Boruto: Naruto Next Generations continues the legend that Masashi Kishimoto began in 1999 with Naruto. While Kishimoto has stepped down from writing and drawing the manga, Mikio Ikemoto (Artist) and Ukyo Kodachi (Script) have picked up the slack and are capturing the heart of what Naruto is with a few new twists. This helps to separate Boruto from Naruto as they tell two different stories. It is clear within the first volume of the manga that Boruto is not Naruto, as he is reflecting back on a time where he resented shinobi’s and how that made him change his attitude towards being one.
The manga opens up in the present day where Boruto is fighting against Kawaki on a destroyed Hokage rock overlooking a destroyed Konohagkure. Kawaki declares the age of shinobi is over to which Boruto points out that he is still a shinobi. Boruto begins to reflect upon a time four years ago where he resented shinobis as he recalls a mission his team was assigned to. They were requested to subdue a panda bear which they were successful in doing primarily due to Konohamaru using a new tool called the Kote. The Kote, developed by the head of scientific ninja weapons team Katasuke, allows any person the ability to use any Jutsu of any ninja regardless of that person’s skill level. While Konohamaru is presenting to the Hokage, Katasuke interrupts him and asks if the Kote can be used during the Chunin exam, to which it is denied. As this is occurring the application for the Chunin exams are being passed around and Boruto is not interested in taking the exam. Sarada and Mitsuki talk to Boruto to convince him to take the test, which he agrees to, but only for the purpose of proving how strong he is to his father who has neglected him. While he is agreeing Sasuke returns to meet with Naruto about information regarding a new enemy. Upon seeing him Boruto is impressed with his strength and immediately asks to be his student as a way to find his father’s weakness. Sasuke tells him he will help to train him if he can perform the Rasengan. To which Boruto the next morning wakes up Konohamaru to teach him the Rasengan, after several days he begins to master it. Meanwhile Sasuke reports to Naruto about how he found two people from the Otsutsuki clan while he was looking for Kaguya’s scroll and how they can be a threat to Naruto. After this Boruto meets up with Sasuke to show off his Rasengan, to which Sasuke comments on how small it is. This forces Boruto to run off before Sasuke can accept him as a student. Eventually Boruto stumbles onto Katasuke who gives him the Kote to help him progress as a ninja. Katasuke’s real motive is to show off the efficiency and usefulness that Kote will provide so that it can be mass produced and incorporated into the ninja world. Boruto, unaware of Katasuke’s motives, decides to use the Kote while training with Sasuke to produce a full size Rasengan. As this is going on Momoshiki and Kinshiki, from the Otsutsuki clan, defeat Killer B and take his tailed beast’s chakra from him as they decide that Naruto will be their next target. Meanwhile Boruto, Sarada, and Mitsuki have begun the Chunin exams as they face their first challenge in answering a question correctly. Unknown to them, both are wrong and the real test is to not get ink on yourself as the ground beneath both groups falls out. Due to good teamwork Boruto, Mitsuki, and Sarada manage to prevent themselves from falling into the ink and advancing to round 2 of the exams. Round 2 focuses on teamwork as teams go against one another to capture the opposing team’s flag. While defending his team’s flag Boruto decides to use the Koto to use a Jutsu in order to allow his team to capture a victory. Katasuke has a video recording of it being used, along with the date, while Boruto and his team advance to the next stage of the Chunin exams despite cheating.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generation is the official end to Naruto and shifts the focus onto his son Boruto as he is finding his ninja way. Rather than tell a conventional story the manga chooses to tell the story as a flashback and a reflection. Within the first volume it is revealed why Boruto is resentful of being a shinobi, primarily due to the lack of time his dad has for him. This allows for the reader to begin to understand who Boruto is and how he is willing to do anything, including cheating, to get his Dad’s attention. As the first volume concludes, Boruto has found no way to get his father’s attention, other than to show off his strength that a device enhances for him. This concept opens up the door for Boruto to expand upon his view about shinobi and the purpose of tools, devices, and true strength.