Past Arc ~The Locus of Konoha~
The ninth season of Naruto Shippuden (Part II of the by Kishimoto Masashi ) began airing from September 2, 2010 to January 27, 2011. This 21-episode (176-196) filler arc back-tracks to Naruto’s childhood: teachers who shaped him and believed in him, and friends who finally realize how much Naruto has done for them and the village.
The season’s opening and ending themes:
1. 透明だった世界 – Transparent World) ‘s “Toumei datta Sekai” (
(ep. 176-179) DOWNLOAD
2. Nico Touches the Wall’s “Diver” (ep. 180-196) DOWNLOAD
3. Supercell’s “Utakata Hanabi” (うたかた花火) (ep. 176-179)
4. Domino’s “You Can Do It” (ep. 180-192) DOWNLOAD
5. Aqua Timez’ “Mayonaka no Orchestra” (真夜中のオーケストラ, “Midnight Orchestra”) (193-196)
Sept. 2, 2010 | ep. 176: Kohona’s History of Rookie Instructor Iruka
Zetsu watches from afar Pain’s demise and hurries back to inform Tobi of the latest development.
Elsewhere in Kumogakure (Cloud Village), Team Samui consisting of Killer Bee’s former students: Samui, Karui and Omoi make their 4-day journey to Konohagakure to inform Tsunade that Lord Raikage will be dealing directly with Sasuke in hopes of retrieving Killer Bee.
Konoha has suffered a massive destruction, but the tree that Naruto once swung his swing stands. Iruka Sensei reminisces how far Naruto has traveled to come to this point.
As a rookie instructor, Iruka was assigned as the homeroom teacher to mischievous and prankster Naruto by the Third Hokage. His first impression of Naruto, is watching him pour red paint over the Hokages’ stone monument, while the Third made that request. He had no choice but to accept that responsibility. As he leaves the Third’s office, he hears Naruto running away from the villagers, screaming that he is not, “that thing! He will be the Hokage one day.”
The following day at school, Naruto realizing there is a new homeroom teacher goes in to set up his prank. Iruka, worried about the child, speaks a fellow teacher who advises him to ignore Naruto’s pranks, and soon enough, the mischief will go away. Iruka steps into class with a eraser falling on to him. In anger, he storms into the class asking the culprit to stand up. Instead, he slips on the oil and falls. That was the actual prank, not the eraser. Naruto laughs at him, and immediately walks out of the classroom, assuming he would be punished by staying out of the class. Instead, Iruka tells him to go back to his seat and introduces himself to the class as Umino Iruka, their new homeroom teacher.
Iruka teaches them theory of chakra manipulation, while Naruto sleeps in his class. He is about to pull another prank, but Iruka is on to him. As the class continues, the children are taught ninjutsu, by first creating a bunshin: clone jutsu. Sasuke is called upon to show the rest how it is done, as the girls swoon and sigh as he demonstrates his creation of a perfect bunshin. Naruto, jealous of the attention, attacks both Sasuke’s clones, insisting he too can create the perfect bunshin. Unfortunately, he makes a half dead clone that brings on a storm of laughter from the class. The rest of the kids call him an annoyance and disturbance to the class. Iruka steps in, to stop the jeering, much to the delight of Naruto. But he tells them not to bother with Naruto and move on instead.
The Third watches quietly as Naruto is left alone by everyone.
Not wanting to give up, Naruto goes into the forest by himself to perfect the bunshin technique as Hinata watches him. He returns home feeling down, but is offered free ramen by his favorite ramen store owner. Why do they not like him?
The lessons continues, this time with shuriken throwing. After Shino tells Iruka that his weapon of choice is insects and not shuriken, Sasuke gets called upon to demonstrate again. Naruto, angered by Sasuke’s popularity, tells everyone that he too can do it. He throws his shuriken, and barely misses Iruka’s head. The next day at school, Naruto overhears the other students talking about Sasuke being he last surviving Uchiha.
Sept. 9, 2010 | ep. 177: Iruka’s Ordeal
At the playground, Naruto tries to play with the other children, but they will not let him join in the fun (much like Rudolph). One of the boys let slip that they will be heading to the graveyard that night for a little game of “dare.” Since they warn him not to join, the more he will be there. He heads into the stores to find a mask, but he gets weird looks just strolling down the street and is called a plague. At the store, he eyes a mask, but the store owner pushes him out of the store, and hurls the mask at him, asking him to leave. Shikamaru and Choji see this.
That night, as the kids head to the grave, Naruto frightens them with his newly acquired mask. The children dash off, calling the ghoul a “Fox Demon!” They bump into Iruka Sensei while running away, and he in turn, investigates the “demon” at the graveyard. Upon reaching the site, he realizes it’s none other than Naruto. Seeing Naruto reminds him of his parents protecting the village against kyuubi, and perishing during the course. Iruka sensei, angered, questions Naruto if he knows what he has gotten himself into?
“Why?!” Naruto screams. “Why does everyone, including my own teacher, look at me like that. I am not a germ. I am Naruto Uzumaki.”
Iruka is suddenly guilty of what everyone else is doing to this poor orphan. Take away kyuubi sealed in him, and Naruto is exactly like him. A parentless child trying to fit in.
