The Kazekage Rescue Mission (風影奪還任務, Kazekage Dakkan Ninmu), known simply as Kazekage Rescue (風影奪還, Kazekage Dakkan) in the anime, is an arc from Part II of the series. This arc sees the rescue of the Fifth Kazekage from Akatsuki. It spans through volumes 28 to 32,[1] or more specifically, covers chapters 245 to 281 of the manga and episodes 1 to 32 of the Naruto: Shippūden anime. In the manga, it is preceded by Kakashi Gaiden; in the anime, it is preceded by the Sunagakure Support Mission. In both medias, it is followed by the Tenchi Bridge Reconnaissance Mission.


Returning to Konoha

Gaara, the Fifth Kazekage.

To prepare for the eventual confrontation with both Akatsuki and Orochimaru, Naruto left the village and underwent intensive training under Jiraiya. At the same time, Sakura became Tsunade's apprentice, and Sasuke trained under Orochimaru. Thus, the three members of the original Team 7 were now training individually under each of the Legendary Sannin.

When Naruto returned to the village two and a half years later, he was reacquainted with his friends, who had all risen in rank in his absence. Most of his comrades had since become chūnin; Kankurō and Temari had become jōnin, as well as Neji. Gaara has even become the Fifth Kazekage: Meanwhile, Naruto is the only genin left, aside from Sasuke, who never became a chūnin because of his leaving the village and becoming a missing-nin. Jiraiya left Naruto with Kakashi Hatake, and along with Sakura, the three of them became a new team. To commemorate the event, they conducted another bell test, with Naruto and Sakura succeeding by attempting to reveal the ending of Icha Icha Tactics, forcing Kakashi to close his eyes (because his Sharingan could read Naruto's lips) and block his ears. When he opened his eyes he realised that Naruto and Sakura were holding the bells.

Rescue Gaara

Sasori and Deidara's début.

In Sunagakure, the Akatsuki duo of Deidara and Sasori made their way to the village in search of Gaara. Deidara went off to fight Gaara alone while Sasori guarded the entrance. Gaara intercepted Deidara during the battle and managed to crush one of Deidara's arms using his Sand Binding Coffin. Despite his improved ability, Gaara's newfound desire to defend Sunagakure proved to be his downfall. When Deidara tried to destroy the village with his Explosive Clay, Gaara absorbed the blast by levitating the sand below. A direct attack by Deidara forced him to recall the sand which crushed Deidara's arm, which contained a small portion of explosive clay within. The clay then detonated, incapacitating Gaara.

Kankurō prepares to fight.

After Deidara departed with Gaara, Kankurō attempted to stop the Akatsuki members alone, but his puppets were easily fought off and destroyed by Sasori, who was revealed to be the maker of Kankurō's puppets. Sasori poisoned Kankurō in the process, leaving him to die. The Akatsuki duo took Gaara back to their lair, where their leader summoned a giant statue to extract and seal Gaara's demon. The sealing ritual took three days.

Upon hearing of Gaara's kidnapping, Team Kakashi left for Sunagakure. On the way, they met with and were joined by Temari, who was on her way back from being Suna's representative at the Chūnin Exams in Konoha. On their way, Naruto told Sakura and Temari that he is the host of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox and that Akatsuki are after the demon inside Gaara. After learning this, Sakura vowed to do everything she could to protect Naruto from being a victim of Akatsuki. Temari was thankful that there was finally someone who could understand Gaara, and grateful to Naruto for changing Gaara and attempting to save him.

Konoha Against Akatsuki

Team Guy vs. Kisame.

After arriving at Sunagakure, Team Kakashi learned of the attack on Kankurō. Despite the failed attempt by the medics on-hand, Sakura cured Kankurō, thus demonstrating her skill with medical techniques. Sakura also developed several portable antidotes rather quickly. Using a piece of Sasori's clothing found on one of Kankurō's destroyed puppets, Team Kakashi was able to track him, thus leading them to Gaara. Temari offered to assist them, but Chiyo, another puppeteer and Sasori's grandmother, went in her place. Back in Konoha, Tsunade decided to send Team Guy as backup for Team Kakashi.

