WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations #35, on sale now.
The most heated debate in the Naruto franchise has always been, Who's the most powerful ninja ever? While this mantle was thought to have gone to Uzumaki Naruto as he honed his skills by the end of the series, Uchiha Sasuke gave him a run for his money. There was also Uchiha Itachi and the first Hokage, Hashirama Senju, to consider in the running as they accomplished tremendous feats as well.
The Boruto manga has cranked it up a notch, however, because, while Naruto is even stronger than we thought, his son, as well as a kid they've adopted, Kawaki, are turning out to be dangerous weapons too. That changes in Boruto #35, when the series' main villain, Jigen, is actually confirmed by none other than Sasuke as the most elite ninja at present.
No one would know this better than Sasuke seeing as he fought Naruto when they were both cutting their teeth and becoming expert ninjas at the end of the Kaguya war. He also battled the likes of Madara, Obito and all the members of the Kaguya clan so far, making him well-equipped to pass this judgement.
Here, as he teleports through space and time based on Naruto's intel, he discovers a secret temple in another dimension, hoping to meet Jigen. Instead, he uncovers the location Kaguya and her predecessors held council at, with monuments revealing these aliens invaded Earth in pairs.
Sasuke's mind is blown when he unlocks a hologram of a horned-beast (now knowing know who it is) but when Jigen arrives, the veil is lifted. Sasuke hides and monitors the villain, only to witness the terrorist leader absorbing chakra from the Ten-Tails, a giant alien-kaiju held captive. Only godlike shinobi such as Kaguya could have done this and what makes it worse is while Jigen has the beast pinned down, he's feeding off of its energy with consummate ease.
He speaks to the beast, taunting it, but also letting the reader know he's preparing himself to become a vessel, all so he could combine with the Ten-Tails. This was the same thing Kaguya did years ago in order to transcend into something more.
Now, we assumed Jigen was a shinobi simply blessed with the Karma power-up mark because the manga didn't paint anything more complex with his role in leading Kara. But as he feeds, we see his monstrous form with the horn live and in the flesh, plus Sasuke's clearly feeling a more powerful chakra presence than when he faced the deadly Kaguya. Sasuke acknowledges that for all the other clan members to have died and Jigen to have survived, he's surely a cut above the rest.
It's a stunning development. Some theorized Jigen was made from science -- the same way he engineered Kawaki -- but obviously, he's been holding back secrets from everyone. He eventually turns back into his "human" form but even then, Sasuke accepts this shell might be beyond him and Naruto.
We did get a few hints in the last chapter about Jigen's true power, but we still held out hope he wasn't on Naruto's level. As that's seemingly been shattered, it remains to be seen if Jigen killed some of the clan members sent to Earth with him, and just how did he interact with the Royal Family back on his homeworld. Admittedly, as it stands, Jigen's been playing possum so far and could finally be ready to unleash hell.
Had Naruto known Kara had this guy for a leader, he certainly would have joined Sasuke. Still, seeing the latter exhibit fear for the first time at the temple, one has to wonder if them teaming up would even be enough. Sensing more power then Kaguya herself, Sasuke knows they have to act quickly because if Jigen levels up and binds with the Ten-Tails, chances are it'll spell the end of days.
Boruto #36 goes on sale July 21.