The Last is The Naruto Love Story Fans Have Been Longing For

The Last is The Naruto Love Story Fans Have Been Longing For

Not long ago, the Naruto manga ended its 15-year run. However, readers were quick to notice there was one story left to tell. Thus comes The Last: Naruto the Movie — not an out-of-continuity side story but a true missing tale that answers the most important question left by the ending of the manga.

Note: This review assumes you have finished the entirety of the manga and thus spoilers for it abound.

Good — The First Two Minutes

The film itself begins with a chronological recap of the world of Naruto, starting with the Sage of the Six Paths and leading up to Naruto and Sasuke’s climactic final battle. What makes the recap special is the way in which it is animated. Unlike the rest of the film it is animated in a black and white manga-style with a heavy sumi-e ink brush influence. It really looks amazing and it’s a great treat to see the most memorable moments of the Naruto story re-imagined in this way.

Good — The Love Story

The Naruto manga ended on an epilogue showing that not only had Naruto married Hinata some time after his final duel with Sasuke but also had two children with her. This was more than a little odd as, while it was obvious that Hinata had carried a torch for Naruto from day one, his feelings towards her were of a friendly nature and nothing more. The Last does a great job of showing how his feelings change from friendship to love.

We get to see Naruto’s life in his years between the end of the manga and the epilogue. Unsurprisingly, Naruto is respected and loved by the people of the village — especially the young female ninjas who want nothing more than “Naruto-senpai” to notice them. Yet, he is oblivious to their romantic intent — he is simply happy to be truly accepted.

Hinata, on the other hand, is stuck in the role she has always been in: girl pining for Naruto from afar. Determined to change her role (with a bit of cheering on from Sakura), she attempts to make her feelings known and understood by the often oblivious Naruto. It’s then, of course, that the villains of the film strike and Naruto and Hinata must head off with a team to stop the newest threat to the world.

Looming catastrophe aside, the film is focused on two things: development for Hinata — why she feels as she does for Naruto and how her love for him came to be — and Naruto having to reconcile his own feelings for her after accidentally discovering that she loves him.

Good — Supporting Characters Stay in the Background

So really, The Last is the Naruto and Hinata show — as it should be. The supporting team is made up of Sakura, Sai, and Shikamaru who each get their own little moments to shine and be useful in the movie’s battles. Sakura gets a bit more than the other two as she is the best friend and confidant of both Naruto and Hinata. Seeing how Sakura and Naruto’s friendship has solidified in their adulthood is a nice touch as well.

As for the other members of Naruto’s enormous cast, you do get to at least see the kages in action and pretty much every character who’s ever spoken a line in the whole epic appears on screen at least once — with many getting a single cameo line or two. Even Sasuke, arguably the series’ break out character, has a meager few seconds of screen time. And let me re-iterate: this is a good thing. This is not his nor anyone else’s story other than Naruto and Hinata’s — well, and the villains (but we’ll get to him later).

Mixed — A Threat to the World

But of course Naruto is not, nor has it ever been, a romance manga. No, Naruto is about fights and action so there is more than a fair share of those in the film as well. The main action plot centres around an orbital threat — namely that the moon is breaking apart and dropping meteorites across the planet. At the same time, Byakugan users are being targeted and subsequently killed or kidnapped. So when a group of masked ninjas abduct Hinata’s sister Hanabi, it’s up to Naruto, Hinata, and their team to uncover the group’s mysterious plans and how they are related to the moon’s literal fall from the sky.

Really, this plot has only one purpose: to give everyone something to do. We have numerous scenes of Naruto fan favourites taking out falling chunks of the moon over the course of the film — and of course Naruto’s team fight scores of ninjas (as well as a giant crab). They’re entertaining enough as far as fights go.

The setting also provides some conflict for Naruto and Hinata to overcome in their growing relationship by paralleling the Japanese legend of The Tale of Princess Kaguya — with Hinata cast as the princess from the moon, Naruto as her earthly love, and the villain as her betrothed prince on the moon. It is somewhat contrived and predictable but luckily Sakura’s on hand to talk sense into Naruto before the foolishly angsty drama goes on for too long.

Mixed — Believably Powerful (Yet Forgettable) Villain

Anyone who’s finished the manga knows Naruto’s power level at this point — i.e., he’s on par with the gods themselves. Surprisingly, the film uses the manga’s extensive lore to create a villain that could realistically give Naruto a run for his money.

Beyond his origins, however, the villain is far from an interesting character. His purpose in the film is to be the focal point for the action plotline and the main impediment in the romantic one. He serves those roles well enough, but as LittleKuriboh once said about this type of character: “They’re a rare breed of ninja known as ‘forgettable movie villains.’ You’ve never heard of them, and after you finish fighting them you won’t remember it even happened, but for the next 90 minutes you’ll think they’re the biggest threat you’ve ever faced in your entire life!”

