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The Last: Naruto the Movie Review
With a name like The Last: Naruto the Movie, one could reasonably assume that it would be the last movie made for the anime series. Yet apparently there is now a movie about Naruto’s son Boruto, so can the movie this review is about really be called “The Last”? That is a matter of debate best saved for another day, so let’s focus instead on The (Not So) Last: Naruto the Movie. It certainly stands out among all the other movies, given that it can be considered far more canon than anything that has come before it. Yet the pacing and the fact that the movie ran a little too long with needless scenes haven’t done Narurto’s final moment in the spotlight much justice.
The movie is set sometime shortly before the last chapter of the manga and eventually the anime series(and don’t even get me started about the fact that this movie came out long before the anime has gotten even close to finishing up the story of the manga given how it has fallen back into the eternal filler swamp that Naruto as an anime series has been stuck in for far too long). While Hinata is trying to give a knitted scarf to Naruto, a mysterious ninja appears and kidnaps Hinata’s younger sister. All the while, the mysterious character claims that the Earth will soon be destroyed. I suppose that the writers wanted to do something that came close to topping the grand finale that was the manga. Yet the whole story feels rather pointless given that it takes place before the final chapter. Automatically fans already know how the story will end and there is never a moment when it feels like the characters are in any danger of dying or failing to save the world. It also doesn’t help that the main antagonist of the movie shares a very common trait with most other movie villains in the Naruto series, which is that they are not even remotely interesting.
Fast paced ninja combat and saving the world from being destroyed by the moon Majora’s Mask style aside, the second part of the movie’s plot is the culmination of the poorly implemented Naruto and Hinata Romantic Subplot that came out of nowhere in the manga many years ago. While it is nice to finally have that subplot actually go somewhere rather than just sitting there awkwardly, it resulted in a lot of pointless scenes that padded the length of the movie far too much. In fact it felt like the movie would have been much better had they cut out a few scenes which were pretty much the same thing consisting of small moments between Naruto and Hinata. They started out good but soon just felt like repeats of the same thing until the last third of the movie.
At the very least, the visuals and animation prove to be an absolute saving grace for the movie. While it is essentially the same amount of fast paced action and over the top combat that fans have come to expect of Naruto as a series, it seemed like the animators found a way to top everything that has come before in visual effects and in the way the artists designed everything. Although I can’t say the same for some of the ‘adult’ designs for characters, as the short hair look on Naruto seems rather out of place.
While this is certainly one of the better Naruto movies, I don’t think I can honestly recommend it to anyone other than the most dedicated fans of the series. Despite the attempted explanation of the story at the beginning of the movie, The Last: Naruto the Movie doesn’t really seem like a great starting point for anyone new to the series. I can say that The Last: Naruto the Movie was entertaining to watch at least once, and is the Anime movie equivalent of a mostly mindless popcorn movie that is also somehow a romantic action flick at the same time.