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The First Try Series is a collection of Naruto For Want of a Nail Fanfiction stories, written by the prolific Lucillia. The premise of this story is an Alternate Universe in which Naruto was able - thanks to a minor stroke of luck - pass his Academy graduation exam on his first try. As a result, he becomes a Genin two years earlier than in canon, put on a team with genin teammates Satoshi Kamiya & Suzume Kamizuki. Their sensei is Tetsuo Shimura, the disowned grandson of Danzo Shimura.


The series has expanded exponentially since its beginning in early 2011, with a fair number of different stories set in the First Try universe. It has become popular with the fandom for exploring mature themes and characterisation not often touched on in Naruto, as well as the tightly intricate, clever plotting that has flourished with each installment in this AU fic-verse. The author's characteristic style only strengthens the overall effect of the stories, which are deep despite never having paticularly long chapters. The overall quality has led to its Recommendation on TvTropes.

Main stories in the continuity:

  • First Try - the original story. Prelude of the two years leading up to the time of the Canon plot.
    • Abbreviation - FT
    • Summary: Due to a quirk of fate, Naruto passes the Academy Graduation Exam on his first try. Because of this, his life takes an interesting turn before he joins Team 7 after Kakashi poaches him from his sensei.
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    • Status: Complete.

  • First Try: Team 7 - covering Part I of Canon.
    • Abbreviation - FT:T7
    • Summary: With Naruto's teammates having made Chunin and there being an odd number of graduates from the Academy that year, Kakashi uses the opportunity to steal an unwilling Naruto from his sensei and place him on his new Genin team. Thus, a wiser and more experienced Naruto is forced onto a team he hadn't wanted to join in the first place. However, as they say, 'Those who break the rules are trash. Those who abandon their teammates are worse than trash'.
    • Status: Complete.

  • First Try: Shippuden - covering Part II of Canon.
    • Abbreviation - FT:S
    • Summary: It has been three years since Team 7 broke apart and each member went their own way. Now, the Akatsuki are on the move, as is Orochimaru. Problems at home abound as well.
    • Status: Hiatus (pending a rewrite).

Spin-off/Divergent AU fics:

  • First Try: Team Tetsuo - an divergent sequel from First Try, from Chapter 11.
    • Abbreviation - FT:TT
    • Summary: When Kakashi puts off a discussion with the Hokage to beyond the last minute, Shimura Tetsuo is allowed to keep Naruto and is given Sakura and Sasuke to fill in the gaps created in his team by Suzume and Satoshi's departures as the two new Chunin move on to bigger and better missions. Deciding to keep his promise to Naruto to not let him miss another Chunin Exam, Tetsuo decides to try his damnedest to get his team in shape in the two months he has left with Kakashi's assistance. Since he has the Rookie of the Year, and that year's Top Kunoichi, it shouldn't be too difficult, right?
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    • Status: In Progress.

  • First Try Team 7: Divergence - a divergent AU from the "Search for Tsunade" arc.
    • Abbreviation - T7:D
    • Summary: If a situation can go both ways, it will. At every crossroads, a new universe is formed, and a person will always take the road not taken, even if they never see themselves do it. Things go differently when Tsunade decides to go traitor rather than become Hokage. The Sannin are gone for good, and another of Jiraiya's students and Danzo agree that what Konoha needs right now is a second Yellow Flash.
    • Status: In Progress.

Side-stories within the continuity:

Tropes found in the First Try Series:

  • Action Dad: Tetsuo is one. Sasuke and Zabuza of all people in Shippuden and Zabuza.
  • Action Girl: Suzume, who wants to open a Dojo. Temari and Sakura as well.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Team Tetsuo expands the 4 month lull between the bell test, Genin Exam, and the Wave Arc.
  • Adult Fear: Tetsuo briefly fear that his infant daughter would not recognize him after being away too long.
  • All Issues Are Political Issues: Tends to happen.
    • When the Third Hokage updates the Ninja Academy textbooks to be more historically accurate and show the dangers of being a ninja, along with reworking the school curriculum, it's seen by the other ninja villages as remilitarizing and abandoning the project to become a tourist trap instead of having caught on to sabotage of the curriculum.
      • Given that someone tries to break in and steal the revised curriculum from one of the bidding printing companies, it is possible this was an actual enemy action.
    • A Kiri nin thought Konoha hired Zabuza and his cohorts to cover the fact that Naruto and his team were getting rid of an upstart ninja village instead of being a mission Gone Horribly Wrong.
    • When the Kazekage sends Gaara on a joint mission with Konoha in a brinksmanship response to Konoha's perceived remilitarization, the fact Konoha's team includes Naruto (a Jinchuriki) and Kakashi (capable jonin, student of the Fourth Hokage, and son of a man who had a lot of Suna nin in his body count) is seen as a powerful counter to that instead that the complete coincidence that is. Also, Naruto asking Gaara if he's an Uzumaki is seen as questioning Gaara's paternity in the most offensive way as possible while still having Plausible Deniability instead than as genuine curiosity.
