Season 7 Episode 23

Run, Dodge, Zigzag! Chase or Be Chased!

Aired Thursday 7:30 PM Jun 21, 2008 on TV Tokyo

Episode Recap

The episode picks up where 175 left off: with Kiba, Naruto, and Hinata trapped by Kaisen Agari and the doppelgangers of the three young shinobi. The four plan to enter Konoha and destroy the village based on the information they've received from a reliable source. Naruto asks if the "source" is Orochimaru, but the look-alikes decide that their real counterparts must die.

The Hinata clone then lights a flare, revealing explosive tags set on the various stalactites throughout the cave. When Kaisen and the clones leave, the tags will be set to explode. Agari tells them that this would be better than them having to return to the Academy, while the fake Hinata hopes that the three get to Heaven easily. Naruto's double taunts him before fleeing.

When the four leave, Kiba can't believe that it would possibly end like this and begins to place the blame on Naruto's supposed bad luck, but when they begin to focus on the big picture, they realize they do not have a solution. Naruto offers to use Rasengan, but they would notice him and ambush then when they got outside, and Kiba cannot use Gatsuuga, for they would still be ambushed.
In the midst of arguing, Hinata reminds the two that her Shugo Hakke Rokujyuu Yonshou could get them out without detection, but as her hands are tied, she cannot escape. Naruto, Kiba, and Akamaru break her ropes just as the tags explode and the rocks begin to fall. Hinata employs Shugo Hakke Rokujyuu Yonshou, allowing her to emit beaks of chakra from her hands and protect the others from the falling rocks. It is done so rapidly, it is as if a shield has been formed.

As the attack holds up, Agari and the clones believe that Naruto and the others should be dead, so the four leave and head for the village.
Back inside the cave, the rocks have stopped falling and Hinata, exhausted, begins to keel over. Thankfully, she lands...on Naruto's shoulder. The girl's face goes beet red and she faints from shyness when Naruto asks if she is all right, but Kiba reminds her:

"Hey, Hinata, cut these ropes before you pass out."

She cuts their ropes with her kunai, and Kiba puts his face to the ground and realizes that the others are gone. He also realizes that the cave will not hold up for much longer, but before they can do anything, Naruto discovers the treasure chest that the three were sent to find. Kiba, however, believes it is a fake, but because this WAS their mission, Naruto decides to take it back with them. Hinata, however, using Byakugan, sees that the chest is just about hollow, save for a piece of paper that isn't an explosive tag. Kiba still says that taking the chest isn't a good idea, though Hinata points out that, with Naruto carrying the chest on his back, they can distinguish him from the fake Naruto that does NOT have a treasure chest.

Through Juujin Bunshin, Kiba and Akamaru create an exit path, though Hinata only limps along the way-- her leg still in pain from the previous episode. Naruto is able to get her out when it seems that the two have been caved in.
When they are outside, they question Hinata about why she didn't talk about her leg, she explains that she didn't want to cause trouble, which, according to Naruto, is asking for trouble.

After some contemplating, Kiba finally sees what the team's weakness is.

(Quoted from episode)
"Hinata worries about us too much, while Naruto and I are too direct and always argue."
The three realize their faults and now are working together. While Hinata stays behind and will rejoin them later, Naruto, Kiba, and Akamaru head off to stop their clones. (Unfortunately, both Kiba AND Naruto unknowingly give Hinata the same direction to stay until her leg is better.)

At the same time, Agari and the doppelgangers arrive back at the village, with the guards and the guard dog not realizing that they are fakes. A few minutes later, Naruto, Akamaru, and Kiba arrive and tell the guards that the ones who just passed were fakes and that even dogs cannot pick up their scent.
While it appears that the clones are scott free, Naruto and Kiba arrive, but the fake Naruto throws a smoke bomb and the fakes try to escape, but the real Naruto manages to grab the Hinata clone. The clone tries putting on the innocence act, but Naruto is able to see through it. Just as he is about to punch the Hinata clone, Naruto 2 comes and knocks the real one across the face and into a wall. "Kiba" comes to aid the real Naruto, while the fake accuses the real of being a fraud. "Kiba" is about to give Naruto another punch when the real Kiba comes in and punches the doppelganger. As he is about to prepare another assault, Naruto and Kiba realize that the fake Kiba has been K.O.'d by a single punch, revealing that the clones are not as powerful as they appear to be.

