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The Naruto manga and anime series features an extensive cast of characters created by Masashi Kishimoto. The series takes place in a fictional universe where countries vie for power by employing ninja who can use superhuman abilities in combat. The Naruto storyline is divided into two parts, simply named Part I and Part II, with the latter taking place two-and-a-half years after the conclusion of Part I. The series' storyline follows the adventures of a group of young ninja from the village of Konohagakure.
The titular character of the series is Naruto Uzumaki, an energetic ninja who wishes to become Hokage, the leader of Konohagakure. During the early part of the series, he is assigned to Team 7, in which he meets Sasuke Uchiha, a taciturn and highly skilled "genius" of the Uchiha clan; Sakura Haruno, who is infatuated with Sasuke yet has Naruto's affection; and Kakashi Hatake, the quiet and mysterious leader of the team. Over the course of the series, Naruto interacts with and befriends several fellow ninja in Konohagakure and other villages. He also encounters the series' antagonists, including Orochimaru, a former ninja of Konohagakure scheming to destroy his former home, as well as the elite ninja of the criminal organization Akatsuki.
As he developed the series, Kishimoto created the three primary characters as a basis for the designs of the other three-person teams. He also used characters in other shōnen manga as references in his design of the characters, a decision that was criticized by several anime and manga publications. The characters that Kishimoto developed, however, were praised for incorporating many of the better aspects of previous shōnen characters, although many publications lamented the perceived lack of growth beyond such stereotypes. The visual presentation of the characters was commented on by reviewers, with both praise and criticism given to Kishimoto's work in the manga and anime adaptations.
When Masashi Kishimoto was originally creating the Naruto series, he looked to other shōnen manga for inspiration while still attempting to make his characters as unique as possible. Kishimoto cites Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball series as one of these influences, noting that Goku, the protagonist of Dragon Ball, was a key factor when creating Naruto Uzumaki due to his energetic and mischievous personality. To complement Naruto, Kishimoto worked on creating a rival that was a "cool genius", as he believed this was "the archetypal rival character". After reviewing different manga for ideas, he ultimately developed Sasuke Uchiha. When creating the primary heroine, Kishimoto admitted, "I don't have a definite image of what a heroine should be". He eventually created Sakura, emphasizing "her energy and flirtatious spirit" as her primary characteristics. These three characters would be the mold for the other three main Naruto teams.
The separation of the characters into different teams was intended to give each group a specific flavor. Kishimoto wished for each team member to be "extreme", having a high amount of aptitude in one given attribute, yet talentless in another. This approach was used to make each team perform best when individual members worked together to overcome their weaknesses. Having watched tokusatsu dramas as a child, Kishimoto wished for his teams to be different from the superhero teams in these dramas, dismissing the value of a team in which all the teammates were "strong to the point of perfection". Kishimoto notes that the different roles the characters assume is similar to many role-playing games, and "each character stands out better that way".
Kishimoto inserted villains into the story to counteract the lead characters' moral values. He stated that this focus on illustrating the difference in values is central to his creation of villains to the point that, "I don't really think about them in combat". The villains' physical appearances were also embellished to differentiate them from other characters, making it easier for a reader to follow the story and identify the villains, even in heated battle scenes. Kishimoto noted that making the villains "flamboyant" with a "showy costume" is "one of my guiding principles", as well as making them "more memorable".
When drawing the characters, Kishimoto consistently follows a five-step process: concept and rough sketch, drafting, inking, shading, and coloring. These steps are followed when he is drawing the manga and making the color illustrations that commonly adorn the cover of tankōbon, the cover of the Weekly Shōnen Jump, or other media, but the toolkit he uses occasionally changes. For instance, he used an airbrush for one illustration for a Weekly Shōnen Jump cover, but decided not to use it for future drawings largely due to the cleanup required.
The main characters of the Naruto series are part of Team 7, a group of ninja affiliated with the village of Konohagakure. After Sasuke Uchiha's departure from Konohagakure at the end of Part I, the team disbands. During Part II, the team reforms as Team Kakashi with two new members: Sai, who occupies Sasuke's position, and Yamato, who acts as assistant leader.[ch. 285]
Naruto Uzumaki (うずまき ナルト Uzumaki Naruto?) is the title character and protagonist of the series. He was the first character created by Kishimoto during the conception of the series, and was designed with many traits from other shōnen characters. In the series, Naruto has ambitions of becoming Hokage, the leader of Konohagakure. Because he is the host of Kurama, the nine-tailed fox that attacked Konoha, he is ostracized by the other villagers.[ch. 2] He compensates for this with his cheerful and boisterous personality, and over the course of the series, manages to befriend many foreign and Konoha ninja. He develops an especially close relationship with Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno, two of his fellow ninja in Team 7.[ch. 237] Naruto's voice actor in the Japanese anime is Junko Takeuchi, and he is voiced by Maile Flanagan in the English adaptation.
Sasuke Uchiha (うちは サスケ Uchiha Sasuke?) is Naruto's rival, designed by Kishimoto to be the "cool genius" as he saw it to be an integral part of an ideal rivalry. He is one of the few remaining members of the Uchiha clan along with his brother, Itachi Uchiha, who killed the rest of their family.[ch. 224] Because of this, Sasuke's sole desire is to kill his brother, and he develops a cold and withdrawn personality. When made a member to Team 7, Sasuke began to consider them precious to the point of risking his life to protect them, while focusing less on revenge at the start of the series. Following an encounter and subsequent defeat at the hands of his brother in Part I, Sasuke severs his ties and leaves the village to seek more power from the criminal Orochimaru.[ch. 237] In the Japanese anime, Sasuke is voiced by Noriaki Sugiyama, and his English voice actor is Yuri Lowenthal.
Sakura Haruno (春野 サクラ Haruno Sakura?) is the sole female member of Team 7. Kishimoto created her as the heroine of the series, although he has admitted that he has little perception of what an ideal heroine should be. As a child, Sakura was taunted by other children because of her large forehead, a feature Kishimoto has tried to emphasize in Sakura's appearances. She was comforted by Ino Yamanaka. As the two continued to grow, however, they became increasingly distant due to their shared affection for Sasuke Uchiha. During the early of Part I, Sakura is infatuated with Sasuke, and looks down upon Naruto Uzumaki (though the boys' opinion on her is completely opposite, albeit more subtlely).[ch. 3] In the Japanese anime, her voice actress is Chie Nakamura, and she is voiced by Kate Higgins in the English adaptation.
Kakashi Hatake (はたけ カカシ Hatake Kakashi?) is the leader of Team 7 and the sensei to Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura. Kishimoto had originally intended for Kakashi to be introduced earlier in the series than he actually was, and created him as an easygoing person that would be able to keep the members of Team 7 in check. Kakashi treats his leadership position with a detached manner, and is consistently late to meetings as a result. During a gaiden on his past, Kakashi is revealed to been trained by Naruto's father during the Third Great Ninja War and obtained his Sharingan eye from one of his teammates, Obito Uchiha.[ch. 243] Kakashi's Japanese voice actor in the anime is Kazuhiko Inoue, and his English voice actor is Dave Wittenberg.
Zabuza Momochi (桃地 再不斬 Momochi Zabuza?) is a former member of Kirigakure's Seven Swordsmen of the Mist, a group of ninja that use particularly large swords in battle. Zabuza possesses a sword called Kubikiri Bōchō (首斬り包丁?, lit. Decapitating Knife). After a failed coup d'état wherein he tried to assassinate the Fourth Mizukage, Zabuza and his followers fled the village and began working as mercenary assassins.[ch. 30] He also takes in a young boy, Haku, as his apprentice, mostly treating him as a tool although he ultimately does care for him.[ch. 32] Zabuza is skilled in water-based abilities, but his area of expertise is in assassinations in areas covered by mist.[ch. 26] His talents lead to his commission by a criminal named Gato to kill a man named Tazuna, which he is unable to perform due to interference by Tazuna's bodyguard, Kakashi Hatake. Because he takes too long to complete the task, his contract is revoked, and his employer tries to have Zabuza killed. Zabuza kills him first, though is mortally wounded and dies soon afterwards.[ch. 32] He is one of the shinobi resurrected by Kabuto to fight on the Akatsuki side and is defeated, being released from Kabuto's control in a rematch with Kakashi.[ch. 516, 524] In the Japanese anime, his voice actor is Unshō Ishizuka, and his English voice actor is Steven Blum.
Haku (白?) is Zabuza Momochi's most faithful follower. Before he started working for Zabuza, Haku lived as an orphan. His father killed his mother when it was discovered that he possessed a genetic ability, Hyōton (氷遁?, lit. "Ice Release"), which allows him to mix wind and water elements to create ice,[ch. 24] and Haku then killed him. After wandering from place to place for a time he was found by Zabuza. He recognized Haku's talents and agreed to take him in as a tool. As a result, Haku becomes unquestioningly protective of and loyal to Zabuza, and only by being useful does he find a purpose in life.[ch. 29] He ultimately gives his life in his mission to be useful to Zabuza, becoming a human shield to protect his master from Kakashi Hatake's Lightning Blade.[ch. 30] Haku is resurrected by Kabuto later in the series to fight in the Shinobi World War until being sealed by the alliance.[ch. 516, 524] His voice actress in the Japanese anime is Mayumi Asano, and his English voice actress is Susan Dalian. Mona Marshall voiced Haku as a child.
Orochimaru (大蛇丸?) is a criminal who was previously affiliated with Konohagakure. He serves as the principal villain of Part I. To emphasize his role as a villain, Kishimoto worked towards making him appear "pasty and sickly" as part of his theme of distinguishing villains from the protagonists. In the series, Orochimaru is a former ninja of Konohagakure and a student of the Third Hokage. During his time in the village, he distinguished himself as one of the village's most powerful ninja along with his teammates, Jiraiya and Tsunade.[ch. 170] His desire to obtain immortality led him to conduct experiments on other Konohagakure ninja, and to establish his own ninja village, Otogakure, as both his personal laboratory to continue his work and to amass a personal army to destroy Konoha with.[ch. 69] His immortality technique involves transferring his consciousness between different host bodies, and his desire for a new host, particularly Sasuke Uchiha, is one of his driving motivations throughout most of the series.[ch. 238] Because of his different host bodies and the disguises he assumes, a panoply of voice actors are used for Orochimaru; his most common voice actor in the Japanese anime is Kujira, and his corresponding English voice actor is Steven Blum.
