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The 27 best Naruto characters

Out list of the best Naruto characters has Sasuke Uchiha, Minato Namikaze, the leader of Akatsuki himself, the deadly Pain, and more from the anime series.

Best naruto characters: Sakura, Naruto and Sasuke

Who are the best Naruto characters? With over 720 episodes, dozens of huge arcs, and a lot of filler, we’ve met enough shinobi and random villagers to fill an entire country. In other words, that’s a pretty loaded question, to be honest.

In case you’ve never seen it before, Naruto tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja growing up in the Hidden Leaf village known as Konoha. He’s been shunned due to having the nine-tailed demon fox sealed within him, which leaves our hero with a bit of a complex. To gain the respect of his village, Naruto sets out on a quest to become Hokage – the village leader – and become the strongest ninja around, a journey that pits him against the deadly Akatsuki.

Along the way, he makes enemies into his friends, his friends into enemies, and even convinces the homicidal demon that being sealed in a teenage boy isn’t that bad. It’s one of the best anime series ever, and we’ve listed all the best Naruto characters to help you understand the show better.

Best Naruto characters: Konan

27. Konan

As Nagato’s partner in the Akatsuki, it’s easy to underestimate Konan, but you’d do so at your own peril. Konan is easily one of the deadliest kunoichi we meet in Naruto, thanks to her unique paper jutsus, which allows her to turn a simple sheet of A4 into a delay weapon.

That sounds silly, we know, but it’s important to remember that Konan managed to push Obito (who’s literally untouchable) to the brink of death using her analytical skills and impressive powers. The only reason she lost is because Obito cheated and rewrote reality so he didn’t die, and even then, it cost him an arm.

Best Naruto characters: Hiruzen Sarutobi

26. Hiruzen Sarutobi

The Third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, is often unfairly maligned by fans who believe he broke his promise to Minato and Kushina by neglecting an infant Naruto. Well, we’re here to defend Konoha’s second ‘God of Shinobi’ because that promise was anime filler (eww), and it’s clear, considering Naruto’s reaction to his death, that Hiruzen was a grandfatherly figure to the young ninja in the early years of his life.

Was he there all the time? No, of course not. Hiruzen was the leader of Konoha. He didn’t have time to be by Naruto’s side all the time, but he did what he could. Right now, we’ve defended the Third’s reputation, and it’s worth pointing out his incredible, near-unparalleled skills. He supposedly knew every jutsu in Konoha, and he gave us one of the greatest battles in the entire show when he fought Orochimaru. What’s not to love?

Best Naruto characters: Kabuto

25. Kabuto Yakushi

Highly intelligent and supremely cunning, Kabuto was introduced as a foil for Kakashi and Orochimaru’s most faithful servant. Still, as the series went on, Kabuto grew into one of the most nefarious ninjas in the entire series and was arguably one of the gravest threats to the entire shinobi world.

It was Kabuto who perfected the Edo Tensei, the evilest jutsu used in the entire show and helped bring back the series’ big bad Uchiha Madara. What elevates Kabuto above being a simple villain, though, is his complex backstory. Poor Kabuto has basically spent his entire life not knowing who he really is, and he got a little lost along the way, but he’s not actually all that bad; he’s just been the victim of the cycle of hatred that has made all ninjas into weapons of war.

Best Naruto characters: Itachi Uchiha

24. Itachi Uchiha

It’s easy to see why people like Itachi Uchiha. He’s a cool-looking character with a tragic backstory (he killed his own family, for god’s sake) and some of the most broken abilities in the entire series. Seriously, Tsukuyomi alone would make him one of the most dangerous shinobi ever to exist. Still, when you combine that with Amaterasu and his Susanoo weapons, you’ve got a recipe for one of the deadliest ninjas of all time.

Really, though, what makes Itachi so interesting is his personal philosophy on war and the greater good. Itachi is the type of person who believes that the ends justify the means, and that gives him a complex moral code beyond the simple dichotomy of good and bad. It’s a rare thing to see in a Shounen anime, and it speaks to Naruto’s wider themes of seeking true peace rather than short-term vengeance.

