The Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Ranked

Since 1999, the most powerful Naruto characters featured in over 70 manga volumes and 700+ animated television episodes. Over the course of two decades, creator Masashi Kishimoto introduced readers and viewers of all ages to many memorable characters, including the famous “knucklehead ninja” Naruto Uzumaki. Some of these characters were goofy and endearing, while others were incredibly threatening and dubious – and they all had various levels of powers and abilities. Discerning a Naruto power ranking is certainly no easy task. With a range of abilities and different strengths, it is hard to determine precisely whether one character was more capable in battle than another.

The most powerful characters in the Naruto franchise are those who could stand alone against a sea of enemies. While most of them didn’t have to because the shinobi of the series were organized in teams, that didn’t mean they weren’t capable of it. Training, natural talent, and inherited skills from specific bloodlines all made for some seriously formidable fighters, including the titular Naruto himself. Of course, just because the franchise features his story doesn’t necessarily mean Naruto is the most powerful character.

29 Kimimaro

Kimimaro’s unique abilities, which involved bone protruding from his skin to use as weapons, made him extremely strong in a fight. He’s got incredible hand-to-hand combat skills as well. Unfortunately, the bulk of the time that the Naruto audience knew Kimimaro was when he’s afflicted by an unknown illness that made it nearly impossible for him to last in a fight.

Kimimaro was able, even while sick, to battle a young Naruto, then Rock Lee, and then Gaara. At the time, the three of them weren’t nearly as powerful as they would become – or as experienced in a fight. He died in the middle of battle though as his illness has weakened him so much that prior to the confrontation he was mostly bedridden.

28 Sasori

Sasori standing in front of his Third Kazekage puppet

Puppetry was one of the strangest specialties in the Naruto franchise. It involved literally controlling puppets to battle enemies. Sasori was, quite possibly, the most powerful puppet master in Naruto. He’s so effective against his enemies that he has the nickname “Sasori of the Red Sand” for the blood his puppets have spilled.

He didn’t just use puppets of his own creation either. Sasori turned some of his victims into puppets, like the Third Kazekage. Of course, he’s not the strongest fighter in the franchise as he did lose to Konan in a fight, which is how he ended up a member of the Akatsuki in the first place. His abilities seemed largely uneven throughout his appearances.

27 Kisame

Kisame holding his sword in Naruto

As a member of both the Seven Ninja Swordsmen Of The Mist and the Akatsuki, it’s clear that Kisame was a strong villain in the Naruto franchise. He started his time as a shinobi as a guard, but was forced to kill the very people he was guarding to prevent any intelligence from leaking to enemies – only to discover that the person who encouraged him to do just that lied to him and sold information the entire time.

Kisame’s rage at the world not being a truthful place was largely what fueled him. He mastered swordplay in addition to the more typical shinobi abilities, giving him an edge over some of the more skilled hand-to-hand combatants in the series. He might not be the most powerful Naruto fighter in the franchise, but his fight scenes were certainly fun to watch.

26 Onoki

Onoki using Dust Release in the Naruto anime

It’s an unwritten rule that if a character became a village leader, they must have been a powerful Naruto character. Onoki was the leader of the Village Hidden In The Stones, and he exceled in Earth Style ninjutsu. Of course, he also exceled in Particle Style, or Dust Release, ninjutsu, which was what allowed him to rank among the most powerful Naruto characters.

Someone as adept at Dust Release as Onoki could actually destroy objects (or enemies) at a molecular level. He could also make himself light enough to fly or even cause his enemies to become heavy enough to sink. His unique skills made it hard for anyone who didn’t have the same nature type to fight him. Of course, Onoki was entirely too reliant on Dust Release and didn’t have many other combat skills.

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25 Kabuto Yakushi

Kabuto shows off his reptilian arm in Naruto

Initially, Kabuto seemed like he might be one of the good guys. He offered up advice to Team 7 on more than one occasion and even helped to save Hinata Hyuga at one point. Of course, that’s all to cover up that he’s really an apprentice to Orochimaru.