Kabuto Yakushi (薬師 カブト Yakushi Kabuto?) is a spy working for Orochimaru, though he acts on his own whims. As a child with no memory of his past, he was found on a battlefield by a nun from Konohagakure who raised him before he was recruited by the Foundation as a spy for the village to infiltrate numerous countries and organizations.[ch. 289, 583] However, after the Foundation found him a risk to be kept alive for knowing too many secrets, Kabuto left with Orochimaru after being promised an identity he can call his own.[ch. 584] Using his former affiliations, and infiltrating the Akatsuki, Kabuto gathers intelligence on Orochimaru's behalf; for instance, he participates in the bi-annual Chunin Exams as a Konoha representative to gather information on his fellow participants.[ch. 88] Highly proficient with medical techniques and genetic manipulation, Kabuto devises means to heal wounds by reactivating dead cells to grow new ones and can form a scalpel with chakra to deal surgical strikes to his opponents.[ch. 164]
In Part II, after his mentor's defeat by Sasuke, Kabuto integrates some of Orochimaru's remains into his body to become powerful enough to not serve anyone again.[ch. 357] Once perfecting the Reanimation Jutsu, Kabuto forces Obito Uchiha into a tenuous alliance with him under the promise that he can have Sasuke once they win the war against the Ninja Alliance.[ch. 520] However, during the second day of the Fourth Great Ninja War, Itachi manages to break free of Kabuto's control and ends up forcing him to end the Reanimation Jutsu. In the Japanese anime, Kabuto is voiced by Nobutoshi Canna, and his English voice actor is Henry Dittman.
The Sound Four (音隠れの忍四人衆 Otogakure no Shinobi Yonin Shū?, lit. "Hidden Sound Shinobi Four People", English TV: "Sound Ninja Four") are Orochimaru's elite bodyguards. The group was originally known as the "Sound Five" as they were forced to accept Kimimaro (君麻呂?), the last of the Kaguya Clan who has his kin's ability to manipulate his bone structure, as leader after he defeated the entire group in battle. After Kimimaro became bedridden due to his illness, the group resumed calling themselves the Sound Four.[ch. 201] As a group they specialize in barriers, defensive walls, sealing techniques as well as possessing their own individual unique techniques and Curse Marks that increase their strengths.[ch. 184]
The group is composed of Jirobo (次郎坊 Jirōbō?), a large-sized man who specializes in absorbing chakra and close-quarters combat,[ch. 187] Kidomaru (鬼童丸 Kidōmaru?), a six-armed ninja who can produce spider-webs to fight and specialized in ranged combat,[ch. 192] Sakon (左近?) and twin brother Ukon (右近?), who are the strongest of the Sound Four and count as one member due to their merging abilities,[ch. 203,204] and Tayuya (多由也?), a woman that uses a flute to control summoned Ogres and cast illusions.[ch. 206] Though introduced during Orochimaru's invasion of Konohagakure, the Sound Four do not become a prominent part of the story until sent by their leader to escort Sasuke Uchiha to him. Even with Kimimaro joining the group to ensure Sasuke's passage to Orochimaru, the Sound Five all died in the process [ch. 184, 217] During the Fourth Great Ninja War, Kimimaro is revived by Kabuto for the war against the allied Shinobi Forces.[ch. 515] In the anime adaptation, unaware that Kabuto brought them back instead of Orochimaru, the Sound Four were also reanimated and were allowed to act on their impulse for revenge before being defeated. It was also at the time of the war's climax that Kabuto reveals that he assimilated the Sound Five's DNA to access their abilities.[ch. 585]
Akatsuki (暁?, lit. "Dawn" or "Daybreak") is an organization of criminal ninja that serves as the primary antagonistic force of the Naruto series. It was founded by Yahiko, Nagato and Konan under instruction from Obito Uchiha. After Yahiko's death, it was led by Obito with Nagato as the figurehead leader. The Akatsuki's goal is world domination by using the power of the nine Tailed Beasts.[ch. 239] The members of Akatsuki are ninja who have abandoned their villages, and are considered by their former homes to be S-class criminals, the most powerful and wanted ninja in the Naruto universe. At any given time, Akatsuki is composed of ten members, who operate in two-man teams; it was later reduced to nine after Orochimaru's departure. Aside from an attempt by members Itachi Uchiha and Kisame Hoshigaki to capture Kurama (the nine-tailed fox sealed within Naruto Uzumaki), Akatsuki is not prominently featured in Part I.[ch. 143] In Part II, they take a more active role, capturing Gaara and extracting the one-tailed tanuki, Shukaku, from his body, as well as working towards capturing the remaining Tailed Beasts.[ch. 261] Kishimoto called the Akatsuki's members antiheroes as he wished to expand their backgrounds as much as the ones from the series' protagonists, contrasting them with other types of villains.
Itachi Uchiha (うちは イタチ Uchiha Itachi?) is a former ninja of Konohagakure and the partner of Kisame Hoshigaki. Though having spent his early youth as the child prodigy of the Uchiha clan, Itachi is treated as a villain for much of the series. He is initially portrayed as being solely responsible for the killing of his entire clan and family, sparing only his brother, Sasuke Uchiha, with the explanation that he was testing his abilities.[ch. 224] Around the time of his death his villainous role is downplayed; not only is he revealed to offer help to Obito Uchiha in killing the clan, but he performed the massacre under the orders of Konoha's leadership so as to prevent an Uchiha coup d'état.[ch. 400] In the Japanese anime, Itachi's voice actor is Hideo Ishikawa. His first voice actor in the English anime was Skip Stellrecht, who voiced Itachi in episodes 29 and 30, but in all following appearances, he has been voiced by Crispin Freeman.
Kisame Hoshigaki (干柿 鬼鮫 Hoshigaki Kisame?) is a former ninja of Kirigakure and partnered to Itachi Uchiha, having a unique appearance with pale blue skin, a gill-like facial structure, and sharp triangular teeth. While he was still loyal to Kirigakure, Kisame was one of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist, a group of violent ninja that use particularly large swords in battle. His sword, Samehada (鮫肌 "Sharkskin" in Shippuden?), is a living weapon covered in scales that can absorb untold amounts of an opponent's chakra. Only allowing those it sees as worthy to wield it, Samehada can provide the user with the chakra it holds, ensuring him an infinite amount of stamina. Kisame himself has massive amounts of chakra,[ch. 142] and by fusing Samehada into him, Kisame can assume a more shark-like form that increases his abilities. In battle, he frequently shapes water into the forms of sharks to damage opponents.[ch. 258] After discarding Samehada when it chose Killer Bee over him, Kisame is decapitated by Killer Bee and the Raikage. It is later revealed that the decapitation was just a shapeshifting technique performed by Zetsu; the real Kisame having hidden inside Samehada.[ch. 487] He attempts to flee from the ninjas but is defeated by Might Guy and captured. Kisame commits suicide by summoning sharks and allowing them to eat him, but not before using one of them to steal back the information he had compiled and send it to the Akatsuki.[ch. 508] His voice actor in the Japanese anime was the late Tomoyuki Dan, and his English voice actor is Kirk Thornton.
Deidara (デイダラ?) is a former ninja of Iwagakure, having previously left the village after bombing it. He was a terrorist bomber-for-hire before Itachi Uchiha forced him to join Akatsuki. Though he came to embrace the organization, Deidara still holds a grudge against Itachi and all other Uchihas throughout the series, as he feels their Sharingan eyes look down on his artwork.[ch. 359] Upon joining the Akatsuki, he is partnered with Sasori, who is subsequently replaced by Tobi after his death. Though he abuses Obito when he annoys him, Deidara becomes more like a teacher to Tobi, and adopts a genuine care for his well-being.[ch. 366] Each of Deidara's hands have mouths on them that, by infusing clay or other fine-grained minerals with chakra, create "sculptures", bombs that explode with varying intensities. Deidara's bombs can take any form he chooses, and from the time of their creation to their detonation, he can animate and control them remotely.[ch. 248] Sasuke Uchiha, Itachi's younger brother, is able to systematically nullify his bombs in combat, and so Deidara transforms himself into a living bomb in a last effort to kill Sasuke and to prove the supremacy of his art, but fails in the attempt.[ch. 363] He is later resurrected by Kabuto for the war against the Shinobi Alliance but is defeated by Kankuro.[ch. 520] His voice actor in the Japanese anime is Katsuhiko Kawamoto. In his cameo appearance in episode 135 of the English adaptation, he is voiced by Quinton Flynn, and in the anime of Shippuden by Roger Craig Smith.
Sasori (サソリ?) is a former ninja of Sunagakure and known as "Sasori of the Red Sand" (赤砂のサソリ Akasuna no Sasori?). His parents were killed by Sakumo Hatake, also known as the White Fang of Konoha. This left him in the care of his grandmother, Chiyo who taught Sasori the art of puppetry, which he refined to fit his needs over the years. In due time he secretly devised a way to convert the corpses of humans into puppets, allowing him to use any of the ninja abilities they possessed during their lives for himself. Sasori left Sunagakure when he got older and joined Akatsuki where he is initially partnered with Orochimaru.[ch. 267] Sasori teamed with Deidara, who looks up to him and his artistic knowledge with reverence.[ch. 248] [ch. 263] In time he even converted his own body into a puppet, which essentially gives him eternal life and allows him to control hundreds of puppets at once.[ch. 271] Sakura and Chiyo eventually destroy his heart, the only part of his humanity he kept when converting himself to a puppet, resulting in his death, but not before telling Sakura about his rendezvous with one of Orochimaru's henchmen who had been working for him as a spy.[ch. 464] After being resurrected by Kabuto, Sasori fights Kankuro who convinces him to be at peace with himself. Sasori comes to terms with his life and is finally able to pass on and rest in peace. In the Japanese anime, Sasori is voiced by Akiko Yajima as a child and by Takahiro Sakurai as an adult. In the English version he is voiced by Kari Wahlgren and as an adult he is voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch. His scorpion-like puppet body, Hiruko, is voiced by Yutaka Aoyama in the Japanese version and in the English version by J. B. Blanc.
