Dragon Ball Z, aka DBZ, is known as the grandfather of all Shonen. Voted one of the top anime series of all time, it has many fans across the globe. Even today, new games and movies are in development. Of course, not all of that popularity is a good thing. The series is well-known for many cliches in the anime genre, such as popularizing power scaling. Interestingly enough, recent events in the Boruto series are starting to mirror DBZ. In fact, due to these similarities, it is my opinion that Boruto may become the new DBZ someday. As a disclaimer, this article will focus on the events of Naruto, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Dragon Ball, and the original planned ending of Dragon Ball Z. Spoilers ahead for all listed anime.
DBZ is an Alien-Filled Sequel, Boruto Is Too
To start this opinion off, let’s take a look at the most obvious points on why Boruto feels like the new DBZ. Boruto is a sequel that focuses on Naruto’s son, years after the events of the Great Ninja War at the end of the Naruto series. By the end of the series, Naruto had unlocked his full power. Further, it had been revealed that he was the reincarnation of Asura, son of the legendary Sage of Six Paths who invented Ninjutsu itself. It was fair to say he was one of the most powerful people on Earth. Similarly, Goku had reached his full potential in Dragon Ball after training in martial arts for years. He had defeated King Piccolo and even bested his spawn Piccolo Jr., who we know as modern Piccolo in DBZ. He too was the strongest being on Earth.
It’s in DBZ and Boruto that things get a bit wacky. Goku is revealed as a Saiyan, a race of humanoid warrior aliens. His innate lineage is what gives him such an edge in fighting throughout Dragon Ball. From here, multiple more aliens are shown, including Frieza himself. Boruto revealed that the Naruto final villain Kaguya Otsutsuki is an alien herself. The Otsutsuki is a clan from another dimension, though they now reside on the Moon. It was their actions planting the Chakra Tree that lead directly to the lore and events of Naruto.
Something that Boruto does better than DBZ here is weaving this alien business into the story. For DBZ, it was a smack in the face that came and settled itself with little worldbuilding. In Boruto, a complex narrative has been created revolving around the Otsutsuki. So much so, that the creator of Naruto has returned to help it along.
Both Shows Hold an Interesting Father-Son Mechanic
One of the main subplots throughout Boruto and DBZ is the relationship between father and son. Specifically, it’s the dynamic of an all-powerful father with a son that doesn’t quite hold up yet. As discussed earlier, both Naruto and Goku are some of, if not the strongest people in their respective series. As a result, Gohan and Boruto must grow up in the shadow of these giants. Both respond to this differently. Gohan prefers to avoid fighting, acting cowardly as a young child. On the other hand, Boruto is frustrated he can’t meet expectations, and even resorts to cheating.
An interesting position here is that both sons dislike what their father does. Gohan openly states he dislikes fighting, and it is heavily implied throughout the series that he misses regular time with his father. Boruto is forced to deal with his father being Hokage in an extremely busy and prosperous time for the Ninja world. He outwardly bickers with him because he isn’t there for important life moments. In the end, he has no desire whatsoever to become Hokage as Naruto did.
What Boruto does better than DBZ here is making this discontent known to the audience. In DBZ, Gohan is simply a scared child for the majority of the show. It isn’t until he becomes a teenager in the Cell Saga that we learn he hates fighting altogether. Boruto, at the risk of sounding whiny to audience members, consistently makes his opinion known. Many fans believe this detracts from his character, but to me, it makes perfect sense. An early teen with a father who puts his job before his family? Sounds like textbook rebellion to me.
Boruto Executes the Legacy that DBZ Failed to
My final argument towards this opinion that Boruto is the new DBZ is a strong one. Simply put, it is the legacy of the father. Let’s take a look at DBZ first, specifically from its intended original ending. Toriyama has gone on record saying that he planned to end the series after the Cell Games. Thematically, it makes perfect sense. Throughout the Cell Saga, it’s concluded that something greater than Super Saiyan is needed to defeat Cell. Goku is seen personally training and teaching Gohan for once. In the end, he is the first to ascend beyond Super Saiyan and become a Super Saiyan 2. Of course, due to Goku’s popularity, the Buu Saga places him back on top. The mantle that should have been passed was not due to fan outcry.
In the most recent Boruto arc, Naruto and Sasuke are supremely addled after meeting a worthy foe. Sadly, it is at the unwilling hands of Boruto himself. Through a seal known as Karma, Boruto is imprinted with the genetic back-up of an Otsutsuki named Momoshiki. It seems this seal goes two ways though, as users may be able to activate and use Otsutsuki abilities as a result. Through a combination of the Jougan Eye and Karma, Boruto may be the only one who can keep up (metaphorically and physically) with these troublesome aliens. With Naruto nowhere near his past glory now, it has begun to fall on Boruto himself to take his place. Whether he can rise to the occasion has yet to be fully seen, but things look good so far.
Overall, it is my opinion that Boruto is the new, and better executed, version of DBZ. In the end, I do not intend to say it deserves to topple that great series. DBZ has had many sequels by now, so it has a big headstart. If anything, I just hope this article has given you some much-needed perspective on the Naruto sequel that receives way too much hate.