Let me tell you a tale: four years ago, there was only one thing that I wanted for Christmas. I didn’t care if I didn’t get any other presents that year! WHAT I WANTED… was to The Last: Naruto the Movie for Christmas. Christmas day came and went, and like I knew I would, I couldn’t see the movie. It was only coming to N America in February. But then, on December 29th, I got my Christmas miracle: someone, somewhere managed to upload a watchable copy of The Last: Naruto the Movie onto YouTube, WITH ENGLISH SUBS. *Cue “Hallelujah”. I didn’t take any chances, and just dove in right then and there. It was one of the best gifts I ever got.
And that’s why this is my honorable mention for my “25 days of Christmas”. I know it’s not a Christmas movie, but I have my reasons beyond this for why it’s on here.
Reason 1: the Rinne Festival
Part of the film revolves around the Hidden Leaf Village getting ready for a holiday known as the Rinne Festival. What is that, you ask? It is a holiday where people exchange gifts with friends and loved ones. Sounds an awful lot like Christmas, doesn’t it? On top of that, it’s snowing in the Hidden Leaf. I didn’t even know it could actually do: up until this movie, we only ever saw the Hidden Leaf in the spring or summer time. That’s including in October when Naruto was born. No falling leaves. They were all green.
Reason 2: Romance Plays a Big Part in This
Romance was never one of the strong points of Naruto. Masashi Kishimoto, the author and creator of the franchise, even admits that he didn’t really know how to write a good romance. The Last: Naruto the Movie was his way of trying to make up for that, particularly regarding an unresolved plot thread.
If you know most of the Naruto fandom, you will hopefully about Naruto’s friend and fellow ninja, Hinata. Since the start of the manga, Hinata has admired Naruto due to his self-confidence and kindness towards others. That admiration eventually become love, something that everyone else they knew noticed. Even I noticed it in the anime, and I was ten at the time. Naruto was the only one who didn’t realize it because he’s dense about romance.
By the time of the movie, two years have passed since the climax of the manga, and Naruto is now considered the greatest ninja alive and adored by everyone. Especially girls. They just run right up to him and give him gifts. With the Rinne festival coming up, Hinata decides to make Naruto a home-made scarf in order to finally tell him how she feels. But then her sister gets kidnapped, the moon starts falling, and next thing you know, NINJA’S ON THE MOON!
My point is that romance plays a huge part in this film, as Naruto grows to understand how much Hinata cares about him and realizes how much he actually cares about her. At one point, the two of them end up walking around an abandoned city together. It actually felt like they were on a date. And Christmas Eve is associated with romance in Japan. Get my point now?
So, yes, this is not a Christmas movie in the slightest. But it does draw on the cultural depictions of Christmas in Japan: a time of gift-giving and romance. I will accept that. But I wanted to include this because it was, honestly, the second best gift that I ever got for the Holidays. I just watched the film from start to finish in my room without stopping, and I loved every second of it. The music was good, the plot was interesting, if not a little convoluted (ninja’s in space. That’s both cool and dumb), and Kishimoto made a genuine effort to appease the fans who were left hanging. So on that note, Happy Holidays!