: an exclusive screening of Boruto in American theaters, complete with original Japanese dialogue and English subtitles, including an introductory Q&A with Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto, who also served as executive producer of the film, and the legendary Japanese voice actress of Naruto Uzumaki himself, Junko Takeuchi, that was filmed at New York Comi-Con earlier this year.
The film centers around the children of the protagonists from the Naruto series and their own personal journey to ultimately becoming shinobi, with primary focus on Naruto’s eldest son, Boruto Uzumaki. Naruto, now Seventh Hokage of the Hidden Leaf Village, rules during a time of peace which has let the village grow quite vast, with all the advantages of the latest technology. Due to the responsibilities of leadership, Boruto feels neglected and unimportant to his father, leading him to both resent Naruto and desperately crave his approval at the same time. Feelings of abandonment turn to rage when Naruto misses out on the birthday celebration for Boruto’s little sister, Himawari.
Meanwhile, Sasuke has returned to the village from a journey into another dimension, where sinister forces are plotting. Learning that Sasuke was once Naruto’s rival, Boruto asks to train under him so he can best his father. Reluctantly, Sasuke takes him on as a student despite tasking Boruto to demonstrate mastering the Rasengan, which results in Boruto producing a very small one that promptly vanishes.
While training with Sasuke, Boruto decides to take part in the Chunin Exams with his friends, during which he utilizes forbidden technology that allows him to store and release jutsu. Caught by his father, Boruto is disqualified from the final stage of testing … during which an attack takes place that decimates the city, and sends Boruto on a perilous journey to save the father he thought he hated — one that helps him not only realize his own true power and what it takes to be shinobi, but lets him discover where his true path in life lies.
Having seen precious little of Naruto, I went into this screening more or less blind to the canon, save for a couple of rudimentary facts about the world. However, I can safely say that Boruto is a must-see movie, even to those who have never seen an episode or read a single manga. Knowledge of the canon is totally unnecessary, because the storytelling is sublime: it’s a powerful and well-written tale about a young boy discovering what it takes to not only be a man, but how to be truly great through learning the story of his own father’s rise to power, overcoming not only his own flaws but the trials of the fox demon that was sealed into him as an infant. The movie plays well to the Naruto newcomer, providing just enough information to become emotionally invested in the story and the growth of characters, old and new. Don’t worry, however: veteran fans will find plenty to enjoy in discovering the fate of their favorite characters, and how their families developed over the years.
So far, the film has become the single biggest grossing Naruto movie to date. Those numbers will only grow when Boruto hits its home release. Hungry for a look at the next generation of Naruto? Stay tuned to Krypton Radio for future details!