“I’m not returning to the Ninja Academy again,” Naruto swears and runs off.
True enough, Naruto doesn’t show up to class the next day. After class, Iruka goes to see the Third Hokage, but he is not granted an audience. Depressed, he goes into a park only to stumble upon Kakashi reading his Icha-Icha novel. He begins to tell Kakashi about his troubles with Naruto, not knowing how to get through to him. After listening, Kakashi shares with him this piece of advice. “You can’t open the mind of another, if you don’t open yours first.”
All Iruka sees is Naruto as kyuubi, the killer of his parents. How can he live up to the Hokage’s expectations, and share the Will of the Fire to the next generation when he is blinded by his own hatred and skewed views. He has to overcome that.
Iruka later heads home through the playgrounds and sees a few kids playing with Naruto. As the parents come to collect their kids, they all warn their children not to play with Naruto anymore. All Naruto sees is children having someone to return home to. Once again, Shikamaru and Choji watches.
Naruto just needs a hand to guide him. He leaves for home, and sees Sasuke sitting by the river bank by himself, alone like him. When Sasuke looks up at him, he turns away haughtily. He has a quiet dinner of cup ramen by himself.
The next morning, Naruto is awaken by the ringing of the doorbell. He looks, and sees Iruka sensei at the other side of the door. He quickly sneaks away. Iruka walks into Naruto’s room, and left over cup ramen. (What was he expecting? A ten-course meal?) Meanwhile, Shikamaru is having breakfast with his parents. He asks his father about Naruto’s treatment by the rest.
“Why is everyone treating him like a plague? Is there something wrong with him?”
Instead of answering that question, his father turns the question back to him. “What do you think of him?”
“He’s stupid. But funny. I don’t want to avoid him.”
“Then do as you please,” replies his very wise father. (If only Naruto had someone like that in his life…very soon, though.)
On the streets, Naruto meets up with the same group of kids he scared before. They tell him that he can join their group only if he went into the back hills to retrieve some corpse’s belongings. Naruto jumps at the chance of getting friends and dashes off. Meanwhile, the boys laugh at his stupidity. It seems that the ground still has enemies lurking from a previous mission. Shikamaru and Choji overhears this. In class, as Iruka goes through roll call, he notices Naruto missing again. He questions the kids if they have seen him. The group of kids deny seeing him, but Shikamaru immediately tells Iruka that the boys, led by Hibachi, told Naruto to head to the back hills to retrieve some things. Iruka immediately leaves the class in search for Naruto. He is in grave danger.
Sept. 16, 2010 | ep. 178: Iruka’s Determination
Iruka was told that foreign spies had infiltrated the back hills of Konohagakure. They are there looking for intel on the Leaf Village. Knowing Naruto is in there, he goes in search for him and dismisses class.
In the forest, Naruto goes in search of the corpse with the purported secret object. He bumps into a worried Iruka sensei who orders him back to the Academy. Naruto tells him he will never return to the Academy. As a teacher, Iruka never did understand his feelings. He’s always alone, left out of everybody’s games. No one cares for him. But this time, it’s different. If and when he finds that thing and bring it back to the boys, he will have friends.
Iruka tries to dissuade Naruto by telling him it’s dangerous. But he just pull out his sexy jutsu and throws Iruka off. He uses the opportunity to run away from his teacher and stumbles upon an aftermath of a battle. Soon he gets hungry, after running away from Iruka earlier without breakfast. He climbs a tree to get eggs from a nest and sees a black kunai that is different from the rest. Elsewhere, the foreign ninjas sees Naruto with that kunai and realize that that’s the secret they were looking for. They go after him. Soon, he is stopped and asked for the kunai. He screams. He tries on the sexy jutsu to the ninja, but turns out, they are women too. Fortunately, he knows the layout of the woods well enough to know where the forest traps are. He leads them into the traps, but he himself stumbles and falls down a hill. Just as he loses consciousness, someone gets to him.
Back at the village, Kakashi notices Shikamaru and Choji playing hooky. Shikamuru simply tells him that he’s not allowed to speak to strangers. To which Kakashi names him and their parents, and threatens to tell their parents they were skipping class. Shikamaru immediately tells Kakashi that the were not skipping class, but that Iruka had let them have a free period when he went after Naruto in the woods. Kakashi sends them back into the Academy, and quickly goes after them.
Naruto’s words finally get to Iruka as he continues his search for him. He is like him, alone and orphaned. He was the son of heroes. He smiled when in public, but cried when he was alone. He was part of the Will of Fire that will grow up to protect the village. However, he was never ostracized. Naruto’s screams reaches Iruka. He finally catches up to an unconscious Naruto as the spies get to them. Naruto goes in and out of consciousness, but not before realizing that Iruka is there to protect him. Iruka carries Naruto off, evading the barrage of shuriken attacks from the ninjas.
Lucky for them, Kakashi gets to them in time. Kakashi sends Iruka off with Naruto, as he holds the spies off. The attack him with Katon: Karura, but Kakashi easily dispels it and attacks them with his Raikiri.