Zetsu (ゼツ?) is the only member of the Akatsuki to regularly act without a partner, also being the only nonhuman member and Obito's right hand. Originally, Kaguya created a shadow-like symbiotic entity known as Black Zetsu (黒ゼツ Kuro Zetsu?) to manipulate her grandson Indra and his descendants throughout history so one among them can manifest a Rinnegan and free his creator. Black Zetsu succeeds with Madara, whom he deceived into believing that he created his host White Zetsu (白ゼツ Shiro Zetsu?), who like his assumed clone brothers was actually a human who mutated as a result of being assimilated by the Ten Tails during Kaguya's Infinite Tsukuyomi ages ago. Though he and White Zetsu are effective in their symbiosis, Black Zetsu occasionally argued with his easygoing host. As White Zetsu is an extension of the Shinju, he can merge into the ground or vegetation to quickly travel to a new location or separate himself from Black Zetsu and uses spores to create clones of himself or whoever he touches.[ch. 289] This makes Zetsu not only of use to the Akatsuki as a spy, but also to devour bodies of deceased Akatsuki members or those that the organization does not want found.[ch. 255, 261] After White Zetsu is killed off during the Fourth Great Ninja War while sent after the Feudal Lords, Black Zetsu went into hiding until he later merges himself onto Obito to force the human into resurrecting Madara.[ch. 575,656] But ultimately, once the Eye of the Moon Plan ran its course, Black Zetsu reveals his true identity as he proceeds to betray Madara to fusing onto him to convert the human into a new body for Kaguya to inhabit.[ch. 674] Revealing his role in the conflict between the Senju and Uchiha as he helps Kaguya deal with Naruto and Sasuke, Black Zetsu is eventually ripped away from his creator when Naruto severs Kaguya's arm.[ch. 681, 688]
As Kishimoto originally planned Akatsuki to be a group of individuals with close to no human characteristics, he decided to make Zetsu half black and half white to emphasize his split personality. In the Japanese anime, Zetsu is voiced by Nobuo Tobita, who also voices Guruguru and the White Zetsu Army. In episode 134 of the English adaptation, Black Zetsu is voiced by Michael Sorich and White Zetsu by Brian Beacock, though in the English Shippuden anime both halves are voiced by Travis Willingham.
Obito Uchiha (うちは オビト Uchiha Obito?), primarily known under his alias Tobi (トビ?) is the true leader of Akatsuki. He is originally Kakashi Hatake's teammate who gives him his Sharingan before his presumed death in the Third Great Ninja War. As a child, Obito dreamed of becoming Hokage and was ultimately assigned to a team composing of himself, Kakashi and a young medical-nin named Rin Nohara with Naruto's father, Minato Namikaze leading the team. During the Third Great Ninja War, Rin was kidnapped with Obito and Kakashi rescuing her from rogue ninja although Obito was left paralyzed and near death after having the right side of his body crushed in a landslide. It was at that moment that he gave Kakashi his Sharingan which Rin later transplanted into Kakaski's left eye which had been permanently scarred when a rival ninja had attacked him. Despite their grief over what had happened, Rin and Kakashi were forced to flee when more reinforcements arrived, destroying the cave and presumably killing Obito. In reality, Madara Uchiha saves him and takes him as his apprentice after the youth who had high hopes of returning home in spite of the grave injuries he had sustained witnesses Kakashi kill Rin caused by the actions of the ninja villages' conduct.[ch. 602, 606] Obito serves a behind-the-scenes role throughout the first half of Part II and caused most of the tragic events that occurred prior to the series, including the deaths of Naruto's parents.[ch. 501] Other than being able to use his right Sharingan to manipulate Kamui in a fashion that made it seem he is intangible and teleport over great distances, Obito can use Wood Style attacks as he possess Hashirama's blood.[ch. 310, 395]
Creating the identity of Tobi to take an active role in the organization, Obito joins the Akatsuki as Sasori's carefree replacement and Deidara's partner. After Deidara's death, Obito takes a special interest in Sasuke Uchiha, taking him under his wing.[ch. 364] After Nagato's death, Obito reveals his mentor's Eye of the Moon Plan to the Kage, so, as the resurrected Ten-Tails's host, he can cast an eternal illusion called the Infinite Tsukuyomi (無限月読 Mugen Tsukuyomi?) to subjugate all life. After the Kage refuse to surrender to him, Obito declares the Fourth Great Ninja War and ends up forming a reluctant alliance with Kabuto Yakushi who blackmails him with a reanimated Madara.[ch. 467,490] He retrieves Nagato's Rinnegan to replace his replacement Sharingan. He also converts the reanimated corpses of the captured Jinchuriki into his personal Six Paths of Pain so he can use the captured Tailed Beasts' power through them.[ch. 510, 544] During the ensuing war, Madara is revealed and Obito's true identity is exposed.[ch. 560] Mortally wounded by Kakashi, Obito becomes the Ten Tails host himself.[ch. 637] From there, Obito is defeated by Naruto and Sasuke aided by the Allied Shinobi Forces, who extract the Tailed Beasts from the Shinju.[ch. 654,655] Shortly afterwards, a guilt-driven Obito attempts to make up for his past actions by reviving everyone who died in the war. However, Black Zetsu binds himself on Obito to force him to resurrect Madara instead. Now on the verge of death, but managing to restrain Black Zetsu to keep the parasite from returning to Madara with the Rinnegan, Obito betrays Madara to save Naruto's life.[ch. 656, 665] But Obito's defiance is short-lived; he ends up in a comatose state after Madara uses the eye he gave Kakashi to reach him and forcefully exchange left eyes, with Black Zetsu leaving him soon after.[ch. 674] Naruto uses his power to restore Obito back to life, with Obito using his full Sharingan abilities to help Sakura find Sasuke.[ch. 682, 685] However, Obito sacrifices himself to protect Kakashi from Kaguya's attack and dies thanking his friend and Naruto for reminding him of his true self.[ch. 686, 687] Obito's spirit remains among the living long enough to transfer his chakra and Sharingan to Kakashi.
Obito in his Tobi persona was Kishimoto's favorite Akatsuki character at the time to draw, due to his simple mask. In the Japanese anime, Obito is voiced by Wataru Takagi, while Naoya Uchida voiced his Madara guise. In his youth, he is voiced by Sōsuke Komori, with Megumi Han taking over the position in 343. In the English anime, Obito is voiced by Vic Mignogna with Neil Kaplan and Michael Yurchak voicing his Madara and Tobi personas. Also, Nolan North does Obito in his Madara guise in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2.
Hidan (飛段?) is the immortal, foul-mouthed, and sadomasochistic partner of Kakuzu and a former ninja of Yugakure, the Village Hidden in Boiling Water. He is a member of the Jashin (ジャシン?, lit. "evil god") religion which worships a deity of the same name and believes that anything less than death and utter destruction in battle is considered a sin.[ch. 313] His religion's experimentations have led to the creation of his unique abilities; by consuming an opponent's blood and then drawing Jashin's triangular symbol on the ground, Hidan can create a link with his opponent. Once this link is created, any damage done to Hidan's body is reflected on his opponent, allowing him to kill them by giving himself fatal injuries. Because he is immortal, Hidan is not impaired while doing this. Through their shared link, Hidan also feels the pain of his victim, as they are tortured and killed. His enjoyment of their suffering borders on sexual. [ch. 325] After Hidan uses this ability to kill Asuma Sarutobi, Shikamaru Nara fights him to avenge his teacher. Their battle culminates in Hidan being blown up, and Shikamaru burying his still-speaking remains in a place Akatsuki will never be able to reach.[ch. 339] As such, Hidan is no longer considered a member by the rest of Akatsuki.[ch. 353] In the Japanese version of the anime, Hidan is voiced by Masaki Terasoma. In the English version, he is voiced by Chris Edgerly and in Naruto Shippūden: Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 by Wally Wingert.
Kakuzu (角都?) is the partner of Hidan and a former ninja of Takigakure, the Village Hidden in the Waterfalls. Kakuzu is motivated by greed and joins the Akatsuki to seek out valuable bounties. However, his extreme temperament led Kakuzu to dislike having a partner and eventually killing whomever he is partnered with in a fit of rage, being paired up with the immortal Hidan as a result.[ch. 322] Kakuzu's body is composed of large amounts of black threads, allowing him to reattach any body part, being his or another, back onto its owner. The threads are also capable of piercing flesh, which Kakuzu uses to remove the still-beating hearts of his opponents for his personal use and integrates their hearts into his body to extend his life indefinitely. Kakuzu can store up to four spare hearts in animal masks that are sewn to his back, which can be detached during combat situations to shoot elemental blasts at his opponents, and quickly recalled to his body if he needs a replacement heart.[ch. 336] Kakuzu's hearts are systematically destroyed soon after his introduction by a group of Konohagakure ninja. After Naruto Uzumaki leaves his final heart on the brink of failure, Kakuzu is easily finished off by Kakashi.[ch. 342] After being resurrected by Kabuto, he is sent out to participate in the war until being sealed. In the Japanese anime, Kakuzu's Japanese voice actor is Takaya Hashi and in the English version he is voiced by Fred Tatasciore.
Nagato (長門?), primarily known as Pain (ペイン Pein?) is the figurehead leader of Akatsuki and a ninja from Amegakure, partnered to Konan, with Obito acting as his benefactor.[ch. 510] The "Pain" that is normally seen in the series and uses the Deva Path abilities is actually Nagato's deceased friend, Yahiko (弥彦?), one of six animated corpses collectively known as The Six Paths of Pain (ペイン六道 Pein Rikudō?) that are all controlled by Nagato and use one sixth of his full power.[ch. 378, 419] The Pain Paths are all outfitted with a number of body piercings that serve as a means for Nagato to control them and to give them a "more dangerous" appearance in relation to their name's installation. Through Nagato's Rinnegan, they can also share visual information and coordinate attacks.[ch. 378] At a young age, Nagato is secretly visited by Madara Uchiha who implantes his Rinnegan (輪廻眼?, lit. "Saṃsāra Eye") into the child's body, giving him the ability to use powerful abilities. Orphaned from the war-torn country of Amegakure, Nagato meets fellow orphans Konan and Yahiko before they are all trained by Jiraiya. Nagato desires peace for the world, aiding Yahiko to create the Akatsuki to achieve that shared dream.[ch. 373] However, Yahiko's death in a fight causes Nagato to take over as the new leader of the organization, and to realize that peace can only be attained by teaching the world the pain caused by war.[ch. 369]
Jiraiya confronts Nagato while infiltrating Amegakure, resulting in a fight that ends with the mentor's death.[ch. 383] However, Nagato's captured Animal Path vessel is replaced shortly afterwards for Pain's attack on Konoha. The rest of the Paths are destroyed in the fight against Naruto,[ch. 442] while Nagato recovers his faith in their mentor and world peace when talking personally. Then, he he sacrifices his life to revive the people he killed in Konoha.[ch. 449] However, Nagato is reanimated by Kabuto and sent alongside Itachi to battle Naruto and Killer Bee. Though he regains his ability to fight at his full potential, Nagato is sealed by Itachi and sent back to the afterlife.[ch. 551] In the Japanese anime, Yahiko/Pain and the other male Paths are voiced by Kenyu Horiuchi while Nagato's voice actor is Junpei Morita. In the English Version, Pain is voiced by Troy Baker, with Nagato being voiced by Vic Mignogna. Also, in his cameo appearance in episode 135 of the English adaptation, Pain is voiced by Dave Wittenberg.
