Naruto: Masashi Kishimoto Reluctantly Agreed to Change the Original Story of the Chunin Exams Arc That Became a Blessing for the Series

Masashi Kishimoto was forced to work on the Chunin Exams arc in Naruto.



  • One of the most well-known plots in the history of Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto is the Chunin Exams arc.
  • It undoubtedly contributed significantly to the series, although it was not Kishimoto's idea.
  • Masashi Kishimoto's editor came up with the concept of Chunin examinations.
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The Chunin Exams arc in Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto is one of the most prominent arcs in the history of the series. And the main reason for this was the introduction of multiple characters from all walks of life, competing against each other to become Shinobi and earn respect for themselves in the world.

A still from Kishimoto's Naruto.
A still from Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto | Studio Pierrot

While the themes of competitive battles were quite common in anime and manga series at the time, Kishimoto managed to put his own twist on Naruto’s Chunin Exams by introducing different jutsus. It certainly helped the series in a big way, but sadly, it was not Kishimoto’s brainchild. It was actually Kishimoto’s editor who came up with the idea of Chunin exams.

Kishimoto once revealed that he never intended to introduce competitive battle arcs in his magnum opus, as they were very difficult and would take away the secrecy from the story. However, his editor forced him to work on the Chunin Exams, which became a big blessing for the series.


Masashi Kishimoto’s Original Plan Before Chunin Exams

In 2015, an interview of the Naruto creator with Japanese comedian Kobayashi came out for Fuji TV, which was later translated and summarized by KirinNOTKarin98 for the Naruto fandom. In the interview, Kishimoto was asked about Naruto’s classmates and how he came up with such varied characters in a single arc.

Kishimoto revealed that he didn’t actually intend for that kind of setting for the narrative. Originally, he wanted to focus on the missions that Naruto went on with his teammates and his teacher, Kakashi.

Kishimoto didn’t actually originally intend for that kind of setting. Originally he intended to focus on various missions that Naruto went on, meeting 4-man cells from other villages. The teachers of the 4-man cell would be Kakashis rival.

These missions led to the group meeting 4-man cells from other villages, and the teachers of the 4-man cell would be Kakashi’s opponents from his past life.

Team 7 in Naruto | Studio Pierrot
Team 7 in Naruto | Studio Pierrot

Thus, they would engage in battles, and the story would slowly progress forward and introduce different characters one by one. This would have made the story a little longer, but according to Kishimoto, it would have appealed to the audience. But Kishimoto never got a chance to work on this narrative, and he still regrets it to this day.

Chunin Exams Arc Turned Into A Fortune for Naruto

Further explaining the Chunin Exams arc, Masashi Kishimoto pointed out that when he pitched this idea to his editor, he was told that the 4-man cell battles would be a very slow-paced development and would ideally make the story boring for the fans. Thus, he was asked to bring all these characters and villages out at once.

Chunin Exams Prelims _ Naruto Fandom
Chunin Exams Arc | Studio Pierrot

His editor then gave him the advice to draw a tournament that would make it easy for all the characters and the villages to come together.


But after discussing this with his editor, he was told there wouldn’t be time for such a slow-paced development, so he needed to come bring all these characters and villages out at once. You’re going to make a tournament. Kishimoto said he can’t do it and if he did it’d kill him [not literally], but he was told to do it even if it kills him.

Initially, Kishimoto disagreed with the plan and pointed out that drawing so many characters would be a big burden for him, but he was told to do it even if it killed him, and thus the Chunin Exams arc was formulated.

In the end, the Chunin Exams arc did wonders for Naruto, and it was also the arc that helped Kishimoto branch the story out into other different arcs and use the characters introduced in the Chunin Exams to form a story of their own. The best example of this was Gaara, who later became an integral part of the Naruto storyline.

You can watch Naruto on Hulu.


Written by Tarun Kohli

Articles Published: 1386

Konichiwa! With a Master's Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a 2-year experience in Digital media writing, I am on my way to becoming one of the biggest anime content writers in my country. My passion for writing and Anime has helped me connect with Fandomwire, and share my love and experience with the world.