I know I give a lot of flack to Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, and I won’t apologize for it. There are a lot of flaws with that anime, and they aren’t something you could excuse easily. Especially considering the footsteps it’s following in. And one of my main fear when I first started the show was whether it’ll be a carbon copy of its predecessor. Which ended up subverting by not making Boruto the obvious hero to Konohagakure in the way his father was. Still, is that enough to think he might be the overarching antagonist of the show?
Boruto Uzumaki is not the villain, even if the very first scene of the anime does suggest otherwise. And this fact has been further proven multiple times throughout the series. Though it isn’t hard to see why people might still consider him an antagonist, considering how much destruction Boruto has been indirectly involved with.
But that’s the thing about Boruto on the whole: he is trying to step out of the shadow cast by someone like Naruto Uzumaki, aka his dad. Who is the hero of the 4th Shinobi War, a Jinchūriki, and the current Hokage? Like, how do you fill shoes that big without feeling immensely insecure or like you need to have a separate identity away from them?
Those kinds of mixed-up feelings are what can cause an ally to become an enemy. But is Boruto toeing the same line as his mentor, Sasuke Uchiha? Welcome to Lore Analysis! This is where we take an in-depth look at the mythos of popular franchises like Naruto to predict where the plot might be heading. Today, let’s see if Boruto is going to be the Big Bad of his own story!
Boruto Uzumaki’s Trajectory In The Plot:
In hindsight, one of Boruto: Naruto Next Generation’s biggest strengths is in how they made Naruto and Boruto two very distinct characters. This isn’t a Son Goku and Gohan situation, where the father and son duo are the best of buddies and share the same motivations.
Boruto is reserved, for the lack of a better word. He becomes much more cynical of the people he interacts with and isn’t as loud as his dad was in his youth. Unlike Naruto, who was compassionate to the point of fault, Boruto is shrewd. He doesn’t dream of being a leader that people look up to. Even though it’d be so easy for him to follow his dad and his grandfather, Minato Namikaze.
No, he aims to become a better Shinobi and control the powers inside of him leftover by Momoshiki Ōtsutsuki. And it’s the Ōtsutsuki clan that plays a major role in his character arc, which led fans to believe he would be an enemy going forward. Though, now we know that was a Red Herring to throw us off.
How Does Sasuke Uchiha Works In Boruto:
Up until a certain point, people believed that Boruto would get possessed by Momoshiki and destroy the Leaf Village. It didn’t help that the first time we see Boruto, it is in the ruins of Konohagakure during a time skip.
So, when Sasuke comes back and becomes both a mentor figure to Boruto and someone he looks up to, it was intriguing. Sasuke himself was once a traitor to Konoha. He had actively participated in its demise, but he came back. Ex-antihero teaching the child of the true hero is such a great trope and one that paid off. Especially when Sasuke got his Rinnegan ripped out by said child who was under Momoshiki’s control.
That was one of the defining points where Boruto could’ve been driven into being the villain. But he didn’t. Again, thanks to Sasuke being his guiding light, showing him that he will make mistakes but rectifying them is his duty as a Shinobi.
Kawaki: The True Antagonist Of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
So, who is the true villain then? If not the Otsutsuki (not directly, anyway.), then who?
Kawaki is an odd kid. Raised by the Kara society to be a future vessel for Isshiki Ōtsutsuki, he was later extracted by Team 7 and taken in by Naruto to raise as his own. Where Boruto looks up to Sasuke, Kawaki is enamored by Naruto.
In volume 53, Kawaki is shown as someone to root for. But when Kawaki claims that a world without Naruto isn’t worth living in, it sets off warning bells. Having an idol to look up to is good and all, but the way he said it implied he might go to any length for him.
We already know Kawaki is the other ninja with Boruto in the Konoha ruins flashforward. He states that he ‘sent’ Naruto somewhere to ‘protect’ him. And when older Boruto responds with “I never thought you’d go this far, Kawaki“? Oof.
That was a loaded exchange, Now, Naruto Shippuden has already explored how loss can drive people to take extreme measures like with Madara Uchiha. So, it isn’t hard to believe the same might be happening for Kawaki and leading to his villain arc!