  • Alpha Bitch: Barako Haruno is a grown-up version of this, looking down on everyone, thinks she's all powerful and very used to getting what she wants. Sakura was initially this. Sasuke was a male version of this.
  • Always Someone Better: Sasuke view Naruto as this in addition to Itachi.
  • And Then What?/Armor-Piercing Question: Asked of Sasuke by Haku in Team Tetsuo:
    "And, what will you do, and who will you have at your side when you have avenged your clan?"
  • Answer Cut:
    Tetsuo: I can't believe Naruto was able to con a ninja out of 20000 ryo with a chalkboard eraser and string.
    Iwa Academy Instructor (throwing the eraser at an unruly student): Best money I ever spent.
  • Arc Welding: Wave is Whirlpool with its ruins still standing.
  • Ascended Extra: Danzo, Tetsuo and Barako in Team Tetsuo. To a lesser extent, Sakura too.
  • Bad Mood as an Excuse: Naruto is already depressed from being left behind by his teammates, and then Sakura tries to punch him for "faking being a ninja". He stops her punch and in a bout of Tranquil Fury, he rips her a new one while threatening to break her arm.
  • Beneath Notice:
    • It's implied in Team Tetsuo that ninjas often disguise themselves as the help.
    • Apparently civilians are this to ninja, which slavers exploit in the Land of Hot Water during a festival
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: Barako had no idea on how to raise a ninja child, making Sakura diet when she should be gaining muscle and thus hurting her daughter's ninja career.
  • Break the Haughty: Sakura and Sasuke. Kakashi as well in "First Try: Team 7". Barako in "First Try: Team Tetsuo", though she hasn't been fully humbled just yet.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Sakura tries, with poor results. See Let Me Get This Straight... below.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Wave and Water Interlude in Team 7 where all the non-Konoha characters(and Itachi) were listening to the Konoha Chunin Exams over the radio and placing bets.
  • Busman's Holiday: Kakashi's rationale for going on a C-Rank in Team 7 is for the group to relax and ease up on their constant fighting. Unfortunately, this is the Wave Arc.
  • Call-Back:
    (First Try) Tetsuo: "What you passed was a test to weed out the absolutely hopeless candidates"
  • Call-Forward:
    • In First Try when Naruto headbutts a Graduation Exam proctor, the man grumbled "Bloody Habenero"
    • Naruto visits the KIA memorial and notes that people look over his mother's name because it's below the Yondaime's.
  • Can't Live Without You: Renji was going to take his life if Mai didn't survive her injuries.
  • Catch Your Death of Cold: Kabuto gets hospitialized when he gets sick after getting caught in the rain during border patrol. Tetsuo exploits this so Naruto can have his spot on the team for the Suna Chunin Exams.
  • Character Development: Everyone gets this.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • The entire plot of this series is (hilariously) set in motion by a chef's choice of action during the lunch break on the day of the Graduation Exam. To wit, this chef accidentally spilt some peanut sauce onto a dish he was making for one of the Instructors in charge of evaluating the students that year. In Canon, he threw out the dish and had to start from scratch; in First Try, he mixes it into the dish hoping it won't be noticed. As it turns out, this particular ninja is allergic to peanuts something dreadful, and as he's rushed to hospital a hasty call is made for one of his off-duty peers to replace him. Said replacement, hoping to fail Naruto, has to decide which 2 of the 3 Standard Academy Jutsu to have him demonstrate, and doesn't have him do the Bunshin (Clone) Jutsu. Naruto thus only barely manages to scrape a pass in the overall test, and the plot is set into motion.
    • After losing his job at the bank, Kita Haruno manages to find a job as a spokesperson for a small publishing company out of sheer luck.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: Barako tries to do with Tetsuo as she was successful in driving out another family. Danzo turns it against her by convincing everyone that Barako sabotaged her daughter's training.
  • Culture Clash: In Team Tetsuo, Kita realizes there's a major difference between ninja and civilians when Naruto is applauded for killing other people.
    • Played for Laughs in that killing people is not seen as big deal for ninja, for obvious reasons. But stealing or tampering with their toilet paper is a major offense.
    • In fairness, the people Naruto killed had set a trap that murdered his peers, fellow Konoha ninja, in a case of Revenge by Proxy, so it's not surprising that people are giving him back-pats for it, and toilet paper is really rare in the field.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Naruto's cons work like this.
  • Creepy Physical: A mob of jounin get a Seal Master to check on Naruto after the boy summoned a thousand Kage Bushin and survived. The Seal Master tells them the Kyuubi seal is working fine, but it steals a bit of the Kyuubi's chakra and adds it to Naruto's. This is where Naruto gets the nickname "the Little Thief."
