Movie Reviews

Naruto's New Sasuke Sequel Innovates the Series By Changing Genres

Warning: SPOILERS for Sasuke’s Story chapter #1Sasuke’s Story – The Uchiha and the Heavenly Stardust is a new sequel for Naruto that innovates the series by completely changing its setting. Based on a popular spin-off novel, this manga adaptation puts Sasuke in a mysterious maximum security prison, where he is drawn into a deadly conspiracy.

Sasuke’s Story is the first among the most recent trilogy of Naruto spin-off novels, which also includes Kakashi Retsuden and Naruto Retsuden, to get a manga adaptation. The story focuses on Sasuke Uchiha, Naruto’s longtime rival and best friend, who leaves the village of Konohagakure to find a cure for a mysterious illness that has affected the new Hokage, Naruto. Sasuke’s Story takes place after the ending of Naruto, meaning it can be considered an official sequel, considering that it takes place at the same time as Boruto, the ongoing manga sequel that focuses on Naruto’s son. However, the setting of Sasuke’s Story is so different that it feels like a real innovation for the series.

Related: Naruto’s Sasuke Sequel is Missing its Chance to Fix Manga’s Worst Couple

Chapter #1 of Sasuke’s Story – by Masashi Kishimoto, Jun Esaka, and Shingo Kimura – shows the protagonist leaving Konoha and heading for the land of Redaku, a small and isolated country cut out from the rest of the world. Sasuke is following the trail of the Sage of the Six Paths, the legendary forefather of all shinobi, whose spirit he and Naruto met during the final battle against Kaguya Otsutsuki. Apparently, the Sage once suffered from the same illness that affects Naruto, and he found a cure in Redaku. Sasuke’s investigation leads him toward a fortress called the Tatar Observatory, which however has been turned into a maximum security prison. Sasuke’s only option, then, is to infiltrate the prison by pretending to be one of its inmates.

There are quite a few manga set in a prison, with JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 6: Stone Ocean being one of the most famous. This setup is great for a thriller story that focuses on espionage and mystery, and it is quite far from the tones of Naruto or Boruto. If anything, this new series is more similar to the early Naruto, which focused on small shinobi missions, before the series shifted to large-scale wars and high-stakes drama. Just like Jolyne Kujo in Stone Ocean, Sasuke will also have to survive that harsh environment while unfolding a mystery, in this case concerning the shady director of the prison, Zansul. Later in the story, Sasuke will also meet with his newlywed wife Sakura, thus giving readers a chance to learn more about their relationship, which was quite controversial in Naruto.

It will be interesting to see how a powerful shinobi like Sasuke, who is used to fighting with large fireballs and giant energy constructs, will behave inside the restricted boundaries of a prison. However, this type of mission is much more fitting to the classic image of shinobi, who were historically spies and infiltrators. Overall, the change of setting for Sasuke’s Story is a very welcomed innovation for the classic Naruto formula.

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