Since Naruto and Sasuke’s fight against Jigen in the Boruto series, two questions have always prevailed over others: “Will Naruto and Sasuke die in Boruto?” and “Are Sasuke and Naruto nerfed?”. Leaving the first question for another day, let’s tackle the latter one! But before we get to the nerfing, we need to understand what purpose did Naruto and Sasuke losing to Jigen serve!
Why Did Naruto and Sasuke Lose to Jigen?
Naruto and Sasuke witnessed one of their toughest losses against Jigen. While everybody including the two expected Jigen to be strong, the whole fandom was shocked by the ending of the fight. Even though you know that the two lost to Jigen, you must wonder, why did Naruto and Sasuke lose to Jigen so badly? Is it just because of power?
While both sides had their share of advantages and disadvantages, things seemed to favour Jigen more. The lack of information about Jigen cost the duo a lot of chakra, strength and time. Figuring out Jigen’s ability to shrink matter took quite a while, and Jigen’s Taijutsu prowess was incomparable to anyone they’d ever fought. On top of that, they never saw the massive power boost due to Karma coming.
Whereas, Jigen had some basic info on Naruto and Sasuke at the very least. He already knows about the Rinnegan, Sharingan and Kurama. I think that the two could have managed to hold off Jigen long enough for him to run out of chakra; as Jigen could barely move after the fight and his chakra level almost dropped to zero. This would’ve been possible if the two didn’t switch to using their big guns, i.e. Susanoo and Kyuubi mode. I say so because they expend massive amounts of chakra in these modes and they were useless against Jigen.
Sasuke had barely enough chakra to use the Space-Time Ninjutsu once again, and Naruto was close to passing out. Again, one might say/think that this is due to a lack of information about Jigen, which is true. They never expected Jigen’s powers to gain such a massive boost, and there is no guarantee that they would’ve been able to hold him back using Shadow Clones and previously used tricks.
Are Sasuke and Naruto Nerfed?
Firstly, allow me to talk about what a nerf is. Nerf refers to a loss/reduction of/in the power of a character, weapon and other relevant things. Pretty straightforward, right? But, remember that this is merely a definition for a word that is used in various contexts differently. So, according to us, a nerf is a reduction in the effectiveness of something, may it be a character’s physical power, analytical ability, or the reduction of weapons, etc. It is important to make this statement here, as the endless arguments around this topic stem simply from misunderstanding the term.
Now, for our final answer, we say that Naruto and Sasuke ARE nerfed. There’s no doubt about it. The two have been nerfed in various ways, directly and indirectly in a broad sense. Here are some examples:
1) Naruto losing Kurama: Kurama’s death directly reduces Naruto’s overall strength, since Naruto loses a huge portion of his chakra reserves along with countless jutsus and regenerative abilities. Click here to know more about Naruto’s current strength after Kurama’s loss!
2) Sasuke losing the Rinnegan: With the loss of Rinnegan, Sasuke cannot use the deva path, human path etc alongside Amenotejikara and Space-Time Ninjutsu. Again, a massive loss since Space-Time Ninjutsu alone is crucial to fight against Otsutsukis; who are a crucial part of the story right now.
1) Jigen/Isshiki’s overwhelming strength: A common argument against Naruto and Sasuke’s nerf is that they haven’t been nerfed, it’s just that the villain is stronger. While you may prove that they aren’t nerfed in a sense, you can’t deny that they are nerfed in a sense. What we mean is that Jigen/Isshiki’s overwhelming strength isn’t a direct nerf to the two, since it does not affect their capabilities. They can still achieve the feats that they could before (unlike the loss of Kurama and Rinnegan). This time, it’s an indirect nerf. It does not affect how their abilities work, it affects their effectiveness instead.
2) Forcing Sasuke to run out of chakra: We’ve all memed about Sasuke running out of chakra for a while. While the meme emerged from a filler arc, it does stand true for most of Sasuke’s run in Boruto. Using the Space-Time Ninjutsu costs a massive amount of chakra; enough for Obito to face severe injuries even after receiving Sakura’s 100 healings chakra.
This should be enough to at least convince you all that Naruto and Sasuke ARE nerfed; nothing more or less till this point. With that, we’ve made one thing clear; a nerf was on the cards all along. But why, you may ask?
Why is the Naruto and Sasuke Nerf Important?
