Season three of Naruto Shippuden (Part II of the manga by Masashi Kishimoto) aired from Nov. 8, 2007 to April 3, 2008. It ran with a total of 21 episodes (33-53).
Team Kakashi gets a new team member. Everyone is suspicious of him because he is recommended by Danzou. Team Kakashi’s new mission is to seek out Sasuke while getting acquainted with newbie.
The season has one opening theme and two ending themes.
1. Long Shot Party’s “Distance”
2. Little by Little’s “Kimi Monogatari” (キミモノガタリ) (ep. 31-41)
3. Matchy with Question’s “Mezamero! Yasei” (目覚めろ!野性) (ep. 42-53)
Nov. 8, 2007. ep. 33: The New Target
Kakashi is recuperating in the hospital after overstraining himself with the Mangekyou Sharingan. Sakura informs Tsunade of Sasori’s dying words: he was supposed to meet with a spy of his within Orochimaru’s camp in 10 days at the Tenchi Bridge.
Naruto, meanwhile, realizes Team Kakashi needs another teammate. He begins recruiting with the help of Choji and Shikamaru. However, they are attacked by an unknown ninja who uses ink jutsu.
Nov. 15, 2007. ep. 34: Formation! New Team Kakashi
As Naruto, Choji and Shikamaru are unable to identify the attacking ninja, they attempt to capture him. But the attacking ninja retreats.
After the near lost of the Kazekage, Konoha’s elders confront Tsunade, worried that Akatsuki may have kyuubi in their sights. They propose that Naruto is not sent on any more missions outside the village but kept in Konoha under Tsunade’s watchful eyes. Tsunade objects and promises to protect Konoha with her own life in the event Naruto is captured. To compromise, Danzou assigns a new addition to Team Kakashi to keep watch on Naruto. Since Kakashi is still hospitalized, ANBU member Yamato temporarily replaces Kakashi and is ordered to keep an eye on the new comer.
Naruto and Sakura meet their new team member – Sai, the same ninja who attacked Naruto, Choji and Shikamaru earlier.
Nov. 22, 2007. ep. 35: An Unnecessary Addition
As Yamato takes leadership of Team Kakashi, Naruto and Sakura vehemently object to the new addition.
Sai, devoid of human feelings or emotions even though he often has a false smile plastered on his face, is an orphan recruited into The Foundation (a secret branch of ANBU). He was raised without a personality, personal connections or even a name. “Sai” was given to him for the purpose of joining Team Kakashi. As he is introduced to Team Kakashi, he is confronts and questions Naruto’s manhood and goes as far as to insult Sasuke. This causes Sakura to punch him in anger. You can be insult Naruto, but don’t you ever disrespect Sasuke.
While preparing for the meeting with Sasori’s spy and gathering information on Sasuke, Sai receives a separate orders from Danzou.
Jiraiya debriefs Tsunade and Yamato in Kakashi’s room about the powers of kyuubi. He shows a deep gash on his chest, which he received from a Naruto who ascended to Four-Tailed form of kyuubi.
Nov. 29, 2007. ep. 36 & 37: The Fake Smile & Untitled
Team Kakashi heads out to Tenchi Bridge, but tension is building among the three younger ninjas. Sai questions Naruto’s loyalty to a traitor like Sasuke. Naruto simply replies that he is not a traitor, but a friend. Sai then fakes a cheerful smile to suppress his emotions, which comes easily for him through years of mental conditioning and training with The Foundation.
To improve their team spirit and end the bickering, Yamato creates a wooden cage with his Wood Style Jutsu, threatening to imprison them unless they behave. Sakura is surprised that Yamato is able to use techniques only the First Hokage was said to possess. Given a choice of being caged up or spending a night in a hot springs, the youngsters cleverly opt for the hot springs.
Yamato’s little get-away prove to be fruitful when Naruto and Sakura begin to realize the reason for Sai’s withdrawn and vile personality. Sakura catches a glimpse of Sai’s artistic talent, with a notebook that he keeps of untitled works. In that book, there are portraits of two young boys occupying opposite ends of the book. It seems Sai is all alone.
