Search for Tsunade (綱手探索, Tsunade Tansaku) is an arc from Part I of the series. This arc sees the first appearance of Akatsuki as well as the competing attempts of Jiraiya and Orochimaru to recruit Tsunade. It spans through volumes 16 to 19, or more specifically, covers chapters 139 to 171 of the manga and episodes 81 to 100 of the Naruto anime. This arc is preceded by the Konoha Crush. In the manga, it is followed by the Sasuke Recovery Mission, while in the anime, it is followed by the Land of Tea Escort Mission.
Return of Itachi
After their failed invasion of Konohagakure, the ninja of Sunagakure look for their now missing Fourth Kazekage. After finding the Kazekage's body and the bodies of his assistants in the neighbouring desert, the people of Suna realise that Orochimaru, the man who originally proposed the invasion to the village, killed and impersonated the Kazekage to give the impression of support for the invasion. This revelation, coupled with Suna's devastating losses at the hands of Konoha's ninja, forces the village to surrender unconditionally, which Konoha accepts.
Konohagakure, though having managed to repel the invading forces, was also heavily affected by the invasion as well, losing many of its ninja forces and its Third Hokage. Because the village is now without a leader, the village elders approach Jiraiya, one of the Third Hokage's former pupils, and ask him to become the Fifth Hokage. Jiraiya declines the offer, saying that another of the Third's pupils would be better suited for the job: Tsunade. Because Tsunade's whereabouts are unknown, Jiraiya offers to go and find her with the stipulation that he be allowed to bring Naruto Uzumaki. The elders agree and, after Jiraiya's promise of teaching him a new jutsu, so does Naruto, and so the two head out to find Tsunade.
Meanwhile, two outsiders have entered the village and have caught the attentions of Asuma Sarutobi and Kurenai Yūhi. Once confronted about their presence in Konoha, the two reveal themselves to be Kisame Hoshigaki, a renegade ninja from Kirigakure, and Itachi Uchiha, the man who singlehandedly murdered the entire Uchiha clan. Because the two are wanted criminals, Asuma and Kurenai try to apprehend them through battle but quickly found themselves outclassed by their enemies. Just as the two Konoha jōnin are about to be defeated, Kakashi Hatake arrives to save them both, his Sharingan making it easier for him to battle Kisame so Itachi asks Kisame to step down and let him personally take on Kakashi.
Despite Kakashi's own formidable abilities and advanced profiency with the Sharingan, Itachi quickly proves to be the superior ninja, displaying his far greater speed and superior Sharingan abilities, and Kakashi is only barely able to block his attacks. Realising that Itachi is using only a fraction of his abilities, although he still praises Kakashi for being so skilled with the Sharingan despite not being of Uchiha blood, the moment Itachi activates the Mangekyō Sharingan, Kakashi immediately instructs Asuma and Kurenai to close their eyes so as to avoid falling prey to Itachi's ultimate technique. Because Kakashi has a Sharingan, he believes that he will be able to withstand Itachi's jutsu, only to be swiftly proven wrong as Itachi's Tsukuyomi quickly overpowered Kakashi's Sharingan and rendered him helpless. With the little strength he has, Kakashi asks why the two have come to Konoha, to which Itachi replies that they are after the Fourth Hokage's legacy: Naruto Uzumaki.
Remembering what Jiraiya had told him earlier, Kakashi recognises this reason as their organisation, Akatsuki's, goal to gain the power of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox sealed within Naruto. Because of Kakashi's knowledge of their organisation and its motives, Itachi instructs Kisame to kill Kakashi, Asuma, and Kurenai. Before Kisame can land a fatal blow, however, Might Guy appears and repels Kisame. With Guy's arrival, Kakashi collapses, exhausted from Itachi's previous attack. Itachi, recognising Guy as a threat as well as the fact that reinforcements are on their way, leaves with Kisame, wanting to avoid starting a war. Taking Kakashi away to rest, Guy, Asuma, and Kurenai decide that it would be best if Sasuke Uchiha, Itachi's brother, didn't know Itachi had returned. When Sasuke arrives to find out what had put Kakashi into the state that he's in, the truth of Itachi's return and his search for Naruto slips out when Aoba accidentally spills the truth. Sasuke, having an everlasting desire to kill his brother due to the latter's murder of their entire family and also wanting to protect Naruto, runs off in search of Naruto.