Kabuto proved himself a formidable opponent. He used a lot of the same skills as his teacher, even leaning on snakes for support in a fight. It’s Kabuto’s ability to sniff out other people’s insecurities and use them to his advantage in battle — like Tsunade’s fear of blood — that made him a particularly powerful Naruto character. When it comes to raw power, however, a lot of other characters have him beat.

24 Shikamaru Nara

Shikamaru stands in front of a pregnant Kurenai to protect her from a potential attack in Naruto Shippuden

When the series first began, Shikamaru Nara was, by his own admission, the laziest student at the shinobi academy. He found school boring as he picked up skills quickly, and he very quickly mastered his family’s specialty – controlling shadows. Shikamaru used his own shadow to quite literally reach out to his opponents and control them. It’s a feat he’s able to control for long periods of time despite not having the immense chakra reserves of others. That isn’t, however, why he’s so powerful. Instead, it’s how he used his abilities.

Shikamaru was one of the most strategic shinobi. His intelligence was legendary. Always several steps ahead of everyone else, Shikamaru knew exactly when to pull his punches, conserve his energy, and how to use the surrounding environment to his advantage. That’s why he’s able to take on Hidan by himself when no one else could. He became so adept that he’s eventually advisor to the Hokage, though Shikamaru would make a great Hokage himself.

23 Yamato

Yamato is surprised in battle as he rips fabric from an enemy in Naruto Shippuden

When Kakashi was away from his students for an extended mission, Yamato took over as a mentor for Naruto and Sakura (and the added Sai). He might not have had all of Kakashi’s skills, but he’s chosen for one very big reason.

Yamato had the skills to actually tame the nine-tailed beast inside of Naruto, so to speak. When Naruto started to lose control during training, Yamato was the only one able to reign him in. That, along with his ability to use Wood Release, something very few shinobi ever do, made him an incredibly powerful character in Naruto.

22 Mei Terumi

Mei Terumi in her Mizukage garb in Naruto: Shippuden

When Mei Terumi became the Mizukage of the Village Hidden in the Mist, she inherited its very bloody history. While she didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of the leaders that came before her, she was still one tough shinobi in a position of power. She also inherited some pretty powerful abilities thanks to having ancestry from two different prominent clans.

Her bloodline meant she not only used Vapor Style, but also Lava Style. Either of those skills would be powerful on its own. An acidic mist that can melt through anything in its path and the ability to expel actual lava are already impressive. Add to that the fact that she mastered lightning, fire, earth, and water chakra natures, and she’s a seriously powerful opponent in Naruto.

21 Sakura Haruno

Sakura rubs her head in confusion in Naruto

As a member of Kakashi’s Team 7, Sakura Haruno has become the subject of many memes and received a lot of flack from the fan community for being weak in comparison to her two super-powered teammates. By the end of the series, Naruto and Sasuke were built up to be two of the strongest ninjas ever to walk the Earth. Unfortunately, Sakura’s teammates’ immense power only made her look weak by comparison, but this strong female should not be taken lightly.

After being trained under Lady Tsunade, one of the legendary Sannin and the Hidden Leaf Village’s fifth Hokage, Sakura became a force to be reckoned with and a respected medical ninja. Sakura was successful in bringing down puppet-master Sasori. All in all, Sakura is not only one of the more underrated forces in the Naruto universe, but she also stands tall among some of the strongest characters from the entire series.

20 Minato Namikaze

Minato after resurrection in Naruto: Shippuuden

Tales of the Fourth Hokage’s brave endeavors have been told long after his demise. His sacrifice to bring down the Nine-Tailed Fox was not only an important plot device for the animated series, but it is also part of the reason he’s actually one of the most powerful Naruto characters. Being trained under Jiraiya, a member of the legendary Sannin trio, Minato quickly grew into one of the greatest ninjas of all time.

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Due to his performance during the Great Ninja War, as well as his overall demeanor and leadership capabilities, Minato was chosen as the Leaf Village’s Fourth Hokage over a member of the legendary Sannin, Orochimaru. Known as the Yellow Flash of the Leaf, the Fourth Hokage is easily one of the fastest ninjas in the series as a whole. On his own, Minato is easily one of the strongest characters in Naruto.

