I woke up at 6 am this morning. I couldn't sleep all night. After all, I was so pumped for a film to end the legend of a certain orange-clad ninja. One who rose from an outcast to a hero.
The Last -Naruto the Movie-
All emphasis intended. I assure you.
I thought I'd give a few of my thoughts on the film, summarize a few things, and maybe answer some questions to those of you who won't see the film for another year or so. There will be major spoilers FOR BOTH THE MAIN MANGA AND THE FILM at points. You have been warned.
First, let's start with the basic story. Hinata is knitting a red scarf for Naruto to replace the one he owned as a child, but was ripped to shreds when he saved Hinata from bullies. After being in love with Naruto for so long, she has finally decided to confess her feelings. However, Naruto is fairly dense, and thinks that "liking" someone is like "liking" ramen (you could definitely see this back in the first anime with his like towards Sakura). While alone, she is almost kidnapped by Toneri Otsutsuki. Although Naruto saves her, Hinata's sister Hanabi (who is awesome and I have been a fan of her for a long time, btw) is kidnapped in her elder's place. To make things worse, Kakashi informs Shikamaru, Sakura, Sai, Naruto, and Hinata that the moon is falling and, yeah, on the side of saving Hanabi, it might be best to try and save the world. On this journey outside of the village into unknown territory, Naruto begins to realize his own feelings.
Now, as Japanese bloggers were reporting after the premiere, yes, this movie is mostly a romance between Naruto and Hinata with some action thrown in. And this doesn't mean the action is bad! Mixed with the great soundtrack and fluid battle scenes, the action will always get you excited. However, the focus is on Naruto and Hinata's romance. Like Hinata's personality, the progression is quiet, like a ripple on water, making more waves as it moves outward. The biggest progression is when Naruto is exposed to a genjutsu that lets him see into flashbacks, where he realizes what loving someone is, and realizes that Hinata has been in love with him this entire time, actually writing his name in response to the question "Who would you want to spend the last day on Earth with?" This is extremely touching, since Naruto had no one in the world that liked him (or so he believed), and his realization shows a contrast: After realizing her feelings, he becomes quiet and seriously thinking, but his normal personality is cheerful.
Another thing that's done really well are the small hints put throughout the movie. They're not said bluntly, but some things you might notice because you're a fan, or because you pay attention. One of the more noticeable scenes throughout the movie is the knitting scenes. At first, Naruto is confused, but watches her diligently repair the broken scarf. Then, he realizes that it's for him, and dares to approach her. His approach when the scarf is done brings the moment me and my friend in the audience waited for for years after years. Naruto says, "Hinata, I love you." The strength of this moment in the quiet of the lagoon was truly one of the highest points in the film. The theme of the scarf is actually strengthened when you realize it represents the "akai ito," the red thread of fate that connects the two, and this can be seen pretty inconspicuously throughout some scenes, although it has the biggest impact in the genjutsu scene where the two are tied together. You might notice that as Naruto visits Hinata knitting the scarf every time, his feelings toward her get bigger and bigger. In addition, the length of the scarf and how long it takes represents the amount of time Hinata has been in love with Naruto, diligently waiting, but also creating a bond with him throughout time.
Another kind of inconspicuous nod the film puts in is in the background. First you might notice that Konoha is actually more technologically advanced now! People have digital cameras, the shopping district looks less like a shinobi alleyway and more like a modern Japanese "shotengai," or shopping street. Could this be because of the end of war? Do ninjas just have more time to improve the town since they don't have to fight? It's never explained, but it's an interesting thing to put in. Also, at the sweets shop, Sakura orders anmitsu... Her favorite food. And then gives her metaphor to Hinata, "Naruto doesn't realize that liking anmitsu and LIKING someone are two different things." An obvious reference to herself as the anmitsu. Fans who didn't read the guidebooks wouldn't have known this, and it's a cool nod to fans.
