There’s a discussion to be had about anime and manga series that last for a decade or more, so let’s have one about one of the most famous series of our time. The reception to Naruto‘s sequel series Boruto doesn’t quite match the original, and while Naruto saw its detractors, this new era of shinobi has seen the series take a few different turns that didn’t excite everyone. The new characters have seen their critics, and some claimed that Naruto and Sasuke have been “nerfed” or de-powered, making them easy prey to new enemies. These complaints warrant a closer look. Let’s discuss this and answer the question “Why was Shippuden’s series finale the best ending for Naruto?” Both for the series and the title character himself.
Concluding Character Arcs
Naruto started off the series as a loner that people despised. The adults knew he had the nine-tailed fox inside him, and the kids were told to stay away from him. Only a few people in the village would even look his way. He longed for companionship and also wanted to be a great ninja that could protect the village, one that people would admire and celebrate.
By the end of Naruto Shippuden, he got what he wanted. Naruto had a ton of friends and allies, he was one of the most powerful ninja in the world, and he had a prospective relationship with the series’ best girl, Hinata Hyuga. Team 7 formed years ago, with Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke led by Kakashi, and that’s how the final battle ended against the goddess-level enemy, the mother of chakra itself, Kaguya Otsutsuki. Both Naruto and Sasuke had gained godlike powers in the process, and used them, with Sakura, to finish off the final enemy.
After Kaguya’s downfall, Naruto became the leader of the village, the Seventh Hokage. He would go on to marry Hinata and have two children with her, Boruto and Himawari. His missions were complete. His character arc concluded. He received the best ending and was even friends with Sasuke.
Always Leave Them Wanting More
Naruto Shippuden had the ideal ending, one where a writer would slap a great big “They all lived happily ever after” right after the credits. Masashi Kishimoto, however, had apparently never heard of the term “always leave them wanting more.” Naruto was a license to print money, and Kishimoto had created a global phenomenon. I feel like he wanted to grab more money. Since he’d tied up all the loose ends, he had to untie some and tap into some lore. His main characters had already defeated the major villains of the series, after all.
Even fans of the series would agree that the Dragon Ball series is an example of a series running too long. Ardent fans of the series like me admit that power creep, in answer to new, more powerful characters, weapons, or other features was an issue. Kaguya was a veritable goddess, and she was beaten, so what is a creator to do? Well, he introduced new powers that put Naruto and Sasuke to shame, and then de-powered them. This included a new Ten-Tails created by the evil organization Kara.
Kaguya was part of the Otsutsuki Clan, so Kishimoto had an opening there. This introduced the concept of space-faring ninja, and he did indeed go into some Dragon Ball territory where the leader of the clan Shibai destroyed whole worlds to evolve himself, kind of like Turles from Dragon Ball. He even ate world fruit to do it.
Another problem was that Naruto and Sasuke were too powerful, and they could reasonably take on any member of the Otsutsuki Clan. This problem was rectified with the introduction of Naruto’s Baryon Mode.
Isshiki Otsutsuki was a threat that Sasuke and Naruto couldn’t otherwise handle. So Kurama lead Naruto into a new transformation, one that used up all of Kurama’s chakra. This killed the legendary nine-tailed fox, which is Kishimoto’s favorite character by the way.
As for Sasuke’s Rinnegan, Momoshiki Otsutsuki sorted that. He controlled Boruto, who stabbed Sasuke’s in the eye, destroying Sasuke’s almighty powers.
New Characters, New Arcs
An easy argument to make is “well, this series is about Boruto, not Naruto,” and that’s true. Naruto and his friends had their arcs. It’s completely fair to have new enemies for them to fight. However, there was never a need to tear down the old guard to make this happen. Boruto could have gone on his adventure without undoing Naruto’s happy ending.
Naruto’s ending — where his dreams were realized and friends, family, and authority was within his reach — was torn down to make way for new enemies with greater powers. Just so he and Sasuke could get tossed around like ragdolls.
The Best Ending
So, why was Shippuden’s series finale the best ending for Naruto? Well, not only did it conclude various character arcs in a satisfying manner, but Naruto himself got everything he wanted. He earned it through blood, sweat, and tears. His hard work paid off. He saved the world with the friends and family he made along the way.
As for the series itself, it wasn’t strictly necessary to undo all of that just so the plot could happen and Boruto could have his own Madara-level enemy. I think fans would agree that Kurama didn’t have to die to make the battles more believable. Even if Baryon Mode looks cool. Hey, there’s a new Ten-Tails, so maybe we’ll see a new Kurama coming.
Do you agree with my conclusions about Naruto Shippuden and Boruto? Do you think the power creep was an issue with the new antagonists? Would you watch a movie titled Ninjas in Space? Let us know in the comments below.