Well, Naruto and Sasuke have become the pinnacle of power in their verse. They defeated Momoshiki Otsutsuki fairly easily, and he isn’t even close to being weak. In fact, he has proved that he’s stronger than Kaguya! However, some believe that Kaguya is stronger than Momoshiki after comparing the two’s fights with Naruto and Sasuke. Yet, Momoshiki is ranked higher in the Otsutsuki family than Kaguya according to the lore, hence it is confirmed that Momoshiki is in fact stronger than Kaguya. Various factors affected their fights. Click here to read more about it!
Coming back to the point, monsters like Momoshiki leave little to no room for the new generation to shine; as Naruto and Sasuke are the only ones capable of fighting him. To prevent the show from becoming more about Naruto and the old cast, a nerf was required. Through the nerf, the author intends to create pressure on the protagonist and raise the stakes exponentially.
Sounds good, right? I mean, that’s how it has always been; the elders protect the younger generations and pass on their will of fire! So, what’s wrong with it here? Why is everybody against it?
Why is the Nerf bad?
As we said above, the idea of a nerf itself isn’t bad, in fact, it’s a great plot tool! However, the execution is nothing short of poor. While the nerf managed to complete its two important duties, it still did more harm than good. First, it managed to establish guys like Jigen as bad news and secondly; it helped to halt the power creep. Yet, it made Naruto and Sasuke look like massive goofballs.
Let’s start with the careless handling of the man we know as the Nanadaime, Naruto Uzumaki. Once a foolish brat, Naruto became a technical god by the end of Naruto Shippuden. And suddenly, he’s a brat again? Then he’s suddenly the super cool, calm and collected Hokage again? Huh?
In Boruto, Naruto seems to be utterly clueless for the most part. He couldn’t figure out why an OTSUTSUKI has a JUUBI. A TEN TAILS. He doesn’t seem to remember what the Chakra fruit is, even though he got to know about it from Madara, the Sage of Six Paths, Kaguya Otsutsuki and Momoshiki Otsutsuki. Does he have dyslexia now? Sounds pretty bad, right? I’m sorry, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
In Naruto Shippuden, Naruto could sense that he was Asura’s reincarnation, he could sense Madara’s limbos (alternate Madaras from a different universe) and pinpoint people who are countries away. Now, he can’t make out that someone is spying on him (Kashin Koji).
But, he couldn’t sense Jigen’s presence just because he was smaller in size but could sense a being belonging to another dimension, wow. To defend this, people say that Naruto couldn’t sense Jigen since he shrunk so much that it was hard to track him. This is kind of absurd since Jigen still had the same level of power, meaning he only reduced his size, not his chakra’s presence. But, let’s say that what I said is mere speculation and Jigen can, in fact, reduce the presence of his chakra too. But, did the manga or anime EVER state that Naruto tried to sense him? The writers made Naruto LOOK for Jigen quite literally, only proving that Naruto is still nothing but a massive dumbass.
“Bastard! So you grew a horn– Big Deal”
Naruto Uzumaki, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Chapter 38. Page 2, 2020.
I still cannot fathom how Naruto said this. How old is he again? I would’ve laughed it off if Naruto was still 10, but he, unfortunately, is a father of two and the Hokage and the messiah of the shinobi world. He is a Jhinchuriki, a person who has fought Otsutsukis, people with curse marks and what not and he couldn’t understand how physical changes have always referred to a massive boost in power? Hell, one of his biggest power-ups gave him just a yellow make-up with toad eyes for appearance changes, and he said THIS. Literally, EVERY Otsutsuki in the series has a horn, his memory is worse than Might Guy’s at this point.
Furthermore, it seems like Naruto has forgotten everything but the Rasengan. He doesn’t utilise the other Tailed beasts’ powers at all. Naruto could’ve at least tried to use the magnet release to try to stop Jigen’s movements or use a Lava Style Rasenshuriken or a Bijuu bomb to halt Jigen longer in his shrunken form but he didn’t!
He doesn’t use other Nature styles either, even though he has mastered them. All of this is simply because of the author’s lack of creativity. A series once known for creating complex battles using its amazing power system has turned into meathead battle shonen.
Another nonsensical point was that both Naruto and Sasuke didn’t even bother to use Senjutsu chakra. They used it against both such godly beings before and it worked quite well! However, it seems like they forgot about it. To me, it seems like the author should’ve gone the extra mile to make the fight more compelling. Again, people say that the dimension doesn’t have any nature energy in it since it is barren and looks dead. However, the dimension is quite similar to Momoshiki’s and even Kaguya’s. While Kaguya’s dimensions were more refined due to her massive chakra reserves, these are no different. Kaguya could merge with Nature in her dimension, meaning that an atmosphere exists. Hence, Senjutsu is a viable choice.
