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The Menma Memory Search Mission (メンマ記憶探索任務, Menma Kioku Tansaku Ninmu) spans from episodes 213 to 215 of the Naruto anime. This arc is preceded by the Gantetsu Escort Mission and followed by the Sunagakure Support Mission.
While searching for a special bamboo ingredient for his next ramen meal, Naruto came across a young man floating in the river. Quickly, he took him to the village hospital. It was then discovered that the young man had no memory of who he was. There were no clues to who he was beyond an ocarina the boy was carrying. Later the following night, lightning struck the hospital, causing it to burst into flames. The young man, who was still being cared for in the hospital, quickly acted by saving an infant with the aid of strange technique performed with his ocarina. To thank him, Tsunade decided to let the boy stay in the village for the time being, as long as he stayed with Naruto. Naruto then decided to name him Menma, a name he came up with from the bamboo he found. As time went on, "Menma" showed himself to be very considerate and giving, as he began doing all kinds of chores around the village even without being asked first.
While cleaning the Hokage Monument, an unknown man attacked Naruto. At first Naruto was forced on the defence, until Menma played another melody on his ocarina, which somehow gave Naruto a tremendous surge of chakra to overwhelm the man. This forced the man to retreat and Naruto to wonder who Menma really was. After telling Tsunade about the incident, Tsunade theorised Menma might be from the Land of Rice Fields that was known for music-based techniques. After begging her, Naruto and Menma were allowed to go, along with Neji and Tenten. They were sent along as Tsunade feared Menma might be affiliated with Orochimaru as one of his subordinates, Tayuya used a similar techniques style.
On their journey, they came across a small village in ruins. The sight of the destruction seemed to horrify Menma for some reason. Soon after, Naruto and the others were attacked by the villagers. Despite their unexplained hostility, the villagers stopped attacking after learning they were from the Konohagakure. Before the team left the village, one of the villagers approached them and begged for their help. She explained that because of the gold mine at the foot of the village, it has been subjected to a terrible attack by rogue ninja from the Otogakure, costing the village countless lives. Thanks to Menma's insisting, it was decided to stay and help the village. Naruto and Menma then began making a wall to aid in protecting the village from the next attack. Eventually, the rest of the village was inspired to help make the wall.
While still working on the wall, the man who attacked Naruto and Menma earlier attacked again. In the scuffle, Menma was injured while saving the village leader. While treating his wound, it was shockingly discovered a tattoo on Menma that revealed he was actually a member of missing-nin. Despite the village's anger towards him, they were talked into helping Menma. Soon after, the rogue ninja attacked again, led by the man from earlier. After managing to fight back their enemies, Menma, who seemed to have regained his memories, revealed he knew the gang leader Shiin's backup plan; to blow a large dam to flood the entire village. Menma asked Naruto bring him to the mines where he planted several explosive tags there to counter Shiin's plan. Along the way, Menma revealed he was indeed a member of that gang. He explained that he was taken in by them when he was young, but never realised how evil they really were until they attacked the village. Menma explained that after being taken to Konoha, he pretended to have amnesia to live a peaceful life even for a short while, and to get help from Konoha in stopping his clan's horrible actions against the small village.
While Naruto was initially furious at Menma for all his lies, he soon sympathised with him for his troubled past and realised Menma's intentions behind his lies were pure. Menma then gave Naruto his ocarina as a parting gift before pushing him into a canyon river and setting off the explosive tags at the cost of his own life. While it succeeded in stopping Shiin's plan, Naruto was furious at the loss of his friend and defeated Shiin with his Rasengan. Later back at the village, Naruto finally had the special ramen he was waiting for Ichiraku to prepare and had in memory of Menma.
|#||Episode Title||Japanese Airdate||English Airdate|
|213||"Vanished Memories"||14 December 2006||7 November 2009|
|214||"Bringing Back Reality"||21 December 2006||15 November 2009|
|215||"A Past to Be Erased"||21 December 2006||15 November 2009|