Since September of 1999, Naruto has given fans over 70 manga volumes and 700+ entries of animated television episodes featuring the likable knucklehead ninja, Naruto Uzumaki. Over the course of two decades, creator Masashi Kishimoto introduced readers and viewers of all ages to many memorable characters. Some of these characters are goofy and endearing, while others are incredibly threatening and dubious – and they all have various levels of powers and abilities. But, who is the strongest?
Ranking the series’ most powerful characters is certainly no easy task. With a range of abilities and strengths, it is hard to determine precisely whether or not one character is more capable in battle than another.[external_link_head]
With series spinoff Boruto: Naruto Next Generations well into its own story at this point, the task of creating a power ranking only becomes more and more difficult. However, by taking various Jutsu, head-to-head battles, and years of lore into consideration, a definitive countdown of Naruto’s strongest characters is possible.
Updated on June 2nd, 2021 by Amanda Bruce: More than 20 years after Naruto’s initial debut, fans still love the high-spirited ninja, his friends, and his enemies. There’s something endearing about a character who just refuses to ever give up. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also incredibly powerful and can hold his own against more experienced fighters. The title character isn’t the only one. As more fans are introduced to the franchise through streaming services and the sequel series, the debates about which character is the most powerful rage on.
- 1 24 Kabuto Yakushi
- 2 23 Shikamaru Nara
- 3 22 Yamato
- 4 21 Mei Terumi
- 5 20 Sakura Haruno
- 6 19 Minato Namikaze
- 7 18 Gaara
- 8 17 Kakashi
- 9 16 Lady Tsunade
- 10 15 Killer Bee
- 11 14 Jiraiya
- 12 13 Might Guy
- 13 12 Orochimaru
- 14 11 Hiruzen Sarutobi
- 15 10 Itachi Uchiha
- 16 9 Obito Uchiha
- 17 8 Indra & Asura Ōtsutsuki
- 18 7 Nagato (Pain)
- 19 6 Madara Uchiha
- 20 5 Hashirama Senju (First Hokage)
- 21 4 Hagoromo Ōtsutsuki (Sage of Six Paths)
- 22 3 Sasuke Uchiha
- 23 2 Naruto Uzumaki
- 24 1 Kaguya
24 Kabuto Yakushi
Initially, Kabuto seems like he might be one of the good guys. He offers up advice to Team 7 on more than one occasion and even helps to save Hinata Hyuga at one point. Of course, that’s all to cover up that he’s really an apprentice to Orochimaru.
Kabuto proves himself a formidable opponent, having learned most of his skills under the tutelage of Orochimaru. He uses a lot of the same skills as his teacher, even leaning on snakes for support in a fight. It’s Kabuto’s ability to sniff out other people’s insecurities and use them to his advantage in battle — like Tsunade’s fear of blood — that makes him a particularly powerful Naruto character. When it comes to raw power, however, a lot of other characters have him beat.
23 Shikamaru Nara
When the series first begins, Shikamaru Nara is, by his own omission, the laziest student at the shinobi academy. He finds school boring as he picks up skills quickly, and he very quickly masters a different aspect of his family’s specialty – controlling shadows. Shikamaru can use his own shadow to quite literally reach out to his opponents and control them. It’s a feat he’s able to control for long periods of time despite not having the immense chakra reserves of others. That isn’t, however, why he’s so powerful. Instead, it’s how he uses his abilities.
Shikamaru is one of the most strategic shinobi in the entire franchise. His intelligence is legendary. Always several steps ahead of everyone else, Shikamaru knows exactly when to pull his punches, conserve his energy, and how to use the environment around him to his advantage. That’s why he’s able to take on Hidan by himself when no one else can.
When Kakashi is away from his students for an extended mission, Yamato takes over as a mentor for Naruto and Sakura (and the added Sai). He might not have all of Kakashi’s skills, but he’s chosen for one very big reason.
Yamato has the skills to actually tame the nine-tailed beast inside of Naruto, so to speak. When Naruto starts to lose control during training, Yamato is the only one able to reign him in. That, along with his ability to use Wood Release, something very few shinobi ever do, make him an incredibly strong character in Naruto.