Best Naruto characters: Deidara

23. Deidara

Art is a blast! We love some of the more subtle characters in Naruto, but there’s something special about the bombastic Deidara. A powerful shinobi capable of creating anything he wanted out of explosive clay, Deidara’s unique power set made him a joy to watch the battle, and his fight against Sasuke remains a firm favorite.

That’s not why we put Deidara on this list, though. We chose to include Deidara because, in a series full of very stoic ninjas, Deidara’s personality was a breath of fresh air.

Best Naruto characters: Iruka

22. Iruka

Arguably the first person to acknowledge Narutop as more than a monster (We know the show says it was Hinata and Sasuke, but it wasn’t), Iruka wasn’t much of a fighter, but that’s not why we loved him.

We loved Iruka for the important role he played in Naruto’s life, acting as a stern but loving father figure who put aside the hate he felt towards the fox sealed in Naruto to help a young boy who was struggling. Ultimately, that’s what Naruto is about: overcoming our old prejudices to build a better tomorrow.

Best Naruto characters: Sasori

21. Sasori

Easily the most underestimated Akatsuki member, Sasori’s sort of like Pinnochio if the little wooden weirdo was a terrifying killer who turned his victims into puppets (That’s the sequel you should make, Disney).

As the strongest puppet user we meet in Naruto, Sasori has a pretty unique fighting style that separates him from the other shinobi we see in this series, and his fight with Sakura and Chiyo is easily one of the most entertaining in the series because it actually involves tactics and not just throwing big balls of chakra at each other.

Best Naruto characters: Madara Uchiha

20. Madara Uchiha

Possibly the most overpowered character in the entire series (and maybe anime as a whole), Madara is the legendary leader of the Uchiha Clan who helped his best friend, Hashirama, found Konoha in an effort to bring lasting peace to the world. Unfortunately, Madara ultimately falls out with Hashirama, leading to him faking his death and begining the Eye of the Moon Plan.

While most fans like Madara for his sheer power, that’s not what earned him a spot on this list. No, what we like about Madara is how much joy he gets out of a good fight, especially when he gets to ‘dance’ with Hashirama. Seriously, even Goku would think Madara’s thirst for battle was a bit over the top.

Best Naruto characters: Haku

19. Haku

Haku taught us one of the most valuable lessons in the Naruto world. That power and skill don’t correlate with age. Yes, Haku was only 15 years old when he pushed Team 7 to its limit, nearly killing Sasuke and causing Naruto to use Kurama’s chakra for the first time.

Now, we’d have put Haku on this list anyway for turning Sasuke into a literal pin cushion, but we’ve always had a soft spot for his weird ice powers, which definitely contradict several things we later learn about space-time jutsu.

Best Naruto characters: Fu

18. Fū

We don’t get to see a lot of Fū, the jinchūriki of the Seven-Tails, Chōmei, but what we do see we like. She’s got a strong and memorable design as well as several unique jutsu, which make her a formidable shinobi. Still, the real reason we’ve included Fū on the list is because she’s one of the few filler characters who we actually liked.

Best Naruto characters: Kurama

17. Kurama

Proud and cruel, for centuries, the nine-tailed fox, Kurama, was believed to be evil made manifest and was used by ninjas like Madara and Hashirama as a weapon of war.

Even after being sealed inside Naruto, the nine-tailed fox refused to be tamed, but over time, the young ninja’s determination and spirit began to waken Kurama’s resolve, and by the time of the Fourth Great Ninja War, he was ready to help Naruto end the conflict.

Best Naruto characters: Tsunade

16. Tsunade

Tsunade is arguably the most powerful kunoichi we meet in Naruto, capable of surprising even Madara with her sheer brute strength and her  One Hundred Healings Jutsu, which allows her to survive any injury, might be one of the most broken techniques we see in the series.

