Naruto's Ending Copies An Old Dragon Ball Movie Plot

The ending of the Naruto series features a huge battle for the fate of the world, but the plot heavily borrows from a 1990 Dragon Ball Z movie.

The final arc of Naruto might've brought on déjà vu for anyone who saw Dragon Ball Z's Tree of Might movie. As a Shonen-style anime and manga series, it's

difficult to underestimate the vast influence of Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball. The adventures of Goku had a profound impact on the direction of the industry and paved the way for the likes of Bleach, One Piece and Naruto. Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto especially wears its Dragon Ball influence on its sleeve; Naruto Uzumaki is cut from the same upbeat, dedicated cloth as Goku and the story's Four-Tailed Beast was even named in tribute to the iconic Saiyan.

The finale of Naruto is notoriously convoluted and introduces Kaguya Ōtsutsuki as the series' arch villain. Kaguya's grand plan is to unite the various Tailed Beasts and reconstruct the original version of the creature: the Juubi. Aside from being a hideous and powerful monster, the Juubi is another form of the Ōtsutsuki God Tree. The Ōtsutsuki clan travel from world to world planting these deadly trees, and when the saplings become fully grown, they leech the life out of a planet and its population. After harvesting all the energy it can gather, the God Tree produces a chakra fruit, which the Ōtsutsuki use to sustain their lives and become more powerful.

This storyline bears eerie similarities to the plot of a 1990 animated Dragon Ball Z movie called The Tree of Might. In this story, Earth comes under attack from the villainous Saiyan and top-ranked Goku lookalike, Turles. Like Kaguya Ōtsutsuki, Turles has come to Earth with his mind set on a spot of apocalyptic gardening - planting the titular Tree of Might. Just like the God Tree in Naruto, the Tree of Might is a giant natural construct that takes root into the Earth and sucks up the planet's life and energy. Predictably, Goku and the Z Warriors are less than pleased about this and strike back against Turles. Goku has the upper hand until Turles plucks a fruit from the Tree of Might and eats it, proving exactly where that name comes from. Luckily, Goku is able to use the tree's own accumulated energy for a day-saving Spirit Bomb.

The parallels between The Tree of Might and the final act of Naruto are obvious, so much so that it's perhaps quicker to assess their differences. Dragon Ball's version of the power-up fruit grows much faster than the Naruto variety, and also doesn't come from a tree that doubles as a formidable monster. The Tree of Might Turles uses is also a one-off, and the Saiyans typically clear planets using their traditional method of Great Ape transformation, whereas God Trees and Chakra fruits are deeply embedded into the Ōtsutsuki clan's culture. Apart from that, the stories are more or less the same. It's curious that the animated Dragon Ball movies aren't especially well loved by fans, and The Tree of Might generally isn't considered among the best of them, and yet the movie's plot would go on to heavily inspire the ending to another incredibly popular Shonen series. It could even be argued that this influence is partly why Naruto's ending proved divisive, aside from the sudden villain change and Asura/Indra reincarnation twist. The similarities are also unlikely to be merely a coincidence. Kishimoto is a self-confessed Dragon Ball fan and The Tree of Might was released a full 7 years before the first Naruto story was even printed.

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