Meanwhile, Jiraiya and Naruto arrive at a nearby town's hotel where they'll rest for the night. Jiraiya, being a pervert through and through, notices an attractive woman that's showing interest in him. So that he can get acquainted with the woman, Jiraiya sends Naruto up to their room. As Naruto sits on his bed cursing Jiraiya, someone knocks on the door. Thinking that it's an already rejected Jiraiya, Naruto opens the door, finding instead Kisame and Itachi. Perplexed by Itachi's Sharingan and the two's knowledge of the demon fox within him, Naruto leaves the safety of the room to find out what's going on. As Kisame readies his sword to cut off Naruto's leg, therefore making him easier to carry, Sasuke arrives, vowing to kill Itachi.
To act on his promise, Sasuke prepares his Chidori, and then lunges at Itachi. Before Sasuke can land a blow, Itachi grabs and crushes his arm, sending the attack into a nearby wall. To help Sasuke, Naruto taps into the demon fox's chakra, ready to summon a toad to help him in battle. Kisame's sword, however, absorbs Naruto's chakra, preventing him from using any jutsu. As Kisame again prepares to cut off Naruto's leg, a toad appears to block the attack, with Jiraiya appearing behind Naruto.
Scolding Itachi and Kisame for not doing proper research on him, Jiraiya explains that he's better at getting women than they are at getting him, though Naruto dismisses that as a bad excuse for his pervertedness. Realising that Itachi put the girl under a genjutsu to draw him away, Jiraiya learns for certain that the two really are after Naruto. As Jiraiya proclaims that he will kill the two, Sasuke rises, repeating that he will be the one to kill Itachi. Having no interest in their brotherly quarrel, Itachi kicks Sasuke aside and proceeds to beat him into submission. Once Sasuke is unable to fight back, astounded by how much he is still outclassed by his older brother, Itachi uses Tsukuyomi to show Sasuke the murder of their parents while also mocking him for lacking the hate needed to be strong enough. As Naruto makes to help Sasuke and Kisame makes to stop Naruto, Jiraiya encases the area in a layer of a sticky substance, preventing anyone from moving. Knowing that they cannot win, Itachi and Kisame flee, though not before Jiraiya attempts to further ensnare them with his jutsu. Surprised that they are successful in escaping, Jiraiya finds that that a black flame was used to destroy his normally impenetrable technique.
With Itachi and Kisame gone, Naruto checks up on Sasuke, whose mind has been broken by his own brother. At that moment, Guy arrives and kicks Jiraiya in the face, having mistaken him for an enemy. After Guy apologises, he informs Jiraiya that Kakashi is in the same state as Sasuke and that nothing can be done to help him recover. As Guy takes Sasuke back to Konoha to rest, Jiraiya realises that only Tsunade can help Kakashi and Sasuke, strengthening his resolve to find her.
Search for Tsunade
Because Akatsuki will henceforth be after Naruto, Jiraiya decides to start teaching Naruto the technique that is supposedly stronger than Sasuke's Chidori: the Rasengan, the jutsu that took the Fourth Hokage three years to master. As the pair goes from place to place in search of Tsunade, Naruto rapidly progresses through the Rasengan's learning steps, coming up with a number of shortcuts along the way. Just as Naruto gets to the final stages of learning the jutsu, Jiraiya learns of Tsunade's location, and the two set out to meet her.
Meanwhile, Orochimaru is suffering from his last encounter with the Third Hokage, his arms unable to perform jutsu and constantly bringing him pain at the same time. Knowing that his assistant, Kabuto Yakushi's, medicine will do nothing to help him, Orochimaru concludes that the only person who can restore his arms is Tsunade. Knowing where Tsunade is currently located, he and Kabuto go out to find her.
