Naruto features some of the most iconic anime characters of all time, but it also has some of the lowest stakes of any anime simply due to the ludicrous power levels its characters reach. Using chakra, characters in Naruto are capable of everything from superhuman physical abilities to elemental mastery and reality-warping spells.
RELATED: 10 Worst Things About Naruto Uzumaki
The series is still continuing with Naruto's son, Boruto, as the protagonist of his own series. With so many new characters still being developed and introduced, it makes sense to run down some of the most powerful shinobi in Naruto lore.
CBR VIDEO OF THE DAY
25 Sasori Of The Red Sand
Ninja puppet masters are special shinobi who utilize life-sized weaponized dolls that are controlled through chakra threads. Sasori of the Red Sand was so talented in crafting puppets that he developed the ability to make human puppets, weaponized bodies protected from decay that retained the abilities of the people they once were.
After a few years on his own, Sasori managed the impossible: turning his own body into a weaponized puppet. With his new body, Sasori could connect his puppet collection directly to his chakra system, making the number of puppets he could control at once virtually limitless. With this ability, he conquered an entire country single-handedly.
His time in the series was brief, but Kimimaro was one of the most instantly iconic and dangerous villains introduced in Naruto. As the last scion of the Kaguya clan, he was the sole remaining user of his family's Kekkei Genkai, which has the ability to manipulate the calcium in their bodies, allowing them to use their own bones as weapons.
Kimimaro was found by the manipulative ninja scientist Orochimaru, who turned the lost youth into a powerful assassin with the help of his Curse Mark technique. Orochimaru's Curse Mark assistance helped Kimimaro become strong enough to tame the berserker Jugo, assist in the assassination of the Fourth Kazekage, and lead the Sound Ninja Five.
Kakuzu, the short-tempered financier of the villainous Akatsuki organization, found a way to use all five chakra elements, which isn't common in Naruto. Using Earth Grudge, Kakuzu turned his body into a shell held together by hundreds of grey tentacles that allow him to extend his reach and expand his lifespan by stealing and absorbing the hearts of others.
Kakuzu's tentacles also allow him to access the chakra natures of his victims by stealing their hearts. Additionally, Kakuzu is a keen strategist, who was capable of making the best use of his powers in any given situation. Since he technically had five hearts and his body could be restored by his Earth Grudge, he had to be killed five separate times in quick succession.
22 Shikamaru Nara
Apart from being the series' most brilliant strategist, Shikamaru was the sole heir to one of the Hidden Leaf's most prestigious clans and inherited from their repertoire of creative abilities. His main technique was the Shadow Possession Jutsu, an ability that allowed him to control his opponents' bodies by connecting his chakra to their shadows.
RELATED: 10 Best Things About Naruto Uzumaki
Shikamaru is easily able to think ten moves ahead of his opponents and quickly weed out the most efficient winning strategy. In his battle with Hidan, Shikamaru was able to predict the course of the battle so well that he ended up manipulating Hidan into helping the Leaf shinobi kill his partner, Kakuzu.
Yamato was destined to be one of the most powerful ninja in the entire series virtually from birth. As an infant, he was kidnapped and experimented on by Orochimaru, who implanted the baby with living cell tissue from Hashirama, the first Hokage of the Hidden Leaf Village. Yamato was the only survivor of the experiments and developed the ability to use Hashirama's legendary Wood Style.
As soon as his unique ability generated itself, Yamato was scooped up by the shadowy ANBU Root foundation, an elite black ops team that developed a cult-like group around Danzo Shimura. Under Shimura's direction, Yamato perfected his Wood Style to the point where he could create wooden clones from his own body among other amazing feats.
20 Kisame Hoshigaki
Hailing from the barbaric Village Hidden in the Mist, Kisame was a master of water-based techniques, particularly ones that involved the creation and manipulation of shark clones. Kisame was so proficient that he was able to create a giant, mobile water prison by spitting out an entire sea's worth of water to manipulate.
Samehada was a semi-sentient sword capable of eating and absorbing chakra and redirecting it to its master in the form of stamina and energy. Kisame and Samehada were bonded for so long that their chakra signatures eventually became identical, allowing them to merge into an anthropomorphic shark form that doubled Kisame’s strength and speed.
