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Team 8 is a Naruto fanfic written by ace author S'TarKan (known in some places as Viridian or Evil Author Lord) which has risen to near-legendary status in the Naruto fanfiction community, especially among Naruto/Hinata shippers.
The story is a For Want of a Nail concept based on the idea that Yuuhi Kurenai scouts the newest class of genins the afternoon before the teams are assigned, and makes note of Hinata's crush on Naruto (among other things). This leads to her requesting that Naruto be placed on her team, replacing Kiba as part of Kurenai’s plans to create a team specializing in reconnaissance. Naturally, this leads to a completely different set of interactions than Naruto had in the canon series, including an original story replacing the "Wave Country" arc, among many others.
The story is noted for being an exceptionally organic take on the source material, with all major characters being fleshed out and well developed. With Naruto and Hinata now being on the same team, naturally the story is a Naruto/Hinata pairing, but Shino and Kurenai also receive their fair share of attention, with Kurenai in particular receiving a fleshed-out background that has so far only been hinted at in places.
The story is currently in the "Search for Tsunade" arc, although events have naturally progressed quite differently. The author maintains a blog and an active forum where he posts occasional word count updates and is also involved in several other projects, such as the equally well-written Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past.
The story is currently the second most reviewed Naruto story on fanfiction.net. (Chunin Exam Day is first)
This fanfiction series contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Hiashi is portrayed as one of these toward Hinata, with such admirable parental habits as physically abusing Hinata during "training exercises" or not allowing her to sleep until she masters a new technique. His canon counterpart, while certainly not the best father, never treated Hinata this horribly.
- Achievements in Ignorance: You're not supposed to be able to infuse shadow clones with a full personality, but no-one told Naruto. Not surprising since no one ever tells Naruto anything.
- Action Girl: Hinata and Kurenai, most notably. As opposed to their canon variants, where... neither of them ever do anything.
- An Aesop: Kurenai likes to turn various mishaps into inpromptu lessons for her genin, asking them what they can take away from the experience.
- Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Some of her lessons are quite harsh, such as teaching Naruto that some people will simply never accept him, regardless of what he does.
- A Mother To Her Genins: Kurenai.
- All of the Other Reindeer: The effects of this on Naruto's everyday life are explored in more detail. Vendors who don't outright refuse him service instead overcharge him. He isn't allowed to open a bank account, and it's heavily implied he gained a reputation as a thief as well as a vandal from unscrupulous businessmen exploiting and exaggerating his prankster antics to dip into a fund set up by the Sandaime to pay for any damages done by him. Then there's the academy therapist that intentionally gave him horrible advice, and the med-nins who don't want to treat him...
- Alpha Bitch: Sakura initially shows some traits of this, which are actually in line with her canon personality at the beginning of the original series. Some of her actions in the initial chapters are so mean, that Naruto ends up heartbroken and decides to stop pursuing his crush with her. Later, during the Chunnin exams, she overhears a conversation between Naruto and Lee, where the former dissuades the latter of trying to win her affections, telling him she only has eyes for Sasuke and is not a very nice person to begin with. Sakura reflects on this and realizes that he is right. From then on she tries to become more amiable towards other people. She also starts criticizing some of Sasuke's more unsavory actions and even begins to question her crush on him.
- Alternate History: Kurenai is known to have a different history than in canon, Team 8 results from this.
- Aloof Big Cousin: Neji, as always.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parent: Amusingly, Shino's mom invokes this trope when Naruto and Hinata visit the Aburame household for the first time. It's even lampshaded.
Shino: *Embarrassed sighs*
Misato: Shino… *In a dramatic voice but with mischief in her eyes* This is the first time you've brought friends home. I have a lot of time to make up for.
- Anyone Can Die: S'TarKan officially claims this about his story, after he killed off Kurenai.
- Although, it shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone paying attention to the themes of the characters' thoughts. A big, constant worry in the series is how death can come suddenly and unexpectedly, no matter who you are.
- Could also be a Shout-Out to the way Caitlin Todd died in NCIS, as far as the sequence of events goes: they both survive the first direct assault due to good planning, but are killed immediately during their recovery with a second salvo, both from a headshot.
- Armor-Piercing Question: When Hinata declares that she's worthless because her father said so, Kurenai asks whom she spends more time with (Naruto) and whether he'd agree with her father. Cue Flash Back to him saying "Hinata, you rock!" and one stunned-silent heiress.
- She's on the receiving end of another one just before the Tsunade Retrieval mission and before Kurenai gets killed. "Hinata, you know what you did wrong, what good would it do to keep reminding you of it?" Innocuous enough, but considering what Hinata has been through her whole life, it made her entire world begin to unravel.
- Arrogant Kung Fu Guy: Sasuke... for a while. He's actually somewhat grateful for Naruto beating that out of him.
- As You Know
- Badass: Naruto, Shino, Lee, Haku...
- Badass Adorable: Hinata.
- Badass Crew: It's even the title!
- Badass Grandpa: The Hokage, as usual. Also, Jiraiya.
- Badass Teacher: Kurenai, Iruka, Gai, Kakashi and Asuma. The first three also count as Cool Teachers. The other two are more of Sink or Swim Mentors though.
- Batman Gambit: Naruto uses one to convince Tsunade of returning to Konoha. See the Awesome entry for more details.
- Tsunade attempts one to get rid of Jiraiya and Hinata when they ask for help to cure Naruto from the effects of Itachi's Tsukuyomi. It backfires on her. Who would have thought there WAS a Hyuuga willing to accept her proposal of servitude?
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Kurenai overcomes Tsukuyomi this way. By working with the genjutsu rather than against it.
