The Chunin Exams marks the moment we get to see the rest of the current ninja generation. We are introduced to the rest of the Rookie Nine, Team Guy, the Three Sand Siblings, and Orochimaru. Until this point, I found Naruto to be mediocre but characters like Rock Lee and Orochimaru made me fall in love with the series. This arc also displayed the value intellect was to ninja. The first phase of the exam required the genin to use their skills to acquire information. However, the most exciting part of this arc was the preliminaries. With too many teams passing the exam, the 20 remaining genin we pitched against one another to cut down the numbers. Some of the matches we duds, but a few are classics. The same is true of the finals matches between the surviving winners.
Orochimaru vs Sasuke
Rock Lee vs Gaara
Naruto vs Neji
Temari vs Shikamaru
Five Kage Summit
Manga Volume: 49 – 51
Anime Episodes: 197 – 214
This arc is filled with action but I think it’s most interesting for is the focus on the political aspect of Naruto. The arc centers on the Summit between the current Kages, Gaara, Onoki, Mei, A, and Danzo. While we’re familiar with Gaara, the other Kages are more of a mystery. Danzo uses Tsunade’s coma as an opportunity to claim the title of Hokage for himself. Danzo is revealed to have possession of the Sharingan. The Kages argue over their ideological differences, with A claiming (correctly) that each of the other villages used the Akatsuki to gain power. Of course, the summit is interrupted by Sasuke and the rest of Taka. In the fights that follow, A proves to be a powerhouse, and Onoki and Terumi show off some of their abilities. Finally, Madara declares war over the remaining tailed beast.
Sasuke vs The Kages
Killer B vs Kisame
Sasuke vs Danzo
Manga Volume: 45 – 48
Anime Episodes: 152 – 175
The beginning of this arc introduces us to Killer B, the host of the Eight Tailed Beast. He quickly becomes a fan favorite, while the rapping is bad and stereotypical, he’s a fun character that gives Sasuke a fight. It’s also the first time that we witness a Jinchuriki fight alongside his beast. After this fight, Pain invades Konoha. It’s a devastating assault that results in the “death” of Kakashi and the destruction of Konoha. The highlight of this arc is the fight between Naruto and Pain, with the former using the senjutsu (Sage) techniques and the Wind Release: Rasenshuriken technique. Hinata confesses her love for Naruto and the latter finally meets his father.
Sasuke vs Killer B
Naruto vs Pain
Sasuke Recovery Mission
Manga Volume: 20 – 27
Anime Episode: 107 – 135
Sasuke defects from Konoha in pursuit of power. This marks the moment Sasuke becomes a villain. Tsunade sends a five-man genin squad to retrieve him. Lead by Shikamura, the team of Naruto, Neji, Choji, and Kiba face off against the Sound Four. This arc features several battles that felt consequential. Each fight showed the depth of skill each ninja from Konoha possed. Furthermore, we got to see the specific techniques of the Akimichi, Hyuga, and Inuzuka clans. While Sasuke was becoming a villain, Gaara and siblings became allies. Watching the siblings fight for Konoha gave me chills. Throw in drunken fist Rock Lee and the epic battle between Sasuke and Naruto, this is one of the best Naruto arcs.
Neji vs Kidomaru
Kiba/Akamaru vs Sakon/Ukon
Shikamaru vs Tayuya
Rock Lee vs Kimimaro
Gaara vs Kimimaro
Naruto vs Sasuke
Tale of Jiraiya the Gallant
Manga Volumes: 40 – 42
Anime Episode: 127 – 133
This arc is short but it was the most impactful for me. Jiraiya was always my favorite Naruto character. I loved everything about him, his character design, humor, and abilities. However, we never saw the extent of those abilities until this arc. Jiraiya investigates Pain, infiltrating Amegakure. While there he encounters former students Konan and Nagato. Pain gets introduced and he’s a stoic villain that plans on forcing the world to stop wars, by creating a jutsu powerful enough to “wipe away entire nations.” It’s not the most original of motives but Pain proves to be a formidable villain. The battle between the two is probably my favorite and what made Naruto the best shonen series.
