Jeremy explores many topics as he juggles his passion for writing with his career as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
The Best Shinobi in Naruto
Shinobi, or kunoichi when female, are warrior ninja in the Naruto world with a variety of potent abilities. In addition to incredible feats of strength, speed, and stamina, shinobi wield justu, mystical arts that offer many different types of magical effects.
From energy attacks to illusions to summoning allies, justu comes in many shapes and sizes, typically broken into three categories: ninjutsu (elemental attacks), taijutsu (physical abilities), and genjutsu (illusions or disruptions). Almost all jutsu involves the usage of one's inner chakra, similar to ki in Dragon Ball Z, and we've encountered hundreds of ninja wielding just as many different justu techniques. Yet with so many potent characters throughout the show's lengthy run, which shinobi reign supreme? These are the ten strongest warriors in Naruto! Spoilers ahead.
10. Might Guy
Strengths: Taijutsu Mastery, Eight Gates, Night Guy
Kakashi's self-proclaimed rival and the instructor for Team Guy bears an incredible amount of power underneath his silly poses and odd appearance. Guy has mastered taijutsu, assaulting foes with a variety of physical attacks, and unlike his apprentice Rock Lee, he's not completely devoid of skill in ninjutsu and genjutsu.
The official Naruto databooks give Guy perfect scores in Taijutsu, Strength, Speed, and Stamina, and his most powerful techniques involve opening the Eight Gates, letting him such attacks as the "Night Guy", a kick so powerful it distorts space and nearly kills Madara Uchicha (in his greatest form). As strong as Guy is at his prime, he's limited by the permanent damage the Eight Gates can cause his body and his occasional inattentiveness, like when he misses a fail-safe Gaara constructs during his fight with Rock Lee.
9. Tobirama Senju (The Second Hokage)
Strengths: Speed, Shadow Clones, Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation
The second Hogake, a term for the leader and guardian of the Hidden Leaf village, Tobirama succeeded his elder brother Hashirama after his death. Opposing his brother's idealism with pragmatism, Tobirama was a realist who was blunt with words and willing to take actions he deemed necessary. During his rule, Tobirama was hailed as the fastest shinobi alive, and he even defeated Izuna Uchiha, Madara's brother who was stated to be equal in skills and power to his famed sibling.
Tobirama also created the powerful Shadow Clone ninjustu, which divides a user's chakra between multiple bodies, letting a user attack opponents from several directions, and he also invented the "Impure World Reincarnation", allowing one to revive deceased warriors from the dead. A powerful warrior, but since Tobirama doesn't have access to Naruto's huge chakra reserves (due to his Nine-Tailed beast), he can only create a few shadow duplicates at once. Orochimaru and Kabuto would refine his Reincarnation technique to allow the reborn shinobi to maintain more of their original power, a useful boon that eventually revived Tobirama himself.
8. Hiruzen Sarutobi (The Third Hokage)
Strengths: Chakra Mastery, Ninjustu Mastery
A student of the second Hokage, Hiruzen succeeded his mentor and took up reign over the Hidden Leaf clan. Dubbed a "God of Shinobi" for his fierce skills, Hiruzen was the village's youngest Hokage at the time and considered by many to be the strongest ninja yet. Hiruzen's greatest strengths are his incredible chakra reserves, granting tremendous amounts of energy, and his immense knowledge of ninjutsu techniques; he was even dubbed "The Professor" for mastering or at least knowing all techniques within Konoha.
Lethal as Hiruzen is, his abilities unsurprisingly dwindled in his later years, allowing Orochimaru to take advantage of Hiruzen's slowing agility and dampened chakra. Still, even in his weaker state, Hiruzen managed to remove Orochimaru's ability to use ninjutsu, and his snake-like opponent admitted a younger Hiruzen would have triumphed. Powerful in his golden years and unmatched in his younger, Hiruzen remains one of the franchise's strongest shinobi.
7. Itachi Uchiha
Strengths: Fire Ninjustu, Genjutsu (Sharingan), Susanoo
Sasuke's elder brother demonstrated exceptional talents from his youth, even among the prestigious Uchiha clan. Orochimaru once admitted Itachi was stronger than himself, and Itachi never purposefully lost a battle—Obito stated that had Itachi wanted to, he could have killed Sasuke in their final bout despite his illness. Proficient in nearly every area, Itachi had natural Fire Release talents (as per his heritage), and mastered the Sharingan by only age eight, allowing him to perceive chakra from enemies and letting Itachi counter opposing techniques.
Itachi was also highly skilled with a blade or kunai, and using the Mangekyo Sharingan, he could initiate the formidable Susanoo technique, constructing a giant chakra avatar to both attack and defend. Itachi's only real weakness is stamina; his advanced moves cause a huge strain on his body, and his eyesight-related powers eventually begin to render him blind. Still, Itachi was a genius both on and off the battlefield, and he earned the second-highest academy scores, second only to Naruto's father Minato. Speaking of which...
