Naruto began as a manga series by Masashi Kishimoto, which was later adapted to an anime series that started airing in 2002 until present. The anime, much like the manga, is split into two parts: the time split in the manga is simply named Part I & II while the anime is named Naruto and Naruto Shippuden. The second part of the series takes place two and a half years after the first part ends.
The anime series, Naruto, aired from Oct. 3, 2002 until Feb. 8, 2007 for nine consecutive seasons with a total of 220 episodes, out of which 85 episodes were fillers (not following the storyline of the original manga. Those were the longest and most painful times of any Naruto fan; having to sit through those fillers). Naruto Shippuden (lit. Naruto: Hurricane Chronicles) follows thereafter with seven seasons and counting. Both Naruto and Naruto Shippuden are directed by Hayato Dato and produced by Studio Pierrot and TV Tokyo.
Kishimoto created the three primary characters (Naruto – the protagonist, Sasuke – Naruto’s counterpart and Sakura – the heroine) as a basis for the other three-person teams in the series. Naruto was primarily fashioned after Son Goku of Dragon Ball. Each of the three members of a team would complement each other; each team would specialize in one area while being totally clueless in another area of life. This way, the team dynamics work best when each of its members function in unity and in-sync to overcome their weaknesses together. Not only does the team grow, the individual in the team grows too.
Team 7 aka Team Kakashi
The series is about a young and rash ninja from Konohagakure, the Leaf Village named Uzumaki Naruto. The story unfolds as Naruto searches for recognition and acknowledgement from his peers and elders as he aspires to become the Hokage – leader of the village. Naruto, a garrulous, hyperactive late bloomer, is assigned to Team 7. As a baby, the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox (kyuubi) was sealed in him to protect Konohagakure (the Leaf Village). However, the villagers, who were very much afraid of kyuubi, transferred that fear to the infant and eventually the child. Naruto grew up hated and mistreated by Konoha’s residents throughout most of his childhood.
A few years later, while trying to graduate from the Ninja Academy for the third year in a row, Naruto is tricked, by a rogue ninja Mizuki, to steal a forbidden scroll. Naruto is saved by Iruka sensei and subsequently develops the Kagebunshin Jutsu (Multiple Shadow Clone Technique) from the scroll of forbidden jutsu written by the First Hokage. He then realizes that he is the vessel for kyuubi and understands why people distrust and ostracize him. He goes out of his way to change how people perceive him, and always strives for his best, never giving up even when the going gets tough. This is his “unique power,” as stated by Kakashi his team leader/sensei, as he changes world views of everyone he meets and inspires courage within themselves.
Because of kyuubi, Naruto has remarkable stamina and healing abilities. Even his chakra level, albeit uncontrollable by the host, is very high. After Sasuke leaves with Orochimaru, Naruto trains with Jiraiya, polishing his summoning jutsu and developing his Rasengan while trying to suppress kyuubi. When Part II/Naruto Shippuden began, Naruto is still a genin while the rest of his peers are either chunin or jonin level ninjas.
Uchiha Sasuke, a taciturn, skilled and a “cool genius,” is the exact opposite of Naruto who is assigned to the same team. As the youngest son of the village’s Police captain and Uchiha clan head, Sasuke grew up in the shadow of his prodigious older brother, Itachi Uchiha. At the juncture of the Naruto series, Sasuke believes that he, together with his brother Itachi Uchiha, are the sole survivors of the Uchiha clan, who Itachi had slaughtered in one night. Because of this unbearable treachery from his beloved older brother, whom he looked up to, Sasuke grows up with one goal in mind – to kill his brother to avenge his family.
When he is put in a team with Naruto, this desire together with his aloof personality slowly ebbed away. His indifference and superiority soon turned to mutual feelings of trust, reliance and protection of each other. However, that yen is rekindled during an encounter with Itachi who soundly trounces him. He also sees Naruto getting stronger, faster and believes his own growth is stunted. Even after Kakashi teaches him the chidori, to quell thoughts of weakness in him, it proves to be a temporary rubber stopper to his overwhelming need to be far stronger and powerful. This leads to Sasuke leaving the team and Konoha to seek for more power from Orochimaru, who wants his body as a new vessel.
