Naruto: What Happens to Ninja That Fail the Chūnin Exams?

The Chūnin Exams serve multiple purposes in the world of Naruto: They improve relations between participating villages and they display the power of the villages to potential clients. However, their primary purpose is to provide an opportunity for ninjas from all over the world to demonstrate their skills and prove that they are worthy of promotion.

Most of the main characters of Naruto have either been promoted to chūnin or have advanced far beyond it, so there are few examples of ninjas that have failed the exams and never become chūnin. Despite that, there are plenty of ways for flunky ninjas to still prosper in this ninja-centric world.

What is a Chūnin in Naruto?

It's important to clarify what exactly a chūnin is before explaining what happens to ninjas that fail to reach the position. A chūnin is a mid-level ninja between a genin and jonin. These ninjas typically have advanced combat and leadership skills. Once a ninja becomes a chūnin they are able to accept more difficult missions like C or B rank. Being a chūnin is usually considered a mid-point in a ninjas career but plenty of ninjas choose to stay chūnin their entire careers like Iruka.

Ninjas Who Don't Advance Are Called 'Eternal Genin'

There are a few examples of ninjas that have never advanced beyond the rank of genin. These ninjas are often ridiculed and given the title of Eternal Genin. Ninjas like Kosuke Maruboshi and Might Guy's father, Might Duy, were never promoted beyond genin. This means that many people looked down upon them and underestimated their skills. Rank does not always indicate strength. Genin can possess power far beyond that of the average jonin. Might Duy was able to fend off all seven members and kill four of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist. Kosuke is just as strong as any jonin but willing chooses to remain a genin because of a past shame. A ninja can remain a genin their entire career and consistently take D and low C rank missions.

Genin Still Have a Chance for Greatness

Naruto & Sasuke Protecting Their Children

There is technically no rule forbidding genin from taking on higher-ranked missions or jumping straight to the highest position. It is a running gag that both Naruto and Sasuke were never promoted past genin despite being the two strongest ninjas in the village. Both Naruto and Sasuke have completed missions that would have been extremely difficult, if not outright impossible, for a jonin. Naruto was promoted from genin directly to Hokage. Sasuke often goes on secret missions that are vital for the safety of the Leaf Village. Even as a genin, there are still many opportunities to make a name for yourself and display skills beyond your rank.

Ninjas Who Feel Unappreciated Can Go Rogue in Naruto

If a ninja feels like a village isn't the right place for them they could try their hand at being a rogue ninja. The training that a ninja receives from the Academy and the experience they gathered as a genin would make them far superior to the average bandit or mercenary. Clients would pay a great deal of money for the skills of a ninja not bound by the rules of a village. A rouge genin would do quite well as a mercenary for hire if they're willing to risk the wrath of their home village. It's dangerous work, but the reward might be worth the risk.

There Are Other Job Opportunities for Genin, However

tayori kuroyagi in his uniform

Ever since the Fourth Shinobi War, the ninja world has existed largely in peace. Because of this the Academy now offers courses that are not always focused on ninja skills. Ninjas that graduate from the Academy have a wide array of skills both in the shinobi arts and in general academic studies. These skills make these ninjas very desirable to employers outside the ninja world. Even mail carriers and firefighters employ ninja skills in their daily work. The experience and abilities of a genin are valuable and employers are willing to pay top dollar for them, both inside the ninja world and outside it.

KEEP READING: Naruto: Which D&D Class Would Match Each Member of Team 7?

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