Blu-Ray Review: Boruto: Naruto Next Generations – Set 1

The Naruto legacy continues with Boruto but what kind of story can we expect and does it change the ‘Naruto’ formula we have come to expect from the franchise? Let’s take a look at Manga Entertainment’s Blu-Ray release and find out.

Synopsis:

Meet Naruto’s son! His name is Boruto and he’s just like his dad – unfortunately. He’s rambunctious, rebellious, and more than a handful! He’s joined by the next generation of the Hidden Leaf Village – including Sarada, the daughter of Sasuke; and Mitsuki, a shinobi of mysterious lineage! Boruto and his friends have their hands full when they investigate a dangerous entity known as “The Ghost.” Can Boruto save the village just like dad?

Our View:

The Naruto saga continues with its ‘Next Generation’ in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, and just like the film Boruto: Naruto the Movie, the spotlight has shifted from Naruto Uzumaki to his son Boruto Uzumaki. This change of perspective not only difference either as Boruto: Naruto Next Generations may look the same as Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, in terms of animation, but the pacing and story presentation is refreshingly different.

Naturally familiar faces, albeit in an older form, appear but the highlight is the evolution of Boruto through his own unique tales of adventure. It’s also worth noting that unlike Dragon Ball Super, which retold the events of the recent Dragon Ball Z movies, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations starts completely fresh with a new story and a different perspective.

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations takes place several years after the events of Naruto Shippuden (or The Last Naruto the Movie), whereby Naruto has married Hinata, had children and become hokage to the Hidden Leaf Village. During this time the hidden leaf village has radically changed from a simplistic village hidden in the mountains to a metropolis striving in advanced technology. If this series didn’t feature characters from Naruto then we could easily mistake it for a different anime series entirely. It is a welcome change and – for someone who initially dropped Naruto Shippuden – somewhat nostalgic.

Regardless; the hidden leaf village has advanced and so has its people, with modern technology aiding that of traditional shinobi tactics. One tactic is the Shinobi academy of which Boruto Uzumaki is forced to enter despite having no real interest in becoming a shinobi himself. Unlike Naruto, who was loathed by everyone in his school years due to the Nine Tail Fox spirit residing within him, Boruto has friends and casually hangs out with them – especially Shikadai who is the son of Shikamaru and Temari. Although Boruto has no interest in becoming a shinobi he still has that ‘protective’ spirit and helps those in need; which is where the story of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations begins.

It all begins when Boruto rescues a kid, who is later introduced as Denki, from bullies and soon enough to two become close friends; but the desire for Denki to become more self-independent results in him being possessed by an evil spirit and as such causes him to extract revenge on the bullies. An interesting scenario unfolds and Boruto arrives on the scene to save day, with the spirit fading away into the distance as a result.

It’s explained that Denki wanted to train at the Shinobi Academy and to have his father acknowledge his own desires. Boruto understands this feeling of wanting to be acknowledged due to his father, Naruto, putting his own work before the needs of the family; a plot point which is often overshadowing this series.

Naturally the events from the first episode spill out into its own story arc that is ‘mostly’ covered by this Set 1 release of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. The events of this set follow Boruto Uzumaki as he attends the Shinobi Academy and overcoming daily school obstacles while making new friends. It is a refreshing change of scenario compared to that of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden which focused heavily on battlefields and war.

In this case it acts more like a slice-of-life school series; except this time everyone has Ninja abilities. Of course there is more than meets the eye in this set of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations as during each episode a mysterious event takes place that leads Boruto to investigate the spirit (or Ghost as it is later nickanmed) that is causing havoc within the city.

Just like with Denki this Spirit processes people that have doubts or misguided thoughts about themselves and causes them to attack other people. At first this starts at the school infecting other students, and soon teachers, with Boruto forcing himself into the fray in order to return everything to normal. It may seem convenient that Boruto is around when these events take place; but that is all explained in the later stages of the set – as it turns out a classmate was the one causing the disruption.

It is an interesting Story Arc that sets itself up nicely through a series of different topic episodes and more importantly it allows us to be quickly introduced to the different characters and their thought process as well, as see them evolve and adapt through the episodes included.

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations – Set 1 might carry the ‘Naurto’ name, but this is the story of Boruto with familiar faces from the Naruto franchise. It is refreshingly different, somewhat nostalgic but more importantly it remains true to the legacy of the original.

Extras:

This Blu-Ray release of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations – Set 1, of which seems to be authored by Madman Entertainment, features quite an impressive selection of supplementary content and remains consistent with the bonus features found on the Naruto themed movie releases.

In this case fans will find the usual selection of textless songs for both the opening and endings as well as Japanese production materials such as an Episode Storyboard and Art Gallery for the key characters within this set. Naruto related releases are usually good at adding artwork such as this to Blu-Ray and DVD releases; so it’s great to see them included here on this UK Blu-Ray release of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations.

The final selection of bonus materials meanwhile are trailers for other anime releases; with titles including Digimon Adventure Tri and Sailor Moon Crystal.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 2:49:35 (Disc 1), 2:25:24 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations delivers an interesting twist to the Naruto franchise and the events within Set 1 act as its foundations before diving into more serious topics. Unlike Naruto, and in turn Naruto Shippuden, it is light-hearted, comical and fun with an ever-increasing-intensity due to the potential threat lurking in the background. In my mind Boruto: Naruto Next Generations acts a reset point for the Naruto franchise and begins anew with a new generation of characters, environments and enemies; but naturally some familiar faces and namedrops occur so some understanding of the events within Naruto and Naruto Shippuden would greatly increase your enjoyment of this next generation.

The story within this first arc of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations introduces us to the oddly familiar world of the Hidden Leaf Village as well as the changes that have occurred since we last saw them, with the young adults from Naruto Shippuden now having children and sending them off to the Shinobi Academy. The Academy is the focal point of this story with each episode gradually introducing new characters into the ever-expanding-pool; whether it be Denki, Metal Lee, Mitsuki, Sarada, Cho or Iwabe – someone new always receives the spotlight.

The sinister storyline in this arc meanwhile focuses on a mysterious purple mist – nicknamed Ghost by Boruto – that processes people and uses them to cause chaos within the city; and with Boruto being the only one that can see it he takes matters into his own hands. Each episode reminds me of Pokemon, with each being a different activity until the enemy makes a move; but while in Pokemon it is Team Rocket in this Setof Boruto it’s the Ghost. As a result episodes quickly feel repetitive but when the truth about this mist starts to appear it all becomes very interesting, very fast and it leads to one gigantic battle that sees both new and old shinobi join forces to stop the attack.

This Blu-Ray release of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations makes the first time that a mainline Naruto based series has been released on a Blu-Ray in the UK and Manga Entertainment UK are giving it a solid treatment, with both English and Japanese audio tracks, readable subtitles presented in White grey-ish bold text (similar to Attack on Titan Season 1) and a surprisingly interesting selection of bonus features. The series meanwhile is, as I mentioned earlier, refreshingly different if not slightly repetitive, but it is all good fun from start to finish with consistent animation quality throughout.

Score: review-stars-4

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations – Set 1 is now available on Blu-ray via Manga Entertainment in the UK.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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