With Naruto safe, Iruka promises that he will never turn his back on him again. Turns out, the document tied to the kunai was Konoha’s patrol route schedule. Naruto had inadvertently saved the village. Iruka thanks the Third for putting Naruto under his care. After realizing how scary an angry and screaming Iruka can be, Naruto promises to return to the Academy. Iruka passes on the Will of Fire to him. Telling him about heroes and the Fourth Hokage, who died protecting everyone in the village. In that case, Naruto vows not only to be stronger than the Fourth, but to be the Hokage one day.
Back to the present, Sasuke is healed. Ex-Team Hebi, now Team Taka, is ready to move as Suigetsu returns with his lost Executioner’s Blade, but Juugo still in his chibi form. They will leave for Konoha. Elsewhere, Zetsu reports to Madara and the remaining Kisame on the death of Pain by Naruto and the defecting Konan. They no longer can synchronize their powers to draw out bijuus with that little members left. In any case, Kisame will still have to search for the real Hachibi, while Madara goes in search for something.
At Konohagakure, Yamato learns from Nara Shikaku of Naruto controlling the kyuubi himself when he took down Pain. Their conversation is cut short when an anbu approaches Shikaku to tell him of an emergency council meeting. While Shikaku (with another four more villagers) are summoned before the Fire Daimyo to discuss the village’s response and reconstruction, Yamato is left to rebuild Konoha as efficiently as possible.
Sept. 30, 2010 | ep. 179: Jounin in Charge Kakashi Hatake
Shikaku, together with the two elders of Konoha and Danzou, gather with the leaders and advisers in the Land of Fire to plan the funding and rebuilding of Konohagakure. However, Danzou is quick to turn their attention on electing a new leader as Tsunade lies comatose. A country cannot be without a king. A village cannot be without it’s Hokage. Shikaku, knowing Danzou’s intention, appoints Hatake Kakashi as the successor. He is not only the son of the White Fang, but the student of Minato (Fourth Hokage), who was once a disciple of Jiraiya (the favorite of the daimyo), who in turn was the pupil of the Third Hokage. Everyone is in agreement except for Danzou was calls this a travesty and a continuation of an ideology that has repeatedly opened Konoha to crisis and attacks. Their ideology left Konoha vulnerable to attacks from enemies deep within – namely Orochimaru, Akatsuki, Pain and the disertion of Sasuke of the Uchiha clan. Their philosophy of kindness leading to peace is hurting the village more than it is protecting it. Konoha can no longer afford to look weak in the eyes of the enemy. They need someone who will enforce the laws of the shinobi, someone to bring order to chaos. Danzou unabashedly appoints himself (when no else would) as the Sixth Hokage. The daimyo, who was initially happy with the appointment of Kakashi, is soon persuaded and swayed by Danzou and his advisers’ reasonings to appoint him as the temporary Hokage.
Back at Konohagakure, Sakura, Naruto and Kakashi watch over the unconscious Tsunade while the rest of the villagers pitch up temporary tents. As the younger two head out to retrieve clean water, Kakashi remembers the day Team 7 was born. It was Kakashi’s first go at mentoring the genins. What more with three rambunctious children, Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, each with a problem to deal with. But when the Third asks, you comply. Thus began the formation of the rest of the teams. Team 8 consisting of Shino, Hinata and Kiba led by Kurenai. Team Guy with Neji, Tenten and Lee led by Mighty Guy. Team 10 led by Asuma, consisting of Shikamaru, Ino and Choji. It is at this point that Shikaku sits Asuma down for a game of shogi and a chat. He likens Asuma to a General at war, while he is a mere pawn to be moved around (even though he clearly beats Asuma in the game). But Shikaku entrusts his little boy, Shikamaru, to Asuma. After all is said and done, he asks Asuma if he has found the answer to his riddle (of who the King of Konoha is). The answer will soon be revealed to him.
Kakashi and the Third visit Naruto’s room, and Kakashi picks up on Naruto’s box of spoiled milk. The Third assures Kakashi that he is the right choice to guide the children. He has good instincts to lead the children, especially the boys. He is not only the student of Minato, father to Naruto, but the owner of Obito’s Sharingan. It is the Third’s intention to build a good relationship between Naruto and Sasuke, as the later can hopefully control kyuubi one day. But Danzou overhears this, and his deceitful wheels start turning again. Kakashi on the other hand, begin to spy on the children. He notices that Naruto is infatuated with Sakura, but Sakura only has eyes for the aloof Sasuke. Just as Obito and Minato once taught him, he will try to instill camaraderie and team work within these children. Naruto goes out of his way to impersonate Sasuke, only to realize that Sakura sees him as an annoying boy. But when the real Sasuke appears before Sakura, she bashes Naruto’s ill-breeding for his lack of guidance with parents (or lack thereof). Sasuke hears this as his lacking too, since he too is an orphan. He tells her she’s “urusai yo!” – annoying. When she realizes her folly, that Naruto could really be lonely, she begins to feel depressed. Seeing this, Naruto goes after Sasuke, to pummel some sense into him. Instead, he is beated into a pulp, with a shuriken stuck to his ass. Ah! This is what Kakashi has to deal with, as he looks at his set of bells that the children will have to overcome. Doesn’t look like they can pass the test. But then we know what happens.
Back to the present, Kakashi watches the children and realizes it is up to him to retrieve Sasuke for them.
