Review – The Last: Naruto The Movie | To the moon and back

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Posted January 28, 2015 by in Action

Release Date: December 6th 2014
 
Synopsis: 'Two years after the events of the Fourth Great Ninja War, the moon that Hagoromo Otsutsuki created long ago to seal away the Gedo Statue begins to descend towards the world, threatening to become a meteor that would destroy everything on impact. Amidst this crisis, a direct descendant of Kaguya Otsutsuki named Toneri Otsutsuki attempts to kidnap Hinata Hyuga but ends up abducting her younger sister Hanabi. Naruto and his allies now mount a rescue mission before finding themselves embroiled in a final battle to decide the fate of everything.'
 
Genre:
 
Creators:
 
Voice Actors: ,
 

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Beautiful animation, great action scenes, lots of great fan service moments for a final movie, nostalgic Naruto soundtrack
 

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Very limited cast of characters, the plot was extremely simplistic considering the history of Naruto they had to work with, pacing of the movie was unnecessarily slow in some scenes
 

The Last: Naruto The Movie serves as a great finale to the 15 year old Naruto series. Full of fan service, great animation and a great soundtrack, the movie’s strength and weakness lies in it’s extreme focus on the Naruto and Hinata romance.

Rating

Plot
6.0


Animation
9.0


Sound
9.0


Overall Direction
7.0


Total Score
7.8

7.8/ 10

by Richard Hoskins
Full Article

The Last: Naruto The Movie serves as a great finale to the 15 year old Naruto series. Full of fan service, great animation and a great soundtrack, the movie’s strength and weakness lies in it’s extreme focus on the Naruto and Hinata romance.

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Beyond the original story

Having been a fan of Naruto for years, it was an odd feeling entering this movie to see it all come to an end. With memories of the young, mischievous and wide-eyed children the characters have grown from, The Last: Naruto the Movie does a great job of transitioning the characters from young adults into the next generation of teachers.

Set two years after the final battle between Nauto and Sasuke, the movie begins as we see flash backs of an extremely young Naruto and Hinata. Naruto saves her from bullies while of course, getting beat up in the process. Love at first sight, the movie spends much of the early scenes on Hinata, her love for Naruto, her inability to tell him and his own oblivious nature to it all. So much so that often times it seems to unnecessarily draw out these instances. As the hero of the village after the great shinobi war, Naruto is surrounded by fans and Hinata finds it hard to wade through them all to the love of her life.

As this happens, we are introduced to a mysterious man trying to capture members of the Hyuga clan. Attempting to capture Hinata, she is saved by Naruto only to find when she gets back to her home that her sister, Hanabi, has already been captured. We are then introduced to the idea that the moon is falling for reasons unknown. Called in by the Kakashi (the current Hokage), a team consisting of Naruto, Hinata, Sakura, Shikamaru and Sai is put together in order to track down and find Hanabi while hopefully stopping the moon from falling as Kakashi has a ‘hunch’ that they are both related. This leads the team on an adventure to find and defeat the mysterious man, Toneri Ōtsutsuki, who’s master plan is to use the eyes of the Hyuga to destroy the Earth with the Moon (where he and his clan lived for centuries) as a way of fulfilling what he believes to be his clans ultimate destiny.

Overall, the plot was straightforward. I wasn’t a fan of introducing a brand new character in a movie that promised to complete a 15 year old series – there was plenty of backstory and characters they could have used. I also wasn’t a fan of downplaying every other character in the series for the sake of focusing solely on Naruto and Hinata. The plot of the movie was very different to what I walked in expecting. Having watched the trailer, I expected a final swan song that would end with a big bang. Instead, The Last: Naruto the Movie chose to take a different direction towards a more character orientated and romantic ending. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy watching the story of Hinata and Naruto unravel, but as a final movie, I was left wanting to see more. Contextually however, the plot was strong, perfectly showcasing the cyclical cycle of hatred and its transition into one of love throughout the story of Naruto. It also gave our characters a chance to introspectively grow and deeply show viewers their personal development in terms of their own understanding of love for their village and love for one another as they grow in age.

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A hero who was once an outcast

Not one to disappoint, The Last: Naruto the Movie continues and improves on the excellent animation typical of the Naruto series.  First and foremost, I must mention the new character designs. Different, but easily recognizable the new designs reflect the characters perfectly and are portrayed beautifully. From excellent colour pallet use to the clean and crisp outlining, you have never seen the characters of Naruto look so great – even if they are grown up. Aside from this, environments are a sight to see, whether it be a floating castle, wintery forest or the Hidden Leaf Village, they all work to create what is, once again, a familiar environments in the Naruto universe.

As always, action scenes were animated fluidly. I could not find a fault in the fight scenes, whether it be Sai’s super beast technique casting out everything from birds to crabs, Sakura punching through puppet minions or Kurama fighting a giant stone golem, all the movements were fluid, easy to follow and were exciting to watch. All in all, the animation of The Last: Naruto the Movie was solid. The only area that could have been improved is the incorporation of CGI into some minor elements of the movie. Though impressive, it stood out more than it should have which ultimately detracted from my immersion in the story.

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‘I’ve finally realized what it is I should be protecting’

Sound was another great part of the movie. Voice acting was perfect, no awkward yelling or anything out of the ordinary. Voices matched characters perfectly – not much to say other than excellent job. Sound effects were varied and used extremely well. From the cry of the iconic ‘Chidori’ to ground shaking, Earth exploding impacts, everything, much like the Naruto series, provided impact and meaning to the fluid animation.

The soundtrack and accompanying music made scenes everything from tense to heroic. Effectively immersing viewers into the story, you’ll be able to familiar songs from Naruto and Naruto Shippuden alongside new tracks of a more cinematic nature.

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Don’t give up on the future

Overall, The Last: Naruto the Movie was a bitter sweet fulfillment of the Naruto franchise. There was nothing wrong with it and I enjoyed what it had to offer, but I ultimately wanted more. It was great seeing Naruto, Hinata, Shikamaru, Sakura and Sai grow older and observe how their personalities have and continued to develop – but that was where the movie ended it. Perhaps I was looking for a wider scope on the Naruto universe rather than an emphasis on the Naruto and Hinata romance. Regardless, the movie was amazing to watch. The animation and soundtrack are reason enough to watch this movie, but combine it with the iconic characters and beautiful story of children and young love transitioning into one of a new generation and life long love and you have a movie that left even me with a warm feeling inside. If your’re a fan of Naruto or Naruto Shippuden, then you have to watch this, even for the sheer novelty of seeing our heroes all grown up – just understand that this will be about Naruto and Hinata, not the Naruto universe as a whole.

P.S. Be sure to watch the after credits scene – this is perhaps the best scene of the movie.

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A special thanks goes out to Madman Entertainment for providing the REEL ANIME event that allowed us to watch The Last: Naruto the Movie among other fans and anime enthusiasts in a movie theatre. The environment was amazing and it reminded me of exactly why anime is so awesome. Thank you!


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About the Author

Richard Hoskins


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