When Sasuke came of age, he was thought the family jutsu – Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique (Katon: Goukakyu no Jutsu). Sasuke possesses another powerful family trait of the Uchiha Clan’s Kekkei Genkai: Sharingan, which he doesn’t know how to utilize until later.
Haruno Sakura is a quick-tempered but fast study member of Team 7. As the heroine of the series, she is infatuated with Sasuke but is loved by Naruto. Together with Sasuke, they are the “thinkers” of the group while Naruto is all action. Sakura’s defining trait at the start is her intelligence. As she is only book-smart, this affects her physical performance, making her unreliable and not helpful during battles. However, unlike Naruto, Sakura has excellent control over her chakra and an innate ability to use jutsus to their maximum efficiency without wasting her chakra. After Sasuke leaves the village, she resolves to become stronger by training with the Fifth Hokage, Tsunade. With her superb chakra control, she utilizes it to train in the medical arts. To better protect herself, Tsunade teaches her to use her super strength by building and releasing her chakra at precise times to decimate obstacles.
Leading Team 7 is Hatake Kakashi, a quiet, mysterious and ex-ANBU ninja who is always tardy for his meetings with his students. Kakashi is the only child of Sakumo Hatake, Konoha’s White Fang. After his rapid rise through the ninja ranks, he became a student of Namikaze Minato. Kakashi is not part of the Uchiha clan, but has the Sharingan, earning him the moniker “Copy Ninja Kakashi.” Although early in the series he is a mentor to all three members, he later focuses his training with Sasuke to teach him “Chidori.” This however, does not prevent Sasuke from leaving, wanting a greater power from Orochimaru to defeat his brother.
Kakashi has an arsenal of jutsus up his sleeves, being recognized as Konoha’s foremost jutsu specialist. Naruto thinks very highly of him, adulating his intelligence to that of Shikamaru, his nose to Kiba’s, his taijutsu skills to Rock Lee’s and his Sharingan mastery to Sasuke’s. Even though this is probably an exaggeration, his prowess makes him a match for almost any opponent. His skills and wit are greatly admired by many including his opponents. He is considered a prime candidate for Hokage by many.
Incidentally, Jiraiya, Orochimaru and Tsunade were once team members under the leadership of the Third Hokage – Sarutobi Hiruzen. When Orochimaru murdered the Third Hokage, Tsunade was asked to take over the leadership of Konoha as the fifth Hokage.
Over the course of the series, Naruto interacts with, befriends and is accepted by several of his fellow ninjas in Konohagakure as well as other villages. He also encounters the series’ antagonists, including Orochimaru, a former ninja of Konohagakure scheming to destroy his former home, and the élite ninja of the criminal organization Akatsuki. As the series unfolds to Part II/Naruto Shippuden Team 7 is no longer, but is replaced with a new Team Kakashi consisting of new members Sai and Yamato, both from ANBU.
Team 8 aka Team Kurenai
Team 8 is a highly skilled tracking team.
Aburame Shino, quiet and unassuming, “bug guy,” as Naruto calls him. He is the brain in the team. Shino comes from the insect family where each member of the clan is infused with a special breed of insects, the destruction bugs (kikaichu), during birth. In exchange for using the host’s body as a breeding and feeding (of chakra) ground, the bugs do as the host commands. Because of this knowledge and his merciless tendencies, his friends and foe alike think of him as creepy.
Inuzuka Kiba/Akamaru, the brawn of the group with many dog-like traits. Unlike Kakashi who summons his ninja dogs (ninken), Kiba’s ninja dog, Akamaru, is always present with him. Kiba and Akamaru have been together as best friends since they were both young. Kiba is often short-tempered and impulsive (a sharp contrast to his cool and collected teammates). Unlike Naruto, who is dense to his surroundings, most of his friends, and especially Kiba knows about Hinata’s affections for Naruto. Thus, causing Kiba to tease Hinata whenever Naruto is around. Kiba and Akamaru are able to transform together as a two-headed wolf, using the Dual Wolf Fang, which is almost impossible to avoid and block. During his Man Beast Combination Transformation – the Double-Headed Wolf, Kiba is able to follow his enemy with his heightened sense of smell after Akamaru uses his Dynamic Marking.
