Karma (Kāma) in Naruto: What Is It, How Boruto Has It, How and When Does He Use It & More
Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto franchise, including the Boruto sequel series, is a truly fascinating world with a lot of interesting concepts. Most of these concepts have been reworked from Oriental folklore and mythology, with Kishimoto adding some twists that made them more special. Now, the concept of karma is a well-known concept in real life, but in this article, we shall explain how karma, or how it’s officially called, Kāma, works in the world of Naruto.
The Kāma is a seal that serves as a compressed backup of a member of the Ōtsutsuki clan’s biological data. It can be engraved on the body of a compatible individual, called a vessel. Over time, the biological data contained in the Kāma will gradually take over the vessel until it is completely transformed into an Ōtsutsuki. When an Ōtsutsuki dies, his soul migrates to one of his vessels and reincarnates.
In the rest of this article, we are going to provide you with more details on the concept of Kāma in the world of Naruto (or Boruto, to be more specific). You’re going to find out what it is, how Boruto got it, and how it manifests itself. This is going to be your ultimate guide to the concept of Kāma in the world of Naruto so keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
What is Kāma in Naruto?
Although based on the concept and with a similar name, the Kāma in Naruto is not identical to karma in real life. Namely, the Kāma is a seal that serves as a compressed backup of the biological data of a member of the Ōtsutsuki clan. It can be imprinted on the body of a compatible individual, known as a vessel. Over time, the biological data contained in the Kāma will gradually take over the vessel completely, until it is completely transformed into an Ōtsutsuki.
When an Ōtsutsuki dies, his soul migrates to one of his vessels, and when the process of releasing their Kāma data is complete, the Ōtsutsuki is reincarnated in the body of his vessel. During the process of releasing the data, the vessel can learn to activate Kāma and use some of the Ōtsutsuki’s power and abilities. If the process is not completed, the Ōtsutsuki may manifest and take possession of the vessel’s body for a period of time, but not fully.
Compatibility with an Ōtsutsuki is extremely rare and unpredictable, and if the individual is not compatible, the ritual usually results in a fatal crisis for that individual. However, it may happen that an incompatible receptacle survives the ritual, which has the effect of producing a unique variant of the seal called White Kāma. As its name suggests, White Kama is white in color rather than black.
Individuals who have it can no longer serve as a vessel for the soul of the Ōtsutsuki and therefore cannot be used for the reincarnation process. However, they retain the traits of the Ōtsutsuki who was to reincarnate, acquiring colossal power and even being able to transform into a brand new Ōtsutsuki.
Although the Kāma superficially resembles a tattooed seal, it is in fact a pyramid-shaped barb that is integrated into the body of the receptacle. Once activated, the visible mark extends over the body of the vessel, sometimes taking different forms based on the capacities used. Typically black, these marks can also glow and shine in a particular color when activated, and, when viewed up close, appear to expand in patterns resembling microscopic circuit boards.
Kāma can produce a variety of different patterns depending on the individual and what abilities they have access to.
Does Naruto have a Kāma?
So far, only four bearers of the Ōtsutsuki Kāma have been introduced and Naruto is not one of them. Although the clan has been present in the original Naruto anime, the concept of Kāma is new and stems from the Boruto series, which is why all the Kāma bearers are from that series. Two members of the Ōtsutsuki clan have imprinted their Kāma on the other characters and they are Isshiki and Momoshiki Ōtsutsuki. We shall now reveal the four known bearers of the Ōtsutsuki Kāma:
As for Isshiki, they are:
- Jigen: He received his Kāma from Isshiki Ōtsutsuki, after the latter was betrayed and almost killed by Kaguya Ōtsutsuki, and placed it on his chin while merging like a parasite with Jigen’s brain. When activated, the sigil spans his face and body almost symmetrically.
- Kawaki: Isshiki realized that Jigen’s body would not be able to support his chakra, so he transferred his mark to Kawaki’s left palm via scientific experiments and ritual conducted with the help of Amado. When activated, the seal extends down the left side of his body forming patterns that almost mirror Boruto’s. It spreads to his left eye and then glows red. As the mark progresses, Isshiki’s horn appears on his head. Kawaki lost his Kāma when Isshiki reincarnated into Jigen’s body. However, the mark reappeared under unknown circumstances.
