Anime in 200 Words: Naruto Movie 2
Premise: A country tries to build a utopia, but they’re hiding a dark secret. Naruto and his friends try to fix the problems and save the day.
Required Viewing: This movie takes place before the chunin exam, but you won’t know who the Sand genin are without watching that arc. It’s your call, but I recommend watching the exams, just to be safe.
The Team: Shikamaru, Sakura, Naruto, Gaara, and Kankuro
Perks: The movie’s got a decent story, though it’s rather predictable. Like the first Naruto movie, there’s more content here than in the filler seasons.
Problems: There are few characters that are familiar, which causes a lot of screen time for people who are unfamiliar.
Story: A simple plot becomes more complicated; the moral dilemma of utopia and forced pacifism are actually memorable. These are pretty big issues for Naruto!
WTF: There’s a weird Sasuke moment, similar to the ones used to boost ratings in later seasons. Not a fan.
Overall: This is definitely a better movie than most anime films, and one of the most thought-provoking stories to come out of Naruto. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s an enjoyable diversion.