Boruto Ditches Naruto’s Ninjas, and That’s What Makes it Better

While many fans consider Naruto superior to its sequel Boruto: Naruto Next Generation, there’s a fundamental problem with their critique. The issue seems to be that fans wanted more of the same in the sequel, rather than the exploration of a new direction. In short, fans wanted more Naruto, Sasuke, and other their other favorite characters in new adventures as the current generation of older Konoha Village leaders. However, if fans were willing to look past that they’d find that the sequel series expands on the original by ditching Naruto’s focus on mysticism and replacing it with something far more cyberpunk.

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For its entire run, Naruto largely ignored technology. Instead, it focused on the supernatural, ninja mythology, and martial arts action. Still, there were some aspects of technology, such as glimpses of satellite communications, televisions, and computers. It was clear though that the series was not trying to be a science fiction manga. However, the peace that was enjoyed in the aftermath of the Fourth Shinobi War led to an expansion of Naruto’s tech that would make Iron Man jealous. In the space of just a few years, technology in the Naruto universe catapulted from rudimentary, everyday tech to bio-chemical-occult tech that could transfer the soul of an alien into a human body.


Related: A Classic Naruto Villain Could Be Returning to Face a New Boruto Threat

What has been even more interesting than the explosion of cutting-edge ninja tech, is the manga’s become decidedly cyberpunk, as illustrated by Kara’s cyborgs, Boro, Delta, Eida, Daemon, and Code. Boruto‘s cyborgs, however, expand the boundaries of cyberpunk by adding aspects of magic and mysticism to the traditional cyberpunk idea of the integration of flesh, computers, and metal. In doing so, the manga updates and upgrades the Naruto universe making it more suitable for today’s generation of manga readers.

Interestingly, Boruto‘s cyborgs might turn out to be what Naruto and Boruto’s creator, Masashi Kishimoto, always wanted to write. Indeed, Kishimoto has previously stated his interest in and appreciation of how technology has been interpreted in the manga. As a youth Kishimoto’s “all-time favorite movie” is Otomo Katsuhiro’s Akira. He credits the poster advertisement of the film as single-handedly reigniting his desire to draw after a period where he was seriously debating whether he really wanted to be a mangaka.


While it is understandable that some Naruto fans will never be able to provide Boruto the same degree of respect and appreciation they give to the older series. To be sure, this is common for most sequels of as popular a franchise as Naruto. However, just because they do not like Boruto does not mean that it’s bad. It’s just different. Currently one of the biggest differences between Naruto and Boruto is the introduction of a cyborg storyline that at long last gives the manga a “voice” of its own.

Next: Naruto’s Final Villain is the Series’ Biggest Missed Opportunity

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