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The Naruto Kiss You Never Saw In The Dub

"Naruto," which ran from 2002 to 2007 and is comprised of 220 episodes, remains one of the most popular and long-running anime television series of all-time. Americans weren't able to see it until 2005, a delay that's somewhat par for the course with anime shows from an earlier era. In September of that year, Cartoon Network added the shonen-style show to its Saturday Toonami block after having ordered the initial 52 episodes, as reported by Anime Magazine

The manga had already become so popular that it became the first manga to appear on the USA Today bestseller list in 2004 and then regularly thereafter (via Comics Alliance). The English-dubbed version quickly turned "Naruto" into a bonafide phenomenon. The series continued being popular thanks to "Naruto Shippenden" and both series' later availability on streaming networks like Netflix, but its introduction to Western audiences via the Cartoon Network was really the impetus for the show's stunning popularity in the mid-2000s. 

However, if you were one of the people who discovered the show on that cable network, you might have missed one small but interesting detail in the very first episodes of the show, before Team 7 is formed. American localization of anime shows often included censoring anything that wasn't considered suitable for children, since animation in the U.S. has long been considered a medium for kids. "Naruto" isn't best known for being a romantic anime, but there was a kiss in the third episode that got edited out for its Toonami audience.

Naruto and Sasuke accidentally kiss as he's introduced in the series

The third episode of "Naruto" is called "Sasuke and Sakura: Friends or Foes," and is the first episode during which fans are introduced to some of the other young characters who go on to become important to the narrative arc of the show. This includes Sasuke Uchiha, the school's top rookie and the sole survivor of his clan. He has girls drooling all over him — including Sakura Haruno, who is just one of the female characters scheming to get his attention. 

Their embarrassing moment, played for laughs, comes as Naruto is facing Sasuke in the classroom. Jealous of the attention Sasuke is getting, Naruto jumps on top of the desk to glare at his rival and figure out why he's so great. An electric jolt passes between the two's eyes before a student in the seat in front of Naruto elbows him from behind. Sasuke and Naruto's lips meet in an accidental kiss. Both Sasuke and Naruto seem disgusted by this turn of events (as do all the girls watching). 

Comic Book Resources reports that this scene was cut out of the Cartoon Network version, so many Americans didn't see it for years. Eventually it stopped being censored, and can be seen on both Netflix and Crunchyroll, where "Naruto" has a home, today. It certainly changes the tenor of the first meeting between them — at least, as seen on TV, since they clearly know of each other already.

The relationship between Sasuke and Naruto becomes complex and brotherly

As fans know, Naruto was himself enamored with Sakura, but ended up with Hinata Hyuga at the end of his story. She's in that third episode as well and clearly likes Naruto, although she and Naruto don't meet until much later in the first season. Sakura ends up with the object of her early affection, Sasuke, with whom she has a child. Of course, if you followed the series you know that Sakura's first kiss is also Naruto (also somewhat accidental and controversial, as it was presented as CPR to save his life). 

Naruto's relationship with Sasuke is canonically represented as both a friendship and a rivalry, informed by the fact that the two — while very different in personality, –have similarities in their backgrounds: they're both quite alone in some ways. As they serve on the same team, they learn respect for one another and become like brothers. This plays a large role in "Naruto Shippenden," as Sasuke becomes more destructive and even criminal — but is eventually redeemed by his blonde little friend. 

The complex and affectionate bonds between the two have turned Naruto and Sasuke into quite a popular 'ship in fan fiction, and this situation only made easier by the fact that the two shared not one, but two accidental kisses. The second happened in "The Worst Three-Legged Race," the 194th episode (a filler)  of "Naruto Shippenden."