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|This is the article on episode 53 of Naruto: Shippūden. For chapter 310, head to Title.|
|Previous||"The Power of the Uchiha"|
|Episode||Naruto: Shippūden #53 (Watch Online)|
|Arc||Tenchi Bridge Reconnaissance Mission|
|Manga||Naruto Chapter #309, Naruto Chapter #310|
|Japanese||April 3, 2008|
|English||October 27, 2010|
Naruto asks Sasuke why he stays with Orochimaru when the Sannin simply wants his body. Sasuke tells Naruto that both he and Orochimaru were unable to defeat Itachi on their own, but if he could gain the power to kill Itachi and exact his vengeance in exchange for giving his body to Orochimaru, then that would be a price he would be willing to pay. Yamato tells Naruto and Sakura that out of consideration for them, he did not attempt to seriously attack Sasuke, but that he would now resort to those methods in order to bring Sasuke back to Konoha. Sasuke scoffs at the idea of returning to the village, telling the group that he is done with them. He drops his sword, inserting it into the ground, and performs hand signs to kill them all. As he activates chakra on his body, Orochimaru grabs his hand and tells him not to use that technique. Sasuke rudely tells him to let go of his hand, and Kabuto reprimands him for doing so. Kabuto tells Sasuke that Team Kakashi is to be spared so that they may continue to kill off Akatsuki members, and in doing so, may allow Sasuke a chance to take out Itachi. Sasuke relents, and the three disappear in flames.
Naruto berates himself for being weak and unable to stop Sasuke again and begins to cry. Sakura, who is also tearing up, tells Naruto not to cry as crying would not save Sasuke, and that the two of them together will continue on. Sai offers to help, citing that three people would be better than two, much to Yamato's satisfaction. With their mission officially completed, the team heads back to Konoha, where they report to Tsunade. When Naruto tells her that his determination to save Sasuke is non-wavering, Tsunade tells the trio to return home and stay there until she assigns them a new mission. As they walk home, Naruto asks Sakura out on a date, but is rebuffed by her when she tells him that Tsunade said to go home. Sai is observing their bond from the back and attempts to create his own with them by waving goodbye, but the two disappear before he can do so.
At the Konoha Hospital, Kakashi is surprised that the team fought Sasuke. Jiraiya recaps the events of the Tenchi Bridge Reconnaissance Mission, including Naruto's ascension to his four-tailed form, his fight with Orochimaru and the team's encounter against Sasuke. After finding out that Sasuke has significantly increased in power, Kakashi sighs as he realises that Naruto will now relentlessly demand training in order to keep up. In Tsunade's office, Yamato tells her that she was right about Sai, concerning him being sent by Danzō on a secret mission of his own. He tells her that Danzō sent Sai to kill Sasuke in order to rob Orochimaru of a host body. While Tsunade claims that Danzō's actions, while crafty and hardlined, were done for the benefit of the village, Yamato gives her the envelope that Danzō had instructed Sai to give to Orochimaru, which contained the personnel files of all the Anbu members assigned to the Hokage Guard Platoon. Tsunade is outraged and orders Shizune to tighten up security while seething at the idea of Danzō's coup. Meanwhile, Sai returns to the Root headquarters and reports his mission failure to Danzō, who is surprised as Sai had never failed a mission before. Sai requests to keep his name and retain his position on Team Kakashi; as Tsunade had requested the same thing, Danzō reluctantly allows it, but not before noticing Sai's smile and reminding Sai that emotions need to be repressed as they lead only to anger and hatred. Sai remembers Sasuke's bitter emotions of hatred towards him and Itachi, but also remember Naruto's happy emotions regarding his brotherly bond with Sasuke. Sai decides to go with the latter, and returns home to paint a picture. However, before he can begin, Naruto calls him from outside his window. Sai looks out and sees the rest of the team there, ready to depart on another mission.
|Role||Seiyū||English Voice Actor|
|Naruto Uzumaki||Junko Takeuchi||竹内 順子||Takeuchi Junko||Maile Flanagan|
|Sakura Haruno||Chie Nakamura||中村 千絵||Nakamura Chie||Kate Higgins|
|Sai||Satoshi Hino||日野 聡||Hino Satoshi||Benjamin Diskin|
|Yamato||Rikiya Koyama||小山 力也||Koyama Rikiya||Troy Baker|
|Kabuto Yakushi||Nobutoshi Kanna||神奈 延年||Kanna Nobutoshi||Henry Dittman|
|Sasuke Uchiha||Noriaki Sugiyama||杉山 紀彰||Sugiyama Noriaki||Yuri Lowenthal|
|Kakashi Hatake||Kazuhiko Inoue||井上 和彦||Inoue Kazuhiko||Dave Wittenberg|
|Shizune||Keiko Nemoto||根本 圭子||Nemoto Keiko||Megan Hollingshead|
|Homura Mitokado||Hikaru Miyata||宮田 光||Miyata Hikaru||Beau Billingslea|
|Koharu Utatane||Junko Midori||翠 準子||Midori Junko||Jeannie Elias|
|Danzō||Hiroshi Ito||糸 博||Ito Hiroshi||William Knight|
|Fifth Hokage: Tsunade||Masako Katsuki||勝生真沙子||Katsuki Masako||Debi Mae West|
|Jiraiya||Hochu Otsuka||大塚 芳忠||Ōtsuka Hōchū||David Lodge|