Prologue — Land of Waves (プロローグ~波の国, Purorōgu — Nami no Kuni), known as the Lands of Waves Escort Mission (波の国要人護衛, Nami no Kuni Yōjin Goei) in the anime, is an arc from Part I of the series. This arc sees the formation of Team 7 and the completion of their first mission to the Land of Waves. It spans through volumes 1 to 4, or more specifically, covers chapters 1 to 33 of the manga and episodes 1 to 19 of the Naruto anime. This arc is followed by the Chūnin Exams.
Twelve years ago, there was once an evil monster known as the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox. One night, it attacked the village of Konoha and killed many innocent people that night. None of the ninja of Konoha could stop it, so the village leader, the Fourth Hokage, cast a jutsu on the Nine-Tails that sealed it in a newborn boy and cost the Fourth Hokage's life.
Twelve years after the Nine-Tail's attack, at the Ninja Academy, Naruto Uzumaki's reputation as a delinquent and a troublemaker had earned him infamy among the teachers and students. Iruka Umino, and to a lesser extent the Third Hokage, were the only two positive influences on him. Despite this, Naruto continued to fail the graduation exam, which required students to demonstrate how much they had learned by performing the Clone Technique. While Naruto was decently skilled in most of the basic techniques taught at the Academy, for some reason he has never been able to perform this one correctly.
Mizuki, another Academy examiner, used Naruto's depression after his most recent failure to trick Naruto into stealing the Scroll of Seals, a collection of forbidden techniques housed within the Hokage's study, claiming that Naruto would be automatically passed by simply learning a technique from the scroll. Not one to pass up such an opportunity, Naruto immediately did so, using his Sexy Technique to distract the Third Hokage long enough to escape. Once he had fled to the neighbouring woods, Naruto began his efforts in learning a technique from the scroll, the first of which happened to be the Multiple Shadow Clone Technique, something he wasn't happy about, given his former failures at the ordinary Clone Technique. As search parties were sent out to find Naruto and retrieve the scroll, Iruka got to him first, and found him to have been training the entire time. Ignorant of what he had done, Naruto simply repeated to Iruka what Mizuki had told him earlier, causing Iruka to realise that Mizuki was trying to use Naruto to help him steal the scroll.
Just as Iruka realised this, Mizuki showed up to attack them both. After he injured Iruka, who had pushed Naruto out of the way of an attack, Mizuki tried to get Naruto to give him the scroll while Iruka tried to convince Naruto to keep it. Their argument led Mizuki to tell Naruto the truth everyone had been keeping from him: that he was the container of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox. Startled, Naruto ran off, leaving Iruka and Mizuki to fight each other. Naruto watched from a distance, eventually learning what Mizuki was after, as well as the true level of Iruka's devotion to Naruto. Just before Mizuki could kill Iruka, Naruto attacked Mizuki, threatening to kill him should he ever touch his sensei again. Confident in his superiority, Mizuki claimed he could beat Naruto with one attack, only for the exact opposite to happen: using his newly learned Multiple Shadow Clone Technique, Naruto beat Mizuki to a bloody pulp. Impressed that Naruto could master such a difficult technique, Iruka let Naruto graduate, ironically fulfilling Mizuki's original promise.
Upon graduating, Naruto was required to have his picture taken for identification purposes. Rather than having a standard picture, Naruto decided to paint his face and point at the camera in a menacing way. When the Third Hokage learned of this, he told Naruto to retake the picture. To express his disagreement on this matter, Naruto used his Sexy Technique in an attempt to convince the Third otherwise. Meanwhile, a young boy was watching the discussion, and used the opportunity to attempt an attack upon the Hokage, only to fall flat upon his face. His sensei, Ebisu, pursued the boy into the room and caught a glimpse of Naruto, whom he recognised as the container of the demon fox. The boy accused Naruto of setting a trap for him, and Naruto responded by grabbing hold of the boy. Ebisu ordered Naruto to let the boy go, informing Naruto that the boy is none other than the Third Hokage's grandson. The boy, certain that Naruto, fearing the Hokage's wrath, will do no harm to him, taunted Naruto, who whacked the boy in the head due to his lack of fear towards the boy's relatives. Ebisu ran to the boy's side, informing him that, if he wanted to be Hokage someday, he should avoid people like Naruto.
Later on, Naruto found the boy to be following him and at the same time doing a bad job at disguising himself. The boy, his cover blown, introduced himself as Konohamaru, and expressed his desire to be taught the Sexy Technique due to its prior success at "defeating" the Third Hokage, in the hopes that using it will make him Hokage. Naruto agreed, and took Konohamaru on as his disciple. To learn the technique, Naruto tried to improve Konohamaru's Transformation Technique by showing him naked women via pornographic magazines and taking him to women's bathhouses.