While Team Kakashi tracked Sasori through the piece of clothing, the Akatsuki leader sent Itachi Uchiha and Kisame Hoshigaki to deal with Team Kakashi and the approaching Team Guy, respectively. In a forest, Kakashi and Naruto were able to defeat Itachi after some effort using one of Kakashi's clones and Naruto's new Big Ball Rasengan. Meanwhile, Team Guy was largely disabled by Kisame, leaving Guy himself to fight Kisame alone. Guy emerged victorious by opening six of the eight chakra gates to perform his Morning Peacock technique, which allowed him to pummel Kisame to death. However, both Akatsuki members were actually entirely different people in disguise. They were made into weaker copies of those they were impersonating through the leader's Shapeshifting Technique.

Despite their victories, the two teams realised their battles were distractions to buy time for Akatsuki to extract Shukaku from Gaara, which would kill him if completed. At the Akatsuki hideout, a barrier was blocking the entrance. Directed by Kakashi, Team Guy removed the four seals maintaining the barrier, but a failsafe created clones of them as a further distraction. Ultimately, the many delaying tactics employed by Akatsuki are successful, as Naruto, Kakashi, Sakura and Chiyo found Deidara and Sasori guarding Gaara's lifeless body. This lead to Naruto entering tailed-beast state rage upon seeing Deidara sitting on the Kazekage's corpse. While Chiyo and Sakura fought Sasori, Deidara flew off on a clay bird with Gaara's body, with Naruto and Kakashi in pursuit.

Chiyo and Sakura vs. Sasori

Although Sasori "wore" his puppet and controlled it from inside, this technique of puppeteer fighting soon proved to be futile against Sakura and Chiyo. By controlling Sakura like a puppet, Chiyo was able to get Sakura close enough to demolish the puppet with one punch.

With his first puppet destroyed, Sasori is revealed, looking just as young as he did when he left the village. He summoned another puppet to continue the battle: the Third Kazekage. It is here that Sasori reveals that he not only killed the Third Kazekage, but actually made his body into a puppet. Likewise, he has done the same to 297 other people, and planned to do the same with Sakura and Chiyo after winning. With its unique Iron Sand ability mixed with Sasori's poison, the Kazekage puppet is exceptionally dangerous. Chiyo summoned two more puppets to fight against it. These puppets were puppet versions of Sasori's parents, which he had made to remind him of them after they were killed by Sakumo Hatake early in his childhood. The puppets were left with the village when Sasori deserted it. Using the Iron sand and poison, the Kazekage puppet was a tough fight for Sakura and Chiyo. However, the antidotes Sakura had developed before departing from Sunagakure allowed them to continue the fight. Having been trained by Tsunade to pick up the enemy's attack patterns, Sakura was able to easily dodge Sasori's subsequent attacks and demolish the Kazekage puppet.

Sasori's death.

Down another puppet, Sasori revealed the secret of his youth: he had made himself into a puppet. In response, Chiyo used White Secret Technique: The Chikamatsu Collection of Ten Puppets to summon Monzaemon Chikamatsu's ten masterpiece puppets. To mock the display, Sasori used his Red Secret Technique: Performance of a Hundred Puppets to summon 100 of his human puppets. During the fight between these puppets, Sakura used a chakra-sealing orb on Sasori. Though it appeared successful at first, Sasori revealed another ability he had. As a puppet, Sasori did not only have numerous weapons to fight with, he could also reassemble himself when destroyed, making him seem impossible to defeat. However, it was revealed that the only part of him that remained alive, and thus able to use chakra, was his heart, which contained a talisman labelled Sasori (, literally meaning: Scorpion). When trapped in a seal performed by four of Chikamatsu's puppets, Chiyo used the mother and father puppets to stab through his heart. In spite of the victory, Chiyo believed that Sasori allowed himself to be killed — he saw the attack coming and chose not to react, and died in a way similar to how his parents used to embrace him.

