A Naruto fan hit the nail on the head this week when they noticed a hilarious parallel among friendships in the series.
The whole idea was illustrated in a chart on Reddit, where user DarkJayBR compiled some of the "edgiest" characters in portraits taken from the manga. Jay noted that wherever there is a serious, dark character in the world of Naruto, there tends to be a comic relief tagging along.
"Every edgelord of Naruto has a goofy best friend," Jay wrote. Characters like Sasuke, Itachi and Kakashi accompanied by their bumbling counterparts -- respectively, Naruto, Shisui and Guy Lee. The chart even shows notes the dynamic between Orochimaru and Jiraiya, employing the multi-generational parallel that the series is so well known for.
Fans dropped into the comments, mostly to laugh at how spot-on this observation was, as well as to argue the finer points of the distinction. They also added more suggestions of unlikely pairings.
"Lee and Neji as well," one person wrote. This idea was argued at length, though many seemed to see the point.
"Jiraiya tells Naruto that he has failed to bring his best friend back to the village, but that Naruto will be able to bring his," another commenter said. "And Orochimaru was really shaken when he discovered that Jiraiya was dead."
Fans of Naruto know that creator Masashi Kishimoto loves to create characters who, at their core, have the same motives and dynamics as their predecessors. At times, the story structure tends to waver between symmetrical and downright repetitive, as many fans found themselves exhausted by the cyclical nature of it.
This has been precisely the downfall of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Old school fans of the series often complain that it is boring, with low stakes and nothing new to offer. They see the show as an obvious remix of the old characters.
Still, recent episodes may have helped to bring them back into the fold, especially as the older characters such as Naruto and Sasuke take a more active role. These days, Naruto is facing facts when it comes to his parenting and prioritization, and Sasuke is evolving past his harsh exterior into a true father figure.
However, the real selling point may have been Naruto and Sasuke's epic fight sequence a few weeks ago, in the episode "Father and Child." There, fans saw the two shinobi they've grown up with throw everything they have at a Momshiki. Even the show's detractors had to admit that it was one of the best fight scenes the series had ever had.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations airs on Thursdays. It simulcasts in the U.S. on Hulu and Crunchyroll.