Oct. 7, 2010 | ep. 180: Inari’s Courage Tested
Konohagakure rebuilds with the commendable but tiring effort of Yamato and the rest of the ninjas. However, Tsunade is still lying unconscious. As Naruto and Sakura wonder around the village, watching the reconstruction, they bump into a teenage Inari with his grandfather Tazuna from the Land of the Waves. He has become a carpenter and heard about Konoha’s devastation. They are there to help, as Konoha once did when their land was under attack.
After the Zabuza mission,Team 7 returns to Konohagakure. But Naruto realizes he must have left his Ichiraku ramen coupon at Tazuna’s place. He takes off. However, Kakashi tells Sasuke to follow Naruto and bring him back. It’s all part of building teamwork. In the meantime, Inari finds said coupon that Naruto has been raving about and goes in search of Naruto. One’s coming, the other’s going.
On the way to Naruto, Inari bumps into bullies from the village who calls him snobbish after his association with the ninjas who cleared out the Gato gang. But the bad-asses have not left the village. They were lying in wait for the Konoha ninjas to leave before they made their move. Once they overhear that the ninjas have left, they immediately pounce on the youngsters. In the mean time, Naruto and Sasuke searches for Inari, as Naruto takes a leak, shouben. He finds the Ichiraku coupon as Sasuke points out that there are signs of struggle. As they track the footprints, rain pours, threatening to wash out their last chance of finding the children. Naruto and Sasuke sees the freshly cut trees, signs of the Gato gang and immediately panic.
At the hideout, the remaining Gato gang are thinking of ways to ransom the kids. But Inari, after having a good talk with Naruto before he left, decides not to give up without a fight. Inari manages to release the other three boys, and together they escape the hideout. However, the gang tracks them into the forest. With no where to run, Inari uses himself as bait, while the rest flee. He takes off, with the gang running after him, until he is cornered at the edge of a cliff, with a rushing river under him. Before they nab him, he jumps into the river. His father once swam the river to fix the dams. He told a young Inari that with his two hands, he can do anything, including swim. But the current is too strong now. Lucky for him, Naruto and Sasuke, with the help of the run-a-way children, manage to find Inari. Naruto calls on his kagebunshins, and Sasuke as the anchor, to finally pull Inari out of the gushing river.
Elsewhere, the villagers realize that their boys are missing from dinner. They gather up their men to go in search of the children.
The Gato gang catches up to them, as a fight ensues, while Sasuke brings Inari off to safety first. After that, it’s the awesome combination of brain and brawn. While Naruto’s bunshins engage the men, Sasuke sets up a trap with his wind shuriken, luring them into a pit hole of tumbling wood. With most of them stopped, the remaining gang takes off. However, they are stopped by the approaching villagers. They are warned never to return, while they are shipped away to the authorities.
In the end, Naruto and Inari hugs and cries at their tearful reunion. But Naruto bawls even harder when he realizes he has lost his ramen coupon for good. Sasuke rolls his eyes.
Sasuke and Naruto learn teamwork and build an everlasting bond of friendship and brotherhood.
Oct. 14, 2010 | ep. 181: Naruto’s School of Revenge
At the rebuilding of Konoha, the conversation among the ninjas and the Land of the Waves citizen continue as they begin to reminisce happier and simpler times with Team 7. Naruto has certainly turn out to be a fine young man.
On one of their lower ranked mission retrieving stray animals (this time it was a pecking ostrich), Team 7 walked into a duel in a town: Katazu vs. Tsukado. Tsukado is seeking to avenge a member of the Shikazo family, even though he has failed 34 times. The 35th time could be a winner.
Naruto, seeing his plight, begin to give him unsolicited advice. 1. Anger will rile you up to fight. 2. Take all vendettas seriously, no matter how insignificant. 3. Fill the mind with images of the enemy. During this time, the stray ostrich runs amok, but Tsukado easily stops him, surprising everyone with his mastery of the sword, unlike his performance during the duel. He then explains to Team 7, that the man’s eyes drains him off his urge to kill.
On the next fight, the Kanabun Gang places bet on the duel. Tsukado tries to fight with his eyes close, but on the final kill, Naruto stops them. He realizes that Tsukado can’t kill him because this man’s blade has never killed another.
Katazu had a twin brother. It was by accident that the man was killed, but there were no witnesses to vouch for his innocence. Since he had a family to care for, Katazu took the identity of his brother. If Tsukado still wants to kill him, he will not fight for his life. Tsukado doesn’t want to fight anymore, but the Kanabun Gang forces it since money was at stake. Team 7 goes to their aid.
After the incident, Naruto comments that revenge is hard to commit, but Sasuke corrects him, asking him what he knows about revenge.
Back at the present time, Naruto finally realizes that he never did truly understand Sasuke’s hunger for revenge, until he himself lost his master. That was why his first try at the Valley was unsuccessful. The next time they meet, they will have a real fight and Team 7 will be whole again.