Team Kakashi proceeds with their mission, but Yamato, being suspicious of traps, alters their route and heads through the forest instead. Camping in the forest takes on a new meaning, when you have someone like Yamato on your team, who is able to create a two-storey house in a blink of an eye. The team formulates their plan.
Dec. 6, 2007. ep. 38: Simulation
Yamato goes on a dry run with his new team to check on the coordination and sync of the group. Despite Naruto’s objections, he is paired with Sai and Sakura becomes back-up for Yamato. Yamato acts as the spy, and after Naruto makes a mistake, Sai immobilizes him and goes at it alone. Even though Naruto is angered by Sai’s actions, he promises to work together with Sai just so he can get Sasuke back.
Dec. 13, 2007. ep. 39: The Tenchi Bridge
D-Day. Yamato disguises himself as Sasori and heads to the bridge to meet the spy. The spy turns out to be Kabuto, who divulges Orochimaru’s current hideout. Before the meeting ends, Orochimaru appears and hijacks the two. Kabuto had set this trap to lure Sasori of the Akatsuki out of hiding. Yamato leaks his identity as a Konoha ninja when he uses the Wood Style Jutsus infront of Orochimaru. Years ago, while Orochimaru was still in Konoha, he injected unborn babies with DNA to replicate the First Hokage’s Wood Style, out of which only Yamato survived. When Yamato realizes this is a trap, he signals for help from his team.
Dec. 20, 2007. ep. 40 & 41: Nine-Tails Unleashed & The Top-Secret Mission Begins
Team Kakashi emerges. Orochimaru mocks and compares a weak Naruto to a very skilled Sasuke. Naruto, who is already edgy, bites the bait and becomes even more enraged causing kyuubi to overtake Naruto’s body, quickly ascending him to a Three-Tailed form. Infuriated, the transformed Naruto throws Kabuto away, who knocks out Sakura too. In his incessant rage, Naruto destroys Tenchi Bridge and the battle with Orochimaru moves to a nearby forest.
As the bridge collapses, Sai creates an ink bird to pursue Naruto and Orochimaru, unconcerned with the danger he is putting Yamato and Sakura in. Yamato, on seeing Naruto’s conversion, remembers Jiyaiya’s warning to stop Naruto before the four tails emerges. However, he is momentarily stopped from pursuing Naruto with the collapsing bridge and a falling Sakura, who he catches with his jutsu. In his place, he creates and sends a wood clone to track Sai and Naruto.
In the forest, Naruto’s blood mixes with kyuubi’s chakra, hastening his transformation into a four-tailed fox. Serious deforestation ensues.
Jan. 10, 2008. ep. 42: Orochimaru vs. Jinchuuriki
A Four-Tailed Naruto attacks Orochimaru, preventing Sai and Yamato’s clone from approaching. Even though Orochimaru’s attacks prove ineffective against the transformed Naruto, he manages to keep up with Naruto through his Regeneration Jutsu. Orochimaru finally lands a scratch on Naruto with his Kusanagi Sword, after failing to pierce the sword through Naruto, and repels him. Sakura and Yamato arrive at the scene, and Sakura is stupefied and terrified by Naruto’s Four-Tailed state.
Jan. 17, 2008. ep. 43: Sakura’s Tears
Kabuto, being the smart aleck that he is, stokes the fire saying that Naruto’s current form is a consequence of his desperation to bring Sasuke back to Konoha. Sakura weeps for her dear friend and tries to approach Naruto, but is instead attacked by him. Blinded by his rage, Naruto only sees Orochimaru. Everything else is a hindrance to that. Yamato then erects chakra-suppressing wooden pillars to bind Naruto before more harm and damage is done. He forces Naruto to return to his normal state, with a distressed Sakura tearful telling Naruto that this is more than enough of a sacrifice to retrieve a friend on her behalf.
