Warning: SPOILERS for Boruto #73
Boruto continues stranding further and further away from its predecessor, Naruto, by taking the most important message from the latter and twisting it into its complete opposite. In chapter #73, the two main characters of the series, Boruto and Kawaki, are openly defined by their superiors as dangerous weapons that need to be controlled, which is the exact same attitude that Naruto fought against for his entire life.
One of the main themes in Naruto was its criticism of war and of how belligerent societies tend to regard human beings as weapons. In the series, this process is represented by shinobi, who are essentially living weapons that are exploited by the Hidden Villages and by their countries and, to a greater extent, by the Jinchuriki such as Naruto and Gaara, who are human receptacles for weapons of mass destruction. Over the course of Masashi Kishimoto’s successful manga, Naruto fights against this view of the world and proves that the answer to war is not building and controlling more powerful weapons, but compassion and understanding. Naruto’s own evolution from “cursed child” to savior of Konohagakure embodies the overarching message of the series, which is apparently completely forgotten in its sequel, Boruto.
In chapter #73 of Boruto, the Hokage’s counselor, Shikamaru, summons the shinobi of Team 7, which includes Boruto and Kawaki, to assess the recent dangerous developments that are affecting Konoha. Shikamaru, supported by two other senior shinobi, begins by reminding everybody how dangerous Boruto and Kawaki are, despite them being members of Konoha. Boruto is possessed by the spirit of a powerful enemy, Ohtsutsuki Momoshiki, who could take over his body at any time. Kawaki, on the other hand, has now full access to the powers of Ohtsutsuki Isshiki, which makes him impossible to control, considering that he is not a shinobi born and raised in Konoha. Shikamaru ends his assessment by openly calling the two kids “two giant bombs” that the village has to deal with.
Calling two kids “bombs” is exactly the type of thing that would have made Naruto punch someone in the face in his manga. The fact that he was not present is not a justification. Shikamaru is not just Naruto’s counselor, he fought alongside him as a child soldier for Konoha and witnessed firsthand the horrors of war and how much Naruto’s ideals changed the world. Talking about Boruto and Kawaki in terms of “threats” that have to be “controlled” makes no sense at all for the character, and for a series that wants to be Naruto‘s sequel. However, this is not the first time that Boruto ignores everything that made its predecessor so good and one of the most successful manga of all time, and it probably won’t be the last.
Regardless of how different Boruto tries to be, it is shocking to see it not just ignore the most important lesson taught in Naruto but flip it completely and address two kids – one the Hokage’s son, the other the victim of a criminal organization – in terms of weapons that need to be controlled, which is the exact type of tragedy that Naruto risked his life to end.