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Episode 41 - Rivals Clash! The Hearts of the Girls are in Serious Mode Episode Summary

Episode Summary for Episode 41 - Rivals Clash! The Hearts of the Girls are in Serious Mode. Written by Anko
The episode starts off with the match between Kankuro and Tsurugi Misumi. Both tell each other at the start of the battle that they will end this match quickly. Kankuro removes the enormous bundle on his back but Misumi doesn't waste any time. He strikes Kankuro with his arm but Kankuro blocks it with his wrist. Occupying one of his arms, Misumi wraps his entire body around Kankuro, imobolizing him (sort of reminds me of Luffy and his rubber body). Misumi tells Kankuro that he can take his joints off their hinges and use his chakra to loosen his body. Misumi has one of his arms wrapped right around Kankuro's neck. He threatens to strangle Kankuro until his neck breaks if he doesn't give up and surrender. It seems as though Misumi is in the upperhand of the battle but Kankuro seems nonplussed by it all. Misumi continues to strangle him until Kankuro's neck snaps. Everyone is stunned, it seems that Misumi has won.
However right at that moment, Kankuro's head swirls back in place facing Misumi and in shock Misumi sees that it isn't Kankuro at all but instead a marionette. "Kankuro" declares that it's his turn,and marionette reveals itself wrapping it's arms around Misumi. Suddenly emerging from the bundle of bandages is the real Kankuro. Strings attached to the marionette are what Kankuro used to control the puppet. Chakra flows from from his hand along the strings to control his puppet "Karasu". Karasu begins squeezing Misumi, Misumi struggles in it's grip then declares that he gives up, but Kankuro merely replies that he can become softer if he breaks his bones, and proceeds into doing so. Misumi collapses and the match ends. Kankuro is declared the winner. From up above, Naruto complains to Kakashi saying that is isn't fair having two against one. Sakura explains to him that Kankuro was using "Marionette no Jutsu" saying that he controlled the doll with his chakra. It's technically the same as using a shuriken or any other tool.

Later in the next scene, Sakura is seen washing up in the bathroom. Ino appears teasing Sakura and telling her that she should retire from the matches. Sakura hesistates but when she looks at her reflection in the mirror she remembers back to when she cut her hair. She then tells herself that she can do her best in this too and the confidently leaves the bathroom replying to Ino that she can't wait for her match to start.
Coming back to the fighting area, they are about to announe the fourth match. As the names appear on the screen it reads: Haruno Sakura vs Yamanaka Ino. Both girls are shocked to see that they are facing each other.

The fight begins and Sakura starts off the match charging towards Ino with a kick, but Ino dodges. Sakura goes into offense but Ino manages to block all her attacks. Sakura throws three kunai at Ino, but Ino dodges them and throws one of the kunai back at one of them to stop it from coming. Sakura then again proceeds with another attack.
Naruto watches pleased to see that Sakura is at an advantage, but Shikamaru tells him he's an idiot. Neji tells Naruto that they're female kunoichi after all, saying that their physical combat skills are lower than normal. TenTen begs to differ saying that it's not because their kunoichi. They're just going soft on each other. she tells naruto that sex doesn't matter in battle.

Back to the fight scene, both girls pant and pause to catch their breath. Sakura charges and Ino once more, they continue to fight, Ino manages to jab Sakura in the stomach. now gaining her chance, Ino starts to throw a final punch at Sakura, but just as she starts to land her blow, and image of a younger Sakura appears in her head and she stops her punch in mid air. The two pause and Sakura thinks back to when they were younger.

flashback: The kunoichi class is doing flower arrangement as their topic. Sakura runs to catch up with Ino but then trips and falls. Ino sighs telling her she's such a klutz. It appears Sakura isn't good at flower arranging, she asks Ino for help and Ino tells her the key to flower arranging. She tells Sakura that in flower arrangement, once you pick your main flower, you add other flowers the accompany it. She picks the cosmos as an example, telling sakura that the thoroughworts that she picked would be used as extras. She tells sakura that the cosmos are different from spring flowers but are the most beautiful flower in the fall. It also means harmony so it fits with any other fall flowers. Ino takes one of Sakura's thoroughworts holding it in her hair and asks her if she looks like a cosmo with them. Sakura looks away a little depressed and them agrees. Suddenly three girls approach them and them start to bully Sakura about her forehead. Ino then throws flowers into the leader's mouth. Furious, the girl Ami, yells at Ino but she simply replies that the flowers she just threw were a ninja flower called aconite, which is poisonous. The three girls horrified, run away yelling for their sensei. Ino laughs as they run away telling Sakura that only the roots have the poison, not the flowers. Sakura looks at her admiringly commenting her on how talented she is in knowledge and ninjutsu, and them compares herself to her. She then asks Ino if Ino was a cosmo, would that make herself a thoroughwort. Ino looks at her and then replies that she thinks that Sakura isn't even a flower yet, just a bud. Sakura laughs sheepishly and agrees, but then looks away with a sort of sad look.

Going back the battle, Sakura then looks at Ino and then declares to her that if it came to this, she wouldn't even want to fight with her over Sasuke. then she proceeds to insult ino telling her that Sasuke and Ino don't even match and then declares right now she is stronger than her. She tells ino that she isn't even a rival to her. This pisses Ino off greatly and Ino yells at her for talking to her like that and tells her that she's just a crybaby. Naruto from the balcony is freaked out by Ino, and says that maybe Sakura said a little too much, Kakashi replies to him saying that it's because Sakura doesn't want Ino to go easy on her. Sakura then asks, "am i still a bud?"

back the flashback: Sakura then asks Ino why she gave her that ribbon. Ino then tells her it's because she thought it would be a waste for Sakura to wither away as a bud saying that there's no meaning to a flower unless it blooms. she then says that, that bud might turn out to be a flower more beautiful than a cosmos. Sakura blushses and then looks away with tears in her eyes. She thanks Ino-chan for saying those kind words to her.

Back to the battle, Sakura then thinks of those words again saying to herself that she always believed in those words that Ino had told her on that day thinking that it would be nice if that were true, and always wanting to be like her and now thanks to her she is where she is today. which is why she wanted to fight Ino seriously. she then removes the leaf headband protector from her head and leaving her hair flow loose. Naruto stares at Sakura in confusion and asks Kakashi why she did that. Kakashi sighs because Naruto doesn't realise that Sakura and Ino were acting like him and Sasuke. Ino then thinks back to when they were first divided into teams.

flashback: Sakura and Ino are in a patch of trees. Sakura declares to Ino that she is now in Sasuke's team and that she will never loose to her again. Ino sighs nonplussed by the fact but then Sakura hands her the ribbon saying that she is going to return it. Ino tells her that she gave it to her, and that she should wear the leaf protector on her forehead, because that's where it's supposed to go. Sakura then replies saying that she is no longer the girl who used to chase her. she then tells her that when she puts the protector on her forehead, it is a symbol meaning that she can't lose to Ino as a female ninja. Ino smiles and then shakes her hand in agreement. saying that she will do the same thing when the time comes
back to the battle: the two then both put on their leaf protectors on their foreheads together. they are now in serious mode and decide to use their full power in their fight. The two charge towards each other throwing a punch, their fists meet, and everyone in the audience stares. the two back away with serios looks and attitudes towards each other. This time they won't go soft on each other anymore.

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