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The Last: Naruto the Movie Blu-ray Anime Review

9 min read

Naruto the Last Combo CoverSometimes you do just want the love story.

What They Say:
Two years have passed since the fated battle between Naruto and Sasuke in the Village Hidden in the Leaves. A comfortable peace has fallen over the village and the winter festival approaches with a bit more excitement than usual. Seasons of war have transformed Naruto and his friends into elite young warriors, but now they grow into the adults they were meant to be, forming bonds beyond friendship.

Naruto and Hinata approach this next stage with trepidation and find their progress stalled when a mysterious and dangerous man appears with a disturbing message; the end of the world is upon them. Once again Naruto and his friends are sent to investigate and stop the impossible: a falling moon! What is the tragic fate that connects this disaster with Hinata’s Hyuga Clan? And to what lengths will Naruto go to speak the words that will change his life?

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation here is quite good as we get the original Japanese language track and English language adaptation in 5.1 form, as well as stereo, all of which uses the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The film is one that works a good balance for dialogue and action as there are some big action set pieces here that have some strongly added impact from the design. The bass levels may not be out of this world or anything, but it definitely makes the fight sequences, especially at the end, resonate just a bit more. A lot of the hallmarks of a Naruto film design are here and the mix comes across well with the action in general and the various jutsu elements as needed. It also handles the dialogue just as well with some very solid placement at times and excellent use of levels as needed when intensity and yelling ramps up. The mixes are pretty good overall and fans should largely be pleased by them regardless of which one you prefer.

Video:
Originally released in December 2014, the transfer for this film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec for the Blu-ray. Animated by Studio Pierrot, the film has a very good design about it with some really nice color elements and great detail that makes it feel like a more fully realized project in a way, especially in comparison to those early Naruto movies. The film really goes deep with the detail at times, both in backgrounds and characters, so that there’s a lot more distinctiveness here without it being overly fluid or flowery in a sense. It’s a solid set of designs that has a slight rough edge to it combined with some excellent motion that’s all captured well through the encoding. Colors are solid throughout and with some great moments of vibrancy that steps things up. It’s not a drab transfer or one mired in dark colors, but it avoids being too slick and glossy, which benefits it greatly. It’ll definitely please those who saw it theatrically with what it brings to the small screen here.

Packaging:
The packaging design for this combe release definitely works nicely in giving fans a good bit of material to enjoy. The release comes with an o-card slipcover to it that features different artwork than the case itself. The slipcover has the familiar image of Naruto in her scarf set against the moon while a range of supporting characters are along the right. The back of the slipcover goes for a dark look with a breakdown of the film, a solid listing of the features for both formats, and some decent artwork – including a slightly awkward presentation of Naruto and Toneri fighting. The Blu-ray case itself goes for a solid-ish orange background while giving us a serious Naruto in the foreground while the logo runs over him that gives us a look at his two other forms over the years. It’s a good look at the different ways we’ve seen him over the course of the series. The back cover continues the wall of orange and has another solid Naruto image while the rest takes the same elements as the slipcover and presents them in a cleaner fashion, just without the additional artwork. The reverse artwork is fantastic as well as we get the left panel showing the three stages of Naruto as he reaches over to Hinata, who is also presented in the three stages of her life. There’s also a nice two page mini-manga included inside a good cardstock booklet that has some wonderful illustration material.

Menu:
The menus for this release definitely work better than the TV series DVD menus just in terms of layout and color design. Done at an angle, the upper left gives us the very colorful film logo while the bottom right presents the navigation set against the orange wall. Within this cross cut we get the clips from the film playing, which focus more on serious material and some good character panning shots as opposed to silly moments. There’s also a really nice one with Kurama fully transformed and raging across the village that really sets the tone well. Submenus load quickly and are easy to use while the pop-up menu during playback offers up only the scene selection option or returning to the main menu.

Extras:
The extras for this release are fairly straightforward as we get a decent if brief art gallery to look through as the Blu-ray exclusive while both formats share the small range of Japanese promos, trailers and commercials.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the manga franchise came to a close last year, the timing of a feature film called The Last: Naruto the Movie was certainly filled with meaning. Taking place in terms of continuity just before the final chapter of the manga itself, the film is one that did quite well in Japan as it became the biggest earner of them all before it was surpassed by this year’s Boruto feature film. Animated by Studio Pierrot and directed by Tsueno Kobayashi based on the story by Kyozuka Maruo, we get a pretty good nearly two-hour long film here that does what I wish more of the series had done. But it also does things that just drive me nuts about the films, less so with the series, in how it brings in elements that just feel weirdly out of place to a big degree.

