Warning: SPOILERS for Boruto #73
Fans of Borutocould never predict that their favorite series would turn from a ninja-themed action shonen into a romantic rom-com, but that's exactly what just happened. Boruto has been struggling to find its direction for a while, and the introduction of the upcoming story arc proves that it may be too late to fix Naruto's sequel.
The most recent chapters of Boruto have focused on a new character, Eida, a cyborg formerly affiliated with the villainous organization Kara. Eida has a unique and almost unbeatable power: she makes everyone who sees her infatuated and unable to resist her commands. Luckily for the shinobi of Konoha, Eida also has a weak spot: she has a crush on Kawaki, another one of Kara's experiments who joined the Hidden Leaf village as the adoptive son of the Hokage, Naruto. Eida agreed to betray Kara's new leader, Code, in exchange for being admitted to Konoha along with her brother Daemon (another incredibly powerful cyborg), so that she can stay close to her beloved Kawaki. The Hokage's counsellor and strategist, Shikamaru, is forced to accept, but tries to turn the situation around.
In chapter #73 of Boruto, Shikamaru reveals his plan to Boruto, Kawaki, and the rest of Team 7. Eida's power has one weakness: it doesn't work on members of the Ohtsutsuki clan. Because both Boruto and Kawaki now possess Ohtsutsuki DNA, they are the only two people in Konoha who can resist Eida's charm. For this reason, they will have to cohabitate with Eida, keeping an eye on her to make sure she becomes an ally of Konoha and does not abuse her abilities. Besides, this will also please Eida, who will be able to live with Kawaki. While this is a sound plan, the whole setup is incredibly similar to a romantic rom-com, where a bunch of characters have to live under the same roof while dealing with their feelings for each other, creating embarrassing and funny situations.
For a while now, Boruto seemed unsure of what direction its story should take. The main villains of the story have been the Ohtsutsuki, who carried over from Naruto, but then Kara also has a specific focus on advanced technology which made the series step away from Naruto's fantasy tones toward a distinct sci-feeling. However, since Eida's introduction, action has been reduced to a mere minimum, while a love triangle between Kawaki, Eida, and Code was suddenly introduced. Chapter #73 proves that Boruto is indeed fully committed to this new direction. It's easy to predict that the cohabitation that will begin in the next chapter will lead to classic rom-com situations, with Eida trying to seduce Kawaki (who is not interested) and Boruto caught in the middle of this embarrassing dynamic. It's hard to understand what this exactly has to do with the tone and themes of the franchise that its fans are used to.
Naruto is often criticized for its handling of female characters and romance, but the latter remained a very minor theme throughout the series. It seems that Boruto is setting up to fix that flaw of its predecessor, but once again the series suffers from the lack of a clear direction in its narrative. Turning Borutointo a romantic rom-com will only make the manga's many issues stand out even more.
The latest chapter of Boruto is available now on Viz Media's Shonen Jump App!