The latest episode of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations continues the time travel arc that sees Boruto and Sasuke transported back to the Hidden Leaf village of Naruto's childhood. Their mission to protect young Naruto from Urashiki Otsutsuki takes a serious sideways turn when the villain successfully abducts Naruto, determined to discover the secret to extracting the Nine-Tails chakra from the boy. The rescue team of Boruto, Sasuke and Jiraiya are successful in getting Naruto back, but at a cost: Nine-Tails' chakra is leaking out of Naruto after Urashiki's torture, and it nearly causes Naruto to lose control and harm Boruto.
Jiraiya manages to get a seal on Naruto and restrain Nine-Tails once more, but Naruto is pretty torn up about it when he finds out Boruto was injured in his rampage. That leads to an emotional moment from Young Naruto that hits Adult Sasuke (and so many of us fans) right in the feels. As Naruto says:
"I'm so sorry! Damn it. I can't bring a friend back the way I am now. I need to get stronger."
Naruto saying "How can i bring a friend back the way i am right now" with pain and Sasuke listened in silent 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/5ljzZrr2FP— Luna reads Samurai 8 (@SharinganKyubi) November 3, 2019
Adult Sasuke is standing off to the side when Young Naruto says this, but the pain on Sasuke's face is all too clear.
The transition between the original Naruto series and Naruto: Shippuden in part revolves around Sasuke's defection from Konoha, after Itachi came back into his life and left him shamed in defeat. Sasuke's defection was in large part based on the idea that his growing bond with Team 7 and the other "family" he had built in Konoha was making him weak, by distracting him from his pursuit of strength. Naruto always took that declaration from Sasuke really hard, but this new scene during "The Power of the Nine Tails" is the first time that Sasuke gets to see just how heavily his anger weighed on Naruto's soul.
As an adult who is now fully reformed and in a much better place, Sasuke understands just how unfair he was to his friends (especially Naruto) during this time in his life. It's what makes this time travel arc so poignant for longtime Naruto fans: the level of character and story history being invoked in moments like this is so very powerful and well-earned over the years the Naruto saga has run - and makes Boruto a satisfying payoff of that long journey.
Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto for Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump in 1999, Naruto follows a young ninja, with a sealed demon within him, that wishes to become the leader of his home village. The series ran for 700 chapters overall, and was adapted into an anime series by Studio Pierrot and Aniplex that ran from 2002 to 2017. The series was popular enough to warrant a sequel, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations which is set several years after the events of the original Naruto story and features the children of many of its key characters such as Naruto and Hinata.