The 10 Best Naruto Characters Ever

Naruto anniversary artwork

Naruto is one of the most popular manga, anime, and video game series of all time, and despite picking up in earnest over 20 years ago, it remained popular the entire time. It’s not hard to see why — with great storytelling and some fantastic action scenes, it’s got a little bit of everything for everyone.

The best part of Naruto, though, is its characters, and there are so many fantastic characters throughout the series’ 20-year run. But what’s the best character in all of Naruto? We tried to come up with an answer, but settling on just one was almost impossible. That’s why we put together this list of the 10 best Naruto characters ever, from the first chapter all the way up to the final episode of Shippuden.

Note as well that these are in no particular order, and we’re judging characters based on cool factor, their storylines in the series, and their abilities.

Related: Naruto Live-Action Movie Being Written and Helmed by Shang-Chi Director


Believe it. <p>Aniplex</p>
Believe it.


Look, Naruto is in the most episodes – given the show is literally named after him – and therefore has the most stories to pull from. His growth throughout the series is kind of the whole point of the show, from the social reject of the village to one of its most reliable and trustworthy warriors, beloved by all. It’s a great arc, and Naruto’s strong, bold personality is hard to dislike.


Tsunade is one of the legendary Sannin, and easily one of the strongest characters in the entire series. She’s the lord of the slugs, able to summon an adorable giant slug in combat, a god-tier medical ninja, and the pioneer of one of the most powerful techniques the series has seen.


Kakashi is here purely because of the cool factor, and it’s not hard to see why. He’s mysterious and interesting, able to copy any technique thanks to his sharingan, and has a great design. If there were ever going to be a prequel series, Kakashi’s adventures in the Anbu would be a nice way to go.


Choji is surprisingly cool. <p>Aniplex</p>
Choji is surprisingly cool.


At first glance, Choji seems to be the stereotypical fat character who cares about eating, sleeping, and nothing else. For a couple hundred episodes, that’s all he was, but then we got thrown a curveball — Choji’s family has special ninja physiology that allows them to convert calories into chakra for use in ninja skills. Because of this, they spend a lot of time eating to store up power to let out in explosive bursts. It was a nice subversion of a normally pretty gross trope, and Choji gets on the list because of it.


Shikamaru comes off as a lazy, disinterested slacker to begin with, but slowly grows into one of the most reliable ninja in Konohagakure. He’s a strategist at heart, obsessed with go and shogi, and makes good use of those strategies in battle, making him a natural leader and a worthy combatant — and it helps that his clan’s secret shadow possession technique is also very cool.


Gosh, Hinata is so cool. Her story has her being initially overshadowed by her cousin Neji, but seeing her come into her own is one of the highlights of the original series. By Shippuden, she’s become one of the most powerful and well-respected Chunin in the ninja world, and despite her shy demeanor, she really comes through when she’s needed most.


Look, yes, Jiraiya is a bit of a creepy weirdo, but as a mentor for Naruto, there really couldn’t be a better choice. He’s strong and wise enough to be the Hokage, but similarly wise enough to know that he’d be a terrible Hokage, and despite being a bit of a troublemaker, he deeply cares for Naruto and all of his students.


Origami powers are deeply cool.<p>Aniplex</p>
Origami powers are deeply cool.


Konan might be a bit of a strange pick, but she’s got a lot of things going for her. Her history with Jiraiya, and how that plays out when they meet again, is deeply fascinating, and when that extends to her relationship with Naruto it becomes even more interesting. On the other side of things, her paper ninjutsu is incredibly cool, and sometimes that’s enough.


Ino gets a rough start in Naruto, being little more than a romantic rival to Sakura, vying for Sasuke’s attention. Once that gets out of the way, though, Ino is a super cool, super talented ninja — although her storylines aren’t quite as flashy as others’. Still, she’s got some cool techniques, and her clan’s mind switch technique is a lot of fun conceptually.


What an icon. <p>Aniplex</p>
What an icon.


I tossed up between Sasuke and Sakura for this last spot, but Sakura just barely scraped ahead. She’s the leading woman of the series, and she has well and truly earned her role over the course of the series. Beyond the multiple phenomenal stories she has throughout the series – not all of which are focused on Sasuke – she’s also very smart, very powerful, and extremely talented, and easily one of the best all-rounders in the series.

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