Naruto Suffers a Fate Worse Than Death in the Boruto Manga.
(WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations #38 by Masashi Kishimoto, Mikio Ikemoto and Ukyo Kodachi, on sale now.)
The latest chapter in the Boruto manga has not only taken Naruto off the table, but seemingly sentenced him to a grim fate.
Naruto has fought his way through several enemies and wars over the years, frequently coming close to, but always evading, death. As a teen he defeated the likes of Pain and the Akatsuki, Madara and Obito Uchiha, and Kaguya, proving himself worthy of being the Seventh Hokage of Konoha, and someone the Sage of the Six Paths admitted could become the most godlike shinobi ever.
However, with Jigen revealed in Boruto: Naruto Next Generation to be possessed by the mysterious Isshiki Ōtsutsuki, Naruto finds himself in a very human position, facing a villain like no other: a true alien god well-positioned to consume all chakra on Earth. Sadly, Naruto falls in battle, but rather than dying, he endures a fate worse than death, as the sadistic Isshiki wants him to suffer mentally for derailing his plans.
Naruto is already suffering physically as he and Sasuke lose the fight against Isshiki in the villain’s hidden dimension. Luckily, Sasuke teleports out using his Rinnegan, forced to leave Naruto behind as the Hokage’s been pinned down with Isshiki’s chakra-draining rods. There’s nowhere to go for the leader of Konoha and he’s merely hoping a badly wounded Sasuke can return with reinforcements.
But rather than kill Naruto, Isshiki spares him because killing Naruto would require a large amount of chakra, which would harm Jigen’s physical frame and leave Isshiki vulnerable. He can’t afford to waste chakra on someone so strong like Naruto, who’s backed by the power of his Nine Tails Fox inside known as Kurama. As a result, Isshiki seals away Naruto in a kettle-like coffin, which cuts his chakra off from the real world.
When Kawaki senses that, his prosthetic hand, which was powered by Naruto’s life essence, falls to the ground, reaffirming the Hokage’s chakra is no longer connected to reality, and he’s more or less dead. To be more accurate, Naruto exists in a limbo world from which he can’t escape, cut off from the ones he loves until Isshiki decides otherwise. To make it worse, Isshiki is deriving pleasure as he wants Naruto alive and cognizant to see the ninja world suffer. It’s torture, not just of the body, but of the mind, and Isshiki wants to inflict as much as possible for Naruto’s interference. Not even Kurama can escape this sealing, which means they’re more or less dead to everyone, watching and feeling as their family and friends become Isshiki’s targets as he aims to suck the planet’s chakra count dry.
Naruto is further petrified when Isshiki tells him he will go after Boruto, who has the Karma mark Isshiki placed on Kawaki — another vessel we encountered in this franchise and one viewed as more ideal than Jigen. Knowing his son is basically an easy target for Isshiki, is quite agonizing towards Naruto, especially as the tyrant wants to savor every moment of it and gloat while the Hokage’s trapped trapped. This bodes terribly for Kawaki too, because chances are Isshiki will possess the boy Jigen engineered, which could lead to the evil Kawaki we saw at the beginning of this series fighting an older Boruto.
Hopefully, Sasuke can use his space-time ocular abilities to find the alien dimension once more and free his brother-in-arms. However, as it stands Naruto has been de-powered and turned into a spectator, observing his family being hunted, and all of the ninja villages being lined up to be drained. It’s not something Naruto’s accustomed to, but as he’s helpless, restrained in the seal at the moment, all he can do is hope and trust in Sasuke and the other members of the ninja alliance.
Boruto #38 will be released on Oct. 20.