As you may know, I am not a Naruto series follower. In fact, the last time that I have watched the anime series was when Naruto and his friends are still young, though I have friends that are avid Naruto followers that usually keeps me in check.
ZEN Otaku Honbu has been invited to a special screening of ROAD TO NINJA: Naruto the Movie last Monday, April 08, at Director’s Club at the SM Mall of Asia. Even if I’m not that familiar with the series, I’m surely not going to pass up this opportunity.
The story starts of with a flashback of Naruto’s infancy, which led to circumstances that made him an orphan. Fast-forward to the main timeline, where Naruto and other ninjas from Konoha are endgaged in an operation against the Akatsuki. After that, everyone has gone back to town and returns to their families, save for Naruto. It then becomes apparent that Naruto is still affected by the loss of his parents. The same cannot be said to Sakura who is pressured by her parents to be what they want her to be.
Both of them stumble with each other, when suddenly the ghost of Madara (Tobi) suddenly shows up. The two tried to fight him, unaware that Madara has alredy activated the “Limited Tsukuyomi” which then transported them to an alternate dimension where everyone & everything is different from what they know. And Naruto’s alternate name is Menma.
Without the flashback, the movie is just like a typical Naruto episode that I remember… Where Naruto is a ninja that is impatient reckless, yet full of life. But by adding the flashback of Naruto’s parents at the start of the movie, it gives that platform that this will not be another ‘filler’ and this will be much deeper than a typical half-hour Naruto Shippuden episode.
There are still a lot of humour in this movie, which is typical from a Naruto series but under a different circumstances.
Scenes that are worth watching are the dramatic scenes, because it shows Naruto’s anger to Madara for messing with their heads & bringing them to the alternate dimension. Same goes with Sakura, when started off as something to be joyful because of her new found fame & freedom, but then the realization of being alone and what Naruto actually feels in the real world.
One thing that slightly disappoints me though is that they have feature some important character such as Hinata and Sasuke, but have been demotion to minor character roles.
And so, we come to the climax. The fight scenes between Naruto and the “masked man” kept me on my seat, but some viewers who are familiar with the series might see it simply as an typical Naruto fight scene which has been expanded for the purposes of the movie.
Naruto might not expected who the man behind the mask is, but the concept of being forced to fight a version of oneself has been a common theme in many other movies & series such as Katekyo Hitman Reborn!.
I have a feeling that the movie’s creative team wants to learn a valuable lesson, which can is shown towards the end of the movie.
Though this story is still a part of Naruto Shippuden’s timeline, this does not change the overall storyline of the Naruto franchise in any way. Instead, the movie focuses on Naruto’s character development. We have seen Naruto during his childhood days & his adolescence, as well as Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki role in Naruto’s life. Now, movie viewers will see how does their loss affect Naruto.
I must also say that the visual are great, but there may be too many movements because of all the action & fight scenes, and its full effect is much better when you are watching in on a big screen. I can say a similar thing in its sounds & music, but what got my attention was the ending theme song, which was sung by Asian Kung-Fu Generation.
Overall, I have enjoyed the whole movie. The story had gave me enough background on Naruto’s life to someone who rarely watch the animated series, and at the same time kept me on my lazy-boy seat. Two more anime movies are set to screen in Philippine cinemas in the coming months, and I definitely can’t wait.
ROAD TO NINJA: Naruto the Movie is now showing on All SM Cinema Branches nationwide. Thanks to Pioneer Films for the invitation.
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