Love it or hate it, Naruto has been around for a really long time. Starting in 1997, it ran for 17 years as a manga, running for a further three as an anime. Readers and viewers saw the hot-headed and occasionally idiotic protagonist Naruto grow into a powerful ninja, alongside a large cast of colorful characters. The series would set a lot of standards that other shonen manga and anime would follow. My Hero Academia in particular would be heavily inspired by its long-running predecessor. After the conclusion of Naruto's journey, a sequel series began. This time following Naruto's son, Boruto, the series offered a look not only at Naruto's legacy, but where the original cast found themselves as adults.
With aged-up characters comes a truckload of new character designs. Between the original Naruto series, Shippuden, interlude movie The Last and Boruto, we've got a whole bunch of outfits and designs to argue over. Naruto alone has a good dozen to choose from, never mind almost every character in the series having at least two, with most having four. Mostly we're going to be focusing on those characters whose best or worst designs come from Boruto, with no judgement as to their character or power levels or whatever. This isn't a "who beats who in a fight" list. We just like how some of these characters look in comparison to how they used to look, or vice versa. Of course, YOUR favorite character might not show up here, which is good? Or bad? We're not sure.
20 WORSE: ANKO
Anko Mitarashi is a formidable high-ranking ninja of the Hidden Leaf. When Naruto was a kid, Anko acted as an instructor for the Ninja Academy. She was first seen as the proctor for the fateful Chunin Exams that would lead to the Third Hokage's death.
When she first appeared, she was one of the first high-ranking ninja to have a unique appearance. She also brought a unique skill-set, making use of snakes similar to Orochimaru. In the time jump between Naruto and Boruto, her design took a bit of a dive. She went from essentially flaunting her body, with an open coat over a mesh shirt, to a more frumpy cape.
19 BETTER: SHIKAMARU
Shikamaru Nara came up with Naruto as one of the Konoha 11. As Naruto's best friend, he followed Naruto through his growth and struggles at every turn. As an adult, Shikamaru works as Naruto's second in command. As a kid, he wore a pretty odd ensemble, including a questionable mesh shirt.
After the time skip, in Shippuden, he wore a fairly standard Konoha ninja outfit. But as an adult, his look finally reached its peak. Following in Naruto's footsteps, he dons a coat and adopts a more casual look compared to his mid-point look. He also starts wearing a beard to honor his father, who passed in the war against Madara.
18 WORSE: CHOJI
Choji Akimichi is another of the Konoha 11, and a member of Shikamaru's squad. Most of Choji's skill and power come from his family's technique, relying on being fat. As a kid, his design was alright, but he hit a great stride in Shippuden, adopting an armored suit, and ditching the weird two tuft headband/hairstyle for more of a lion's mane style.
As an adult, he turns into an embarrassing dad. He's balding a bit, and he goes around in shorts and a t-shirt. On the flip side, he married a pretty Lightning ninja, and has a strong independent daughter. Even though his Boruto design didn't quite work out, his life sure turns out pretty good.
17 BETTER: MIRAI
Mirai Saurtobi is the child of Asuma and Kurenai, only seen as a baby/toddler in the original series. As an adult in Boruto, she proves herself a capable ninja, skilled in both her father's melee prowess and her mother's genjutsu powers. This one is sort of a gimme, since she was a baby without much to her design originally, but still.
She wears a fairly standard Konoha ninja uniform, along with wielding her father's chakra blades, passed down through Shikamaru. She bears her mother's unique eyes, and wears an armband with the Sarutobi crest to honor her father and grandfather, the Third Hokage.
16 WORSE: ROCK LEE
Rock Lee probably got the worst transition from Naruto to Boruto. Another of the Konoha 11, Rock Lee is a highly dedicated ninja, developing his physical combat skills to an exceptional degree to make up for his lack of ninjutsu. Although he is slightly older than Naruto and his cohort, he and his squad are still generally associated with them.
At some point between Naruto and Boruto, Lee apparently decided that he didn't need anything like a belt or a jacket to break up the pure green of his jumpsuit. As a result, his adult look resulted in a sort of formless mass of green.
15 BETTER: KARIN
Karin is a servant of Orochimaru, and former teammate of Sasuke during his period with Orochimaru. She was first introduced after the time jump in Shippuden. Her powerful healing and sensory techniques made her a valuable addition to Sasuke's crusade against the ninja villages.
