You will have likely heard by now Boruto: Naruto Next Generation the monthly manga series I have spent the better part of a year covering will be getting an anime adaptation. I have mixed feelings about this: on one hand, I love Naruto it’s easily one of my favorite series despite its many flaws. On the other well... basically everything I’m going to tell you now.
At the moment if you’ve been following (and if you haven’t check it out!) my monthly Impression Series of Boruto. I sort of lovingly refer to the series as Boruto: The Manga the Movie. Why? Because the entirety of the Boruto manga is an expanded adaptation of Boruto: Naruto the Movie. It is for simplicity sake the issue in reverse of what Dragon Ball Super had with Battle of Gods and Resurrection F for nearly a year.
How will this be an issue for an adaptation? Well that should be obvious, it will be an adaptation of an adaptation. One that still has not got to what fans want, new stories!
There could be and hopefully will be upsides to this. One such upside is the likelihood of an anime adaptation of Naruto Gaiden: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring a manga series very close to my heart, no less because it got me into this whole writing thing...
Naruto: Gaiden will be an amazing anime, the story is tight. The action is dynamic it’s Naruto’s swan song fans of the anime deserve to be seen animated, it’s really that good. Seriously if you have not seen it pull up Amazon and buy a copy.
However there is a slight issue... it’s ten chapters. For it to be a proper adaptation Gaiden should be a four episode OVA series and four is stretching it. When Boruto airs in April there will be eleven published Chapters of the manga and ten of Naruto Gaiden. Of which the majority will have already been animated over two years ago. It doesn’t take a soothsayer to see a problem with this.
Filler. Naruto was nearly 50% filler (trust me I counted) and this was a monthly manga that was serialized nearly weekly for over a decade. With only twenty two chapters accounting for about 550 pages of material how long will a proper adaptation take? Amazingly, if it is padded out it could take twelve episodes. Accounting for about one cour of an anime season. However this is Naruto who thinks this will be a one and done series?
Well... nobody. No, of course not this is one of the biggest manga titles in the world. Naruto outsells Dragon Ball... Let that sink it, worldwide Naruto is more recognizable then Goku. Our orange ninja is bank, there is no way this anime adaptation will be short. Likely I could be writing about it in a decade, as scary a thought as it is.
So fundamentally what are we looking at? To be hyperbolic. Dragon Ball GT. Ya I went there, a nearly totally filler anime original Naruto series. While this isn’t on its own a terrible proposition for millions of Naruto fans they will watch it, they will enjoy it even. However for us who knows the highs of both the Battles at the End, Pain vs. Konoha, Sasuke v. Itachi, we know what peak Naruto is and filler was never that.
I want to like Boruto the Anime I’ve defended the manga more then most. I’m not predisposed to hating on the idea of a Boruto anime. However knowing far too much about the manga/anime production cycle I can’t help but worry.
This all leaves an inexorable conclusion Boruto the Anime will suck. We will see after the Naruto: Gaiden material is exhausted a fan backlash like the early era of Dragon Ball Super had. Especially as the series transitions to it’s titular “hero” Boruto, the son of Naruto, despite the fact Mitsuki and Sarada (daughter of Sasuke and Sakura) are both far more compelling characters. Which in Mitsuki’s case is hilarious as he’s had more character development in twenty pages then Boruto has in nearly three hundred and a movie.
Now there is the possibility that this will all be completely wrong and too be honest I’m hoping it is. However that relies on the Naruto production committee doing a good job. Despite the production committees track record of being a machine that put out two post anime movies before the anime itself was finished, a committee that produced nearly a fifty percent filler anime, and one that lets be frank didn’t write the most scintillating material when it had the chance.
At the end of the day I’ll likely watch, hell I will likely write about it because it is kind of what I do. Do I have high hopes? Oh no. Do you, what do you think? I’d love to hear from you. Though the Naruto anime still rocks doesn’t it?
By the way Happy Holidays all of you!