Eventually they arrived in the woods for refinement of the technique, where Konohamaru explained that the people of the village didn't recognise him by his name, and instead referred to him as the Hokage's grandson. Because of this, he hoped to become Hokage himself so that people would finally recognise him properly. Soon after, Ebisu arrived to take Konohamaru home, lecturing him all the while. At that moment Konohamaru performed a perfect Sexy Technique, which only caused Ebisu to lecture Konohamaru further. Perplexed by the technique's apparent failure, Naruto used his Harem Technique, which succeeded in putting Ebisu out of commission. Konohamaru questioned why he was unable to defeat Ebisu by himself, and Naruto replied that becoming Hokage required a great deal of work for which there were no short-cuts. Konohamaru denounced their student-teacher relationship on the grounds that they are both rivals for the title of Hokage. Naruto made the observation that, since he was an actual ninja, he would always be one step ahead of Konohamaru, but that he would look forward to the day that they met in battle.
Formation of Team 7
In order to officially obtain the rank of genin, Academy students must be organised into groups of three to undergo a field evaluation administered by a jōnin, who would be their squad leader should they pass. On the day of organisation, Naruto made sure to have a good breakfast, and headed off to the academy, where the groups were to be decided. Upon arriving there, Naruto showed off his forehead protector to the other students, who thought he had failed. To Naruto's delight, Sakura Haruno started to approach him; however, his glee was quickly stifled when Sakura pushed him out of the way so that she might sit next to Sasuke Uchiha, which would anger all of the girls in the room. Naruto, jealous of Sakura's affection for Sasuke, leaped upon the desk at which they were sitting so that he could look Sasuke in the eye. To the disgust of Naruto, Sasuke, and every girl in the room, Naruto was bumped by another student and accidentally kissed Sasuke, earning him a beating from Sakura.
As Naruto recovered, Iruka arrived to announce the three-man teams, and as he started listing the members of Team 7, Naruto was pleased and Sakura was saddened to learn that the two will be on the same team. As the third member was revealed, Sakura was pleased and Naruto was saddened to learn that Sasuke was that member, who happened to dislike being teamed with the both of them. As Iruka announced the remaining teams, Hinata Hyūga, Kiba Inuzuka, and Shino Aburame were revealed to compose Team 8, and Shikamaru Nara, Chōji Akimichi, and Ino Yamanaka were revealed to compose Team 10.
Later, Sakura went off to look for Sasuke, ignoring Naruto, who wanted to have lunch with her. Angered that Sakura had yet again picked Sasuke over himself, Naruto formulated a plan to be with Sakura. Upon finding Sasuke alone in a room, Naruto leaped inside, where an unseen fight ensued. As things settled down, Sasuke was shown to be the only one leaving. Later on, Sasuke approached Sakura, who expresses her feelings for him and her distaste for Naruto. As the two were about to kiss, Sasuke, who was revealed to be a transformed Naruto, suffered a violent stomachache and ran off to the nearest bathroom.
While Naruto dealt with his mysterious case of diarrhoea, the real Sasuke approached Sakura. When she expressed her jealousy of Naruto for having no parents to tell him what to do, Sasuke stated that those without parents grow up lonely, and that Sakura made him sick. Sasuke left the crushed Sakura by herself, and she began to consider treating Naruto better. As Naruto finally exited the bathroom he ran into Sasuke, and it seemed as though revenge on Sasuke's part was imminent. Elsewhere, the Third Hokage took Kakashi Hatake, Team 7's reluctant jōnin leader, on a tour of Naruto's home, and the latter noted that the milk Naruto seemed to have had for breakfast was expired.
Soon afterwards, the members of Team 7, after a long wait, finally met their jōnin-sensei, who used the meeting as an opportunity for them to get to know one another. Kakashi went first, and said he didn't feel like telling them anything about himself. Naruto proclaimed that he wanted to become Hokage one day, and that he loved ramen. Sakura implied that she loves Sasuke and stated that she hated Naruto. Lastly, Sasuke asserted that he hated a lot of things, didn't like anything, and that he would someday kill a certain man. Kakashi ended the meeting by telling the others to be at the training grounds the next day with their ninja gear, and advised them not to have breakfast.