Elsewhere, Tsunade, an avid and very unlucky gambler, hits a winning streak, indicating to her that something bad is about to happen, and as such she tries to flee the city. Her assistant, Shizune, asks Tsunade if they can go and see the local landmarks first, to which Tsunade reluctantly agrees. As Shizune admires an ancient castle, with Tsunade repeatedly asking her to hurry up, the castle collapses, and from the rubble emerges Orochimaru and Kabuto riding a giant snake. Unhappy to see her old teammate, Tsunade refuses to heal Orochimaru, deducing what his ailment is from his appearance alone. After Kabuto states that only Tsunade can help Orochimaru, Tsunade inquires how he got the injury, recognising it as being far from an average wound. Nonchalantly, Orochimaru explains that it was nothing more than his own carelessness when he was killing the Third Hokage, the revelation of which shocks Shizune and Tsunade.
Noticing the expression on the two's faces, Orochimaru comments that all people die and reminds Tsunade of her two deceased loved ones. This observation enrages Shizune who attempts to strike Orochimaru, though Kabuto blocks the attack. After calming Shizune down and casually scolding Orochimaru for what he said, Tsunade punches the wall next to her, reducing it to gravel, and vows to kill him if he ever says it again. After repeating her refusal to help Orochimaru, Tsunade prepares to fight them in the event that they won't leave. Just as she is about to attack, Orochimaru offers to revive her dead brother and lover if she helps him, stopping Tsunade before she can act. Finally considering the offer, Tsunade asks what Orochimaru will do if his arms are healed, to which he replies that he will destroy Konoha.
Elsewhere, Jiraiya and Naruto have arrived in the city, and the two visit Tsunade's last known location. When they hear reports of a giant snake destroying a castle, Jiraiya recognises this as one of Orochimaru's acts, and as such rushes to the castle. Shizune, meanwhile, is infuriated by Orochimaru's proposal of destroying Konoha and tries to persuade Tsunade in helping her kill the weakened Orochimaru. Although Tsunade refuses, Orochimaru sheds some of his own blood to make sure she keeps her word, knowing that Tsunade suffers from a fear of blood. With Tsunade forced into submission by the sight of his blood, Orochimaru allows her a week to consider his offer, and he and Kabuto disappear.
When Jiraiya and Naruto arrive at the scene, Tsunade and Shizune have already left. Deciding to give up the search for the day, Jiraiya takes Naruto to a local bar for dinner where he surprisingly finds Tsunade and Shizune already having theirs. As Naruto eats his dinner, Jiraiya asks Tsunade what Orochimaru wanted from her, to which she replies nothing, quickly changing the subject to what Jiraiya wants from her. As he tells her that Konoha wants her to be the next Hokage, Naruto begins to choke on his food with surprise, and Tsunade and Shizune use this as confirmation that Orochimaru really had killed the Third Hokage. Tsunade declines the position saying that only a fool would become Hokage and goes on to ridicule the past Hokages. Tsunade's words anger Naruto, spurring him into attempting to strike her, though Jiraiya holds him back. Impressed that Naruto was willing to challenge her, Tsunade offers to fight him, going so far as to say she'll only use a finger.
After the two step outside, Naruto charges at Tsunade with a kunai in hand, though Tsunade is able to take it from him, use it to remove his forehead protector, and launch him backwards with the promised single finger. Tsunade, expecting Naruto to pass out from her attack, asks why being Hokage is such a sensitive subject for Naruto, to which he replies that becoming Hokage is his dream. As he says so, Tsunade sees in Naruto her dead brother and lover, both of whom had wanted to be Hokage, and both of whom looked similar to Naruto. While Tsunade is momentarily off-balance, Naruto uses the opportunity to use his still-to-be-mastered Rasengan on Tsunade.