Oct. 21, 2010 | ep. 182: Gaara ‘Bonds’
Kankuro finally rebuilds his puppets after Sasori destroyed it (ns1) during the abduction of Gaara. The siblings of the Sand Village know that the Leaf Village has been devastated by Pain. Rebuilding won’t be easy, what’s more, they are without their Hokage, their pillar of strength and hope. But Gaara is sure that they are doing fine. They have him…
When they were younger, the elders of the Sand Village didn’t think too well of Gaara. Kankuro even warned him before he left for a joint mission with Konohagakure’s Team 7, that they will be out to get him. Gaara will have to work hard to prove himself, and to gain trust their trust. But Gaara is no longer the same person he was during the Chuunin exam. Even when Naruto hurls a stone at him, he only uses his ultimate defense of sand to protect himself, and not to attack. Gaara joins Team 7 with his subordinates Yaoki and Korobi. As Kakashi tells them their plan for the mission, to sneak up to the intended bandits unaware, Gaara pulls Kakashi aside to let him know that someone is tracking him. The higher ups of his village detest him. Not only do they want his head, but his subordinates are afraid of him. They split up to attend to their mission.
But Gaara and his men are waylaid. He protects them with his sand, only to have the puppets that the subordinates are carrying turn against Gaara. Unknown to them, the puppets were rigged earlier by the elders. The released puppets entrap him, but not before Gaara tells his men to leave. He is sprayed with water jutsu, to weaken his sand.
Elsewhere, Team 7 realizes that someone is tailing them. The Sand inspectors are there to watch their joint mission, since they do not trust Gaara. Once they are discovered, the Sand ninjas tell them that Gaara’s power poses a threat to them. They are there to eliminate him. This just angers Naruto, who cannot believe that they will harm their own. Naruto attacks them, with Sasuke protecting him. The Sand ninjas made a mistake in assuming that Team 7 thought like them.
Naruto bumps into the two subordinates, and realizes that they were not going for help, but abandoning a friend instead. Naruto head towards Gaara, but not before giving them a piece of his mind. Naruto arrives with his bunshins in time to save Gaara. But he is not alone. Yaoki and Korobi have also returned. They apologize to Gaara for deserting a friend. Gaara then takes them all down with his one dry sand ball. When Naruto tries to expose their masked faces, Gaara stops him. These are his people after all. Just like that, instead of being a feared weapon, he became the Kazekage of the Sand Village, protecting them and forming a bond with them.
Naruto was the one who taught him that. Konoha has him. They will overcome this devastation.
Oct. 28, 2010 | ep. 183: Naruto Outbreak
Shizune and Sakura watches over the unconscious Tsunade, who has become her age overnight. Naruto and Choji visits the Hokage, and the ladies with nourishment. It pains Naruto to see Tsunade weakened, and he quickly makes an excuse to leave to help Ichiraku ramen shop to rebuild. Seeing this remind Sakura of when Naruto was once “sick.”
After their mission, a young Naruto promptly sneezes on Sakura. This sends her to the infirmary, which gets Tsunade thinking it maybe a highly contagious chakra virus that causes the victim to lose his/her ability to mold chakra for months. After investigating, she realizes that Naruto is the most likely source of the outbreak. They will have to contain him before things get out of hand and enemies find an opportunity to attack the village when they are down. The medical team is dispatched immediately to retrieve Naruto, but he manages to evade all of them. Left with no choice, Tsunade calls on the rest of the chunins to aid her, but Naruto and his clones manage to escape Choji, Tenten, Kiba/Akamaru and even Shino. Finally Naruto is outed by a resting Sasuke in the infirmary. After nabbing him, Tsunade is told that Sakura really doesn’t have the chakra virus. She was just tired and worn out from their mission.
As an old Japanese saying goes, “Fools will never catch colds.” It is a common superstition that stupid people are immune to colds, thus Naruto would have been immune to it, which is why he was only a host.
Nov. 4, 2010 | ep. 184: Deploy! Team Tenten
Team Guy is short-handed with Lee recovering from his injuries. Naruto is added to the team, to assist Neji and Tenten in their next D-rank mission: to retrieve 1000 shuriken and kunai from Konoha’s research lab in the forest.
Tenten is assigned as the leader of the team, because only she can transport that many tools with her jutsu. There, they meet with the master Sir Iou and his apprentice, a bespectacled Shoseki. Seems like the weapons innovator has some really weird and untested tools in his shed. But these are not up to par. Tenten requests that they fulfill the order of 1000 kunai and shuriken, and leave them to their work. But when they return to check on the blacksmith, they discover that both have disappeared. They go in search of them, and end up in a trap room. When the boys can’t overcome the traps, Tenten takes over and solves it. There they stumble upon an arsenal haven. As Tenten is about to load up on these treasures, Master Iou and Shoseki appear. They have a better weapon, the Jidanda. But two intruders, Kusune and Gameru, crashes the party and forces Iou to cough up his newly designed weapons. Tenten fends them off using Jidanda. Victorious, they return with only their shuriken and kunai as Jidanda still needed adjustment.
Nov. 11, 2010 | ep. 185: Animal District
Little Naruto has a new mission with team members Shino, Lee and captain Kotetsu: hunt down the ninja ostrich. Unknown to them, the ostrich is helped by other ninja animals: an aardvark, more ostriches and a kangaroo and its baby.
Nov. 18, 2010 | ep. 186: The Medicine of Youth
As Sakura tends to the still unconscious Tsunade, Lee visits them, bringing with him Guy Sensei’s elixir. Reminiscing on how Tsunade had once saved him after breaking every bone in his body and told he may never become a ninja again, Lee vows that the Hokage will definitely awaken to Guy’s medicine.