OK, let's get onto the bad. First what all fangirls are screaming about... Sasuke isn't there at all. OK, so like, he's there for about 30 seconds. Or less. He only appears in the scene shown in the trailers. Fortunately, Sakura reminisces about him twice. Before I explain them... A friend of mine has a crazy theory that Salada is in fact Karin and Sasuke's daughter because Sasuke doesn't have a heart and Sakura never forgave him, and if Kishimoto did pair together Sasuke and Sakura in the end, then he's just lazy. Which in my mind is like WTF? but... Well, anyway, the film debunks at least one of these theories completely. When Naruto is seemingly "betrayed" by Hinata, Sakura says that Hinata would not give up on him that easily, and that she knows that girls who are that in love do not give up that easily on the one they love... Switch to a quick flashback of Sasuke traveling in the desert, and Sakura returns to reality with a loving face. The first flashback she has of him is when Hinata asks Sakura why she's rooting for her so much in love, to which Sakura responds that she's in a similar situation, and then a similar flashback ensues.
These are all of Sasuke's scenes. That's it.
And to add to this, characters like Tenten, Temari, Kankuro, and Shino didn't have one single line in the film, and they weren't even put in focus so you could see their design or anything. They were just kind of cameos. Kurenai appears as a background character as well, and Kiba and Kurenai both have one line, albeit in a flashback. Rock Lee gets one yell! It also seems that some of the scenes from the trailers were missing... I'm guessing what happened is that due to time restraints, they had to be cut from theatrical screenings, like with the Persona 3 films. The film already ran 2 hours. I'm guessing the scenes will be put back onto the Blu-ray/DVD.
Now, onto another point that some people were laughing at... The story. Yes, Naruto goes to space. And it's hilarious to say. Hell, Hinata was thrown into a giant bird cage at one point. However, this doesn't detract from the awesome final battle between Toneri and Naruto, which has background music that is a medley of the original battle music FROM THE FIRST NARUTO SERIES. The emotions that welled up in me were just unbearable, I had to sit forward in my seat. Some people might criticize the corniness, but honestly, I consider it one of Naruto's great points. You can laugh at the jokes, as well as the ridiculousness of a ninja village with refrigerators and computers and orange ninjas that want to become Hokage but go to space instead.
(major spoilers here yo) Finally- the last scene. I cried buckets. All of the vital moments in Naruto and Hinata's history float by in bubbles, and as Naruto runs out of the cave with Hinata, we see the different forms the characters have taken: Part 1, part2, childhood, their current forms, and even a picture from the future to come. Naruto finally takes Hinata in a princess hold, and tells her that he can answer the question about who he wants to spend the last day on Earth with; He wants to spend his life with Hinata, until death till do they part (although this is a proposal, we can see in the bonus book handed out at theaters that the kids go on dates first. :3). The epilogue shows their marriage in stills, and even shows an animated scene of a new house with Bolt and Himawari playing in the snow with their parents, with Naruto warning his kids, "You know guys, your mom is way stronger than you think!" (major spoilers here yo)
Would I go see it again? HELL YEAH. I'm going to see it again later this month. And do I think it's much that there's a film about Bolt coming out next year? HELL NO. This WAS the last Naruto movie. Now it's Bolt's turn to take the baton. If Kishimoto has created such a great world and characters, why shouldn't he continue it? Hell, it hasn't stopped KochiKame (currently at 192 volumes) or Dragon Ball. I'm also super excited for the upcoming epilogue novel series that is starting, which will tell the after-story of each of the following characters: Kakashi, Shikamaru, Sakura, Gaara, and finally, for the group Akatsuki and the village of Konohagakure, which will wrap things up. I'm just excited to get my The Last -Naruto the Movie- novel in the mail tomorrow.
As a final note: Will
Why do I say
foreigners westerners? The majority of Japanese people are perfectly satisfied with this conclusion. The Last -Naruto the Movie- has been predicted to earn 175 percent more than the previous film, Road to Ninja.