One of the Legendary Sannin finally got to fight with their full power. This fight perfectly balances the powerful techniques of Jiraiya and Pain, while including strategy, and skills that feel earned. When you feel like Jiraiya has defeated a mysterious opponent, it’s revealed (not completely to the audience) what Pain is. After Jiraiya loses his arm and has to face The Six Paths of Pain you not sure he can survive. However, just when we begin to think he will escape, he sacrifices his life to protect Konoha. It was a heartbreaking moment that made me cry. I think it’s the best Naruto arc ever.
Ash begins with his Tauros and Gary uses his Nidoqueen. Nidoqueen begins with “rock smash”, while Tauros counters with “horn attack” but is KO’ed with “Hyperbeam”. Ash uses Heracross as Gary recalls his Nidoqueen. He uses Magmar and releases a flamethrower, Heracross dodges and counters with a “fury swipes”. Margar fires a “Fire blast” at Heracross, which in turn uses his wings to blow the flames away. Heracross uses his “Megahorn” to defeat Magmar.
Gary’s Blastoise is next up and it handles Heracross with a powerful “Hydro Pump”. Ash sends out Muk. Blastoise uses Skull Bash, but it doesn’t do damage. Muk uses sludge bomb, Gary counters by having Blastoise use rapid spin. Blastoise attempts to “send Muk flying” by using rapid spin but fails to budge it. Muk attempts to smother Blastoise, but it escapes with “Hydro Pump”. Ash recalls Muk, and sends out Bayleaf hoping the type advantage will work. Blastoise uses “Hydro Pump”, Bayleaf dodges by using it’s vine whip to propel itself into the air. Bayleaf, uses “Razor Leaf” but is countered by “rapid spin”.
Bayleaf uses “body slam” but is caught by “bite”, tossed and knocked out. Both Gary and Ash switch Pokemon, Gary with Arcanine and Ash with Snorlax. Arcanine uses Take Down , Snorlax responds with Body Slam. Arcanine dodges, but traps Snorlax with Fire Spin. Snorlax then uses Hyper Beam knocking Arcanine out. Nidoqueen returns using Double Kick, then a Hyper Beam. Snorlax ducks the attack and uses Ice Punchwinning the encounter. Gary’s Scizor is up next, Snorlax quickly defeated with a Metal Claw. Muk is sent back out, Muk is unfazed by Quick Attack. Scizor uses swift to KO Muk.
Ash is down to his last Pokemon, Ash sends out Charizard. Scizor uses Steel Wing, and Charizard response with Flamethrower. Charizard uses a super-effective Flamethrower to the face. Gary, sends Golem out. Golem quickly uses Magnitude, that shocks Charizard. Charizard attempts to use Seismic Toss, but Golem is too heavy. Charizard uses Dragon Rage, which KO’s Golem. Gary and Ash are now even and down to their final Pokemon Charizard’s and Blastoise.
Charizard opens using Flamethrower, but it is deflected by Rapid Spin. However, Charizard is hit in face with a Hydro Pump. Blastoise, has the type advantage. Ash commands Charizard to” burn the field” . Blastoise tries to cool the field with Hydro Pump, but steam emerges. Charizard uses Seismic Toss slamming Blastoise to the ground. When the smoke clears both Pokemon are still standing, but Blastoise faints. Ash defeats his rival moving on to the next round.
79. Neji vs Kidomaru
Neji is the only one capable of defeating Kidomaru as his “gentle fist”, is naturally built to counter his webs. Kidomaru is able to cleverly deduce Neji’s defense and able to determine that he has a blind spot. He summons a large spider that releases small spiders. This forces Neji to use his “Eight Trigrams One Hundred Twenty-Eight Palms”.
Neji was severely wounded by Kidomaru’s long range arrows. He dodges another arrow but can’t muster the energy to do it again. This time he takes advantage of the string attached to the arrow, and channels chakra through it damaging Kidomaru’s insides. Neji delivers a final strike into forehead of Kidomaru with gentle fist, killing him.
78. Kurama vs Karasu
Karasu and Kurama fight in the first battle of the finals. Karasu quickly gains the upper hand, easily destroying Kurama’s petals. He reveals that how his powers work. He creates”demon shaped dynamite sticks”. Kurama stabs Karasu in the right hand. Kurama transforms into his Yoko form. Karasu creates” a swarm of Trace Eye Bombs”, Yoko avoids them but is surround.
