|"Bitter Rivals and Broken Bonds"|
|(見えない亀裂, Mienai Kiretsu)|
|Previous||"The Battle Begins: Naruto vs. Sasuke"|
|Arc||Sasuke Recovery Mission|
|Manga||Naruto Chapter #176, Naruto Chapter #177|
|Japanese||November 10, 2004|
|English||October 13, 2007|
As Naruto and Sasuke are about to clash, Kakashi Hatake appears and deflects them into differing water towers. Admiring the damage his attack has done to his water tower, Sasuke believes himself to be stronger than Naruto. After closer inspection, he finds Naruto's tower to be completely destroyed on one side, and only comes to envy Naruto's strength even more. Kakashi is amazed that Naruto has learned and mastered the Rasengan and realises it must have been Jiraiya who taught it to him. Kakashi berates Jiraiya for teaching Naruto the Rasengan, stating that the technique was too powerful for Naruto to handle and that it could have killed Sasuke; Jiraiya rebuffs by stating that Kakashi should not talk, as he had taught Sasuke the Chidori, and Sasuke's Chidori could have killed Naruto. Jiraiya also states that he should have not taught Sasuke such a technique, as Sasuke is hell bent on revenge. Kakashi likens the relationship between Naruto and Sasuke to that of Jiraiya and Orochimaru, adding that Naruto views Sasuke as his greatest rival while Sasuke cannot handle Naruto's growing strength and admirable progress.
Later, Kakashi ties Sasuke up to talk to him and lectures him about not attacking his comrades. Kakashi advises him to abandon his quest for vengeance, but Sasuke states that Kakashi would not understand until the day when he loses everyone important to him. Kakashi tells Sasuke that everyone closest to him has already been killed, and adds that the Chidori is not a tool used against a comrade. He tells Sasuke that despite their mutual losses, they are both lucky enough to find friends to fill the void. Kakashi then leaves Sasuke to make his judgment call. Sasuke contemplates whether to accept Naruto and Sakura as his friends or to continue on with his goal of killing Itachi when he is attacked by the Sound Four, sent by Orochimaru to retrieve Sasuke.
Meanwhile, Sakura asks Naruto out on a walk in order to tell him about the curse mark that Orochimaru had placed on Sasuke during the Chūnin Exams, as Naruto had been unconscious during that and was unaware of it the entire time. Sakura remembers that Kakashi had told her that he had handled it, but is worried nonetheless about the curse mark affecting Sasuke.