Konan (小南?) is the only female ninja in Akatsuki. As such, Kishimoto originally wanted her to have an obscene appearance showing more of her bust. Being a partner of Nagato, Konan was also a pupil under Jiraiya after she was orphaned as a child by one of Amegakure's many wars and forced to fend for herself. Because she serves under Nagato, she is referred to by villagers of Amegakure as "God's angel". While under Jiraiya, Konan learned to take advantage of her natural talent with origami, using it as a key component in her battle style.[ch. 373, 449] Konan can divide her body into countless sheets of paper, which she controls and reshapes remotely to scout out an area, form weapons for attack, or create wings that mirror her title. While Konan's abilities are restricted when the paper is wet, since paper will cling to itself and lose its stiffness, she is able to use this weakness to her advantage as she implements explosive tags into her paper clones. After Nagato's death, Konan withdraws her position in Akatsuki and leaves the organization.[ch. 372] Later, she is confronted by Obito over the location of Nagato's Rinnegan eyes. She fights him, but is killed after being forced to reveal Nagato's resting place.[ch. 510] In the Japanese anime, Konan is voiced by Atsuko Tanaka and in the English anime, her voice actress is Dorothy Elias-Fahn.
Taka (鷹?, "Hawk") is a group formed by Sasuke Uchiha that consists of Orochimaru's former subordinates. When it first formed, the group went by the name "Hebi" (蛇?, "Snake"), with its mission being to find and kill Sasuke's brother, Itachi Uchiha, to avenge the latter's slaughter of the Uchiha clan by the time the name change occurs.[ch. 352] Its first recruited member is Suigetsu Hozuki (鬼灯 水月 Hōzuki Suigetsu?), former test subject of Orochimaru whose Kekkei Genkai allows him to change his body to liquid form, who wishes to restore the Kirigakure's Seven Swordsmen by taking their swords.[ch. 352, 523] He uses the regenerative sword Kubikiribōchō, formerly owned by Zabuza Momochi. The second member is Karin (香燐?), a former assistant to Orochimaru who specializes in tracking specific individuals through chakra over long distances,[ch. 365] and is highly flirtatious when she is alone with Sasuke.[ch. 348] She is later revealed to be one of the few surviving members of the Uzumaki clan; thus she is related to other characters descended from the clan, including the series' titular character, Naruto Uzumaki, and the Akatsuki's figurehead, Nagato.[ch. 579] The third and last member is the prisoner Jugo (重吾 Jūgo?), the source of Orochimaru's cursed seals due to experiments that often make him mentally unstable, who follows Sasuke as he sees him as the living legacy of his late friend Kimimaro.[ch. 351, 352]
After Itachi's death and Sasuke's discovery that the Uchiha were wiped out under the orders of Konohagakure, Sasuke renames their group "Taka" and changes its mission to the destruction of Konoha. Prior to carrying out this intent, Sasuke agrees to work with Akatsuki to help them obtain Tailed Beast Gyuki though his group failed to capture Killer Bee.[ch. 403] After Sasuke's failed infiltration of the Kage Summit in the Land of Iron, Taka disbands as Jugo and Suigetsu are captured by the samurai of the Land of Iron, and Karin taken for questioning after being abandoned by Sasuke during the ensuing fight with Danzo Shimura.[ch. 482, 523] However, Jugo and Suigetsu escape their captors and return to one of Orochimaru's many hideouts where they find an ancient scroll of great significance.[ch. 592] Karin later escapes from prison and reunites with Sasuke and her teammates, alongside Orochimaru and the four resurrected Hokage.[ch. 637]
Madara Uchiha (うちは マダラ Uchiha Madara?) is one of the co-founders of the Hidden Leaf Village along with Hashirama Senju, the two later revealed to be reincarnations of their clans' founding ancestors Indra and Asura prior to Sasuke and Naruto.[ch. 385, 671] Though he was a childhood friend of Hashirama during the endless conflict, their friendship ends as a result of the war. As the leader of the Uchiha clan, Madara's overuse of Mangekyo Sharingan blinds him, forcing him to take the eyes of his late younger brother Izuna. This allows Madara to use his newly awakened Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan to continue the ongoing war between the Uchiha and the Senju.[ch. 386] In later years, Hashirama comes forth with a peace offering between the two clans. Though he agrees to have peace with his former rival, Madara feels he would never be accepted by the Senju and loses hope in Hashirama. While working towards this goal, Madara captures Kurama the Nine Tails and uses him in a scheme to destroy Konoha.[ch. 399, 621] Madara is believed to have been killed by Hashirama's hand, but he survives and goes into hiding while taking a blood sample of Hashirama with him to awake his Rinnegan.[ch. 560] During this time, Madara takes Obito Uchiha as his student and transplants his Rinnegan into Nagato to be preserved for his eventual revival years later.[ch. 605]
During most of the Naruto series, Obito uses the name of "Madara", until Kabuto Yakushi finds the real Madara and reanimates him to blackmail Obito into an alliance. Despite their agreement, Kabuto summons Madara to fight against the Shinobi Alliance.[ch. 562] Madara manages to sever his connection to Kabuto's technique by using the hand signs of the Reanimation Jutsu, defeating most of the Ninja Alliance forces. Madara manages to fully resurrect as planned by sacrificing Obito, becoming the Ten Tails's host once he regains one of his Rinnegan.[ch. 658, 669, 673] After regaining his other eye, Madara is able to complete the Eye of the Moon Plan before finding himself betrayed by Black Zetsu who proceeds to turn him into a vessel for Kaguya's spirit. [ch. 658, 669, 673] In the Japanese anime, Madara is voiced by Naoya Uchida while Gou Inoue voices him as a child. In the English version, Madara is voiced by Neil Kaplan.
Kaguya Ōtsutsuki (大筒木 カグヤ Ōtsutsuki Kaguya?) is an ancient princess from a distant land whose desire to end conflict among humanity results in her defying the taboo of the Shinju by eating the chakra fruit grown from it, becoming not only the first human with chakra but also a part of Shinju itself. Possessing both godly power and the Byakugan, the Sharingan, and the Rinnegan, Kaguya singlehandedly ended all conflict and was worshiped as the "Rabbit Goddess" (卯の女神 Usagi no Megami?). As time passed, however, the power she held ultimately corrupted her, and Kaguya sought to prevent humanity from causing any further harm to the world by trapping them within the Infinite Tsukuyomi, and converted the victims that were assimilated by the Shinju into the creatures that would be christened the White Zetsu. This and the other horrifying acts Kaguya committed struck terror into the hearts of the then-powerless people around her, for which she would be feared as the "Demon" (鬼 Oni?). Having saw her chakra being divided among her sons, Hagomoro and Hamura, Kaguya's attempt to reclaim that power by transforming the Shinju into her Ten-Tails vessel led to her sealing when the beast is captured. Before being sealed, Kaguya left her will in the form of Black Zetsu to ensure her return by influencing Hagoromo's eldest son Indra and the Uchiha Clan. Having successfully manipulated Madara Uchiha to eventually cast the Infinite Tsukuyomi, Black Zetsu betrays Madara and converts him into a vessel for Kaguya to inhabit. From there, deeming Naruto and Sasuke a threat because they inherited Hagoromo's power, Kaguya takes Team 7 and Obito into her dimensional realm to kill them there. However, overpowered by him and Sasuke, Kaguya loses the tailed beast chakra when it reacts to Naruto and leaves her body.
Team 8 is a group of Konohagakure ninja led by Kurenai Yuhi. The members of Team 8 primarily concentrate on tracking, with each of the members' unique abilities being used in this role. During Part II, Team 8, excluding Kurenai due to her pregnancy, joins Naruto Uzumaki and Team 7 in their search for Itachi Uchiha and Sasuke Uchiha.[ch. 354] However, their mission ends up in failure, with them being unable to locate either of the Uchiha brothers.
Kiba Inuzuka (犬塚 キバ Inuzuka Kiba?) is a member of Team 8 who is of the Inuzuka Clan, a group of ninja with canine characteristics who train alongside their ninja dog (忍犬 ninken?) partners. Very protective of his teammates, Kiba displays the same loyalty to Akamaru, unwilling to abandon him and putting himself in harm's way for Akamaru's sake.[ch. 204] In exchange for Kiba's devotion, Akamaru fights with him in battle; he uses his heightened senses to Kiba's advantage, and helps to double-team opponents with volleys of physical attacks. Since Akamaru is naturally better equipped for combat, Kiba usually modifies his own abilities at the start of a battle, growing claws and running on four limbs to increase his speed.[ch. 75] He can also drastically increase his sense of smell, and by the second half of the series he can use it to track things dogs cannot.[ch. 364] Kiba's voice actor in the Japanese anime is Kōsuke Toriumi, and his English voice actor is Kyle Hebert.
Akamaru (赤丸?) is Kiba Inuzuka's ninja dog, best friend, and constant companion. At the start of the series, Kiba carries Akamaru around on his head or inside his jacket. By Part II of the Naruto storyline, Akamaru grows large enough for Kiba to ride atop his back, but since Kiba spends so much time with Akamaru, he fails to notice this drastic difference.[ch. 282] With his heightened sense of smell, hearing, and the ability to detect others' chakra levels, Akamaru acts as a valuable tool for Kiba in hostile situations. To help Kiba keep track of opponents, Akamaru uses scent marking, though in battle he relies on Kiba to provide the chakra for the combination attacks they execute, which requires Akamaru to transform into a clone of Kiba.[ch. 203] In the original Japanese anime, Akamaru is voiced by Junko Takeuchi, who is also the voice actor for Naruto Uzumaki, and Kōsuke Toriumi, who voices Kiba, when Akamaru transforms into a clone of Kiba. In the English adaptation of the anime, Akamaru's vocal effects as a puppy are provided by Jamie Simone though Kyle Hebert provided the voice of Akamaru when he took Kiba's form.
