Naruto – Announcing Group Seven

Episode 3, in the development of the bold and brash youngster, begins in an odd environment. Upon arising, the weary Naruto has his breakfast, and here we see that although he lives alone, having no parents, he has considerable comforts under the circumstances. These include a refrigerator, an electric coffee maker, and a poster on the wall of “No No Noodles.” His breakfast consists of a cup of instant soup and noodles. It is a modern world for the little boy who concludes his meal by drinking long and deep from a carton of milk, an act that will have profound effects on this most important of days.

Once off to school, Naruto is able to easily avoid the clumsy ambush by the small grandson of the Third Hokage, warning the child not to bother him today as he has an important explanatory meeting.

We are then introduced to the hyperactive, and somewhat inner-directed Haruno Sakura, a girl who is worshipped by Naruto but whom she despises in return. She, instead, is infatuated by the coldly disinterested, Uchiha Sasuke. On her way to school, she bumps into classmate, Yamanaka Ino, a tough girl, who is just as infatuated with Sasuke. The two girls, equally matched rivals, race eachother to school, reaching the door simultaneously, whereupon we are treated to a comedy that has borrowed extensively from The Three Stooges.

Naruto, sitting quietly in class is challenged by another student, who tells him it is only for those who have graduated. Naruto corrects him with, “Hey, can you not see this forehead protector?” While a few rows behind we first glimpse a sweet and gentle girl who has a crush on the boy with a demon fox sealed within.

When the girls of the class compete to see who will sit next to the cool Sasuke, Naruto is incensed by their attentions, crouching onto a desk before Sasuke to glare at him from inches away. Another student intentionally bumps Naruto, who loses his balance falling into Sasuke, lips locked. While the embarrassed boys gag and spit, Naruto senses danger and looks back to see an angry mob of girls, with Sakura in the lead, muttering to herself, “Damn it! I was supposed to get Sasuke-kun’s first kiss!”

Back in the headmaster’s office, Hokage-Sama and the assembled teachers see the events on the crystal ball, realizing that once more Naruto is the center of trouble.

Class begins as teacher Iruka arrives, announcing that today they are all official Ninjas of the level of Genin. They will be split into groups of three where they will set out upon missions, each supervised by a Jounin teacher. The girls dream of being matched with Sasuke, while Naruto dreams of being matched with Sakura.

Finally the line-up of the 7th group is announced: Uzumaki Naruto, Haruno Sakura, and Uchiha Sasuke. Naruto is thrilled to be with Sakura, but disappointed to be with Sasuke. Quietly, a few rows back, Hyuuga Hinata is sad that she was not able to be teamed up with Naruto. Instead she becomes a member of the 8th group along with Inuzuka Kibo and Aburame Shino. As the morning class continues and the final groups are announced, Sakura sends a victorious hand signal to her rival, Ino, angering the latter, while announcing to herself: “Alright! Love prevails!”

The 10th and final group is announced: Yamanaka Ino (butch female), Nara Shikamaru (unenthusiastic guy), and Akimichi Chouji (the fat kid who only likes to eat).

At the conclusion of the announcements, Naruto complains out loud about being teamed up with Sasuke. Perhaps he should have kept his mouth shut, for his teacher loudly proclaims to the entire class, that Sasuke graduated with the highest scores and Naruto had the worst scores, thereby justifying a system to balance the groups, at which Naruto’s classmates laugh.

The children then go on their lunch break. Naruto seeks out team-mate Sakura, who rebukes him, wanting instead to be with team-mate Sasuke. Naruto comes up with a rather extreme plan, sneaking up on the isolated Sasuke, jumping him, tying him up, then transforming into him, whereupon he goes out to seek Sakura. The girl is fooled. She thinks that Naruto is in fact Sasuke and dreams that he will show his admiration for her by giving her a kiss. The kiss is about to come (from the tricky Naruto disguised as Sasuke), when all of a sudden, Naruto suffers the first of a series of stomach attacks that send him running to the bathroom. While he is away, the real Sasuke is able to release himself from his bonds and finds Sakura alone on a bench. Having doubts about his team-mates, Sasuke asks Sakura what she thinks of Naruto. She does not hold back. She criticizes him heavily, to receive from her beloved Sasuke, his criticism in return, “You’re annoying.”

Sasuke seeks out Naruto who attempts to repeat his domination of the better student by employing his Shadow Replication technique, and making multiple copies of himself. Once again, Naruto’s stomach ache attacks him. Only later do we learn that he had been drinking expired milk for his morning breakfast, giving him these inopportune attacks of diarrhea. This time the diarrhea attacks in force, causing all of Naruto’s duplicates to gasp in pain and struggle against one another to get into the bathroom. Sasuke merely frowns upon the absurd scene as five Narutos fight eachother to get through the bathroom door with the comment: “How stupid!” When Naruto’s sakuraoffice¬† illness subsides, he heads back to class, encountering Sakura on the way. Feeling bad by Sasuke’s comment that she was annoying and feeling embarrassed that she had bad-mouthed Naruto, she resolves to be more accommodating. She forces a smile and suggests they return to class together. Once again, we are confronted by the truth that we are often defeated by our own efforts. Naruto is suspicious that this friendly person is actually Sasuke who has transformed into Sakura and is trying to get back at him. He intends to attack Sakura, thinking her to be Sasuke. He is immediately beset by another attack of stomach cramps and runs off. Sakura, having now been spurned by both her team-mates, yells after him, “Idiot!”

In this odd episode, we are treated to the evolving relationships of the primary characters. Their involvements often seem to be just silly and comedic. It also becomes difficult to find the troublesome Naruto to be likeable. His ambition, his selfishness, and his loud and brash behaviour do not make him the person we want to be. His isolation and mysterious origins attract our interest, but it is hard to become close to this loud and self-centered boy. In spite of this, there is method behind the silliness, and gradually, we, the audience, become forged to all of the characters. We experience their strengths, their weaknesses, their likes and dislikes, as we peer into each of their hearts. It becomes impossible to separate ourselves from them, and we are impelled to watch the next episodes to discover what is going to happen.

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