The next day, Kakashi arrived at the training grounds last, four hours later than planned. Kakashi then explained how the evaluation would work: it would be a survival battle, in which the aim was for each of the prospective students to take one of two bells from Kakashi. Anyone who didn't get a bell before noon would receive no lunch, which, as the others realised, was why he'd told them not to have breakfast. He then explained that, because there were only two bells, at least one person would fail and return to the Academy. He did, however, allow the others to use shuriken if they would like, and informed them that they would fail if they attempted the mission with anything less than the intent to kill him. Naruto laughed at this suggestion, saying that Kakashi had no talent. Kakashi rebutted this, stating that class clowns were often the weakest link and that they didn't normally pose a threat, causing Naruto to attack Kakashi before the test had officially begun. Kakashi easily countered the attack and noted that he was starting to like the team, due to Naruto's attack having the intent to kill. He then sent off Team 7 to begin the test.
As the test got underway, Sasuke and Sakura applied stealth methods, staying hidden from Kakashi. Naruto, however, decided that attacking Kakashi would work just as well, and called him out. As Naruto charged at Kakashi, the latter pulled out a book, "Make Out Paradise", causing Naruto to hesitate slightly, though Kakashi assured him that the book wouldn't prevent him from defending against Naruto. Naruto began a series of attacks, each of which was dodged by Kakashi. Eventually, Kakashi ended up behind Naruto, and used his One Thousand Years of Death to send Naruto into the nearby lake. Naruto recovered and attacked Kakashi with a number of shadow clones, whose quantity impressed Sasuke and Sakura. Kakashi evaded all of the clones' attacks with Body Replacement Technique, leaving them to fight amongst themselves. Upon realising this, Naruto dismissed his clones, and then noticed a bell lying under a nearby tree. When he went to pick it up, however, he was trapped in a snare set by Kakashi, leaving the young ninja dangling upside-down. Kakashi retrieved the bell and lectured Naruto about falling for obvious traps. At that moment, Sasuke, believing Kakashi to be distracted, attacked Kakashi with a barrage of shuriken and kunai, apparently killing Kakashi.
This, too, was revealed to be a trap, as the attacked Kakashi turned into a log, the result of another Body Replacement Technique. Sasuke, his location revealed, went off to find a new hiding spot, while Sakura went looking for Sasuke. As she searched for him, she was tricked by Kakashi's genjutsu, Demonic Illusion: Hell Viewing Technique, and, as she recovered, Sasuke fell prey to Kakashi's Earth Release: Double Suicide Decapitation Technique. Naruto, using Kakashi's absence to his advantage, released himself from the snare and attempted to eat the lunches that Kakashi had left behind; however, Kakashi caught him in the act and tied Naruto to a wooden post. Noon eventually rolled around, and all three students had failed to get a bell.
After their failure, Kakashi berated all three for their lack of teamwork. He explained to them that the purpose of the exam was to work together, and not to act independently as they all had done. He said that he would give them all a second chance after lunch, and allowed Sakura and Sasuke to eat; however, he ordered that Naruto, because of his attempt to eat all of the food himself, should be barred from eating at all, and that anyone who gave him food would fail automatically. After he left, Sakura and Sasuke realised that they'd need Naruto in top shape if they were to retrieve the bells, and decided to defy Kakashi by feeding him. Kakashi, who had been watching, appeared before the genin in a puff of smoke, a furious look upon his face. At this moment, the Third Hokage elsewhere revealed to Iruka that Kakashi had never passed a team of Academy students, and that, although the failure percentage was astounding, the reasons behind it were perfectly just.
Back at the training grounds, Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke claimed that they were a team, and that, therefore, if one of them failed, then they all failed. Quickly changing his attitude, Kakashi informed them that they had passed, reciting the exact message he was trying to get across as his reason: "In the ninja world, those who don't follow the rules are scum, but those who abandon their friends are worse than scum".
While Genin were normally assigned D-rank missions, Naruto insisted on doing something more exciting, and the Third Hokage agreed to send them on a C-rank mission to escort Tazuna, a master bridge-builder, back to the Land of Waves. During their mission, the team was attacked by two chūnin, enemies at a level that wasn't supposed to be encountered on a C-rank mission. Naruto, surprised by the chūnins' appearances, panicked and was struck by one of the chūnin's poisonous metal gauntlets. Sasuke, in Naruto's absence, dealt with the attackers quite efficiently, and rubbed it in by one-upping of Naruto by calling him a "scaredy-cat". Once the attackers had been restrained, Naruto bled out the poison he had received by stabbing his wound with a kunai, swearing upon the pain in his hand never to freeze up and leave his friends to fend for themselves ever again.
