Minato entered Konoha's Academy with the dream of earning the villagers' respect and recognition by becoming Hokage. When Kushina Uzumaki moved to Konoha, she was placed in the same class as Minato. Minato was immediately drawn to her bright red hair, finding it beautiful. Minato was a natural prodigy as a ninja, the likes of which appears only once in a generation. When he was added to a genin team under the leadership of Jiraiya, Jiraiya took a special interest in Minato and took him on as his apprentice, teaching him many of his own signature abilities. In time, Minato's exceptional skills led Jiraiya to believe he might be the Child of the Prophecy, someone who would someday save the world.
Minato and Kushina were a couple from the time that he rescued her, and with his love, Kushina was able to keep the Nine-Tails sealed within her at bay. They eventually married. From observing a Tailed Beast Ball, Minato began a three year process of creating the Rasengan, the height of shape transformation. He would spend the rest of his life trying to combine it with his own nature.
After proving himself an accomplished and responsible ninja, Minato was placed in charge of his own team, consisting of Rin Nohara, Obito Uchiha, and Kakashi Hatake. In the anime, the Third Hokage gave Minato the special task of helping Kakashi overcome the bitterness caused by his father's death and remind him of the human element of being a ninja. Minato gave his team a bell test upon its formation in order to teach them the value of teamwork. Minato often held back less against the prodigious Kakashi than with Rin and Obito so they couldn't obtain the bells without teamwork. Unfortunately, Kakashi realised this, but only used Obito and Rin as a means to an end to obtain the bells. Nonetheless, he passed them because they accomplished the goal of the test by working as a team. Although he did encourage them to improve their teamwork afterwards, a message that Obito and Rin took to heart, but fell on deaf ears with Kakashi.
When Konoha became involved in the Third Shinobi World War, Minato's obligations became split between training his students and helping with the war effort. During a mission into Kusagakure to destroy the Kannabi Bridge, Minato transferred leadership of the mission to Kakashi – who had recently become a jōnin – while he headed to the front lines. He met up with the surviving and out-numbered Konoha ninja and single-handedly wiped out the opposing Iwagakure forces. In the anime, his victory in this battle against a thousand ninja convinced the Third Tsuchikage to accept a peace treaty. When he rendezvoused with his team afterwards he found Kakashi and Rin and surrounded by Iwa-nin, Obito having already been lost. He rescued them, helped them complete their original mission once they recovered, and returned to Konoha with them to mourn Obito. Minato's competing obligations would later repeat the tragedy of Obito's death: while he was away on another mission, Rin was kidnapped by Kirigakure and died during Kakashi's attempt to retrieve her.