Yoko releases a “Ojigi Plant”, this plant destroys the bombs then attacks Karasu. He gets “caught and swallowed up by several of the plant’s leaves” , Karasu’s mask falls off int the process. He emerges from the plant having turned his own body into an explosive. Kurama reverts back to his original state. Kurama appears to become erratic and begin to attack senselessly. He plants a seed into Karasu’s chest, Kurama releases a “vampire tree” that kills Karasu.
77. Genyursi vs Juha Bach
Genyursi aims to obliterate Juha Bach, and he instantly goes and uses his Bankai, Zanka no tachi. The Bankai uses all the power in his flames into the edge of his sword. After showing his Bankai’s power, Genyursi uses his Zanka no East. Bach attacks Genyursi but his sword snaps in half. Bach is surprised and Genyursi explains that if there’s an East there must be a west. He reveals his Zanka no Tachi west, which covers himself in flames that rival the sun. Bach uses his Sankt Zwinger but Genyursi uses his sword as a stand to protect himself.
He then uses his Zanka no South, resurrecting the past kills of his. Bach notices that these resurrected corpses were former allies, upset at this Bach rushes Genyursi. Genyursi uses his Zanka no North and cuts Bach nearly in half. Assuming that he’s won he powers down his Bankai, it turns out however that the Bach that was fighting Loyd Royd R. The real Bach emerges and kills off a dying Loyd, when Genyursi uses his Bankai Bach steals it. Bach uses his sword and quickly attacks a depleted Genyursi, cutting him in half. He then cuts off his hand and then destroys him completely.
76. Sasuke vs The 5 Kages
Sasuke and his team are aiming to kill Danzo. He is stopped by the Raikage, A. A’s strength is greater than the cocky Sasuke could have imagined. He snaps Suigetsu’s sword, and defeats Jugo rather easily. A is capable of countering Chidori, so Sasuke activated his “Mangekyo Sharingan”. A sacrifices his arm trying to hammer through Sasuke’s defenses. Gaara intervenes trying to determine if Sasuke can be redeemed.
Sasuke cut several columns, causing the room to collapse. Sasuke, abandons his comrades in search for Danzo. Danzo escapes but before Sasuke can chase him the Mizukage, Terumī blocks his path with “Lava Release”. Her “acidic mist” almost kills Sasuke but Zetsu aids him. Onoki the Tsuchikage, uses his “Dust Release” on Sasuke but he’s again save this time by Tobi.
75. Straw Hat Pirates vs Neo Marines
The Straw Hats face off against Neo Marines.They begin using their various skills to fight. Chopper uses his “Guard Point”, shooting many rifles by himself. Zoro fights with Ain, as she aims to protect Z. Sanji fights with Binz, Luffy easily dispatches a group of Neo Marines. He, dodges multiple shots as he looks for Z. Zoro and Ains battle, nut she is clearly out matched. Sanji lands many hard kicks on Binz. Robin uses her “Gigantesco Mano” move, crushing many enemies with giant legs.
Brook utilizes his “Soul Solid”, paralyzing many soldiers. Chopper transforms into his new “Kung-Fu point”, and defeats several soldiers. Usopp uses “Hissatsu Midori Bosshi”, raising sharp bamboo from the ground. Nami summons a “lightning storm” on the striking everyone including her fellow straw hats. An army of “Pacifista” arrive and begin attacking. Franky shows up an obliterates them with his “Radical Beam”.
74. Goku and Vegeta vs Kid Buu
Kid Buu goes searching the universe for Goku and Vegeta. He them on the “Sacred World of the Kais” . Kid Buu quickly engages in a battle with “Super Saiyan 2” Goku. Goku seems to have the upper hand, but Kid Buu is fighting to his full capacity. He powers up, in response Goku transforms into “Super Saiyan 3” they fight evenly. Kid Buu, has greater endurance, wins over Goku, because he runs out of power. Vegeta becomes “Super Saiyan 2” to distract Kid Buu so Goku can finish him with spirit bomb.
