The episode begins with Kakashi, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura (the four of whom constitute Team 7) stealthily pursuing a "target". Though the mission appears weighty at first, it is soon revealed that the team was merely capturing a runaway cat owned by the wife of the Land of Fire's feudal lord. When the Third Hokage considers assigning them a variety of similarly pathetic missions, a frustrated and restless Naruto demands the Hokage to assign them a more challenging and perilous mission.
The Hokage then explains that civilians employ Konoha's ninja to perform certain tasks for them, ranging from capturing a cat to assassination. These tasks, or missions, are divided into several categories based on their difficulty. From highest to lowest level of difficulty, these categories are A-Rank, B-Rank, C-Rank, and D-Rank. So far, Team 7 has been assigned D-Rank missions since they are merely fresh Genin, or low ninja. However, Chunin (middle ninja) are assigned C- or B-Rank missions, and Jonin (elite ninja) are assigned A-Rank missions. When ninja successfully complete their mission, the employers pay Konoha a sum of money. Thus, the ninja are the foundation of Konoha's economy, and even D-Rank missions contribute to the village's welfare.
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