It has been one week since the glorious unveil of the long-awaited episode of the Naruto series. Yes, we’re talking about episode 476 and 477. In other words, the FINAL BATTLE. After weeks of hype and publicity in Japan and beyond, fans were treated to a one-hour special (29th September) in which sees Uzumaki Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke battling it out to end the feud for once and all.
For those don’t know, the Final Battle episode was directed by Hiroyuki Yamashita. One of the best animators of the Naruto franchise, it is known fact that some of Naruto‘s best animated scenes have been done and overseen by him. Some of Yamashita’s popular scenes include Sasuke vs. Deidara, Killer Bee vs. Team Taka, Konan vs. Tobi, Madara vs. the Shinobi Alliance, and Obito vs. the Mist Ninja. Battle after battle, it is evident that Yamashita has a meticulous eye for battle choreography and the creative talent for all Uchiha-related battles.
In addition to this, Yamashita has been involved in various Naruto theme songs including Naruto Shippuden openings #4, #6, #10, #11, and Endings #12 and #15. He was also responsible for the key animation work in many Shippuden films such as Bonds, Blood Prison, Lost Tower, Will of Fire, Road to Ninja and The Last. And last but not least, Yamashita was the director, unit director, and key animator for the recent movie, Naruto: Boruto the Movie.
Personally, we believe Yamashita’s work as an animator has been rather underrated. Fans have always had a strong liking for many of the mentioned battles above, but it was only until Boruto the Movie that many fans began to take note of Yamashita’s work as an animator and director. So when fans first heard about Yamashita directing the Final Battle, fans had high expectations for him to bring the series home in an epic fashion.
Did Yamashita exceed our expectations? In this post, we shall offer our commentary on manga vs anime of the Final Battle; first Valley of the End battle vs second Valley of the End battle; and some of our favourite highlights of the episode. Let’s find it out!
Cue setting! As expected, the setting for the destined battle between Naruto and Sasuke is none other than The Valley of the End. Bringing back epic memories of their previous major fight, we see them once again standing on Madara and Hashirama’s statues looking at each other with intense glares.
Note the overall difference in the colour and details of the setting between the past and the current state of the Valley of the End. Not only has time passed, but the overall quality of this setting has improved as well. One quick glance at this scene and the audience can already see that there is more depth and details to the mountainous background. With silence between the two frenemies and an ominous storm on its way, the audience knows that a showdown is about to take place. Let the battle begin!
For a second, we thought the direction of the battle was going to venture into space, similarly to the grand battle in Naruto: The Last. Nevertheless, the idea of having the battle high in the sky creates further epicness to the Final Battle. Complete with vivid colours, extraordinary angles, rapid animation and classic battle soundtrack — we could watch this particular scene on repeat all day.
Now, how did this scene turn out in the anime? This scene in the anime was just as good as the manga, if not better. The animation; audible sound effects against a silent background; vivd display of blood and gore; and the murderous intent behind each blow and kick … this scene was brilliant.
One thing we still haven’t mentioned in the above commentary is the voice-acting in this Final Battle. Noriaki Sugiyama and Junko Takeuchi have always done a fantastic job as Sasuke and Naruto (respectively) but this Final Battle will leave Sugiyama and Takeuchi fans speechless.
The angst, the emotions, the intensity between Naruto and Sasuke — the overall voice-acting in the Final Battle is the epitome of everything that they have done in Naruto. Hearing Sugiyama and Takeuchi’s voices via Naruto and Sasuke is one thing but imagine being in the same studio whilst they’re doing the Final Battle…now that would have definitely been intense!
Here it is — the very last scene of the Final Battle. All we could hear was silence except for the sound of Sasuke’s Chidori and the leaf breezing through the air. As the leaf touches the surface of the water, the energy of the battle changes once again. Vigorous operatic music playing in the background. Transitional ‘flashback’ scenes of Naruto and Sasuke charging at each other at full speed. This was the moment that we’ve all been waiting for.
Just when we think we know everything, the anime continues to surprise us even at the very end. Once again, the anime did its transitional animated sequence to show the history of Naruto and Sasuke battling each other. It doesn’t stop there! From Jiraiya to Naruto’s parents, we began seeing~hands contributing towards Naruto’s Rasengan. And in one split second, we also see Itachi’s hand contributing towards Sasuke’s Chidori.
With all of this flashing right in front of our eyes, we absolutely could not control our emotions and floodworks at this point in time. As huge Naruto fans, this scene was everything to us. And of course, the Final Battle concluded on a predictable (and somewhat anti-climatic) ending.
Credits: MangaPanda for the manga scans