In Chapter #59 of the Boruto manga, Shikadai’s compassionate moment makes up for one of Shikamaru’s greatest flaws in Konoha’s murky past.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Chapter #59 of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, “Knight,” by Masashi Kishimoto, Mikio Ikemoto, Mari Morimoto and Snir Aharon, now available in English from Viz Media.
One of Shikamaru’s greatest flaws in the Naruto series was how he treated Sasuke. He fell into Konoha’s trap of alienating the last remnant of the Uchiha clan, mirroring the actions of his own dad and elders that led to Itachi wiping out his own people. Shikamaru began to know better as he got older but he never offered an olive branch to Sasuke when they were teenagers — even chiding Naruto when he wanted to redeem his colleague.
Come Boruto #59, however, and his son, Shikadai, actually fixes his family’s past mistakes, showing how kind the Nara clan really are.
Regretting his actions back then, Shikamaru has since apologized to Sasuke but the scars still run deep. Xenophobia back then helped push Sasuke to want to destroy the Hidden Leaf and all other villages that he didn’t think welcomed acceptance and compassion. Kawaki even cuts a similar figure to a young Sasuke, also being a misunderstood weapon of mass destruction. Luckily, he’s no longer Isshiki’s vessel and lost his Karma mark, but he’s still got untapped power lying dormant. That’s why Amado is trying to seduce him in order to harness these abilities with a new Karma, but Kawaki spurns the offer, heading into town during the chapter.
As he walks around, his fragile mind starts hallucinating about Amado’s corruptive ways, leading to him yelling in public. The judgemental citizens are shocked but thankfully, Shikadai is there to hustle him off. Kawaki apologizes for the outburst but Shikadai makes it clear he understands what the kid’s going through. No matter what, Konoha’s his home and they’re there for him. The Hokage made that pretty clear. Shikadai advises him to just steer clear of nosey folks, dispelling the notion Kawaki’s a burden to them.
He also tells him to keep his head high and don’t be glum; after all, the people are just scared after Isshiki invaded. They don’t know Kawaki’s history with the tyrant but they can tell he’s got something to do with it, so Shikadai just wants him off the grid so he can protect himself and to not worry about what other people think.
It’s a nice moment of solidarity for the Boruto manga, not to mention some good character-building for Shikadai, separating him from his dad who still doesn’t trust Kawaki and wants him in a cell. Part of that could be down to his mom, Temari, whose brother Gaara was another outsider with a Tailed Beast within. She’d have taught Shikadai about unity more than his dad. In that sense, while Kawaki usually has angry moments with Team 7, he may now have a true friend in Shikadai, one who cares about his mental health and how he’s fitting into a new family. (© cbr)