Returning home to Konohagakure, the young ninja celebrate defeating a group of supposed Akatsuki members. Naruto Uzumaki and Sakura Haruno, however, feel differently. Naruto is jealous of his comrades' congratulatory families, wishing for the presence of his own parents. Sakura, on the other hand, is angry at her embarrassing parents, and wishes for no parents at all. The two clash over their opposing ideals, but are faced with a more pressing matter when the masked Madara Uchiha suddenly appears and transports them to an alternate world.
In this world, Sakura's parents are considered heroes—for they gave their lives to protect Konohagakure from the Nine-Tailed Fox attack 10 years ago. Consequently, Naruto's parents, Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki, are alive and well. Unable to return home or find the masked Madara, Naruto and Sakura stay in this new world and enjoy the changes they have always longed for. All seems well for the two ninja, until an unexpected threat emerges that pushes Naruto and Sakura to not only fight for the Konohagakure of the alternate world, but also to find a way back to their own.
Singapore decided to show us anime fans some mercy by screening Road to Ninja, Houou no Miko and Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning in the cinemas.
Road to Ninja is a little different from the previous movies. While movies 1 to 5 introduce new characters—protagonists and antagonists—with plots that totally differ from the original story's, RtN is almost like a possible subplot of the main story.
With the exception of some, we get the same characters we see in the main story, but with a strange twist that would greatly appeal to the audience. It’s like a dream come true to some fans. It also keeps your
mind going while you watch it, which personally, is what makes Naruto fun to watch. There’s also a hidden message in it, that is actually quite obvious in the starting of the movie.
There's a big chunk of flashback in one of the parts though, but it was from my favourite episode, so I'm not complaining.
Same art, new soundtracks, and overall it’s unique, funny and (kind of) tear-shedding, what I find—unbiasedly—worth skipping work for and the S$16.90 (large bottle of Coke with a free refill included) I spent on. I actually managed to get my non-Naruto-loving sister to watch it. And hey, more MinaKushi loving here!
Have you ever seen a Naruto movie before? Yes? Good.
Do you have the intention of watching this movie thinking it'll be something new? Yes? Alright, I want you to open a new tab and search up in Google, a montage of the "Best scenes" from this movie. Said montage will inevitably contain the much-talked about bath scene involving all the AU characters, a few scenes involving Naruto and his parents (perhaps Sakura if the person is a fan of that pairing), and his fight with the movie's big baddy (whom I won't spoil just in case, although if you don't know by now I doubt
you actually cared about this movie much).
Do it, truly, come on. I'll be waiting.
Done? Congratulations, you do not need to see this movie anymore.
No, I am not kidding. You've seen all this movie has to offer; You do not need to bother with it anymore.
I am being as frank as I can be: This is what people for buying into it. No matter what they promise, it's always the same -- Their promise and promotion were bullshit, and ultimately it's another rasengan/shadow clone wank fest. It happened with the second movie when they promised us that Sasuke would be an integral part of it (He was barely there in the end), when they promised us that Minato would play a big role in the fourth movie (He was pointless to the story), it happened with the fifth movie (Or so I'm told, I was not following this one so I am not completely certain what was the case here), and now it happened with this, and will probably happen to the 2014 movie too.
Literally, the movie has no story; It's a holding pattern -- Naruto gets sad then something happens (he goes into the AU with Sakura), they faff about for like an hour, then the movie's bad guy pops in out of nowhere and with no explanation, ending with Naruto using a bunch of Rasengan and Shadow Clone and doing the whole "believe in myself" thing (Although, to it's credit, this one didn't end up with Naruto rasenganing the bad guy's ass, but rather with a fist fight, so there's that), even though said bad guy had previously nuked ENTIRE VILLAGES to ashes with a cough and the only reason he didn't vanish him out of existence with another nuke is because the movie didn't wanted him to.
