Boruto: Naruto Next Generations has definitely had a shaky run among fans of the Naruto franchise, specifically for its anime. While the manga continues to move along, following the battle of Konoha against Jigen, the anime has had to create filler to give itself some headway. Unfortunately, some of these storylines simply haven't been well received by fans of the Hidden Leaf Village. Luckily, in conjunction with the anniversary of the franchise, the latest anime story that features Boruto and Sasuke travelling to the past to meet the Konoha of years past has been just the shot in the arm that the anime needed. So what has this time travel arc brought to the series that it so desperately needed?
To start, fans of the Naruto franchise got into the series thanks in part to the story of the young Uzumaki, attempting to find his place in a world that looked down on him due to the beast that was lying in wait within his body. When the torch was passed following the end of Naruto: Shippuden from father to son, it seems that the series lost out on some of the magic that brought so many people into the world.
Now Boruto himself isn't necessarily a bad protagonist, it's just that he's not Naruto. The struggle with this fox inside of himself as well as the battle to gain acceptance isn't there for Boruto, though luckily this recent arc has given us an interesting play in seeing how he reacts to these two parts of his father's character. With these latest episodes, revisiting the franchise's early days has been just what the fans wanted, creating a sense of nostalgia while also playing with how the characters of Boruto and Sasuke react to their surroundings.
As mentioned earlier, Boruto has been in something of a phase of spinning its wheels, attempting to create stories for the present version of Konoha while more material is created for the manga to be eventually adapted. While the new characters of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations can be compelling, they'll always be stacked up against their predecessors and the time travel arc manages to save the anime in terms of blending fantastic animation, interesting storytelling, and perhaps most importantly, compelling character moments that were often lost in the recent anime. At the end of the day, you just don't hear as much excitement and chatter about Boruto: Naruto Next Generations as you once did for its predecessor.
It will definitely be interesting to see where the anime goes from here and for how long the time travel arc lasts, perhaps having Boruto travel back further based on the success of this storyline.
Do you think that the time travel arc has saved the Boruto anime? Feel free to let us know in the comments or hit me up directly on Twitter @EVComedy to talk all things comics, anime, and the Hidden Leaf Village!
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.
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.