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Kage Bunshin is taken more seriously in this fic as when Kakashi taught Naruto without teaching him the dangers. Tetsuo freaks out when Naruto made thousands of clones and drops of Chakra Exhaustion. Non-Konoha nin see Naruto's casual use of it as terrifying.
    • In Team 7 as a result of the incident, Naruto is wary of using it without permission unless in emergencies.
  • Date Peepers: A more serious version when Kiri nin spy on Naruto and Haku's lunch, in suspicion that Haku's a spy but they also think Naruto is suspicious too.....
  • Dead Guy Junior: In FT:S, Sasuke's children Fugaku and Mikoto, excluding his daughter Aiko.
  • Death by Adaptation: In Team 7: Divergence: The Sannin & Kabuto.
  • Deconstruction Fic: Many tropes and plots from Naruto are deconstructed. The author points out that many elements from later parts of the series have resulted in early plot points making no sense.
    • Lovable Sex Maniac / The Peeping Tom: Jiraiya's peeping is not shown as comedic, but very upsetting and distressing to Suzume and other women being spied upon.
    • One character notes in a history retest, it doesn't make sense that the adults treat Naruto so badly when his family was a distinguished and close ally of Konoha
    • Not to mention how, in Team Tetsuo, the whole deal with the younger generation not having impressive skills upon graduation is explained by Mizuki and others sabotaging the educational system.
    • Kakashi's teaching methods are deconstructed that he nearly gets Naruto killed, as a result Naruto doesn't trust any of his teachings and could not repair the turbulent relations of Team 7.
  • Dirty Old Man: As Suzume shows, being hit on and peeked on by these sort of men is sexual harassment is extremely upsetting when you are the one harassed.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Barako once had a family run out of town because one of them accidentally tripped her. This is later is used against her by Danzo.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Subverted, Suzume teaches Naruto that he shouldn't take Sakura's abuse and that his crush is unhealthy - tolerating someone's abuse is not how love works. Naruto takes her advice - realising along the way that he desired Sakura's friendship rather than her love (but his poor social skills meant he thought he wanted her romantically) - and Sakura learns quickly that it was only Naruto's crush that let her land a hit in previously.
  • The Dreaded: Any one with a shred of common sense fears Danzo.
  • Driven to Suicide: Jiraiya in Team 7: Divergence.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Team 7 is seen as this, since Naruto is the most stable of the team.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Haku met Naruto in the Kiri Chunin Exams.
    • And in Team Tetsuo, they meet again well before the Land of Waves on a seperate mission. Here, Naruto also meets Zabuza & the Demon Brothers (and two Original Character allies) on much better terms than in canon.
    • Shin and Sai in Team Tetsuo when they get a mob to turn a rich merchant by exposing the man's activities as a slaver
  • Enemy Mine: How Naruto managed to get his seriously injured teammates and comrades' corpses out of the Kiri Exam. He teamed up with the Kiri team in exchange for his MacGuffin for medical services. They agree after seeing Naruto performs the Shadow Clones to prevent the idea of stealing the MacGuffin from him
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Kiri nin, Mizuko Sanbashi and Kampachi thinks that Konoha doesn't have a Jinchuriki. Mizuko explains which villages do have Jinchuriki and realize that Konoha has the Kyuubi by process of elimination.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge:
    • Naruto in the Second Phase of Kiri Chunin Exam - though he did go all Kyuubi, so it makes sense.
    • He does it again in Team 7 by tearing apart Gato and his mercenaries.
  • Failure Is the Only Option:
    • In First Try & especially in Team Tetsuo - despite Tetsuo's promise, Naruto will never get to go to the Suna Chunin Exam.
    • Also, unless we get another For Want of a Nail for this AU (most likely, one where he takes point when they run into the Iwa team's trap in the Kiri Exams, thus preventing his team's disqualification), then we cannot expect him to not end up with Sasuke and Sakura as teammates. For that matter, he will take the canon Konoha Chunin Exam though unlike canon, he will inevitably graduate it due to being a badass.
  • Famed in Story: Naruto gets known for his exploits, particularly his mastery of Shadow Clones and his actions during the Kiri Chuunin Exams. In fact, the ninja population of Konoha respects him immensely.
  • Faux Action Girl: Sakura tries to avert this after realizing she is one.
  • For Want of a Nail: Due to an exam proctor getting food poisoning, Naruto was tested on another jutsu and passed early by the skin of his teeth.
    • In-universe nails include: Tetsuo telling Naruto that he met his mother, Kakashi forgetting to turn in his paper, which leads to Tetsuo keeping Naruto and getting Sasuke and Sakura; and Tsunade accepting Orochimaru's deal, which leads to the end of the Sannin.
