As a series, Naruto has had its fair share of villains throughout its run. Be it the slimy and treacherous Snake Sannin Orochomiru, to the Akatsuki figurehead, Pain, to the founder of the Uchiha clan, Madara, all the way up to the final villain against whom Team Seven faces off—Kaguya Otsutsuki, the originator of chakra.
While each of these villains are unique in their own way, there is perhaps one who, despite not being a canon character, has a uniqueness reserved for just himself. It would be none other than Menma Uzumaki of the sixth Shippuden movie, Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie.
Introduced as a stark contrast to the cheerful, optimistic, and charismatic Naruto, Menma is perhaps the most fascinating character amongst others within the movie.
Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers from the Naruto series.
Who was Menma Uzumaki from Naruto?
Introduced during the events of the sixth Shippuden movie, Menma Uzumaki is a character who only exists within the prototype Infinite Tsukiyomi cast by Obito Uchiha. In this alternate dimension, Menma is the son of a very much alive and kicking Kushina Uzumaki and Minato Namikaze.
Surprisingly, when Naruto and Sakura enter this alternate dimension, they notice a number of differences that startle them. For one, Sasuke had never defected from the village and shockingly enough, proceeds to flirt with Sakura much to her surprise.
In fact, there are several stark personality changes that follow. For instance, Hinata is much more forthcoming and confident, while Guy and Kakashi appear to have swapped their respective personalities. The former is more level-headed and disinterested, while the latter is much more exuberant and filled to the brim with excitement.
One such personality change occurs within the blonde ninja's counterpart, Menma.
Menma is revealed to already be a Chunin within this world. He is an exact clone of Naruto in terms of appearance, right down to the characteristic whisker markings of the Nine-Tails. He only differs from him in one aspect: his hair, being raven-black in color instead of natural sunshine yellow.
Was Menma evil?
Yes and no. At least, he is depicted as a villain throughout the events of the movie. Following Obito’s takeover, he develops a Sharingan and is even able to temporarily access his techniques, such as the Kamui.
Menma also houses the Nine Tails’ negative counterpart, the Black Nine Tails. It is largely hypothesized that it was the negative energy of the Black Nine-Tails which caused Menma to go rogue, thus allowing Obito to easily take over Naruto’s counterpart.
This seems like a very logical explanation, especially as the entire fandom is aware that for the majority of the series, Kurama, the Nine-Tails, was consistently trying to influence his Jinchuriki and tap into his negative emotions in order to weaken the seal holding him within him.
This is further accentuated by the fact that the seals on Menma and Naruto differ: while the latter’s seal is the far stronger and stable Eight Trigrams Seal, Menma’s is only a basic seal. It is designed to only keep the Black Nine-Tails within Menma but does little to ebb the flow of chakra, thus allowing the negative Nine-Tails to easily influence Menma.
Obito was hoping to force Naruto to draw out the actual Nine-Tails in order to fight against his copy, thus allowing him the leeway to extract the Nine-Tails from him, in much the same manner that he did with Kushina in the original timeline.
But was Menma truly a villain?
The answer to this question would be ‘no’. Menma is depicted as having been under the combined influence of both the Black Nine-Tails as well as Obito. Thus, when everyone's favorite blond ninja succeeds in defeating them both, Menma begins to return to his original self.
Although what eventually happens to Menma is not revealed, after the end credits roll, a brief still of Ichikaru’s ramen stall is shown which displays that menma has been changed.
This is a twofold reference: it reminds the viewer of Naruto’s initial visit to Ichikaru’s Ramen, where he complained about the menma topping, a Japanese condiment consisting of boiled bamboo shoots, on the ramen.
A deeper meaning is an allusion to the fact that perhaps things turned out well for Menma Uzumaki within the alternate world.