Season 9 Episode 12

Bringing Back Reality

Aired Thursday 7:30 PM Unknown on TV Tokyo

Episode Recap

It starts with Naruto telling Tsunade what happened when Menma plays his flute. Tsunade remarks that she had heard of that kind of technique before. She then remarks that the Rice Country has some kind of instrument-related technique. Shizune then remembers that Menma was found in a river near the Rice Country. Naruto looks pretty unsure about it (take note that the Rice Country was where the Sound Village was located) but Menma wants to go. Tsunade agrees and lets them go.
Later on, you see Naruto, Menma, Neji and Tenten all leaving for the Rice Country. Naruto quickly makes a stop at Ichiraku to check on the bamboo shoots. Upon hearing they'll be done once he comes back, he's satisfied and leaves. As they leap through the trees, Naruto gets a flashback of Tsunade demanding Neji and Tenten go with him. She reminds Naruto that there's a chance Menma can be with some foreign enemy of Konoha.
Back in the present, Neji tests Menma's power and speed. He notices that, even when jumping at his top speed, Menma's able to keep up without any trouble. Suddenly, a branch he was standing on breaks. In a flash, Menma manages to grab him by the hand and pull him back to safety.
Finally, the group takes a break on some cliff. While Menma's gazing at the clouds, Neji takes the chance to tell the rest of the group of his suspicion of Menma probably being a Ninja. He reveals that he tripping was just a test in disguise to see how fast Menma can go. If it turns out Menma's actually a foreign shinobi, then he can be a really troublesome enemy. Naruto disagrees, and keeps to his word that Menma's good. That's when Menma starts playing his flute. Instantly, Neji and Tenten tell him to knock it off, saying it can signal the enemy their location.
However, the group suddenly smells smoke. They rush off to find a burned-down town. There, Menma starts having some flashbacks of fire and people screaming. Naruto asks if he's okay. That's when the remaining villagers attack. One of the men steps up with a crossbow. He demands that the shinobis leave the village. Reluctantly, they agree and rest up near a river. That's when a woman appears and apologies for her brother's actions.
She reveals that the village she lives in was small, but rich since the mountains behind it have some gold inside. Because of that, it became target to many thieves. Finally, one night, some Ninjas appeared and attacked them all. Ever since the attack, the little girl she brought with her, Fuki, has been unable to talk.
Upon hearing that more than one-third of the villagers were killed in the last attack and the thieves were all Ninjas, Naruto and Menma decide to stay and help at the village. They start to build a wall, using the river as a mote. Soon, many of the villagers also join in, and so does Tenten. During the construction, Neji appears and helps defend Naruto from the guy who attacked him last time back in Konoha.
In the middle of the attack, Ran (the man with the crossbow) appears. He shoots his crossbow but misses. The attacker however throws a kunai at him. Menma, who was watching this, rushes over and takes the kunai in his back instead, saving Ran. They take him back to the village. Ran was preparing to do surgery on him, when he finds a mark on Menma's upper right shoulder. He refuses to help him, saying that their attackers also had this mark.