The beloved Japanese anime series, Naruto,has developed into something big. Masashi Kishimoto first brought to life the story of pre-teen Naruto Uzumaki in 1999. One of the world’s most popular stories allows us to follow Naruto, his peers, and his fellow protagonists as they fight evil. What started as a magazine serial developed into a television series and films. As Naruto became a teenager, we continued to see him and the special teams of Naruto’s world use superpowers together to fight evil. Masuashi Kishimoto has enjoyed developing the multitude of characters that interact in the Naruto series. The artist was inspired, in part, by the Chinese Zodiac when creating his characters and their interactions. He based the village of Konohagakur on his own hometown, Okayama prefecture. As his characters learn to come to terms with who they are, the protagonists act in the best interest of all and fight the evil forces to protect their loved ones. Along the way, we have gotten to know each character well. We see the characters develop as well as new characters introduced in the series between Part I and Part II.
Here are the top 20 Naruto characters of all time.
The main character in the Naruto series is the young boy Naruto. The character ages from a pre-teen to a teenager in the series and we see his character develop. Naruto is often boyish, daring and naive. Creator of the series, Masashi Kishimoto, has said he did this because he wanted to create a believable hero. Naruto’s backstory is that he was once possessed by the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox who tried to destroy the village. As he ages, Naruto learns to adapt to his “inner demon” and use the power to fight evil. Naruto even begins to take on physical characteristics of the Fox. Naruto learns to overcome his boyhood naivety and learn to use his powers for good to support his friends, his team, his family and his fellow villagers.
Kakashi Hataka is one of the most beloved characters of the Naruto anime series. Kakashi is the teacher of Naruto and the rest of Team 7. Along with Naruto Uzumaki, othher students on the Team include Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno. Fans of the series consider Kakashi to be the most well rounded character of the series. He has a dark past but is able to joke around and get along with his students as he helps them develop their powers and special skills. At times, Kakashi appears detached, most likely due to his dark past, but he manages to include lessons for his students that give them balance such as feminine qualities. Kakashi Hataka’s special skills as a teacher help his students become the best at what they do, fight evil.
Itachi Uchiha has a very dark past and is tormented by his life’s destiny. When he was younger, Itachi was commanded to prevent war. His mission included killing many of his clan members to prevent a coup d’etat. Itachi was able to save his younger brother, Sasuke Uchiha from being killed in the Uchiha Massacre. Itachi lives his life to protect his brother. He also must keep himself alive with medicine so that his son can someday kill him as retribution for Itachi’s role in the slaying of his parents.
Minato Namikaze is Naruto’s father. His wife is Kushina. Minato Namikaze is a well-respected character. Although he and Naruto have many similarities, their relationship is not revealed in the Naruto anime series until Part II. Minato Namikaze is both a student and a teacher in the series and is well respected. Fans love the character who is a hero in the village. Minato’s special powers include the ability to teleport. He is nicknamed “Konoha’s Yellow Flash”. Minato has battled the mysterious masked ninja. He also used the weakened Nine-Tailed Demon Fox by placing its spirit into the body of his son, Naruto. He did this so Naruto would be able to obtain and develop the creature’s yang chakra.
Gaara was initially an antagonist in the Naruto series but became a hero. Gaara is the son of the village’s leader, the Fourth Kazekage. The shinobi was born as a demon host in order for his father to create weapons to restore the village of Sunagakure. At the start of the series Gaara is a villain. This is because he was unable to control the Tailed Beast that possessed him and because he was ostracized by the villagers. However, once Gaara meets Naruto, he decides to become a member of the village’s Fifth Kazekage. The villagers learn to accept him. The fact that the character evolved into an honorable man makes him a well liked character on the Naruto series.
The ninja Jiraiya is both a teacher of Naruto and his godfather. The two have an amazing bond. Jiraiya was taught by Hiruzen Sarutobi and was a teammate of Orochimaru and Tsunade. Jiraiya is known as the “Toad Sage” because of his ability to perform Sage Jutsu and toad Jitsu. Jiraiya also trained Nagato and Minato. In Part I of the Naruto series, Jiraiya becomes his godson’s teacher. The character of Jiraiya is interesting. He is openly vulgar but is loyal to his scribes in Konohagakure.