Recognising the technique and the danger it imposes, Tsunade slams her finger to the ground, creating a large fissure that Naruto falls into, forcing the Rasengan into the ground. Noticing that Naruto's version of the jutsu is dramatically weaker than what it is capable of doing, Tsunade proposes a bet with Naruto: if he can master the Rasengan in a week, she'll give him her grandfather, the First Hokage's, necklace, something she claims could buy three mountains; if he can't, she gets all the money in his wallet. Naruto accepts the offer, and he goes off to the hotel with Shizune while Tsunade and Jiraiya chat over drinks.
During the discussion, Jiraiya reveals that he's aware that Tsunade has some sort of deal with Orochimaru, though he doesn't know what it is. He goes on to say, however, that if Tsunade helps Orochimaru with whatever it is that he wants, he will kill her as a traitor of Konoha. Looking to change the subject, Tsunade asks why Jiraiya brought Naruto with him, to which he replies that Naruto looks remarkably similar to Tsunade's dead brother Nawaki. Meanwhile, at the hotel, Shizune explains to Naruto the history of Tsunade's necklace and how Tsunade had given it to each her brother and lover, Dan, in turn in the hopes that it would help them achieve their goals of becoming Hokage. Soon after receiving the necklace however, each of them died a bloody death, giving Tsunade a fear of blood and leading many to believe that the necklace was cursed. After hearing the story, Naruto leaves to finish his training, determined to prove that when he wins the necklace, he really will become Hokage.
For the next week Naruto trains, and each day he puts larger and larger dents into the trees he's training with, indicating that his Rasengan is gaining more power. All the while, Tsunade watches him in the background, remembering her dead loved ones and contemplating the offer Orochimaru made her. One the final day, Naruto doesn't return home at his usual time, and Shizune goes to see what happened to him. After finding a tree to be broken in two and Naruto passed out on the ground, Shizune takes him home to rest. At the same time, Jiraiya and Tsunade meet again for drinks to discuss Naruto's progress. While Jiraiya isn't looking, Tsunade slips a powder into his drink, and after drinking it he passes out. Tsunade returns to the hotel to see if Naruto has perfected the jutsu, but only finds him in bed, causing her to realise what a ridiculous bet it was that she had made. Shizune, meanwhile, pleads for Tsunade not to go through with Orochimaru's deal, willing to kill herself in order to stop Tsunade. Tsunade knocks Shizune unconscious, and leaves to meet Orochimaru.
As Orochimaru and Kabuto head towards the meeting place, Orochimaru comments that it may be easier to persuade Tsunade to heal his arms if Shizune weren't around, and so Kabuto heads off to kill her. Naruto, meanwhile, wakes Shizune up having found her on the floor. Realising what happened, Shizune rushes to the window to go after Tsunade, but a weakened Jiraiya stops her before she can leave. Cursing Tsunade for drugging his drink, Jiraiya explains that the drug makes it difficult for him to move and that he can't control chakra very well. Kabuto watches the conversation in the background and, knowing that he can't take on Shizune, Jiraiya, and, to his surprise, Naruto by himself, leaves to report to Orochimaru. Jiraiya notices Kabuto's departure, and asks what deal Tsunade had made with Orochimaru. Along the way to the meeting spot Shizune explains the offer, and Jiraiya realises that he may really need to kill Tsunade.
Tsunade and Orochimaru, meanwhile, meet at the site of their last conversation, and Tsunade agrees to heal Orochimaru's arms if he promises to leave Konoha alone. Orochimaru agrees to the stipulation, and Tsunade approaches him, preparing her healing jutsu. Before she can make contact with Orochimaru, Kabuto appears and throws a kunai between them, forcing the two to separate. Orochimaru, realising what Kabuto has done, asks why after coming so far Tsunade was betraying him. Kabuto notes that because both he and Tsunade are medic-nin, he could notice the subtle amounts of killing intent within her jutsu.