Kakashi, his suspicions raised by the attack, asked Tazuna for the truth about the circumstances of the mission. Tazuna explained that the Land of Waves had been taken over by a shipping magnate called Gatō, who had effectively bankrupted all the people of the country, and that the only way to revitalise the economy was by building a bridge to the mainland that could render moot Gatō's shipping monopoly. However, Gatō did not want that to happen, and used shinobi gangs to assert his control. Team 7's actual mission was to support and protect the bridge-building efforts that had been thwarted thus far.
Upon arrival at the Land of Waves and on the way to Tazuna's home, Naruto, bent on outdoing Sasuke, threw a kunai at a bush, surprising the other ninja and putting them on guard. Once it was clear that it was nothing, Sakura yelled at him for his apparent mistake, but Naruto threw another kunai at a bush in the other direction. Sakura hit him on the head this time, though Naruto swore he had sensed something. As it turned out, he had sensed a snow rabbit, which was now scared out of its mind due to the kunai only an inch from its head. Naruto apologised to and sympathised profusely with the rabbit, picking it up and hugging it to an extreme. While the others dismissed his antics as Naruto's usual idiocy, Kakashi noticed something strange about the rabbit: its fur was white. Snow rabbits are only white during winter, meaning that this rabbit had been raised indoors and therefore belonged to someone nearby.
The Demon of the Hidden Mist
Kakashi suddenly told everyone to duck as a giant sword spun past them, nearly killing them all. The sword embedded itself in a tree, and Zabuza Momochi, a missing-nin from Kirigakure, jumped onto its handle, intent on killing Tazuna. Kakashi, recognising Zabuza as a formidable opponent, revealed his Sharingan, saying that he will need to use it. Zabuza, honoured by Kakashi's willingness to go all out for their battle, stated that he would consider it a testament to his own skill if he were to kill Kakashi.
Zabuza ended the conversation with his Hiding in Mist Technique, summoning a thick veil of mist from the nearby lake in order to hide himself from the Sharingan. Kakashi ordered Team 7 to protect Tazuna, though Zabuza asserted that such protection was useless, instantly appearing in the centre of their formation. As Zabuza was about to make an attack with his sword, Kakashi raced toward them and stabs Zabuza in the stomach with his kunai just before his stroke could fall. Water poured out of Zabuza's body and it collapsed into a puddle as the real Zabuza appeared behind Kakashi, revealing that Zabuza had used the Water Clone Technique to fool Kakashi. Zabuza proceeded to slice Kakashi in half, but Kakashi's body too dissolved into water, surprising Zabuza as he realised that Kakashi's Sharingan must have copied the Water Clone Technique as Zabuza charged toward him. Kakashi appeared behind Zabuza, mocking him by saying that it was over.
To everyone's surprise, a second Zabuza appeared behind Kakashi and grabbed him, and the first Zabuza reverted to a pool of water. Kakashi attempted to break free of Zabuza's grasp, but was instead thrown into the nearby lake. As he emerged, Zabuza trapped him within his Water Prison Technique, leaving Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura to defend against another of Zabuza's clones. Kakashi told the genin to run, but Naruto remembered the oath that he had made to himself, and entered the fight so that they could save Kakashi and keep Tazuna alive. Naruto created a number of shadow clones that proceeded to completely surround Zabuza's water clone. Zabuza's clone swung his sword, and the shadow clones scattered and disappeared, forcing the only remaining Naruto to reach into his backpack and pull out a fūma shuriken, which he gave to Sasuke. Sasuke, sensing Naruto's plan, hurled the fūma shuriken at Zabuza, who easily grabbed it from the air. To his surprise, a second shuriken was hiding in the shadow of the first due to Sasuke's Shadow Shuriken Technique, and Zabuza was forced to leap over it to avoid being damaged. Once past Zabuza, the second shuriken turned into Naruto, who had transformed himself. Naruto threw a kunai at Zabuza, who, unable to dodge it while maintaining the Water Prison Technique, was forced to release Kakashi from his prison in order to avoid the attack.
With Kakashi free, Zabuza was forced to commence their battle, and the two used multiple Water Release techniques against each other. Due to his Sharingan, Kakashi was able to take the upper hand and defeat Zabuza with Zabuza's own attack. Just as Kakashi was about to make the final blow, a masked ninja, later revealed to be named Haku, appeared to kill Zabuza by impaling Zabuza's neck with several senbon. After revealing himself to be a hunter-nin sent to kill Zabuza, he disappeared with Zabuza's body. Kakashi, momentarily satisfied with this turn of events, decided that it was time to continue escorting Tazuna home, only to collapse due to chakra exhaustion seconds later as a result of his overuse of the Sharingan. Kakashi is later seen bed ridden, and with a crutch as a result of this battle.
