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Why Kawaki’s obsession with Naruto will lead to his downfall

Naruto comforts Kawaki (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Naruto comforts Kawaki (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Boruto anime and manga have both shown how Kawaki’s respect for Naruto and his desire to protect him from harm goes beyond love for a father-figure, and crosses the border well into obsession. Fans have often pointed out the parallels between Naruto and Kawaki’s pasts as orphans with special latent powers who were ostracized by people. But episode 230 of the anime reminded us of Kawaki's past, showing that it is much worse.

Note: This article contains spoilers and reflects the writer's opinion.

Found time and caught up with the Boruto anime. I hadn't seen the last three episodes and I think I made the right choice binging them together. I liked the small arc Kawaki has about friendship/camaraderie & the life of a shinobi. #Boruto https://t.co/Ce3aDIVshv

Kawaki’s past and present

The last few Boruto episodes revolve around Kawaki, and his attempts to settle down in Konoha. Naruto offers to promote him to the rank of a genin, sensing his alienation as an outsider in the village.

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Throughout the series, Kawaki is seen to behave in an extremely hostile manner towards strangers, rarely trusting people easily. A glimpse into Kawaki’s past makes his behavior much more understandable.

Unlike Naruto, Kawaki faced both mental and physical abuse as a child, even being used as part of a human experiment. First suffering abuse under an alcoholic father, he was bought over by Jigen who promised him a better life.

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But what followed was more suffering, as the young Kawaki was forcefully turned into an Otsutsuki vessel while watching the other children who were being experimented on die one by one. Jigen then proceeded to beat him to force him to strengthen himself and his karma, and at some point, he was turned into a partial cyborg by replacing his nerves and blood vessels with scientific ninja technology.

Naruto called Kawaki his son 🥺 https://t.co/Hd04M9Ayyd

Naruto was the first adult ever to not only treat him with kindness, but also shower him with love and affection, something he had been denied his entire life. It is in the Uzumaki household that Kawaki learned for the first time what a normal life and having a loving family felt like.

In Chapter 26 Kawaki was taken to Naruto’s home, where he was called a “freeloader” by Boruto. Fast forward to chapter 35, boruto calls Kawaki his brother. It took them 6 chapters to develop this bond (officially its 9 but 3 ch’s were dedicated to Naruto v Delta) #Boruto https://t.co/BJYsbLlG38

This made Kawaki cling desperately onto Naruto like a lifeline, from both gratitude and reverence, as well as a sense of being in debt to him, and not to mention the love.

He reassures him, and for the first time IN HIS LIFE Kawaki relaxes. He stops trembling, his shallow breaths ease up, he accepts this love. https://t.co/Ukv2GBQdZj

How Kawaki’s desire to protect Naruto might affect his actions

Kawaki being hell-bent on making sure Naruto is safe is both his strength and his weakness. In the Boruto manga chapter 65, we see Kawaki use Isshiki Otsutsuki’s powers to save Naruto from Momoshiki, giving him a new power.

However, his obsession also makes him susceptible to Amado’s suggestions, who offered to implant Kawaki with karma again. After seeing post-timeskip Kawaki with karma at the beginning of the series, it is possible that he did end up having Amado implant another karma within him.

AAAAHHHHHH KAWAKAIIIIIII AND YOU EXPECT ME TO WAIT 1 MONTH FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER!! Torture #BorutoCh65 #kawakispoilers #borutoch65spoilers #BorutoSpoilers #mangaspoilers #manga https://t.co/k9nVa2KYjy

Another possibility that rises with Kawaki’s new power-up in chapter 65 is that he sacrifices himself to save not only Naruto, but also Boruto. It is obvious by this point that Kawaki is willing to go to any lengths to protect Naruto. With Boruto slowly being taken over by Momoshiki, if nothing is done to stop the process, either Naruto or Boruto would finally end up dying, very possibly at each other’s hands.

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With Kurama gone, Naruto is nowhere as strong as he once was, and Kawaki will undoubtedly worry that Naruto would not come back alive out of a fight with an Otsutsuki. So, there is a chance that Kawaki, instead of harnessing the Otsutsuki powers as an empty vessel, might get himself implanted with Momoshiki’s karma to try to kill him the same way Amado and Koji Kashin tried to kill off Isshiki.

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Or worse, he might willingly give himself up as a vessel to Momoshiki himself, depicting himself as the cold, vengeful antagonist we see at the beginning of the series. What makes this theory feasible is that unless there is some sort of drastic misunderstanding that makes Kawaki lose all hope in Naruto and the shinobi world, it is extremely unlikely that he would actively harm or kill Naruto.


Conclusion

Boruto manga chapter 65 has opened up the avenues for several interesting new theories, and the last few anime episodes being extended canon, and not fillers, adds to these theories heavily. But for further confirmation, fans will have to wait patiently, as Boruto episode 231 airs on January 9, 2022 after a one-week hiatus. The manga chapter 66 is scheduled to be released on January 20, 2022.

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Edited by Mason J. Schneider
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