In Boruto, she still works for Orochimaru, now taking a more active role in research. She also maintains a good relationship with the Hidden Leaf village, delivering Sasuke and Sakura's child, Sarada. Her design also evolved, from a rather generic look to a more formal look, with a tie and formal cuffs. She also adopts a new haircut, pinning back her bangs that occasionally got in her eyes as a younger woman.
14 WORSE: GAARA
Gaara is one of Naruto's oldest rivals. A fellow Jinchuuriki, Gaara was the focal point of the Sand Village's assault on the Leaf Village during the first Chunin exams shown in the series. After his defeat, he mellowed considerably, eventually becoming a friend to Naruto, and the leader of the Hidden Sand Village.
His design in Shippuden saw him grow into his body a little more, and the coat/flak jacket design was great. Then in Boruto, he kept the coat, but got a truly awful haircut to go along with his adulthood. The guy already had a pretty sizable forehead, and his new haircut really just draws attention to it.
13 BETTER: HINATA
Hinata Hyuuga is yet another member of the Konoha 11. From a young age, she falls in love with Naruto, and eventually admits her feelings in the heat of battle. The two go through a courtship, and eventually marry. She gives birth to the protagonist of the sequel series, Boruto, and his sister Himawari.
Hinata generally maintains a strong design for all of her incarnations, her design in the interlude movie The Last is where it peaks. She starts showing off her figure, representing a leap in confidence she previously lacked. The Last also sees her actively pursue Naruto, and finally win his heart.
12 WORSE: DARUI
Darui starts out as a Hidden Cloud ninja, second-in-command to the Raikage. He eventually succeeds him as Raikage himself, standing alongside Naruto and Gaara as one of the Five Kage. His design in Shippuden is pretty cool, although fairly standard for Cloud ninja.
In Boruto, he makes the unfortunate decision of listening to his predecessor about facial hair. The Fourth Raikage made his weird little mustache/goatee combo work, but Darui really just can't pull it off. He also starts wearing basically a sweatsuit, which isn't really becoming of his position as one of the most powerful ninja in the world.
11 BETTER: HANABI
Hanabi Hyuuga is Hinata's sister, and just as strong a ninja. She really only appeared as a child in the first series, not even a full-fledged ninja. She's essentially a miniature Hinata, mostly seen wearing a standard martial arts robe with slightly longer hair than Hinata.
In Boruto, she has advanced considerably. She also updates her look, following off her design in The Last. Unlike other ninja, she wears fairly formal clothing, even while actively going on missions with her squad. She makes it work, and stylishly sets herself apart from her fellow squad leaders like Konohamaru, Moegi, and Udon.
10 WORSE: SHINO
Shino Aburame is another member of the Konoha 11, and one of the few who did not advance to a considerably higher position or fame. His bug-based powers made him a bit of an outcast, although not to the same degree as Naruto. He participated admirably in all the major conflicts in the Naruto series, but never managed to set himself apart.
In Boruto, he is content to be a teacher at the Ninja Academy, teaching the children of Konoha before they are formally promoted to ninja. He's grown out of his emo teen phase and decided to start showing his mouth, but he traded in his sunglasses for a set of goggles and a chinstrap that are just...not great.
9 BETTER: NARUTO
Naruto Uzumaki is, naturally, the main character of Naruto. A fairly standard hot-blooded anime protagonist, he starts out as an outcast loser, and grows to be one of the most powerful ninja in the world. He eventually realizes his dream of becoming Hokage, and passes the protagonist torch on to his son Boruto.
As the main character, Naruto probably has the most character designs out of everyone. There's a lot of contention over where his design peaked, but we think it's when he reaches Hokage. He's grown out of his baby face, and he's finally adopted the Hokage cloak, following in his father's footsteps. He's also stopped wearing a jumpsuit, so that's a big plus.
8 WORSE: SAKURA
Sakura Haruno is a controversial character. Usually, at the center of the shipping wars surrounding Naruto, she made a lot of people mad over the course of the show. She usually got hit with the common criticism of uselessness, which was honestly pretty fair before the time skip. Still, she grew up and became a highly talented ninja.