19 Hiruzen Sarutobi
Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third Hokage of the Hidden Leaf, was the most powerful ninja in the village for multiple generations. He was made Hokage as a young man who then devoted himself to being the protector of his people and learning how to protect them as best he could. This involved him learning a multitude of high-powered jutsu and techniques, including some forbidden ones.
In his youth, Sarutobi was revered as a veritable god among shinobi. By the time Naruto starts, however, Hiruzen was well into his old age, and his abilities had deadened somewhat, but he was still able to hold his own in a fight. He also demonstrated his unique summoning technique, calling the Chinese folklore character the Monkey King to fight at his side.
18 Mei Terumi
Aside from her outgoing, flirty personality, Mei was born of two iconic clans in the Hidden Mist, giving her access to two different Kekkei Genkai. With her Vapor Style, she could exhale a giant cloud of highly acidic mist that could melt through everything from flesh to metal to even the impenetrable chakra defenses of the Susanoo.
RELATED: The 20 Best Fights In The Original Naruto Anime
Mei's other unique ability was the Lava Style technique, a jutsu that lets her spit out bursts or a steady stream of boiling lava, which she can control at will. On top of her more specified powers, she's also a master of lightning, fire, earth, and water style jutsu, making her one of only a few ninja who can use up to four chakra natures.
17 Lady Tsunade
A descendant of the first Hokage, Tsunade was born into one of the most powerful ninja clans of all time, but Tsunade was not meant for war. Instead, she applied her skills as one of the most proficient medical ninjas of all time. Her control over her chakra was so precise that she could stitch together virtually any wound and could even use her hand as a scalpel.
Tsunade was also the first person to realize the combat potential of medical ninjutsu. She was able to divert her chakra to specific limbs, increasing her physical strength tenfold. Her strength was so monstrous that she was able to cause seismic events with her punches. Her most impressive feat is, by far, her Mitotic Regeneration, which allows quick healing but shortens her lifespan.
16 Gaara Of The Desert
At his birth, Gaara became the unwilling vessel of Shukaku, the one-tailed demon of the desert. Though the demon gave Gaara incredible powers, it also whispered violent advice. By the time he was introduced to the series, Gaara's control of sand was so precise that his go-to combat method was simply to encapsulate his enemy in a coffin of sand and crush them to death.
In a worst-case scenario, Gaara could give control to Shukaku and even transform into the giant demon to wreak havoc on his opponent. Even when Shukaku was eventually removed from his body, Gaara had access to a plethora of powerful abilities, such as a third eye made of sand that could connect to his optic nerve.
A is the Fourth Raikage of the Village Hidden in the Clouds and a master of lightning style. A could use his chakra to surround his body with an electric aura that enhanced his speed exponentially, even compared to the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, who could teleport with a space-time technique. He's so fast that he was able to use his speed to beat Tsunade at arm wrestling.
Through both his speed and his incredible physical strength, A developed his own combat technique that Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto based largely on real-life professional wrestling moves. With his supernatural speed, A can move faster than the eye can follow and deliver devastating attacks before his opponents even know he's there.
14 Onoki The Fence-Sitter
As the third Tsuchikage, Onoki is naturally a powerful ninja, but his abilities start to break the physical laws of the Naruto world. Using his expertise in Earth Style jutsu, Onoki can make himself so light that he can achieve flight or make his enemies so heavy that they sink into the ground. He's also able to create rock golems, giant humanoid boulders that he can send into battle for him.
RELATED: The 10 Weirdest Episodes Of Naruto, Ranked
Onoki's ultimate technique was handed down to him by his predecessor, the Particle Style jutsu. By using three elemental types at once, Onoki can turn his target into nothing but dust. As a Kage, Onoki helped to break through Madara's impenetrable Susanoo and even helped Gaara to stop the Shattered Heaven technique, which calls down a pair of meteors to strike a specific point.
13 Kakashi Hatake
Kakashi Hatake was the first shinobi who appeared overpowered. As a child prodigy, Kakashi demonstrated his ability to manipulate four chakra elements from a young age. Under the tutelage of the Fourth Hokage, Kakashi grew into a powerful ninja capable of developing his own ultimate technique, the piercing lightning jutsu called Chidori.
