The interval between Naruto and Naruto Shippuden took place with the two and a half years of training of the protagonists, each with one of the Konoha Sannin.
Sasuke fled the Leaf Village to train with Orochimaru, Naruto went on a trip with Jiraiya and Sakura stayed with the Fifth Hokage Tsunade to become a better ninja and accompany his teammates from Team 7.
Sasuke and Sakura had an incredible evolution in this timeskip, with Sasuke becoming one of the strongest ninjas in Konoha, while Sakura was already referred to as one of the most skilled medical ninjas of all time.
The other ninjas of the Naruto generation also had their training and evolution, with emphasis on Neji and Shikamaru, who were already at Jounin level at the beginning of Naruto Shippuden.
And if we have no doubt that Sasuke could face the Konoha ninjas, the same can be said of Naruto, right?
Naruto couldn’t even face most of them face-to-face, let alone all at the same time. Although his training was very useful, it was more like making a supplementary ninja than finishing higher education.
Naruto’s shortcomings that needed to be addressed by Jiraiya took up most of the training and where the other ninjas were improving their skills and perfecting their ninja style, Naruto was learning the basics – by a route that was not the most efficient.
We will prove this by putting Naruto to deal with each of the characters individually (and disregarding, of course, the uncontrolled mode of the Nine-Tailed Fox, just a friendly ninja confrontation).
- vs Sai: Sai’s introduction to Team 7 demonstrated that Sai – an ANBU Root ninja – was a more capable shinobi than Naruto;
- vs Kiba: Naruto’s victory in the Chunin exams was a stroke of extreme luck, since the protagonist was being judged in combat;
- vs Hinata: if someone managed to convince Hinata to fight, she would easily demolish Naruto with his advanced taijutsu – which at that time was comparable to Neji’s;
- vs Neji: probably the most talented ninja of the generation and with a chunin level even before the exams, Neji would simply shut down Naruto in a short time of combat with his superior taijutsu;
- vs Shikamaru: one of the smartest ninjas in history would certainly have no problem putting this Naruto that has only clones and Rasengan as a combat technique;
- vs Shino: also smarter than Naruto and can use his insects to drain the chakra and “pacify” Naruto.
- vs Rock Lee: you may not even need the gates open to beat the boy Naruto in the fist;
- vs Sakura: smarter and stronger than Naruto and with a defensive style that would make her able to dodge an attack from clones, Naruto has nothing that could intimidate Sakura;
- vs Ino: maybe the first victory of Naruto, since the special jutsu of the Yamanaka clan was going to make Ino face Kurama, which certainly would not be good for the girl;
- vs Tenten: is the weakest ninja of the generation, unfortunately not even Naruto would lose to her;
- vs Choji: an interesting combat, since Choji is also not the most brilliant of the ninjas and abuses his physical strength for the combat – a draw or even a victory for Naruto would be fair.
The only time Naruto could defeat the 11 of Konoha would be after winning Sage Mode, where his abilities really began to flourish and he started his journey to be the strongest ninja in Hidden Leaf Village and the world.
Naruto Shippuden was shown between the years 2007 and 2017 and counting the second phase of the anime. In it, Naruto returns after two years of training with the mission to fight Akatsuki and then rescue Sasuke from the clutches of Orochimaru.
Altogether, the anime has 500 episodes (including the Naruto Shippuden fillers), and ends the story of Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura and Kakashi. In addition, the anime sets the stage for the direct continuation of the story.
You can follow Naruto in full on Crunchyroll. In addition to it, the service features classic Naruto and Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, its direct continuation.
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