Kakashi was taken to Tazuna's home for recovery, and as he rested he made the observation that Zabuza's apparent death was odd: when hunter-nin killed their target, they usually began to destroy it on the spot. On the other hand, the ninja whom they'd met had taken Zabuza's body elsewhere. This, coupled with the fact that Zabuza had been "killed" with senbon, weapons that were rarely fatal and also useful for knocking people out, led Kakashi to believe that Zabuza was still alive, and that he would be back to finish Tazuna's assassination. Elsewhere, Zabuza was revived by Haku, and, although he would need time to recover, he promised to crush Kakashi when next they met.
With Zabuza's return a likely outcome, Kakashi took Team 7 to the nearby woods for chakra training, and told them that the training would require them to learn to climb trees without using their hands. Naruto made the observation that this is impossible, but Kakashi, in crutches, managed to climb the tree with ease, and explained that the key to doing so was focusing chakra to the soles of the feet. The three genin all made an attempt: Naruto, not using enough chakra, took only one step before falling back to the ground; Sasuke was able to make it a good distance up the trunk, though he damaged it as a result of using too much chakra; and Sakura, having perfect control over her chakra, made it to a high branch on her first attempt, finishing her training. For the boys, however, the training continues, and Naruto, still unable to make it far up the tree, asked Sakura for advice. Sakura complied, and Kakashi made the observation that Naruto was finally getting a good grasp on teamwork.
Sakura was left in charge of protecting Tazuna while Naruto and Sasuke continued their training. As Naruto began to catch up to Sasuke, Sasuke casually asked to know what advice Sakura had given Naruto, but Naruto, determined to beat Sasuke, refused to give it away. During dinner one night, Sakura asked about a torn picture that Inari, Tazuna's grandson, had been looking at. Tazuna explains that the man in the missing portion of the picture was Kaiza, Inari's "father", whom Inari had idolised and thought of as his biological parent, though Kaiza had adopted him. One day, years prior, a flood had threatened to destroy the village, and Kaiza had single-handedly managed to close the floodgates, earning him the title of "hero" amongst the villagers. Once Gatō came to the country, however, Kaiza's heroic deeds angered Gatō, and therefore Gatō had him executed in front of the villagers, including Inari. From that day forth, the villagers lost hope, and Inari was crushed, disbelieving the possible existence of a "hero". Naruto, determined to prove to Inari that there was such a thing as a hero, rushed off to continue his training.
As Naruto rested in the woods one day, he encountered Haku, though he was unaware of Haku's identity and thought him to just be a pretty girl. The two discussed their dreams: Naruto wished to become the Kage of his village, while Haku wanted to protect the person most precious to him, explaining that, when one was protecting a precious person, one's strength reached its maximum. Naruto agreed with this statement, remembering all of the people who had protected him. With that, Haku left, though not before confusing Naruto to no end by asserting that he was a boy.
Training for Naruto and Sasuke continued, and eventually the two were able to climb to the very tops of their trees, though Naruto was exhausted as a result. Seeing Naruto in this condition, a tearful Inari proclaimed that Naruto was wasting his time and that Gatō would still defeat him. Naruto replied that he will win, and sarcastically congratulated Inari for always crying, calling him a brat. As Inari sulked, Kakashi explained to Inari how Naruto had also grown up without a father, and that he also had no mother, and therefore had a sad life. Kakashi also mentioned that, despite these conditions, he'd never seen Naruto cry, and theorised that Naruto one day grew tired of crying over himself. This explanation, and the suggestion that Naruto is the only person present who knew what Inari was going through, touched Inari.
The next morning, Kakashi, Sasuke, and Sakura escorted Tazuna to work at the bridge, leaving Naruto behind to rest. Upon arriving at the bridge, however, they found Tazuna's workers to have been attacked, and the area quickly became covered with a veil of mist. After a quick defeat of Zabuza's water clones at the hands of Sasuke, Zabuza and a masked Haku revealed themselves, confirming Kakashi's suspicions. Back at Tazuna's house, two of Gatō's thugs arrived to kidnap Inari's mother. Inari, inspired by Naruto's story, attempted to save his mother by himself. Just as he was about to be cut down by the thugs, Naruto appeared and defeated the two single-handedly. Naruto congratulated Inari for finally standing up for himself, and left to join the rest of his team.