19 Gaara

A close-up of an annoyed Gaara in Naruto

Gaara of the Sand had arguably the most heart-breaking backstory of any character in the anime. Like Naruto, Gaara was a jinchūriki — someone with a tailed beast spirit sealed within them. However, he wa not nearly as upbeat as the titular, knucklehead ninja. It was not until after an incredible battle with the series’ protagonist, as well as some wise words from Naruto himself, that Gaara realized his duty to protect his own village. After a change of heart, the sand ninja quickly became Suna’s Fifth Kazekage at an incredibly young age.

Cased in an armor of sand, Gaara was nearly impenetrable. While he began his journey as a villain sent to attack the Village Hidden in the Leaves, he quickly became a valued ally, saving the day on more than one occasion. Even without drawing on the tailed beast’s power inside him, his control of sand made him a hugely powerful Naruto character.

18 Kakashi

Kakashi gives a thumbs up in Naruto

Before he ever received his Sharingan eye from former teammate Obito, Kakashi Hatake was a standout shinobi trained by the Fourth Hokage himself. After receiving the eye, however, he became regarded far and wide as “The Copy Ninja,” a warrior known for his ability to learn Jutsu from other ninjas and repeat them virtually immediately. In fact, Kakashi was referred to as “the ninja who copied over 1000 Jutsu” in the anime.

As the leader of Team 7, Kakashi trained Sasuke, Sakura, and Naruto. Not to mention, this shinobi was a longtime member of the Anbu Black Ops, an elite tactical unit of ninjas, and remains one of the strongest Naruto characters. His master of skills earned him the spot of Sixth Hokage.

17 Lady Tsunade

Tsunade in Naruto

Tsunade was widely regarded as the world’s strongest kunoichi — a female ninja — as well as one of the greatest medical ninja of all time, despite her crippling fear of blood (a fear that she later overcomes). After years of aimless wandering and gambling, becoming just as widely regarded as “The Legendary Sucker,” Tsunade was persuaded by Naruto and her former teammate Jiraiya to return to the Hidden Leaf and become the village’s Fifth Hokage.

Granddaughter to Hashirama Senju — known as the First Hokage and one of the Hidden Leaf’s founders — Lady Tsunade was virtually shinobi royalty. However, the kunoichi did not simply rest on her laurels. During the Second Shinobi World War, her team (Jiraiya and Orochimaru) were anointed with the title of “Legendary Sannin,” given their great performance in battle.

16 Killer Bee

Killer Bee stands with crossed arms in Naruto: Shippuden

Killer B is another jinchūriki. Harnessing the power of the Eight-Tailed beast, B did not see himself as cursed like the other shinobi with demons sealed within them. After years of struggling, B eventually befriended his demon. In fact, it was B who taught Naruto how to utilize the power of his own demon in order to become stronger.

Despite his immense power, B’s dream was not to become a great shinobi like Naruto’s, but rather, he wished to become the world’s greatest rapper. Rhymes and rhythms can be heard during his countless battles as well as his everyday conversation. While he was strong enough on his own, B later gained the power of Kisame Hoshigaki’s sharkskin blade, Samehada — a sword that sucks chakra from its victims.

15 Jiraiya

A pensive Jiraiya from Naruto.

Jiraiya was not only one of the strongest characters in the anime, but he was also one of the Hidden Leaf’s finest teachers. Jiraiya was responsible for training some of the anime’s greatest shinobi: Naruto, the Fourth Hokage, Nagato, Konan, and Yahiko, among others. In fact, one of the few teachers arguably on the same level as Jiraiya was his own sensei, the Third Hokage.

Jiraiya’s power and leadership abilities were so great that he was first approached to serve as the Hidden Leaf’s Hokage, but he insisted that another Sannin, Tsunade, take up the mantle instead. As the self-anointed Toad Sage, this legendary warrior is remembered for his wild antics and his humorously perverted nature, but make no mistake, Jiraiya was one of Naruto’s most powerful characters, bar none.