And, the biggest offender is that this wouldn't even be so bad if the movie wasn't so fucking AFRAID to go out of its comfort zone despite this being virtually an entire new canvas for work -- The much anticipated (and HEAVILY advertised) personality switches mean absolutely NOTHING to the story or plot and the explanations for them are entirely nonexistent, something that also wouldn't all too bad (it certainly wouldn't be good, but yeah), if it wasn't for the fact that they're literally only there for (Legitimately) FIVE MINUTES (ten, max); Naruto and Sakura get in the AU and immediately find Team 8 (Hinata, who now is mean and bitchy and one of the few characters with clothing switches, and Kiba and Shino who look the same and behave the same except instead being good with dogs and bugs, respectively, they're now bad with them), they runaway and find team 10 (Ino, who now is shy and soft spoken, and Chouji and Shikamaru who essentially switched personalities, Chouji now being fit and stoic and Shikamaru being hyper active and dumb, although not fat, funnily enough), then Sasuke (Whom, despite now being a "playboy", is also basically the same outside of that, and this is literally pointed out by Naruto himself, plus a completely clothing switch), then that bath scene (No explanation is given for why they go there) where upon the last team shows up in medias res (Team Guy, compossing of Neji, who now is perverted and lacking in discipline, and Lee and Tenten who are the same except Tenten is now clumsy with weapons and Lee is a, well, I won't spoil just because the reveal of that makes for one of the better scenes in the movie), some faffing goes on before Hinata spots his cousin spying on the girls, causing her to get angry and attempt to beat him up until Lee shows up out of nowhere by falling through the ceiling (Much the same way he did in the manga preview, since the scene is essentially a reinacting of that with the personality switches), he runs away, they chase him ending in an actually pretty humorous scene, and then... They're gone. Literally. They just disappear, completely. They're not mentioned or seen ever again, with two exceptions: Shino, for no reason other than to show off his new found disdain for bugs (Him also being the second character to show no signs of change in the previous scene), and Sasuke who shows up two more times, one to give Sakura a flower (Which was in the trailer) and another where upon he flirts with some more girls causing Sakura to realize she's not a special case to him and making her sad.
The rest is entirely going through the motions; Sad scenes with Naruto's parents (some of which are, admittedly, fairly poignant), who are also exactly the same with the exception of one trait that I won't spoil, a bunch of pretty damn useless fights and missions, and then the ultimate bad guy shows up, destroying the village and ending in a long fight with Naruto, before he goes back to his world because he doesn't want to be there anymore.
And, I'm saying all of this with a pain, because this movie was one of thing that sparkled back my interest with the Naruto fandom (Where upon I got a lot of friends that I'm quite grateful for, even though I don't quite follow the series anymore those people keep me tangled back to it), and I really did wanted it to be good; I love its concept, I truly loved AU Hinata and the bad guy especially, and for the most part, while the animation is nothing outstanding, it's nice and pretty, a good treat for the eyes, ESPECIALLY on high resolution. But concept can never make up for lacking execution, and what the execution gave us was a reskinning of an already done movie with a more than questionable marketing campaign. Also, contrary to popular belief, the creator of the series, Kishimoto, didn't actually write this whole movie, he just designed the alternative characters and a few touches on the script and plot line, for the most part this was done entirely by the same thing that has brought us the same movies from before and that "Gold mine" of filler which makes the anime such a classic.
Admittedly, this does make it a little less sad considering that if it really was written and done by him and this is all he could do then it would tell you just how much wasted potential this series has had to suffer.
Still, all in all, what we have here is nothing more than a reskinned retread. There's nothing wrong with retreads, many forms of art have been essentially retreads of old formulas in order to explore new ideas, and, to a small (Literally microscopic) degree, this does explore new ideas. But at the end, we're still watching the same shit we've already seen with some added scenes of silly "what ifs" that amount to little more than "what could've been".
I don't believe in scores, but I have to rate this, so I'll just go with 5 because it's in the middle.
*Please note that there will be some spoilers in this review*
If you could have one wish, any wish, would you give up everything just to see it fulfilled?
Once upon a time, I loved Naruto; I would sit down in front of a TV every week and wait for it to come on just so that I could see what happened next. As time progressed, my love for it whittled down to something that I watched merely to get it out of the way. That was my mindset coming in to watch this movie- it was to just get it out of the way. What
I experienced, however, exceeded my expectations to become what I see as the best Naruto movie ever made. Now, enough of this sappy monologue, let’s get into the actual review.
First things first: like most of the Naruto movies, Road to Ninja is, for all intents and purposes, non-canon. So, instead of complaining about how it’s non-canon, I’m actually going to review the story and the themes it tackles. The basic premise revolves around Sakura and Naruto being transported to an alternate world by Madara’s “prototype” Tsukuyomi where most stuff is basically the same but there are slight changes, or “ripples” like Madara calls them. While most of them are just personality and clothing changes, the biggest difference is Sakura’s familial situation is switched with Naruto’s. Yup, you read that right; Minato and Kushina are alive and well in this alternate world but Sakura’s parents no longer exist. One of the biggest themes in Naruto is the loneliness and despair of not having anyone to come home to or care about you, namely parents, and this movie tackles this theme head-on as well as the theme of accepting what is false so long as it brings you happiness successfully; these provided a much-needed emotional factor that I believe really makes the movie shine. However, make no mistake, there are flaws in the story such as characters appearing seemingly just for the sake of appearing, some plot holes, and what I found to be a lackluster “final” battle (I use quotes because it’s not really the real final battle). It is advised that you watch episode 311 of Shippuuden before you watch the movie but it isn’t absolutely necessary because all that you would miss would be certain inside jokes but I found the comedy in Road to Ninja to be pretty good, even without them.
