Before the ending of the Naruto manga last November, teasers and announcements were already popping up across the internet, hinting what ‘The Last’ movie would involve. As the final weekly chapters of Naruto crept up, it was announced that ‘The Last: Naruto the Movie’ would focus almost entirely on the time period between the two final chapters, 699 and 700. The chapters focusing on the relationship between Naruto and Hinata.
The movie opened in December 2014 for Japanese audiences, and is the highest grossing Naruto movie to date. As long time Naruto fans, we could not miss the Los Angeles screenings of ‘The Last’ in February. Thankfully, the awesome team at Funimation hooked us up with some tickets.
*warning: possible spoilers ahead*
Our thoughts on “The Last”?
There is an incomparable satisfaction in watching characters grow from children to adults, especially if that path has taken 15 years to traverse. In The Last: Naruto the Movie, Naruto fans have finally seen the end (well, to be fair, there’s definitely going to be movies about the next generation) of the Naruto story, complete with a grown up romance story featuring the OG OTP, Naruto and Hinata.
I have been stuck reminiscing over the movie, and the deeply satisfying feeling it left me with. Seeing Naruto grow from a lonely, over excited child, to the Hokage like he always dreamed, gave me a weird second hand satisfaction of raising a child into an awesome badass.
Keeping to Naruto’s hard headed personality, the use of a ninja machination to have him realize his feelings for Hinata was a little contrived, but definitely needed if Naruto was going to realize that all of the times Hinata was kind to him was her showing that she liked him, all while growing his affection for her.
I think ‘The Last’ does a decent job of showing how Naruto and Hinata’s relationship is destined. Even with the usual tropey red-string-of-fate, you see the forces of nature pushing them towards each other. Their love also a parallel of Minato and Kushina (Naruto’s parents) relationship. Hinata, like Minato; acknowledged Naruto from an early age, and was always near by watching. Naruto. Dense as he always, Naruto slowly comes to realize that Hinata is the very first of the Konoha ninjas to acknowledge his existence when others shunned him.
It is fulfilling to see Hinata in a somewhat more active role, versus her usual quiet, and passive personality. Hinata is portrayed as someone who makes decisions and sacrifices in order to protect the people she loves. This movie has a lot more of Hinata fighting and holding her own against a variety of baddies.
Hinata had very few fight scenes during the course of the Naruto anime series. Most notably, her fight against Pain that almost costs her life. It is also the first time she confesses to Naruto while defending him. Though she doesn’t completely ditch her passive personality in this movie, you can definitely see that she has grown up and is pushing past her reservations to get either what she wants, or make hard decisions that have a real effect on her life.
Naruto on the other hand, you see him having to reconcile his own feelings with his new found fame as the Hero of Konoha. Because Naruto struggled so long, aiming to be recognized by a village that spent most of his youth shunning him, it’s easy to believe that he wouldn’t know the difference of being adored by the village versus being in love. In a series of flashbacks, you see him slowly realize that Hinata has always been the one.
With in 10 minutes of this movie, I cried. This movie theatre was full of Naruto fans crying.
On Friendships & Relationships
I liked all of the cameos of all of the various characters in the Narutoverse. It did feel like due to the focus of the film, very few characters got screen time; Sasuke was only in the film for about 30 seconds.
I was really pleased at the portrayal of Sakura and Naruto’s friendship. She’s there to help him, snap him out of his (sort of) getting-dumped grief, and encourage Hinata along as well. The Naruto series has always been heavy on themes of loyalty, but Sakura really hammers home the straightforwardness and honesty that comes from a long, true friendship.
On Anime Tropes
Yes, we get it. It’s an anime, so there must be tropes. Hinata gets kidnapped a whole lot, but YOU GUYS DIDN’T REALLY NEED to put her in a LITERAL gilded bird cage in the last fight for Naruto to save her. SHE HAS POWERS, Y’ALL.
There were some definite cringe-worthy tropes in ‘The Last’. I could have skipped Hinata needing to be rescued over and over again by Naruto when she clearly demonstrates she’s a skilled ninja. Naruto and Hinata. However the movie continually cast her in the role of ‘damsel in distress’.
I also found it funny that, the only way to have a villain in the Narutoverse at this point is to create Toneri, who is 1000x more overpowered than Madara and Sasuke combined.
It just seemed silly and an overkill. Here’s a guy who basically waited throughout the entirety of the Shinobi War just to try to do the same thing Madara did a few years earlier? It did feel like I was watching the same old villains get rehashed into a new one.
Fan experience at theater
I was really excited to get the experience of watching a Naruto movie in theatres. I really appreciated the gorgeous end credits and Easter egg scene at the end. It gave me everything I wanted, leading right into Boruto (Bolt) and Himawari. I do hope that there will be some kind of Sasuke related movie however, because I refuse to believe this is the absolute last movie. I have invested so many years into this series, it feels sad to let it end here.
On my viewing day, fans chatted and did live commentary amongst themselves well into the first 5 minutes into the movie before I had to stand up and yell at the theater. Get it together, guys! Be excited, be otaku, but SHUT YOUR MOUTHS for the movie and talk about it afterward!
10/10 for Fandom.
10/10, if you have loved and cried every weekly chapter of Naruto like I have for nearly 15 years. And, if Naruto x Hinata is your OTP.
8/10 if you don’t fall under that obsessive category like me. Like a lot of anime, some of the animation gets a bit wonky, because scenes are farmed out to multiple studios. This movie definitely has a lot of the usual crazy Naruto action, but it is more of a Love story.
Though it is called “The Last”, there are already announcements that there are spinoff shorts that will be focusing around Kakashi, Minato, and Boruto in the Naruto world. These stories will be out this year, starting with Kakashi. The Boruto movie is due out in August of 2015 and Naruto Stage (the amazingly cast musical) is starting this week. rest assured, this is definitely not the end.
Thank you to Funimation and Elven Arts for giving us the opportunity to watch an review this movie. We always appreciate the ability to watch Anime movies in it’s intended setting, as those chances are rare.
For those who don’t live in cities where the movie will be doing it’s short run, “The Last: Naruto the Movie” will be out on blu-ray through Funimation in the summer of 2016.