Part of Sakura's problem came from her generally weak character design. Her initial design wasn't great, then it took an upturn for Shippuden, then Boruto rolled around and she just went off the deep end. The questionable midriff hole, the butt-cape, the capri pants, it's all just a mess.
7 BETTER: KIBA
Kiba Inuzuka is another of the Konoha 11, on a team with Shino and Hinata. Kiba was definitely one of the more memorable rookie ninja, thanks to having an adorable puppy as a partner. Like the rest of his cohort, he grew to be a talented ninja, although he would chafe under being continually in Naruto and Sasuke's shadow.
His design started off with a fur coat and a mesh shirt, then evolved into some sort of motorcycle leathers look. Kiba reached his peak, though, in The Last. He returned to his more classic look with the fur coat, although he added a flak jacket underneath, and got some great wavy hair.
6 WORSE: KANKURO
Kankuro is a Hidden Sand ninja, and brother to Gaara. Like Gaara, he started out as an antagonist, but evolved into a trusted ally. He proved a talented ninja in Shippuden, and became second-in-command to Gaara's Kazekage. His unique puppetry skills set him apart from most other ninja.
Now, Kankuro generally has a good design. His facial tattoos are striking, and a bold choice for the character. Unfortunately, his Boruto design made a fatal error. Before, he wore a hat that came down to his browline. Now he wears a hood that reveals his forehead, and makes him look bald.
5 BETTER: KONOHAMARU
Konohamaru Sarutobi is Naruto's junior, and grandson of the Third Hokage. He looks up to Naruto, and often treats him as an older brother and mentor. He started out, much like Naruto, as a hard-headed kid, always making trouble for his elders. He eventually grew out of it and became a talented ninja in his own right.
Like Hanabi, his initial designs weren't particularly interesting, as he was still a kid. He also grows out of his child design (obviously), and adopts a fairly standard Hidden Leaf ninja design. The most important detail is his signature blue scarf, now no longer long and flowing as it was when he was a kid, but still an eye-catching flash of color to set him apart from other ninja.
4 WORSE: CHOJURO
Chojuro is the Sixth Mizukage, leader of the Hidden Mist Village. He was first seen in Shippuden, as the last surviving member of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen. As a tertiary character, he never received the sort of detailed development the Hidden Leaf ninja did, and wasn't really featured all that heavily in the original series.
Chojuro, unfortunately, has never had a great design. The main failing was the weird goggles he wore, particularly the earpieces. He keeps them through to his tenure as Mizukage. His Boruto design really isn't that far removed from his original look, although the fit is considerably less flattering.
3 BETTER: ONOKI
Onoki is the Third Tsuchikage, and one of the oldest characters in the show. Despite his advanced age, he remained an immensely powerful ninja well into his elder years. He was key to the war against Madara Uchiha, and his Particle style proved to be exceedingly useful.
In Naruto, he already had a unique design, almost cartoonishly small compared to the rest of the cast. Although he survived through to Boruto, he managed to somehow become even smaller. The real strength of his new design came from shadowing his eyes, giving it much more impact when he chose to reveal them.
2 WORSE: KABUTO
Kabuto is just about the most irredeemable garbage of a person to exist in the Naruto universe. He worked first for Orochimaru, then for Madara, performing all sorts of vile experiments for little reason other than to satisfy his curiosity. The worst part of all of it is that after everything, he got away without any punishment and opened an orphanage.
In his first appearance, he had a pretty good design, and he maintained it up until the Fourth Ninja War against Madara. Then he took on a more snake-like appearance. In Boruto, he basically just looks like a scalier Orochimaru, with gray hair.
1 BETTER: SASUKE
We're saving the best design change for last. Sasuke Uchiha is the deuteragonist of Naruto, and Naruto's most heated rival. Throughout the series, they find themselves constantly at odds, with the entire series culminating in a final brawl between the two. Afterward, Sasuke rises with Naruto to be a sort of secondary Hokage.
Previously, Sasuke's designs were always pretty rough. Jumpsuits, weird armband things, tights, some really ill-advised bangs, it was really clear Sasuke never learned to dress himself. In Boruto, though, he finally gets it together. Maybe it's being married to Sakura, but Sasuke finally manages to find some fashion sense.