Director – Hiroyuki Yamashita
Screenplay – Masashi Kishimoto and Ukyō Kodachi
Story – Masashi Kishimoto
Distributor – Toho
Naruto may be over and done with after having gone for so many years but that does not mean we are done with the Ninjas of the Hidden Leaf Village! In the closing scenes of the final Naruto movie we saw a glimpse of Naruto and Hinata’s offspring, one of them, Boruto looks set to continue his father’s legacy.
Time has progressed since the time of the last great ninja war and the crisis on the moon and we now see Naruto, a busy workaholic attempting to full-fill his duties as Hokage but also be a good father which unfortunately is not an easy task. Boruto is resentful of his Father for always working and never spending any time at home with his kids, often sending shadow clones in his place. Naruto is the typical Father who spends all of his time working for the greater good seemingly oblivious of how to deal with his own two kids.
Boruto is not the kind of person to study and unlike his father he does not want to be the next Hokage, Sasuke and Sakura’s daughter Sarada instead holds that dream but unlike her he never trains, studies or does anything at all until he is coerced into taking part in the chunin exams. Developing an obsession with Sasuke he attempts to get into shape but without his father’s seemingly limitless chakra well he finds even the most simple moves to be challenging unaware that he has some unique traits hidden inside. To cut a very long story short some warriors arrive during the exam who are collecting those that possess the tailed demons and some extremely long and very impressive battle sequences are a result.
I have to admit, I have an on and off again relationship with the Naruto series, when it is good it is great but there is often so much filler that it actively feels like its pushing me away. I came to this movie after missing out on a fair bit of Shippuden but it did not take long for me to catch up on what I had missed. Kudos to writer of both the original Manga and of this movie, Kishimoto for pairing up Naruto with Hinata and not Sakura, it was an inspired choice and though it was at the time not a popular decision it should be obvious from this movie that it was the right choice.
Unlike the Dragon Ball Z movie which i saw a few days earlier, Naruto feels like a much more fleshed out and sentimental movie and has a couple of plot points running in tandem. The battle sequences are astounding and better directed than most others I have seen from this type of feature but the “always away/always busy” father dynamic between Naruto and Boruto are touching and something a lot of us can relate to. I cant help but feel that Kishimoto was writing this with his own life in mind as it does feel like a somewhat personal tale and it although it can be a little forced and a little cheesy at times it does feel genuine and helps to separate it from the fighting genre anime out there.
The animation is sharp, vibrant and constantly In motion which to be honest, is what you would expect from a high octane series like Naruto. Every fight sequence moves at mach speed and yet the visuals are of a consistently high standard. We get great smaller fights during the exams showing us the descendants of many of our old favourites and twists on their moves but it is the final few fights towards the end that are truly amazing and are totally worth waiting for. Watching all of the village leaders from around the world (including my favourite Gaara the Kazekage) fight together is worthy of note and has to be my favourite action sequence of any movie this year.
That said the movie is not by any means perfect, Boruto himself seems to be twice as dumb as his father was at that age and eventually it will make you wince as he makes one bad decision after another. To be fair most of his anger is understandable and thinking back to when we where that age it is easy to see how we would do those things ourselves. The ending itself, specifically the last five minutes is a little on the convenient side and is perhaps a little too sudden given the length of time it takes to get to that point but….it does feel like a minor gripe in what is otherwise an incredibly entertaining movie.
You don’t have to have a single Naruto episode or movie to enjoy this feature but some background knowledge and perhaps an interest in the source material would serve you well. It is a well made, fast paced and finely constructed action movie but I do feel fans of the series are going to enjoy it more as they see kids of their favourite characters and references back to other events made. I found myself enjoying the movie far more than I thought I would and it has me optimistic for whatever comes next. If you do plan on seeing this please do one thing, do NOT leave after the credits begin to roll, there is a question asked frequently about who the parents of Mitsuki are and he is constantly interrupted however, all is revealed in a short scene following the credits. You will not want to miss it if you are a fan of the series!