‘Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie‘ is a 2012 anime sequel film directed by Hayato Date. Like other Naruto features in the franchise, it was produced by Studio Pierrot, distributed by Toho Studios, and was later dubbed into English by Viz Media. This review is based on the dub.
Naruto (Maile Flanagan), Sakura (Kate Higgins), and their allies return to the Hidden Leaf Village after battling Zetsu (Travis Willingham) clones disguised as former Akatsuki members. While their friends all get applauded by their parents, Sakura gets smothered by hers and Naruto gets jealous, considering his orphan status. Naruto lashes out at his old sensei Iruka Umino (Quinton Flynn) and runs into Sakura. They discuss their respective issues along in the park, only for Tobi aka Madara (Neil Kaplan) to appear and perform Limited Tsukuyomi, which traps the two in an alternate reality. Here, Sakura’s parents perished battling the Nine-Tails while Naruto’s parents are alive, but his father Minato (Tony Oliver) and mother Kushina (Laura Bailey) are alive, but call him “Menma.” More odd things exist about this universe, including very different personalities for their friends. As they search for an escape, Naruto grows close to these parents and Sakura finds Sasuke (Yuri Lowenthal) still in the village, but they soon realize there is more going on as Tobi’s presence continues to haunt them.
Fun fact, while many consider this movie “non-canon” to Naruto Shippuden, it does in fact have a tie-in episode titled “Road To Sakura” where the Sakura from the alternate reality enters the real one and interacts with the main characters, confusing them as she appears to have amnesia.
It was an interesting concept to see Naruto get to interact with his parents in a way that was not someone telling a story or imagining it. Though it was a different dimension created by Tobi, seeing Naruto getting to have some moments with Minato and Kushina. I also got a good laugh out of Sakura finally getting a flower from Sasuke only for her to realize he is a lady’s man in this plot.
As for the overall story, I thought it was good. It definitely tries to ramp up the excitement and the personal stakes behind both of the main characters. I do think the plot could have been trimmed down just a bit for time, but I liked how we got the big reveal of the villain at the end of the story. There is a cameo by Itachi Uchiha, voiced by Crispin Freeman, and any Naruto fan is going to enjoy that.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Suggestive elements, Some foul language, Action violence
FAVORITE QUOTE: The enemy of my enemy is my friend, huh?
Check out the trailer below:
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This article has been updated from a previous version.