Back at the bridge, Sasuke battled with Haku, and Zabuza was surprised to find that Sasuke could keep up with Haku's speed. Haku, also noticing Sasuke's capabilities, decided to use his trump card, Demonic Mirroring Ice Crystals, which trapped Sasuke in a cage of ice. Haku proceeded to pummel Sasuke with wave after wave of senbon barrages, which were made effectively undodgeable as a result of Haku's technique. Eventually, Naruto arrived and managed a sneak attack on Haku. Just as Zabuza was about to attack Naruto, Haku asked to be the one to fight him, to which Zabuza agreed. Sasuke began to formulate a plan, thinking that it would be easier to defeat Haku with Naruto attacking from the outside. To his dismay, Naruto entered the cage of ice to see how Sasuke was doing, and he too became a prisoner of Haku's technique.
Naruto and Sasuke both attempted to destroy the ice mirrors, but were unsuccessful. This turn of events led Kakashi to believe that Haku was using a kekkei genkai, and that Naruto and Sasuke had no chance of winning. Because of this, he once again revealed his Sharingan, expressing his desire to finish the battle quickly. Zabuza explained that he had learned how to defeat the Sharingan, and disappeared into the mist. As Kakashi instructed Sakura to guard Tazuna, Zabuza struck, revealing to Kakashi that Zabuza was now attacking with his eyes closed, making the Sharingan's ocular genjutsu useless. Zabuza, explaining that was specialty is killing people based purely on sound, attempted to finish off Tazuna, but Kakashi made himself into a human shield at the last second. Heavily injured, Kakashi resorted to using an attack that he himself had created.
Meanwhile, the fight between Haku and Naruto and Sasuke continued, with the two genin having sustained heavy wounds. Sasuke, however, was starting to dodge Haku's attacks. Haku, noticing this, attempted to attack an exhausted Naruto instead, but Sasuke managed to pull Naruto out of way. A shocked Haku noticed Sasuke's eyes, and it was revealed that, as a member of the Uchiha clan, Sasuke had finally awoken his own kekkei genkai, the Sharingan, which enabled him to see Haku's movements with ease. Haku, fearing for his success at winning the battle, goes for a finishing blow upon Naruto, but Sasuke rushes to Naruto's side to stop the attack with his own body. When Naruto awakened from his faint, he found a severely wounded Sasuke standing over him. When Naruto asked why Sasuke had saved him, he replied that it was merely instinct, and fell into Naruto's arms. After admitting that he had promised not to die before killing his brother, Sasuke fell unconscious, and Haku asked Naruto whether it was the first time he had witnessed death.
Naruto, enraged by the apparent loss of Sasuke, began to emit a visible chakra, and Haku noted that it was pure evil. As the chakra poured out, Naruto's wounds began to heal, and he acquired claws, fangs, and slitted pupils. Zabuza and Kakashi both sensed this new chakra, and each initially wondered whether it belonged to the other jōnin, but Zabuza noted that the chakra was far too powerful to belong to Kakashi, and Kakashi was able to recognise it as that of the Nine-Tailed Fox. Kakashi, worried that the seal keeping the nine-tailed fox within Naruto would break soon, decided to pull out all of the stops, and drew a scroll, smeared his blood on it, and told Zabuza that they should now end the battle.
A transformed Naruto began to attack Haku, who attempted to counter with a barrage of needles, which were easily repelled by Naruto's roar. Haku attempted a physical attack, but Naruto was able to dodge it and grab the now fleeing Haku in an instant. After releasing a large amount of chakra, Naruto gave Haku a deafening punch in the face, sending him flying through a nearby mirror and destroying all the other mirrors as a result. Once Haku's body came to a stop, he rose, and Naruto charged at him so that he could give the finishing blow. As he did so, Haku's mask began to crack and break away, revealing the face of the boy whom Naruto had met in the woods. Mere inches from Haku's face, Naruto stopped his attack and returned to his normal form. Haku questioned why Naruto is sparing him, only to receive a weak punch to the face. Haku explained that with his defeat had come his uselessness to Zabuza, and that, because he could no longer protect Zabuza, his most precious person, he should die. Naruto didn't understand this reason for wanting death, but Haku began to plead for it nonetheless.
With the bloodstained scroll, Kakashi summoned a number of dogs to find and restrain Zabuza. Explaining that he had allowed Zabuza to injure him so that he could acquire Zabuza's scent, Kakashi proclaimed that this would finally be the end of Zabuza. With that, Kakashi gathered chakra in his hand, and readied his Lightning Cutter for use on Zabuza. Meanwhile, Haku had finally managed to persuade Naruto to kill him, using Sasuke's apparent death as a reason for revenge. Naruto prepared a kunai, and charged at Haku, hoping that death would make Haku's dreams come true--but, at the last moment, Haku stopped the attack. He apologised, saying that he couldn't die yet, and disappeared.
