|This is the article on the episode. For the chapter, head to The Chūnin Exams Begin!!.|
"The Chūnin Exams Begin!" (中忍試験、開始!, Chūnin Shiken, Kaishi!) is episode 395 of the Naruto: Shippūden anime.
Arriving in Amegakure, Kakashi reveals his identity, and says that he wishes to speak to Hanzō. Entering Hanzō's fortress, Kakashi gives him the message sent by Suna and Konoha. Unbeknownst to him, Hanzō is actually dead, and is merely Konan in disguise. Telling Pain of the Chūnin Exams co-hosted by the two villages, the Akatsuki leader orders Konan to send a few genin teams to join. Tsunade receives Amegakure's response that they will join the Chūnin Exams, though suspect they might have a secret agenda, and orders Shizune to keep a close watch on the Ame genin.
Elsewhere in Takigakure, Shibuki meets with Fū, regarding the invitation of the Chūnin Exams sent by Konoha and Suna, and ultimately agrees for her to participate, but warns her to be cautious. Meanwhile in Sunagakure, Gaara speaks to Kankurō, and reveals his intention to supervise the exams, while also wanting to make amends with the rebels against him, much to Kankurō's dismay. Back in Konohagakure, Tsunade informs the jōnin of the impending Chūnin Exams, and asks for them to recommend their respective genin pupils. Asuma recommends his team to take part (excluding Shikamaru), and Ino invites Sakura to join because they needed a three-man squad to qualify, but she turns down this request in the fear her non-combat skills may hinder Ino and Chōji's chances. However, after realising her capabilities, Sakura decides to participate while Naruto reaches a new step in his training. Meanwhile, all of the genin from other villages participating enter Konohagakure, signifying the start of the Chūnin Exams.