"Simulation" (模擬戦闘訓練, Shimyurēshon) is episode 38 of the Naruto: Shippūden anime.
Naruto and Sai are hiding behind a rock observing the Tenchi Bridge when they spot Orochimaru's subordinate on the bridge. Naruto hears the sound of a bell and turns around to see Sasori, inside of his Hiruko puppet and dressed in the Akatsuki robe, walking towards the bridge. As "Sasori" gives a thumbs-up, Naruto and Sai launch an attack on the spy, who happens to be Yamato in disguise, "Sasori/Hiruko" being Sakura in disguise. Naruto and Sai attempt to use taijutsu to attack Yamato, but Yamato is able to avoid all of them and kick Naruto, citing that their attacks are not good enough. Naruto and Sai head towards Yamato once more, criss-crossing diagonally. Sai holds his right hand behind him so that Naruto can create a Rasengan in Sai's palm, but Yamato is able to his Wood Release ability to cause roots to sprout from the ground, entangling Sai. Sai, however, is revealed to be none other than a Naruto shadow clone. Naruto tackles Yamato, and the real Sai, hiding behind a tree, uses his Super Beast Imitating Drawing technique to paint a snake and bring it to "life". He sends it to wrap itself around Naruto and Yamato, but the latter uses a Body Replacement Technique to avoid being tied. Sai runs off in search of the real Yamato, leaving Naruto tied up.
Naruto and Sakura manage to locate Sai in the forest, who has captured Yamato. Yamato mentally remarks that Sai's skill level is too high for him to just be an alternate on this team, and believes that Tsunade had reason to doubt his placement. Sai also notes that Sakura's strength is impressive, as she managed to rip his ink snake apart, and makes a note to avoid being hit by her. Naruto angrily asks Sai if he knows what the meaning of comrade is. Sai writes out of the word comrade on a scroll, irritating Naruto, who wants to know why Sai left him tied up. Sai explains that there was no reason for Naruto make his shadow clone look like Sai if he was going to have the Sai shadow clone perform a jutsu only the real Naruto knew; by doing so, he had revealed to Yamato that the real Sai was in hiding elsewhere. When Yamato had used a Body Replacement technique to avoid the binding, Naruto had lost his cool; thus Sai decided that since he could not find and capture Yamato while also looking out for someone like Naruto, he would simply keep the latter bound until the mission was complete. Naruto begins to walk off in anger, but Sai asks him why he is so keen on saving a comrade like Sasuke when Sasuke chose to abandon his friends and Konoha for Orochimaru. Naruto clenches his fists in anger, causing Yamato to fear that Naruto will enter his Version 2 form. However, Naruto simply states that he would do anything to save a comrade, even if it means working with someone like Sai.
Sakura explains to Sai that Sasuke is like a brother to Naruto, and asks him to sympathise as he has a brother as well. Sai reveals that his brother had died, and that he had no clue how one would look like if they had lost a brother. He wonders if the look on Naruto's face is the same look. Sakura is taken aback by his words, and Sai reminds her that he does not feel any emotions. Yamato tells the team to go back to their wooden house for the night, and Sakura tells Sai that is he is lucky. She reminds him that she had told him earlier that she would not hold back if he spoke ill of Sasuke again; however, like Naruto, she is willing to tolerate him if it means saving Sasuke. Yamato then dispels the "Tenchi Bridge" (a fake created using Wood Release), and the team return to their camp, where they prepare to meet up with Orochimaru's spy the next day at the real Tenchi Bridge.
|Role||Seiyū||English Voice Actor|
|Naruto Uzumaki||Junko Takeuchi||竹内 順子||Takeuchi Junko||Maile Flanagan|
|Sakura Haruno||Chie Nakamura||中村 千絵||Nakamura Chie||Kate Higgins|
|Sai||Satoshi Hino||日野 聡||Hino Satoshi||Benjamin Diskin|
|Yamato||Rikiya Koyama||小山 力也||Koyama Rikiya||Troy Baker|