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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Boruto - Naruto the Movie (Blu-ray)
Boruto - Naruto the Movie (Blu-ray)
Other // Unrated // March 28, 2017 // Region A
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Chris Zimmerman | posted May 4, 2017 | E-mail the Author
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Boruto: Naruto the Movie:

Faster than you can say Kagebunshin no jutsu, Naruto has grown up and the franchise that helped rejuvenate the North American anime industry has produced a prodigal son to carry on the next iteration of Masashi Kishimoto's ninja saga.

Set more than ten years after the Fourth Great Ninja War, Boruto: Naruto the Movie audiences are treated to a now adult Naruto, having accomplished his goal of becoming Hokage and establishing a family to call his own. All in all, everyone's favorite mischief ninja seems to have done fairly well for himself.

Following the manga's epilogue, the film shifts its focus onto his son, Boruto. Apathetic toward his father's accomplishments and his commitments as Hokage, Boruto is anything but a retread of his heroic father that came before. Having been raised in a world relatively free of conflict by a loving family, Boruto isn't determined to prove his worth or attain respect. Despite his father's status, Boruto sees little reason in idolizing someone who continuously prioritizes work over family, exacerbated further when Naruto is caught sending a shadow clone to his own daughter's birthday rather than attending it himself.

This puts the film in the difficult predicament of conveying Naruto's responsibilities as Hokage to the audience without having him come off as a poor parent. Scenes depicting him exhausted and overworked come off as forced in a bid to develop sympathy from the audience.

When Sauske returns to warn of an impending danger, Boruto is quick to set his sights on convincing his dad's old rival to be his new sensei. Knowing that the two spent their formative years training and eventually combating each other, Boruto hopes to show his father the error in his neglect by becoming the progeny of his once greatest frenemy. After some pleading, Sasuke agrees to take him under his tutelage.

Similar in the vein of Boruto's bitterness toward his father, Sasuke's daughter, Sarada, shares a strained relationship with her father. After accepting his penance and committing himself to protecting the future of the Hidden Leaf Village from without, Sasuke's constant travels put him at odds with Sarada, who is far removed from her father's legendary status, establishing the theme of familial conflict. Sadly, though the film tries to work their relationship into the context of the story, it fails to explore their father-daughter dynamic, opting to place the full spotlight on Naruto and son. The offspring of other ninja from the previous generation crop up throughout the film, but their development is marginal and more of a wink to fans of the series.

Eager to prove himself to Sasuke and show up his dad, Boruto uses unscrupulous means to power his way through the Chunin Exams, but is disqualified during the final round when he is caught red-handed by Naruto. Faced with little recourse, Naruto declares his son exempt from becoming a ninja.

One of the subplots left dangling at the end of the manga was the motivations of the series' final antagonist, Otsutski Kaguya. Exhibiting godlike abilities to alter reality, it was hinted that her reasoning for creating an army and casting the world into chaos was part of a grander scheme despite being nearly-omnipotent. Enter Kinshiki and Momoshiki: two fellow survivors of the Otsutsuki clan whose powers dwarf Kaguya's own. Much like Kaguya, they seek to resurrect the divine tree to consume its chakra fruit, brining ruin to the world in the process. After leveling parts of the Hidden Leaf Village, the pair abduct Naruto. Fearing for his father's life, Boruto sets out with Sasuke and a cadre of other ninja to stop the villainous duo and bring his dad home. During an intense battle, the hopes of the world are pinned on a last-ditch father-son combination attack to end the Otsutski clan's threat once and for all.

Despite receiving suggestions and story notes from Masashi Kishimoto, Boruto: Naruto the Movie suffers from many of the weaknesses characteristic of earlier films in the franchise. At the core of the story is Boruto's fractured relationship with his father, leaving little room for character and plot development. Pretty much everything is paint-by-the-numbers, from introducing the children of the ninja from Naruto's generation, to the subplot involving Boruto's use of the Kote device.

Fortunately, the film's animation and fight sequences are worth the price of admission and make the film an easy recommendation. This is probably the most polished film in the Naruto series thus far, exhuming CG sequences for a traditional hand drawn style. The final battle between Naruto, Sasuke, and Momoshiki crackles with intensity in an example of crisp and fluid animation that only the franchise's theatrical budget can do justice.

With the prior series concluded and a new chronicle currently airing, Boruto: Naruto the Movie is essential viewing and the start of something greater for fans of the franchise. While it isn't the best efforts from the series, if this is the last hurrah for the renegade ninja, the film accomplishes sending Naruto out on a high note while making room for fresh faces and a new direction for the franchise.

The Blu-Ray

Video and Audio:

Boruto: Naruto the Movie arrives on Blu-Ray and DVD with a high resolution widescreen presentation. The colors are vivid and pop especially when the film ramps up the large scale action sequences, and stunning action sequences bombard the screen.

The release includes the original Japanese audio track along with a dub, the latter of which will likely be dependent on your enjoyment of the vocal cast that has been associated with the series since Viz began its English broadcast.

Extras:

The Blu-Ray has a decent, if underwhelming set of bonus features. Accompanying the usual trailers and clean ending credits are an assortment of storyboards and a special OVA exclusive to the Blu-Ray. I would have preferred if there was some sort of booklet or series recap to bring viewers up to speed but alas, special features and anime releases rarely go hand-in-hand..

Final Thoughts:

Despite its flaws, I found myself entertained by Boruto: Naruto the Movie. Seeing Naruto after having finally achieved his dream and the challenges he now endures outside of ninja conflicts was a refreshing change of pace. Fans who have kept up with the franchise will no doubt thrill at seeing the older incarnations of the original cast. After reigniting anime fandom in America and kicking down the doors for other shonen series to follow, it's a bit cathartic to bid farewell to the character, but if the film is any indication, the franchise is moving in a solid direction.

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