After all of the subtle hints that have been dropped recently, it has been confirmed and after 720 combined episodes, Naruto Shippuuden will be ending at long last. The original Naruto anime began airing on October 3, 2002 and ended on February 8, 2007. The original run lasted for 220 episodes, the bulk of which were filler. One week later on February 15, 2007, the sequel, Naruto Shippuuden, began airing. On March 23, 2017, Naruto Shippuuden‘s 500th episode will be its last.
The first hint that the series would be ending was that a sequel series was announced. Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is schedule to air this April. The story will begin to follow Naruto’s son in a world with Naruto as the seventh hokage. The anime is scheduled to have it’s own story as there isn’t enough source material to make an anime adaptation. Right now, the only source material is the Boruto movie which was released in August 2015. While there is a manga for Boruto, it is merely adapting the movie and, even in Japan, has not yet reached a point yet where it has furthered the story beyond the movie. The Boruto manga is releasing monthly which is also hindering the production of enough source material to adapt into an anime. The first volume of the manga is available from VIZ Media.
The second hint came from the fact that Shueisha hadn’t revealed any information on future episodes of Naruto Shippuuden past episode 500. Typically, we would have gotten some sort of story synopsis about future episodes, but no such information came this time around. This lead people to believe that the light novel adaptations would simply end and that we may get a couple of episodes beyond that to wrap up the final chapter of the manga which has yet to be adapted. Episode 500 is slated to feature Iruka giving Naruto his wedding gift. There is still a chance that there will be a time skip and a montage at the end which would adapt Chapter 700 of the manga to give the series its closure.
The third, and probably biggest, clue was that the upcoming anime Snack World would be taking Naruto Shippuuden’s time slot starting on April 15th. This could have meant that Shippuuden could have ended on March 30 or even on April 8, but apparently, that’s not going to be the case.
Whether you enjoyed it or just downright loathed the ever living hell out of it, Naruto and Naruto Shippuuden have been one of the big staples of anime for the past 15 years. I’m just wondering when all of the haters out there will complain that Studio Pierrot is making an entirely new series that is, technically, non-canon and nothing but filler! Let the hate begin in 3… 2… 1….