The leaves of change
Some things are just hard to let go. Naruto has been around for nearly 2 decades and while the manga already ended about three years ago, the TV show (as of this posting) is just barely ending. For many fans, a small era has just ended and although Naruto's saga has finally reached its' climax, the next generation is about to make their own mark in the ninja world. Boruto: Naruto the Movie can be interpreted as the final cap to Naruto's story but the beginning of something new. Taking place after the events of the previous film and many years after the end of the series, we find our favorite ninja has finally achieved his lifelong goal of being the official Hokage ("leader" for those that don't know Japanese) of his village. In addition, Naruto has also started a family with Hinata whom which they have two children together; their daughter Himawari, who bares a keen resemblance to Hinata, and Boruto, who is practically an adolescent version of himself. The similarities end there though as Boruto actually despises his father for not being present enough in his life; Naruto's obligations as leader occupies a majority of his time which keeps him from being with his family. As a result, Boruto participates in the Chunin Exams to get his father to spend more time with but the plan doesn't pan out when Sasuke returns to the village to warn Naruto that a pair of descendants of the Otsutsuki clan are coming after him for the Nine-Tails. To follow up on The Last: Naruto the Movie is a daunting task considering they went all out in delivering an epic finale to the original story, setting the bar extremely high. Boruto is considered a sequel of sorts but it's also an introduction to the inevitable new TV show which will focus on Naruto's son and the next generation of ninjas. It may sound like a cheap tie-in to something bigger but trust me Boruto is much more than that. Whereas the previous film focused on the relationship between Hinata and Naruto, Boruto focuses on the relationship between Naruto and Boruto as father and son. The Naruto series isn't exactly known for being a drama (no matter how hard it's tried before), but these last two films have shown that it can actually be done. There's a subtle moment in the film where Naruto tries to praise Boruto for advancing in the exams but has difficulty finding the words, instead congratulating him with the only way he knows how with a fist bump. It's scenes such as this that proves how much the series has improved and how the characters have matured over the years. In addition, the epic battle scenes continue to ride on the standard previously set in the last film, and while it just slightly comes short, it's far from disappointing. The animation continues to be smooth and top-notch especially during the climatic battle where the chaos becomes amazingly fluid. Boruto is an exceptionally well done anime film that places just as much importance on the characters as it does on the action, and if it's any indication of what's to come, then the series definitely has a bright future ahead. Boruto: Naruto the Movie comes highly recommended.