Like Naruto Shipppuden, Boruto starts out with a teaser towards future events by showing an older Boruto clashing with a guy named Kawaki in a ruined Konoha, nicely hinting at future events and that eventually the plot will pick up massively. Kawaki declares that the “age of Shinobi is now over” and boasts he will send Boruto where he sent Naruto, implying that Naruto will die at Kawaki’s hand later on. However the tease towards the future is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Back in the present, the episode can be broken down into three parts: Boruto meets Denki, Denki talks with his father and gets possessed by mysterious snake-shaped purple chakra, and Boruto saves the day by preventing two trains from crashing into each other. There is not much to say about the first episode given how little we know about this modern new world of Shinobi, however as this series progresses, we’ll have more to discuss and speculate about.
Main Factor 1 – Denki
Denki is a new character and unlike most of the next generation, is unrelated to anyone from the original Naruto series. Denki is also interesting due to his connection with the modern world as the son of a financial and techological powerhouse, making him very wealthy and very in-tune to technology rather than the age of Shinobi.
It is Denki’s existance that further supports the idea that Kawaki’s “the age of Shinobi is now over” is a metaphor, not symbolising the end of peace but rather it symbolises the end of the Shinobi world. With the rising technology, Shinobi are less significant in the grand scheme of things than they were in the original Naruto series. With technology allowing ordinary people to replicate Ninjutsu, the age of Shinobi is indeed coming to an end. It only makes be wonder whether Kawaki is an villain who focuses on combining Ninjutsu and science/technology rather than using exclusively Ninjutsu.
Even if Kawaki is not Denki like some fans have speculated, Denki’s role in the story and his significance as a science/technology-focused kid in the Shinobi world will only expand upon the existing lore of the series.
Especially if one or more of the antagonistic groups of the series has a heavy technological theme to them. Perhaps a new Akatsuki-esque group may want to destroy Shinobi world and replace it with a modern, non-Shinobi world similar to real-life in an attempt to create true peace. From a naive perspective, no Shinobi means no Shinobi wars. Of course, the villains themselves would be Shinobi to make them massive hypocrites, like Team Plasma wanted everyone to release their Pokemon while keeping their own to dominate everyone else.
On a related note, Orochimaru was a very science-based villain from the original series with his human experiments, among other things. Orochimaru already proved how dark technology can be even before the Shinobi world was modernized, so Denki’s character and the theme of science and technology only makes me curious as to what role technology will play in terms of the antagonists.
Main Factor 2 – Purple Chakra Snake
There seems to be two main theories about the purple chakra snake that possessed Denki. The first is that it could have to do with Orochimaru, given that the way Denki was bitten mirrors how Sasuke was bitten by Orochimaru in the Forest of Death. It is certainly possible and I would love for Orochimaru to remain relevant in the story aside from being the parent of Mitsuki, however I think Orochimaru is a red herring. Making it snake-like would make viewers familar to the series suspect Orochimaru prematurely to divert us away from the true culprit.
The second possibility is that it could be Kawaki. I personally doubt this as due to Boruto’s familiarity with who Kawaki is, it implies that Kawaki is a contemporary of Boruto rather than being someone older. This makes sense as making Kawaki older than Boruto would make their clash parallel Naruto’s with Obito rather than having it mirror Naruto’s with Sasuke.
Alternatively, the chakra snake could still belong to a new villain of the series. In the original Naruto series, there were two main villainous factions: Orochimaru’s group and the Akatsuki. When Orochimaru was beat by Sasuke, it became Team Hebi and the Akatsuki. Once Team Hebi became Team Taka, they united with Akatsuki which left Akatsuki as the only villainous force remaining in the series.
Therefore, I expect that in addition to Kawaki (who will likely remain a good guy for a significant amount of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations), we will have at least two other villainous factions (three if Orochimaru ever returns to being a villain): Kawaki, an Akatsuki-esque group with several members (possibly very science/technology-focused), and possibly Orochimaru. When Kawaki turns evil, he will probably join the Akatsuki-esque group similarly to how Sasuke joined the Akatsuki.
To my surprise, I really liked Boruto: Naruto Next Generation a lot more than I thought I would. Its too early to tell just how good it will be, especially compared to the original Naruto series, but so long as we aren’t flooded with fillers or repetitive long flashbacks, then I think we are in for a good time.