Why Boruto’s Anime Filler is Bad for the Karma Seal Storyline

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is finally getting back to proper form. The anime series has (at long last) dipped back into the adapting the manga, while the manga has entered the most exciting storyline in the series yet. However, even with Boruto slowly crawling its way out from under a year-long slump, there's still a clear problem hanging over the series. The anime is now into the "Mujina Bandits Arc", which was the close follow-up to the "Vs. Momoshiki" arc in the manga. However, in the anime the battle with Momoshiki was a hundred episodes ago; that difference in story length now creates big problems for Bortuto's main plotline, involving the mysterious Karma Seal.

Warning - Boruto manga / anime SPOILERS Follow!

As the latest story arc of the Boruto manga has revealed, Karma is not just a random mark left on Boruto after he destroyed Momoshiki Otsutsuki. The seal is actually more of a failsafe for Outsutsuki Clan members, allowing them to possess the body and powers of the "vessel" who wears the Karma seal, eventually opening the door to full resurrection, through means which are still unknown.

The manga immediately started laying the foundation for the larger story of the Karma Seal, as soon as Boruto received it. The young ninja's focus on what the seal does, and what it means, was only distracted by drastic events like the Mujina Gang's attack, and the new threat of Kara, a mysterious group of Cyber-enhanced villains, trying to use a young boy, Kawaki, as a the hostage vessel for their Otsutsuki leader, Jigen. However, Karma plays a major role in the Kara Arc, which has thankfully not kept fans guessing about its significance for long - the same cannot be said for the anime.

As of now, the Boruto anime has gone for a very lengthy stretch of storytelling without having Boruto stop to address his Karma Seal, or activate its powers, even accidentally. Given everything we learned from the manga, and the types of drastic battles that Boruto and his friends have been fighting in the anime, Karma's absence has been a notable one. The lack of focus becomes even more problematic when you consider just how many of the Boruto anime filler arcs and episodes have characters and themes that should, organically, bring Karma into focus. That includes Boruto and co. having to deal with someone plagued by a monstrous curse seal (Jugo), not to mention battling a member of the Otsutsuki Clan (Urashiki) from the present all the way into Naruto's past. Both were clear cases where there probably should've been some mention of Karma, or first teases of its power, but the anime has dropped that ball entirely. In the case of Urashiki's arc, it's hard to see leaving Karma out as anything but a major plothole.

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So, while Boruto will eventually see the anime have to deal with Karma, it's going to feel somewhat out of left field and unbelievable, unless the anime comes up with good reason for why Karma (and Momoshiki) has been dormant in Boruto for some time. Our suggestion? Do the smart thing and tie the activation of Boruto's Karma Seal to Kawaki's arrival in the anime, and the presence of his Karma Seal resonating with Boruto's.

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations anime streams weekly on Funimation, Hulu, and Crunchyroll. You can read new chapters of the Boruto manga HERE.

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