As Sakura, Yamato and Naruto ponder over the meaning of the picture book that Sai left behind, Sai himself is being introduced to Sasuke Uchiha by Orochimaru and Kabuto. Sasuke is angry at the late return of the three and impatiently demands that Orochimaru train him. Sai’s true intentions are a complete mystery at this point as he badgers Sasuke with talk of Naruto and Naruto’s “feelings” for him. Sasuke’s cold attitude is an obvious prelude to the inevitable confrontation. After a heated confrontation in which Sasuke uses a Sharingan-based Genjutsu, Kabuto reveals the “gift” that Sai previously gave to Orochimaru from Root to be data on the identities of the Godaime (Fifth) Hokage’s personal ANBU squad. Kabuto locks up Sai for “obvious reasons” and departs to perform his assigned duty: A “Bingo Book” (identifying list of ninja and their various skills) of the Konoha ANBU. After searching the room for bugs, Sai summons a mysterious book that he has hidden away. While the contents of the book are a complete mystery, it is apparent that Sai does not want his secret discovered by anyone.
Back to the modified-five-times-over Team Kakashi who begin their infiltration of Orochimaru’s base using more of Captain Yamato’s secret Earth jutsus. Yamato previously revealed that he has bugged Sai and can detect his location. After using the same technique to ensure that he can track Sakura and Naruto once inside the labrynth, the trio continue inside. The Team uses Yamato’s tracking power to navigate through the bases labyrinth on a mission to first find and question Sai and then to find and retrieve Sasuke (yea, right.) At the same time, Kabuto realizes that he left the ANBU list in Sai’s room and turns around to retrieve it. Now both Kabuto and Team Kakashi are heading to the same location!
Since I enjoy Naruto and enjoy the suspense of the plot, I don’t read the manga and I am completely oblivious to the upcoming storylines. In fact, I go completely out of my way to avoid reading spoilers and anything that refers to the future plotlines. That being said, I am torn between being angry at the show’s writers for revealing the critical meeting between Naruto and Sasuke (during the first episode of Naruto Shippuden) and biting my fingernails off while waiting for the newest episode to air on Japanese television. My mind is currently dancing between the flash we saw almost fifty episodes and the event taking place in the present – seemingly only episodes away. Naruto Shippuden has quickly gone from stretching out the first arc as long as possible to exploding with action in almost every episode of this new arc. Next week looks to reveal a bit of Sai’s past, which would normally indicate a slow episode if not for the looming confrontation between Kabuto, Sai and Team Kakashi!