- Made even more awesome with the concept that instead of ending the illusion quicker, she took it to its realistically most horrible outcome.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: A double subversion of sorts. While in the Forest of Death, Hinata's face is badly bruised. It remains that way for the rest of the chapter and at least a third of the next one until a medic nin heals her.
- Berserk Button: Don't call Hinata weak in Naruto's company. Also, dare to seriously threaten or, worse, actually hurt his teammates. He will go Kyuubi on you.
- This is not as major as the above example, but as the Precision F-Strike demonstrates below, don't call Naruto a monster because, to Hinata, that's bullshit.
- Avoid any and all sexist remarks in Kurenai's presence. Also avoid being a dick to Naruto; she will scare the shit out of you.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Hinata is a victim of severe emotional abuse, with major self-esteem problems. She's gentle, kind, and refuses to speak ill of anyone, even her screwed up family. And if you threaten her teammates in her presence, she will smash in your face.
- Big Brother Mentor: Iruka towards Naruto, obviously. Given that he was one of the few teachers in the academy who treated Naruto fairly, he is also one of the few male characters that Kurenai trusts.
- The Big Guy: Naruto, despite being the shortest member of the team, thanks to his nearly unending stamina, chakra and use of shadow clones.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: The Hyuga in general, even more so than in canon. So far Hinata seems to be the only decent person out of all of them.
- Although, like in normal canon, Neji appears to be coming around recently.
- He goes as far as to help Hinata hide from her father, which given that Hiashi is one nasty case of Abusive Parent is a pretty good deed.
- Big Sister Instinct: Shown at least twice in the story with the older sister jumping into the fray to protect a younger sibling: The first time with Hinata trying to rescue Hanabi from a group of kidnappers, the second time with Temari trying to defend Gaara during the Sand/Sound invasion.
- Bloody Hilarious: Talking through a broken nose is a laugh riot. Right, Orochimaru?
- Boisterous Bruiser: Lee and Gai, of course.
- Book Dumb: Deconstructed. Naruto's horrible grades at the Academy came less from genuine ineptitude and more from many of the instructors (except Iruka) actively trying to sabotage his progress. Under Kurenai's mentorship, he improves enough to be a serious contender for chuunin within a few short months.
- Boom! Headshot!: Kurenai's death.
- Break the Haughty: Sasuke and Neji. Time will tell if any other Hyuugas will get their turn.
- Brick Joke: At chapter 4, Naruto uses his chakra pulse (see Chekhov's Skill below) for the first time. It's casually mentioned that among the effects, the wives of some village elders lost the cosmetic genjutsu they used to look younger. More than 16 chapters later, guess what happens when Naruto uses the pulse with Tsunade.
- Broken Bird: Kurenai. It’s shown and remarked how much she was affected by the death of her teammates as well as other unsavory events in her past. As a result, her outlook on life can be quite cynical and pessimistic at times. However, in a subversion of how the trope usually plays when it comes to mentorship roles, she acts quite sympathetic and encouraging towards her students (although she still can be very stern when needed), and proves to be quite a good teacher and team leader despite her personal issues.
- Bullying a Dragon: Some of the villagers towards Naruto. Sasuke can be forgiven for this, before the Chunin exams. After the Forest of Death, he no longer has an excuse.
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Kurenai believes that as ninja become more experienced, they also become more eccentric to deal with the stress. Might Guy is the poster boy for this theory, but Kakashi and Jiraiya also fit.
- Calling The Old Men Out: Shino goes before his clan's elders after learning about the Kyuubi, and, as is said later in this entry, verbally tears them apart.
- Naruto does this on behalf of Hinata to Neji.
- Kurenai does this on separate occassions to both the Third and Jiraiya regarding Naruto's poor upbringing and unfair treatment in the village. Unlike the other examples presented here, both had decent reasons and good intentions, eventually realized they made serious mistakes there, and feel incredibly ashamed of how things turned out.
- Can't Catch Up: Discussed by Shino and his parents when they learn of the insane training regime that Naruto (and later Hinata) takes daily. In order to avert it, Shino gets training with a new fighting style and some cool new weapons.
- Chekhov's Classroom: Subverted. Kurenai teaches the squad a jutsu to charge one's fist with electricity, and informs them of how useful it is against an enemy wearing steel. In the following chapter when the group is fighting 3 ninjas and one of them turn his skin into steel, you'd think Naruto would use this jutsu. Instead he uses the Kyuubi's power to punch a hole in the guy's chest.
- Earlier, a psychiatrist speaks individually to each of the new genin, saying the first time they kill someone while on a mission is the most difficult. Except for Naruto, who he coldly dismisses as a monster who will probably enjoy killing. This comes back to bite him in the ass hard when ANBU Black Ops show up and take him away for interrogation.
- Back in Chapter 4, Kurenai's explanation of how to realize you're in a Genjutsu involves searching out discrepencies. This is how she managed to break Itachi's Tsukuyomi.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Haku. In chapter 9, Team 7 (which includes Kiba in place of Naruto) explains the result of their mission in Wave Country. It's mentioned that Haku survived the fight with Zabuza and was brought back to Konoha with them. In chapter 12, Sakura is surprised to see Naruto escorted by a Chuunin proctor to the bathroom. Finally, in chapter 18, that same proctor is revealed to be Haku, who helps the Sandaime in the battle against Orochimaru, heavily affecting the outcome of the fight.