During Lee’s deadly injury after his battle with Gaara, Naruto accidentally drains Lee’s elixir from Guy Sensei. After seeking out Guy Sensei and finding that the medicine is made from Jofuku flowers, Naruto promises to return to Konohagakure with the flower. Together with Sakura and Ino, they head to Jofuku Mountain, coincidentally, for a mission. When they finally reach the mountain, they are greeted by a flower of 7 colors radiating around them. Naruto immediately plucks one and releases a golden swarm of sand. Caught in the flower’s protective genjutsu, the group sees Gaara attacking them. An old woman hastily stop their attack, telling them that this is only the flower’s protective illustion.
After their faux pas, the three return to the Leaf Village with three heavy bags of Jofuku flowers.
Nov. 25, 2010 | ep. 187 & 188: Record of the Gutsy Master and the Ninja Student
After Naruto’s rousing defeat by Sasuke, while stopping him from following Orochimaru, he lands up in the hospital. Jiraiya visits him only to advice him tot give up on retrieving Sasuke. It’s the unfortunate fate of a ninja who has to learn to wisen up and know when to give up. Naruto answers that if that is the case, then he will be a “fool for life and continue to pursue Sasuke and beat up the Akatsuki. He’ll just have to come up with a new way to fight.” Impressed by his answer and determination to what Jiraiya couldn’t do for Orochimaru, Jiraiya too resolves to aid Naruto in his quest.
They go on a training journey where Jiraiya teaches Naruto to break free from the control of genjutsu, a skill perfected by Sharingan bearers. Naruto learns that to break from the genjutsu, he has to create a distrubance within his own chakra, much like how the Rasengan is created. Jiraiya summons the effeminate and cross-dressing Gamariki to aid them, but NAruto accidentally disrupts the flow outside his body instead of inside, causing Gamariki to be injured.
To further their training, Jiraiya brings Naruto to the mountains where it is surrounded by naturally occurring magnetic field that creates an illusion. Upon reaching the village, the are stopped by a wall of a barrier, which Jiraiya finds suspicious. There they meet Tanishi, son of Sukune and friend of Jiraiya. Tanishi tells them that his father died protecting the villager and its residents from invaders, led by Kandachi. On top of that, the women and children of the village were taken hostage to prevent the remaining men from running for help. Tanishi will not be a fool like his father.
Knowing what they have to do, Jiraiya knocks the child out cold.
Jiraiya is caught Tanishi in exchange for the freedom of his mother and village people. Ninja master Kandachi of the Hidden Rain Village knows this is but a ruse, when the real Tanishi appears. Turns out, it is Naruto in disguise, trying to save the villagers. Kandachi retaliates by feeding the caught villagers to his Conch King in the Lake. The rash Naruto tries to take out the Conch King with his Rasengan, but the shell is just too hard to penetrate.
Jiraiya goes in to save the villagers, but not before reminding Tanishi that his father, Sukune, was a brave man who died defending his village. While Jiraiya pulls the caged villagers to safety, Naruto engages Kandachi, but is easily thrown back. However, Naruto is not one to give up. He is a fool, but one who will never give up. Seeing this, Tanishi is reminded of his late father’s tenacity too. He goes in aid of Jiraiya, bringing the villagers to safety in a nearby cave.
Before long, the master and student are caught in the Conch King’s genjutsu of icy breath. Kandachi promises that the two will soon succumb to mental breakdown. But Tanishi returns and breaks the spell with a chili pepper bomb. Naruto creates a bigger Rasengan and finally takes down the Conch King and Kandachi.
Jiraiya and Naruto continue with their journey with Jiraiya seeing Naruto’s semblance to his late father, the Fourth Hokage. Naruto is not only his namesake godson, but his grandson.
Team 7 is asked to collect the last cat paw print to complete the “Paw Encyclopedia.”
Dec. 9, 2010 | ep. 190: Naruto and the Old Soldier
Naruto teams up with the eternal Genin, Kosuke, Captain Hayama and Tekuno for a mission to patrol the Northern Border. Kosuke is said to have served not only the Second Hokage, but subsequent ones too (the Third and Fourth – Naruto’s father). He has even trained with Jiraiya and worked with Kakashi’s father, the White Fang, but Naruto brushes it off as just a boast, considering that he is still a genin.
Kosuke proves to be very reliable and handy for the team as he cooks and makes camp for the team. He remembers well that the Third once chastised and questioned him if he had the Will of Fire in him. Meanwhile, Tekuno begins to lay traps down for intruders of their village.
During their move, they are suddenly attacked by intruders. But the traps set by Tekuno allows them to evade the intruders momentarily. They will have to report this back to the village while Captain Hayama holds them back. Needing more time to get to retreat back to their second line of defense, Tekuno summons his fire power to allow Naruto and Kosuke, the two genins to retreat to the village. Even so, the two are stopped by three more enemy ninjas. Kosuke begins to use his jutsu, that is far beyond the capabilities of a mere genin. Long ago, he friends died and he blamed himself for the mistake. He quickly sends Naruto off as he holds them back.