The Tool's Feelings
Kakashi charged towards Zabuza while, at the same time, a number of mirrors begin to surround Zabuza as protection. As the Lightning Cutter made contact with flesh, needles struck the bloody scroll, and the dogs holding Zabuza in place disappeared. To Kakashi's surprise, he impaled Haku, who had used the last of his strength to grab hold of Kakashi.
Elsewhere, Inari was going door-to-door in an attempt to rally support for taking down Gatō and his men. The villagers, not wanting to fight back anymore, refused, to which Inari replied that he would protect those that he loved, as crying wouldn't save anyone. Once he got home, Inari's mother pleaded for him not to go, but Inari insisted that, as Kaiza's son, he must fight. As he left the house, Inari was startled to find many shadowy figures surrounding his door.
Naruto, confused by Haku's disappearance, rushed towards the figures he could see in the now fading mist. Upon his arrival, he found the gruesome scene of Haku's death, and Zabuza preparing to make good use of the opportunity Haku had given him. As Zabuza was about to finish the swing of his sword, Kakashi jumped out of the way, taking Haku's body with him. After removing his hand from Haku's body and laying his body down, Kakashi ordered Naruto to stay out of the fight. Sakura, now noticing Naruto, asked where Sasuke was. When Naruto looked away and didn't reply, she guessed at what had happened, and quickly escorted Tazuna to Sasuke's body, where she broke the shinobi rules and cried.
Zabuza, meanwhile, was unable to touch Kakashi, and with every attempt to strike him down he was thrown backwards. With one such parry, one of Zabuza's arms was made useless, and with another attack by Kakashi the other arm was put out of commission. As Zabuza's defencelessness was made apparent, Gatō and his forces arrived to take the assassination of Tazuna into their own hands. As Zabuza and Kakashi decided that they no longer have a reason to fight each other, Gatō noticed Haku's body, and defiled it as vengeance for an injury Haku had earlier given him. This, coupled with Zabuza's indifference, infuriated Naruto, leading him to decide that Zabuza is still his enemy. Naruto explained how Haku had felt about Zabuza, and how Haku had done anything within in his power to serve Zabuza. After Naruto decried how Haku had died as a tool that had never achieved his dreams, Zabuza broke into tears, admitting defeat to Naruto.
As he began to reflect upon the pureness of Haku's heart and the devotion that Haku had held towards him, Zabuza tore away the cloth covering his mouth and borrowed a kunai from Naruto. Catching the kunai in his mouth, Zabuza charged through Gatō's forces, slaying anyone who got in his way even while being stabbed many times. Upon reaching Gatō, Zabuza proclaimed that he would not be able to go to the same resting place as Haku, and that he would be taking Gatō with him to hell. With that, Zabuza ended Gatō's life. Using the last of his energy, he thanked Haku for everything and apologised, falling to the ground with exhaustion.
As Zabuza's life began to fade, Sasuke awakened, overjoying Sakura to no end. After asking Sakura to release him, Sasuke asked of Haku's fate. Learning that he had died, Sasuke realised that Haku had never meant to kill him or Naruto. Sakura called out to Naruto that Sasuke was all right, and Naruto was overwhelmed by the good news.
Gatō's men, meanwhile, were now without a paycheck, and decided to loot the town as their payment for coming. As Naruto and Kakashi, both exhausted, tried to figure out what to do, an arrow fell to the ground in front of the imposing forces. Everyone's attention was drawn to its source: Inari and the entirety of the town's population, who had come to start protecting themselves. To contribute to the already intimidating forces, Naruto and Kakashi used what little chakra they have left to create what appear to be a large number of shadow clones, causing the mercenaries to flee to the boat that they'd used to get to the bridge.
Kakashi approached Zabuza, who asked to see Haku one last time. Kakashi complied, and laid Zabuza's broken body alongside Haku's. As snow began to fall, Zabuza asked Haku whether he was crying, and asserted that, just as Haku had always been by his side in life, he was now by Haku's side in death. With his last breath, he expressed his desire to go to the same afterlife as Haku, if only he could. Kakashi remarked that Zabuza will be able to be with Haku in death, as they could go to the afterlife together.
Haku and Zabuza were buried side by side, and Naruto, having witnessed the fate of shinobi, decided to live his life in his own way, not letting others tell him how. The bridge was completed, and Team 7 prepared to leave. As they bade farewell to Tazuna and his family, Naruto told Inari that it was okay to cry. Inari, saying he didn't want to, said the same thing to Naruto, who also said he didn't want to. As Naruto walked away, both broke into tears, causing Sakura to call them both idiots. As they all disappeared into the distance, Tazuna proclaimed that the bridge would be called the Great Naruto Bridge to signify the strength that Naruto gave Inari, who in turn spread it to the whole town.