Kabuto heals an injured Sakura away from the forest, reasoning that Konoha ninjas and Orochimaru should be allies considering they have a same enemy – Akatsuki.
Sai, under orders from Danzou, appears from hiding in the forest and approaches Orochimaru.
Jan. 24, 2008. ep. 44: The Secret of the Battle!
Sakura tries to heal a badly burnt Naruto, but her medical ninjutsu has no effect on his wounds.
Back in the forest, Orochimaru kills Sai, only to realize it is an ink clone. The real Sai emerges and hands Orochimaru a letter of proposition from Danzou. He then accompanies Orochimaru and Kabuto back to their hideout, as Yamato’s clone trails them.
Naruto finally awakens and the team moves to the battlefield spot in the forest to search for clues. There they pick up Sai’s drawing book and Yamato concludes that under orders of Danzou, Sai is setting up an alliance with Orochimaru to destroy Konoha village.
Jan. 31, 2008. ep. 45: The Consequences of Betrayal
Kabuto creates a fake corpse of Sai to slow down Yamato’s clone. Meanwhile, Yamato asks Naruto to remain at the bridge to heal his wounds and recover from the transformation, but Naruto insists that they pursue Sai. However, the team is forced to take a much-needed break when Sakura’s injuries need to be treated again. Yamato takes this opportunity to speak to Naruto in private and lets him know that it was his Four-Tailed form who injured Sakura. In shock, Naruto condemns his own actions and vouches never to use or rely on kyuubi’s strength again.
Feb 7, 2008. ep. 46: The Unfinished Page
Team Kakashi looks into Sai’s book hoping to find clues about him. All they see is a journey of two boys’ paths and battles, with the final meeting of the boys left unfinished or undocumented.
Orochimaru, Sai and Kabuto reach the hideout, as Yamato’s clone remains hidden. Sai is introduced to the infamous Sasuke – the one who Naruto and Sakura are willing to risk their lives for.
Feb 14, 2008. ep. 47: Infiltration: The Den of the Snake!
On meeting the cool and collected Sasuke, Sai notes that he may get along better with him than Naruto, which earned him a momentary entrapment in Sasuke’s Sharingan. This greatly frightened the emotionless and reticent Sai. After recovering from the genjutsu, Sai gives Orochimaru Konoha’s ANBU black ops name list, courtesy of Danzou, who wants to prove that the alliance is true. Sai is then locked in a room to prevent possible escape and revealing of their hideout.
Team Kakashi reaches the hideout and Yamato gives Sakura and Naruto wooden seeds diffused with his charkra, which would make tracking them easy if they were separated. Sai was also fed these seeds without his knowledge earlier. Yamato then uses his jutsu to open a tunnel into the hideout, as the team travels to Sai’s room undetected.
Feb 28, 2008. ep. 48: Bonds
Team Kakashi enters Sai’s room and confronts him about the plan with Orochimaru. Sai explains that his mission was not only to aid in Konoha’s destruction with the help of Orochimaru, but as a spy against Orochimaru. In ANBU Root, a member is required to take down his own comrade and sever all emotions. As Sakura returns Sai’s book, she remarks that he still has emotions as he treasures whatever is in that book. The team then binds Sai to prevent him from sounding the alarm without hampering their search for Sasuke. Sai tells them that having met Sasuke he knows that Sasuke doesn’t care for them anymore. Naruto responds by revealing that he once hated Sasuke, but over time, with their shared experiences together, they began to from a bond. Because of this bond, Naruto will go to the ends of the earth to bring Sasuke home.