Orochimaru laments Tsunade's decision, even saying that he really had intended to stay away from Konoha. Tsunade dismisses this as a lie, yet says she had been willing to believe it if it meant that she could see her loved ones again. Because of Naruto, however, the dreams of Nawaki and Dan returned to her, and thus she couldn't bring herself to turn a blind eye to Orochimaru's goals of effectively destroying the hopes that they had had. With that, Tsunade attempts to attack Orochimaru, though because of his timely dodge her attack misses, creating a large crater where he had been. As Orochimaru prepares to fight Tsunade, he comments that he had never battled her before, though Kabuto quickly questions this observation since he will actually be the one who will fight her. After Kabuto informs Orochimaru of Jiraiya's presence, they lead Tsunade away, not wanting to fight in the city in case Jiraiya shows up.
After retreating to an empty field, Kabuto and Tsunade begin their fight. Because Kabuto isn't very good at taijutsu, Tsunade's specialty, he resorts to using his Mystical Palm Technique to give his attacks an extra boost in strength. Although Tsunade is initially able to avoid many of his attacks, her old age causes her to tire quickly, allowing Kabuto to catch her off guard and strike. Because of the nature of his Mystical Palm Technique, Kabuto is able to sever some of Tsunade's muscles upon contact, preventing her from moving. Using this to his advantage, Kabuto punches her in the chest, which also allows him to sever some of her respiratory muscles, making it difficult for her to breathe.
Thinking this should be enough to force Tsunade into submission, Kabuto begins to gloat at his success. Tsunade, her large breasts having weakened Kabuto's attack, uses his cockiness to her advantage by striking him in the neck, forcing him to the ground. As he attempts to get up, Kabuto discovers that Tsunade's attack disrupted the electric currents of his nervous system, causing his hand to move when he tries to stand up. With Kabuto unable to move, Tsunade heals her injuries. As she does so, Kabuto begins to compensate for Tsunade's last attack, learning what actions lead to what outcomes. After regaining the ability to move 80% of his body, Kabuto gets up, surprising Tsunade due to his rapid ability to adapt. Just as Kabuto is about to attack a still healing Tsunade, Naruto, Jiraiya, and Shizune appear before him, blocking the way.
Tsunade is unappreciative of the group's arrival, and pushes Jiraiya to the ground so that she can charge at Kabuto. Before she can commence an attack on Kabuto, however, Kabuto slits his wrists, covering Tsunade with his blood and causing her to become paralysed with fear. With Tsunade incapacitated, Kabuto punches her away, leaving Shizune to catch Tsunade and take her aside to recover. Naruto, meanwhile, tries to understand why Kabuto, a person he had befriended during the Chūnin Exams and had believed to be a ninja of Konoha, is fighting against Tsunade with a Otogakure forehead protector on. To help Naruto out, Kabuto explains that he was a spy for Orochimaru who entered the Chūnin Exams to gather information on Sasuke Uchiha, a person he claims is far more talented than Naruto.
Enraged by Kabuto's treachery, Naruto creates a number of shadow clones to help him attack Kabuto from the side of his injured hand. As Naruto closes in, however, Kabuto uses the blood seeping from his wrist to blind the Narutos, allowing him to easily defeat them all. Shizune, using Kabuto's distraction to her advantage, launches a poisonous needle at Kabuto, though Kabuto is able to block it in time by having the needle deflect off of his forehead protector. Returning to Orochimaru's side, Kabuto takes a pill to stop his bleeding. As he does so, Jiraiya hands out assignments: he will fight Orochimaru, Shizune will fight Kabuto, and Naruto will protect Tsunade while she recovers.
With that, Jiraiya and Kabuto, with Orochimaru's assistance, perform the Summoning Technique, allowing Kabuto to summon two giant snakes while Jiraiya, still in his drugged condition, can only manage to summon Gamakichi. As Orochimaru ridicules Jiraiya for failing to summon anything formidable, his attention is brought to Naruto, who is giving his own attempt at a summon. Just as Orochimaru considers whether he should have killed Naruto when they first met due to how formidable the power of the demon fox could be, Naruto summons Gamatatsu, causing Orochimaru's worries to vanish.