Power isn’t everything, though, in the Naruto world, and the reason we love Tsunade isn’t just because she’s capable of demolishing mountains with a single blow. No, we love Tsunade for her resilience and compassion; it’s these traits that made her the greatest medical ninja in history and the perfect choice for the Fifth Hokage.

Best Naruto characters: Orochimaru

15. Orochimaru

For the longest time, Orochimaru was an unapologetically evil bastard who dreamed of living forever and crushing Konoha. This cross between a mad scientist and a ninja basically spent his days coming up with some of the most twisted techniques in the entire series just because he could.

Unfortunately, Orochimaru eventually fell victim to talk-no-jutsu and put his days as a bad guy behind him. Thankfully, he’s still pretty weird in an entertaining way, but his glory days of killing Kage for fun are long behind him.

Best Naruto characters: Hashirama Senju

14. Hashirama Senju

Power isn’t everything, but if it were, Hashirama Senju would be top of this list. Easily the strongest non-jinchūriki ever, Hashirama was a ninja god who was capable of going toe-to-toe with foes like Madara and the Nine-Tailed Fox at the same time.

What we really like about Hashirama, though, is his attitude. He’s not plotting world domination or a never-ending war like the other overpowered lunatics on this list. All he wanted to do was build a village where ninjas could live in peace… we’re not quite sure why he added an academy to train child soldiers, but still, it’s the thought that counts.

Best Naruto characters: Jiraiya

13. Jiraiya

The gallant Jiraiya always saw himself as a failure, but he did manage to raise the equivalent of Ninja Jesus, which is a pretty impressive feat. Sure, he’s also semi-responsible for a borderline Ninja Antichrist (Pain), but we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

In all seriousness, Jiraiya was a wonderfully complex character who was defined by his failures as much as his successes. He was sort of like what Naruto would have become if he’d given up on Sasuke, and we loved seeing how the older ninja was inspired by his young apprentice.

In fact, we like Jiraiya so much we’re even willing to forgive him for abandoning Naruto for a decade, although a lot of that comes down to how heartbreaking his final battle against the Six Paths of Pain is.

Best Naruto characters: Killer B

12. Killer B

In another world, Killer B could have been at the top of this list just for the time he turned an overconfident Sasuke into a pin-cushion. Still, even if Killer B hadn’t nearly killed Sasuke, he’d have found a place in this article because, honestly, I find him an absolute delight.

As the jinchūriki of the Eight-Tails, Gyūki, Killer B is an incredibly powerful shinobi, and his fighting style is one of the coolest in the entire series, but the real reason I like B so much mainly comes down to his personality. He’s self-assured and confident but also goofy and funny, so his character never comes across as arrogant or brash.

Best Naruto characters: Sakura Haruno

11. Sakura Haruno

The third member of Team 7, alongside Naruto and Sasuke, Sakura starts in the series as an immature little girl who, like most of the village, despises Naruto. Over the course of Naruto, she matures into a capable and powerful kunoichi.

By the time Shippuden begins, the old crybaby Sakura is gone, and instead, we’re left with a total badass capable of going toe-to-toe with Akatsuki members as powerful as Sasori. By the end of the series, she’s even battling a literal god with nothing but her fists.

Best Naruto characters: Sasuke Uchiha

10. Sasuke Uchiha

Sasuke barely breaking the top ten! Shinobi sacrilege, surely? Well, unfortunately, Sasuke has never done much for me. I’ll say this; he’s a cool-looking character with some interesting powers.

He’s also the deuteragonist of the whole series, so he deserves to be on the list, but let’s be honest, Sasuke’s as interesting as a community college class on cushion repair.

He’s a slightly cliched, white-bread take on a Shounen rival, Vegeta without the edge – which is saying something. That said, he’s still the second most interesting Uchiha, if only because of his unique and contemptuous relationship with Naruto.