Shino Aburame (油女 シノ Aburame Shino?) is one of the members of Team 8 who is of the Aburame Clan, a group of ninja who formed a symbiosis with a special breed of insects known as "destruction bugs" (寄壊蟲 kikaichū?) by allowing the insects to use their bodies as hives. During a battle, Shino directs his bugs towards an opponent, boxing them in without their knowledge and absorbing their chakra once they have been surrounded. Shino's merciless tendencies, in regards to opponents as well as his attachment to and collection of insects,[ch. 172] have caused other characters to label him as "creepy".[ch. 70] Nevertheless, Shino cares deeply for his teammates, being acutely aware of their inner workings and always regretting when he is unable to help them.[ch. 238] In the Japanese anime, his voice actor is Shinji Kawada. His first voice actor in the English anime was Sam Riegel, who voiced Shino in episodes 23 and 24, but in all following appearances, he has been voiced by Derek Stephen Prince.
Hinata Hyuga (日向 ヒナタ Hyūga Hinata?) a member of Team 8 who suffers from a lack of self-confidence. Though born of the Hyuga clan's main house and raised to become the successor, Hinata's shyness and inability to stand up for herself resulted in her father's strong disapproval, leaving her in the care of Kurenai Yuhi.[ch. 78] Under Kurenai's guidance, Hinata began training to become stronger, both to overcome her own weaknesses and to prove her worth to her father.[ch. 238] Hinata's growing self-confidence mainly comes from her long-standing admiration for Naruto, as she is inspired by his enthusiasm and his unyielding determination to never give up. As the series progresses, her admiration towards Naruto grows into genuine care and affection, eventually leading her to fall in love with him. During Part II, Hinata confesses her love to Naruto while protecting him from Pain and later assists him during the Allied Ninjas' battle with the Ten-Tails.[ch. 437, 615] Her voice actress in the Japanese anime is Nana Mizuki, and her English voice actress is Stephanie Sheh.
Kurenai Yuhi (夕日 紅 Yūhi Kurenai?) is the leader of Team 8, a skilled user of genjutsu who is shown to be particularly skilled with illusions involving plants.[ch. 141] Of all her students, Kurenai is closest with Hinata, acting as a surrogate parent in the absence of Hinata's father and helping Hinata overcome her weaknesses.[ch. 78] Whenever Kurenai appears in the series, she is usually accompanied by her childhood friend Asuma Sarutobi, and during Part II of the series, Kurenai is revealed to be pregnant with Asuma's child.[ch. 342] Several months after Asuma's death, Kurenai gave birth to their child; however, the child's name remains unknown.[ch. 533] In the Japanese anime, her voice actress is Rumi Ochiai. In the English adaptation of the anime, she was voiced by Saffron Henderson in episode three, and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn in all subsequent appearances.
Team 10 is a group of Konohagakure ninja led by Asuma Sarutobi. The fathers of the three team members Choji Akimichi, Shikamaru Nara, and Ino Yamanaka were also on a team together, and both generations refer to their team using the moniker "Ino-Shika-Cho."[ch. 137] During Part II, Asuma is slain in an encounter with members of Akatsuki, and Kakashi Hatake briefly assumes leadership of the team to hunt down those responsible for Asuma's death.[ch. 331]
Choji Akimichi (秋道 チョウジ Akimichi Chōji?) is a member of Team 10 who is typified by his affinity for food. Though his habit of always eating gives him a relatively large appearance, Choji insists he is not fat, instead using explanations like being "big-boned". If someone refers to him as fat, Choji instantly becomes hostile and increases his resolve to battle.[ch. 55] Shikamaru Nara has never found an issue with Choji's weight, instead choosing to look upon Choji's inner strength. Because of this, Choji regards him as his best friend, stating he would willingly give his life to defend Shikamaru.[ch. 190] In battle, Choji can increase the size of his body to improve the amount of damage his strikes deal upon impact.[ch. 189] He can also use his clan's signature Calorie Control (カロリーコントロール Karorī Kontorōru?) which converts his body fat to chakra.[ch. 190] His voice actor in the Japanese anime is Kentaro Ito and his English voice actor is Robbie Rist.
Shikamaru Nara (奈良 シカマル Nara Shikamaru?) is one of the members of Team 10. Creator Kishimoto has noted that he "likes" Shikamaru due to his easygoing nature despite being a genius, and contrasted him against Sasuke Uchiha's intelligent but abrasive personality. Shikamaru's intelligence is such that Asuma Sarutobi, Team 10's leader, has never been able to defeat Shikamaru at games such as shogi or go, and he can devise complex strategies even in the heat of battle. However, his laziness frequently prevents him from effectively utilizing his intelligence.[ch. 107] Shikamaru is a longtime friend of Choji Akimichi, as he chooses to look upon Choji as a person rather than only considering his large girth.[ch. 190] In battle, Shikamaru can manipulate his shadow, and by extending it into another person's shadow he can force the target to mimic his movements.[ch. 107] In the Japanese anime, Shikamaru's voice actor is Showtaro Morikubo, although Nobutoshi Canna acted as a stand-in for Morikubo in episode 141. His English voice actor is Tom Gibis.
Ino Yamanaka (山中 いの Yamanaka Ino?) is the only female member of Team 10. She is a childhood friend of Sakura Haruno, helping her to develop her own identity. When they discovered that they both liked Sasuke Uchiha, Sakura ended their friendship.[ch. 71] The two eventually make amends and rekindle their friendship, but still maintain a competitive attitude towards each other.[ch. 73] In the anime, when Sakura begins to excel in healing techniques, Ino becomes her surrogate apprentice, hoping to be more useful to her friends and teammates as an able medical ninja. In terms of combat abilities, Ino specializes in mind-altering techniques. To use these techniques, Ino transfers her consciousness to her target's mind, gaining control over their body which she can then use to attack others.[ch. 55] In the Japanese anime, her voice actress is Ryōka Yuzuki, and her voice actress in the English adaptation is Colleen O'Shaughnessey.
Asuma Sarutobi (猿飛 アスマ Sarutobi Asuma?) was the leader of Team 10 and son of the Third Hokage Hiruzen Sarutobi. In battle, Asuma wields trench knives that he can infuse with his wind nature chakra to extend the blades' length and sharpness.[ch. 317] When he was younger, Asuma had a dispute with his father and briefly left Konohagakure in protest, gaining fame as a member of the Land of Fire's Ten Guardian Shinobi. Though Asuma eventually returned, gaining the resolve to protect Konoha's next generation from his experiences outside his home, he never completely reconciled with his father by the time of Hiruzen's death.[ch. 314] Asuma is usually seen smoking a cigarette, but will temporarily drop the habit when something is bothering him, such as when his father died.[ch. 321] Among all his students, Asuma shares a particularly close relationship with Shikamaru Nara, often playing go or shogi together.[ch. 107] Asuma frequently appears alongside his childhood friend Kurenai Yuhi, denying having a relation before it is revealed that Kurenai is bearing his child.[ch. 140, 342] After Asuma is killed by Hidan of the criminal organization Akatsuki, Shikamaru inherited his mentor's ideals as he uses his knuckles to defeat Hidan. During the Fourth Great Ninja War, Asuma is brought back with the Reanimation Jutsu to fight for Kabuto before he defeated by his students and sealed until his soul is allowed to return to the afterlife. Asuma's voice actor in the Japanese anime is Jūrōta Kosugi, and he is voiced by Doug Erholtz in the English adaptation.
Team Guy is a group of Konohagakure ninja led by Might Guy. The members of Team Guy primarily concentrate on physical attacks and weapons. They are a year older than the other members of Konohagakure's teams, as Guy wanted to wait a year before they could take the test to advance in ninja rank and become Chunin. In Part II, Team Guy joins Team 7 in an attempt to save Gaara from the criminal organization, Akatsuki.[ch. 253]
Neji Hyuga (日向 ネジ Hyūga Neji?) is a member of Team Guy and a child prodigy of the Hyuga clan, as well as being Hinata's cousin.[ch. 101] As he is the only ninja of his generation to be promoted to the rank of Jonin during Part II, he frequently acts as leader of his assigned teams and the secondary leader of Team Guy which Might Guy is not around. Though a member of the branch house, Neji displays his title as a prodigy of the Hyuga throughout the series as a master of his clan's Gentle Fist style of combat that he taught to himself.[ch. 101] Originally, Neji believes in a fatalistic philosophy: that one's destiny is inescapable and that a weak person will always be weak.[ch. 38]
After being defeated in the Chunin Exams by Naruto Uzumaki, who defied his own "fate" by strengthening, Neji has a change of heart once Hiashi reveals the full story of his twin brother's death as an act of self-sacrifice. Since then, Neji abandons his belief in determinism and resolves to get strong enough to never lose a battle.[ch. 197] As the series progressed, Neji refined his Gentle Fist and devised original variations that either increase their potency or fix flaws such as the blind spot in his Byakugan.[ch. 197] Neji also remedies the estranged relations between himself and the members of the main house, resulting in his training with Hiashi and Hinata at the end of Part I.[ch. 238] Neji is killed during the Fourth Great Ninja War as he sacrifices himself to protect Naruto and Hinata from Obito Uchiha's attack, telling Naruto that he made the choice to die protecting those dear to him as his father had. In the Japanese anime, his voice actor is Kōichi Tōchika, and when he is featured as a child, he is voiced by Keiko Nemoto. His voice in the English anime is provided by Steve Staley, and Wendee Lee provides his child voice.
Rock Lee (ロック・リー Rokku Rī?) is a member of Team Guy and the favorite student of team leader Might Guy. In the ninja academy, Rock Lee was unable to use ninjutsu or genjutsu techniques, but his persistence impressed Guy. Guy spends much of his free time training with Lee to help him accomplish his dream of becoming a respected ninja by using only taijutsu. Lee has adopted several of Guy's habits because of this, such as his wardrobe and his perseverance.[ch. 84] Guy has taught him a number of powerful, even forbidden, techniques. Because some of these techniques, such as the ability to open the eight chakra gates, can pose a severe risk to Lee's body, he is only permitted to use them to protect something or someone dear to him.[ch. 52] In the Japanese anime and manga, he almost always uses honorifics such as "san" and "kun". In the Japanese anime, his voice actor is Yoichi Masukawa, and his voice actor is Brian Donovan in English.
