aSince Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, a sequel series to the massive action anime hit Naruto, premiered both in Japan and internationally yesterday, viewers have been anxious to know the answer to a big question: Is Naruto dead?
The first episode of Boruto goes to lengths to keep Naruto out of the picture. As the show’s about his son, Boruto, who’s about to embark upon his own ninja training adventures, that actually makes some great thematic sense.
“This is my story,” Boruto proudly declares in the first chapter of the manga, which the premiere anime episode is based upon. Naruto is pretty scarce as a result, but as Boruto immediately goes on to say in the manga, his dad inevitably plays an important part in his story.
Naruto’s still in charge of his old village at the start of the Boruto anime, after all; he’s even seen on screen several times, and he plays an important, supportive role in his son’s development. So why do fans think that he may be kicking the bucket?
Obviously, there are some possible spoilers ahead.
Naruto is seen in the first episode of Boruto, but the show’s opening moments suggest that he may not hang around for long. It opens up in the middle of a fight between a much older Boruto and Kawaki, his presumed nemesis. Looking exactly like his dad, Boruto fights Kawaki in a decimated future version of his village.
Kawaki issues an ominous threat at the top of the fight: “I’ll send you where I sent the Seventh Hokage, Boruto.”
The Seventh Hokage happens to be Naruto, and wherever he was sent ... doesn’t sound great! Sure, Naruto could be in an alternate dimension of some kind. He could also be buried six feet under somewhere.
The rest of the episode — and show, for now — jumps back in time to when Boruto was young and cute, and his dad was perfectly alive and well. The frame narrative has some viewers already frantic about Naruto’s eventual fate:
Comments from a Boruto post and the fans are going nuts about 'Is Naruto alive or dead?' HAHAHA pic.twitter.com/iL7m0QTVVg— elaine (@elaineFerreros) April 6, 2017
@_kushxcereal FUCKKKK lmao literally 10 seconds in and they talking bout naruto is dead?!— nekomimi (@meowowrikki) April 6, 2017
if naruto is actually dead I'm gonna JUMP I can't— J U L I (@julissaa90) April 6, 2017
Not gonna watch Boruto if Naruto is dead— HxH (@shanghhai) April 6, 2017
Others are trying to remain calm, convincing themselves that there’s no way that Boruto would go the Shakespearean route of killing off the lead’s dad for some dramatic motivation.
After hanging out with Naruto for almost 20 years of comics and cartoons, fans refuse to say goodbye — even if his son’s TV debut is receiving warm reviews thus far. And like many of these same fans say, the “Is he dead?” tease is one of the most obvious in the book.
Boruto airs weekly on Crunchyroll and TV Tokyo; episodes are also available on Hulu.