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[Movie Review] The Last: Naruto the Movie (2015)

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Director: Tsuneo Kobayashi

Writer: Masashi Kishimoto

Runtime: 122 min

Main Cast:

  • Junko Takeuchi as Naruto Uzumaki (voice)
  • Nana Mizuki as Hinata Hyuuga (voice)

Guest Review: by Erika T

Two years after the events of the Fourth Shinobi World War, the moon begins to descend towards the Earth. With the moon now a meteor that would destroy everything on impact, Naruto must deal with this new threat.

What I liked:

Save for a few weird moments when they were clearly using the B-team, I thought the animation was great. Hinata’s never looked better and the action was good! I don’t really care for Naruto’s new hair in the film, but I thought it was fine in the manga. The art style of opening sequence alone was fabulous to see on the big screen. I was honestly hoping it would have lasted a little longer but I imagine many painstaking man hours went into making it look that good.

There was more action than I was expecting. Yeah I’m a shipper but I love shounen because of the action. Preview viewers were commenting on how heavy they were pushing the romance element. Yeah it was there and yeah it was cheesy, the fun kind of cheesy, but I was actually expecting even more based on how they were talking about it, so I think it satisfied the action quota and romance quota alike.

I liked the mature feel of the film. The characters are growing up and that certainly made me nostalgic thinking about how far they’ve come. Even still there were a number of scenes that had me laughing and smiling all throughout.

I liked some of the orchestral renditions of the classic Naruto themes. Overall the soundtrack is solid.

The assembled team was very enjoyable. Naruto and Hinata get the most attention naturally, but I think the team was a good choice and everyone played off one another well. Sai is great source of comedy, Shikamaru is good support system for Naruto to get him motivated from a Shinobi standpoint, and Sakura was the NaruHina ship captain emphasizing Hinata’s perspective for Naruto. She also really came through during some crucial moments so I think we see her at her best. It was nice seeing Sakura and Hinata bond because this series has a severe lack of female bromances and they’re my two favorites. Too bad it has to be over boys, but I’ll take what I can get.

Considering that SP worked on this 2 years before the manga ended I thought they resolved NaruHina fairly well. I’ve shipped it for 10 years now. Am I crazy about the time skip? No. I think that if this film didn’t happen then Kishimoto would have resolved it another way within the manga, but this was a worthwhile trade off to portray it in a way that Kishi wasn’t comfortable with penning himself since he isn’t comfortable drawing romance. It acknowledges most manga interactions, and incorporating their past scenes together in order for Naruto to “get it” was a nice touch. It made me feel like they’ve come full circle. I think if this film started production after the manga ended then they could have done a little more since the source material would have been complete, but I understand that they wanted to get this film out in a timely manner to the series’s end; it was inevitable that a couple of things would be lost. All in all that did not ruin my overall feel for the ship or the tone of the film. It felt like a collaboration between Kishimoto and Studio Pierrot and not just Studio Pierrot doing whatever they wanted.

What I Didn’t Like:

My biggest gripes for the ship were the results of Kishi’s demands: the time skip and the scarf. I still would have preferred them to become canon pre 699. I still would have wanted a movie but I would have liked to have seen more of them already as a couple instead of the flirting and awkwardness and whatnot. That’s just my personal preference. But if there’s any NaruHina story to be told, then I’ll be there with bells on. I think the film accomplished what it set out to do; it pleased its target audience. I think the cheers, reported tears, and overall enthusiasm of the crowd equate to a success.

Next up, the scarf theme, I thought it was cute and I understand the significance since Kishi wanted to tie in how he met his own wife, and I get that it’s a symbol of her feelings, but at times it felt like overkill. To the film’s credit though, it was definitely self aware and made jokes out of how often Hinata was knitting.

One annoyance was that Naruto said Hinata’s name a bajillion times. I’m pretty sure someone tallied it to be about 60+ times; that’s a lot in a 2 hour time span. That became a little much, but it reminded me of when they’d make her say Naruto’s name a bunch of times throughout the series, sometimes out of nowhere when it wasn’t even necessary. They toned it down on her end and that’s fine with me. It’s about time the shoe was on the other foot.

The Sasuke fan in me would have preferred no Sasuke at all. And if there HAD to be Sasuke a cameo then definitely not one of him returning to Konoha of all places. Considering how things ended in the manga between Sasuke and Sakura before the epilogue (if NaruHina’s the yin then SasuSaku’s the yang), this avid SasuSaku shipper (*points to self*) was not feeling that at all. You can’t give me a cameo and then think that should be enough when there are a lot of questions surrounding him. #SorryNotSorry! If they left him out completely it would have been just fine since they weren’t going to do anything with him.

The villain was nothing special but my expectations were so low that he actually wasn’t that bad. He was involved in a few cool action sequences and the NaruHina cockblocks made you love to hate him.

You can find more of Erika’s work here: Your Urban Fantasy

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