Tenten (テンテン?) is the only female member of Team Guy, and longs to prove that a female ninja can be just as skilled as a male ninja. Of all the Naruto protagonists, Tenten receives the least amount of screen time in the series.[ch. 73] Despite her lack of appearances, series creator Masashi Kishimoto favors her design more than those of any of the other female characters he has created. In battle, Tenten specializes in weaponry, ranging from projectiles to close-combat weapons and even explosives by the second part of the series. During a fight, she uses the hundreds of weapons stored in scrolls she carries with her to bombard opponents with pinpoint accuracy. Tenten uses this expertise to help Neji Hyuga train his defensive techniques, and she holds him in high regard since he can always block her attacks.[ch. 98] Her Japanese voice actress is Yukari Tamura, and her English voice actress is Danielle Judovits.
Might Guy (マイト・ガイ Maito Gai?) is the leader of Team Guy who dedicates most of his time to his pupil Rock Lee, who emulates himself in his sensei's image and ideals, including his "My Rules" philosophy, which involves setting tough self-imposed penalties for failure in the belief that the punishment will make him stronger.[ch. 180] Like Lee, and choosing not to use other ninjutsu skills out of respect for his student, Guy is a specialist in physical attacks and taught Lee many of the techniques that he learned from his father Might Dai, such as the ability to unlock the Eight Gates which safely restrict the flow of chakra through the body. When not teaching Lee new abilities, Guy is usually found competing with his self-proclaimed childhood rival, Kakashi Hatake. Throughout the series, Kakashi has never displayed a particular interest in their rivalry, which only further motivates Guy to defeat Kakashi and his "coolness".[ch. 65] Guy is an extremely capable ninja as seen in his fight against Itachi Uchiha and his recurring confrontations with Kisame Hoshigaki,[ch. 143] beating him single-handedly on two occasions.[ch. 258][ch. 506] During the Fourth Great Ninja War, Guy is forced to use the Eighth Gate in a failed attempt to defeat Madara. After obtaining the power of the Sage of Six Paths, Naruto heals Guy's body.
Series creator Masashi Kishimoto had likened Guy's passionate personality to that of a physical education teacher he had in junior high school, but notes that the teacher was not a model for Guy's character. In the Japanese anime, his voice actor is Masashi Ebara, and his English voice actor is Skip Stellrecht.
The Hokage (火影?, lit. "Fire Shadow") is the leader of Konohagakure. Over the course of the series, there have been five Hokage, who are honored by the village through carving their likenesses into the rock formation overlooking Konohagakure. The First Hokage is Hashirama Senju, founder of the village along with Madara Uchiha. The First is succeeded by his younger brother, Tobirama Senju, the Second Hokage who creates Konoha's government system and attempts to keep Uchiha clan members from ending up like Madara. He, in turn, is followed by one of his students, Hiruzen Sarutobi, who becomes the Third Hokage. After a long rule, the Third abdicates in favor of Minato Namikaze, who takes the position of Fourth Hokage, but reclaims his position after the Fourth gave his life to save the village from Kurama, the nine-tailed fox.[ch. 1] Hiruzen is the Hokage at the beginning of the series, but he dies in battle with his former student, Orochimaru, during an invasion of Konohagakure.[ch. 137] One of Hiruzen's students and also Hashirama's granddaughter Tsunade, succeeds him as the Fifth Hokage.[ch. 172] Danzo Shimura follows Tsunade, becoming the unofficial leader of Konoha, the candidate Sixth Hokage, after she enters a coma as a consequence of defending the village from Pain. After Danzo's death, Kakashi Hatake is considered for the Hokage title until Tsunade's recovery, at which point she resumes her duty.[ch. 489]
Hashirama Senju (千手 柱間 Senju Hashirama?), the First Hokage (初代火影 Shodai Hokage?) is the co-founder of the first ninja village, Konohagakure, and the former leader of Senju Clan. He is a respected ninja of his era and is known as the "God of Shinobi" (忍の神 Shinobi no Kami?). The only naturally born user of Wood Style techniques, Hashirama is also an incarnation of Asura Otsutsuki.[ch. 120, 671] Despite experiencing the Warring States period firsthand, Hashirama has a cheerful and happy-go-lucky personality with a desire to end the conflict. As a child, Hashirama forged a friendship with Madara Uchiha before the youth declared them enemies, and they battle on occasion with Hashirama eventually convincing Madara to have their clans make peace while finding Konoha.[ch. 399] He later dies through many wars of his era, though is brought back by the Reanimation Jutsu twice by Orochimaru[ch. 118]; the first of which to battle his former student Hiruzen,[ch. 120] while the second to help Sasuke understand the Konoha's history before battling Madara in the new war. However, once Madara is resurrected, Hashirama is defeated. In the Japanese anime, he is voiced by Takayuki Sugō while Yuki Tai voices him as a child. In the English version, Hashiarama is voiced by Jamieson Price in Part I, Peter Lurie in Part II, and J.B. Blanc in some video games.
Tobirama Senju (千手 扉間 Senju Tobirama?), the Second Hokage (二代目火影 Nidaime Hokage?), is the younger brother of Hashirama and the teacher of Hiruzen Sarutobi. He is credited as being the Hokage who created the infrastructure of Konohagakure, including the Ninja Academy and Police Force. He is skilled in Water Style techniques and is known throughout the Ninja World for creating the Flying Thunder God Jutsu (飛雷神の術 Hiraishin no Jutsu?), the Shadow Clone Jutsu, and the controversial Reanimation Jutsu, although he abandoned its completion due to its sinister nature.[ch. 520] He has high knowledge of the Uchiha anatomy and source of their power. In flashbacks, he disapproves of Hashirama's friendship with Madara Uchiha even after the rival clans had reconciled, eventually leading to Madara's departure. Tobirama's time as Hokage is short-lived as he is killed in an ambush during the First Great Ninja War.[ch. 501] He is later brought back by the Reanimation Jutsu after it was perfected by Orochimaru and forced to battle Hiruzen.[ch. 118] Tobirama is later brought back again to inform Sasuke Uchiha about the Uchiha Clan and to participate in the battle against the Ten Tails. In the Japanese anime, he is voiced by Ken'yū Horiuchi while Kengo Kawanishi voices him as a child. In the English version, Tobitama is voiced by Peter Lurie in Part I, Jamieson Price in Part II, and Steven Blum in some video games.
Hiruzen Sarutobi (猿飛 ヒルゼン Sarutobi Hiruzen?), the Third Hokage (三代目火影 Sandaime Hokage?), has been the longest-ruling Hokage, being forced to return to duty after the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze's death. He is a peace-loving leader, preferring nonviolent discussions to his advisers' more militaristic suggestions. Throughout the series, he acts as a source of wisdom to younger generations; and from the start, is one of the few characters to treat Naruto Uzumaki as a person rather than the host of Kurama.[ch. 2] He was also known as "The Professor" (プロフェッサー Purofessā?), as he purportedly knew every jutsu in Konohagakure.[ch. 121] He is able to use the Summoning Jutsu, which allows him to summon the Monkey King Enma (閻魔?), who takes the form of a long rod when not summoned.[ch. 120] He is also the teacher of Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and Tsunade. Orochimaru is his favorite student, and Sarutobi could never bring himself to recognize Orochimaru's evil qualities. When Orochimaru invades Konoha years later, Sarutobi fights him to repent for never prosecuting Orochimaru as he should have.[ch. 121] While he is unable to seal Orochimaru with the forbidden Death Seal, Hiruzen still manages to rob Orochimaru of his ability to use Jutsu by sealing his arms, thus bringing an end to the invasion and allowing him to die happily.[ch. 137]
During the Fourth Great Ninja War, Orochimaru releases Hiruzen's soul from the Death Seal and reanimates him so Sasuke can confirm the events behind the Uchiha Clan Massacre. He later participates in the battle against Obito and Madara alongside the other resurrected Hokage. In the Japanese anime, he is voiced by Hidekatsu Shibata, and his English voice actor is Steve Kramer.
Minato Namikaze (波風 ミナト Namikaze Minato?), the Fourth Hokage (四代目火影 Yondaime Hokage?), is the father of Naruto Uzumaki and spouse to Kushina Uzumaki. Although Naruto and Minato are noted to have a number of similar physical traits throughout the series, their familial relationship is not revealed until Part II of the series.[ch. 367] He was the student of Jiraiya and the teacher of Kakashi Hatake, Obito Uchiha, and Rin Nohara. The entire village respects Minato as a hero of the village, having perfected Tobirama's Flying Thunder God Jutsu, a method of teleportation with pre-made seals, earning him the title of "Konoha's Yellow Flash" (木ノ葉の黄色い閃光 Konoha no Kiiroi Senkō?).[ch. 240] He has learned many transportation and sealing techniques, the latter from the texts of the near extinct Uzumaki clan that include the Death Seal. Before the start of the series, after battling the mysterious masked ninja who released the nine Tails Kurama, Minato siphons Kurama's Yin chakra to weaken the beast to be sealed into Naruto's body in a sacrificial act so that only his son can access the Nine Tails' yang chakra.[ch. 2]
Years later during the Fourth Great Ninja War, Orochimaru releases Minato's soul and reanimates him. Minato and the other Hokage decide to fight alongside Sasuke on the battlefield and defeat Madara Uchiha. Minato reveals his own Nine Tails Chakra mode which he later tries to pass to his son. Kishimoto has expressed desire to make a spin-off series with a younger Minato as the protagonist. In the Japanese anime, Minato is voiced by Toshiyuki Morikawa with Miyu Irino voicing him as a child. In the English version, his voice actor is Tony Oliver.
