Sasuke Retrieval Team
Sasuke Retrieval Team (サスケ奪回チーム, Sasuke Dakkai Chīmu)
|Anime||Naruto Episode #110|
|Movie||Naruto Shippūden 3: Inheritors of the Will of Fire|
|Game||Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3|
|OVA||Naruto Shippūden: UNSG anime cutscenes|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Game and Movie|
The Sasuke Retrieval Team was an emergency-response team formed because of Sasuke Uchiha's defection from Konohagakure to Otogakure. Because of the A-rank nature of the mission, the retrieval team would ordinarily have been composed of chūnin and jōnin, however, because Konoha was still suffering from a loss in manpower due to the attempted invasion, the Fifth Hokage was only able to send minimal forces. She handed leadership of the squad to Shikamaru Nara — making it his first mission since being promoted to chūnin — and allowed him to recruit as many genin as he liked within half an hour. The team's mission was the basis for the Sasuke Retrieval Arc.
For the purpose of the mission Shikamaru after careful analysis came up with a strategy he thought would best fit the strong points of the team he had. The formation for pursuing Sasuke and his escorts, the Sound Four, was designed to be able to react to an enemy attack from any angle as quickly as possible. The members were organised in this order:
- Kiba and Akamaru, who would lead the group, track Sasuke's scent and check out the enemies' scent to evade booby traps as they have the most familiarity with the Land of Fire's terrain. Kiba had to be looking straight ahead. With the help of Akamaru, Kiba would be good to watch up front if an enemy did a frontal attack.
- Shikamaru, who would be able to give orders quickly based on how any situation encountered by Kiba unfolded. Shikamaru had to look ahead too, but with a wider range than Kiba and Akamaru.
- Naruto, who has quick reaction was in the middle. With his Shadow Clone Technique he would be able to aid the front or the rear in an emergency. Naruto had to be watching left.
- Chōji, being the bulkiest in the group, would be the final blow after a surprise attack. Chōji had to be watching right.
- Neji, who would take care of the rear thanks to the Byakugan. Neji would be watching the back and taking care of any blind spots in the formation.
Before departing, Shikamaru stated that he refused to take Sakura Haruno with him, because he heard that she failed to persuade Sasuke from leaving, and that bringing her will only hinder the team.
The squad pursued the Sound Four and Sasuke for some time, growing smaller as its members broke up into one-on-one fights with the Sound Four and then their fifth member, Kimimaro. Chōji and Neji both ended up near death after defeating their opponents, Jirōbō and Kidōmaru. Kiba and Akamaru were nearly killed by Sakon and Ukon, but were saved by the timely intervention of Kankurō. This situation was repeated with Shikamaru being saved by Temari from Tayuya. Naruto engaged Kimimaro in battle for a while but was not a match for him. Though unofficially a member, Rock Lee would later join the group in time to save Naruto from Kimimaro and allow him continue pursuing Sasuke. Gaara, in turn, saved Rock Lee, and both were then saved by Kimimaro's succumbing to disease. When Naruto faced off with Sasuke the battle ended in Sasuke's favour, but he chose not kill Naruto. In the end, the mission was a failure, as Sasuke successfully joined up with Orochimaru.
- The Sasuke Retrieval Squad had their own splash page in the manga, in chapter 188.
- In Part II during their search for Sasuke as part of the Eight Man Squad, it was revealed that Shino Aburame held a grudge about not being on the team, even though he was away on a mission with his father at the time. He also attributes the mission's failure to him not being present.