Naruto the Movie: Road to Ninja (劇場版 NARUTO -ナルト- ロード・トゥ・ニンジャ, Gekijōban Naruto: Rōdo tu Ninja) is the ninth overall Naruto film and sixth Naruto: Shippūden film which was released on July 28, 2012 in Japanese theatres. The movie grossed 1.46 billion yen and has been released on DVD and Blu-ray in Japan on May 2nd, 2013.
The movie starts with a flashback of the Nine-Tails' Attack on Konoha, which then flashes forward to the present timeline where the eight members of Akatsuki who are meant to be dead, are actually alive and are battling the Konoha shinobi and this in-turn unsettles Sakura. Shikamaru states there is no point in wondering why the dead are back alive and quickly comes up with a counter plan, but Naruto quickly attacks Akatsuki head on, forcing the rest of the Konoha 11 plus Sai, Kakashi and Guy to attack. The battle continues until Naruto is caught by Kakuzu, Sai frees Naruto by cutting part of Kakuzu's arm off, causing the Akatsuki to retreat. Naruto and his friends return home, where most of Naruto's peers are congratulated by their families, all of whom promise to write a recommendation letter for the promotion to becoming a jōnin although Sakura has a little fight with her family who embarrass her in front of the others. As Naruto returns home, he passes many families causing him to reminisce of his father and mother causing him to feel lonely. Later while eating at the Ichiraku Ramen, he meets Iruka. He then asks Iruka for a letter of recommendation of his own, but Iruka refuses as Naruto is only a genin and must become a chūnin and rise through the ranks just as Minato and all other jōnin did. Naruto is saddened by his lonely lifestyle and so storms off saying that no one seems to understand him, and also that he doesn't like the extra menma on his ramen (which adds to his present state of mind and causes him to feel lonely). He meets Sakura, who had an argument with her family and also stormed out, grabbing Naruto's hand and telling him to go on a date with her. While Sakura complains about her family, Tobi appears in front of them and after a small scuffle, he then activates the limited Tsukuyomi. Naruto and Sakura are absorbed in a flash of light, and later find themselves still in the same park they were before with no signs of a fight or Tobi himself.
They run into their friends including Sasuke, which surprises both Sakura and Naruto, but with different personalities, and to add to the confusion, no one knows who Tobi is. They realise they are in another world where Sakura's father was the Fourth Hokage, who saved the village instead of Minato, and in this world Naruto is named Menma instead. As Naruto and Sakura return home Sakura is happy for the new freedom she has, while Naruto hurries home to his apartment hoping to see his parents, only to find he does not live there.
Meanwhile, in the present, Tobi reveals that the dead Akatsuki members in the beginning were only Zetsu clones. In the Genjutsu World, a man in a mask meets Tobi and they agree to work together. Elsewhere, as Sakura is looking through her dresser, she sees the Fourth Hokage coat that Naruto's father once wore in the present causing her to once again realise that in this world, it was her father who was the hokage. She then meets Sasuke who gives her a flower and flirts with her. Naruto and Sakura meet in the morning to try to gather more information of their current world, although Sakura enjoys this world as she has more freedom and is well loved by the village thanks to her father's actions. Naruto, on the other hand, wants to return home as fast as possible.
Naruto and Sakura meet Tsunade and Shizune, who tell them that a masked man attacked Kumogakure, and killed their jinchūriki which Naruto and Sakura believe to have been Tobi. They then meet Naruto's parents, who are alive in this world. Minato says that Jiraiya died finding the Red Moon Scroll that was said to help save the world. Tsunade lets Naruto and Sakura join Minato and Kushina on their mission when Kakashi and Guy return. Sakura is shocked at finding out who Naruto's parents are, while Naruto is angry that Tobi would dare to make copies of his dead parents, and he swears to break the Genjutsu. While Sakura is still enjoying her life, she wonders how Naruto is doing. While Naruto attempts to ignore his parents, he sees an album showing him how his life would have been if his parents had been alive.
