Although Naruto Uzumaki is the titular character of Masashi Kishimoto's series, Sasuke Uchiha has always been just as much of a main character. Some of the most critical points in the entire series revolve around Sasuke in some way, and it's surprisingly been repeated in a lot of the same way in the sequel. Boruto: Naruto Next Generations introduced fans to a new kind of Sasuke, one who has been trying to make up for all of the harm he caused in the original series. But he's never really had a moment where he's had to completely come to grips with everything he's done.
But the time travel arc of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations has the potential to change this. For some very notable reason, Boruto didn't travel back in time alone. The anime made it a point to bring back Sasuke too, and made it even more of a point to bring them back to a time where he had already left the Hidden Leaf Village. If the arc continues to explore this, it could mean great things for Sasuke's character.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations had a pivotal arc in which Sasuke realized he was neglecting his family, and after connecting with Sarada it seemed like he had improved on how distant he was being. But an episode before the time travel arc revealed that he's still neglecting the two, and while Sarada has accepted it, it's still clear that Sasuke hasn't improved in the little ways that really matter. While he understands that he's being distant, he hasn't really made the necessary changes to his daily life.
This is extended to his relationship with Boruto as well. Coldly noting that he and Boruto don't have a close teacher and student relationship, and further implying that they may never have one, it's increasingly clearer that he hasn't really done that work on himself. He hasn't really taken the time out to look within, and this time travel arc will quite literally give him the time to do so.
As Boruto hangs out with the younger version of the Naruto characters, Sasuke is also importantly close by. While the threat of Urashiki is near, Sasuke is also coming face-to-face with the damage he's done in the past. He's been carrying the trauma of his isolated and hatred filled upbringing, but he's never really actually faced what he's done. It wasn't until after the time skip, and he was detached enough from Sakura and Naruto that he finally acted -- and so he's never really reflected on the childhood he willing left behind.
But as both Boruto and Sasuke continue to explore the past and interact with Naruto in new ways than before, perhaps the both of them will come away from this with a better understanding of where Naruto is coming from. Although Sasuke respects Naruto now, there's a chance that he doesn't thing the same of the "old" Naruto. There's an engraved image of the young Naruto in his head that he'll always carry, but this time travel arc could go far in showing Sasuke just how much he hurt Naruto back then with his actions. Couple this with the additional perspective gained from having Boruto involved, and there's a good recipe for change.3comments
But what do you think? Do you think Sasuke will come away from the time travel arc a better person? Do you think he needs improvement? Or did he already confront all of his traumas in the fight with Naruto at the end of Shippuden? Will this arc stick the landing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or talk to me directly @Valdezology on Twitter!
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.