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|(我愛羅『絆』, Gaara "Kizuna")|
|Previous||"Naruto's School of Revenge"|
|Episode||Naruto: Shippūden #182 (Watch Online)|
|Arc||Past Arc: The Locus of Konoha|
|Japanese||October 21, 2010|
|English||April 13, 2013|
Gaara consults with Kankurō and Temari about Konoha's destruction and whether they would be able to recover from the attack, especially with their Hokage being out of commission. Gaara tells them that Konoha would be alright as long as they had Naruto, prompting him to reminisce on the past.
Sometime after the Konoha Crush, when Suna decided to reaffirm their alliance with Konoha, the two nations decided to each send a shinobi squad to deal with bandits by their border. Team 7 had been assigned on Konoha's behalf while Suna dispatched Gaara, who had volunteered to join the forces in an effort to change his path, along with Korobi and Yaoki, who were terrified of their squad leader since he possessed Shukaku within him. Team 7 was shocked to see that they were to work alongside with Gaara and that he had seemingly mellowed out, with Sakura remembering when Gaara tried to kill her.
Before the two teams split up in their different directions, Gaara had notified Kakashi that the Suna Council had deployed their Anbu members to kill him during their mission. The Anbu managed to locate Gaara and trap him using their Water-Firing Puppets and nullifying most of his sand with the Puppet Water Release: Dance of Mystic Rain technique. Gaara warned Korobi and Yaoki to run away, and the two realised that Gaara had been looking out for them, and was not the monster that Suna believed him to be. Naruto, who had punched the Anbu earlier and tried to locate Gaara, berated the two for abandoning their friend. Naruto fought the Anbu using his Multiple Shadow Clone Technique while Korobi and Yaoki returned to help their friend, shocking Gaara. Gaara then proceeded to knock out the remaining Anbu members with his Sand Bullet.
As Kakashi arrived, Gaara told him and Naruto to let the Anbu be because they were his people, despite what they thought of him. The team then continued on their mission and successfully defeated the bandits. When the teams parted their ways, Korobi and Yaoki reaffirmed the fact that they viewed Gaara as their friend and Gaara smiled, finally having formed a bond with his people.
After forming bonds with all of Suna's citizens and proving that he was more than just a monster, Gaara became the Kazekage. Crediting Naruto for his life changes, Gaara reminds his siblings that so long as Konoha had Naruto, they would prosper.
- In this episode, Naruto seems irritated to be around Gaara and berates his personality, despite Naruto and Gaara forming a shared bond between them after their fight.
- There is a plot hole with the episode flashbacks:
- Kakashi, Sasuke and Naruto are shown to be deployed on a mission sometime right after the Konoha Crush; However, Itachi and Kisame returned to Konoha the day after the Konoha Crush and Kakashi fought the two, only to end up in a coma. The next day, Sasuke located Itachi and tried to fight too, ending up in a comatose state as well. Meanwhile, Naruto had joined Jiraiya on his search for Tsunade. By the time Tsunade had returned to the village as its new Hokage, Sasuke and Kakashi awoke from their coma and Sasuke fought Naruto, shortly before defecting from Konoha. With Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura and Gaara being weakened from their fight, and Suna not being Konoha's ally until a short time later, it would have been impossible for the two nations to have an allied mission less than 24 hours after the Konoha Crush.