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?
With this being the last movie of the original Naruto cast (before the Boruto chapters of the new generation), all out has been gone with a 5.1 English and Japanese release – to say this has been done justice is an understatement – the Japanese in particular is one of these rare ones I had to nearly halve my audio volume because of how clear and concise it way on my default settings – every inch of echoing, foley, music, voice work – it has been given the star treatment. The English dub also is no slouch as also a Dolby Surround setting with no missteps in timing between audio and visual, as well as with the subtitles in the Japanese audio. Whether the later generation movies get UK releases or not, if this is Naruto’s bow, then it is a good one.
Video is set in full-screen format with a 16:9 – 1.78:1 aspect ratio for this review – standard ratio settings, no issues with syncing in with the sound or with the video quality – there was no shading with pausing for example, and the combination of hand-drawn and computer generated animation does project flawlessly onto the screen. There were no issues of slowdown, and the switching from water based discovery to almost mechanical based war – combined with epic colours from jutsus, explosions, technique – it almost middles with the quieter moments that whilst not as much going on, still blend really well. There are strong rumours that this movie was made because the high end animators/artists were big fans of one particular character, so when the manga was made and the conclusion was done, they created a movie to tell the story how a particular pair came to be. From this, it feels like a labour of love to create a rare canon movie and fans will be very happy with how it has come out.
There was no packaging for this test release.
A very standard screen for this release – the main image is Naruto with hand outstretched to the screen. On the left are the options sitting on a scroll with a symbol, the choices are Play Movie, Scenes, Set Up and Extras. As always with a movie release, the scene selection I always feel better compared to series releases for cut off spots, but otherwise, it is very basic and standard. Nothing problematic, all selections are easy to access from the main screen and returning to it via your remote when watching the movie so it does its job, but nothing exciting either.
Extras we have for the movie are some trailers and promos (which are quite similar) some commercials, and some images via an art gallery which have several promotional images, stills from the movie and character designs for pretty much most of the main cast. Also extremely rare, we get trailers that aren’t related to Naruto for this release (a pet peeve of mine that all the Naruto movies seem to have a trailer for a previous movie or the series) – trailers are for Dragonball Z: Battle of Gods, Haikyu and One Piece Film Z.
Anime movies tend to be hit or miss when they are from the series – some are considering fantastic because they are canon or tell the story well (Cardcaptor Sakura 2nd Movie) however the Shonen Jump movies tend to be pretty much-glorified filler with better animation/audio. Almost all the long running shows (with the surprising exception of DBZ) movies hit this, Naruto being a prime example for most of their movies. However, the last one Road To Ninja was quite well received as it tended to actually focus on the main cast and also be closest to a canon movie with the idea of mixing in the Akatsuki with Naruto’s past. This movie is literally the Last, and it was made with Kishimoto’s approval after reading a script that similar to Oda in One Piece Z, he went on board with the help making it.
This movie is also a MASSIVE spoiler to the end of the manga series – whilst not completely released yet in the UK it spoils part of the end of the war, and one of the biggest questions out there – who if anybody, will Naruto get with? For over 15 years, Naruto, like most popular shounen jump series, has a lot of pairing debates because of the amount of characters and the shows’ popularity. Kishimoto himself apparently made a decision nearing the end of the manga, but couldn’t write it properly because he said himself he wasn’t good in writing romance series.
The animator studios, however, are big fans of one particular character – this character also is perhaps one of the perfect examples of a side character being more popular than some of the mains – or in this, it’s lead female. This lead to an increase in airtime in filler episodes and expanded role in the Naruto universe – and outside of yaoi pairings, was the most popular choice of Naruto both East and West in the latter half of the manga. So for some fans, it has been 15 years of ship tease and a pair they wanted.
And it delivers. So much. From here on in, I will spoil who it involves so if you have read this far, stop now as massive spoilers for the end of the war and who Naruto ends with. So, here we go.