- Chekhov's Skill: In chapters 4 and 6, Kurenai is shown teaching some simple jutsu to her students. Given his enormous chakra reserves and poor chakra control, Naruto ends up supercharging the jutsu leading to hilarious effects. It turns out the supercharged versions become very useful later, particularly during the Chuunin exam and Orochimaru's invasion. The most relevant include:
- A condensation jutsu used to gather little amounts of water from the surrounding atmosphere in order to accomplish menial tasks (like refilling a canteen). By supercharging it, Naruto creates a giant torrent of water that he uses to decimate Gaara's sand shield during their fight in chapter 17.
- A brief chakra pulse used to cancel genjutsu; generally a short-range tactic, it's limited by the amount of chakra put into it. By supercharging it, Naruto creates the equivalent of a chakra EMP capable of covering the entire village and disrupting all kind of techniques beside genjutsu. In chapter 17, Naruto uses it to cancel the genjutsu that Kabuto puts on the stadium during the invasion to the village, but the pulse is so big it ends messing up other jutsu in the area, particularly those neccesary for Orochimaru's plans.
- Colossus Climb: The fight between Naruto and Gaara during the Sand/Sound invasion eventually involves this. Given that he didn't sign the toad summoning scroll and can't call Gamabunta, when his opponent enters the Shukaku form, Naruto doesn't have any other option than running over the Giant Tanuki Demon in order to reach Gaara and awaken him. Granted, he used the Nine tails's chakra to power himself up for the climb, but still...
- Competitive Balance:
- Glass Cannon: Hinata's eyes and reflexes make her quick to react to danger and any hit she lands with her Jyuuken has the potential to be a One-Hit Kill. However, her defenses and recovery time seems to be lower than the rest of Team 8.
- Jack of All Stats: Shino. He has no trouble at all keeping up with the rest of his team but lacks Naruto's stamina. He's physically stronger than Hinata, has a longer reach than both of them and recovers faster but he doesn't react as fast as she or Naruto do. Kurenai combines this and her genjutsu moveset as the team's Kung Fu Wizard.
- Lightning Bruiser: Thanks to the supplemental training in taijutsu he is taking with Gai and Rock Lee, Naruto has gradually turned into an example. This is especially evident during his fight with Gaara in the Chunin Exams. He not only manages to outrun the other jinchuuriki's sand defenses, but hits him so hard that Gaara ends up with a concussion. And that's not taking into account the Kyuubi chakra, which not only increases his speed even more, but also gives him enough strength to punch through metal.
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Hanabi does. Loudly. Obnoxiously. Ungratefully.
- Crazy Prepared: Naruto strangely enough. During the Forest of Death chunnin exam the characters kept mentioning how they had no idea why Naruto brought X item but it sure came in handy: e.g. he brought multiple collapsible tents by himself and other things.
- This is Hinata's influence. One way her poor self-esteem manifests is that she always makes sure she has any item that she might foreseeably need, within reason. (In canon, Sasuke is too self-confident to carry just-in-case items and Sakura's priorities are too warped for her to prepare for every-day or life-and-death situations.) Naruto notices this tendency in chapter nine (after Naruto throws up during a training session, Hinata offers him a clean cloth and cup of tea from her thermos) and decides he should emulate it. Being Naruto, of course, he doesn't worry about the 'within reason' part.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Team 8 was originally assembled to specialize in reconnaissance. Kurenai, however, chose to switch Naruto in place of Kiba to avert this trope.
- Naruto, Shino, and Hinata were able to defeat an enemy Jonin early on partially because he specialized more in stealth than in fighting.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Naruto vs Sasuke. One punch, right in the jaw, and Sasuke is OUT.
- Well, Sasuke had only deliberately and with malice aforethought slammed down on Naruto's Berserk Button regarding Hinata, immediately after Naruto had just watched Neji beat her half to death. What an Idiot!.
- The author did give some rather convincing arguments as to why Sasuke lost, at the end of chapter 15.
- Cute Bruiser: All of Team 8 eventually, but Naruto takes the cake.
- Determinator: Brutally deconstructed during Hinata's fight with Neji. Like in canon, she refuses to give up and keeps standing up despite how badly he is beating her. Unlike canon, where it was used to show character development on her part, in this story is used to show how badly her horrible family has messed her up. After being emotionally abused and called a failure during most of her life, her sense of self-worth is completely warped. Simply put, she disregards her own safety and prefers to die than to be defeated and considered a failure once again. Kurenai later calls her on this, asking her if she ever considered how her teammates would feel if she died. Hinata herself also views her loss as a complete and utter defeat, rather than proof of herself getting stronger
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Naruto, did you just break Orochimaru's nose?
- Disney Death: Iruka. During the border patrol mission in chapter 7, Naruto and his team confront a trio of missing ninjas that kidnapped Konohamaru and Hanabi. Konohamaru tries to prevent Naruto from fighting them, telling him that they killed Iruka, which only contributes to Naruto's moment of Unstoppable Rage. Turns out later that Iruka was alive, just badly injured, and Naruto visits him in the hospital. This instance only makes it more poignant when another character really dies later in the story.
- Drowning My Sorrows: How Kakashi coped with his own sensei dying.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Kurenai forces Tsukuyomi to its logical conclusion, breaks it, and gets head-shotted for her trouble. We'll miss you, Kurenai. *Sniff*
- Dynamic Entry: Shino kills a giant snake this way. Awesome.
- Elephant in the Living Room: Hinata's Big Screwed-Up Family. All of Team 8, the Third and Jiraiya know about it. Gai, Kakashi, Asuma and Iruka also seem to have an inkling. Not only can they not really talk about it publicly, but Hiashi has such powerful connections that he won't answer for his actions (something the Sandaime points out). They collectively decide to come up with plausible reasons for her not to be at her house or near her father.
