When Boruto: Naruto Next Generations the anime began I was convinced the anime would have... troubles, shall we say. Being nearly entirely anime original, the unsettling comparisons to Dragon Ball GT were all too easy to make. However at the time there was always a lingering idea in the back of my mind, what if they just adapt Naruto Gaiden the last story of substantial length Masashi Kishimoto wrote in the Naruto universe. Luckily the wait for the adaptation was not long and here it is Naruto Gaiden the Anime!
Please Note: I have already covered the entire arc in manga form with my first Impressions Project. If you wish to check it out you can do so now. Though depending on how faithful the anime is these will spoil everything and right now the adaptation has been surprisingly faithful.
As the episode opens Boruto much like his father before him is defacing the statues of the Hokage. However unlike Naruto who was striking out against the whole village for reasons outside his control, Boruto was striking out at his Dad... for being busy. As the series remains set before both the Boruto film and manga Boruto our “Hero” remains an unlikable Brat.
Luckily this arc known as “The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring” doesn’t focus on the brat it focuses on the titular Scarlet Spring - Sarada Uchiha and her quest to find her place and origins in this ninja world. As the episode opens we are shown a quick succession of scenes with the various second generation characters and their respective parents. However the focus is on Chōchō and her inane view she is nothing like her parents, her father (Chouji) especially.
Luckily this montage serves a purpose, to underscore Sarada’s uneasy feelings regarding her parentage. To get answers Sarada goes on a mini quest to find answers, first she asks her mother the origins of the need of her glasses which she assumes came from Sasuke. Sakura not being much of a help just annoys Sarada even more leading to her to even question the marriage of her two parents.
Later in a expositional sequence not in the manga Sarada investigates the Uchiha Clan and her Father. Where she learns in more detail of the Sharingan and the Mangekyō Sharingan, to which she kind of hilariously wonders if her father also possessed. During this time her eyes start to bother her likely not so subtle foreshadowing of future events, I think anyone who knows Naruto can figure out. However before Sarada can find more information she is locked out as the rest of the documents on the Uchiha is prohibited.
Deciding to confront her mother once more she unloads on Sakura as she does the laundry, effectively saying her mother has being lying to her her entire life. Needless to say Sakura does not take this well and uses her immense strength to crack the ground beneath them in a fit of rage, reminiscent of the classic Sakura. However she put in a little too much effort as she also succeeds in demolishing their home... thinking about “the loan” Sakura faints. Shizune thinks she will be fine but only in a day or so.
As Sarada is searching through the rubble of their now demolished home. She comes across an old family photo set however the frame was cracked in the destruction, revealing more of Sasukes photo. In it she sees Taka for the first time including Karin noticing her glasses and relative proximity to her father she clearly wonders if this is her mother. Due to the glasses (and red hair but Sakura has that too) linking back to that point from earlier.
Returning to the Chōchō insanity subplot, her family is having dinner in a restaurant and she notices Sarada alone trying to be inconspicuous. Despite failing at one of the key parts to being a Ninja Chōchō doesn’t mind and joins her elaborating on her insane fantasy Chouji is not her father, again despite all proof to the contrary. Mitsuki then appears and kind of spoils Chōchō’s fun by saying its mere case of “Tragic Heroine Syndrome” where all young girls questions there family. Of course this is a joke at Chōchō’s expense but it was also clearly aimed at Sarada for the audiences sake.
Chōchō late says she wants to go on quest to find her real dad - a handsome man who once brought her medicine despite it CLEARLY being Chouji. Sorry, I really dislike Chōchō’s part in this arc it is just so pointless the moment she mentions she wishes to go on a quest to find her real Dad. Once she does here this is Sarada’s impetus to run with the idea (literally) and go on a search for Sasuke.
As the episode comes to a close we witness Sasuke noticably tired is seen stepping through a portal created by one of his doujutsu’s. However as he starts to relax and calm down a masked fighter attacks him, ending the episode.
I am actually quite surprised at how faithful to the manga the adaptation has been. Despite some additions the first two chapters of the manga were followed quite closely while developing ties to future events, which obvious to some are key later on. One thing I question is though is how long do they intent to make the arc? As only ten chapters Naruto Gaiden could be adapted in five episodes, however considering the entire ending theme is devoted to this I doubt they are planning on that. We will likely get a substantial amount of “Fighting Filler” as I call it in the middle of the arc.
Regardless of this though I am excited to see this manga be adapted. Sarada has always been the best character in the Boruto universe so seeing her featured is a treat. It’ll also be nice to see Boruto himself sidelined in his own series, the little brat deserves it.