Road to Ninja is the 9th movie overall in the Naruto series. Road to Ninja” tells a complicated story where Naruto and his friend Sakura are sent into a parallel mirror world by an evil wizard, where their deepest dreams come true. Sakura, who resents her parents meddling with her life, realizes that her parents have both died as heroes. Naruto who had lived his entire life as an orphan, now enjoys the loving presence of his parents, Minato and Kushima. Both Naruto and Sakura are still cognizant though that they are living in an illusion that needs to be broken. Powerful ninja battles ensue during the night of the red moon, the only night when the spell can be broken by a mysterious scroll, and Naruto had to invoke the Nine-Tailed Fox within him in an attempt to return their world back to how it used to be.
The story was told very well, without really requiring an in depth knowledge of the animated series. The flashbacks give us the necessary historical background in order to understand better the current situation the characters are in. The clarity of this story development is quite impressive considering this is already the ninth Naruto film! I can now see why this anime series had been so popular over the years. No wonder this particular installment had just become the highest-grossing Naruto film. For “otakus” and loyal fans of the anime series, it is entertaining to see some Konoha ninjas display qualities that are the opposite of their known personalities. Some of the characters seemed unnecessary such as Guy-sensei, Rock Lee and Sai. Still, they provided humorous moments and gave a “fresh” approach to the movie.
Later that night, Sakura had a feud with her mother and stormed out of their house and came across with Naruto and the two went to the park. Sakura keeps on complaining about her life and wishes to have a different parents while Naruto feels otherwise because he’s been longing to have one ever since and tired of being alone to which Sakura lamented that if only Sasuke was around he’ll probably understand her. This is where Madara comes in to continue his “real” plan reference to the first attack earlier. Naruto: Road to Ninja contains all the good points of the series: the humor and the emotional bonds formed by the characters who display their trademark skills.
I’m a little bit disappointed though with so little screen time given to Sasuke, but overall, I enjoyed watching the movie because there is a balance of comedy (humor) and drama (emotional ties with each characters). Is this the best Naruto movie? No. While I believe the story-line is far better than previous Naruto movies where you have to save the Princess or rescue a friend, I think they could have done this one better. The fight between the two Kyuubis was kind of boring and we’ve only got mediocre fight scenes throughout the movie. It is definitely more mature as a concept than the rest of the movies since it’s supposed to be more about the psyche of the protagonists and less about some global threat. Naruto still ends everything with a Rasengan as always but that was not the point of the film. So I expected a mixture of all these positive aspects in the ninth film of the Naruto franchise.