- To a lesser extent, Naruto and Gaara being jinchuuriki.
- Enemy Mine: Team 8 and Team 7 against Orochimaru, Naruto and the Kyuubi breaking the Cursed seal.
- Expy: Shino seems to be based on Spock. Misato and Shibi Aburame share traits with Spock's parents as well.
- For Want of a Nail: The story’s premise. According to the author, the nail isn’t Kurenai requesting Naruto for Team 8, but some unspecified event in her backstory that led to the deaths of her old teammates, a recon oriented team, which means that when she is offered a chance to form a new recon team, she decides to scout the class rather than simply take the students based on written reports. The author also directly indicates that Hiashi is more nasty than he would be in canon, due to the changed course of history.
- Part of the fun of this fanfic comes from seeing all the divergences in the plotlines from canon that have resulted from this event. For example, it's mentioned that the events of the Wave arc happened with a team 7 including Kiba in place of Naruto. As a direct result of that, Tazuna died but Haku survived. And as a direct result of that Sarutobi survived his fight with Orochimaru because Haku was there to back him up
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Naruto is sanguine, Kurenai is choleric, Hinata is melancholic and Shino is phlegmatic.
- Fridge Logic: Invoked by Kurenai during her Crowning Moment of Awesome. Itachi traps Kurenai in Tsukuyomi and tortures her with her worst nightmare, an image of she and her team being torn apart by an angry mob. Kurenai defeats the illusion by making it more realistic and imagining what Naruto would do if Konoha killed his teammates.
- Friendship Moment: Hinata calming Naruto down after his first kill, Shino verbally tearing into his family for their treatment of Naruto, Naruto visiting Hinata in the hospital and Hinata and Shino comforting Naruto when he goes to pieces at Kurenai's funeral.
- Naruto has one earlier, when he muses on how badly Hinata got hurt, and the stray thought of "no one does this to my friends" completely unhorses him.
- Genki Girl: Hilariously, Shino's mom appears to be at least a partial example.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Kurenai knows a small-scale genjutsu that gives her eyes a subtle glow. She often uses it to unnerve people, especially if they push her Berserk Buttons.
- Good Parents: Shibi and Misato Aburame.
- Government Conspiracy: There is one going on inside the Leaf Village between the Hyuuga Clan and many members of the Village Council, with the ring leaders seemingly being Hiashi and Danzo. While their exact goals and motivations have not been clarified yet, is heavily implied that they ordered the murder of Kurenai's former team and had been actively promoting hate against Naruto inside the village. Some characters, including the Hokage and Kurenai are aware of its existence, but have been unable of bringing it down through legal means.
- Gratuitous Japanese
- Guile Hero: In his spare time, Shino seems to be becoming one. Naruto even lampshades it:
"No one wins an argument against him!"
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Excluding Hinata, the Main House Hyuugas always seem to be pissed off about something.
- Half Truth: Shino's comment about what flowers would be appropriate for Neji's funeral is construed as a public death threat. It could be, but he was talking about was Neji's funeral after Naruto rips him limb from limb.
- Happily Married: Appears to be the case for Shino's parents, despite or perhaps due to being Different As Night and Day.
- Happiness in Slavery: Hinata is more than willing to be Tsunade's personal assistant for six months if it means Tsunade will return to the village to help Naruto and so that Hinata won't have to go back to her Big Screwed-Up Family.
- The Heart: Hinata has some traits of this. Despite her poor self esteem issues (or maybe because of them), she is very gentle and kind, always willing to help other people. She tends to act as a conciliatory voice between the rather disparate personalities of her teammates. More importantly, she helps Naruto to overcome the Heroic BSOD mentioned above, she is the first person to point out to Shino that Naruto is actually a valuable teammate when the Aburame had initial doubts about his competence, and she even convinces Naruto of sparing Neji's life despite what he did to her.
- Heroic BSOD: Naruto starts to have one of these after he makes his first kill, but Hinata helps him snap out of it before he gets too angsty.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: Hinata is especially plagued with feelings of self-doubt and inferiority, in large part thanks to her abusive father.
- Occasionally, Naruto does this as well.
- Humble Pie: Naruto serves it up to both Sasuke and Neji.
- I Am a Monster: One of the major reasons behind Naruto's Heroic BSOD mentioned below. Given that he was using the demon's chakra at that moment and felt vindicated by the death of his opponents, he started to believe he was turning into the fox. Hinata and Kurenai help him to put things in perspective.
- Eventually, both Neji and Sakura realize that they could stand to be better and nicer people.
- I Hit You, You Hit the Ground: Chuunin Exam preliminary battles. Naruto hits Sasuke out of the Chuunin Exam. Sasuke hits the ground with a broken jaw.
- I'm Standing Right Here: A dramatic example; Hiashi Hyuuga very plainly speaks of Hinata's weakness and uselessness to Kurenai when he entrusts her to train her as a ninja. Hinata is standing a few feet away when he does.
- In Spite of a Nail: While several of the Chuunin Exam matches are different, some match-ups are the same as in Canon. Tenten vs. Temari, Hinata vs. Neji, Sakura vs. Ino, Lee vs. Gaara, Naruto vs. Neji and Temari vs. Shikamaru. The actions in many of this match-ups change due to the altered circumstances, however...
- Iron Lady: As a jounin and team leader, Kurenai carries herself as one. She has to, given the chauvinistic mentality of some of the people around her (like a weapon shopkeeper in one of the first chapters).