21 Mei Terumi
When Mei Terumi becomes the Mizukage of the Village Hidden in the Mist, she inherits its very bloody history. While she doesn’t want to repeat the mistakes of the leaders that came before her, she is still one tough shinobi in a position of power. She also inherits some pretty powerful abilities thanks to having ancestry from two different prominent clans.
Her bloodline means she not only uses Vapor Style, but also Lava Style. Either of those skills would be powerful on their own. An acidic mist that can melt through anything in its path and the ability to expel actual lava is already impressive. Add to that the fact that she masters lightning, fire, earth, and water chakra natures, and she’s a seriously powerful opponent.
20 Sakura Haruno
As a member of Kakashi’s Team 7, Sakura Haruno receives a lot of flak from the fan community for being extremely weak in comparison to her two super-powered teammates. Not to mention, her tireless pining after Sasuke can become a bit annoying after the first hundred episodes or so. That being said, there is a lot of evidence in defense of the young leaf shinobi. By the end of the series, Naruto and Sasuke are built up to be two of the strongest ninjas ever to walk the Earth. Unfortunately, Sakura’s teammates’ immense power only makes her look weak by comparison, but this strong female should not be taken lightly.
After being trained under Lady Tsunade, one of the legendary Sannin and the Hidden Leaf Village’s fifth Hokage, Sakura becomes a force to be reckoned with and a respected medical ninja. Sakura is successful in bringing down Sasori, an evil puppet master and feared member of the formidable group, the Akatsuki. All in all, Sakura is not only one of the more underrated forces in the Naruto universe, but she also stands tall among some of the strongest characters from the entire series.
19 Minato Namikaze
Tales of the Fourth Hokage’s brave endeavors have been told long after his demise. His sacrifice to bring down the Nine-Tailed Fox is not only an important plot device for the animated series, but it is also part of the reason he has found his way onto our list. Being trained under Jiraiya, a member of the legendary Sannin trio, Minato quickly grew into one of the greatest ninjas of all time.[external_link offset=1]
Due to his performance during the Great Ninja War, as well as his overall demeanor and leadership capabilities, Minato was chosen as the Leaf Village’s Fourth Hokage over a member of the legendary Sannin, Orochimaru. Known as the Yellow Flash of the Leaf, the Fourth Hokage is easily one of the fastest ninjas in the series as a whole. On his own, Minato is one of the strongest characters in Naruto, but, given his bravery in the face of battle, there could be an argument that the Fourth Hokage should rank even higher.
Gaara of the Sand has arguably the most heart-breaking backstory of any character in the anime. Like Naruto, Gaara is a jinchūriki – someone with a tailed beast spirit sealed within them. However, he is not nearly as upbeat as the titular, knuckleheaded ninja. It is not until after an incredible battle with the series’ protagonist, as well as some wise words from Naruto himself, that Gaara realizes his duty to protect his own village. After a change of heart, the sand ninja quickly becomes Suna’s Fifth Kazekage at an incredibly young age.
Cased in an armor of sand, Gaara is nearly impenetrable. While he begins his journey as a villain sent to attack the Village Hidden in the Leaves, he quickly becomes a valued ally, saving the day on more than one occasion.
Before he ever received his Sharingan eye from former teammate Obito, Kakashi was a standout shinobi trained by the Fourth Hokage himself. After receiving the eye, however, he became regarded far and wide as “The Copy Ninja,” a warrior known for his ability to learn Jutsu from other ninjas and repeat them virtually immediately. In fact, Kakashi is referred to as “the ninja who copied over 1000 Jutsu” in the anime.
As the leader of Team 7, Kakashi trained Sasuke, Sakura, and Naruto. Not to mention, this shinobi is a longtime member of the Anbu Black Ops, an elite tactical unit of ninjas. If this were a list of most popular characters from the anime, then Kakashi would likely land a lot higher, but he remains one of the strongest Naruto characters.
16 Lady Tsunade
Tsunade is widely regarded as the world’s strongest kunoichi – a female ninja – as well as one of the greatest medical ninja of all time, despite her crippling fear of blood (a fear that she later overcomes). After years of aimless wandering and gambling, becoming just as widely regarded as “The Legendary Sucker,” Tsunade is persuaded by Naruto and her former teammate Jiraiya to return to the Hidden Leaf and become the village’s Fifth Hokage.