73. Sasuke vs Diedara
Sasuke, attacks Deidara and Tobi and Deidara notes how fast he is. Although makes a clean strike through Tobi, but misses Deidara. Tobi is unaffected, and Deidara counters with his clay explosives. Sasuke uses “Chidori Senbon”, to diffuse them. Deidara uses his C2 dragon and creates smaller explosives that Tobi hides underground. Sasuke can’t destroy the dragon as it’s out of range. He’s, forcing into activating his level two cursed seal. Sasuke manages cut off one of the dragon’s wings, which falls to the ground destroying itself and the explosive underground.
Sasuke and Deidara both survive the explosions. Deidara is reminded how he was recruited into the Akatsuki. Itachi, humiliated him with his Sharingan. Resulting in Deidara hating the Uchiha, he uses his C4 explosive by eating his clay. When C4 explodes microscopic bombs are released into the atmosphere, whatever inhales them disintegrates. Sasuke uses his Sharingan to make it appear that he died, but when he thinks he won Deidara becomes a clay clone. Deidara traps him within a clay clone, but Sasuke nullifies the explosives like before. Deidara can’t accept that he was defeated, he commits suicide by blowing himself up but Sasuke survives.
72. Natsu and Gajeel vs Sting and Rogue
The Battle between the Dragon Slayers begins with Natsu and Gajeel clearly Dominating. They appear to effortlessly thrash Sting and Rogue. However, they both activate their White Drive and Shadow Drive respectively. This turns the tide of the battle in their favor. Neither Natsu or Gajeel are afraid as they continue to surprise the audience with their strength. Sting uses his best move, Holy Nova. Natsu is completely unaffected by this technique.
Sting and Rogue activate ” Dragon Force”, and take over the battle. Natsu aims to prove that both he and Gajeel have been underestimated, by taking on both a the same time. He dominates the two Dragon Slayers, they resolve to combine their attacks into ” Unison Raid: Holy Shadows Dragon Flash Bang”, Natsu counters with his “Crimson Lotus: Exploding Flame Blade”. Natsu is declared the victor.
71. Mayuri Kurotsuchi vs Pernida Parnkgjas
This fight ends up being between Mayuri and Pernida, however, it starts with Kenpachi mindlessly attacking the unknown Pernida. When Kenpachi attacks, Pernida attacks his arm. Mangled, Kenpachi rips his arm off. He did manage to split Pernida’s head. Kenpachi, ignoring Mayuri’s advice, attack again. This time Pernida breaks both Kenpachi’s legs. Mayuri decides to save Kenpachi from himself. He stabs Kenpachi with his Ashisogi Jizo. He activates Ashisogi Jizo, Kyodo Yon, resulting in Jizo emitting an unpleasant sound.
Mayuri does what he does best. He meticulously probes Pernidas power. He learns that Pernida ability “The Compulsory” isn’t linked to his main body. Pernida “sends its nerves into its opponents’ bodies to forcibly control and break them.” When Pernida attacks with his nerves, Mayuri counters with a liquid that exposes Pernida’s nerves. Pernida reveals his true form, as the left hand of the Soul King. As character design goes, Pernida isn’t well throughout. A hand feels like the type of villain you create as a five year old. Anyway, Mayuri and Pernida engage in a back and fourth.
Pernida can use his nerves to control inorganic objects and is able to create duplicates of itself. Pressured, Mayuri uses his new Bankai, Konjiki Ashisogi Jizo: Makai Fukuin Shotai. A modified Bankai, Jizo can “create a modified Konjiki Ashisogi Jizo using the information he gives it.” A screaming Konjiki Ashisogi bursts out. Pernida fails to use its Compulsory on Jizo. As the “baby’s skin merely peels away,” Mayuri explains that “how it cannot be controlled because its nerves are divided into 70000 layers, each of which will simply peel away if infiltrated by Pernida’s nerves.”
Konjiki Ashisogi eats Pernida. However, this doesn’t matter as Pernida tears Ashisogi from within. Pernida use Heilig Pfeil. He begins to dominate the battle over Mayuri, forcing Nemu to intervene. Mayuri isn’t pleased. He’s furious that she would fight without his orders. Nemu fights on Mayuri behalf, which he hates. However, Nemu’s body is destroyed as the nerves of Pernida tear her to pieces. Pernida consume Nemu’s body without her brain. This causes Pernida’s cells to grow uncontrollably and forcing him to explode.