Hyuga Hinata, heir to Hyuga clan’s Byakugan who suffers from a lack of self-confidence. Because of her inability to stand-up for herself, she was disowned from a young age (even as the heiress) and left in the care of Kurenai. After meeting Naruto, and seeing his constant will to prove and better himself she begins to train herself to be stronger and slowly emerge from her cocoon. Her efforts didn’t go unnoticed by her father who soon took a greater interest in her training. Her admiration of Naruto’s determination soon turns to infatuation, to the extent of blushing and even fainting upon seeing him. Hinata’s Byakugan allows her a near 360º field of vision, with a blind spot at the back of her neck. Her range of vision far outshines Neji’s visual range, 10km to Neji’s 800m. Hinata specializes in the Gentle Fist fighting style (almost Tai chi like), which allows her to damage her opponents’ chakra circulatory systems and inner organs directly, even with a slight tap. She even developed the Protection of the Eight Trigrams Sixty-Four Palms technique herself, which allows her to speedily attack and defend simultaneously.
Yuji Kurenai is acts as a surrogate parent to Hinata in the absence of her father, to help her over come her weaknesses. She is also well-aware of Hinata’s infatuation with Naruto. Whenever Kurenai appears, she is usually accompanied by Asuma Sarutobi causing many to assume that they are a couple (Naruto Shippuden Season 4 & 5). In battle, she specializes in casting illusions (genjutsu) and is particularly skilled with illusions involving plants. Her gift in genjutsu is so powerful that she is able to enter the subconscious of a person to see one’s true nature.
Team 10 aka Team Asuma aka Ino-Shika-Cho
Second generation Ino-Shika-Cho is the “stalling team.” The fathers of the members of this team were once teammates too.
Nara Shikamaru the brain of the operations but ultra lazy. His idleness prevents him from effectively utilizing his intelligence. His brilliance is such that even in the heat of battle, he is able to devise complex strategies to defuse and defeat his opponent (as seen in Naruto Shippuden Season 4). Shikamaru is exceedingly kind and patient with Choji. Aside from his smarts, Shikamaru is able to manipulate his opponent’s shadow by extending his own into the other’s, thus forcing the target to mimic his movements or putting the target in a choke hold. Shikamaru finds fighting, like most things, troublesome and will try to avoid a battle if possible.
Akimichi Choji loves to eat, so much so that in every scene, he is almost always with a snack in his hand. This gives him the appearance of a rather large boy/man, but he is ultra sensitive about his “weight” and reacts adversely when called “fat.” Choji shows unquestioning loyalty to Shikamaru, in this regards, because of the kindness Shikamaru has always shown him. He is able to increase the mass of his body during battles to expand his range of attack.
Yamanaka Ino has been friends with Sakura since childhood, but when they discovered that they both liked Sasuke, their friendship ended so that both can pursue and vie for his affection. The eventually rekindle their friendship, and when Sakura excels in the medical jutsu, Ino becomes her surrogate apprentice. Ino’s abilities lie with her mind-altering techniques. She transfers her consciousness to her target’s mind, thus gaining control of the body, which she then uses to attack others. This, however, is a dangerous technique to the user as it leaves her body unattended, opening her up for attacks. This is why her team members need to be around her when she uses the technique.
Team 10 is led by Sarutobi Asuma who is a chain-smoker and son of Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third Hokage. He had a falling out with his father and left Konoha village briefly. Even after the Third’s passing, they did not properly reconcile, leaving Asuma to regret his actions. Asuma has a particularly close relationship with Shikamaru and is often seen playing shogi or go with him. Asuma wields a pair of brass knuckles blade that when infused with his wind chakra, extends the blades’ length and easily pierces through rock.
The team specializes in close-quarters combat using Chinese-styled martial arts. This team is also a year older than the rest, because Guy wanted to wait for a year before allowing the team to take the test to advance in becoming a Chunnin.