    • In First Try because of Haku meeting Naruto in Kiri, he doesn't have a traumatizing winter in Kiri being chased by enemy nin.
  • From Bad to Worse: Divergence is this. First Tsunade turns traitor and heals Orochimaru's arms, so he brings back Dan and her brother. Except that they aren't happy to be alive, they're horrified and shocked that she would go to the lengths she did. This essentially breaks her and she doesn't resist when Jiriya kills her. Then Jiriya kills Orochimaru, before going to kill himself.
  • Good-Guy Bar: The Jounin-senseis of Genin teams tend to go the same bar since being a teacher is very stressful. It's where Tetsuo talks to his colleague Morishita and managed to convince Kakashi to teach Naruto twice.
  • Good Is Not Soft: A major theme in the series.
    • Tetsuo Shimura proves himself as this, especially with his increased screentime in Team Tetsuo. Naruto has picked up from him, as well.
    • In "Team Tetsuo", Sarutobi proves this bigtime when he realizes the sabotage that was going on behind the scenes and takes measure to reverse it.
  • Gossip Evolution: Played straight, at first, with Barako when she starts rumors about Kakashi, Naruto and Tetsuo, hoping to ruin their reputations. Then averted with Danzo, who starts counter-rumors questioning Barako's parenting... using nothing but the truth. Which quickly spreads and causes Kita Haruno to lose his job.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Sasuke to Naruto as usual, and also Kakashi to Tetsuo for his role in Naruto's life.
  • Half-Truth: in First Try, Naruto was initially told that his parents died protecting him from the Kyuubi after Tetsuo tells him he was babysat by his mother before the truth is revealed to him.
    • Hiruzen worded carefully what he told Naruto about his parents, avoiding telling Naruto the Yondaime was his father, but saying the Yondaime and his mother entrusted him to protect the village.
  • Hand Signals: A plot point in Team 7, a Kiri Hunter nin who went to capture Zabuza in Wave realize the other two groups are from Konoha from their sign language dialect, which resulted into a brawl.
    • Apparently people tend to sign in the prominent clan language of their team, but Naruto signs in a Uchiha accent, which he picked up from running away from the Uchiha police. He had to teach Sakura how to sign, while Sasuke refuses to sign out of embarrassment.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Regarding the same event: Naruto after seeing his teammates grievously injured and two comrades killed from a trap he spotted too late; and Morishita-sensei finding out her first genin team was brutally killed in the Kiri Chunin Exam, with one barely surviving.
  • Honor-Related Abuse:
    • Uchiha who had bastard children or married outside the village had themselves and their family killed - Itachi tells Kisame this outright in FT:TT, when the latter asks if the clan has any survivors other than Sasuke.
    • In FT:S, this is the older Tobi's motive for revenge and why he steals Sasuke's son, Fugaku, after killing the sound nin who originally stole him for Orochimaru.
  • Horrible Camping Trip: Tetsuo's training hike in Team Tetsuo was this to Sasuke and Sakura.
  • Humble Pie: Many people get this, but especially Sasuke. In Team 7, it leads to him declining the Sound Four's offer.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Hibachi realizes when Naruto gets recognition for his skills, that they could have been friends.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Danzo put alcohol in his coffee after dealing with Barako.
  • Irony: While Sasuke supplies Insane Troll Logic (see below) to Naruto's early graduation by saying he would have already been nominated long before the "dead last", Kakashi later reveals that it was that attitude that made sure he wasn't.
  • Is That What He Told You?: A variant when someone not in the know thinks its this: Kiri Nin, Kampachi and Mizuko Sanbashi find out from eavesdropping on Naruto that his parents died protecting him from the Kyuubi. When they find out that Naruto was Kyuubi Jinchuriki...
    Mizuko: "Do you think his parents really died protecting him from the Kyuubi, considering...?"
    Kampachi: "Died to protect him from the Yondaime Hokage more like."
  • In Spite of a Nail: Naruto still learns Kage Bunshin but he learned it from Kakashi, he meets Konohamaru and gains his respect after nearly attacking Konohamaru for ambushing the Hokage, gets the "precious person" speech from Haku in Kiri and Mizuki still steals the Forbidden Scroll to stopped by Naruto after he tries to prank the Hokage from putting him on the same team as Sasuke and Sakura; the circumstances are very different though.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Sasuke believe that Naruto couldn't possibly have been nominated to graduate early and pass because he wasn't. Because early nomination is political and the teachers told Sasuke they tried to nominate him but don't think he's ready. So the Dead Last has to have dropped out and be faking ninja. Regardless of the fact impersonating a ninja is illegal and Naruto is part of a Genin team.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: In Team 7: Divergence, Tsunade agrees to Orochimaru's deal. It doesn't end well for her.
