What does Naruto’s disappearance mean for the series?

Whereas Kawaki keeps trying to find her place among Naruto and the Hidden Leaf Village, he’s come to (another) drastic conclusion: he’s the only one with the power to stop Momoshiki Otsutsuki should he ever possess Boruto again. In Boruto Chapter 77, Kawaki officially vows to wipe out the plague of the Otsutsuki once and for all, before good people like his surrogate father Naruto were killed by them. However, knowing how much Naruto and his wife Hinata love Boruto, Kawaki also knows that they will never have the strength to stop Boruto should this happen.

…So, to spare Naruto the pain of choosing between being a father and a leader/protector, Kawaki uses his Otsutsuki powers to teleport Naruto and Hinata in another dimension!

What does Naruto’s disappearance mean for Boruto?

First off, this final chapter finally helps explain the beginning of Boruto and the sinister flash-forward sequence that opened it. This footage shows Kawaki and Boruto in their teens, fighting over the ruins of the Hidden Leaf Village. During the battle, Kawaki warned Boruto that if he didn’t surrender, he would send his former friend to the same location as Naruto.

For a long time, the theory was that Kawaki referred to the afterlife after killing Naruto in battle. Now it’s confirmed that Kawaki did indeed send Naruto to an alternate dimension. And if the flash-forward is to be believed, Naruto might be gone for quite a while!

Now it’s up to Boruto to bridge the gap between what Boruto and Kawaki are now and what they will be when their respective Karmas and Oustsuki powers are fully developed. It will be interesting to see how the series performs without Naruto. We’ll first have to see if Kawaki’s actions are revealed to the other characters and how they react to him if they find out. Why the Hidden Leaf continues without Naruto will be a difficult subject to explain (do they think he’s dead? Lost forever?); however, once that hurdle is cleared, the Boruto series will no doubt open up in a big way.

The absence of Naruto (and his supreme power) means higher stakes for the village and its shinobi who must face very real threats (Coded and Kara’s remains, any other Otsutsuki, other shinobi). It also creates a whole new character dynamic, as people seek to fill Naruto’s void and take his place. More important again, the relationship between Boruto and Kawaki could finally reach the level of Naruto/Sasuke of Shippuden, instead of the “brother-to-brother” relationship they currently have. Naruto fans have been waiting since that first flash-forward to see Boruto deliver on that promise…