Hyuga Neji was born a child prodigy of the Hyuga clan. However, because his father was only the second born twin to the heir, he is ineligible to learn the clan’s most secret techniques and is forced to be a protector of the heiress – Hinata. Due to this fact, Neji despises Hinata, not only for her standing in the family but also for her inherent weakness. Before meeting Naruto, his philosophy was that you cannot escape your destiny and a weak person will always be weak. After Naruto deals him a defeat in battle, Neji has a change of heart. Naruto proved his “destiny” wrong by becoming stronger. With this change of heart, he reconciles with the family and even acknowledges Hinata. He eventually begins training with the leader of Hyuga clan, Hinata’s father. Neji is highly proficient with the Gentle Fist, though having never been trained in the form; he replicates it through simple observation. Neji is constantly training to eliminate the blind spot of his Byakugan and the range of his vision.
Tenten longs to prove that female ninjas are just as skilled as their male counterparts. Unlike the other female ninjas in the other teams, Tenten’s teammates don’t quite “protect” her. She specializes in weaponry, ranging from projectiles to close-combat weapons and explosives. Tenten uses this expertise of hers to aid Neji in his defensive training techniques.
Rock Lee, also called bushy brows by Naruto, is only able to use taijutsu – pure martial arts. This explains why Guy spends so much of his free time training with Lee. Rock Lee adulates his sensei to the point of adopting his sense of “fashion” and his perseverance. Guy taught Rock Lee some powerful and forbidden techniques – opening the eight-chakra gates, which can pose a risk to Lee’s body. Because of the risk of this technique, Guy puts a stipulation on the use of it, permitting the usage only to protect someone dear to Lee. This he uses when faced with Kimimaro, while still recovering from his life-threatening injuries during the Chunin exam match-up against Gaara. He intercepted Naruto’s match with Kimimaro to let Naruto pursue Sasuke instead. At first, Kimimaro and him were even matched. But after drinking sake, which he mistakes for his medication, he outshines Kimimaro using the Drunken Fist. Kimimaro is forced to use his cursed seal and Kekkei Genkai – Shikotsumyaku, to overpower Lee. As Lee is about to be killed, Gaara shows up to save him. In the end, Kimimaro overcomes both of them, but could not deal the finishing blow as he is taken over by his own illness.
Mighty Guy has a distinctive green jumpsuit and bowl haircut that Rock Lee adopts. Guy imposes tough penalties on himself for failures, which Rock Lee too embraces. Like Lee, Guy is unable to use other types of techniques except for physical attacks.
Team Baki aka the Sand Siblings
Team Baki hails from Sunagakure, Sand Village and the members are the children of the Fourth Kazekage. The specialize in long-range combat. They participated in Konohagakure’s biannual ninja exams and subsequently tried to invade Konoha allying themselves with Orochimaru and the Rain Village.
Gaara, the youngest of the three siblings, is the vessel of One-Tailed Shukaku. Unlike Naruto, he has a withdrawn personality due to his lack of friends. Similar to Naruto, Gaara was tormented by his own villagers for being the host of a bijuu. After the only person who purportedly cared for him (his uncle) tried to kill him off too, he became sadistic and even more alone. His meeting Naruto during the failed invasion of Konoha changed his view and he later became more willing to help others. Eventually he even aids in Naruto quest in retrieving Sasuke when he was first “abducted,” coming to the aid of Rock Lee. Gaara’s ability lies in the manipulation and control of sand. To efficiently use his chakra and better prepare him for battles, Gaara transports his own chakra-infused sand in a gourd made out of sand on his back.
Kankuro is the middle child of the siblings. When the series began, Kankuro was always at odds with Gaara, but stops short when he knows he has reached the limit, fearing for his life. He later becomes very protective of his younger brother as Gaara began reveal his dreams and motivations to him. Kankuro, like his predecessor, is a talented puppet master. He carries three puppets with him: Karasu (Crow), Kuruari (Black Ant) and Sanshouuo (Salamander). The crow is used for offense, the Black Ant for trapping targets and the Salamander is for defense/protection.
