|Sasuke Retrieval Team|
|Sasuke Retrieval Team (サスケ奪回チーム, Sasuke Dakkai Chīmu)|
|Anime||Naruto Episode #110|
|Movie||Naruto Shippūden the Movie: The Will of Fire|
|Game||Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3|
|OVA||Naruto Shippūden: UNSG anime cutscenes|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Game, Movie|
The Sasuke Retrieval Team was an emergency-response team formed with the purpose of recovering Sasuke Uchiha, who had defected from Konohagakure and planned to join 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 the newly promoted Shikamaru Nara, making it his first mission as a chūnin, and allowed him to recruit as many genin as he liked within half an hour.
After careful analysis, Shikamaru came up with a strategy he thought would best fit the strong points of the people he had assembled. 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 led the group, tracking Sasuke's scent, as well as the scent of any enemies. As they had the most familiarity with the Land of Fire's terrain, they would also be responsible for avoiding booby traps. Kiba had to be looking straight ahead, with the help of Akamaru.
- Shikamaru, who would be able to give orders quickly based on how any situation encountered by Kiba unfolded. Shikamaru had to look ahead as well, but with a wider range than Kiba and Akamaru.
- Naruto was positioned in the middle. With his Shadow Clone Technique and fast reaction time, 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 would take care of the rear thanks to the Byakugan. Neji had to 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 would only hinder the team.
The squad pursued the Sound Four and Sasuke for some time, growing smaller as its members broke into one-on-one fights with the Sound Four. 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 from Tayuya by Temari. Naruto engaged Kimimaro, the fifth member and former leader of the Sound Four in battle, but was not a match for him. Rock Lee would later intervene, allowing Naruto to continue chasing Sasuke. Gaara, in turn, saved Lee and battled Kimimaro until his death from disease. Sasuke defeated Naruto at the border between Konoha and Oto, but chose not to kill him. 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.