The epilogue to the 700 chapter long Naruto manga is finally upon us here on the United States! There was belief that this spin-off would focus on Boruto and Sarada; however, Masashi Kishimoto gave us a nice mixture between old and new characters as a way to show transition from one generation to the next.
The story takes place in Konoha and follows Sarada, the daughter of Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno. One day, Naruto, as the Seventh Hokage, receives a message via Sasuke’s messenger hawk to come meet him at his place outside the village as he has unearthed something rather unsettling. Naruto agrees to go meet Sasuke; however, Sarada decides to tag along after finding a photo of Sasuke’s old group Taka, which consisted of Suigetsu, Jugo, and Karin. Sarada resembled Karin almost down to the finest details and she became suspicious about whether or not Sakura was her real mother. When Sarada discovered that Naruto was going to meet her father, she ended up tagging along.
On the way to meet Sasuke, a mysterious boy named Shin descends and attacks Naruto and Sarada. The mystery here is that the boy seems to possess the Mangekyo Sharingan, native to the Uchiha clan. With Sasuke and Sarada being the last two known existing Uchiha, this worries Naruto. They cause Shin to retreat and they meet up with Sasuke where he has the other four Kage gathered. He warns them that an even greater evil than Kaguya is manifesting and to be on high alert. After the meeting concludes, they are attacked by Shin again along with a much larger individual also known as Shin. The larger Shin kidnaps Sakura and tries to use her medical ninjitsu to heal him after the battle.
Naruto and Sasuke have a sneaky suspicion and pay a visit to Orochimaru. Indeed, Shin is an escaped experiment of Orochimaru and he says he must be stopped. Kabuto also runs a DNA test on Sarada and tells her that Karin is her real mother. All of this emotional trauma has caused Sarada to awaken her Sharingan and her abilities along with it. Sarada and Naruto have a heart to heart and states that Sakura is, indeed, her real mother because of the bonds between them. The final battle ensues and big Shin is defeated after Sarada gets some time to shine, showing off her combined powers of Sasuke and Sakura. There many other child versions of Shin as they were nothing more than disposable clones for the main Shin. Naruto decides to take them all to Konoha and treat them as normal children, enlisting them in the ninja academy with Kabuto as their teacher. Apparently Sakura was Sarada’s real mother afterall as Karin admits that she’s the one who delivered Sarada when Sakura was pregnant with her.
It was kind of an abrupt ending to the manga, but I can only suspect that this was a lead-in to Boruto: Naruto the Movie. The manga definitely felt like a bridge between the original series and the new upcoming movie. They never really answered what the big evil was in the manga, however, the movie’s trailer touts an evil character that possesses the Rinnegan in the palms of their hands, which can only mean ties to both Kaguya and her son, The Sage of the Six Paths.
It was a pretty entertaining read and it made me realize just how much I miss the Naruto franchise in manga form. It’s a pretty good and if you have any intentions of watching the upcoming movie, then I highly urge you to read this side-series as I feel as if it’s going to set up and explain some of the things that happen in the movie.
I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of Boruto, but from what I’ve seen of him so far, he just seems like Naruto lite rather than an entirely new character. Typically rejuvenating the series around a new character that’s just a carbon copy of the old character can backfire. I really hope that Kishimoto does things differently enough with Boruto to set him apart from how his father was when he was a child. Kishimoto is planning on overseeing a manga dedicated to Boruto so maybe we’ll get to see that character fleshed out in a way that doesn’t just make him a Naruto clone.
**This item was provided for review