ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Naruto: Sasuke’s Story — Star Pupil’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Naruto: Sasukes Story -- Star Pupil

Naruto: Sasuke’s Story — Star Pupil, a light novel based on Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto franchise, is written by Jun Esaka and published by VIZ Media. The story, which takes place sometime after the canonical Boruto: Naruto Next Generations opening arc, follows Sasuke as he’s assigned to train all three members of the new Team 7. Boruto is excited to be learning from the one ninja that he looks up to and would give anything to be like. However, he struggles to accept the way that Sasuke teaches. Things get more complicated when Himeno Lily, a world-famous pop star, has a mission for them. The mission puts into question the relationship that Boruto and Sasuke share as sensei and student.

I praise the originality of Naruto: Sasuke’s Story — Star Pupil’s arc and several new elements that were introduced. For one, the light novel’s overall plot revolves around a world-famous pop star. Music has never really played a big role within the Naruto franchise besides Killer Bee’s raps. There’s an entire chapter that focuses on a performance which I found very intriguing. I also never pictured Sasuke would be training Mitsuke and Sarada while also training Boruto, but I liked the dynamic that was shared between the three of them. It shows me that Sasuke did have potential to be a genin squad sensei.

Although the arc of Naruto: Sasuke’s Story — Star Pupil takes place after the first arc in the spin-off series, I don’t understand how it fits in to the overall narrative of the story. Even the side arcs in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations flesh out the characters more while also teasing future elements that are considered canon. Even with the plot’s originality, I fail to see how this adds anything with substance to the overall series. It feels like I read an entire filler episode that could’ve easily been avoided.

I also have to question the way that Esaka wrote Naruto: Sasuke’s Story — Star Pupil. There were multiple moments that felt as if they did not belong in the Naruto franchise. This isn’t me trying to be an elitist, but going into specific detail on how handsome Sasuke is during the beginning of the prologue is a questionable choice. Most of the people reading this light novel would have already been fans of the series, regardless of how long they’ve been fans for. I don’t see how Sasuke’s handsomeness added anything to the plot besides pointless character description. There’s also a questionable dialogue that felt out of place. Using phrases like “As you can see, I extinguished the fire” for Sasuke to say is out of character. Rephrasing certain dialogue phrases like this one could have really helped the flow of the plot.

Overall, I was very disappointed with Naruto: Sasuke’s Story — Star Pupil. The originality of the plot captured my interest, but it was not enough to save the book. The story itself felt out of place from everything that has already been established and doesn’t necessarily add anything new. There were also questionable writing decisions from the author that disrupted the flow of the plot.

Naruto: Sasuke’s Story — Star Pupil will be available for purchase October 6, 2020 through the VIZ Media website and wherever manga are sold.

Naruto: Sasuke's Story -- Star Pupil
2.5

TL;DR

I was very disappointed with Naruto: Sasuke’s Story — Star Pupil. The originality of the plot captured my interest, but it was not enough to save the book. The story itself felt out of place from everything that has already been established and doesn’t necessarily add anything new. There were also questionable writing decisions from the author that disrupted the flow of the plot.