Temari is the oldest of the three. Unlike her warmongering brothers, Temari is a more peaceful person, even questioning the Sand Village’s invasion of Konoha. It is hinted that maybe Temari is romantically linked to Shikamaru. Temari carries a giant iron fan which she uses to create powerful gales of wind capable of leveling the surrounding landscape. Temari, unlike her brothers, actually can deduce her opponent’s strategies and weaknesses after a battle begins.
The Hokage is the leader of Konohagakure. The leader of the Sand Village is called Kazekage. In Naruto, the story had five Hokages. The Sixth Hokage will be revealed in Naruto Shippuden.
The First Hokage was Senju Hashirama, who together with Madara Uchiha, founded the Leaf Village. Using his unique Mokuton (wood) abilities, he created the trees of Konoha. When Hashirama was chosen as the leader of the new village instead of Madara, Madara left the village and challenged his rule. In the aftermath, Madara is thought to have died in battle. To commemorate the battle, two statues were carved into the earth surrounding the valley. It was named Valley of the End. Soon long after, the First died in battle.
The First is thought to be the greatest shinobi of his time (which explains why Orochimaru experimented with his DNA, trying to replicate him). He is most famous for his Wood Release Jutsu, a Kekkei Genkai mixing earth and water-natured chakra. By doing this, he was able to create trees that grew to giant sizes and manipulate them to various shapes. However, his greatest ability was his skill in controlling tailed beasts. Because of this, he had many beasts in his possession, which he captured and gave to other villages as peace offerings. He was even able to defeat kyuubi during his battle with Madara. This ability was amplified with his crystal necklace, which Yamato uses to control Naruto when he lapses into kyuubi.
Second Hokage was Senju Tobirama the younger brother of the First. The Second set up the Academy, ANBU, chuunin exams and Konoha’s Military Police, which is held by the Uchiha clan as a sign of trust after Madara’s revolt. He was sensei to Hiruzen Sarutobi, Homura Mitokado and Koharu Utatane. The Second died during the First Great Shinobi World War after he passed on the Hokage title to Hiruzen Sarutobi. He is best known for his mastery of the Water Release Jutsu, making him the greatest water manipulator to ever exist.
He was succeeded by his prized student, Sarutobi Hiruzen , who became the Third Hokage. The Third’s other team members became his advisers. Hiruzen is a peaceful leader, preferring talks to arms. He is known as “The Professor” for purportedly knowing every jutsu in Konoha. Most importantly, he was sensei to Jiraiya, Orochimaru and Tsunade (the infamous sannin).
After a long rule, the Third abdicated in favor of his student, Kamikaze Minato, who became the Fourth Hokage, Yondaime, of Konoha. He was a student of Jiraiya and a sensei to Kakashi. The Fourth was a prodigy who cast fear in enemies when he appeared on the battlefield. Such were his powers that he could wipe out whole armies in a blink of an eye using his teleportation jutsu. He was called “Konoha’s Yellow Flash” – Konoha no Kiiroi Senko. However, when the Nine-Tailed Fox went on a rampage in Konoha, the Fourth gave his life to seal kyuubi in his son’s body and save the village from destruction. Naruto was given his mother’s name to stop the connection with the Fourth.
The Third had to reclaim the position of Hokage again after the Fourth died. The Third is one of the few people who treat Naruto as a person and not just a vessel for kyuubi. However, he met his demise, when his favorite student, Orochimaru, invaded the village and took his life.
Tsunade succeeds the Third as the Fifth Hokage, Godaime, of Konoha Village. Tsunade is not only a student of the Third, but the granddaughter of the First Hokage. This is why many in the village call her “hime” – princess. Through the lost of her younger brother and boyfriend who died pursuing their dreams of becoming the Hokage, she loses faith in the title. But having met Naruto, who consistently defies the odds of being the Hokage, her perception changes. She finally accepts the position as the Fifth Hokage. Tsunade has superhuman strength, which allows her to level buildings. Far more important, is her exceptional skills in the medical arts. She has regeneration/healing abilities that make her almost invincible in battle.
During Pain’s invasion of Konohagakure, Tsunade used up all her chakra to protect the people of the village and consequently fell into a coma. A country cannot be without a King, and so the village had to have a replacement Hokage.