Best Naruto characters: Tobirama Senju

9. Tobirama Senju

Most people would probably put Hashirama Senju on this list. After all, Hashirama is the elder brother, the First Hokage, and uses the more unique ninjutsu. Yet, to us, Tobirama is the infinitely better character, and it’s the disparity between the two brothers that makes him more interesting.

While Hashiarama was a prodigy, born with a power that essentially made him unbeatable, Tobirama only had standard water jutsu. This forced him to devise his own far more interesting and sinister techniques.

Let’s not forget it was he who invented the Flying Thunder God technique that made Minato a legend, the Shadow Clone that put Naruto on the road to Hokage, and the evilest jutsu seen in the series Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation. Basically, the entire Naruto series would be a lot duller without Tobirama.

Best Naruto characters: Hinata Hyuga

8. Hinata Hyuga

Naruto’s female characters aren’t the most well-defined but Hinata bucks the trend. While she starts as a satellite love interest, she slowly develops throughout the series into a confident and powerful ninja in her own right who’s willing to stick up for what she believes in.

Her fight with Pain, when most of Konoha’s shinobi had been literally blown away, always stands out as one of the finest moments in the series and a reminder of Naruto’s core message that friendship is more powerful than hate. Yes, we know she loses…

Best Naruto characters: Shikamaru

7. Shikamaru Nara

At its heart, Naruto is a series about ninjas. So as fun as it is seeing our superpowered heroes chuck balls of undying flame at each other, conjure giant demon foxes from the ether, or teleport, some of the series’ best fights have come down to tactics and duplicity.

No character embodies this more than Shikamaru, a ninja who lacks the physical prowess of his stealthy comrades but makes up for it with his incredible mind. His battles against Tayuya and Hidan were some of the most interesting in the series, thanks to his well-thought-out strategies, which allowed him to beat opponents far stronger than he was.

Best Naruto characters: Minato Namikaze

6. Minato Namikaze

Dads in Naruto get a bad rap. They’re either terrible parents who neglect their kids or dead. Minato gets the dubious honor of being both.

Jokes aside, Minato is probably my favorite Hokage outside of Naruto himself. That’s partly down to his unique power set – I’m a sucker for characters that can teleport – but if I’m honest, what I like most about Minato is the awe and dread he inspires through the series.

To the people of Konoha, he’s the valiant hero who gave his life protecting the village from the demon fox Kurama. To his enemies, he’s the last thing you see before you die, and no scene captures how deadly Minato can be more than during Kakashi Gaiden.

During this flashback, the Fourth Hokage wipes out a squad of ninjas without breaking a sweat. There’s a reason why ninjas were ordered to flee at the sight of Minato.

Best Naruto characters: Kakashi

5. Kakashi Hatake

The Copy Ninja himself, Kakashi, seems like a typical Shounen character who is so impossibly cool you’d have to keep them in a fridge to stop them from going bad. We like Kakashi so much, though, because of how uncool he is.

Yes, he’s a tortured genius like so many anime heroes, but there’s more to him than that. He’s essentially a porno-loving goofball who’d rather be doing anything else than training the Genin in his care.

For many, Kakashi’s defining moments are his battle with Hidan, his confrontation with Obito, or his near-death experience after fighting Pain. For me, though, Kakashi will always be that guy who got pranked by Naruto on the first day of school.

Best Naruto characters: Gaara

4. Gaara

If there’s one thing we hate at The Digital Fix, it’s sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere. This, of course, makes it the perfect weapon to use against your enemies and is just one of the reasons I love Gaara, who enjoys complete dominion over sand.

Beyond his incredible ability to use sand as a weapon, thanks to being the host of the demon Shukaku though, Gaara is one of Naruto’s more dynamic characters who grows and changes in ways other characters don’t.

Gaara effectively starts as a dark mirror for Naruto, with both of them shunned by the shinobi of their respective villages for being jinchūriki (those with demons sealed in them). While Naruto became determined to be recognized in the village, Gaara turned his hatred outwards, using his vast power to torment and kill those around him.