Using his wok as a shield, an earth-style user attacks him. His water-style jutsu, taught by the White Fang and honed by the Third, manages to hold her off a bit, until she slyly stabs him in the leg. She remarks that they left the genins so that the elders could escape. But he corrects her. He is a genin. His captain fought the enemies, so that the weaker ones could escape. The way of the Leaf Village is the elders/strongest will never leave their men/weaker ones behind. The enemy is about to finish him off, but Naruto appears and protects Kosuke instead. As Naruto tells Kosuke that he will always protect a friend, Kosuke is reminded of what the Fourth once said to him. Naruto is truly his father’s son. Revived and renewed from Naruto’s encouragement, Kosuke drenched the enemy with his water-style jutsu.
Dec. 16, 2010 | ep. 191: Kakashi Love Song
As Konohagakure rebuilds, a singer entertains the weary crowd. Kakashi is reminded of how he once crossed path with this beautiful songstress, Hanare.
Hanare, a kunoichi, was capture by Konoha’s anbu as a spy and was sent for interrogation by Morino Ibiki. After an unsuccessful attempt, Yamanaka Inoichi was sent to infiltrate her thoughts. There, he sees an elder man instructing Hanare to infiltrate Konoha. He sees her traveling as a singer, and then promptly caught, which means she learned nothing of importance. Unfortunately, she has no memories of her village, but sees a young Kakashi in her thoughts. Suprised, Kakashi is called in to further extract her memories. It seems her memories were purged before the mission, and what remained of it was just Kakashi. Instead of interrogating her, Kakashi takes her on a tour of the village, much to Team 7’s disbelief, who thinks she is Kakashi’s girlfriend.
The children begin to follow their teacher and the beauty around. During their tour, Hanare tells Kakashi that she has never met her parents. Neither does she know her village, who raised her as a child. However, she loves clouds. He thought her that a long time ago when she was lost. If she looked hard enough at the clouds, she will never be lonely as someone will always be watching over her. He became her hope. But then she was taught the life of a spy.
At this point, the children inch closer only to topple over the adults causing Kakashi and Hanare to share a momentary kiss. At this point, Kakashi’s sharingan is exposed.
Suddenly, the Leaf Village is told that Riichi, their comrade, has been kidnapped and will be traded for Hanare’s return. Kakashi opposes the exchange but to no avail. At the bridge of exchange, Kakashi follows Hanare as the exchanger. As he is ready to release her, the bridge collapses. Knowing this trap, Kakashi gives chase towards a running Hanare. His eye had read her jutsu. Her right eye was weaving the jutsu. Her capture was their plan to retrieve information from Inoichi instead. However, before she was exchanged, she had deleted that information. She can no longer return home as she has betrayed her family. She asks to be killed by Kakashi’s hands. Instead, he releases her as she jumps off the cliff.
Dec. 23, 2010 | ep. 192: Neji’s Chronicles
Neji watches Hinata as she tends to the wounds of the injured. Konohamaru’s team approaches Neji to interview him for the Academy Newspapers, asking him to relay some of Naruto’s heroic deeds while a genin. Instead, Neji tells them of his experience during the Chunin exams three years earlier.
It is Gaara’s and Sasuke match, and Neji just lost his match against Naruto and is licking his wounds in the infirmary while Ten-Ten visits him. Unlike what she thinks, he is not disappointed with the outcome. They return to the match to watch the rest of the battles, but Orochimaru attacks the village with the aid of the Sand and Sound Villages. In the commotion, two rogue ninjas from the Hidden Cloud Village take the opportunity to kidnap Hinata. Lord Hyuga asks Neji to retrieve his heir and beloved daughter. Assembling a quick team, Neji, Ten-Ten, Kiba and Akamaru rush out to save Hinata. However, they are outmaneuvered by the Ronins ahead of them and are trapped. The team is forced to split up, while Neji acts as decoy to lure the kidnappers out, thus allowing Hinata to leave with Kiba. However Neji is no match against these seasoned ninjas. Trapped, the ninjas taunt him that he is merely a sacrificial lamb for the Hyuuga family, until Hiashi appears. He came to protect his precious daughter and beloved nephew, son to his dear brother.
Even though Naruto wasn’t in the story, his influence was very important at that juncture in his life. Neji wasn’t just a slave to the clan. Just as he didn’t want to be the heir and sacrifice to the Hyuuga clan, Hinata too didn’t want to be associated that way. Most importantly, Lord Hyuuga did not see him as a mere sacrifice.
While sieving through photographs from the destruction area, Naruto finds a picture that reminds him of an old man he met once as a genin.
While heading home during a thunderstorm, Naruto falls into a ravine. There he finds a rock with a seal tag labeled Kisuke. Curious, he tries to read more of the seal, but accidentally peels it off the rock. Frightened, he takes off towards home. That night, while sleeping, he realizes someone is sleeping on him. He awakens only to realize in shock that a ghost is standing before him. He questions the spirit, but he doesn’t even remember his name, much less how he ended up in Naruto’s room. Naruto realizes that the entity may belong to the tag that he pulled off from the rock.
To uncover his past, Naruto asks the villagers, but no one seem to know who “Kisuke” is. He looks for the Third Hokage, but is told he is at a very important meeting. Disheartened, Naruto stumbles into Sakura who reprimands him for missing practice. He asks her if she has heard of anyone named Kisuke. She recalls that she overheard the nurses in the hospital talking about a person by that name. Excited, Naruto dashes off with Kisuke towards the hospital.
