There has been a lot of controversy over Naruto’s design in Boruto, but his new look reaffirms that he wants to be a Peace Hokage.
Boruto introduces a lot of new characters for the next generation of ninjas. He also featured new designs for older established characters from Naruto. Many of these new designs were praised. Ino, Shikamaru, and Sakura received enhanced looks that fans felt honored their characters. However, that same level of appreciation was not given to Naruto Uzumaki’s new look. In fact, many believed Naruto had a bad hand with his adult design.
It’s natural to expect that as he gets older, Naruto will look more rugged or powerful. This is the typical tendency for most of the protagonists of shonen – they get colder with age and time. But Naruto almost follows the opposite of this rule. As the Hokage, Naruto has lost much of the savage and fierce appearance of his younger years. He also looks less ready for battle and sports a much more relaxed demeanor. Even though these design choices aren’t “cool,” they perfectly match the role Naruto has in the story now.
Naruto shouldn’t be a clone of his father
When fans offer suggestions on how Naruto’s adult design could have been improved, they often point to Minato Namikaze. They want Naruto to look more like his father, which is understandable. Minato has one of the best designs in the series – he has a strong figure and an appearance that radiates power. When people watch Minato, they see someone who could be an intimidating leader if they wanted to. Why shouldn’t Naruto make an effort to emulate this same look?
Although Naruto is Minato’s son and wears some of his attributes, he is his own person. Naruto lived his journey almost independently of his father. He has overcome challenges and defeated enemies that Minato could only have dreamed of. Turning Naruto into a copy of his father would only diminish the accomplishments he has made.
By creating more differences between Minato and his son, Naruto becomes more of his own character. Where Minato had a leaner face and longer hair, Naruto has a fuller face and shorter hair. Part of Naruto’s story is about him surpassing his father and following his individual path. Minato and Naruto are two different Hokages from two different eras. They shouldn’t be compared as much as they are. Naruto has found his own way of doing things and a look that matches his personality.
Naruto is a Peace Hokage
For years the ninja world has been plagued by wars and conflicts between nations. This conflict forced the leaders to always be vigilant and to create a certain personality. The threat of attacks or of being conquered by another village was always present, so the previous Hokages had to be powerful and intimidating. The first Hokage, Hashirama Senju, was one of the most feared ninjas in the world. He used this fear to protect his village, but behind the title of Hokage, Hashirama was a very kind and clumsy man.
Now that the ninja world has entered an era of peace, the bullying tactics of the past are no longer needed. There is no threat that the Leaf Village will be invaded or thrown into war. Because of this, Naruto is free to be friendlier with other leaders. Its goal is not to force the Kages to obey, but rather to foster camaraderie and peace. Its new design communicates this in a fantastic way. As an adult, Naruto seems patient, understanding, and compassionate.
Naruto’s new look also has an air of professionalism. The Kazekage, Gaara, also adopted this aesthetic. The spiky, wild hair of their youth might have been cooler, but that doesn’t quite match what someone who rules a nation looks like. Gaara and Naruto look like people with important jobs that they take seriously. Being Kages in this new era of peace forces them to adopt a more toned down look. They should look and behave more like common people.
Naruto is a father first and foremost
This is a major point in the plot of Boruto that Naruto sees everyone in the village as an extension of his family. Every man, woman and child in the village is someone they have a personal responsibility to protect and care for. Naruto can be seen giving interviews, helping villagers with mundane problems like shopping for groceries and defending the village. For all these tasks, Naruto must be accessible. Villagers need to feel like they can come talk to him about anything, and its friendly and open design gives that impression.
The adult design of Naruto screams daddy. His round face and short hair make him look more like an average person. Naruto doesn’t need to display the insane amount of power that is within him. This would only make the villagers hesitant to communicate with him. Naruto’s goals are for every villager to see him as a “lame” old man, the same way Boruto did. As an adult, Naruto’s design might not be as “badass” as a lot of people would like, but it shows a level of maturity that it has acquired with age. He doesn’t feel the need to impress anyone like he did when he was a kid. Naruto only wants to put his people at ease and lead them to a better future.
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