Orochimaru and Kabuto charge at their respective opponents, each riding upon a different snake. Jiraiya uses his Swamp of the Underworld on Orochimaru, though in his drugged state he is only able to submerge the snake in a shallow swamp. No longer able to use the snake, Orochimaru charges at Jiraiya, lengthening his neck so that he can get close enough to bite the other's neck. In response, Jiraiya creates a defence by extending the hair on his head and turning it in to spikes, creating a stalemate between the two.
Shizune, meanwhile, battles with Kabuto, but Kabuto is able to evade her attacks and burrow beneath her, allowing him to sever the muscles in her ankles and causing her to collapse. At the same time, Naruto deals with Kabuto's snake, escaping from its mouth only briefly enough for it to fall upon his leg, pinning him in place. As Tsunade regains her senses, she finds Shizune and Naruto lying on the ground, defeated. Remembering the deaths of Nawaki and Dan, she attempts to defend herself against the approaching Kabuto, though he easily starts to beat her into submission. Just as he is about to give her a finishing blow, Naruto appears in front of Tsunade, blocking Kabuto's punch with his forehead protector.
Battle of the Sannin
Surprised by Naruto's sudden intervention, Kabuto is left momentarily stunned. Using this to his advantage, Naruto tries to use the Rasengan on Kabuto, but because of the slow sweeping motion that Naruto puts into the attack Kabuto is easily able to avoid it. As Naruto lays on the ground due to his lack of speed, Kabuto taunts him by detailing how talentless he is and how hopeless his dreams are. As he does so, Tsunade sees these insults as applying to Nawaki and Dan and remembers her earlier words of similar meaning to Naruto. As Naruto rebuts these claims, he reminds Tsunade of the bet they had and how she will need to give him her necklace, and then proceeds to create a shadow clone.
As Kabuto charges towards Naruto with a kunai in tow, Tsunade begs Naruto to run so that he can accomplish his dreams, but Naruto simply stands his ground. In doing so, Naruto allows Kabuto to attack him, though he blocks the worst of it by catching the kunai with his hand. As Naruto grabs hold of Kabuto's hand, he begins to create a Rasengan with his free hand and uses the shadow clone for assistance in its creation. Once completed, Naruto forces the sphere into Kabuto's stomach, the latter unable to avoid it. With only enough time to clutch Naruto's chest, Kabuto is hurled back by the attack and thrown into a rock. As the dust settles, Kabuto emerges with a deep wound in his gut, though it immediately begins to heal as a result of the chakra he gathered to his abdomen just before the attack. Although the exterior damage is almost completely heal, Kabuto collapses from the internal injuries caused by Naruto's attack, his chakra reserves too low to fully heal.
Kabuto's last attempt at defeating Naruto, however, proves to be effective, as Naruto passes out. As Tsunade rushes to his side to investigate, she finds that Kabuto weakened Naruto's heart muscles, giving him an erratic heartbeat. Tsunade desperately tries to heal him in an attempt to not only save Naruto, but also in an attempt to save Nawaki and Dan's dream. As she does so, the demon fox within Naruto notices the fading lifeforce of its host, and contributes its power in an attempt to save Naruto and, in turn, itself. As Tsunade continues her healing effort, a tired Naruto comes to and grabs her necklace, claiming it as his. After he slips into a tired sleep, Tsunade puts her necklace around his neck, hoping just once more that its wearer will someday become Hokage.
Orochimaru, having just witnessed Naruto's potential, worries about what may happen if Naruto ever falls into the hands of Akatsuki, and decides to kill Naruto in his weakened state. After throwing Jiraiya to the ground, Orochimaru lunges at Naruto with his Kusanagi Sword sticking out of his mouth. Tsunade, realising Orochimaru's intended target, leaps in front of Naruto as a human shield, allowing the sword to impale her through the heart. As Orochimaru tells Tsunade that he hadn't intended to kill her, Tsunade replies that she won't let anything happen to Naruto.
