Few characters have divided readers more than Naruto’s son, Boruto. A great deal of this is because the character is often considered too whiny by many fans of the original series. However, when looking at one scene where Naruto makes a huge mistake with his family, it’s clear that Boruto has every reason to be angry at his father.
When Boruto first debuted in the very last chapter of Naruto, no one could have predicted that the Seventh Hokage’s son would not only get his own spinoff movie, but also his own sequel series. This created a bit of a conflict, however. Naruto ended with Boruto defacing Hokage Rock (and referencing One Piece) in a fitting echo of where the series started. The clear implication at the time was that Boruto was a chip off the block, the problem though is that this would leave any potential stories focusing on him as just a repeat of what came in Naruto. To resolve this, series creator Masashi Kishimoto recontextualized that scene when creating Boruto. Instead of a fun tribute to Naruto’s own origins, it was actually an act of rebellion spurred on by Boruto’s issues with his father. Boruto proceeded to waste little time establishing just what the issue was, and it doesn’t make Naruto look good.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations #1 reintroduces fans of the series to the ninja world fifteen years after the end of Naruto’s second part. Naruto married Hinata, had two kids in Boruto and his younger sister Himawari, and became the Seventh Hokage. Though Boruto is a ninja like his parents before him, he bristles at any mention of him potentially succeeding Naruto as Hokage. Tension increases when Boruto and his squad meet with Naruto where the young ninja acts cold toward his father and insists that the Seventh Hokage can’t skip out on Himawari’s birthday. Later, readers see just why Boruto has so much resentment. As Naruto brings in a birthday cake for his daughter, he suddenly disappears and the cake splatters to the floor. The Naruto who was with his family had been a shadow clone the whole time. Making the situation even worse, there is a strong implication that Naruto has missed most of Himawari’s birthdays.
While it’s undeniable that Boruto is whiny and has a chip on his shoulder, it’s hard to blame him. Naruto obviously isn’t an absentee father, but he very obviously puts his work above his family. Shikamaru even clarifies that he can actually handle most of Naruto’s remaining work, so it’s difficult to imagine that the Seventh Hokage had anything so pressing so as to excuse missing out on Himawari’s birthday. Though the situation is bad no matter what, making it worse is that he sent the shadow clone to spend time with his family instead of having the shadow clone stay and do his paperwork. While Sasuke and Sakura’s relationship is also strained in Boruto, at least Sasuke never gives his daughter false hope.
This scene completely recontextualizes Boruto’s anger towards his father. Yes, Naruto is important and needs to spend time working, but that doesn’t excuse what he did. It’s difficult to imagine the psychological effect this must have had on Boruto. Every interaction with his dad, every potential bonding moment, tainted by the knowledge that Naruto might not actually be there. Boruto undoubtedly has his problems, but that doesn’t excuse Naruto from being such a bad dad.
Next: One Boruto Ninja Has A Much Cooler Sage Mode Than Naruto