- I Take Offense to That Last One: When Shino deconstructs Naruto's personality traits and deduces that he's the host of the nine-tailed fox demon, the thing that really gets under Naruto's Skin is that Shino's bugs fed off his chakra until they were full and Naruto didn't even notice. Naruto even goes so far as to declare that he's cheating.
- It Is Dehumanizing: Shino does not take well to Naruto being referred to as an "it" by his clansmen.
- It Never Gets Any Easier: On the eve of Kurenai's funeral, Naruto asks Jiraiya if losing people close to you eventually becomes easier. His response: "No, and if it ever does, I don’t want to know you". Justified as he states that, while some people propose that the perfect ninja is the one that kills his emotions, doing so in the long term becomes detrimental and the ones that subscribe to that philosophy end with no personality of their own, or worse, eventually snap like Itachi did.
- Jerkass: As mentioned before, most members of the Hyuuga clan fall into this, including Neji, Hanabi and especially Hiashi. The members of Team 7 are initially portrayed as this as well. Turns out Kiba is more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, who genuinely cares for his teammates but is too brash, while Sakura eventually realizes the bad elements of her personality and vows to change. Recently, like in canon, Neji seems to start changing his ways after Naruto defeated him. It's still in the air whether Sasuke will turn like his canon counterpart or not, but so far his rather humiliating defeat at Naruto's hands seems to be pointing him into a more positive direction.
- Kick the Dog / What the Hell, Hero?: While is still in the air whether or not Sasuke will go the same path as in canon, some of his actions can be interpreted as either one of these tropes. Namely, his killing of one of the Sound team in the Forest of Death after receiving the cursed seal from Orochimaru, and his mocking of Hinata to Naruto's face during the preliminaries.
- Narrowly averted during Kurenai's funeral; Naruto becomes an emotionally distraught mess, so Hinata rushes to his side without thinking (or even acknowledging the Death Glare her father was giving her). This pissed Hiashi off. Shino then comforts the grieving Naruto. This pisses Hiashi off further. He's about to haul an also-grieving Hinata off when Asuma and Kakashi appear on either side of him; their reaction to Hiashi's intentions is summed up as 'One step further and I will Chidori you right in the face'.
- Killed Off for Real: Kurenai.
- Knife Nut: ALL ninja love kunai but Kurenai seems to somehow always have one in her hand when she's angry.
- Lampshade Hanging: On Highly-Visible Ninja.
- Layman's Terms: Naruto tends to be confused by Shino’s speech patterns, requiring someone (usually Kurenai) to translate for him. Eventually, an exasperated Shino starts doing the translation himself.
- Left for Dead: Iruka, with Konohamaru fully believing he was dead.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: The battle between Shino and Chouji during the Chunnin exams is impeccably civil.
- Let's Get Dangerous: A non-combat variation occurs when Jiraiya drops his pervert facade after Kurenai asks him to take her seriously.
- Life or Limb Decision: The battle between Orochimaru and the 3rd Hokage ends with this... For both combatants!!
- Little Miss Badass: Hinata, regardless of what she thinks.
- Lady of War: And she's working up to this, as far as Naruto's concerned.
- Local Hangout: Ichiraku Ramen. Kurenai sometimes takes the team to Moritake's (her favorite restaurant) when she wants to talk about something serious.
- Loophole Abuse: Misato, Shino's mother, knows a secret fighting style involving kama of which she was instructed to not teach to anyone outside the Hidden Mist Village. Since Shino was actually born there, she sees no harm in passing it down to him.
- Mama Bear: Kurenai is mildly disturbed to realize that she would put the safety of Naruto, Hinata and Shino above the village, if it came down to that.
- Exemplified in her talk with Jiraiya, which can best be summed up as: "Don't you DARE corrupt my kids."
- Master of Illusion: Kurenai, of course. Unlike the manga, she's shown actually being able to kick ass with it. To the point of being able to dispel the Tsukuyomi while under its effects.
- Meaningful Funeral: Kurenai receives one in chapter 21. It's a serious Tear Jerker.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Kurenai, except that she's not an old man.
- Mind Rape: Genjutsu in general, with Tsukuyomi being the crowner. Beating it gives Kurenai her Dying Moment of Awesome.
- Moral Myopia: During their battle at the Chuunin Exam, Kiba and Akamaru use Gatsuuga on Shino... and when Kiba sees his partner was wounded?
Kiba: You Bastard! You hurt Akamaru!
- Mundane Utility: Shadow clones. Good for supply gathering, gardening, and making take-out runs. Of course, this was sort of a given, as Naruto's first solution to any problem seems to be 'throw a bunch of clones at it'.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Spoofed in chapter 14. Naruto and Kurenai have a very serious talk regarding the Kyuubi. Given the seriousness of the matter involved, Naruto decides for once in his life to be silent. Cut to a scene of Iruka suddenly getting shivers, reacting as if a major violation of the Universe laws was happening.
- Nakama: One of the most heartwarming elements of the story is seeing the members of the eponymous team turning into this as time goes on. Specially in the case of Naruto and Hinata, as the team eventually becomes their main solace given their horrible childhood and the closest thing they have to a real family.
- Never Mess with Granny: Hi, Tsunade!
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Despite Hinata's increased training and confidence, Neji still beats her within an inch of her life in the Chuunin Exam preliminaries.
- In payback for the above, although it's not a complete Curb Stomp Battle, Naruto brutalises Neji when they meet in the finals, finishing up by ripping Neji's face open when he's already virtually unconscious.
Sakura: I never thought Naruto could be so... brutal.
- To a lesser extent, Naruto's first sparring sessions with Lee and Gai, with the latter having Naruto describe it as 'knowing what a pachinko ball feels like'.
