With his yellow hair trimmed with pinking shears, wide blue eyes, and cheeks bearing tiger stripes, Naruto Uzumaki looks more like an American punk rocker than a Japanese ninja. But this man-child is a fighter, not a lover … that is, until he falls in love.
In The Last: Naruto the Movie, this 10th film of the massively popular anime series, Naruto Shippuden, Naruto lives in a fictional land of ninja, where he dreams of becoming Hokage, or master ninja of his village. His parents died fighting for their clan, and the image of his father, a former Hokage, is permanently enshrined on a mountainside, a la Mount Rushmore, honoring all previous Hokage.
As a youth, Naruto attempted to rescue Hinata from three boys taunting her for her Byakugen, an inherent clan ability that gives her powerful vision, among other things—and colorless irises and no pupils. On that fateful day, Naruto lost the fight but became Hinata’s hero. Now, they’ve both grown and Hinata secretly knits Naruto a red scarf to replace the one that was shredded in that long ago brawl. Extremely shy, Hinata finally works up the courage to give the scarf to Naruto at the ramen stand where he’s eating with friends.
Because he fought bravely in the last war, Naruto is mobbed by girls bearing gifts and crying out, “Naruto Senpai (mentor)!” Even as Hinata’s stomach growls with hunger, she’s too mortified to eat when she sees that Naruto is already wearing a scarf, likely given to him by one of his female admirers. So, off she runs into the night only to be accosted by Toneri Otsutsuki, from an enemy clan. Demanding that Hinata accompany him, Toneri is foiled by Naruto who happens upon the scene. After recovering, Toneri instead kidnaps Hinata’s younger sister, Hanabi, and the battle is on. Meanwhile, the moon is falling towards Earth and if it not stopped, will destroy it with crashing meteorites.
This adventure anime features brutal beatings, chakras being cruelly sucked out, Chinese zodiacs embedded in palms of hands, rescuers flying atop the backs of enormous white birds, thunderous explosions but, most of all, a sweet love story.
The Last: Naruto the Movie screens at the Grand Illusion Cinema (1403 NE 50th St., Seattle, WA 98105) February 20 to 26. English subtitles.