Episodes are how various characters embark on a longer running plot then normal in a confined setting where their posts won't be lost among posts of other characters going about their business. This is so the action can keep going instead of people losing track of what is happening.
Generally speaking there are two kinds of Episodes. There are Mission Episodes and Plot Episodes.
- Mission episodes are regular missions, usually with throw-away villains or characters, the give people chances to have their characters doing things. Get out there and interact with the other characters of the episode, usually for a chance to get to throw down with villains who won't always get away. Sometimes they are out-of-continuity meaning whoever is in them can be doing stuff in the regular threads at the same time, essentially the episode is out of the time line. Sometimes they are even out of canon, depending on what takes place in them (a Hot Spring episode might very well be non-canon).
- Plot episodes are a different matter entirely, and generally serious business. They'll most often be seen when an important event in a long-running plot arc comes around, one that is likely to last for some time or contain game-shaking events. The individual Chuunin exams would be Plot Episodes. Sometimes they aren't a finale, but are a beginning…
Episode 1: This is training!? (Mission)
Sokaku, Tomoya, and Yuuta are re-united as a team for the first time in a long while for their very first A-rank mission! With the Hokage's trust on them and the thrill of excitement, they set out to subdue a dangerous A-rank missing-nin inside a beleaguered town…
The cross-village squad meets for the first time with an oddly threatening sensei. Will this risky new team survive meeting it's teacher?!
Finally, Team 4 starts their test! But how will it turn out?
Episode 4: Hurricane's Rage! (Plot)
It's Seven Swordsman versus Yoshi! But a Shoku member watches. And why would the Amekage want Yoshi killed?
Episode 5: Warehouse Fight! (Plot)
The Shoku strike out against one of the esteemed Kages! Will this insidious attempt alter the world of shinobi or will the Raikage strike one final blow?
Episode 7: Beach Fun! No Sharks Allowed! (Mission)
The Seven Swordsmen decide to take a break at a not so isolated beach. Only havoc can result from this decision.
The second portion of the Exams have begun in all eagerness with genin throwing their lives on the line to prove themselves! But what dark shadows lurk in this hateful swamp? Who will survive this harsh exam?
A team of Ninja go to the Land of the Cedars to retrieve valuable stolen object. Who thought it'd turn out to be a girl!?
Episode 10: Songs (Plot)
Ryoma travels on his own, separate from the other swordsmen. But will a part of his dark past come by and be the end of him?