At the end of the battle, Chiyo, Sasori, and Sakura were all fatally wounded, but Chiyo used a technique she originally developed for Sasori to save Sakura's life. The technique uses the user's own life energy, making it fatal to use to animate a puppet or reanimate the deceased, but Chiyo survives since Sakura was still alive. Sasori's last words (as a reward to Sakura for defeating him) were that he had a spy in Orochimaru's ranks, whom he was supposed to meet in Kusagakure ten days later.

Naruto and Kakashi vs. Deidara

Kakashi using Kamui on Deidara in an attempt to remove his head.

During the time of the fight with Sasori, Naruto and Kakashi were chasing after Deidara. Kakashi activated his own version of the Mangekyō Sharingan and aimed to use it to take Deidara's head. However, it was difficult to aim, and all he managed to remove was his arm. Deidara tried to retreat, but Naruto destroyed his clay bird with Rasengan and retrieved Gaara's body. Enraged and powered by the Nine-Tails' powers, Naruto seemed to be defeating Deidara with Rasengan, but it turned out to be a Clay Clone. Still enraged, Naruto started to appear feral as he transformed into his two-tailed form. Kakashi recognised the bad sign and used a seal tag he had received from Jiraiya to stop the transformation from proceeding any further. Naruto subsequently reverted back to his normal form.

As the rest of Team Kakashi and Team Guy caught up with Naruto and Kakashi, Deidara found himself unable to escape. He swallowed some clay, turning himself into a human bomb. Neji saw this and tells everyone to get away. Deidara then swelled up and detonated. As the dust settled, Kakashi collapsed from exhaustion, explaining that he used his Mangekyō Sharingan to send the explosion to another dimension. With Naruto carrying Gaara's body, the two teams headed back to Sunagakure.


Chiyo reviving Gaara.

Stopping in a grassy field near the village, Sakura checked on Gaara and pronounced him dead, making Naruto very upset. Chiyo moved towards Gaara and tried to use her reincarnation technique, but didn't have enough life force left to bring Gaara back to life. Naruto gladly lent his own chakra, and Chiyo was able to revive Gaara at the cost of her own life while the shinobi of Suna watched.

Back at the battleground, Deidara emerged from the ground, revealing that it was his clone that destroyed itself. He went off looking for the right arm that he lost. After finding it, he encountered Zetsu and Tobi, a mysterious individual who wished to take Sasori's place in Akatsuki. Tobi's carefree attitude about Deidara's condition angered Deidara, and he attempted to strangle Tobi in a comical fashion with his feet after one-too-many callous remarks.

The Sand Siblings see the Konoha-nin off.

After paying their respects to Chiyo, and bidding Gaara and his siblings' farewell, the Konoha shinobi returned home. Naruto stated that these situations were always a bit awkward right before Gaara extends his hands to him in gratitude. Not too sure how to react a small trail of sand wraps itself around Naruto's hand and brings it to Gaara's. As the Konoha-nin prepare to leave, Kakashi was still exhausted from his overuse of his Mangekyō Sharingan and had to be carried back by Guy. Guy does so piggyback style as he found it easier to carry him for an extended period of time, disturbing everyone present except Lee, who remarked that Guy was training. Lee then proceeded to offer to carry Neji, who bluntly refused.


