In a move that should surprise absolutely nobody if they have been following the saga of the son of Naruto. It was announced today that the Boruto anime will begin with an “Anime original” story. This is a nice way of saying “Filler”. However with Boruto charting this past it’s likely the word “filler” just won’t do anymore. This is due to the fact even at its most anime original the original Naruto never broke the sub 50% canon content. Boruto will and as such what really is filler and what is canon.
At the current rate of publishing Boruto in one year will produce at most 480 pages of content due to being a monthly manga. Which accounts for about half the output a weekly manga. By the end of Shippuden it had never fallen beneath half manga content. However with only half the manga output Boruto could be as low as 25% to 33% of actual “Canon material” within a two year time frame. Assuming the series is to be a long term weekly series like the series it is replacing.
As the speed and direction (Movie to manga to anime) of this adaption cycle is virtually unprecedented in Shonen manga we may actually need to change our view of what Boruto is. Naruto in it’s purest form was a manga first and an anime second, the manga was always supreme - any conflicts that arose were settled in the pages of Shonen Jump. With this announcement that cannot be the case with Boruto. As this series is almost certainly going to be focused around the anime first and the manga second, just due to the amount of content one can put out as opposed to the other.
Not only was Boruto first given life fully on the big screen in Boruto: Naruto the Movie but the manga itself still has not fully adapted that content yet to the page. Now with the announcement the anime will begin with an anime original arc, not even with Naruto Gaiden as I expected. In many ways we are moving away from Dragon Ball Super territory but not GT either, but something weird and in between. The only analogue I can think of is how To Aru Kagaku no Railgun treats the relationship between manga and anime adapting anime original events into the canon.
One thing never made sense about Boruto as a manga since it launched. The series just wouldn’t be fast enough to sustain a regular anime. Boruto was and is designed to keep the Naruto juggernaut moving but without Kishimoto penning the manga nobody was willing to wait the two or three years for the content to be written to provide a sufficient cushion for adaptation.
This led me to the conclusion last month that filler and lots of it would be created. This then leads us to the dilemma of filler, is it actually filler if its the primary content? I think the answer here is no, it really can’t be as the definition doesn’t fit. This is why Boruto will require a rethinking of what it and filler is.
That at the end Boruto is not a manga series, it is a multimedia series that happens to include a manga. Born of the screen, transcribed to the page, and continued through the screen this is a series designed to make money. The only way it can do that is to exist and continue to exist and “Filler” or “Original Material” is the only way it can do that.
In the end I’ll give it a chance as I do have an attachment to the characters, the setting, and the world. Beyond that lets be honest the Boruto world always has looked better on screen then on the page. Perhaps the power of animation will make Sasuke’s design look... well more like Sasuke, or the action more dynamic. There is upsides to this, however I doubt we’ll ever see the highs the ending of Naruto Shippuden recently brought us at the Valley at the End.