Tsunade (綱手?), as well as her former teammates Jiraiya and Orochimaru, is a former student of Hiruzen Sarutobi.[ch. 170] Despite looking like a buxom woman in her twenties, Tsunade is actually an older woman in her fifties who uses a transformation technique to maintain her youthful appearance.[ch. 149] Tsunade is also the granddaughter of Hashirama Senju and Mito Uzumaki with many referring to her by the Japanese honorific "hime" (princess). Despite her connections to the first three Hokage, Tsunade hates the position when she is first introduced. After her boyfriend Dan Katō and brother Nawaki Senju die in pursuit of their dreams to become Hokage, she loses faith in the title and the concept of dreams. She regains her faith in both after meeting Naruto Uzumaki, who consistently overcomes any obstacle in his own dreams of being Hokage.[ch. 172] As a result, Tsunade accepts the position of Fifth Hokage (五代目火影 Godaime Hokage?) to protect Konohakagure on behalf of everyone she has loved.[ch. 169]
Despite the importance of her position, Tsunade tends to avoid her everyday duties, instead leaving them for her assistant Shizune. She will fulfill her role to address matters important to the village, and throughout Part II leads Konoha in combating the Akatsuki.[ch. 238] Tsunade is a compulsive gambler with terrible luck, though with a rare winning streak perceived by her as a bad omen. Despite her odd personality, Tsunade is a talented medical ninja who can heal injuries that most others would consider incurable, and also possesses superhuman strength that allows her to reduce buildings to rubble. Tsunade devised a method of mitotic regeneration for herself that make her nearly invincible in battle yet greatly shortens her overall lifespan. In the Japanese anime, Tsunade's voice actress is Masako Katsuki, and her English voice actress is Debi Mae West. In some of the video games, however, her English voice actress is Mary Elizabeth McGlynn.
Danzo Shimura (志村 ダンゾウ Shimura Danzō?) is one of the oldest villagers in Konohagakure, and a moderately cantankerous war hawk who believes that all of the former Hokage have placed world peace above the village's best interests. The right half of his body is covered in bandages to hide a damaged Sharingan eye transplanted from the body of Shisui Uchiha, as well as the vast amount of Sharingan eyes grafted to his arm. He also had himself injected with the cells of the First Hokage allowing him to use the Senju Clan's unique skills. From his early youth, he sees Hiruzen as his rival and consequently opposes all of his teachings.[ch. 285] Since Hiruzen obtains the Third Hokage title, Danzo uses The Foundation, his own personal black ops team the Root, to secretly ensure he would become Hokage.[ch. 298] After Konohagakure is destroyed by Pain, and Tsunade is left in a coma, Danzo convinces the Fire Country's feudal lord to make him Acting Candidate Sixth Hokage (六代目火影候補 Rokudaime Hokage Kouho?). Using his newfound power, he orders the ninja to track down both Sasuke and Kabuto. However, at the Five Kage conference, Danzo is forced into fighting Sasuke. He dies shortly after Sasuke mortally wounds him.[ch. 481] In the Japanese anime he is voiced by Hiroshi Ito and in the English version he is voiced by William Frederick Knight.
Iruka Umino (うみの イルカ Umino Iruka?) is a Konohagakure ninja and instructor at the Ninja Academy, a school for prospective ninja. Masashi Kishimoto's initial design of Iruka featured "evil" eyes and sharper cheekbones, but this was abandoned in favor of a more relaxed appearance.[vol. 2:126] When Iruka was a child, his parents were killed by Kurama, the nine-tailed fox which was later sealed into Naruto Uzumaki. He bears no ill will towards Naruto, instead being one of the few people at the start of the series to recognize Naruto as a person and not just a container for Kurama. Naruto thinks of Iruka as a father-figure because of this, and Iruka, in turn, has immense faith in Naruto's potential to be a great ninja.[ch. 1] In the Japanese anime, his voice actor is Toshihiko Seki, and his English voice actor is Quinton Flynn.
Konohamaru Sarutobi (猿飛 木ノ葉丸 Sarutobi Konohamaru?), named after Konohagakure, is the grandson of the Third Hokage. He strives to replace his grandfather as Hokage so the villagers of Konohagakure will recognize him by name, not simply as the Hokage's grandson. He looks to Naruto Uzumaki as a mentor in this quest, emulating his work ethic, determination, and signature jutsu such as the Rasengan and a variety of other techniques. Konohamaru insists, however, that he will only become Hokage after Naruto has been Hokage first.[ch. 2] Konohamaru's design caused great difficulties for Masashi Kishimoto; he intended for Konohamaru to look like a "punk" smaller than Naruto, yet all of his attempts resulted in a mere recreation of Naruto. He eventually gave Konohamaru small, angry-looking eyes, and was instantly happy with the design.[vol. 2:26] He is voiced in the Japanese anime by Ikue Ōtani, and by Akiko Koike as a stand-in. Colleen O'Shaughnessey is his English voice actor.
Jiraiya (自来也?) was a Konohagakure ninja, being not only Naruto's teacher but also his godfather. Kishimoto has commented that out of all the master-pupil relationships he has created in the Naruto series, the bond between Naruto and Jiraiya is his favorite, noting that it makes drawing them "worthwhile". As a child, Jiraiya was under the tutelage of Hiruzen Sarutobi, along with his teammates, Tsunade and Orochimaru.[ch. 170] Jiraiya is known throughout the Naruto world as the "Toad Sage" (蝦蟇仙人 Gama Sennin?) due to his toad-related jutsu and knowledge of Sage Jutsu. Prior to Naruto, Jiraiya also trained other pupils like Minato and Nagato due to a prophecy he heard that his pupil would be great man. Although still affiliated with Konoha, Jiraiya spends much of his time traveling to watch over potential threats to his home. Jiraiya's personality is openly lecherous, proudly describes himself as a "super pervert" while authoring a series of best-selling adult romance novels.[ch. 91] He also wrote the epic "Tale of the Gutsy Ninja", with Naruto named after its protagonist. During Part I, he takes Naruto as his student, and returns him to Konoha in Part II before leaving to investigate the Akatsuki. However, finding Nagato leading the organization, Jiraiya dies fighting his former student's Paths of Pain while sending a message of them to the village.[ch. 245] In the Japanese anime, Jiraiya is voiced by Hōchū Ōtsuka, and his English voice actor is David Lodge.
Shizune (シズネ?) is a Konohagakure ninja introduced in the series as Tsunade's assistant. She leaves Konohagakure with Tsunade after the death of her uncle, and over the years, Tsunade teaches her medical techniques. Many of the attacks she uses in the series are poison-based, including using concealed poisoned needles or emitting toxic gas from her mouth.[ch. 166] In Part II of the series, Shizune's concern for details causes her to question Tsunade's judgment, creating interference with Tsunade's plans and temporarily straining the relationship between the two.[ch. 282] During Pain's attack on Konohagakure, Shizune is briefly killed when her soul is stripped away as the result of her being interrogated by the Human Path about Naruto's whereabouts,[ch. 429] though she is revived at the end of the invasion through Nagato's Outer Path: Samsara of Heavenly Life Jutsu.[ch. 449] In the Japanese anime, her voice actress is Keiko Nemoto, and her English voice actress is Megan Hollingshead.
Rin Nohara (のはら リン Nohara Rin?) is a member of Team Minato and the teammate of Kakashi Hatake and Obito Uchiha, appearing only in person during the Kakashi Gaiden act.[ch. 239] Rin acts as a medical ninja and she has a crush on Kakashi, though she is unaware that she herself has the affection of Obito. When Team Minato is sent to sabotage Kannabi Bridge during the Third Great Ninja War, Rin is kidnapped by the Iwagakure ninja before the resulting rescue mission ends with Obito's apparent death.[ch. 241, 243] Sometime afterward, Rin is captured by the Kirigakure ninja and into Isobu's Jinchuriki as part of a Trojan horse scheme to destroy Konoha. Rin realized the scheme while being rescued and jumped in the way of Kakashi's Lightning Blade to save the village at the cost of her life, which is later revealed to have be orchestrated by Madara to break Obito's spirit.[ch. 604, 630] In the Japanese anime, Rin's voice actress is Haruhi Terada, and her English voice actress is Stephanie Sheh.
Sai (サイ?) is a ninja who joins Team Kakashi in Part II, carefully designed by Kishimoto to stand out as Sasuke's replacement. Having been a member of The Foundation since he was a child, Sai has been trained to not possess or desire any type of emotion or camaraderie. After spending time with Naruto, however, he begins to crave bonds with other people, which has since become his primary goal in the series.[ch. 303] Sai's attempts to form bonds turn can be humorous as he tries giving pet names to others; however, he often says what he actually thinks of a person, resulting with him choosing names such as "fatso" and "ugly". He eventually learns from his mistakes and attempts the opposite approach.[ch. 312] When not making an attempt to bond with others, Sai spends his time painting and drawing, and has produced thousands of works. His artistic talents extend to his choice of attacks in battles, being that he can infuse chakra with his inking brush to make his drawings come to life.[ch. 283] Sai's voice actor is Satoshi Hino in the Naruto: Shippūden anime, and his English voice actor is Ben Diskin.
Yamato (ヤマト?) is introduced during Part II of the series as a ANBU member and a temporary replacement for Kakashi Hatake as the leader of Team Kakashi.[ch. 285] After Kakashi's return, he stays on the team in an additional leadership position. "Yamato" is not his real name, but rather a codename assigned to him for the purposes of joining Team Kakashi.[ch. 317] Unlike Kakashi, who was his senior in the ANBU and referred to him as Tenzo, Yamato believes ninja should be able to look after themselves to the point of leaving behind any he sees as a hindrance.[ch. 298] During his childhood, Yamato was abducted by Orochimaru and experimented upon in an attempt to replicate Hashirama's Wood Style. This plays in his assignment to Team Kakashi as he can suppress Kuruma's influence over Naruto if he the need for it raises.[ch. 291] However, because he possessed Hashirama's DNA, Yamato gets captured by Kabuto to strengthen the White Zetsu army for the Fourth Great Ninja War. He is eventually revealed to have been contained with Guruguru's body until the altered human ejected him once Madara is able to cast the Infinite Tsukiyomi.[ch. 676] In the Naruto: Shippūden anime, Yamato's voice actor is Rikiya Koyama, and in the English version he is voiced by Troy Baker. Matthew Mercer voices him starting from episode 230.
