So, when Naruto fans get to discussing things and something like ‘why is Boruto so hated?’ comes up, it leads one to wonder. Were they asking about why the anime, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, is hated? Or are they asking about the protagonist himself aka Boruto Uzumaki? And like, both questions require different answers. And if you’re a hardcore Naruto Shippuden stan, maybe you understand what I’m trying to say here. It isn’t just about the story or the characters alone.
Like, don’t get me wrong. The simple answer to why Boruto is hated so much in the community is that it’s simply not a good anime, and its main character feels misplaced in his own story. And this isn’t something unique to Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. I feel as if a lot of Shonen sequels suffer from this setback, where the hype generated by the original series is just too much for a secondary series to live up to. Whether it’s because the focus shifts from one beloved protagonist to a relatively unknown one, or whether it’s because the story feels like it’s being dragged on, the verdict is almost always the same.
I think one of the main reasons something like Chainsaw Man hasn’t gone down the same route is because while Denji might not be its main character anymore, he is still in the background. But just enough where he is still involved with the new protagonist, Asa Mitaka, and doesn’t take away from her spotlight. And it all feels very natural, because both of them are roughly the same age and their interactions feel less forced. Plus, the story feels like it still has a ways to go.
Meanwhile, when you discuss Boruto: Naruto Next Generations in general, it gets easier to see why Boruto is so hated. I mean, it’s already hard enough to find your footing following a popular series that had ended on a definitive note. But for it to be one of the Big 3 that fuelled the ‘Anime Boom’ of the late 2000s? Well, things get complicated. So today, let’s discuss why Boruto isn’t as beloved as its predecessor.
Boruto Uzumaki: The Sins Of The Father
Let’s start with the star of the show himself: Boruto Uzumaki. By the name alone, you know he’s Naruto Uzumaki’s son, his first born and heir to his legacy. And like, don’t get me wrong. Those are huge shoes to fill in. I mean, Naruto freaking Uzumaki? Imagine having to live under that shadow.
Which, yeah, that’s basically what Boruto ends up feeling like most. It feels like his father, who was already pretty absent due to being a full time Hokage, is more of a standard to meet for Boruto than an actual parent. And listen, I get Naruto might not be the best dad ever or know how family dynamics work. But the way he treats Boruto, and vice versa, just feels so out of line for the character we grew up with. Honestly, I can’t even blame Boruto for the way he has grown up.
Because the sad part is that, on his own, Boruto is actually a breath of fresh air in the Shonen community. He isn’t a selfless ball of sunshine. Instead, the jokes about him being Naruto and Sasuke Uchiha’s ‘love child’, ring truer than ever. He is a perfect blend of Naruto’s well-meaning heart and Sasuke’s anti-hero vibes. He’s genuinely compelling in the decisions he makes, which might not always be the best ones. Like, Boruto would be a great protagonist anywhere else.
But because he is directly the successor to Naruto, it just falls flat. Because in an attempt to make him distinguishable from his father, the creators have made Boruto into this misguided character in a convoluted plot that feels like wasted potential.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Is A Cash Grab?
Okay, so if we talk about why the anime is so hated, that’s also an easy answer. I mean, just think about what came before it. Naruto Shippuden is practically a cultural phenomenon that has become a hallmark in the anime world. And so the act that would follow it, had to be just as grand in scope.
And sadly, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations was just not it. I mean, when Naruto Shippuden ended, it was so impactful because its main character grew alongside an entire generation. We saw Naruto’s struggles from day 1, saw his ups and downs and how they impacted those around him. There was no character doing it like him, or at least, not combined with everything else.
Because the world created for Naruto Shippuden, with each village, faction and even hierarchy within the ninjas themselves, was so expansive. There were entire storylines left ambiguous in places that could’ve explored with a new set of characters unrelated to the main ones. And the characters that already existed in canon didn’t feel like a waste. (Or at least, the male ones didn’t but Masashi Kishimoto writing about women is a topic for another day.)
With Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, it feels like they took all of that potential and decided to rewrite everything, but scaled way, way down. Suddenly, some of the most powerful Shinobi in the show became nerfed, with their position in the narrative becoming nothing more than cameo fodder. You had amazing characters like Temari who became a housewife. And the whole Ōtsutsuki plot twist might’ve worked by the end of Naruto Shippuden, but it feels so forced in Boruto: Naruto next Generations. Because, let’s face it, as villains? The Akatsuki were somehow much more menacing as a group.
And even if we talk individual villains, was there ever going to be one that is better than Madara Uchiha in the series? In that same vein, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations feels far too clunky with its introduction of new characters that are vaguely related to old ones, but somehow stronger. It just became about ‘one upping’ itself in every arc, without any of the satisfying pay off. Simply put, while there was a lot that could’ve been picked up for new storylines from the original anime, but focusing on legacy characters was not the best idea. It led to redundancy.
It’s like dragging a dead horse, just to make more money because you know the franchise name sells. And when capital takes precedent, corners get cut. So, in the end, it becomes less ‘faithful sequel for fans’ and more ‘cash grab by milking nostalgia’.
Okay But Why Is Boruto So Hated Still?
When you remove the core elements of certain characters, you also end up losing the essence of a show. If you’re following Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, you know by now that Naruto has lost Kurama, the Nine-Tailed Fox that was sealed inside of him and was the centre point for everything that happened to him throughout his life. Similarly put, Sasuke has lost the Rinnegan, and now only has the Sharingan.
Both characters have children who resent them for different reasons, and neither really try changing that. Sasuke’s daughter, Sarada Uchiha, looks up to Naruto and Boruto looks up to Sasuke, and that is an interesting dynamic that can be explored. But in the end, it ends up feeling like these two amazing characters, arguably of the face of the franchise, are just pale imitations of what we knew. All in an attempt to make newer characters feel more interesting.
And when you combine all of these elements, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations simply doesn’t illicit the same feelings that Naruto Shippuden did. The real reason why Boruto is hated, is because it’s a sequel series that feels like it was made to continue making a profit rather than further the story of Konohagakure and beyond. But hey, if you disagree and think Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is severely misunderstood, then let us know what you think.
Should the series be hated less? Are we missing something other fans are picking up? Sound off below!