Granddaughter to Hashirama Senju– known as the First Hokage and one of the Hidden Leaf’s founders — Lady Tsunade is virtually shinobi royalty. However, the kunoichi does not simply rest on her laurels. During the Second Shinobi World War, her team – Jiraiya and Orochimaru – are anointed with the title of “Legendary Sannin,” given their great performance in battle.
15 Killer Bee
Killer B is the second jincūriki to make the list. Harnessing the power of the Eight-Tailed beast, B does not see himself as cursed like the other shinobi with demons sealed within them. After years of struggling, B eventually befriends his demon. In fact, it is B who teaches Naruto how to utilize the power of his own demon in order to become stronger.
Despite his immense power, B’s dream is not to become a great shinobi like Naruto’s, but rather, he wishes to become the world’s greatest rapper. Rhymes and rhythms can be heard during his countless battles as well as his everyday conversation. While he was strong enough on his own, B later gains the power of Kisame Hoshigaki’s sharkskin blade, Samehada – a sword that sucks chakra from its victims.
Jiraiya is not only one of the strongest characters from the anime, but he is also one of the Hidden Leaf’s finest teachers. Jiraiya is responsible for training some of the anime’s greatest shinobi: Naruto, the Fourth Hokage, Nagato, Konan, and Yahiko, among others. In fact, one of the only teachers arguably on the same level as Jiraiya was his own sensei, the Third Hokage.
Jiraiya’s power and leadership abilities were so great that he was first approached to serve as the Hidden Leaf’s Hokage, but he insisted that another Sannin, Tsunade, take up the mantle instead. As the self-anointed Toad Sage, this legendary warrior is remembered for his wild antics and his humorously perverted nature, but make no mistake, Jiraiya is one of the series’ strongest characters, bar none.
13 Might Guy
Might Guy may fall into the same category as Jiraiya – a shinobi who appears to be extremely silly on the surface, but again, make no mistake, for he is immensely powerful. Guy Sensei is a fan-favorite ninja whose hijinks make him appear as a less formidable opponent than he is, but being underestimated by his foes might only make him all the more dangerous.
Being a master of taijutsu, Guy is simply unmatched in fighting ability. However, with no ninjutsu or genjutsu to speak of, he has always needed to work twice as hard in order to succeed as a Leaf Village shinobi. Guy’s ability to open all Eight Gates– points within the body that limit the overall flow of chakra– sets him apart from the rest, and, as a result, this ninja was able to take the likes of Madara Uchiha to the brink in their head-to-head battle.
For some, this position might feel a bit high for Naruto’s original big baddie. However, Orochimaru never quite seems to get quite enough credit for being the evil genius he is. Dedicating his life to mastering every kind of Jutsu imaginable, in addition to creating a few of his own, Orochimaru has more than a couple of tricks up his sleeve.
This villain’s slate of forbidden Jutsu, specifically the Reanimation Jutsu which brings fallen warriors back to life, makes Orochimaru one of the most feared shinobi in all the land. While he is formidable enough on his own, the ability to summon great ninja from the past makes him all the more useful in battle. Needless to say, Orochimaru stands tall among some of the powerful characters in the history of this long-running series.
11 Hiruzen Sarutobi
He might lose his big fight to Orochimaru, but that doesn’t mean that Hiruzen Sarutobi is less powerful than his pupil. The Third Hokage helps keep his village safe for multiple generations, even becoming Hokage again when he’s asked to take over the position following Minato’s death.
A Hokage is always one of the most powerful shinobi in their generation, so that will tell fans plenty about just how powerful Hiruzen is. At the time the original series takes place, Hiruzen is far advanced in years. As a result, he’s amassed a huge arsenal of Jutsu to use in battle, summoning techniques, and strategies to keep him alive. One of the reasons that Orochimaru is able to best him is because Hiruzen himself taught Orochimaru many of the Jutsu he uses. The former student knows his teacher well, and that ends up costing Hiruzen his life, not his lack of power.
