Oh, man. It's almost time! The end of an era is nigh! Yes, friends, Naruto is, according to creator Masashi Kishimoto, 'in its final phase'. During a special segment on talk show Sakiyomi Jan BANG (awesome name for a show, by the way), viewers were shown a message from Kishimoto:
The battle of Naruto and his comrades is in it’s final phase, in the truest sense of the term. About the Ten Tails, about Madara, and then, about Sasuke…I will continue to raise the tension without restraint, in every way I can! Please follow this story of a boy named Naruto a little while longer, I will greatly appreciate it.
It has been quite a while, hasn't it? More than a decade of ninja superheroes who barf up fire (clearly the best part of Naruto's theory of ninjutsu) may well come to an end sometime soon. Just how soon is the real question. Based on the wording of the statement (particularly that use of "truest sense of the word") this ending seems like it could be definitive, but there's some fairly clear "wiggle room" in the language for future Naruto installments that don't involve Naruto, the current crisis, or even the Naruto-Sasuke dynamic.
It'd be easy to imagine some kind of prequel that explored the other three Ninja World Wars, the Ninja World prior to the formation of the Hidden Villages, and other aspects of the setting, much like how Mass Effect 3 ended the story of Commander Shepard while leaving the door open for more Mass Effect stories.
Either way, something will come to an end when it comes to Naruto. And it may well happen sooner rather than later.
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