The revelation that Naruto named his son Boruto was met with confusion by many fans, however, his name is really a tribute to a fallen comrade.
Given Naruto’s happy ending, it’s only natural for readers to be interested in his son Boruto. Despite how well things turned out for Naruto and his friends though, it’s undeniable that they all went through a great deal of hardship over the course of the original series. However, according to the series’ creator, Boruto’s name is actually a subtle tribute to one of Naruto’s fallen comrades.
While the series doesn’t necessarily have the highest count of dead heroes in the history of manga, Naruto still has more than a few sad deaths. The series begins with the deaths of Naruto’s parents, Minato and Kushina. After that, the series’ first major death outside of its prologue was the Third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi. This was a major turning point for the series as Hiruzen genuinely cared for Naruto despite their somewhat antagonistic relationship. Other notable deaths include Team 10 leader Asuma, Sasuke’s brother Itachi, and of course one of the series’ most impactful, the death of Naruto’s mentor Jiraiya. Despite all of that though, it’s clear from Boruto’s name that one ninja’s death hurt Naruto more than any other; Neji’s sacrifice to save Naruto and Hinata during Pain’s assault on Konoha.
In an interview with the Japanese site WalkerPlus, series creator Masashi Kishimoto revealed that he chose the name Boruto as a tribute to Neji. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like Neji and Boruto’s names have anything to do with each other, however, the tribute becomes more obvious when looking at the Japanese translations of each name. In Japanese, a rough translation of Neji’s name would be “Screw” while Boruto’s name can be translated to “Bolt.”
The amazing thing about Boruto’s name is that it actually works on multiple levels. Not only is it a tribute to Neji, it’s a reference to Boruto’s speed, while also sounding similar enough to Naruto that it’s obvious the two are related. The name makes a lot of sense from a story perspective too. Neji’s sacrifice meant a great deal to Naruto and Hinata, and is arguably the catalyst for their entire relationship. Given Neji’s haughty attitude, and how easily he dismissed Naruto and resented Hinata, his sacrifice also symbolized significant character development. Though fans might think the death of Jiraiya should have meant more to Naruto, Neji’s death arguably had a much bigger impact on Naruto’s life and future.
While some fans have dismissed Boruto as a cheap knockoff of his father, it’s clear that a great deal of thought went into his creation, as evidenced by how well his name works. While Naruto experienced a great deal of trauma during his series, Boruto‘s name proves it was Neji’s death that hurt him the most.
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