Along with throwing shuriken and climbing sheer rock walls, the art of seeming to disappear is an invaluable skill for a ninja. So maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised that even though you’ll no longer find Masashi Kishimoto’s hugely successful Naruto manga in the pages of comic anthology Weekly Shonen Jump, the franchise isn’t really entirely gone.
This summer, the ninja action continues, but previous lead character Naruto has earned a well-deserved rest. Instead, his son Boruto will be in the spotlight in a new theatrical feature. If you’re going to star in an anime movie, you’ll need a voice, and producers have just announced who will play Boruto, while also confirming that the new hero’s ninja father will also make an appearance in the film.
Playing Boruto will be voice actress Yuko Sanpei. Choosing a woman to play the titular ninja boy might seem strange to some, but Sanpei, who’s voiced Precure’s Cure Dream and Natsu no Arashi’s Hajime Yasaka (also a young male), is just the latest of many women to portray a male Shonen Jump action lead, joining a group that includes Masako Nozawa (Dragon Ball’s Goku) and Mayumi Tanaka (One Piece’s Luffy). Even Boruto’s dad, Naruto himself, was voiced by a woman, Junko Takeuchi.
Speaking of Takeuchi, she’ll also be lending her voice to the movie, reprising her role as the franchise’s former protagonist. But while the upcoming film is sure to contain scenes where the father and son share screen time, there’s likely to be more focus on the interplay between Boruto and Sarada, the daughter of Naruto’s rival Sasuke.
Kokoro Kikuchi, who’s also a veteran of multiple Precure installments, landed the role of Sarada, and seems to have really taken a shine to the character. “Sarada can be a little sharp-tongued and cynical, but she gives her all, deals with things head-on, and is cute, too,” Kikuchi commented. “I want to do the character justice by properly expressing each of those various emotional states.”
Sanpei also seems to appreciate what an opportunity voicing Boruto is. “The series has been supported and loved by so many fans, and I’m happy to be able to contribute to it as a member of the Naruto family.”
Boruto –Naruto the Movie- opens August 7 at theaters across Japan.