“Naruto’s Sequel Should Have Been About Sarada, Not Boruto”
The main character of the Naruto sequel series should’ve been Sarada, rather than Boruto. After Masashi Kishimoto’s massively popular Naruto story came to an end, a sequel series was put into production almost immediately, albeit without the direct involvement of the franchise creator. Titled Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, the new series centers around the previous main character’s son and features a supporting cast of young ninja, most of whom are also the descendants of characters from the classic series. The ensemble is rounded out by grown-up versions of Shikamaru, Sasuke and various other familiar faces.
One of the key supporting figures in Boruto‘s story is Sarada, the daughter of Sasuke and Sakura. Along with Orochimaru’s synthetic offspring, Mitsuki, Sarada joins Boruto as part of the new-look Team 7, and the trio take on a variety of perilous missions, just as their parents did before them. While Sarada is certainly a pivotal character, the focus remains very much on Boruto. Every arc is dictated by the actions of Uzumaki Jr. and most episodes are told from his point of view. But despite their respective roles in the sequel series, Sarada should’ve been the leading character.
In terms of personality, Boruto is a very close facsimile of his father as a youngster. Both share an unbeatable exuberance, dogged determination and a knack for bringing people together. There’s obviously a strong visual similarity between the two leads, and both draw from a common arsenal of techniques, making frequent use of Shadow Clones and the Rasengan, with Sage Mode rumored to follow soon. Despite some vital differences, it’s clear that the team behind Boruto had no desire to move away from the property’s established protagonist template.
The second problem with Boruto’s characterization is that his central story doesn’t exactly resonate with the average viewer. In the original series, Naruto was forced to overcome adversity, defy destiny and claim the title of Hokage – a clear journey from point A to point B mapped out from the very beginning. Boruto, however, doesn’t have a clear cut arc ahead of him. The ninja has no desire to become Hokage, is naturally gifted among his peers and, compared to his father at least, lives a relatively comfortable lifestyle. There’s no inherent struggle for Boruto to overcome in the long-term.
For these reasons, Sarada would’ve been the more preferable choice as the lead character in a Naruto follow-up series. Chiefly, Sarada is a far more unique and self-defined creation. As the daughter of Sakura and Sasuke, the youngster combines qualities of both – her father’s tactical genius and her mother’s nurturing kindness – but also adds traits of her own, such as a desire to lead others. Unlike Boruto, Sarada’s apple seems to have fallen a little further from the tree, making her the more interesting character. Additionally, Sarada has a more natural long-term character arc. Not only does she want to become Hokage in the future, but Sarada must overcome the burden of a father she barely recognizes, and that some within Konoha revile for his actions in the original series. This adversity mirrors the hardship endured by Naruto as a youngster, but puts a poetic new twist on the classic story.
Sarada’s superiority to Boruto as a leading figure is demonstrated in the latest manga chapter, #42. In the battle against Boro, it’s Sarada that takes the strategic approach, figures out a play and pulls out a new move (borrowed from her Dad, admittedly) to save the day. On the other hand, Boruto continuously rushes in, hitting the Rasengan until he runs out of juice. This fight epitomizes Boruto’s tendency to be a one-note protagonist, while Sarada’s intelligence, strength and natural leadership creates more of a layered persona.
Going with Sarada: Naruto Next Generations would’ve given fans a more interesting lead character, and a sequel series that represented a bigger departure from its predecessor. Watching the story unfold from the eyes of an Uchiha could’ve been a neat gimmick, but Sarada’s mission to become Hokage would also provide a common thread of continuity between generations. Boruto Uzumaki certainly isn’t a bad character, but as a leading ninja, there were stronger alternatives to front the Naruto sequel.
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