Boruto: Naruto Next Generations – Season 4

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations – Season 4

The life of the shinobi is beginning to change. Boruto Uzumaki, son of Seventh Hokage Naruto Uzumaki, has enrolled in the Ninja Academy to learn the ways of the ninja. Now, as a series of mysterious events unfolds, Boruto’s story is about to begin!

The academy students are going through some classic training from the get-go. The sixth hokage, Kakashi Hatake, is back to give the next generation of ninjas a few tips and tricks. The adults are beginning to despair of the classes drive and passion to become ninjas. They aren’t focused, there’s less of a need to become ninja in this peaceful age, and it’s like nothing is driving them to become the best that they can be. So when Kakashi severely criticises the class, it ignites a few tempers – particularly Boruto’s. In the face of Kakashi’s skill and unwillingness to go easy on him, Boruto comes to realise his own shortcomings and how much he still has to learn. Still, with the help of others in his class h is able to formulate a strategy that benefits them all, proving that the class does have the ability of working together as a unit, determined not to leave any man behind.

And so the journey begins to earn that coveted genin status (and it’s about time, actually). The first order of business is to be put into the traditional three-man cell. Shikadai is keen to become part of the Ino-Shika-Cho cell like his father and grandfather, so Boruto is at a loss at who he could be paired with. So when he finds himself teamed up with Mitsuki and Sarada, he has more than a few things to say about it. And Sarada’s not too impressed, either. But after recognising each other’s talents, despite the obvious personality clash, they begin to see how they complement one another, and request to be given the name of ‘Team 7’ like their fathers before them. Of course, no Naruto fan wouldn’t be excited to hear this.

We get to see the new Team 7, accompanied by Konohamaru-sensei, going out on missions. Their first mission ends up being a lo more complex than they originally thought, and no one is more excited than Boruto to show off the extent of his skills, throw himself head-first into danger and generally stress Konohamaru out. So when things go back to normal, and he’s assigned the real low-risk missions of a ninja academy student, he becomes frustrated. But not for long, as the mysterious Byakuya Gang – known for their Robin Hood-style tactics of re-distributing wealth – appear in Konoha after making their way through many other surrounding villages. Meanwhile, Shikadai finds himself playing shogi with a new youth on the scene named Ryogi, and they form a deep bond. But when corporations start getting attacked and state-o-the-art technology getting stolen coincides with Ryogi’s sudden disappearance, it’s up to the new generation of genin to stop the Byakuya Gang in their tracks.

This season of Boruto felt like it stopped and started a lot. It’s trying to go through the same developments as Naruto without being the same, I get it – but the elements or the characters just aren’t as strong as they were first time around. There’s not a big focus on rising through the ranks, but I feel like things are taking a more external-looking approach, using missions and situations to bring the cast together. Trouble is, there seems to be so much more characters this time around – the genin, the adults, those in-between characters that we’ve seen that are older than Boruto yet younger than Naruto. They all have little cameos and unfortunately it does disturb the pace and leaves me wondering just where Boruto is trying to go with all these little situations. Surely by now there should be some overarching storyline that things are working up to?

I think the best thing to come out of this season is the relationship that develops between Shikadai and Ryogi. It was a very clever way of linking these two together and showing Shikadai’s innate talent for strategy that he father has. Unlike Shikamaru, I think Shikadai is a bit more fiery and perhaps less lazy, so I’m glad that we’re not just seeing carbon copies of the first generation and that the characters are developing into their own, even if it is at a painfully slow rate. I just hope that there is enough action to come to back up this development and that people don’t start to lose interest.

Those that have been sticking with Boruto this long know that this isn’t going to be just like watching Naruto, but I feel like there is still some way to go for Boruto and his friends to get out of Naruto and friends’ shadows. I’m hoping that this is one of the end objectives for this anime – to start with similar beginnings and then strike out on its own to forge the stories of the new generation – but I’m wondering how long I will have to wait in order to see something a bit more concrete.