As expected, the art in Road to Ninja is a step above the normal fare found in the TV series but is nothing ground-breaking or spectacular. Everything looks good, some parts more so than others, and the colors are more vibrant but, I did happen to notice the typical derp faces every once in a while or pupils not being perfectly aligned, minor things like that. As far as the animation goes, everything seemed to flow smoothly and very nicely, nothing much to complain about here. The sound design as well is what you would normally expect from the series with an overall great-sounding soundtrack. One aspect I noticed was the voice-acting was handled very well, especially given the fact that personalities were completely different in the alternate world; being able to adapt like that shows a professionalism and talent which even I, as a member of the audience, can appreciate.
Lastly are the characters, and since most of the cast have switched personalities, this is somewhat difficult to accurately grade the cast if you look at every single character. Let’s look at the Ino-Shika-Cho combo as an example, Choji is skinny and hates eating a lot, Ino is mild-tempered and sweet, and Shikamaru is a complete idiot. Explanation as to why any of the characters with changed personalities are the way they are is completely nonexistent but, to me, that makes complete sense in context. Naruto and Sakura were transported to a different world where they are viewed as acting “weird” because they do not conform to how their counterparts within that society would have normally acted. So, instead of focusing on the “new” characters, I’ll focus on Naruto and Sakura because we can accurately judge how they have changed throughout their experience in that world. Both Naruto and Sakura experience development through realizing what life would be like if their familial situations were reversed and ultimately seem to have changed from their experiences by the end of the movie, though I somewhat doubt this will reflected in the actual TV series. While I would have liked to see more of the alternate cast and explored the different alternate world a bit more, it was inevitable that shortcuts be taken due to the limited amount of time they spent in the alternate world. The only other thing I have a gripe with is that Naruto actually seemed a bit underpowered but that is fairly minor.
TL;DR? Well, despite certain plot holes, characters seemingly appearing solely for the sake of appearing, and a somewhat lackluster “final” battle, I particularly enjoyed what the movie had to offer. Road to Ninja’s art, animation, and sound are what you would normally expect from Naruto so, if you don’t like that, you probably won’t like this movie. However, unless you are basically a Naruto scholar and/or expect everything to be perfect and make sense, you will probably enjoy what this movie has to offer as I did.
This movie was horrible. Shitty pacing,timeline doesnt make sense,bad use of characters and I cant emphasize this much. I mean they bring characters like Sasuke back and he does absolutely nothing. They did the alternate rookies even worse as they were hyped so much in the trailers as if they were going to be important but they were good only for a hot tub scene(Neji spying on hinata in a hot tub - weird) and thats it.
This highlight of this movie was to be the relationship between naruto and his parent but even that was depicted poorly.
I do not get how they did not know their son had become evil and was capturing tail beast and killing people when they went on a mission.How long was this mission? How did the village not know this? Shouldnt they have captured naruto when he came back?
This movie had only one good part in it and thats when menma uses the great spiraling ring on the village. That was awesome then it started sucking again. Everyone was reduced to fodder level ninja. Minato, Kakashi, Gai, Kushina was taken out easily.
Akatsuki shows up again in this movie as mercenaries which is cool also but not that great. The final battle was just awful. It was alright till they both transformed into foxes and started spamming bijuu bombs and clawing each other. The movie finishes with tobi fusing with menma and nauruto throwing a kunai whcih passes through him but somehow destroys the orb that is conveniently in the eye that was struck.
This movie had so much potential due to the setting but the managed to ruin it and kishi did not help with all them flashbacks.
Naruto is one of the more complex Shounen anime, which is why there are so many great Naruto AMVs out there. There's a lot of material to work with. Maybe too much. But we were able to find the top 10!
There is a ton of new anime each year and it can be hard to keep up with it all. Movies are especially tricky since they are a mix of original features and follow-ups for TV shows. Here on MyAnimeList, you can find the best films of 2012 in order to cross a few things off that endless To Watch list.