- Not So Different: Shino invokes this in a positive way during his confrontation with his clan's elders:
Elder: "He's still a damn demon!"
Shino: "No. He's the demon's jailer. We, of all people should understand that what someone holds inside themselves is not the sum total of their being. I've dealt with that issue among my peers, as I am sure each of you have done at some point. Many cannot look beyond our allies. The presence of kikai bugs hosted within our bodies makes it impossible for many to relate to us in any meaningful way. But just because I have two colonies of kikai doesn't mean I am a kikai… just as Uzumaki Naruto containing the Kyuubi no Kitsune doesn't mean he is the demon."
- Played for Laughs when Kiba and Naruto get into a tussle right after fighting the Sound Genin in the Forest of Death.
Shino and Sakura: Can't you control him?
- Naruto has a moment like this at the end of his fight with Gaara, but not only in relation to the similarity between him and his opponent, but also in the similarity between Gaara and Hinata. Basically, Naruto realizes both Gaara and Hinata were raised to believe their existence was worthless and meaningless. This revelation upsets him so much that he vows to fix it.
- Nothing Up My Sleeve: Shino's kamas.
- The Obi-Wan: Kurenai may count as this up to the dying part.
- Oblivious to Love: Naruto to Hinata, even more so than in canon. It's remarked on and justified several times, but considering they spend every day together here, it's astonishing. Even Shino lampshades it.
- Odd Friendship: Naruto and Shino eventually become good friends despite how different their personalities are. Naruto and Lee may count as an example too.
- Oh Crap: Shino, upon learning that Jiraiya offered Naruto the summoning contract for toads.
- Because of his reaction (Shino was afraid that the toads may eat his bugs) Naruto does not sign the contract. Time will only tell how this will affect his future battles.
- Out, Damned Spot!
- Papa Wolf: Kurenai points out to Hinata that Naruto fully intends to avenge her fight against Neji in the Chuunin Exam Finals and that Shino would gladly pick up the slack if Naruto should fail.
- Pay Evil Unto Evil: At the end of their fight, Naruto grabs the already beaten and defenseless Neji by the collar of his shirt and claws at his face with the Kyuubi chakra. While he does get called on it, most spectators of the fight think it was done in retaliation for Neji almost killing Hinata during the preliminaries, so they don't really make a ruckus about it. The trope is actually subverted when the real reasons behind Naruto's actions are revealed later.
- Pet the Dog: Sasuke actually gets one in Chapter 20, by clearly stating he doesn't want to let Itachi kill anyone else if he can help it.
- Temari realizing that for once, she's not terrified of Gaara; she's terrified for Gaara.
- Plot Armor: Oh, so averted.
- Poor Communication Kills: Kurenai works very hard to avert this with her team. For instance, she tries to steer Naruto towards opening up more to his teammates, and works hard to get Shino to understand she's not favoring Naruto over the others by having him train with Gai's team.
- Power Trio: Naruto, Hinata, and Shino. Not that they have a choice in the matter.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Orochimaru refuses to attack the team in chapter 21 as fighting them and two sannin with only one arm would be too difficult. He still laments being unable to corrupt Tsunade though.
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner:
Neji: That's impossible.
Naruto: Just as impossible as fighting against fate. Just as impossible as fighting a Jyuuken user hand to hand.
- Precision F-Strike: During the above-listed BSOD, Naruto recounts the advice he received from an academy psychologist regarding making his first kill. Hinata does not take this well.
Naruto: Well, he told me he didn’t think I’d have any problems at all... like I’m some monster that would probably enjoy killing.
Hinata: That’s bullshit! *sudden horrified pause, claps both hands over her mouth*
- Although his language is generally coarser, Naruto dropped his first actual F bomb on Neji in chapter 19 (although it may have been more of an F mine, since it was in the middle of a prepared speech).
- Protectorate: Kurenai selected Naruto for the role of the heavy hitter of the team, in order to protect his teammates in case something goes awry during a recon mission. Given that Hinata and Shino turn out to be his very first real friends, Naruto took that obligation to heart.
- The Quiet One: Shino. Him surprising Naruto by speaking quickly becomes a Running Gag.
- A Rare Sentence: Lampshaded in that it was something he never thought he would say:
Naruto: (to Rock Lee) Have you forgotten what Gai-sensei said?!
- Reality Ensues: Naruto gives up on Sakura, Hinata is still beaten up by Neji, Sarutobi loses an arm and Kurenai is killed after escaping Tsukuyomi.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Naruto and Shino, respectively.
- Also, Lee and Naruto, in a rare case of Naruto being the blue oni.
- Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Sarutobi. Said almost literally.
- The Rival: Played with in the relationship between Team 8 and Team 7. While they are not enemies in the proper sense, at the beginning of the story they can't stand each other (in part thanks to the already present animosity between Naruto and Sasuke). However, as the story progresses and especially after the events of the Forest of Death the members of each team start to understand (and in some cases, even respect) the members of the other team. They aren’t still on the friendliest of terms, but at least they are more civil towards each other. One has to wonder how things will proceed between them now that Naruto has said to Sasuke that Team 8 also plan to hunt down Itachi because of what he did to Kurenai.
- Running Gag: "Lee!!" "Gai-sensei!!"
- Also, Naruto's ruminations on spoiled milk.
- Although he's only done it twice, Naruto's slightly disturbing but surprisingly accurate metaphors.
- Kunai appearing in Kurenai's hand when she gets angry.
- Sacrificial Lion: Poor Kurenai.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Shino's parents have this dynamic.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections: As head of the Hyuga, Hiashi has and exploits this.
