By Dustin Cabeal
I will kind of echo what I said in my review for the first volume of Boruto: Naruto Next Gubernations the manga. I have never been a fan of the Naruto series, nor have I ever checked it out until now. Boruto is my entry point, and that’s where I’m sticking. That said, damn, the team behind this series have this all locked down. Well-oiled machine doesn’t begin to do it justice.
What surprised me the most about this first episode was the fact that it didn’t retread the manga I had just read. I actually had to pay attention, which was refreshing considering I thought I was going to be able to half-ass my viewing. Now, I haven’t watched the movie that came before this, so it’s quite possible that it’s retreading the movie. If you know for sure, tell me in the comments.
The only downside to the story, and it’s the same in the manga, is that Boruto is so hellbent on not being his dad, that all he talks about sometimes is not being his dad. That’s a lot of what happens here, but it’s still a hell of an episode as it shows Boruto before he joins the academy. He helps a kid that’s getting picked on and gives him some advice on what to do. Frankly, that advice is shitty, but it works because Boruto is just a kid. He doesn’t have wisdom, and so it’s just his wishful, childish advice. Some evil shit takes over the kid, and he tries to murder three kids that were picking on him, but Boruto saves the day.
The true opening of the show sets up a grim future for Naruto. Again, not a fan of the character yet, but if I was, I don’t know if I would be pumping my fist in the air like a background character in Street Fighter. While it was cool looking, it’s one of those story elements that people tend to hate because it just destroys all the things you love about the character. We’ll see, but that was my initial impression from it and my experience with watching anime.
The art was fantastic. I give full credit to the art for doing above and beyond and looking amazing. It’s hard to argue that this isn’t one of the best-looking anime of the season already. I’m sure it’s budget is massive, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re giving it their all. The city looks and feels alive; there’s a shit ton of characters because it’s the second generation of Naruto and yet they all look well-designed and detailed. It’s just a good-looking anime that I could watch and enjoy without following the story. That’s how powerful the artwork is.
Now, if you’re not a fan of Shonen stories or you don’t give a fuck about ninjas, then this first episode of Boruto isn’t going to make you a believer. I will say that is not like the Dragon Ball series in which the different parts were mostly different, especially from series 1 to 2. Boruto is very carefully telling a new story, in a familiar setting and while it may retread some of the same ground; it’s forgivable in that it’s a continuation of the world. Frankly, they’re doing an incredible job of making it feel welcoming and different for new viewers like myself, and I’ll be back to see more.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations E.01