The other problem with having a villain on par with Naruto power-wise is that it makes someone like Hinata nearly useless in a fight. The film tries its best to make her seem capable in her own right by giving her problems to resolve that Naruto can’t with brute force alone. But when the villain can telekinetically restrain her with a look or mind control her with little more than a touch, it’s hard at times to see her as anything more than a damsel in distress.

Final Thoughts

All in all, I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed The Last: Naruto the Movie. Unlike the other Naruto films I’ve seen, this one carries real weight as instead of a non-canonical one-off, it is a vital part of the story never before told in either the anime or manga. If you’ve ever wanted a Naruto love story or wanted to see how the characters mature as adults, this film is definitely worth a watch. Yes, the villain is forgettable and much of the conflict predictable, but those weaknesses are overshadowed by what is basically a Naruto/Hinata character piece that closes the door on one generation and sets the stage for the next one to come.

The Last: Naruto the Movie was released in Japanese theatres on December 6, 2014. The film will be coming Philippines in January 2015 and to Australian theatres as well in 2015.


    • I don’t watch Naruto, I don’t read Naruto, all my knowledge of Naruto comes from Rule 34 – yes she’s that hot.

    • Hot? You should really open your eye and look around yourself very carefully … I would only choose to read/watch babes like e.g Cana Alberona from Fairy Tail if you are looking for hot/sexy + action-packed female characters, but definitely never from Naruto’s universe … even those Naruto die-hard fans know that Naruto’s female characters are always atrophy to inutile role when battle start and this concept carry on until the story ended, it not like I am even interested about Naruto’s puppy one-side love cos it is pointless development in the story and the pairing of who X who are only mean to spice up the story and attracted those low life readers … the most important ending is as long as Naruto saved his friend and become Hokage, that is the most significant part and reason if you want to read boy manga like Naruto!

  • This was more than a little odd as, while it was obvious that Hinata had carried a torch for Naruto from day one, his feelings towards her were of a friendly nature and nothing more.

    I don’t think we read the same manga!

  • I know I’m in the minority and I was lying to myself while reading the manga but I was holding onto the slim hope Naruto and Sakura got together at the end. Was never a fan of Hinata

    • Hi five brother. I never really dig into naruto x hinata. Was really hoping somehow by miracle they get together.

    • You’re not alone dude. I do not like Sakura as a character but seeing Naruto with Hinata does not seems right. I haven’t watched the full movie yet but seeing those “fake” childhood flashbacks of Naruto’s childhood with Hinata makes my eyes hurt.

      • Sorry to burst your buble but the childhood flashbacks of Naruto’s childhood with Hinata is now fake because if you look closely that was the time she fel in love whit him…lol just what anime where you watching and manga reading?

  • I haven’t read or watched Naruto since he took those exams. I think it’s at the point where I don’t even want to go near the anime until they make like… Naruto Kai.

    *cringe* Filler

    • Yeah. I got really into the manga when it first started showing up on the fan translation sites but when it came time to watch the anime there was so much padding. I’m hoping they jump on that Kai style filler free edition right away. Like today.

    • Just watch the good bits, skip the filler watch the good bits. That is what i have been doing for 8 years.

  • So, I currently know plot up until the end of Ultimate Ninja Storm 3. Madara enters the scene and fights the kage. Will that first recap section fill me in to the rest of the plot or am I going to have to wait for Ninja Storm 4?

    • given that the spoiler tags are not working on my computer now I dont want to be blurting out spoilers from the last 12 months of the manga.

      the person who challenges the Kage at the 5 Kage summit is not who he claims to be.

      In fact that whole part was more convoluted than it should be, and I am still upset at the last chapter ending the way it did. We all knew how it was gonna end but I wish they had done a little more exposition, for example, Naruto is the 7th Hokage. Exactly how long was the 6th Hokage in place, and what were the circumstances leading to his retirement. Call me excessive, but it was like Masashi Kishimoto decides “screw it” and put in a several year time gap in again

      • I’m not even sure if my current knowledge of the series is up to date. I think Ninja Storm 3 went into non-canon territory with its end

        I know that one of the Madaras was Obito or something. I always thought the 6th was Danzo, but I just looked it up and SPOILERINSIDEASPOILERTAG: Apparently it was Kakashi who was the sixth…

        Hopefully they add all of this stuff into Ninja Storm 4. To be honest, I’ve only been keeping up with the plot through the games.

        • Danzo claimed to be 6th while tsunade was unconscious and attended the summ8t as the 6tg, but sasuke sees to that

  • Awesome, I thank you for this article, i wouldnt have known its coming to australia. Cosplay Movie night, here i come.

  • I’m going to be so behind on this. I didn’t read the manga past the first 20 or so chapters, and I’ve only watch the Naruto part of the series (so 220 eps, nothing from Shippuden) as for something this long I prefer to marathon when everything is released.

    • That’s one long marathon. Shippuden is currently at 398 episodes and running. To be honest I don’t mind most of the fillers towards the end either.
      Your looking at roughly 132 hours of catch up and counting

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