  • Kicked Upstairs: In Team 7: Divergence, Hiashi Hyuuga is appointed Hokage due to lack of an alternate option.
  • King Incognito: The Hokage occasionally gives menial tasks to his advisors, like having Danzo man the complaints desk, which is how he meets Barako, who mistakes a man in such a position for a washed-up drunk ninja who should have retired already. Barako learns the hard way that he's the Hokage's advisor.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Iruka and other shinobi view Sasuke and Sakura getting assigned to Naruto's team as their just desserts.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Sakura gets this when she tries to report Naruto attacking her - specifically because she was Bullying a Dragon and generally acting Too Dumb to Live.
    Barako: "I would like to file a complaint against Uzumaki Naruto."
    Ninja Clerk: (grabs a pen and a form) "What is the nature of this complaint?"
    Barako: "That filthy little monster threatened to break my daughter's arm!"
    Clerk: (fills in information) "Where were you, and what were you doing at the time this threat was made, and at what time did it occur?"
    Sakura: "I was outside the Academy. I had just gotten out of class for the day, and noticed him hanging around on that swing in the tree near the entrance. I...I tried to hit him."
    Clerk: (coldly crumples form) "Let me get this straight. You, an Academy student, decided to attack a full fledged shinobi who is only a Genin because he had a run of seriously bad luck, and isn't currently on his way to the Chunin exams because we don't want to give Iwa a chance to legally get their revenge on him for what he did to two of their Genin, and you want us to punish him because he decided to go easy on you and let you off with a warning?"
  • Like Father, Like Son:
    • The Haruno women have a unfortunate penchant for Mugging the Monster.
    • Naruto certainly takes after his mother...
    • Tetsuo takes after his mother as well, to Danzo's ire.
  • The Load: Sakura, as usual, but also Sasuke compared to Naruto. They're slowly getting better, though.
  • Love at First Punch: A platonic variant with Konohamaru and Naruto. Konohamaru started to look up to Naruto when Naruto attacked him when Konohamaru tried to ambush his grandfather. Naruto was first person to actually think Konohamaru was a threat and treat him as such.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Naruto gets bitten by a snake while gathering firewood and his reaction?:
    • Given his healing abilities, he's not in danger of dying from snake-bite - but damn if it doesn't make him horribly sick.
  • Mandatory Motherhood: In Shippuden, Tsunade ordered Sasuke to have children when he was promoted to Chunin so the Sharingan doesn't die with him. He's only the genetic donor - he doesn't actually want to meet the mothers.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Many non-Konoha villages when they think Konoha is remilitarizing.
  • Megaton Punch: Choosing to believe Sasuke's Insane Troll Logic, Sakura gives Naruto one (while he's working with his teammates on a D-Rank Mission) for pretending to be a ninja.
    • Subverted as when Sakura tries to punch him the second time, Naruto blocks her punch, deciding not to take any of her crap anymore.
  • Mentors: Several characters fit these tropes.
    • Big Sibling Mentors: Satoshi & Suzume, to Naruto.
      • Naruto to Konohamaru.
    • The Mentor: Tetsuo is this to Naruto, Satoshi and Suzume. Kakashi tries to do the same for Naruto, but either: a) Naruto resents him taking him away from Tetsuo; or b) Kakashi didn't become Naruto's sensei at all. Jiraiya does this for Naruto in "Team 7", and has better luck than Kakashi because he doesn't try to monopolise his rights to being the boy's teacher, accepting his attachment to Tetsuo.
    • Sabotutor: Not just Naruto, but many of his peers were sabotaged in school by Mizuki and his ilk. Sarutobi decided to rework the school system as a result.
    • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Subverted, while Tetsuo drills his students to the bone and puts them in many situations to gain hard experience, he never outright endangers them.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: In Team Tetsuo Naruto reveals to Sasuke that Mizuki was a traitor. Sasuke believes that he's doing badly because he was sabotaged. Which leads to Tetsuo testing them on their history, which reveals the books are missing major historical events and information. Which leads to Tetsuo telling the Hokage his suspicions that Mizuki might have sabotaged the Academy and might not have been working alone. Which leads the Hokage to evaluate the textbooks and deciding to make an educational reform and hold a retest for all ninja candidates and all current genin within the last six years. That end ups leading the other shinobi villages come to the conclusion that Konoha knows about their plans and are now remilitarizing.
  • Misery Builds Character: Tetsuo works his team to the ground to either prepare for the hard life of a shinobi or to get them to drop out.
    • He especially does this to Sakura, who came on the trip massively unprepared, to give the spoiled girl a wake up call before she gets someone killed.
  • Misplaced Retribution: An Iwa genin tries to avenge her father, who was killed in the Third Shinobi War, by killing Konoha genin. It gets her twin brother and their teammate slaughtered by an Kyuubi-powered, enraged Naruto, leaving her to flee for her life.