In the morning, Sakura notes that this world's Kakashi and Guy have switched personalities, while Naruto isolates himself from his parents at every turn. They soon locate where Jiraiya hid the scroll, but as the group stops to rest, Naruto charges ahead until he is confronted by the appearance of Gamabunta, Gamahiro and Gamaken. They refuse to listen to Naruto and the group who explains their reason for being there and attacks them with an army of frogs. Naruto attempts to enter Sage Mode, but while trying to gather enough energy, Kushina interferes and tries to protect him from Gamabunta but a shot of acid burns her leg. As a result, Naruto gets distracted and is unable to enter sage mode. Minato then saves both of them quickly and is able to get the scroll, dispelling the Summoning Technique.
As Sakura heals Kushina, Naruto still attempts to brush off his parents, causing Minato to say no matter what Naruto does, they will always try to save him as that's what they naturally tend to do as parents. Kushina then awakens and hugs Naruto, causing him to breakdown in tears and finally accept them as his parents. They return to Konoha, where Tsunade locks the scroll in the village's safe until the night when a red moon will appear, when they can use the scroll to fulfil the said prophecy. As Naruto and Sakura walk home together, Naruto quickly runs home saying he has something to do, leaving Sakura alone. Sakura now finds her home too lonely and wonders if Naruto's always felt this way. As she walks down town she sees happy families, only making her more sad. She then realises that this world's Sasuke is just a flirt as she sees him flirting with a group of girls and decides that Naruto was right on his decision to quickly break the genjutsu they're now trapped in and wishes to return to their own world. As she walks to Naruto's home to try to find a way to break the genjutsu, she sees how happy Naruto is and wonders if they really should leave. Sakura later meets Naruto, and asks him if he wants to stay. Although he denies it, he later thinks to himself that he truly does not want to leave.
At that moment an explosion occurs at the Hokage's office, where the masked man from earlier asks for the scroll they brought back. He overpowers Minato, Kushina, and Tsunade, and then Naruto and Sakura arrive. They realise that this was the man Tsunade was talking about, and that he knows Tobi. He overpowers Naruto and Sakura, and kidnaps Sakura in exchange for the scroll. He then uses Great Spiralling Ring, destroying a large part of Konoha and leaves. Naruto tries to save Sakura, but Minato prevents him, showing that in the end this world's Minato is different from his father. He takes one of Minato's kunai and the scroll leaving with Sakura's father's Hokage coat. Sakura is tied up and meets Tobi who is a ghost saying they are in an old training ground that Minato and Jiraiya used. Naruto arrives but is attacked by the other masked man asking for the scroll. Naruto is unable to fight properly as his stomach acts up, the Masked Man then takes the time to summon the Nine Masked Beasts, and about to kill Naruto when the Akatsuki arrives and saved him.
This Akatsuki was hired by Tsunade to help Naruto, and they deal with the masked beasts when Naruto attacks the masked man. Itachi saves Sakura and Tobi decides to escape instead. The Akatsuki defeats the masked beasts that turn into nine fox kits, while Naruto chased the masked man into the training grounds. They then fight, Naruto uses Sage Mode and uses the Wind Release: Rasenshuriken to counter the Masked Man's Great Spiralling Ring. It ends in a draw, but the attack destroy the masked man's mask, showing that he is Menma, this world's Naruto. Menma informs Naruto that the pulsating inside his stomach must be Kurama's reaction to the Black Nine-Tails within Menma. Menma then called back the defeated masked beasts, and summoned Kurama's counterpart, the Black Nine-Tails. Naruto was unable to attack, while the Akatsuki retreat, taking Sakura with them. Not wanting to be manipulated by the Sharingan again, Kurama makes a truce with Naruto to work together, allowing him to summon Kurama out of his body. In the battle Naruto is barely able to win, but Tobi reveals that this was his plan, to have Naruto and Menma fight, as doing so would cause the two foxes to fight and weaken Kurama. As he possessed Menma, Kurama warned Naruto if he looked into Menma's Sharingan, it would be all over, for Tobi planned to extract Kurama out of Naruto the same way he extracted it from Kushina sixteen years ago. As Menma overpowers Naruto, the latter tries to use the scroll when he notices the moon had turned red, but Menma cuts the scroll, causing Naruto to look into Menma's eyes. Naruto's memories are erased, but Sakura rescues him before Kurama is extracted from him.
