I finally watched The Last: Naruto the Movie after it was released more than a year ago in December 2014. Well, it’s better late than never. I’m interested in this movie primarily because it’s marketed as the story that happened before the last chapter of Naruto manga. Also, Naruto mangaka Kishimoto Masashi plays an important role in the movie production. For the most part, the movie feels a lot like any other Naruto movie in the sense that there are events outside Naruto’s world’s norm.
Personally, I see The Last more of a love story between Uzumaki Naruto and Hyuuga Hinata.
When the last Naruto chapter revealed that Naruto ended up with Hinata, I wondered if that happened only because Hinata confessed. I questioned this only because the series has always emphasized on his crush on Haruno Sakura.
In the movie, Sakura mentioned that Naruto’s crush on her is a direct result of his competitiveness against Sasuke, the only guy that Sakura had eyes on. That sort of make sense. Naruto had always challenged Sasuke in the most childish, craziest ways so trying to earn Sakura’s affection may be one of the many things he could think of.
Now, let’s go back to Naruto and Hinata.
Perhaps the only time Naruto started to pay attention to Hinata is when she confessed and protected him against Pain. What I find weird though is after her confession, nothing really happened. But then again with the chaotic state the whole Naruto world was at, it probably isn’t a good time to sort out romantic feelings of oneself. If anything, there were subtle hints of Hinata’s growing presence in Naruto’s life. She was the one who jolted Naruto back from devastation after Neji’s death and she was the one who stood beside him during Neji’s funeral.
Two years after the war, which is when the movie is based on, Naruto only then started to sort out his own romantic feelings. Does he like Sakura? Does he like Hinata? To know this, once again we have to look back at the dynamics of Naruto and Sakura’s relationship.
After Sasuke left Konoha, Naruto and Sakura are each other’s support system. As part of Team 7, they have utmost trust and respect for each other. When they’re in trouble, both Naruto and Sakura know that they have each other to lean on. Even though she had thought of him as nothing but a nuisance, Sakura knew that Naruto will always be there for her. In The Last, Naruto didn’t hesitate to save Sakura when she was in trouble. Same goes to Sakura whenever Naruto’s in trouble.
Regardless what had happened, Sakura’s feeling for Sasuke never wavered. Naruto understood this when Sasuke left the village even though he still showed romantic interest in Sakura in many instances.
These two had gone through many hardships together and the special bond they share is irreplaceable. What they have stands the test of time and distance. They’re protective of each other, they care for each other. Like it or not, their state of relationship is an indirect result of their devotion to Sasuke.
In the end though, it makes sense that Naruto ended up with Hinata after realizing the nature of relationship between Naruto and Sakura. This is not to say Hinata is a consolation prize. She simply lacks presence in Naruto’s story to really understand why Naruto ended with her.