The Boruto Manga May Have Brought Back Naruto's Deadliest Enemy

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for the entire Naruto and Boruto manga series thus far.

In over a decade's worth of stories, the Naruto franchise has seen the titular character fight a plethora of villains. When the manga/anime dove into his early years, he took on the likes of Gaara in the ninja exams, which prepared him for the terrorist invasion of disgraced Konoha ninja Orochimaru.

Naruto would overcome each challenge and, as the franchise progressed, readers were introduced to even more villains. It came as no surprise, however, as he was now a teen policing the outside world, so it made sense he'd be facing killers from all walks of life. However, with a wiser, more mature Naruto now overseeing Konoha as its hokage (leader), it seems that his deadliest enemy may have resurfaced in the adventures of his son, Boruto. That villain is none other than the terrorist organization known as the Akatsuki.

In the last few chapters of Boruto, we've learned more about a group called Kara as it investigates various villages of the ninja world for a secret mission. The way they operate in stealth, though, is very reminiscent of the Akatsuki. That crew was formed years before Naruto was born by a fallen Konoha ninja named Obito Uchiha, Sasuke's ancestor, seeking to recover all the Tailed Beasts to rule the world, with Naruto's Nine Tails Fox being one of them. The Akatsuki's plan was to weaponize these creatures using a new vessel, which would have made the group invincible. In the process, they destroyed dozens of villages and almost brought about the apocalypse by unleashing the famous Madara Uchiha.

Kara has a similar mission, as it's also trying to weaponize a vessel of unlimited power. In this case, it's a young man known as Kawaki. His past is super mysterious, but Naruto has taken him in, as he can sense someone evil wants to harness Kawaki's power, just as the Akatsuki tried to do with him. Naruto doesn't know more than that, though, and, coupled with Kawaki's amnesia, our heroes are truly in the dark.

RELATED: Steven Universe Returns Next Month With 'Diamond Days'

Which, of course, is a trademark of the Akatsuki clan. They're shadows, ghosts who communicated only via genjutsu (astral projections). And just like them, Kara follows suit, meeting mostly via the astral realm as well. It's also worth noting that, like their Akatsuki counterparts, Kara members are clad in black robes too (except they use hoods), with some even wearing masks just like the old terrorists. Nonetheless, Kara feels like an evolution of the Akatsuki, except it seems to have a more stringent hierarchy, where leaders have Roman numerals on their faces, possibly indicating rank.

It would stand to reason that an offshoot of the Akatsuki would reappear someday, because it never really died in the first place. Sure, most Akatsuki members perished in battle, but the upper echelon -- Konan and Nagato -- were redeemed by Naruto in the end, to the point where Nagato resurrected Konoha after destroying it. This was a total U-turn in terms of what the group wanted to accomplish, but in the years prior they did inspire numerous splinter groups and villains along the way, all of whom dreamt of joining them. It stands to reason some of them would have hated hearing how the group turned to the light in the end and could easily have restarted the extremist vision with Kara.

Kara's also dabbling in science just as much as they are the mystical ways of the ninja, so it's a near-spitting image of what the Akatsuki stood for. Kara's leads -- Jigen, Delta and Koji -- are fully focused on Konoha too, so it can't be a mere coincidence they have the same ambition as their predecessors.

Another thing to note is that one main Akatsuki foot soldier never died in Hidan -- a crazed, immortal ninja obsessed with spreading murder across all ninja villages. He was buried underground during the Great Ninja War Obito orchestrated, so there's a chance he may have escaped and is looking to remedy the Akatsuki's failures.

ghost rider stare
Damnation Stare: The Original Ghost Rider Unleashes a Hellish New Power

More in CBR Exclusives