Meanwhile, at the meeting, Sabiru, a young anbu, proposes a new security plan for the Leaf Village, which impresses the elders Koharu and Homaru.
In the hospital, Naruto finds a Maboroshi Kisuke lying in a coma on life support. Kisuke’s spirit is unable to rest in peace because his body is still alive! To regain his memories, Naruto brings Kisuke back to his home. At the old home, Kisuke recalls what happened leading to his comatose state. His house was burnt down, together with his wife in it. He was part of the anbu team, charged with spying on Sabiru who is trying to implement a new security system for the Leaf Village. To charge Sabiru, Kisuke had to find evidence to prove his guilt. During a chase, Kisuke was fooled into thinking that Sabiru was trapped. Instead, using the soul detachment jutsu, Kisuke’s body was separated from his soul. Sabiru had to ensure he had total control over the Leaf Village to allow outside forces to attack it.
Naruto rushes back to the hospital with this new revelation only to realize that someone has pulled the life support off of Kisuke. Naruto heads off to the meeting of the elders and exposes Sabiru’s evil scheme. During a chase with Kakashi, Sabiru is taken out by a hiding Kabuto. After dying twice over, Kisuke asks Naruto for a favor: when he thinks of him, lay a tulip on the grave of his dear wife, as a symbol of his eternal love for her.
Jan. 13, 2011 | ep. 194: The Worst Three-Legged Race
Chibi Team 7 are assigned to retrieve a stolen statue – a golden bear, of a Feudal Lord’s sister. While fighting to be the first to reclaim the treasure, Sasuke and Naruto are inadvertently meshed together by a web-like jutsu from the leader of the thieves. Meanwhile, Sakura fails to warn Kakashi of their retrieval and ends up being kidnapped as a bargaining chip for the treasure.
Even though they have trouble working out their differences at first, and are unable to weave seals with their hands, they eventually agree to work together to save Sakura. They end up sharing their first kiss, first pee “oshiko” together and many other firsts.
Locating the thieves, they overcome them with ninjutsu and working off of each other. They recover the golden bear, minus a few scratches to it, but just like that, Team 7 learns to work together for the sake of friendship.
Lesson learned: Those who abandon their friends are worse than scum.
Jan. 20, 2011 | ep. 195: Cooperation, Team 10
Team 10 and Team 7 are called to a village to aid in the rescue of the village elder’s granddaughter by a group of bandits led by Baji. Tofu, a reformed an ex-bandit of Baji’s group, volunteers to act as a guide for the Konoha ninjas lead by Asuma and Kakashi. It seems that Baji is an intelligent leader and a good tactician. Their hideout is hidden deep within a cave, guarded by three different forts that act as traps to the unsuspecting intruder.
With Shikamaru as the brains behind the operation, Asuma and Kakashi, the more seasoned ninjas, are sent to scout out the fortresses. The rest of the genins lay in wait, but Tofu is eventually caught by the bandits and brought back to Baji. With their cards dealt to them, the Team 10 and 7 enter the lion’s lair.
As things unravel, Tofu is revealed as a mole sent to the village to lead the Leaf ninjas (2 jonins and 6 genins) to their death. One of the genins, the mastermind Shikamaru, shouldn’t be taken lightly. But Baji thinks he has a handle on them. Suddenly he receives alarming news that the ninjas have overcome all three forts and are at their doorstep. Changing gears, Baji uses Tofu as a hostage for exchange.
However, Shikamaru expects this exchange. During the exchange, Baji uses his limited jutsu ability to mute Shikamaru. Unable to voice his thoughts to his teammates, Shikamaru is left to trust that they understand what he’s asking for and for them to trust his actions. Luckily the remaining members are aware that Tofu is a mole.
Soon Sasuke starts a riot and as things look bad for the bandits, Baji decides to forsake his men. Choji and Ino enter in time to stop Baji trying to kamikaze himself with paper bombs. Before Shikamaru was taken hostage, Ino possessed his mind and followed him to the hidden room where he and the kidnapped victim were held. In the end, the teams pull off the rescue mission and manage to strengthen their trust in each other: knowing what to do without ever having to utter a single word.
Jan. 27, 2011 | ep. 196: Rush into the Darkness
Team Taka momentarily breaks away from Akatsuki to pursue their new target: Konohagakure.
In the mean time, Sasuke reminisces back to his childhood. Naruto has always been trying to catch up to Sasuke. But after Naruto summoned the Chief Toad Gamabunta to aid the village during Orochimaru’s attack, he is the one finding ways to outdo and surpass his rival. He turns to Kakashi to improve his chidori jutsu. During that time, he saves a little girl, Naho, who turns out to be a relative to the Feudal Lord. Having been saved, Naho becomes infatuated with Sasuke.
Meanwhile, Naruto and Sakura are to protect and accompany Naho to Shizune Village. Kakashi and Sasuke are sent to track bandits who have entered their border. They soon realize that the bandits are after Naho. The earlier team are waylaid and held against their will while the later two split up in search of the hostages. Sasuke comes to their rescue, to prove to himself and Naruto of his capabilities.
Can Naruto ever bring Sasuke to his sense and bring him home?