- Code: Among Isshiki’s previous incompatible vessels is Code, the only failed vessel of all the children gathered by Jigen who survived the ritual. As such, he wears a white Kāma, which sits on his left palm. As Code is not a vessel, his Kāma did not disappear when Isshiki died. Before his soul expired, Isshiki asked Code to become a new Ōtsutsuki by sacrificing Boruto or Kawaki to Jūbi and feeding on the the God Tree. When activated, it expands forming white marks along his left side, forming a pattern almost mirroring Jigen’s, extending to his left eye.
As for Momoshiki, his only Kāma vessel is none other than Boruto. Since we’re going to deal with the circumstances of that transfer in the sections that follow, we won’t talk about it here.
How did Boruto get a Kāma?
The events that led to Boruto becoming a vessel for Momoshiki, receiving his Kāma from him, happened during the Versus Momoshiki arc, moments before the protagonists launched their final attack on Momoshiki. First, Boruto suddenly attacked him with a shadow clone and disabled his right Rinnegan. Momoshiki tried to counter him with his own version of the Rasengan, but couldn’t resist him, took the hit, and was finally destroyed. Momoshiki’s spirit briefly remained alive, noting that Boruto could sense his presence due to the blood of the Byakugan wielders within.
Momoshiki appears in front of him and notes that while he couldn’t foresee his own fate, he sees Boruto’s fate clearly. He warns Boruto that someday his blue eyes will take everything away from him, and also adds that the one who defeats God ceases to be an ordinary person. Before disappearing, Momoshiki touches his hand, leaving a mark on it, and tells him to continue on his path to that destiny.
Momoshiki bestowed his Kāma on Boruto before his spirit disappeared, making him his vessel, intending to resurrect. The mark grants Boruto a series of special abilities, as well as allowing Momoshiki to manifest through it for a certain period of time when Bouto expends a large amount of chakra, taking full control of his body.
When this occurs, Kāma marks spread across the right side of Boruto’s body, forming a horn and turning his right eye into a Byakugan. Momoshiki maintains Boruto’s knowledge of and access to techniques, is capable of absorbing chakra through the mark, as well as greatly empowering physical attacks and techniques. In the same way, he can open portals to travel between dimensions.
Does Boruto use the Kāma in the anime?
Well, the question of whether Boruto actually can use the Kāma or whether the Kāma (Momoshiki) uses him is a question of debate, but we can confirm that Momoshiki has manifested himself through Boruto on several occasions. We are now going to give you more details on these appearances.
When does Boruto use his Kāma?
The first time that Momoshiki appeared was during the battle to save Naruto from Boro, when Sarada destroys the core of Boro’s Shinobi Regenerative Implant. However, seconds before Boro could deliver the killing blow, Boruto unwittingly awakened Momoshiki through his Kāma. Gaining control of Boruto’s body, Momoshiki remembered the name of Boruto’s favorite technique and released a massive Rasengan that destroyed Boro.
With the threat removed, Momoshiki said that it was not yet time for Boruto to lose everything, and his personality weakened as Kāma began to regress. Coming to his senses, Boruto couldn’t remember what had happened.
Later, during the battle with Isshiki, Boruto was knocked unconscious. As the battle progressed, Naruto and Sasuke were pushed to their limits, and Isshiki managed to summon Kawaki to him to leave a new Kāma mark on him before his inevitable death. At that moment, Momoshiki awakens again.
Momoshiki decides to go unnoticed until Isshiki finally truly dies and Naruto and Sasuke are badly injured. Momoshiki then surprises them by stabbing a kunai into Sasuke’s left eye, destroying his Rinnegan before anyone can react. Momoshiki was happy to neutralize Sasuke’s space-time ninjutsu and began to fight him and Kawaki. He noticed that the unpacking of Kāma Kawaki had progressed considerably, making him a suitable victim to cultivate the God Tree.
Sasuke deduced that if Boruto’s chakra was replenished, his personality would return. Kawaki begins to deliberately burn himself, causing Momoshiki to absorb the fire, which was enough for Boruto to wake up, tearing off Momoshiki’s horn and regaining control of his body.
Can Boruto control his Kāma?
As stated above, it is debatable whether the vessel can really control the Kāma or whether the Kāma controls the vessel, but that is a topic for another article. Be that as it may, Boruto has, so far, demonstrated absolutely no control over his Kāma, not even remembering what had happened before. He needs to be completely worn down for Momoshiki to take over, and when he does, Boruto has absolutely no control over what is happening.