GYAAAAAAA! It’s finally here. I honestly forgot that this, the first chapter in the Naruto Gaiden mini-series, was coming out today, which made for a great surprise.
Naruto fan or not, I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy this chapter. I would go so far as to say that I thought it might be terrible; as a first chapter in a whole new story, there is only so much that Kishimoto could have done beyond introducing new characters and setting the stage for his new story, which typically causes chapters such as this to essentially stagnate.
Part way the chapter, it almost felt like my fears might be justified; yet things picked up rather quickly, bringing the entire chapter to an impressive end.
As her classmates make preparations for their final test, Uchiha Sarada begins to notice the absence of her father.
There was something refreshing about starting this Naruto Shippuden Sequel off with a story arc about Sarada; truth be told, I wasn’t looking forward to a Boruto centered chapter, mostly because I was afraid to watch the Naruto story play out once more in a new host.
It is that fear that stood at the center of my apprehension towards this chapter before it came out; the idea that, rather than enjoying the company of a whole new batch of characters, we would be treated like carbon copies of our favorite Naruto heroes.
Which isn’t what happened; sure there were hints of Shouji and Shikamaru in their respective children, yet not so much that they couldn’t develop their own personalities down the line.
If there was one thing that stuck out in this largely introductory chapter, it had to be the interactions between the kids and their parents, the older shinobi having to contend with those same attributes in their children that they also once boasted of.
Shikamaru jr. (can’t remember his name) stood out the least, but Chouchou (Shouji’s daughter) brought a sassiness to the table that will probably make her quite likeable.
Boruto was, well, Boruto. That wasn’t as bad a thing as I thought it might be, because there was a subtle difference in the rebelliousness of his antics, driven more by what he viewed as the negligence of his father than the hate Naruto suffered at the hands of the village. It worked well enough.
Rather than being outright bratty, it was the few short sentences we got from Boruto that effectively revealed the trouble brewing beneath.
Speaking of which:
As a Anime only Shippuden viewer, I am yet to complete the final arc of the series; that being said, I was already dreading the idea of reading a Naruto manga devoid of everything we loved about the original series.
There was something about watching Naruto’s stubborn and overly reactive nature manifest that allowed the chapter to attain a spark akin to the Naruto series I have followed for so many years.
Sarada just might become my favorite character of this new series behind Chouchou, mostly because she is the first female Uchiha we have ever seen, and I am curious to watch her evolve as a character.
Her story arc is reminiscent of Sakura’s own story during the ‘Road to Ninja’ movie, during which she struggled with the idea of her family’s role in her life.
Though, with a father like Sasuke, Sarada’s problems are bound to manifest as something far more complicated. Those final panels were as amusing as they were curious, especially the direction in which Kishimoto seems to be leaning regarding Sarada. Sasuke definitely didn’t come out well in this chapter, especially with Sarada admitting that she had never even met him.
Some crazy fans somewhere are rejoicing at the idea of Karin’s position in Sakura and Sasuke’s family tree. But really, what are the chances that Sasuke had a daughter with Karin and dumped her with Sakura to raise because…I can actually see Sasuke doing just that.
Either Kishimoto is pulling our collective legs or we are in for a massive surprise.
Speaking of Sakura, this had to be the first time in a long while that I found her so interesting and amusing. I wasn’t so certain about the direction Kishimoto was taking her with all that house wife business.
But life seems to have agreed with her personality. She injected the sort of humor in this chapter that I hope we continue to see, though the way she kept dodging Sarada’s questions was curious.
+RATING: 7/10. What did we learn from the previous Boruto: The Movie trailer? Not only is Sasuke going to play an important role in the story, but everything hinted to him being Boruto’s master.
And now we learn in this chapter that SASUKE’S RETURNING.
That pretty much sealed this chapter’s quality in my eyes.
Even though I am yet to complete Shippuden, there was something very nostalgic about this chapter, like it was inviting me back into a world I hadn’t visited in a while.