Why Naruto’s First Movie Is Still His Best | Pretty Reel

Almost 20 years and 10 episodes later, Naruto’s first film, Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, is still the best feature in the franchise.

More than 18 years later, Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow (2004) is still Naruto’s best movie. Since only two Naruto movies are considered canon, The Last: Naruto The Movie and Boruto: Naruto the Movie, it’s best to analyze the Naruto movies as their own thing rather than an expansion of the main story. At a time when anime series such as My Hero Academia and Jujutsu Kaisen continue their main story through canon theatrical films, non-canon films such as Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow can be considered unimportant. However, as an independent, the first Naruto movie still holds up.

There are 11 Naruto movies considering the original Naruto series, Naruto Shippuden, and Boruto. Of that total, most were released straight to home video. Naruto returned to the big screen relatively recently with The Last, which made sense considering the movie was supposed to conclude Naruto Shippuden and set up the Boruto franchise. Likewise, Boruto: Naruto the Movie received a theatrical release which helped promote the upcoming Boruto series. That said, Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, the first Naruto movie, has been released in theaters.

Perhaps the fact that this was the first Naruto movie made Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow feel different and more special than following the Naruto movies. Naruto Part 1 was still airing when Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow was released, meaning audiences weren’t used to seeing a Naruto adventure with a large aspect ratio and good pacing. A two-hour theatrical movie tends to have a lot more budget than a full season of a weekly anime, which is why 2004’s Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow is so much better than what viewers were used to. More than its visuals, Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow is a solid story with great Naruto and Team 7 moments.

Why No Naruto Movie Topped Ninja Clash In The Land of Snow

Compared to Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, many of the Naruto and Naruto Shippuden movies feel more like OVAs than cinematic experiences. While all of the Naruto movies except The Last and Boruto: Naruto the Movie are technically Naruto filler, Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow takes itself seriously enough to deliver a cinematic feel that would only be matched by The Last. Unlike many Naruto movies, Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow doesn’t feel like a four-episode arc put together like a movie. Instead, it follows a cohesive three-act journey in which Naruto’s unbreakable spirit inspires the princess to save the day.

Each Naruto or Naruto Shippuden movie takes audiences on a completely different adventure than the last. That said, Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow remains the best film offered by the franchise. A strong contender for this title was The Last: Naruto the Movie, but the film had the difficult mission of being both a new story and an epilogue to Naruto Shippuden. For its effective simplicity, Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow will likely forever be remembered by audiences.