# English title WSJ release date Volume number
245 "Naruto's Homecoming!!" 14 February 2005 28
246 "The Pair's Growth!!" 21 February 2005 28
247 "Intruders in Suna" 28 February 2005 28
248 "Suna's Welcome Attack…!!" 7 March 2005 28
249 "As Kazekage…!!" 14 March 2005 28
250 "New Team, First Mission!!" 21 March 2005 28
251 "To Suna…!!" 28 March 2005 28
252 "Feelings, Running Wild…!!" 4 April 2005 28
253 "Reliable Reinforcements…!!" 11 April 2005 28
254 "Brothers…!!" 18 April 2005 29
255 "Approaching…!! " 25 April 2005 29
256 "The People Blocking the Way!!" 2 May 2005 29
257 "Kakashi's EXP" 9 May 2005 29
258 "Guy vs. Kisame!!" 23 May 2005 29
259 "Itachi's Power…!!" 30 May 2005 29
260 "Kakashi vs. Itachi!!" 6 June 2005 29
261 "Jinchūriki…!!" 13 June 2005 29
262 "Raging Feelings…!!" 20 June 2005 29
263 "Getting Angry with a Loud Voice…!!" 27 June 2005 30
264 "Sasori's Art…!!" 4 July 2005 30
265 "Granny Chiyo and Sakura" 11 July 2005 30
266 "Sasori, Revealed…!!" 18 July 2005 30
267 "Intense Determination…!!" 25 July 2005 30
268 "Puppet Master vs. Puppet Master!!" 1 August 2005 30
269 "What I Can Do…!!" 8 August 2005 30
270 "Miscalculation…!!" 15 August 2005 30
271 "Unknown Power…!!" 22 August 2005 30
272 "Granny Chiyo vs. Sasori…!!" 5 September 2005 31
273 "The Last Battle!!" 12 September 2005 31
274 "An Unfulfilled Dream" 19 September 2005 31
275 "Reward…!!" 26 September 2005 31
276 "The New Sharingan!!" 3 October 2005 31
277 "The Ultimate Art!! " 10 October 2005 31
278 "Gaara's Death" 17 October 2005 31
279 "A Miraculous Power…!!" 24 October 2005 31
280 "Entrusted Feelings!!" 31 October 2005 31
281 "The Road to Sasuke!!" 7 November 2005 32


# Episode Title Japanese Airdate English Airdate
1 "Homecoming " 15 February 2007 28 October 2009
2 "The Akatsuki Makes Its Move" 15 February 2007 28 October 2009
3 "The Results of Training" 22 February 2007 28 October 2009
4 "The Jinchūriki of the Sand" 1 March 2007 28 October 2009
5 "The Kazekage Stands Tall" 15 March 2007 4 November 2009
6 "Mission Cleared" 29 March 2007 11 November 2009
7 "Run, Kankurō" 29 March 2007 18 November 2009
8 "Team Kakashi, Deployed" 12 April 2007 2 December 2009
9 "The Jinchūriki's Tears" 12 April 2007 9 December 2009
10 "Sealing Technique: Phantom Dragons Nine Consuming Seals " 19 April 2007 16 December 2009
11 "The Medical Ninja's Student" 26 April 2007 23 December 2009
12 "The Retired Granny's Determination" 3 May 2007 31 December 2009
13 "A Meeting With Destiny" 10 May 2007 31 December 2009
14 "Naruto's Growth" 17 May 2007 31 December 2009
15 "The Secret Weapon is Called…" 24 May 2007 31 December 2009
16 "The Secret of Jinchūriki" 31 May 2007 6 January 2010
17 "The Death of Gaara!" 7 June 2007 13 January 2010
18 "Charge Tactic! Button Hook Entry" 21 June 2007 20 January 2010
19 "Traps Activate! Team Guy's Enemies!" 5 July 2007 27 January 2010
20 "Hiruko vs. Two Kunoichi!" 19 July 2007 3 February 2010
21 "Sasori's Real Face" 26 July 2007 10 February 2010
22 "Chiyo's Secret Skills" 2 August 2007 17 February 2010
23 "Father and Mother " 2 August 2007 24 February 2010
24 "The Third Kazekage " 9 August 2007 24 February 2010
25 "Three Minutes Between Life and Death" 16 August 2007 3 March 2010
26 "Puppet Fight: 10 vs 100!" 23 August 2007 10 March 2010
27 "Impossible Dream" 30 August 2007 17 March 2010
28 "Beasts! Alive Again!" 13 September 2007 24 March 2010
29 "Kakashi Enlightened!" 27 September 2007 31 March 2010
30 "Aesthetics of an Instant!" 27 September 2007 7 April 2010
31 "The Legacy!" 18 October 2007 14 April 2010
32 "Return of the Kazekage" 25 October 2007 21 April 2010


  1. Retsu no Sho, page 71