A member of Team 10, Shikamaru Nara is easy going but yet a genius. Because of his strong intelligence, Shikamaru Nara remains a powerful member of Team 10. Even the team leader, Asuma Sarutobi, cannot defeate Shikamaru Nara at training games like Shogi or go. Shikamaru’s genius allows him to create strategy during battle. Unfortunately, Shikamaru is often lazy preventing him from being stronger. Shikamaru often is critical and annoyed by Naruto but becomes a close friend of the young warrior. Shikamaru has the ability to enlarge his shadow into that of other’s during battle so he is able to make his enemy copy his movements. Shikamaru becomes Naruto’s adviser. He marries Temari and they have a son.
Neji Hyuga was a child prodigy and the son of Hizashi. At a young age, Neji is branded a cursed seal by his uncle Hiashi. Being of a branch clan and not the main house, Neji feels he is destined to a cursed and lesser life. Neji carries his anger and subconscious resentments with him until he is finally placed with Team Guy. As a member of the team, Neji Hyuga learns that he has special talents and powers and can use them for good. Despite being duty bound to the main house of Hyuga, Neji Hyuga can choose his own destiny.
Neji Hyuga’s cousin, Hinata Hyuga is a member of the main house of the Hyuga clan. Her father is Neji’s uncle, Hiashi. As a pre-teen, Hinata befriends Naruto and remains his good friend and admirer. Hinata is trained with Team 8 along with Kibe Inuzuka, Kibe’s ninja dog Akamoru, Shino Aburame, and the team’s leader, Kurenai Yuhi. The blue haired, pale skin Hinata and Naruto eventually develop a romantic relationship and marry in the latter part of the series.
Madara Uchiha is an evil character in the Naruto anime series and fans love him. Madara is incredibly egocentric and conceited. He has excellent fighting skills but loves the fight more than anything else. Madara enjoys belittling anyone weaker than himself. Madara has grown up during constant war and considers battle a game. He calls battle “dancing”. Madara is overconfident and manipulative. He will prolong battles just to make them last to show off his skills, but will quickly slaughter his enemies in battle if they bore him. Madara only respect Hashirama Senju but quickly grows resentment toward him due to Madara’s vanity.
Sasuke Uchiha is the younger brother of Itachi Uchiha. Spared in the death of his family, Susuke has a difficult time learning to deal with his brother’s part in the murder of their family. Susuke’s goal is to avenge their deaths. He trains as a ninja and becomes part of Team 7. Sasuke is best friend and competitor with Naruto. Overcome with his need for revenge, Sasuke later leaves the village and tries to perfect his fighting skills and powers. He becomes isolated until he learns the truth about his brother’s part in the murder of their family. Sasuke Uchiha returns to the village and plays an integral part in ending the Fourth Shinobi World War.
Rock Lee looks and often acts like a rock star. Fans have called Rock Lee’s appearance “goofy” but they love the character. The young man is not good at ninjutsu or genjusu but becomes the favored student of Might Guy. As a member of Team Guy, Rock Star is mocked by his peers for his lack of skill. However, Might Guy helps the boy develop other martial art strengths including taijutsu. Even though Rock Lee is unable to fully develop certain fighting skills, he perseveres. Rock Lee has a drive to succeed no matter what. He even helps Neji learn that their fates are not necessarily predestined. The kids have the power of choice and can become skilled fighters if they want it enough and put in the effort.
Nagato Naruto (aka Pain)
Nagato is a leader of the Akatsuki and a partner of Konen. Obites is his benefactor. Nagato’s desire for peace helps the warrior develop an important power. He develops “The Six Paths of Pain” in order to teach the world the pain that war really causes. Nagato takes control over deceased bodies and is able to reach the six paths of pain. He does so through body piercings. He takes on the characteristics of each of the Paths when necessary. He can also coordinate the Six Paths visually and physically when necessary. The most common Path seen in the Naruto series is the Deva Path. This was achieved through taking the powers of Negato’s deceased friend.
Tsunade is a student of Hiruzen Sarutobi. Tsunade appears to be a beautiful young woman but is actually older and wiser and able to transform her appearance. She is the granddaughter of Hashirama Senju and Mito Uzumaki and therefore a princess. Tsunade grapples with her faith but accepts the position of Fifth Hokage to protect the village and her loved ones. Tsunade would take Sakura as a student and retire after the Fourth Great Ninja War. Tsunade is a strong fighter and is able to heal others of injuries. Her power lies in her super human strength.