10 Itachi Uchiha
As a child prodigy, Itachi Uchiha became one of the Anbu Black Ops youngest members and one of the Uchiha clan’s most promising young ninja. As powerful and as amazing as Sasuke appears to be, he spent most of his youth in the shadow of his older brother Itachi. Responsible for wiping out his entire clan (excluding his brother), Itachi became known far and wide as a rogue ninja, ranked as an S-level criminal in the bingo books. He later joined forces with the nefarious Akatsuki group and quickly became one of its most powerful and most valuable members.
However, Itachi was never evil, but, in fact, driven by a sense of duty in order to keep peace in the Hidden Leaf Village – a secret he kept even from his younger brother. Itachi later met his demise at the hand of his young brother in battle, but there is reason to believe that this elder child went a bit easy on him. The full extent of Itachi’s powers might not truly be known, but the audience knows enough to say that he ranks easily among the greatest and most powerful characters in Naruto.
9 Obito Uchiha
The ninja formerly known as Tobi went from comic relief to mastermind in a matter of episodes. Coyly watching from the sidelines, Obito controlled the Akatsuki from afar, but the big baddie carefully calculated each and every move. Few knew about his true purpose or power, and even Itachi underestimated him in the end.
Naruto and Obito are often seen as similar characters, and, like the protagonist, this member of the Uchiha clan goes from zero to powerhouse in no time flat. Unfortunately, the death of his beloved friend Rin causes Obito to drift toward the dark side and become one of the series’ most formidable villains, rather than one of its most uplifting heroes. Single-handedly defeating other members of the Akatsuki, Obito proves that he is more than worthy of a spot on our countdown.
8 Indra & Asura Ōtsutsuki
It’s impossible to separate these two as they are so evenly matched, they tie for a spot amongst the strongest shinobi. Even generations after their sibling squabbles ceased, the battle between Indra and Asura Ōtsutsuki still continues, but only through the spirits of their worthy descendants. First, it was Madara Uchiha and the First Hokage, Hashirama, and later it was Naruto and Sasuke who took up the mantle, but the inevitable battle between the Uchiha, the Senju, and the Uzumaki clans continued to rage on for centuries.
As sons of Hagoromo Ōtsutsuki, the two shinobi inherited great power. While the two were both skillfully worthy, Hagoromo declared that Asura would be his successor in the mission to deliver peace and understanding throughout the shinobi world. This came as quite a shock to Indra, the firstborn, and as you might imagine, some pretty epic battles later ensued. The battles between Sasuke and Naruto might be more well-known than those of Indra and Asura, but history states they were just as awe-inspiring.
7 Nagato (Pain)
Nagato was one of the Akatsuki’s founding members. Alongside childhood friends Yahiko and Konan, Nagato and the rest of the Akatsuki attempted to usher in a new era for the violent shinobi world, an era of peace. However, certain events leading to Yahiko’s death kept this dream from becoming a reality and thusly, Nagato and the rest of the Akatsuki were vulnerable to outside forces. It was at this point that Obito stepped in and took charge, and the Akatsuki’s goals altered ever so slightly: achieving peace by any means necessary. While their intentions were noble, their methods were despicable, to say the least.[external_link offset=2]
Nagato, who referred to himself as “Pain,” was able to control the bodies of several fallen ninja and single-handedly take down the entire Hidden Leaf Village. Pain killed the likes of Kakashi, Jiraiya, and several other Hidden Leaf shinobi, but after Naruto defeated him, the baddie was convinced to bring the deceased back to life. However, this resulted in the sacrifice of his own life, and Naruto lost what would likely have been a valuable ally.
6 Madara Uchiha
As one of the founders of the Village Hidden in the Leaves, Madara Uchiha is a historical figure in the world of Naruto. That being said, he is still very much a part of the protagonist’s saga. As previously stated, the war between the Uchiha, the Senju, and the Uzumaki clans have been raging since the days of Indra and Asura. The fight between the two interlocked spirits has arguably never been as dangerous as when Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju battled it out for control of the village.
Their war figuratively and literally changed the landscape of the modern ninja world. Madara is still a name that is regarded in the shinobi world today, as his visual prowess and fighting abilities remain largely unmatched. After being brought back to life by Orochimaru’s Reanimation Jutsu, Madara took on the five Kages – a handful of the greatest ninja in the Naruto universe – all by himself and won. His new life granted him some unique abilities, but in this life or the one previous, Madara Uchiha is a force to be taken seriously.