14 Might Guy

Might Guy stands with Kakashi in the woods in Naruto

Might Guy may fall into the same category as Jiraiya — a shinobi who appeared to be extremely silly on the surface, but again, make no mistake, for he was immensely powerful. Guy Sensei is a fan-favorite ninja whose hijinks make him appear as a less formidable opponent than he is, but being underestimated by his foes might only made him all the more dangerous.

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Being a master of taijutsu, Guy was simply unmatched in fighting ability among the Naruto characters. However, with no ninjutsu or genjutsu to speak of, he always needed to work twice as hard in order to succeed as a Leaf Village shinobi. Guy’s ability to open all Eight Gates — points within the body that limit the overall flow of chakra — set him apart from the rest, and, as a result, this ninja was able to take the likes of Madara Uchiha to the brink in their head-to-head battle.

13 Orochimaru

Naruto Akatsuki Orochimaru Itachi

Orochimaru never quite seems to get quite enough credit for being the evil genius he is. Dedicating his life to mastering every kind of jutsu imaginable, in addition to creating a few of his own, Orochimaru had more than a couple of tricks up his sleeve.

This villain’s slate of forbidden jutsu, specifically the Reanimation Jutsu which brings fallen warriors back to life, made Orochimaru one of the most feared shinobi in all the land. While he was formidable enough on his own, the ability to summon great ninja from the past made him all the more useful in battle. Needless to say, Orochimaru stands tall among some of the powerful Naruto characters.

12 Hiruzen Sarutobi

Hiruzen smiles and dies in Naruto

He might lose his big fight to Orochimaru, but that doesn’t mean that Hiruzen Sarutobi was less powerful than his pupil. The Third Hokage helped keep his village safe for multiple generations, even becoming Hokage again when he’s asked to take over the position following Minato’s death. A Hokage is always one of the most powerful shinobi in their generation, so that will tell fans plenty about just how powerful Hiruzen was.

At the time the original series takes place, Hiruzen was far advanced in years. As a result, he’s amassed a huge arsenal of jutsu to use in battle, summoning techniques, and strategies to keep him alive. One of the reasons that Orochimaru was able to best him was because Hiruzen himself taught Orochimaru many of the jutsu he uses. The former student knew his teacher well, and that ended up costing Hiruzen his life, not his lack of power.

11 Itachi Uchiha

Itachi with a crow in Naruto

As a child prodigy, Itachi Uchiha became one of the Anbu Black Ops youngest members and one of the Uchiha clan’s most promising ninjas. As powerful and as amazing as Sasuke appears to be, he spent most of his youth in the shadow of his older brother Itachi. Responsible for wiping out his entire clan (excluding his brother), Itachi became known far and wide as a rogue ninja, ranked as an S-level criminal in the bingo books. He later joined forces with the nefarious Akatsuki group and quickly became one of its most powerful and most valuable members.

However, Itachi was never evil, but, in fact, driven by a sense of duty in order to keep peace in the Hidden Leaf Village — a secret he kept even from his younger brother. Itachi later met his demise at the hand of his young brother in battle, but there is reason to believe that this elder child went a bit easy on Sasuke. The full extent of Itachi’s powers might not truly be known, but the audience knows enough to say that he ranks easily among the greatest and most powerful characters in Naruto.

10 Obito Uchiha

Tobi in his mask in Naruto

The ninja formerly known as Tobi went from comic relief to mastermind in a matter of episodes. Coyly watching from the sidelines, Obito controlled the Akatsuki from afar, but the big baddie carefully calculated each and every move. Few knew about his true purpose or power, and even Itachi underestimated him in the end.

Naruto and Obito are often seen as similar characters, and, like the protagonist, this member of the Uchiha clan goes from zero to powerhouse in no time flat. Unfortunately, the death of his beloved friend Rin caused Obito to drift toward the dark side and become one of the series’ most formidable villains, rather than one of its most uplifting heroes. Single-handedly defeating other members of the Akatsuki, Obito proved that he is more than worthy of his powerful reputation.

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