Welcome back to another month of Boruto: Naruto Next Generation as we move into chapter two as we continue to reverse adapt Boruto: Naruto the Movie. First things first before you get antsy yes we’ll be talking about the “issues” this manga has during the course of the write up, they’re becoming almost impossible to ignore. Luckily I have some hope of improvements coming down the pike however it’s a personal feeling and I’m kinda an optomist when it comes to this kind of stuff. Anyways as customary lets dive head first and back into Boruto: Naruto Next Generation.
For Last Months Impressions:
Sasuke is however not so enthused with the idea. He decides to pose a substantial challenge to the young Uzumaki - learn his fathers signature jutsu the Rasengan. Only then will he take Boruto as his pupil. Boruto showing in some ways at least he is like his father declares to Sasuke its a simple task and he’ll force Sasuke to take him as he runs off into the night.
Back at Naruto’s office as Hokage, Sasuke is playfully teasing his erstwhile rival. He tells his “usuratonkachi” friend about his encounter while searching for the ninja scroll he returned. While searching a mountain castle, yes... a mountain castle because the world of Naruto has god damn abandoned mountain castles... anyways...
While on the mission Sasuke encounters two strange enemies each with unique abilities mostly alien to the ninja world. Interesting they’re formidable enough to challenge Sasuke in open combat, even one on one. During the fight Sasuke is forced to utilize his Rinne-Sharingan against the big fighter named “Kinshiki”. Of course as per Shonen Jump rules there is also a smaller more intelligent leader waiting in the wings.
It’s during this time I noticed a major difference in art to Kishimoto’s. Kishi’s art had a kind of kinetic energy to it, movement seemed to exist despite being depicted in static cells. It’s something I’ve noticed all great shonen manga’s have like Dragon Ball, Bleach, Fairy Tail, and Yu Yu Hakusho. Sadly at the moment this energy that animates the battles seems to fall flat.
Although strangely enough the new artist seems to have picked up Kishimoto’s ability to pose his characters. While details are lacking such as Sasuke’s Rinne-Sharingan eyes seem black, he can still look cool. There is promise to improve, however with a month it’s disconcerting the backgrounds are not more spruced up. That can be done by a good assistant, which the author was one himself... If I’m coming across as overly harsh it’s merely how I think and feel... my impression of the chapter as it were.
Following the meeting with Naruto the series shifts back to its titular protagonist Boruto, who has decided to beg his sensei Konohamaru to teach him the Rassengan. It also appears Boruto hasn’t been sleeping since he ran from Sasuke the night before as Konohamru mentions its very early in the morning.
Konohamaru though quickly comes around mistakenly believing it’s Boruto’s wish to surprise his father. You know rather then his actual intent to spite his father... regardless Boruto’s goal is achieved as he (kinda tricks) Konohamru to teach him the Jutsu.
As the training begins Boruto is pissed off at being slow drawn by his Sensei. Konohamru informs him this is the only way one can learn the Rasengan, the same way the 4th and 7th Hokage’s learned it. Despite being a genius Boruto struggles, as he trains funny enough Sarada enjoys the show. However Boruto showing more aptitude for the Jutsu than Naruto finishes the first task.
Boruto quickly finishes the second task - even to his Sensei’s surprise. However when he finally creates a “Rasengan” it’s a puny version of the move of everyone that has come before. Sasuke commenting on it’s size unapprovingly causes Boruto to throw the ball of chakra, however unlike Naruto it succeeds. After Boruto runs off and Sarada appears its revealed Boruto’s small Rasengan did indeed have a kick and Sasuke was indeed impressed by the effort.
Of the whole chapter this was the most clearly adapted from a movie. As the transition from a four minute training montage to ten or so chapters wasn’t a very smooth one. Instead serving to just as a transition to the next act of the movie/arc.
Despite Sasuke’s hidden approval Boruto once again showing just how much of a spoiled brat he is is moody for not getting his way. Coming across the Jutsu scientist from the previous chapter Boruto is convinced to take one of his artificial Jutsu machines, implanted with the Rasengan scroll. Taking his new “tool” (Cheating machine) back to Sasuke Boruto reveals a fully formed although false Rasengan. Sasuke seems less then impressed... showing the elder Uchiha is as sharp as he’s ever been.
Boruto lies saying its merely his skill that has allowed him to improve so fast, that he is different from his father. Sasuke concurs, but silently laments he didn’t realize how much. However in the end he still decides to take young Boruto as his pupil. I expect as an attempt at correcting the lazy, but talented Boruto - who seems to be quite similar and dissimilar to his father all at once.
During their first night as master and pupil Sasuke explains Boruto’s father’s weakness’ to him. Saying it’s laughable the boy is asking him that as his father seems not but weakness. However his strength is his ability to overcome them with sheer force of will, indeed his explaining to the young ninja what made us the read like Naruto so much for all these years.
As the Chūnin exams approach Sakura tries to cheer on Sarada. However Sarada doesn’t need it she’s already fired up much like Naruto was previously. However she’s a little worried her aloof teammates will be less then enthused.
During this scene Sakura seemed massively off model extremely short in one panel, her size in another, and oddly cuter in another. It was like the many faces of Sakura all on one page. Again if this manga is to succeed there needs to be some work in some key areas...
In the final scene of the chapter the two mysterious members of the Ōtsutsuki (Kaguya’s people from the moon) Clan that Sasuke fought had finished off Killer Bee. Looking for strong Chakra signals they sense one in the distance and determine it is the strongest of the “Chakra made monsters”. Indicating they’re coming for Naruto as the Chūnin Exam’s begin in earnest.
I feel safe in saying yes we’re done the boring part of this arc. When I realized they were adapting Boruto: Naruto the Movie I thought it would be these collection of scenes that would be the hardest to write. As fundamentally it’s all set up and in a 90 minute movie it’s pretty hard to get 150 pages of manga from them.
However it appears we’ve moved over this narrative hump and we’re hopefully only two months away from new (well for me) material. Of course this leaves the art issue. One good sign is the coloured pages from Chapter One and the scenes of pretty cool looking art. However there is also the static movement and off model characters, most notably Sarada. It’s not time to raise the pitch forks but they’re certainly worth discussing. So what about you, what do you think of Boruto: Naruto Next Generation so far, is the art a bridge too far? Are you enjoying the story? Or are you like me and just itching to get to the real meat of the story?