Naruto, in an amnesiac stupor, stares at the destroyed Red Moon Scroll, which brings back memories of his training to learn the Rasengan with Jiraiya, and how his father was the one who invented the technique. Naruto is able to break free of the genjutsu just in time to save Sakura, and then defeats Tobi the same way his father did, breaking the Limited Tsukuyomi. Tobi, using his ghost body, attacks again, until Minato and Kushina arrive. Tobi decides to give up and exits the genjutsu world just as Naruto and Sakura are enveloped in a bright light, preparing to return to their world as well, but beforehand Naruto thanks Minato and Kushina who quickly goes to assist Menma who is returning to his original state as their son. Naruto and Sakura returns to their world, where Naruto's Hokage coat breaks down since it was only part of the genjutsu world and not real. Naruto and Sakura tell Tsunade and Kakashi of what transpired and sets out more guard patrol since Tobi was easily able to enter further in the village than they imagined. Shizune also brings up the topic of the letters of recommendation from the beginning of the movie, to which Tsunade replies that she has no intention of promoting any of Naruto's friends to jōnin. As they both return home, Naruto watches Sakura as she meets her parents, happily hugging them. He approaches her, asking her out on a date, but Sakura tells him they just came back from the longest date ever, much to Naruto's shock. As Naruto goes home, he sees Iruka in his house, waiting to apologise to him. Afterwards, Naruto happily jumps roof top to roof top through the village while quoting that the road of a ninja is one who endures. After the credits, the sign in Ichikaru Ramen where it says "menma" is changed.
Main article: Genjutsu World The majority of the movie takes place in an alternate dimension known as the Genjutsu World, where almost the entire cast has different personalities and behaviours compared to their actual selves. Despite this however, some still possess their own personalities and behaviours.
The movie earned US$3,799,276 after debuting in the Japanese box office. Yahoo! announced on August 14, 2012 not only that the film had grossed sales of over ¥1 billion (US$ 12.7 million), but would also at that rate would gross more than 2004's Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, the highest grossing Naruto film at the time (1.37 billion yen/US$17.4 million). With time, Road To Ninja would eventually become the highest grossing "Naruto" film of all time making ¥ 1.46 billion (US$18.3 million) between its opening and closing times in theatres, July 28 to September 23. The film made ¥1.48 Million in 2012 and ranked 29th place in the Japanese Box Office, which even included live-action movies.
- Road to Naruto the Movie — A manga one-shot that leads into the film.
- Road to Sakura — A tie-in anime episode about the Genjutsu World's version of Sakura, to promote the film's theatrical release.
- Road to Guy! / The Amazing True Story of the Leaf Village Film Festival! — A Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals tie-in episode to promote the film's theatrical release.
- Motion Comic NARUTO — A promotional DVD given out at theatres, featuring a short film comprised of animated panels from the Naruto manga, enhanced with CGI, as well as an interview with Kishimoto and other promotional features for the film.
- Road to Charasuke — A drama CD about the Genjutsu World's version of Sasuke, included with the special edition DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the film.
- Prologue of Road to Ninja — An anime adaptation of the manga one-shot to promote the DVD and Blu-Ray release of the film.
- Naruto manga creator Masashi Kishimoto personally conceived the all-new story and designed the characters for this movie.
- The theme song for the film is "Well Then, See You Tomorrow", performed by Asian Kung-Fu Generation.
- Despite Masashi Kishimoto himself having written the script, the time-frame this movie is set in doesn't correlate with canonical events established by manga's timeline, seemingly deviating from it past the point of Naruto's stay on the Island Turtle.
- Whether or not the Genjutsu World ceased to exist after Naruto fulfilled the prophecy at the end of the movie is not specifically stated.
- The first time that Sakura and Naruto see Kizashi Haruno's face in the Hokage Monument, he was facing to the centre but in another scene, he is facing the same direction as Tsunade.
- A poster of this movie can be seen on the episode Road to Sakura on a fence beside a tree.
- ↑ Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine, issue 17, 2012