After Orochimaru removes his sword from the blood-trembling Tsunade, he questions why she should would save Naruto, to which she replies that she is protecting Konoha by protecting Naruto, the future Hokage. As Orochimaru ridicules the title for its holders' willingness to sacrifice their lives for the prosperity of Konoha, Tsunade states that she too will sacrifice her life for the same reason. Disappointed that Tsunade would waste her life in such a way, Orochimaru slashes her across the chest, and she falls to the ground. Believing Tsunade to at the very least be out of the fight, Orochimaru makes for a finishing blow on Naruto, though Tsunade blocks the attack again. Upon falling to the ground in fatigue, Tsunade's trembling stops, her fear of blood finally overcome. As she rises, Tsunade throws Orochimaru back, explaining that her commitment to protecting Naruto is because she is, henceforth, the Fifth Hokage.
As her first order of business, Tsunade activates the seal on her forehead to completely regenerate the wounds induced by Orochimaru. Realising that Tsunade is now back in top shape, Orochimaru retreats to Kabuto for assistance. In unison, Orochimaru, Tsunade, and Jiraiya use the Summoning Technique, summoning Manda, Katsuyu, and Gamabunta respectively. As Gamabunta expresses excitement in finally getting the chance to kill Manda, Manda reprimands Orochimaru for not having any human sacrifices ready for him. After Jiraiya and Tsunade denounce Orochimaru as their comrade and give him promises of death, the final battle begins.
Katsuyu starts the fight by spitting some of her acid at Manda, the latter of which quickly evades the attack. Using Katsuyu's vulnerability between attacks to his advantage, Manda wraps himself around Katsuyu and prepares to bite the giant slug. Before he can do so, however, Gamabunta forces his sword between Manda's jaws, saving Katsuyu from the snakebite. Still having Katsuyu in his clutches, Manda tightens his hold of her in an attempt to suffocate her, but she breaks apart into a number of smaller slugs in order to escape the attack. As she regenerates, Manda throws Gamabunta back, allowing the toad to, with the help of Jiraiya, engulf Manda in a enormous cloud of fire. When the smoke clears, Manda's shed skin is all that can be found, the real Manda in the process of burrowing beneath Gamabunta.
Although Gamabunta is able to catch Manda's tail, Manda is able to get behind the giant toad and prepares to bite the latter. Before he can do so, however, Tsunade appears with Gamabunta's sword in tow, and forces it through Manda's mouth to keep it shut. Orochimaru, hoping to even the playing field, extends his tongue towards Tsunade in an attempt to break her neck, but Tsunade uses the tongue to her advantage by using it bring Orochimaru to her. After connecting her fist with Orochimaru's jaw, Tsunade allows the defeated Orochimaru to crash to the ground. Manda, disgusted with Orochimaru for losing, promises that if he could open his mouth he'd eat Orochimaru, and disappears after promising to do so the next time they meet. As Manda departs, Orochimaru frees his tongue from Tsunade's grasp and returns to Kabuto's side where he says that there is still one way to get his arms back, the mask covering the face of the body he had stolen peeling away. With a promise to destroy Konoha, Orochimaru disappears with Kabuto.
After returning to the city and Naruto's recovery, Jiraiya, Tsunade, Shizune, and Naruto have lunch at the same bar they met only a week earlier. After learning that Tsunade has taken on the title of the Fifth Hokage, Naruto begins to find her inadequate for the position, listing all of the ways that the Third Hokage was better than her. Angered by his words, Tsunade tells Naruto to step outside so that the two can fight, where Tsunade once again says she'll only need one finger. As Naruto charges at her, she once again removes his forehead protector and prepares to strike him with the one finger. Fearing the outcome of the strike, Naruto closes his eyes. To his surprise, however, Tsunade kisses his forehead rather than hitting him, telling him to become a good man. After Naruto agrees, the group heads back to Konoha.
The New Hokage
Upon their return, Naruto heard that the village of Konoha must continue their missions as normal. Iruka explained to Naruto (over a bowl of ramen, of course) that they must not show other villages that they were currently weak, so they must do as many missions as they had done before Orochimaru's invasion, even though their strength had been cut in half.