- Self-Deprecation: Naruto demonstrates being more than willing to sometimes crack a joke at his own expense. More often than not, this ends up offending his teammates.
"Send them my grades from the Academy. Let them know they were scared of the 'dead last' in his class."
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Kurenai tells the Sandaime it'd be a miracle if the way the villagers have treated Naruto doesn't result in this.
- Serious Business: The protocol of respect and proper behavior in the Hyuga clan. Hiashi is even willing to separate Hinata from a distraught Naruto during Kurenai's funeral just so he doesn't look bad.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Shino. It's very well done, this Troper is barely able to recognize some of the words, but knows them all to be accurate.
- Taken Up to Eleven by his father, Shibi.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Used (sometimes word for word) by Naruto whenever Jiraiya teases him about his relationship with Hinata.
- Shipper on Deck: There's Kurenai, Shino, Ayame, Sakura and Jiraiya, all for NaruHina.
- Shout-Out: Lines from The Matrix and Star Wars are occasionally added almost word for word. These are not quotations by the characters, of course, but nice little stealth references.
- Also a significant one to The Terminator during Naruto's fight with Neji:
"There is no fate but what we make."
- Shut UP, Hannibal: Shino fires one off to the Aburame elders when he notices they refer to Naruto as "it" and not "he."
"Your choice of pronoun speaks volumes, esteemed elder."
- Silk Hiding Steel: Hinata has too many self-esteem issues to truly qualify, but she is slowly getting there. Besides her many moments of combat prowess, the best example might be when she is interrogated by Hiashi about Naruto using the Kyuubi’s chakra during the border patrol mission. Despite being utterly terrified of her father, Hinata deduces he wants that information for nefarious purposes, so she decides (much to her own surprise) to not reveal anything, claiming she didn’t saw or knows what happened. The deception works and a frustrated Hiashi dismisses her.
- Sinister Scythe: Misato dual wields a pair of kama and eventually, so does Shino.
- Sleep Cute: Happens accidentally with Naruto and Hinata; Hinata can't keep her eyes open and nods off, her head against Naruto's shoulder, while Naruto is too panicked to move an inch because of this. It actually makes Shino laugh.
- The Smart Guy: Shino. He, among other things, figures out Naruto is the Nine-tails Jinchuuriki all by himself.
- Spanner in the Works: Naruto becomes this in chapter 17 and 18. During the invasion to Konoha, Kurenai orders Naruto to use his chakra pulse (see Chekhov's Skill above) to remove the genjutsu that Kabuto put on the stadium. Naruto creates such a giant pulse that it covers the entire village with impressive results: By pure accident, the pulse ends up not only dispelling the genjutsu but making Orochimaru's plan fall to pieces. The summoning of the giant snake that breached the village's walls in canon instead goes horribly, horribly wrong for the invading forces. The pulse also creates a temporary breach in the Sound 4's barrier, allowing the abovementioned Chekhov's Gunman to help the Sandaime and change the outcome of the fight. The nature of this trope is even pointed out by S'TarKan in his Author's Notes regarding said chapter.
- Spared by the Fanfic: Haku, Hayate and Sarutobi. By contrast, Kurenai and Tazuna.
- Stations of the Canon: It's actually going down the road towards ultimate defiance; the divergence point is set well before the anime opens, and ultimately will part with established canon altogether (the fic itself has been fully outlined)
- The Stoic: Shino, of course.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Naruto gets all starry-eyed over the explosive tags sold by Tenten's father. He's also ecstatic upon discovering that trees can explode, despite being caught in the blast radius because he was the one who made it blow up with an overcharged electric attack. Kurenai, by contrast, is not pleased.
- Stupid Sacrifice: Haku gleefully throws his body in front of Orochimaru's blade to protect the Hokage rather than try to block it or throw it off course. It gets subverted because the Third Hokage won't have any of it.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: Shino, as the story goes along. Stoic, logical, quiet, at one point, not quite used to human contact outside of his family and will fuck you up proper if you hurt his friends.
- According to Misato, Shibi is as well.
- Take That: A mild one against Sakura and Sasuke in chapter 9 when Naruto is contemplating Hinata and Shino learning his secret. "His teammates would have to have been extremely dense or self-centered for him to be able to conceal his differences for much longer" Neither of the members of Team 7 knew of his demon until after the time skip.
- Don't forget, Sakura only found out about the Kyuubi because Naruto told her about it being sealed inside him.
- Team Chef: Hinata. Overlaps with Supreme Chef and Chef of Iron, Type 1.
- Team Dad: The Hokage, especially to Naruto.
- Team Mom: As the Jonin instructor of Team 8, Kurenai naturally fills this role, and she's the closest thing to a mother figure that Naruto and Hinata have. Guess how Naruto reacts after she's murdered?
- Tempting Fate: Good news, Kurenai, you WON'T have to take your OWN life to preserve your dignity.
- That Came Out Wrong: In chapter 3, Naruto tries to compliment Hinata on how she's worried about doing her fair share of the work a D-rank mission where they do housework for an injured homeowner and not avoiding it altogether. With each word out of his mouth, he fails harder and harder and harder.
- There Are No Therapists: The one that's actually mentioned turns out to be an asshole, making this a moot point. Kurenai, on the other hand, makes an adequate stand-in.
- As she should, since her hobby IS studying human psychology.
- These Hands Have Killed: Naruto after his first kill. Hinata and Kurenai snap him out of it.