The events of this arc received a light novel adaptation called Naruto: Innocent Heart, Demonic Blood (NARUTO -ナルト- 白の童子、血風の鬼人, Naruto: Shiro no Dōji, Ketsupū no Kijin). Written by Masatoshi Kusakabe, it was released in Japan on December 16, 2002 (ISBN 978-4-08-703121-8) and in the US on November 21, 2006 (ISBN 978-1-42-150603-6).
|#||English title||WSJ release date||Volume number|
|1||"Naruto Uzumaki!! "||4 October 1999||1|
|2||"Konohamaru!!"||11 October 1999||1|
|3||"Sasuke Uchiha!!"||18 October 1999||1|
|4||"Kakashi Hatake!!"||25 October 1999||1|
|5||"Unpreparedness is One's Greatest Enemy!!"||1 November 1999||1|
|6||"Only for Sasuke…!!"||8 November 1999||1|
|7||"Kakashi's Conclusion"||15 November 1999||1|
|8||"And That's Why You're Disqualified!!"||22 November 1999||2|
|9||"The Worst Client"||29 November 1999||2|
|10||"The Second Critter"||6 December 1999||2|
|11||"Disembarking…!!"||1 January 2000||2|
|12||"This is the End!!"||8 January 2000||2|
|13||"I'm a Ninja!!"||17 January 2000||2|
|14||"A Secret Plan…!!"||24 January 2000||2|
|15||"The Sharingan Revived!!"||31 January 2000||2|
|16||"Who are You?!"||7 February 2000||2|
|17||"Preparing for Battle!!"||14 February 2000||2|
|18||"The Training Commences"||21 February 2000||3|
|19||"A Symbol of Courage"||28 February 2000||3|
|20||"The Country that Had a Hero…!!"||6 March 2000||3|
|21||"Encounter in the Forest…!!"||13 March 2000||3|
|22||"A Rival Appears!!"||20 March 2000||3|
|23||"Two Assaults…!!"||27 March 2000||3|
|24||"Speed!!"||3 April 2000||3|
|25||"For the Sake of Dreams…!!"||10 April 2000||3|
|26||"The Sharingan Crumbles…!!"||17 April 2000||3|
|27||"Awakening…!!"||24 April 2000||3|
|28||"Nine-Tails…!!"||1 May 2000||4|
|29||"Important People…!!"||8 May 2000||4|
|30||"Your Future is…!!"||22 May 2000||4|
|31||"Everyone's Respective Battles…!!"||29 May 2000||4|
|32||"The Tool Named Shinobi"||5 June 2000||4|
|33||"The Hero's Bridge!!"||12 June 2000||4|
|#||Episode Title||Japanese Airdate||English Airdate|
|1||"Enter: Naruto Uzumaki!"||3 October 2002||10 September 2005|
|2||"My Name is Konohamaru!"||10 October 2002||10 September 2005|
|3||"Sasuke and Sakura: Friends or Foes?"||17 October 2002||17 September 2005|
|4||"Pass or Fail: Survival Test"||24 October 2002||24 September 2005|
|5||"You Failed! Kakashi's Final Decision"||31 October 2002||1 October 2005|
|6||"A Dangerous Mission! Journey to the Land of Waves!"||7 November 2002||8 October 2005|
|7||"The Assassin of the Mist!"||14 November 2002||15 October 2005|
|8||"The Oath of Pain"||21 November 2002||22 October 2005|
|9||"Kakashi: Sharingan Warrior!"||28 November 2002||29 October 2005|
|10||"The Forest of Chakra"||5 December 2002||5 November 2005|
|11||"The Land Where a Hero Once Lived"||12 December 2002||12 November 2005|
|12||"Battle on the Bridge! Zabuza Returns!"||19 December 2002||19 November 2005|
|13||"Haku's Secret Jutsu: Demonic Mirroring Ice Crystals"||26 December 2002||26 November 2005|
|14||"The Number One Hyperactive, Knucklehead Ninja Joins the Fight!"||9 January 2003||3 December 2005|
|15||"Zero Visibility: The Sharingan Shatters"||16 January 2003||10 December 2005|
|16||"The Broken Seal"||23 January 2003||17 December 2005|
|17||"White Past: Hidden Ambition"||30 January 2003||31 December 2005|
|18||"The Weapons Known as Shinobi"||6 February 2003||7 January 2006|
|19||"The Demon in the Snow"||13 February 2003||14 January 2006|