A powerful fox known as the Nine-Tails attacks the ninja village Konoha. In response, the leader of Konoha – the Fourth Hokage – seals the fox inside his newborn son Naruto Uzumaki at the cost of his life. As a child, Naruto is isolated from the Konoha community, who regards him as if he was the Nine-Tails itself. A decree made by the current Hokage, the Third Hokage, forbids anyone mentioning the Nine-Tails to anyone else. Twelve years later, renegade ninja Mizuki reveals the truth to Naruto before being defeated by him with the Shadow Clone Jutsu technique, earning the respect of his teacher Iruka Umino. Shortly after, Naruto becomes a ninja and is assigned alongside Sasuke Uchiha, whom he often competes against, and Sakura Haruno, whom he has a crush on, to form a three-person team named Team 7 under an experienced sensei, the elite ninja Kakashi Hatake. Like all the ninja teams from every village, Team 7 is charged with completing missions requested by villagers, ranging from doing chores, and being bodyguards or executing assassinations.
After several missions, most notably one to the Land of Waves, Kakashi allows Team 7 to participate in a ninja exam in which they can advance to a higher rank, and thus take part in more difficult missions. During the exams, Orochimaru, a top-wanted criminal, invades Konoha and kills the Third Hokage in an act of revenge. This forces one of the three legendary ninja, Jiraiya, to search with Naruto for Tsunade, who has been nominated to become the Fifth Hokage. During the search, it is revealed that Orochimaru desires to acquire Sasuke due to his powerful genetic heritage, the Sharingan. Believing Orochimaru will be able to give him the strength needed to kill his older brother Itachi, who destroyed their clan, Sasuke eventually joins him after a humiliating defeat at his brother’s hands. Tsunade sends a group of ninja including Naruto to retrieve Sasuke, but Naruto is unable to bring him back to the village. Naruto and Sakura do not give up on Sasuke, however, and the former leaves Konoha to train under Jiraiya’s tutelage in order to prepare himself for the next time he encounters Sasuke, while the latter becomes Tsunade’s apprentice.