Tsunade was well-known as a great medical ninja, and she healed Sasuke and Kakashi of their ailments received during the fight with Itachi. She visited Lee (who was badly injured during his fight with Gaara in the Chūnin Exam preliminary round) after persistent nagging from many characters, and told him that he should give up being a ninja. There were fragments of bone in his spine, and the one operation that could be done (and could only be done by her) had a 50% chance of either curing or killing him.
In the anime, Konohamaru, grandson of the Third Hokage, became upset at the thought of a new Hokage, especially a woman, and showed his anger by lashing out at his friends (including Naruto) and locking himself in Tsunade's new office. While this took place, Tsunade was introduced to the large amount of work required of a Hokage, and was reluctant at first, but found herself oddly interested in Lee's case. Konohamaru's friends, Moegi and Udon, along with Naruto, tried to find ways to get Konohamaru out, as he had set a great deal of obstacles leading to Tsunade's new office. Tsunade, who was looking for a book in her new office, managed to successfully get in, destroying all of Konohamaru's obstacles with her mighty strength. Naruto and Konohamaru were walking down the street and they overheard Shizune talking to Tsunade. They heard the Fifth Hokage state her concern and her motivation to help Lee. This convinced Konohamaru that Tsunade really was a good replacement for his grandfather.
Just minutes before Tsunade was inaugurated as the Fifth Hokage in front of the villagers, Shizune stumbled upon an open book on Tsunade's desk. It showed a series of mathematical equations surrounding a chart of a body. "50%" was written and crossed out, followed by an arrow pointing to a circle, which contained "58%", and Shizune could only smile.
|#||English title||WSJ release date||Volume number|
|139||"That Person's Name is…!!"||7 October 2002||16|
|140||"Approaching…!!"||14 October 2002||16|
|141||"Itachi Uchiha!!"||21 October 2002||16|
|142||"Kakashi vs. Itachi"||28 October 2002||16|
|143||"The Fourth's Legacy!!"||4 November 2002||16|
|144||"Pursuers"||11 November 2002||16|
|145||"Memories of Despair"||18 November 2002||17|
|146||"Together with Hatred…!!"||2 December 2002||17|
|147||"My Fight!!"||9 December 2002||17|
|148||"Itachi's Power!!"||1 January 2003||17|
|149||"The Legendary…!!"||8 January 2003||17|
|150||"The Training Begins…?!"||15 January 2003||17|
|151||"Impetus…!!"||22 January 2003||17|
|152||"The Second Step"||23 January 2003||17|
|153||"The Searchers!!"||3 February 2003||17|
|154||"Arrival…!!"||10 February 2003||18|
|155||"The Third Step"||17 February 2003||18|
|156||"The Deal"||24 February 2003||18|
|157||"The Answer is…?!"||3 March 2003||18|
|158||"I Won't Forgive You…!!"||10 March 2003||18|
|159||"The Wager…!!"||17 March 2003||18|
|160||"The Necklace of Death…!!"||24 March 2003||18|
|161||"Tsunade's Decision!!"||31 March 2003||18|
|162||"The Unresisting Heart…!!"||7 April 2003||18|
|163||"The Undecayed…!!"||14 April 2003||19|
|164||"Medical Specialist!!"||21 April 2003||19|
|165||"Naruto, Attack!!"||28 April 2003||19|
|166||"The Abilities of the Shinobi…!!"||5 May 2003||19|
|167||"As Promised…!!"||12 May 2003||19|
|168||"Just Once More"||26 May 2003||19|
|169||"Risking One's Life…!!"||2 June 2003||19|
|170||"A Three-Way Deadlock of Offence and Defence!!"||9 June 2003||19|
|171||"The Successor"||16 June 2003||19|
- Jiraiya's stamp card functions like a calendar for some parts of the anime, showing that this arc took place over the course of at least six weeks.
- Retsu no Sho, page 71