So 2 years after the end of the World War, we see the moon that the Ten-Tails was sealed in is now descending to Earth – caused by a villain named Toneri, a descendant of Hamura Otsutsuki, whose family had dictated that chakra being used as weapons is unholy. He is now determined to destroy the world but protect the moon and his own castle, but he needs the power to fuse his abilities. That comes in the form of a descendant energy – the Byakugan. Hiashi Hyuuga is the first to notice this but is defeated by Toneri who now begins to search for someone in particular…
…cue our lead female, Hinata. Yes, I said Hinata – not Sakura, which should give away the big reveal immediately. Ironically, Sakura is actually much better in her role as a support character compared to previously as she is very pro-Naruto/Hinata and acts as a big sister to Hinata through and is also the catalyst in helping Naruto later in the movie. However, times have changed as Naruto, previously the series outcast, is now quite the hero and very popular with the girls, much to his surprise. Hinata, being quite shy, wants to give him a scarf for a festival, but he keeps getting gifts, one a scarf of his own which apparently is quite important to him. However, whilst she is antagonising, her little sister Hanabi seems to have gone missing…
Hinata is found by Toneri who takes a rather keen interest in her. However, before he can take her away, Naruto on a hunch has followed her after leaving a potential ramen date, saves her before she is kidnapped. Because of this, the new Hokage, Kakashi sends Naruto, Sai, Sakura, Shikamaru and Hinata to rescue Hanabi, with a time limit to the destruction of the Earth via the moon falling. They journey to the abandoned village of the Otsutsuki Clan, but during their search the gang bar Sakura are caught in a genjitsu which puts the ninjas in a sleep state, dreaming about people they care about – from this, we witness a flashback to Naruto younger (in link with a flashback right at the beginning of the movie where Naruto and Hinata met as kids) where Naruto discovers that Hinata may like him – it is here when the actual concept for love strikes Naruto (Sakura makes a point later on that he didn’t seem to differentiate love from loving food is the same as loving people) and makes sense as he begins to remember. (Again, Sakura makes a point that his ‘love’ for Sakura was more because of his rivalry with Sasuke – crush vs. love…it slowly begins to sink in for Naruto)
There, Naruto being around Hinata is utterly hilarious if you have followed the series as long as I have – it is Naruto now being shy and awkward around her as the two spend time as a team, especially with Toneri’s clones and shadows also approaching them – one of them does talk with Hinata for a bit as she realises what his goal is, so it is both smart and heartbreaking when the moment finally happens. It is in fact Naruto who confesses to Hinata, but before she can respond, the real Toneri now advances – he wants to marry Hinata, sealing Hanabi’s eyes into himself to complete the Tenseigan, a powerful eye to completely create his destruction. Hinata apparently rejects Naruto to go with Toneri (which you all know is complete BS considering this girl has been in love with him for like ever so you know it is just a plan) which after being beaten by Toneri, sends him into a coma without any chakra…and also depression.
Badass action scenes come when a lot of your favourite characters come together to try and destroy the moon and the subsequent meteorites – characters like Rock Lee, Ino, Choji and surprisingly, even Sasuke are involved, albeit sadly briefly – a slight weak point is that Sasuke in particular was heavily advertised but is barely in the movie, and a number of the ninjas don’t even get lines (Tenten and Shino maybe understandable as quite minor, but Gai and Rock Lee barely get involved, even Tsunade and Kakashi are barely factors) – though this could be because, in heart, this is a love story more than your typical Naruto action movie.
