Sasuke and Naruto’s rivalry is one of the series’ most iconic elements, but in Boruto, Sasuke beat Naruto in a surprising way.
Few manga rivalries are more iconic than Naruto and Sasuke’s epic feud, and though they ended up friends by the series’ end, Boruto gave the last Uchiha one final victory over the Seventh Hokage that proves he’s actually the better ninja.
While the original Naruto had a lot going on, few would deny that the relationship between the title character and Sasuke was that series’ heart and soul. There was something endearing about seeing Naruto never give up on his friend despite his many mistakes. Though this element did prove contentious for many fans as Sasuke became an increasingly divisive character, it undoubtedly led to one of the series’ best battles in Naruto’s finale. Unfortunately, it also led to some less than ideal moments such as the twist that Naruto and Sasuke are actually reincarnated brothers. Though that finale resolved the ideological battle between the two, it never resolved who was ultimately the better ninja. For the resolution to that, readers only have to look toward Boruto. While the two might be close allies in Naruto’s sequel series, even the Seventh Hokage admits that his friend managed one last victory.
The first arc of Boruto‘s manga sees Naruto abducted by the villainous Momoshiki Ōtsutsuki in an effort to extract Kurama from the Seventh Hokage. In response, Sasuke, the four remaining Kage, and Boruto go on a mission to rescue Konoha’s leader. Though the four kage put up an admirable fight, they’re no match for Momoshiki enhanced by the power of a chakra fruit. Even Naruto and Sasuke fusing their most powerful techniques isn’t enough. Inevitably, Boruto’s disappearing Rassengan combined with Naruto’s immense chakra is enough to obliterate the villain in the manga’s ninth chapter. After the dust settles, Naruto is worse for ware than Sasuke, who offers him a hand up while commenting on how much damage Naruto had sustained. Naruto wonders when Sasuke is going to cut their rivalry, but also admits that his former friend undoubtedly beat him in this instance.
While Naruto’s comment at first glance appears to just reference the fact that Sasuke managed to remain standing while Naruto didn’t, looking deeper, it’s clear the conversation is also about Boruto. Since Naruto never has time to raise Boruto, the young ninja sought out Sasuke as a mentor instead of his own father. It’s Sasuke who noticed the unique disappearing properties of Boruto’s Rassengan which proved pivotal in their battle against Momoshiki. When looking at it in this light, it appears that Sasuke’s final victory over Naruto wasn’t in remaining standing during the tough battle, but in training the one ninja Naruto couldn’t.
Not only does this moment show how much Naruto and Sasuke have grown since the original series, it also proves Sasuke finally surpassed his rival. In Naruto, a ninja’s worth isn’t just tied to their strength, but to what they pass on to the next generation. While Naruto might have become Hokage in Boruto, it’s clear that Sasuke became the better ninja.