6. Minato Namikaze (The Fourth Hokage)
Strengths: Speed, Rasengan, Sage Mode
Dubbed "The Yellow Flash" for his massive speed, many prominent shinobi like Kakashi and Jiraiya considered Naruto's dad the strongest ninja of all time. Minato had incredible natural speed as well as mastery of Space–Time Ninjutsu, letting him teleport instantly to thrown kunai.
Minato also learned how to summon toads (sentient, battle-proficient ones) from Jiraiya, and he developed the Rasengan, a powerful energy attack that notably doesn't require hand seals. Beyond his physical and ninjustu strengths, Minato was incredibly intelligent and observant, earning the best test scores in Hidden Leaf history and perceiving minuscule details others would miss.
5. Hashirama Senju (The First Hokage)
Strengths: Wood Release Ninjutsu, Regeneration, Sage Mode
The original Hokage and founder of the Hidden Leaf village, Hashirama was considered a God of Shinbo and unmatched in his time. He repeatedly defeated Madara Uchiha during their long rivalry, his chakra reserves were incredible (letting him fight four 24 hours without tiring), and his body was so full of vitality that he would heal any injury almost immediately, a recovery only rivaled by Tsunade's later healing method.
Additionally, Hashirama was skilled with a variety of nature transformations, particularly his signature Wood Release, a custom application of water and earth chakra that no one since has mastered (any imitations have been noticeably weaker). Beyond his fantastic brawling, Hashirama bore an honorable heart, seeking to unite warring clans into one peaceful faction, and Kabuto stated during the Fourth Shinobi World War that none had yet exceeded Hashirama in power.
4. Madara Uchiha
Strengths: Rinnegan, Meteor Summoning, Sharingan
Madara Uchiha was arguably the second-strongest champion of his time and united his Uchiha clan with Hashirama's Senju. However, jealous and wary, Madara eventually rebelled against the coalition, but was ultimately killed by his rival. Resurrected years later by Kabuto, Madara was made even stronger than before through additions Kabuto prepared in the revival, and Madara later absorbed the Ten-Tailed Beast, strengthening yet again. From summoning meteors to learning Sage Mode and taking on an army single-handedly, we've seen multiple instances of Madara's terrifying abilities.
You could argue that many of Madara's abilities were stolen and implanted rather than earned, and he's not naturally as strong as some of today's entries, but before you finished your sentence, you'd probably have a knife through your throat.
3. Sasuke Uchiha
Strengths: Speed, Fire/Lightning Release, Sharingan, Rinnegan
Although Sasuke begins the series as Naruto's fledgling rival, by the end of the Fourth War, he becomes one of the strongest beings in existence. As Itachi's little brother, Sasuke was likewise an Uchiha prodigy, and has always been skilled in taijutsu (particularly speed) as well as his clan's trademark Fire Release. Sasuke also masters the Lightning Release and wields a Sharingan that Orochimaru notes exceeds even Itachi's.
Over the course of the series, Sasuke learns several incredible abilities, including the eternally-burning black fire of Amaterasu, summoning Susanoo with Mangekyo Sharingan, and the placement-swapping powers of Amenotejikara. As the reincarnation of the legendary Indra, Sasuke wields vast chakra reservoirs, and he never really loses a battle to his rival Naruto, with their final fight ending in what many consider a draw.
2. Naruto Uzumaki
Strengths: Rasengan, Shadow Clones, Wind Release, Asura Kurama Mode
Naruto's skills were initially shaky, but (like most anime protagonists) he gains incredible power over time. This is largely due to harboring Kurama, the Nine-Tails beast, inside himself, and his vast chakra reserves are further complemented being the reincarnation of the legendary Asura.
Naruto not only learns but improves upon the Rasengan attack his father crafted, masters the Six Paths Sage Mode form, and eventually learns to use the Asura Kurama state, a giant energy avatar that rivals Sasuke's Susanoo in power. Naruto is eventually regarded as the strongest ninja in history, accomplishes his childhood dream by becoming the village's seventh Hokage, and marries Hinata, fathering his son Boruto and daughter Himawari.
Strengths: Chakra Reserves, Attack Absorption, Regeneration
A legendary figure from decades past, Kaguya consumed the God Fruit and became the first human to possess chakra, later merging with the fruit trees to become the mighty Ten-Tails beast. Even before her new almighty powers, Kaguya was an almost deity-like figure for her interstellar travel and psychic abilities; afterwards, she became an unmatched figure stated to be stronger than even Madara.
Though I regard her a poorly-conceived character shoehorned in to give our powered-up heroes a final threat, there's no doubt that Kaguya's the strongest character in the series, taking the combined might of Team 7's members to narrowly defeat her.
Future of Naruto
Even though Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden have since concluded, fans still enjoy access to a healthy array of films and video games starring our favorite Hidden Leaf characters. Even better, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations continues the story with Naruto/Hinata's son Boruto and Sasuke/Sakura's daughter Sarade taking the new leading roles.
We'll undoubtedly encounter more astonishing fighters in this series, but for now, as we eagerly await the next installments of Boruto's show, vote for your favorite character and I'll see you at our next anime countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill