Sequels are a messy affair. They are rarely as good as the original. But I’m also a sucker for wanting to see my favorite characters continue, despite knowing it’ll never be as good as the first time. So, when Boruto: Naruto Next Generations was first announced, I was skeptical but still hyped. I couldn’t wait to see Sasuke Uchiha again, who was definitely more powerful than we last met him, right? Right?
Naruto Shippuden is the OG. Part of the Big 3 from Weekly Shonen Jump alongside Bleach and One Piece, Naruto was everywhere. With a great premise, amazing fight scenes, and fun characters, Naruto became near synonymous with anime itself. Masashi Kishimoto, the mangaka for the Naruto franchise, had created a giant to rival those as revered as Dragon Ball and Pokemon.
So, how could a show this huge with characters so powerful and iconic reduce them to a fraction of their power and make them bland? Can you imagine an old Naruto Shippuden fan that the Sasuke Uchiha, one half of the duo that killed a literal God, would go on to conveniently never utilize most of his powers in the future? And he’ll lose his Rinnegan to some rogue villains? It’s like the writers tried to make the newer Shinobi look more powerful by bringing down the ones that came before them.
So, what happened between the Valley Of The End battle and the start of Boruto that ruined the characterization of one of the most powerful ninjas in the universe? We have to investigate the curious case of nerfing Sasuke Uchiha in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Let’s dive right in!
Boruto: Out With The Old, In With The New
One of the biggest arguments that can be made for Boruto’s extreme de-powering of legends like Sasuke is simply because they were too powerful by the end of Naruto Shippuden. And would easily overshadow whoever came after them.
Which isn’t an unfounded fear. Remember, Sasuke’s powers rival only one individual in the entire franchise: Naruto Uzumaki himself. Their powers literally canceled each other out when they had their final battle at the end of the manga at the Valley Of The End. Between Naruto’s Jiinchuuriki and massive chakra reserves and Sasuke’s Uchiha lineage granting him his Kekkai Genkai and natural prowess as a fighter, no one on Earth could fight the two and come out the victor.
So, how do you top that? Even if it’s their children, it still wouldn’t be the same because they didn’t grow up in the same violent circumstances as Sasuke and Naruto did. Therefore, to shift the spotlight, the old characters were made more passive to let the new kids shine. I mean, thinking about it, taking that route to make Boruto Uzumaki and Sarada Uchiha look better, makes sense.
Sasuke Uchiha: Forgetting Powers That Won You The War
Lord, do I have a bone to pick with this one because, fine. Maybe Sasuke was too powerful, and the writers needed to bring him down a notch by giving him a weakness. Which, technically, they had already done when Naruto and Sasuke blew off each other’s arms in the final battle.
Maybe that kind of disability could’ve affected his agility. We could’ve worked out a whole chakra depletion situation because he was missing an entire limb. Not to mention how difficult it would be to hand signs for certain Genjutsu. Like, there were so many things the writers could’ve done here to give Sasuke a step back without making it look sloppy.
So, after everything, why did they pick forgetting all of his powers as a quick fix for his OP nature? Being able to fuse Chidori with another Jutsu? Not happening. Six Paths Yin Powers? They don’t exist. Freaking Kagutsuchi? Not important anymore, apparently!
The worst part is that these powers are what made Sasuke an equal to Naruto, a Ninja God that can bring back lost Jutsus. The Rinnegan is what made Madara Uchiha such a formidable opponent and yet, Sasuke barely uses it for anything more than teleportation. Like, what?
Why is Boruto Hated?
And this is, in my opinion, the legit reason why characters like Sasuke were nerfed to high heaven just to make space for new ones. Bad writing ruins sequels more often than not, which is what happened here.
In my opinion, Naruto Shippuden ended on a pretty strong note. In the end, it was a story about two shinobi being dealt a horrible hand in life. About how they found solidarity and pushed each other to become more. It never needed to continue beyond that, the story was complete.
But, as mentioned before, Naruto is a powerhouse of a franchise. I don’t think executives could let that go without milking it for what it’s worth. And when you’re writing something for the sake of profiting off of nostalgia, it leads to bad plot holes and unfaithful portrayals of characters that fans fell in love with originally.
Boruto: Naruto Next generations committed the ultimate sin: It made an engaging universe predictable and boring. And there’s no coming back from that.