Kakashi’s Portrayal In Boruto Continues A Terrible Naruto Tradition

As one of the greatest shinobi not named Uzumaki or Uchiha, Kakashi Hatake seemed destined for greatness throughout the Naruto saga, only to find himself relegated to second-tier support status. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kakashi’s portrayal in Boruto still does not do justice to Konoha’s legendary “copy ninja”.


Going back three generations, no shinobi has been more consistently “overpowered” in the Naruto continuum than Kakashi. While he may not have hit the highs of his contemporary Obito, or his students Naruto and Sasuke; he has avoided their appalling weaknesses and excesses. A solid colleague, a demanding but skilled teacher, and a practical, clear-thinking field general, Kakashi has always been an essential element in every team or effort that doesn’t attract much attention but is absolutely necessary to the success of the endeavor. Perhaps this is best illustrated in Kakashi’s key, albeit tacit role, in the defeat of Naruto‘s final villain Kaguya. Nevertheless, despite his quiet greatness that deserves the attention gratuitously given to other characters, Kakashi is never allowed to share the limelight. Even in serving as the Sixth Hokage, Kakashi is better known for his eccentricities rather than his capable stewardship of village matters.

Kakashi’s Portrayal in Boruto Does Not Do Him Justice

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While there doesn’t seem to be any obvious overarching need to portray Kakashi in the Naruto follow-up story Boruto, he nevertheless plays a substantial role in the series. Unfortunately, just as in Naruto, his excellence as in and of himself is never highlighted or explored. Rather, he again is noted for his essential influence on another character on the cusp of breaking out. The issue is never about him or his accomplishments but rather about how he helps others on the road to greatness. In the series, time and again Kakashi appears as the catalyst for a character’s journey into notoriety or the wizened old ninja hand that provides the key to unlocking someone’s ability or true potential or resolving a longstanding problem

Related: Naruto’s New Sequel Has Kakashi Fulfill His Lifelong Dream

Time after time in the Boruto era, Kakashi is trotted out as a “Ninja Whisperer” rather than as the top-rated combatant he still is. In the spin-off/prequel The Steam Ninja Scrolls, Kakashi helps Mirai Sarutobi to blossom into a fully-fledged shinobi. In Boruto, Kakashi helps Boruto better understand and perfect his Compression Rasenegan. Kakashi even plays the role of family counselor when he gives advice to Sasuke about how to better communicate with his daughter Sarada. Naturally, being that Kakashi has no children of his own, the advice he gives is famously faulty. Even when Kakashi is asked to use his expertise, it’s for rather mundane operations such as when he used it to help resolve a dispute among villagers over fireworks.

Kakashi Could Have Played A Bigger Role In Boruto

A closeup of Kakashi with the Mangekyo Sharingan in both eyes in Naruto

For a shinobi as experienced, skillful, cool, and well-liked as Kakashi, it’s a bit perplexing why he hasn’t become more than the master of side stories and filler content. While it’s understandable that he played the role of master and teacher in Naruto, the sequel could have given him a more prominent role, considering that his best disciples Naruto and Sasuke faded into the background. But so far, Boruto has reserved the exact same treatment to Kakashi relegating him to a support and teaching role, one that makes sense for the story but also surely displeases the many fans of the character.

Naruto and Boruto are both available from Viz Media.

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