Overall Rating: 4/5 moons
…And I was hardly disappointed. Story-wise, it mainly revolves around the appearance of a dangerous new enemy that could destroy life as they knew it, and yet, it wouldn’t be too far out to call it a dedication to Naruto and Hinata as well. As a fan of the pairing, I was completely delighted, although I cannot say the same for hardcore NaruSaku shippers. But while I was ecstatic, I also thought that they focused too much on the development of NaruHina in sacrifice of plot development.
Even though the whole moon crashing to Earth thing was wrapped up rather tightly, more could have been done for it. It’s obviously a serious threat to mankind, and yet, there is a serious lack of panic about it compared to the hoohah that was raised during the Fourth Great Ninja War. I mean, the moon is about to destroy your entire planet. The way it was carried out, it was more of an excuse to feature side characters who wouldn’t appear if not for this particular scenario. Other than that, the team could have gone on any other non-Earth threatening mission and they would probably still reach the same conclusion.
On that same note, better character development could have been given to Toneri (the main antagonist). He was an interesting character, in terms of his motives and personality, but was ultimately a very forgettable villain. Personally, I didn’t really feel threatened by him at all. There was simply not enough build up to show the extent of his power, nor how frightening he could be. He just appeared out of nowhere to fill in the role of the antagonist, and disappeared in a similarly forgettable fashion.
On the other hand, the character development for the protagonist was handled much better. It’s probably the hardest thing to make a really oblivious character suddenly come to a really obvious realisation, but I thought it was done well. Even though the usage of flashbacks in repetition (to make him realise) got a little tiresome after awhile, it was still refreshing to see a thoughtful Naruto as opposed to his usual blur self. It was also this development that really bridged the gap between the Naruto we’ve known for 699 chapters, and the adult he had become in the last. I also appreciated the development for Hinata, not just as the protagonist’s love interest, but as a strong-willed kunoichi; a side of her we don’t get to see much throughout all 700 chapters.
As for the development of their romantic relationship, it was adorable. It’s everything NaruHina fans could have ever wanted and more. My only criticism is how corny it was in the last minutes of the movie. While the rest of the romance in the movie was done rather naturally, this part was the one that seemed the most out of character. It was a complete fan service, and though that is also enjoyable in a way, I personally would have appreciated a slightly toned down ending instead.
Moving onto the other side characters, it was a nice touch to show how Naruto and Sakura’s friendship had grown as they matured, as well as the latter’s friendship with Hinata which was hardly portrayed in the manga. The other characters also provided some drops of action and comedic relief (especially Sai) without drawing too much attention away from the real stars of the show – Naruto and Hinata.
The story isn’t the greatest, admittedly. The villain is cliched and not enough development was put into the story to give it the credit it deserved. However, the character development and audio visuals were both strong. I can’t think of a better way to approach Naruto’s romantic development, and the visuals with its integration of 3D-rendering was all you’d expect and more. So even with its flaws, I couldn’t think of a better tribute and farewell.