5 Hashirama Senju (First Hokage)
As strong and as formidable an opponent as Madara Uchiha, it should be noted that Hashirama Senju went head-to-head with him and won. It was widely speculated at the time that Madara died during his battle with the First Hokage, but no one truly knew for sure.
Utilizing a distraught Obito Uchiha, Madara organized a world-ending plan from the shadows that even Hashirama could not see coming. That being said, he was not able to put his plan into action during his original lifetime due to being weakened by his battle with his old friend Hashirama. Hashirama Senju was a rare wood Jutsu user and a great ninja.
4 Hagoromo Ōtsutsuki (Sage of Six Paths)
Born with the same powerful chakra as their mother, Princess Kaguya, Hagoromo and Hamura were fraternal twins who were each given incredible power. As the father of Asura and Indra, Hagoromo was seen more as a myth than as an actual historical figure. Tales of his bravery, as well as his kindness, were told far and wide, but more as a fable or fairy tale rather than as a historical account.
Sealing the Ten-Tailed beast inside of himself with the help of his brother Hamura, Hagoromo became the first, and arguably the most powerful jincūriki. Maintaining the Jutsu inside of himself for both the Uchiha clan as well as the Senju and Uzumaki – lines that were eventually descendants of his sons, Indra and Asura – Hagoromo is easily one of the most powerful and wisest ninjas in the entire Naruto universe.
3 Sasuke Uchiha
As strong as former members of the Uchiha clan have historically been, its last remaining survivor, Sasuke Uchiha, is arguably the strongest. Itachi was well on his way to capturing the title for most powerful Uchiha member of all time, but his untimely death at the hands of his younger brother put an end to what was already a historical shinobi career.
Utilizing the power of the Rinnegan, the most highly regarded eye among the “Three Great Dōjutsu,” Sasuke gained access to power that few other Uchiha have ever managed to get their hands on. In the modern age of the shinobi, Sasuke is truly one of the few ninjas that pose a threat to Naruto Uzumaki. He has proven himself as a physical match to the Seventh Hokage countless times and is easily one of the strongest characters in the history of Naruto.
2 Naruto Uzumaki
In a one-on-one scenario, there are few shinobi with the ability to oppose Naruto Uzumaki. With unrivaled amounts of chakra flowing through his body in addition to the Nine-Tailed beast sealed inside of him, Naruto is easily one of the strongest characters in the entire series. After watching the first couple dozen episodes or so, however, this may not appear to be so obvious.
As the series carries on, Naruto’s destiny becomes clear, as the audience begins to believe that this no-talent kid might actually become Hokage one day. Still, as strong Naruto is physically, his leadership attributes, as well as his ability to befriend nearly anyone, are unrivaled. Not to mention, the Seventh Hokage is able to bestow his chakra to other ninjas in order to create an army of shinobi nearly as powerful as himself.
He might not start out as the most threatening physical presence, he not-so-quickly becomes the show’s most powerful character before the end – except for one.
Having eaten from the forbidden God Tree, Kaguya Ōtsutsuki became the first wielder of chakra, and widely known as the “Mother of Chakra.” Revealed to be the ultimate evil in the Naruto universe, Kaguya is the most formidable foe that Naruto and the rest of the shinobi world have ever come across.
Kaguya possesses powers that no other ninja can master; the ability to change space and time, to read the thoughts and feelings of others, and, of course, unmatched visual prowess. In a one-on-one battle, there is simply no match for Princess Kaguya. Luckily for the shinobi world, Kaguya’s evil endeavors have always been combatted by some strong opponents such as Naruto and the rest of Team 7, as well as her two sons, Hagoromo and Hamura.
Kaguya is essentially a goddess. Even the titular Naruto can’t take her on alone. That makes her the strongest Naruto character.
Who do you think is the strongest character in the Naruto universe? Make sure to let us hear it in the comments section.
NEXT: Naruto: 10 Powers That Make Kaguya Ōtsutsuki An Absolute God
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