“I don’t care who I have to fight…If someone rips my arms off, I’ll kick him to death…if he rips my legs off, I’ll bite him to death…if he rips my head off, I’ll stare him to death…and if he gouges my eyes, I’ll curse him from beyond the grave…even if I’m torn to shreds…I’ll take Sasuke back” – naruto.wikia.com
March 6, 2008. ep. 49: Something Important…
This friendship between two strangers who become brothers strikes a chord with Sai, who wants to learn more about his “bond” with his deceased brother (depicted in his book). When Kabuto arrives to free him, Sai instead captures him for Team Kakashi in hopes of accompanying Naruto in his quest. Kabuto is then bound and, thinking they won’t get very far, vaguely tells Team Kakashi of Sasuke’s whereabouts. As Yamato’s clone watches over Kabuto, Team Kakashi splits up to find Sasuke. Naruto and Sai take one direction, while Sakura and Yamato take the opposite side.
March 13, 2008. ep. 50: The Picture Book’s Story
Naruto collapses from his earlier injuries, while searching for Sasuke. When Naruto comes to, Sai, who stayed by Naruto’s side while he was unconscious, remembers what he wanted to draw – him and his brother smiling in the middle of his book. He tells Naruto, he once grew up with a fellow ANBU Root member who he grew to think of as an older brother. Sai had a picture book made, depicting their opponents and illustrating their feelings for each other. This brother passed on from an illness but Root’s training suppressed the memory he had of his brother. After bonding with Naruto, he remembers that it is his intention to draw him and his brother holding hands in the center pages, leading to Sai smiling his first genuine smile.
Orochimaru finds them resting and attacks. Naruto becomes bait to allow Sai to scout for Sasuke. Using his ink rats, Sai finds Sasuke’s room. Sakura and Yamato come to Naruto’s aid as Orochimaru retreats. The remaining Team Kakashi looks through Sai’s bag of belongings. Yamato finds Sai’s bingo book and realizes that Sai top-secret mission is to kill Sasuke. The team panics and rushes off to look for Sasuke.
March 20, 2008. ep. 51 & 52: Reunion & The Power of Uchiha
Sai enters Sasuke’s room and awakens him. However, instead of following his orders of killing him, Sai tells Sasuke that he wants to preserve Naruto and Sasuke’s bond of brotherhood. Irritated with Sai for waking him up for that, Sasuke answers with a huge explosion, which draws the remaining Team Kakashi’s attention. After a long lapse, Sakura and Naruto finally meet their friend. Sai declares that he is disobeying his mission by his master – Danzou, and instead, wishes to aid Naruto in bringing Sasuke back to Konoha.
“I only have… one brother… the man I want to kill.” (Sasuke to Sai when he was so rudely awaken from his slumber) – naruto.wikia.com
Sasuke, wanting no part in this “brotherhood,” begins attacking Naruto, showing Naruto how much he has improved over the 2.5 years apart. Sai steps in, but Sasuke keeps them at bay with his Chidori lightning. Sakura tries to intervene but is stopped by Yamato, who ends up being stabbed by Sasuke’s Chidori-infused katana.
In his sub-conscious, kyuubi eggs Naruto on to use his powers, but Sasuke, using his Sharingan, appears in front of them. Behind a caged prison, kyuubi remarks that Sasuke’s chakra reminds him of Madara Uchiha. However, Sasuke suppresses Kyuubi’s chakra, thus freeing Naruto from his hold.
April 3, 2008. ep. 53: Title
Sasuke withdraws with Orochimaru and Kabuto after they convince him to spare his former teammates.
Naruto cries for his failure and weakness in bringing Sasuke home, but ultimately he cries for, once again, losing a friend. Sakura comforts and reassures him that, together, they will bring Sasuke home to Konoha.
Yamato reports to Tsunade of Danzou’s treachery: attempted pact with Orochimaru, leaking of classified ANBU information to Orochimaru and finally the order to kill Sasuke.
At the ANBU Root base, Sai seeks Danzou’s permission to remain with Kakashi’s team. Danzou agrees, sinisterly thinking he may still have a use for Sai in the future. Sai, happy to be accepted by the team, goes on a mission with his new friends. Even though he is socially challenged, Sai tries to fit in with the Konoha teenagers by reading self-help books, which seem to land him in more trouble than help him.