So, it was just poor writing that Naruto didn’t use Senjutsu. More than that, it’s because Naruto and Sasuke would’ve won. If Naruto used Rasengan Barrages, Bijuu bomb and the all tailed-beast bomb Rasenshuriken Jutsu, Jigen would’ve been pushed to the limits earlier itself.
Now, let’s talk about Sasuke:
Sasuke, the prodigy, Indra’s reincarnation, the greatest Uchiha in history, the ninja who can see through everything and the only person capable of going toe-to-toe with Naruto Uzumaki. Ever wondered why he didn’t get another arm using Hashirama’s cells? Plot convenience. It’s not like Hashirama’s cells will boost his powers exponentially alongside helping him use taijutsu better. It is quite known that Hashirama’s cells helped Madara to almost single-handedly defeat the shinobi world. Thus, Sasuke could use Hashirama’s cells to help save the world as well! But oh well; our silly, stubborn Sasuke just won’t listen.
Even if we were to let Sasuke not getting another hand pass due to his reasoning being that he wants to remember the loss of hand and atone for his sins (not like he could’ve looked at his new hand and remember the second chance he’s got at life); Sasuke failed to estimate his opponent’s strength. If he had been completely serious, then he and Naruto would’ve created countless Amenotejikara combos, instead of the plain simple ones they use.
An easy example would be Aoi Todo and Itadori’s teamwork from Jujutsu Kaisen. They used Todo’s ability to swap places beautifully, and Sasuke only has a few good showings with the Amenotejikara.
Naruto and Sasuke bamboozled Zabuza at the very beginning of their Ninja careers by using transformation technique, so Amenotejikara should’ve been far more effective; especially with someone as unpredictable as Naruto on Sasuke’s side. It is apparent that the two could’ve baited him countless times since Jigen (Isshiki) is so cocky that he never thinks about small tricks. In fact, he lost his life due to a shadow clone.
Again, you may say “oh, but Sasuke and Naruto didn’t know about it”. Every Otsutsuki they’ve fought so far only relies on big guns and has a planet to shelter their ego. Besides, I call them small tricks but they work on pretty much anybody, it’s just that they don’t do massive damage instantly. Naruto baited Kaguya by making thousands of shadow clones and then giving the truth seeker orbs to one of them. Because of this, Kaguya focused on a shadow clone, thinking that she was going to get her hands on the original.
It is Naruto’s nature to try different things, he is the number 1 maverick ninja after all. Combined with his best mate Sasuke’s aide, the two always come up with the most interesting combos even on the fly, like the Rasenshuriken: Amaterasu Inferno Style; for which they matched their chakra ratio without uttering a single word to each other. Amenotejikara certainly would’ve been a far bigger boon if the two utilised it more effectively and efficiently.
I also wonder how much chakra Sasuke has, and how he actually uses it. Imagine a container as Sasuke’s chakra reserve. Let’s leave half of this container for using the space-time ninjutsu twice; one for going and one for coming back. This leaves Sasuke with half of his chakra to fight with. In chapter 38, Sasuke used the perfect Susanoo against Jigen and was instantly kicked out of it by the Otsutsuki. After this, he was left with just enough chakra to use space-time ninjutsu and Amaterasu once.
So, was he bluffing and trying to intimidate Jigen by using the Susanoo? Or was he hoping to kill Jigen and then wait till his chakra reserves are back? Did the Susanoo always drain so much of Sasuke’s chakra? Neither of these arguments provides anything insightful. The logic behind most of their decisions is just appalling. At this point, Sasuke losing the rinnegan feels like a good thing. This way, at least he can fight using more than just basic amenotejikara, Susanoo (for a few seconds) and Chidori.
The idea of Naruto and Sasuke being nerfed to force the newer generations onto the frontlines wasn’t bad at all; in fact, I appreciate it! But, the execution is so poor that you wish it never happened. This has become the best example for something good ruined through poor execution; the only good thing that we got was Kurama’s Death. Even Boruto stabbing Sasuke’s Rinnegan was wasted; since Boruto seems to barely care about it anymore. With that said, I hope that our beloved Characters aren’t butchered anymore with low-quality writing, fingers crossed.
So, what do you think of the nerf? Good? Bad? Let us know in the comments below!