Kushina Uzumaki (うずまき クシナ Uzumaki Kushina?) is the mother of the series' protagonist, Naruto Uzumaki, and the wife of the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze.[ch. 382] She is a host of Kurama, immediately preceding Naruto.[ch. 499] Being a member of the Uzumaki Clan, Kushina possesses a special chakra that was distinguished even among her peers, causing her to be sent from her homeland to Konohagakure to be the host of Kurama, replacing Mito Uzumaki.[ch. 500] In Konohagakure, Kushina met with Minato who became Kushina's love after he saved her from a kidnapper, leading to their marriage.[ch. 498] During her pregnancy, she had to be sent to a secretive place during labor to prevent Kurama's seal being broken.[ch. 500] However, the place was subdued by Obito Uchiha, and he released Kurama who ran rampant on Konoha.[ch. 501] She and Minato both sacrifice their lives to seal Kurama's half to Naruto, while also placing some of their chakra to their son as a fail-safe if he would break the seal.[ch. 503] In Part II, Kushina's chakra appears during Naruto's subconscious battle with Kurama, helping her son to seal the fox and to tell him the truth behind Kurama's attack sixteen years ago.[ch. 497] Before disappearing, she thanks Naruto for forgiving her about the whole ordeal of the sealing of Kurama.[ch. 504] In the Japanese anime, Kushina is voiced by Emi Shinohara, and her English voice actresses are Cindy Robinson in the anime and Laura Bailey in some video games.
The Sand Siblings are ninja from the village of Sunagakure and the children of the Fourth Kazekage, the former leader of the village.[ch. 59] They come to Konohagakure to participate in the biannual Chunin exams, and serve as antagonists in the subsequent invasion of Konohagakure. Because of their interactions with Naruto Uzumaki, and learning their father was murdered by their supposed ally Orochimaru, the Sand Siblings return as allies of Konohagakure, aiding Naruto's group in their attempts to retrieve Sasuke Uchiha from Orochimaru's forces. Kishimoto changed their costumes for their return due to the difficulty in drawing their original attire, as well as to symbolize their new friendship with Konohagakure.
Gaara (我愛羅?) is the youngest of the three siblings, created as a foil to Naruto Uzumaki, with a similar background yet a highly divergent personality. Before being born, Gaara was made into a weapon by his father by becoming the Jinchuriki of the Tailed Beast Shukaku the One-Tail (一尾の守鶴 Ichibi no Shukaku?). This act caused the death of his mother during labor and Gaara was placed in the care of his mother's younger brother. Like any other Jinchuriki, and because his sand unconsciously attacked those around him when he was threatened, Gaara was tormented by his fellow villagers.[ch. 131] When he battles Naruto during the invasion of Konoha, learning that he is also a Jinchuriki like himself, Gaara's outlook changes as he resolves to help others and he succeeds his deceased father as Sunagakure's Fifth Kazekage during Part II.[ch. 249] Gaara's Japanese voice actor is Akira Ishida, and his English voice actor is Liam O'Brien.
Kankuro (カンクロウ Kankurō?) is the middle of the three siblings. For the first half of the series, he is frequently at odds with Gaara, though he tends to hold his tongue for fear of being killed.[ch. 36] In Part II, once Gaara begins to reveal his dreams and motivations to Kankuro, Kankuro becomes very protective of Gaara; he lashes out at anyone who speaks poorly of Gaara and when Gaara is kidnapped, he readily risks his life to save him.[ch. 249] Kankuro is a talented puppeteer, normally using his bladed attack puppet Crow (烏 Karasu?) and trapping puppet Black Ant (黒蟻 Kuroari?) in combination attacks. He also possesses the large puppet Salamander (山椒魚 Sanshōuo?) that provides him with combination defense and offense. After his puppets were destroyed by their creator, Kankuro gains a new puppet in Sasori's lifeless body Scorpion (蠍 Sasori?) and modifies it for his use as a normal puppet. During the Fourth Great Ninja War, after defeating the reanimated Sasori and breaking Kabuto's hold over him, Kankuro is entrusted with the Mother and Father puppets. In the Japanese anime, his voice actor is Yasuyuki Kase, and his English voice actor is Michael Lindsay, until he was replaced by Doug Erholtz in 2013.
Temari (テマリ?) is the oldest of the three siblings. Unlike her more combat-loving brothers, Temari values peace, as she questions Sunagakure's justifications for going to war with Konohagakure.[ch. 95] This trait carries over to Part II, in which she begins acting as a liaison between Sunagakure and Konohagakure to help the two villages work together. In her time in Konohagakure, Temari is often seen walking with Shikamaru Nara, causing other characters to think they are dating, although both deny this.[ch. 247] In battle, Temari wields a giant iron fan that can create powerful gusts of wind capable of leveling the surrounding landscape. As she is skilled at deducing an opponent's strategies and weaknesses soon after a battle begins, she typically uses her winds to remove parts of the battlefield that might be advantageous to the enemy.[ch. 107] During Part I of the series, Temari is also one of the only two ninja of her generation (other than Naruto) to be able to use the Summoning Jutsu, in which she can summon a powerful scythe-wielding weasel called Kamatari (カマタリ?).[ch. 214] Temari's voice actress in the Japanese anime is Romi Paku, and her English voice actress is Tara Platt.
Chiyo (チヨ?) was an elder advisor to Sunagakure introduced at the start of Part II, initially mistrustful of other ninja villages because of the Second and Third Great Ninja Wars. During those wars, she played a role in formal treaties while strengthening Sunagakure's military might with her knowledge of poisons despite her efforts being nullified by Tsunade's antidotes. As a skilled puppeteer, Chiyo takes Sasori in after his parents died at the hands of Kakashi Hatake's father, and teaches him everything she knows before his departure. When Gaara is captured by the Akatsuki, Chiyo joins Team Kakashi to rescue the Kazekage. Confronting Sasori, Chiyo is able to kill her grandson with help from Sakura Haruno. Despite their efforts, Gaara also dies before they can rescue him.[ch. 275, 278] Touched by the genuine bond formed between Sunagakure and Konoha, Chiyo gives up her life to revive Gaara, hoping that the relationship of peace might be continued.[ch. 280] However, by the Fourth Great Ninja War, Chiyo is brought back by Kabuto's Reanimation Jutsu to fight against the combined Ninja army. She is eventually put back to rest after Itachi cancels the technique. In the Japanese anime, her voice actress is Ikuko Tani, and in the English version her voice actress is Barbara Goodson.
Kurama (九喇嘛?), often called the Nine-Tails (九尾の妖狐 Kyūbi no Yōko?, lit. Nine-Tailed Demon Fox), is the most powerful of the Tailed Beasts. Used by Madara in his attempt to wipe out Konohagakure at the time of its foundation, Kurama is defeated and sealed within Hashirama's wife and then transferred to Kushina Uzumaki two generations later. Through Obito's scheme, Kurama is released and attacks Konohagakure before being stopped by the Fourth Hokage Minato Namikaze, who seals the fox's Yin half within himself. Following this, Minato and Kushina sacrifice themselves to seal Kurama's Yang half within their son, Naruto Uzumaki, twelve years before the series' start.[ch. 1][ch. 500] Throughout the series, Naruto tries to harness Kurama's immense chakra to perform several jutsu that would normally be impossible for a shinobi of his age.[ch. 95] Naruto eventually takes control of the fox's chakra with help from an imprint of Kushina.[ch. 499] During Naruto's fight against Obito, seeing its host's resolve to save the other Tailed Beasts, Kurama befriends Naruto to the point where it lends its chakra willingly, thus allowing him to achieve the Tailed Beast transformation.[ch. 571] Kishimoto was mainly inspired to create Kurama based on the character with the same name from the manga series YuYu Hakusho. In the Japanese anime, Kurama's voice actor is Tesshō Genda, and in the English adaptation, it is voiced by Paul St. Peter.
Killer Bee (キラービー Kirābī?) is a ninja from the village of Kumogakure and the Jinchuriki of Gyūki — the Eight-Tails.[ch. 411] He is also the adoptive brother of Ay (エー Ē?), the current Raikage, and as such, is expected to be the guardian of the village.[ch. 541] In battle, he uses its great strength to increase the lethality of his professional wrestling-styled attacks,[ch. 413] something Kishimoto's former editor wanted to add in the series despite him being a ninja. He is also a talented swordsman, capable of using up to seven swords at once and to execute attacks that are unpredictable enough to render Sasuke's Sharingan useless.[ch. 411] When Akatsuki attacks him, he pretends to be captured to escape at the cost of losing some of Gyūki's chakra and pursue a career as an enka music singer.[ch. 419][ch. 537] However, Killer Bee is brought back to Kumogakure, playing a role in teaching Naruto how to control Kurama's power. He also joins him in the war against the Akatsuki after gaining his brother's approval to fight alongside him, eventually losing Gyūki to Madara.[ch. 544] Despite the difficulties in making his lines, as he always speaks in rhymes, Kishimoto wishes to make him a rich character. His voice actor in the Japanese anime is Hisao Egawa, and his English voice actor is Catero Colbert.
The characters of Naruto have received both praise and criticism from publications dedicated to anime, manga, and other media. Active Anime lauded the characters for not being "simple cardboard cut-out characters" due to their "fleshed out personalities" and "underlying dramatic motivations", and praised the "deeply moving emotional trials" they undergo over the course of the series. Adam Cook of Anime Boredom agreed with this assessment, extolling the characters as "well rounded" and "imaginative", and celebrated how the characters allowed the series to successfully incorporate comedy, action, and drama together in a believable manner. Christina Ross of T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews disagreed, dismissing the characters as echoes of stereotypical shōnen characters, and noted that several of the characters were not likable. A second review from Derrick Tucker, also of T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews offered a more positive view, commenting that Naruto Uzumaki combined the finer values of his shōnen predecessors, but lamented how the characters' personalities tended to fall between Naruto's "charisma and coolness" and Sasuke's "blandness", making it difficult to think about the characters on "any deep or meaningful level". Justin Rich of the entertainment website Mania asserted that the series lacked the "tremendous depth in it's [sic] characters" or "the most flushed out backgrounds" seen in other shōnen series, and believed the primary strength of the series was the fighting. The anime and manga magazine Neo described Naruto's character as "irksome", but attributed the series' "almost sickening addictiveness" to its level of characterization.
The visual appearances of the characters in the anime and manga have also received notice from reviewers. Carl Kimlinger of Anime News Network praised the characters' "distinctive clothing, hair, faces and personalities" that made them easily identifiable, as well as Kishimoto's "clear eye for geography, movement and the human form" and "impeccable visual timing". Tucker, on the other hand, described Kishimoto as "an average artist at best" and derided the poor transition of his artistic style into animation. Despite this, he admitted that when the animators were at their best, they produced "artistic renderings that leave little to be desired on the part of fans of the manga", but ultimately concluded the animation was "a mixed bag".
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