After meeting Naruto, though, Gaara questions his philosophy, adopting Naruto’s dream to become Kage as his own. Next, we see Gaara he’s become a far kinder and wiser figure, ultimately serving as the field commander of the Shinobi Alliance. We’re also not afraid to say what Kishimoto never could; Gaara was a better friend to Naruto than Sasuke ever was.

Best Naruto characters: Obito Uchiha

3. Obito Uchiha

Obito is probably the most tragic villain in all of Naruto. Born a loser in a clan of winners, Obito had to work hard to be recognized by his friends and allies. Despite always being overshadowed by his teammate Kakashi, Obito didn’t let this get him down, knowing he would prove everyone who doubted him wrong when he awakened his Sharingan. Then, the day he finally taps into his true potential, he gets crushed by a boulder and seemingly dies.

Of course, he actually survives and is taken in by Madara Uchiha, who manipulates Obito into believing he’s been betrayed by his friends and village. Abandoning his name Obito becomes a vessel for Madara’s will and begins plotting to plunge the world into the Infinite Tsukuyomi.

Aside from his calamitous backstory, Obito’s mask and cloak make him one of the more unique-looking villains in a series full of typical anime pretty boys, plus his power set is, to be frank, bonkers. He can transport himself into a parallel dimension, which makes him intangible, allows him to teleport, and incapacitate enemies with a single touch.

If Obito were a videogame character, he’d be patched immediately for being so broken. In fact, his powers were so obscene he’s possibly the only character who became weaker after becoming a jinchūriki.

Best Naruto characters: Pain

2. Pain

The leader of the Akatsuki, God of the Rain Village, and one of the most powerful villains Naruto ever had to face, Pain needs little introduction. Few bad guys had the presence, power, and personality of Pain. He’s one of the best anime villains ever.

When he invaded the Hidden Leaf Village, things felt genuinely hopeless. He was like an insert from Dragon Ball Z, capable of casually wiping out the entire village with a wave of his hands. His strange and esoteric powers made his fights some of the best in the series, and his battle with Naruto is probably where the series should have ended.

Pain was more than just a physical threat. He challenged Naruto’s philosophy in a way no villain had before. I’d argue it’s through Naruto and Pain’s conversations that Naruto finally starts to realize that being Hokage requires more than just strength; you also have to be wise, empathetic, and forgiving.

Best Naruto characters: Naruto Uzumaki

1. Naruto Uzumaki

Konoha’s number one hyperactive, knucklehead ninja, Naruto’s place on this ranking was never in doubt. We see Naruto grow from an insecure boy desperate to become Hokage to a wise and powerful shinobi worthy of leading his village and people through the series.

Along the way, he masters the power of the demon fox sealed within him, battles countless foes, overcomes the impossible, and turns his deadliest enemies into firm friends. Typical Shounen stuff, really, but Naruto will always have a special place in my heart.

Naruto was the first anime series my friends and I ever watched from start to finish, and as the title character, so I’ll always have a fondness for the loudmouth ninja.

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If you’re curious about what happened to Naruto’s family, you should read our guides explaining the Uzumaki Clan massacre and answering the question, what’s Madara Uchiha’s Mangekyou Sharingan power?

If you love anime, check out our guide on where to watch One Piece, Pokemon, and Dragonball, or if you prefer feature-length stories, try our best animes movie list. If you need help avoiding the Naruto filler (there’s a lot of it), we have a guide to that as well as the best Naruto jutsu. We’ve also answered whether Kurama is the strongest Tailed Beast.

Our Dragon Ball in order and One Piece in order guides are essential, as well. You should also check out our lists for the best Dragon Ball Z characters, the best My Hero Academia characters, the best One Piece characters, and the best Demon Slayer characters.

Finally, be sure to check out our guides explaining everything you need to know about the One Punch Man season 3 release date, the Demon Slayer season 4 release date, the Dragon Ball Super season 2 release date, and the Record of Ragnarok season 3 release date. We’ve also got a list of all the new anime coming this month as well.