  • Mistaken for Servant: Barako mistakes Danzo for a washed up secretary, and tries to have his family run out of town when he doesn't do what she wants. Not a good idea, Barako.
  • Moral Guardians: Deconstructed, as Sarutobi found out that the rising censorship in the Academy texts contributed to the rising Genin decline. Averted when he reverses the censorship to better illustrate the dangers of being a ninja.
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • Sakura tries to punch Naruto to "prove" that he's not a real Genin. He catches her fist and warns her to never do it again or else he'll break her arm.
    • Barako tries to start a gossip campaign to run the Shimura out of Konoha; the patriarch, Danzo, takes offense to this and turns it against her.
  • Mundane Utility: A civilian Uzumaki uses seals to make a portable beer refrigerator.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: when Sarutobi reworks the Academy curriculum for sabotage, the students who failed the Academy or Genin test get their second chance with re-take exams to see what were the real numbers of passing, which will boost the numbers of active shinobi.
  • Nepotism: The reason Tetsuo passes Naruto: if he fails Naruto, he also fails Satoshi, who's his wife's nephew.
    • In First Try: Team 7, this is why Kakashi passes Team 7. He wanted to teach Naruto, but also has to deal with Sakura and Sasuke. Made bittersweet by Sakura and Sasuke bombing the Bell Test and Naruto (attempting to) deliberately fail it. Made more bittersweet in that despite Kakashi taking all the efforts to train Naruto, Naruto absolutely does not see Kakashi as his teacher or mentor, preferring Tetsuo. On top of this, the team isn't gelling like he thought it would- basically making a new version of his old team- so the grand result of his efforts are three kids who can't stand each other and him being forced to do things they hate.
    • Shows up again in Team Tetsuo, rather than Sakura and Sasuke do the Genin Exam and have Naruto held back another year if they fail, Tetsuo decides to pass them to take them on months-long training trips to whip them into shape to get Naruto to the Suna Chunin Exam. Although in his defense, he was getting the Rookie of the Year and Top Kunoichi, so he assumed that he'd just need to shape them up a bit. He was correct, but underestimated how much shaping up they'd need before they were ready for the Chunin Exams, and with Naruto the most stable member of the group Sarutobi decides that they aren't ready for Suna. Then, a single slot is opened for Naruto to participate... on Kabuto's team.
  • Name's the Same: Invoked. Suzume shares her first name with the Academy's kunoichi arts instructor. Lampshaded in "Team Tetsuo". She also has the same family name as Canon Mauve Shirt Izumo Kamizuki. Kita Haruno has the same given name with Academy exam proctor, Kita Hagane.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Kita is a Nice Guy Extreme Doormat, while Barako is a Jerkass Alpha Bitch. Although it is shown that they do love each other and Kita starts putting his foot down when Barako costs him his job and drives their daughter to move out.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Sakura went on an unsurpervised diet due to believing this, enforced by her mother and Mizuki to prevent her becoming "too muscular".
  • No Periods, Period: Discussed to how an unprepared Sakura is going to deal for two months.
  • Nominal Importance: Lampshaded by Iruka, regarding Teams 1-6. Averted with Hibachi, who was on these teams.
  • Noodle Implements: Naruto's con with an chalkboard eraser and string sounds like this.... Which turns out to be a subversion as Naruto sold it to an Iwa Academy Instructor.
  • Noodle Incident: Tetsuo cashes in a favor from Kakashi to teach Naruto the Shadow Clone Jutsu. Tetsuo only reveals the favor came from a con that went horribly wrong but oddly went right in the end.
  • Not Helping Your Case: One of Barako's shinobi neighbors decides to trade gossip with her. Barako digs herself deeper when she talks about Sakura's diet, how she didn't believe Iruka because he was friends with Naruto, and was "helped" by Mizuki, who told her exactly what she wanted to hear. The neighbor leaves the Haruno residence disgusted and driven to drink.
  • Not So Different: Both Zabuza and Kakashi regret not listening to their fortuneteller/horoscope.
  • Not So Stoic: While The Stoic by normal standards, Shino is quite Hot-Blooded for an Aburame. He later attacks Kankuro for badmouthing both of his teammates during the month between Chuunin Prelims and Finals.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Sasuke thinks Naruto was doing this during all his time at the Academy. In Team 7, he recalls how many of Naruto's pranks and failures at the Academy would take out Chunin and that Naruto would say he was "joking". He is wrong
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Iruka feels this when Naruto thanks him for believing in him after he passed the exam. For the record, this story assumes that in Canon, the other teachers were trying to fail Naruto out of the Academy using the three strike policy, but Naruto attempted the exam in the belief in that Iruka signed him up for early graduation because he believed in him. Iruka was surprised that Naruto was nominated for early graduation and didn't actually believe the boy would pass on his first attempt.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Barako mistakes Danzo for one.