However, the action is also superb, the image of Rock Lee punching a meteor, Naruto using Rasen Shuriken over a multiple amount of clones, the idea of Killer Bee using a giant chakra cannon (and refusing to use it a second time because Naruto is still on the moon), the Kyuubei in action against Toneri’s giant clone, Shikamaru handling several of them with his shadow stitching, Sai’s animal creations in flight – all of it adds up to some great battle scenes even in a movie that where it isn’t the major focus. The one scene everyone will remember is the kiss in the moonlight which is simple, but gorgeously coloured (and for some fans, a huge cheer would be out loud after waiting 15 years for this!) and during the credits, stills of the wedding in the future, along with the bonus scene at the very end (setting up the new generation for Naruto fans)
This is such an obvious work of love – the studio wanted an actual story told on how Naruto and Hinata fell in love with the manga basically just showcasing it in the final chapters, and with their best animators at work and Kishimoto supervising, not only do we have a rare canon movie, but also one of the best out there. Fans of the traditional Naruto movies or Naruto in general may find it a bit off putting or different because it is a love story for the most part, but on the other hand, this is also a good thing, as the weakness of pretty much all the previous Naruto movies bar maybe Road To Ninja, is that the character(s) of the day/movie are very one-dimensional and very forgettable, and are just introduced for such and such plot which then Naruto has to deal with, with various members of the team, or none in some cases. Here, you have the lead, an established fan favourite character as the secondary lead, use some of the cast involved as good support characters (again, have to say that Sakura compared to how she was in Road To Ninja is vastly more enjoyable and likeable here, Shikamaru and Sai also add their moments to the team – Shikamaru practically slapping Naruto around to snap him out of his funk when Hinata ‘rejects’ him), an actual memorable villain, and they don’t forget the action – it is just the core is the relationship upgrade between Naruto and Hinata, and how they get to that – it is told really well via the genjitsu side track and Sakura herself explaining quite well in how Sakura was a crush, but more so as a part of rivalry with Sasuke, whilst Hinata who has always liked him, Naruto didn’t notice because he didn’t understand the difference of like and love. Here, it hits him and fans of the pairing couldn’t be happier.
There are definitely some niggles – am a bit disappointed Sasuke was only involved in one major moment (he wasn’t even visible at Naruto’s wedding – though it was hinted he may have been the one holding the camera) considering the end of the manga, and most of the cast are relegated to just a few lines – even Kakashi who is the Hokage at this point, is pretty much a non-factor. And as mentioned, it is more of a relationship plotline than a battle style. But to a lot of people, that is a good thing. Plot and storyline haven’t been huge priorities in Naruto movies (and some would argue to the series in general) so for under 2 hours, it does well in establishing what the movie is about (Hinata wanting to confess to Naruto, someone else takes an interest in her, Naruto realises what he has missed and now needs to confess to her) – but also adding some story to the villain outside of being a bride stealer. The Renseigan plot and the Byagukan Princess side stories have had back-story in the Naruto saga before, so it does actually tie in that these things could happen. Toneri is also a much more upfront villain and by the time things are revealed, even he is redeemed a little by the group, though what he does beforehand not so much, because of this he will definitely be more remembered than…well, any other movie villain that wasn’t an Akatsuki member.
I think overall, from a movie perspective it is definitely a good spectacle, nothing major in terms of groundbreaking – a good action movie with drama and romance involved. From a Naruto fans perspective, though, it is the end of an era, and for a good chunk of them, it is an ending that many of them have wanted for over a decade. And boy, it delivered.
Whilst not the last Naruto movie that will have Naruto in it, it definitely feels like an end of an era with this. Closing in a story to go with the end of the manga, this is a love story in more ways than one – not just with Naruto being paired with a fan favourite (Hinata) rather than what deemed the obvious choice (Sakura) but also with the crew telling this love story, gorgeous animation, not forgetting some great fighting moments, and whilst there are a few problems, a good story is told, a credible villain and actual demonstration of how the two fell in love equals a cheesy but still great villain. Unless you aren’t a fan of this pairing, this is a near perfect finale for Naruto.
Japanese Language, English Language, English Subtitles, Trialers, Promos, Commercials, Art Gallery
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: January 11th, 2016
Running Time: 111 minutes
Video Encoding: PAL
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.