The film has its main focus on the characters of Naruto and Hinata while everyone else is just a supporting piece for getting them where they need to be. In a lot of ways I wish the film was condensed down to just about half an hour as the opening segment and the final segment made for a really pleasant experience. Seeing how Hinata is getting more serious about confessing things to Naruto, going the traditionalist route of knitting a scarf for him while remembering when they were little kids and what they went through has a lot of meaning to it. Familiar as hell to many shows to be sure, but with the weight of the series behind it there’s more meaning to it. Naruto at this stage of his life is a bit older and more mature than how we know him in the TV series at this point, but he’s still a kind of oblivious guy, especially as there are a lot of tourists to Hidden Leaf that come to see him since he was instrumental in saving the world previously.

That ends up causing its own problems since Hinata always sees him being fawned over by these strange girls, something that makes her feel less confident and sure about herself though no less about her feelings towards him. There are some utterly adorable moments mixed in as she tries to confess – even when he’s not there – that makes you love her all the more. So when we finally do get to those moments in the final minutes of the film, it feels so right and proper. Giving these two one more challenge to face is no surprise since there are a wealth of stories to tell between the end of one era and the start of another, so getting a taste of it here and a wonderful minute long epilogue makes it feel worthwhile. Not for the series as a whole, but just for these two as I’ve long felt that they were so ideally suited to each other even when most were still in the whole Sakura/Naruto phase. But a lot of that comes from the fact that Kishimoto never, in my opinion, wrote relationships well with its cast to really explore things outside of Naruto’s parents. And that came relatively late onto the scene.

As for the rest of the film? I’m less enamored there as it tends to trend more towards why Naruto films often feel weak to me. With this one actually being considered canon I think that makes it a bit worse in a sense. The main focus is that the end of the world is coming, some two years after the end of the Fourth Shinobi World War, and the threat is that the moon is being used as a meteor that’s going to destroy everything. This is due to Toneri, someone who intends to punish mankind for its poor use of chakra for fighting and dark deeds for the past thousand years. It’s grand and epic in scale but it just left me dry as he intends to wipe everything away, including the moon itself where his castle is. That portion at least he claims will be protected by chakra so that it can survive to lead mankind towards a better destiny after eliminating most of it.

Toneri is a featherlight character in general that’s made worse by his desire to bring Hinata to his side because of her family history, abilities and what she represents. What she really represents is an object for Naruto to realize that he truly cares about and will go the distance to rescue. Said distance being through dreamscape jutsus and a pathway that will take him to the moon. Naruto! On the moon! It makes for some great cinematic sequences I’m sure as we see him fully transformed and fighting against Toneri’s form there across the lunar landscape, but since we’ve got chaos on Earth and large chunks of the moon breaking up, it just looks so utterly ridiculous. Even worse is the technology side. Naruto has always played fast and loose, but revealing that there’s a massive chakra cannon that the Five Kage have access to that can destroy the moon when it powers up fully? It just made a weak story even weaker for me.

In Summary:
The Last: Naruto the Movie has some great pieces to it. When it focuses on the two main characters in past and present, feelings and misunderstandings, it makes for the kind of material that the show needs in order to really finalize and cement their relationship so that the post-credits scene feels real and earned. I really like these two and what they represent for the future and there’s a good thirty to forty minutes of strong material to be had in this film. The whole From The Moon side of the story is what just made it difficult to really take, especially with a few areas in particular. If it had just gone full relationship drama I’m sure it would have been skewered by many, but I think it would have been a far more interesting work in general for what it’s trying to accomplish. The release itself is solid and should please fans who enjoy it and what it sets up for the future.

Features:
Japanese DTS-HD MA Language, English DTS-HD MA Language, English Subtitles, Art Gallery (Blu-ray only), Japanese Commercial Videos, Japanese Promotional Videos, Japanese Trailers

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: October 6th, 2015
MSRP: $29.99
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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