2016 was a good year for Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto. The famous franchise continued to enjoy explosive TV ratings thanks to Naruto: Shippuden and its manga legacy has carried on thanks to Boruto Uzumaki. The beloved creator had plenty to say about Naruto towards the end of last year at Shonen Jump’s annual winter event. It was there that Kishimoto confirmed a brand-new anime about Naruto would debut in 2017, and a pair of well-known animators on Naruto: Shippuden are ringing in 2017 by teasing fans with artwork which include Boruto: The Next Generation.
On Twitter, series animators Airi Taguchi and Seki Ko welcomed in the new year with art that will have Naruto fans cooing. Ko uploaded a picture of Naruto and Sasuke turning their backs to viewers while Boruto stands between them. The younger ninja is facing forward and can be seen wielding a long sword like the Uchiha. “Next year, next generation,” Ko wrote, referring to the upcoming Naruto spin-off. “Thanks again.”
Other images were uploaded which showed Naruto and his friends in a more traditional light. @BANG_012607 shared artwork of Naruto Uzumaki holding a fan whilst wearing a traditional yukata. @narucolo_jp also marked the new year with a ceremonial drawing of Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura. The artist thanked fans for their continued support and said they look forward to working on Naruto: Shippuden in the coming months.
Right now, the anime is still rolling out a slew of special episodes before Naruto: Shippuden comes to an end. The series is bringing a few epilogue novels to the small screen as characters like Shikamaru, Sasuke, Itachi, and more are explored further. If you’re curious about what's seen in these novels, Viz has published several of the titles like Kakashi’s Story and Sakura’s Story. And, by next spring, the publisher plans to also release Sasuke’s Story to readers.
At some point in 2017, it looks like fans will bid Naruto: Shippuden farewell. The anime has caught up to Kishimoto’s manga and now must adapt the final few chapters. However, fans will not have to wait long for the knuckle-headed ninja to return; Boruto: The Next Generation is slated to debut in Spring 2017, so fans can continue to keep up with Konoha.
あけましておめでとうございます！— 田口愛梨 (@BANG_012607) December 31, 2016
Of course, this will not be the first time fans have met Boruto through anime. A few years back, a theatrical feature was made which focused on the legacy character. Boruto is the son of Naruto Uzumaki and Hinata Hyuuga, and he is just as precocious as his father. The ninja starred in Boruto: Naruto the Movie, and fans were quick to rave over the new character.