Storyboard/Director: Haruki Kasugamori
Animation Director: Kumiko Horikoshi
Key Animators: Haru Watanabe, Hiromi Yoshinuma, Genichiro Kouno, Yoshihiro Sugai, Anna Yamaguchi, Mamoru Otake, Zenjirou Ukulele
Song: Niji ni Sora by FLOW
On any small town, or village, in this case, we always have some places that always have been there, that our parents were on those places, our grandfathers, our teachers, and our children also going to go to those places when they eventually discover them, but what makes them magical? Easy.
They are a place to come back to.
Every single time you go back to your small town or village that you grew up in, you always visit that place, it’s like a checkpoint of your life, that place saw you grow, become an adult, have your children, your family, saw your parents grow, your grandfathers grow and probably is going to see your children grow, it’s this magical place where everyone meet, where everyone knew each other, and in this case, the Ramen guy, every time someone got back from their journeys, their missions, welcome everyone with a smile, exploiting their like for Ramen to better his economical situation on a offert-demand capitalistic scheme, the characters of the story are his clients, but more than his clients, are his family.
He saw how great legends rised to fame, the Konoha no Kiiroi Senkou, the Konohagakure no Eiyuu, the Ero-Sennin, all from his ramen post on Konoha, he was their place to come back to, the place where the torch was passed, where masters sat down with alumns to share their knowledge, where couples go to pass their time and eventually, to give their great news of new families to the Ramen Guy, that was always there, ready to cheer them up with a bowl of Ramen, he was everyone’s family, he accepted Naruto when he was nothing, he accepted him when he became a Ninja, he accepted him when he became a legend, he accepted him when he became a father, the Konoha Guy was always there, with a smile, serving his bowl of ramen, this ending captures that, on a beautiful continous sequence of passage of time, with everyone making it to the Ichiraku Ramen for their bowls, legends, Hokages, masters, students, everyone, made it to the Ichiraku Ramen, and he always received them with a smile.
Ichiraku Ramen is the story checkpoint of the series, it’s the place that everyone, always come back to.