  • Omake: Kita and Barako meets Sakura's parents from the Anime.
  • Opposites Attract: Renji Tokai is a cautious pacifist while his wife Mai is a boisterous blood knight.
  • Ordered Apology: After her actions cost Kita his job, he forces his wife to formally apologize to Danzo.
  • Original Character: There are several, with Tetsuo Shimura, grandson of Danzo Shimura, the most prominent. Proving that Tropes Are Not Bad, they are all used effectively without engulfing the story.
    • Satoshi Kamiya & Suzume Kamizuki, Naruto's first teammates.
    • Renji and Mai Tokai, part of Zabuza's group of former Kiri Nin.
  • Plot Allergy: An exam proctor's unfortunate allergy to peanuts is what started the whole plot of the First Try Series.
  • Politeness Judo: Naruto stops two Kiri nin from attacking him by telling them nicely who he was meeting and why was he waiting for.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Haku and Zabuza don't attack Tazuna's family, not because its wrong but because it would breed ill will among the locals, who might help any ninja hunting them down.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Zabuza's group are notable In-Universe for being this as they are political dissident, not criminals.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Often.
    • Naruto gives one to Sakura in First Try and another to Sasuke in Team Tetsuo.
    • Kakashi gives one truly shattering one to Sasuke in Team 7 calling him on his attitude and his being an Ungrateful Bastard.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: Hiruzen regained Danzo's respect when he reformed the education system and making all potentials retry because the steadily dropping rates would have lead to fewer active shinobi which would have spelled disaster for them
  • The Remnant: There are survivors of Whirlpool still around as seen in Team 7's Former Whirlpool Citizen's Alliance in Wave and the civilian Uzumaki in Team Tetsuo
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Naruto is the Blue Oni to Sasuke's Red. Renji is the Blue to his wife Mai's Red.
  • Retired Badass: Hiruzen and Danzo - both are grandparents, and both are strong and cunning. "Team Tetsuo" sees them proving why you shouldn't mess with Old People. Homura Mitokado hasn't had a chance to show it, but Naruto recognises that he's no pushover either. Koharu gets to school Sasuke in "Team Tetsuo". Naruto scolds him by pointing out that she - and the men - didn't keep their positions of power by resting on their laurels.
  • Revenge by Proxy:
    • An Iwa kunoichi tried to get revenge for her father by having her team set a lethal trap for the Konoha Genin in the Kiri Chunin Exam. It backfires - both her teammates (her twin brother and best friend) - are torn apart by a Kyuubi-enraged Naruto, and she just barely escapes alive.
    • Kita Haruno also becomes a victim of this when the village is disgusted by his wife's actions, he gets fired from his job of fifteen years.
  • Ridiculous Procrastinator: Deconstructed in "Team Tetsuo" - Kakashi didn't get Team 7 because he put off doing his paperwork a little too long, leading to Tetsuo filling in the appropriate files before Kakashi gets the chance.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Two of Satoshi and Suzume's former classmates suffer gruesome deaths during the Kiri Chuunin Exam. It becomes a major impetus for Naruto's growing maturity.
  • Scare 'Em Straight:
    • Naruto to Sakura. It works too well, leaving Sakura terrified of Naruto.
    • In the updated Academy textbook there is a picture with a kid with kunai stuck in his hand to warn children of safe kunai handling.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: The Mizukage Mei Terumi gives one to Zabuza in "Team 7": marry her or she'll kill him to solidify her power.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Sasuke refuses to believe that Naruto graduated early, even after Naruto shows him, so he makes a rumor that Naruto dropped out. Iruka points out how illogical this is because it is illegal to impersonate a ninja, but many Academy students believe it anyway. When Naruto takes a level in badass, besides Sasuke's fangirls few believe it anymore (though Ino admits she found it a strange belief and only pretended to agree for Sasuke's sake). Eventually Sasuke is forced to face the truth when he is assigned to Naruto's Genin team.
  • Show, Don't Tell: A common problem is that the author tends to have exposition describing what is going on, rather than showing the events in question. For example, in Team 7, the entire sequence in which Naruto feeds Sakura the boxed lunch is discussed in the course of a paragraph, without a single line of dialogue.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Mizuki tells Naruto after stealing the Forbidden Scroll that he's the host of the Nine-Tailed Fox and everyone hated him. Naruto is able to shrug it off and stop Mizuki because he knows that he has people who care.
  • Sign-Up Backfire: Naruto was given the exam early by his teachers in hopes that he would fail all three times to get him to fail the Academy. But one of the proctors got food poisoning and the replacement tested him on something else, allowing him to become a Genin.
  • Sneeze Cut: At one point, Naruto realizes that someone is talking about him because he never got a cold in his life.