- Took a Level In Badass: Kurenai pays far more attention to training her squad than Kakashi did in the original series, going to such lengths as enlisting Guy's assistance to get Naruto up to speed on his taijutsu. This eventually results in Naruto relying far more on skill and actual fighting ability and far less on luck and spamming shadow clones. The difference is most easily seen in Naruto's battle with Neji in the Chuunin Exam finals, which culminates with Naruto blowing open his closed tenketsu points and beating the bejesus out of Neji in hand-to-hand combat, which is Neji's specialty, all without ever drawing on the Kyuubi's chakra. If he hasn't taken a level already, the experience points are piling up.
- Hinata when she attacks and hits Orochimaru in the back with a full on Juuken strike in the Forest of Death, and when she goes after Temari to protect Naruto during the Invasion.
- No mention of Shino? Between his bugs and the new kamas he recieves from his mother, the guy has been gaining levels left and right.
- Took a Level In Kindness: Sakura and Neji, brought on by being told (in so many words) two things: 1) You aren't as great as you seem to think you are. 2) Even if you were, you don't act like it.
- Training From Hell: Naruto starts working out with Guy and Lee to improve his taijutsu skills. Somewhat subverted, since Naruto’s nigh-inexhaustible stamina makes it difficult for even Lee to run him into the ground.
- Later, in full effect when Naruto trains with them 3 times a day while Hinata is in hospital after the Preliminaries. Especially when Gai himself spars with Naruto.
- Eventually, Team 7 demands this from Kakashi in light of Team 8's successes.
- Tranquil Fury: Shino after Neji cruelly demolishes Hinata in the Chuunin Exam preliminaries.
Shino: What variety of flowers would be appropriate?
Shino: For your teammate’s funeral.
- Also this, after Naruto returns the favor to Neji in the finals:
Shino: We are establishing a precedent regarding acceptable behavior towards allies and team members. To that end, we propose to demonstrate a willingness to use any and all means to obtain an equitable response, ranging from coercion, influence, and tactical intelligence, to, as needed, extreme levels of physical violence.
- His reaction to the WHAM event in Chapter 20, while said in a cold but level tone, is enough to send chills down an eavesdropping Sasuke's spine.
- Before the awesome confrontation of his clan's elders, he tells his father just what he thinks of the air of passive-aggression and hatred toward Naruto; it's described as the Aburame equivalent of screaming himself hoarse and setting all their houses on fire.
- Hinata also invokes this in Snapped. Didn't do her as much good as it does for Shino, but it was still pretty awesome.
- Trap Master: Shino notes that Sakura appears to have a talent for setting up effective traps.
- Try Not to Die: Anko's standard encouragement for the Forest of Death section of the Chuunin exam.
- Naruto receives this advice from the Kyuubi before it uses its chakra to dispel the seal Orochimaru placed on him.
- Twitchy Eyebrow: The primary way of gauging Shino's mood is the position of his eyebrows.
- Ungrateful Bitch: Hinata puts herself through the wringer to rescue Hanabi, her younger sister, from a trio of missing nins that kidnapped her. Hanabi is not impressed.
- Unstoppable Rage: Naruto using the Nine-tails chakra for the first time. During the border patrol mission in chapter 7, Team 8 confronts a trio of missing ninjas who kidnapped Konohamaru and Hanabi. Two of them manage to knock out Hinata and Shino, while Naruto learns from Konohamaru that they killed Iruka (who turned out not be dead, see Disney Death above). These two situations, combined with one of the kidnappers saying in a rather derisive tone that he was planning to "take his time" with Hinata and Kurenai is the final trigger for Naruto to draw from the demon's chakra and massacre them. This later results in the heroic BSOD mentioned above.
Jiraiya: It's that serious?
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: Hinata may not be his girlfriend but one way to get her to stop fretting over her own flaws is to endanger Naruto in any way.
- Wham! Episode: Chapter 20.
- Wham! Line: Kurenai is discussing a widespread conspiracy regarding Naruto, deliberately hurting/sabotaging/etc. him and defying the will of the Hokage. The immediate response is seen as quickly making the connection, but Kurenai wasn't expecting it to come out of Hinata's mouth:
Hinata: Is my father involved?
- Another one in Chapter 15, when Naruto visits Hinata in the hospital, and Hinata's injuries have her at her lowest point (it's actually intended to help, but she doesn't quite see it as such and it comes off as a massive stunner):
Naruto: There's a lot going on here that I don't understand. I'm used to not knowing things. But now I can't accept that. I don't understand how you can see yourself so differently than everyone else sees you. I don't understand why you...why you seem to hate yourself. Something is not right. And I do not think that something is you, Hyuuga Hinata.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Kurenai to Hinata, regarding pushing herself too far, believing that she doesn't care how they would react if she died. Naruto takes issue with her doing so.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: Naruto's reliance on his Kage Bunshin is remarked on, but it's not his only technique. Simply the most convenient.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Most of the interactions that Kurenai has with Hinata are aimed at Hinata realizing that, regardless of what her father or her family thinks of her, she does have worth.
- You Are Not Alone: Naruto has this revelation during Kurenai's funeral. After bottling up his emotions for most of the day, he finally breaks down and starts crying. It doesn't pass much time before Hinata and Shino appear at his side to comfort him.
- You Got Spunk: The Kyuubi says this to Hinata. Really.
- Zerg Rush: In the final stretch in the Forest of Death, the team realizes that there are probably several traps and opponents between them and the castle and stealth may not get them far. But then Naruto realizes, "We don't have to conceal that we were here, we just have to make it impossible for anyone to pick us out before we reach the finish line." Cue Kage Bunshin.
- In the Sound and Sand invasion, Naruto spends 30 Kage Bunshin to disable a Sound jonin.