Boruto: Naruto Next Generations has had an oscillating rise and fall when it comes to comparisons to the Naruto saga. When Boruto is at its best (like the series main Kara Arc), fans see potential for it to become the best of the series. However, when Boruto is at its worst (like all that anime filler), fans think it is the worst.
So, can Boruto do stop not only meet the standard of Naruto, but also rise above that series best installment, Naruto: Shippuden? It absolutely can - if the series simply stops to recognize what great potential it already has:
Naruto was all about the titular character's quest to go from outcast orphan, to Hokage of Hidden Leaf. It was an epic quest with many stages, but it was your classic hero's journey, in the end. Boruto is going a slightly different route, with its titular characters journey. Naruto's son doesn't want to be the next Hokage, he wants to be the next Sasuke: a powerful shinobi who serves and protects the Hokage and Hidden Leaf, from the shadows. That's a journey that can get wonderfully darker and more complicated than a classic hero's tale, and also opens the door for Boruto's supporting characters to have great arcs of their (besides supporting Boruto as the leader).
Naruto: Shippuden saw Naruto's friends and allies have their bonds tested in some of the most serious and tragic ways possible. Whether it was Jiraya's death fighting Pain, or Sasuke's showdown with Itachi, or the epic Naruto/Sasuke Shippuden battles that are now iconic parts of the series. However, Boruto can do better. It's not that Boruto has better characters or arcs than Shippuden, it's that Boruto has the advantage of forging great arcs for its new generations of characters (like Boruto, Mitsuki, Sarada, Kawaki), and continuing some great arcs for its Naruto: Shippuden characters, in their adult lives. And when both sides fo the series meet (like great Naruto/Sasuke/Boruto/Young Naruto moments), it's pure magic.
Seems like a weird observation for a ninja series, but Boruto has proven it valid. The new generation of Naruto deals with the obvious advancements in technology, and how it can threaten the shinobi tradition. The biggest focus of that has been the advancements in Scientific Ninja Tools, which are basically replacing chakra jutsus with tech-based cheats.
In the wrong hands, these Scientific Ninja Tools are turning evil ninjas into Cyborgs, creating a whole new class of enemy in Boruto, which Naruto: Shippuden never saw. Additionally, Boruto has found great new ways to weaponize everything from Curse Seals to Artificial Beings, showing just how interesting advancements on Naruto ideas an be.
So, with Boruto now introducing much more advanced technology in the shinobi world, there's greater potential for some much bigger and better battles in the series to unfold. And its not just the appeal of new jutsu, or tech enhancements that make Boruto's fights exciting - its seeing Naruto, Sasuke, and other classic Shippuden characters unleashing their might as fully grown and more powerful adults. The Momoshiki battle and the battles with Kara now unfolding in the manga are some of Naruto and Sasuke's best, while Boruto's anime has expanded things to show how badass characters like Gara and Konohamaru have become in adulthood.
Naruto's saga was all about identity and building family, but Boruto has been working towards something much deeper and more profound. As a sequel series, Boruto anime and manga have both been unafraid of examining the character and fortitude of today's youth, as well as the mistakes and shortcomings of the generation that sired them. It's truly a "coming of age" tale on two fronts, for both adults that grew up on Naruto, and the children just now discovering the series through Boruto.
Better Big Bads
The bigger and better battles that Boruto is building to include some bigger, better bads to fight against. Warning - Mild Manga SPOILERS!!! In Boruto's current Kara arc, we learn that the group is directly connected to a new Otsutsuki threat, which could be greater than Shippuden big bad Kaguya Otsutsuki ever was. Outside of the that, the Kara group is a thrilling new addition to the franchise, and even the Boruto anime has created a unique set of villains (Urashiki Otsutsuki, Ku) that advance stories Naruto: Shippuden first set in motion.
Naruto: Shippuden had some of the most tragic moments in the entire saga (Jiraiya's death, the end of Sasuke and Itachi's feud - and all the bloodshed it caused). However, the losses in Shippuden will be nothing compared to what Boruto can do to fans, if it starts killing off major young character, major older characters - and yes, even Naruto and Sasuke themselves.
Do you think Boruto will become the best of the series? Let us know in the comments!