  • Sole Survivor:
    • Hiashi Hyuuga is the member of Jiraiya's genin team left alive.
    • Hiro Kurosaki is only member of Team 8 that survived the Kiri Chunin Exams.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Zabuza and Haku in Team 7, and also in Team Tetsuo (so far).
  • Springtime for Hitler: In Team 7, in the bell test Naruto won a bento from Kakashi, Naruto gives it to Sakura because he didn't want to eat it and thought the test was over. It allow Kakashi to pass them by the hair which Naruto did not want.
  • Staged Pedestrian Accident: Team 5 had to pull this one after Satoshi lost them their money in River Country Con.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Averted initially in "First Try", double subverted in "First Try: Team 7", and spectacularly defied in "First Try: Team Tetsuo".
  • Suicide by Cop: Tsunade in "Team 7: Divergence".
  • Superhuman Trafficking: In Team 7 Naruto makes Sasuke change his shirt to hide the fact he's a Uchiha. Apparently people with bloodline limits tend to get kidnapped and sold into slavery.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Sakura's crush notwithstanding, Team 7's genin really can't stand each other and don't work well together. They constantly argue and Sakura and Sasuke team up together against Naruto in an argument. Initially, anyway - they get better. When assigned to Team Tetsuo, the much more competant Mentor steadily works at making them at least passable.
  • Tell Me About My Mother: Unlike canon, in First Try Hiruzen does tell Naruto that he had parents after Tetsuo reveals to Naruto that his mother babysat him. Hiruzen tells Naruto that they died protecting him from the Kyuubi
    • Later, Naruto still shaken from Mizuki's outburst asks Hiruzen about his parents. Hiruzen tells him about his mother, Kushina Uzumaki who was the previous host of the Nine-Tailed Fox.
  • Tempting Fate: After their disastrous mission in the Land of Hot Water, Zabuza says to Team Tetsuo that he hopes to never meet them across the battlefield.
  • There Are No Therapists:
    • Averted, Morishita-sensei has Naruto go to anger management counseling after seeing that extreme rage releases the Kyuubi and Naruto has no way of dealing with anger. Inoichi subsequently prevents "Yami Naruto" from ever manifesting.
    • Played straight with Sakura and Sasuke in "Team Tetsuo". Sakura should have received counseling on "Inner Sakura", and Sasuke is borderline psychotic. Justified in that their counsellor sabotaged them by making sure they didn't receive the help they need.
  • Throwing the Fight: Sasuke accuses Naruto of this. He isn't, but Sasuke refuses to believe it. Naruto counters in a real fight he would beat Sasuke, but it's only a taijutsu fight.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Barako, when she starts to actively antagonize Danzo. Granted she had no idea who he was, but she was clearly too thick-headed to try and figure this out before she tries to screw with him.
  • Tournament Arc:
    • The Kiri Chunin Exam in First Try which ends in with Naruto tramatized, Suzume and Satoshi maimed, their peers killed and Kiri finding out that Naruto's the Kyuubi Jinchuriki.
    • In Team 7, the Konoha Chunin Exam with all the non-Konoha characters listening to tournament over radio.
  • Training from Hell: Invoked by Tetsuo.
  • Unknown Rival: Naruto realizes that Sasuke has latched onto him as a rival but is relatively unsure why.
  • Unperson: The Uzumakis were being quietly erased from Konoha history thanks to sabotage. Once this comes out in "Team Tetsuo", Sarutobi takes measures to rectify it.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Naruto went berserk when his teammates were maimed and his peers murdered by a deliberately lethal trap in the Kiri Chunin Exam.
  • Urban Legend: in Team 7, there's a village hidden in the sewer...
  • Was Actually Friendly: At first, Tetsuo hates Naruto for the Kyuubi, mentally referring to him as "the Demon"/"Demon child"/etc. in his head. Then he finds out that Naruto is a Kyuubi orphan and that he knew Naruto's mother. The nail in the coffin is when he actually gets to test Naruto one-on-one and realizes that he's really just a kid.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: Iruka realizes that he misses Naruto's pranks, since things had gotten so quiet at the Academy after his departure.
  • When He Smiles: Non-romantic version in Team Tetsuo, when Tetsuo smiles at Sakura for picking on a medical jutsu fairly quickly.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: An indirect version as Sakura and Sasuke find out the hard way, surprisingly Naruto doesn't do this.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Naruto's not afraid to punch Sakura if she punches him and spells it out to her why it won't get him in trouble.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Barako portrays herself hysterical with worry for her daughter that was taken by two perverts and The Demon under the guise of a training trip.
  • Wretched Hive: Naruto tried to be impressed with Kiri, but can't help but notice the rundown buildings and many homeless people.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: A lot of people have the wrong idea of who people are, what or why they are doing certain things, and even oftentimes on what's really happening.


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