Kiba decides to pursue Agari and the fake Hinata, while Naruto goes after his clone.
Unfortunately, the clones begin to cause more confusion.
Sakura is exiting a library with apparently more books than she can handle, when the fake Naruto runs smack dab into her. The pink haired girl is now brimming with anger as the Naruto clone begins to taunt her and call her names:
(Quote): "How stupid! You fell on your ass and you're kneeling down! How ugly! Ugly! You crazy lady!"
While the fake Naruto makes his getaway, a beyond enraged Sakura stands to her feet, vowing that the next time she sees Naruto, she will punch him.
Wouldn't you know it? The real Naruto comes running in, warning Sakura-chan, but her only instinct now is "Naruto! Must punch!" And Sakura turns around and immediately gives the REAL Naruto a mega punch he will certainly never forget! The punch is so powerful, Naruto is sent flying through the air...just as Sakura begins to realize that...why would Naruto run off in one direction and come running back in the other?
Either way, Sakura's punch sends Naruto soaring and he lands near Ayame at the Ichigaku ramen shop, startling her just as Ayame's father exits. Her father takes the situation out of proportion and demands that Naruto make the deliveries, threatening that if Naruto doesn't: (Quote): "If you refuse, I'll never let you eat my ramen again."

A fate worse than death for Naruto, so he makes the deliveries and runs off.

Kiba has taken care of Agari, for the most part, and the Hinata double, backed against the wall, plays the innocent card, but Kiba, enraged, is not falling for it and is getting tired of the drama. The Hinata clone faints on the spot. Kiba begins to wonder: "Were these guys serious about destroying the village?"

The situation only gets worse for Naruto, who finds out that his double has been feasting at many restaurants at his expense...seriously! From 45 plates at one restaurant to ice cream, Naruto ends up spending every cent and dollar he has to his name, upset that the clones isn't destroying the village...just his credit.

Something goes off in Naruto's head and he is suddenly rushing back to his home and discovers that even his special nindo noodles that he had been stockpiling...are all gone.
This is just about the last straw for Naruto, who is now out for blood. It's time for Tajyuu Kage Bunshin no Jutsu and probably hundreds and thousands of Narutos are scouting the village for the one clone. He is found walking through the streets with another treat, though the multitude of clones begin to fight amongst another, not being able to tell the difference until the original Naruto points out that the fake does not have a treasure chest on his back. He's found and walloped by the copies.

Kiba and Naruto have the fake Naruto, Hinata, and Kiba and Agari all tied up and can't believe that these would be some of Orochimaru's disciples. Naruto feels that the treasure chest is cramping his shoulders, so he takes it off and sets it down just as Hinata finally approaches. Naruto waves and begins running towards Hinata.
Now, Hinata realizes that the fake did not have a treasure chest. What she does NOT realize is that the real Naruto standing before her took his treasure chest off, but she didn't see that. As Naruto gets closer and closer, Hinata's sharp Jyuuken to the stomach is enough to knock him out.

Finally, all are standing before Tsunade, who admits that the entire thing was an exam to see how the three of them could function as a team. The doppelgangers themselves are face copiers from the Kedoui clan and Agari decides that the three should pass. Naruto shows Tsunade the treasure chest, which she tells him wasn't necessary, though it stays anyway.

Naruto and Kiba bid their clones farewell, while Hinata and Hinata 2 simply...blush and smile at one another. As Agari and the clones leave, Kiba informs them that the doubles will return to their original selves after a few days.

Back on higher levels, Tsunade is reading the paper that was inside the treasure chest: a receipt for the training. Even her accomplice, Shizune, laments with her. The episode ends with Tsunade explaining her role.

"My name is Tsunade. My worries of debts do not increase."
Shizune: Frankly speaking, it's increasing.

Tsunade slams her fists on the table as she screams to the heavens:

"I shouldn't have become a Hokage!" (Quite funny once you see it.)

And so ends the episode.
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