Danzou took over soon after. Shimura Danzou is a village elder, who had Sai working under him with ANBU faction “Root,” when he was first introduced. After Tsunade collapsed into a coma following the invasion of Pain, Danzou relieved her off her Hokage duties and became the Sixth Hokage Candidate (even though Kakashi is said to be the most suited and up for the job). Danzou, having lost out in many ways to his counterpart Sarutobi Hiruzen, finally catches up by stealing powers from others. He robbed the Uchihas off their Sharingan eyes; one attached to his eye, and ten more affixed to his concealed and sealed arm. Years earlier, he also had Orochimaru implant the First Hokage’s DNA into his right arm (most likely to try to control kyuubi). However, having met Sasuke during the Five Kage meeting, and loosing one Sharingan after another during their battle, he finally looses his life too to Sasuke. Revenge cannot taste sweeter for Sasuke having lost his clan, family and beloved brother to this man’s wretched goals.
After Danzou’s passing and brief stint as Konoha’s Sixth Hokage, Kakashi is once again appointed for the post. However, Tsunade awakens from her slumber and is reinstated as Konoha’s Hokage.
Akatsuki 暁 – Dawn – is a criminal organization made up of S-Class rouge ninjas who have defected from their villages, with the exception of Pain and Konan who were from and run their own village, Amekagure. Even though the major players of the organizations have differing goals, the group’s goal is to collect all the bijuu, tailed beasts, to enable them to dominate the world. The members always work in teams of two, except for Zetsu, to take advantage of each member’s unique skills and ability.
Season 1: 2002-2003
Season 1 had a total of 26 episodes (ep. 1-26 | Filler/Recap ep. 26)
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Season 2: 2003
Season 2 had a total of 26 episodes (ep. 27-52)
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Season 3: 2003-2004
Season 3 had a total of 26 episodes (ep. 53-78)
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Season 4: 2004
Season 4 had a total of 26 episodes (ep. 79-104 | Filler ep. 101-104)
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Season 5: 2004-2005
Season 5 had a total of 26 episodes (ep. 105-130 | Filler ep. 105-106)
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Season 6: 2005
Season 6 had a total of 26 episodes (ep. 131-156 | Filler ep. 137-140 & 143-156)
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Season 7: 2005-2006
Season 7 had a total of 26 episodes (ep. 157-182 | Filler 157-182)
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Season 8: 2006
Season 8 had a total of 26 episodes (ep. 183-208 | Filler 183-208)
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Season 9: 2006-2007
Season 9 had a total of 12 episodes (ep. 209-220 | Filler 209-219)
– Season 9 episodes without synopsis -
1 “Find the Four-Leaf Red Clover!” 2003
Konohamaru Sarutobi is in love with a girl, Ureshino Kaede, who is moving away from the village. He searches for a red four-leaf clover, which grants its owner any wish. Konohamaru seeks Naruto, Sakura and Sasuke for help.
2 “Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village!” 2004
Team 7, along with Kakashi Hatake, escort a ninja named Shibuki, the leader of his village, to his home at Takigakure.
3 “Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival” August 21, 2004
Naruto and Team 7′s attempt to win a competition among the other Genin, which consists of various sporting events and races where the winning team will receive a week’s paid vacation. Naruto has to use the toilet throughout the entire OVA, only to be prevented in each attempt by his fellow Genin and his own mistakes.
4 “Finally a clash! Jonin VS Genin!! Indiscriminate grand melee tournament meeting!!” December 22, 2005
A contest is made by the Fifth Hokage called Jonin vs Genin. The point is to collect crystals for points, with the higher-ranked Chunin and Jonin holding crystals worth more points.
Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow premiered August 21, 2004. Team 7 is sent to the Land of Snow to protect actors during a shoot of the new Princess Fuun movie.
Legend of the Stone of Gelel was in theaters on August 6, 200. Naruto, Shikamaru and Sakura are on a mission to aid Sunagakure village against a large number of armored warriors.
Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom hit the big screen on August 5, 2006. Naruto, Sakura, Lee and Kakashi sensei are protecting the future prince of the Land of the Moon.