However, the jutsu never fully worked until Kakashi received his greatest gift: the Sharingan Eye. Later, his Sharingan evolved into a Mangekyo Sharingan, giving him access to the Kamui ability, which lets Kakashi warp objects between dimensions. Apart from his extensive list of techniques, Kakashi is a combat genius and is capable of making up new tactics and jutsu on the fly.
12 Jiraiya The Toad Sage
The only person to turn down the title of Hokage, Jiraiya was one of the three Sannin, a team consisting of himself, Tsunade, and Orochimaru, who represented the best shinobi of the Hidden Leaf during one of the many shinobi wars. Jiraiya was also the Toad Sage, a powerful shinobi capable of using sage chakra to enhance his strength and speed.
Outside of Sage Mode, Jiraiya was extremely proficient with ninjutsu and had several unique abilities, but his most powerful technique was learned from his student, the Fourth Hokage: the Rasengan. This swirling sphere of pure chakra was capable of cutting through solid wood, blasting enemies several yards away, and became the signature move of both Jiraiya and Naruto.
11 Danzo Shimura
In battle, Danzo is a master of Wind Style techniques, specifically vacuum-based suction attacks. The Sharingan implanted in his right eye was an evolved Mangekyo Sharingan which gave him the Kotoamatsukami ability, the power to cast an illusion so subtle that it can alter the will of its victims without them even realizing it.
Danzo was also capable of summoning a powerful chimera beast to fight for him in desperate situations. He could even use Wood Style jutsu, though he didn't have good control over it. His most powerful technique, however, came from the Sharingan in his arm, which allowed him to use the reality-warping Izanagi.
10 Kabuto Yakushi
A medical prodigy, Kabuto's combat ability was at first limited to turning his arms into sharpened scalpels with his chakra. After Orochimaru's apparent death, however, Kabuto implanted himself with Orochimaru's cells and transformed into an anthropomorphic snake. With his new body and abilities, Kabuto was able to learn powerful sage techniques.
RELATED: All Of Naruto Uzumaki's Techniques, Ranked By Least To Most Used
Kabuto's most dangerous jutsu is the Edo Tensei, the Impure World Resurrection Technique. With just a few bits of DNA from a dead shinobi, Kabuto can reanimate them to do his bidding. Kabuto claimed to have perfected this technique and was able to summon an army of dead ninja to fight in the Fourth Great Ninja War.
9 Might Guy
Though capable of using ninjutsu, Might Guy chose to specialize in taijutsu and is without a doubt the most accomplished and powerful physical fighter in the entire Naruto universe. Using just his fighting skills, Guy was able to hold off both Itachi and Kisame when they attempted to invade the Leaf Village.
When pushed to dangerous levels, he can use the Eight Inner Gates, a series of chakra stabilizers throughout a shinobi's body that can be overclocked to temporarily grant them superhuman strength and speed at a physical price. By opening all eight Inner Gates, Guy turns his blood into pure fire and exudes it from all of his pores, exemplifying his impressive power.
As the most powerful of the Hidden Leaf's legendary Sannin, Orochimaru's power was surpassed only by his twin ambitions of learning every jutsu ever created and achieving immortality. He specialized in body techniques and even created an Immortality Jutsu that allowed him to transfer his soul between different vessels to stay alive.
Though he is incapable of using sage jutsu, Orochimaru crafted his signature Curse Mark technique by modifying sage chakra. The Curse Mark imbues its target with a sliver of Orochimaru's elemental power to enhance their power. In a pinch, Orochimaru can even resurrect himself from the bit of his DNA in the Curse Seal.
7 Obito Uchiha
After being presumed dead during a mission in his childhood, Obito was recovered and healed by Madara, who kept him alive with cells from the First Hokage, which gave Obito limited use of Wood Style. As an Uchiha, Obito was able to unlock the Sharingan. When he witnessed his crush being killed by his best friend, Obito's Sharingan evolved into its Mangekyo form.
Obito later acquired the Rinnegan, a supplementary eye technique several steps beyond the Mangkeyo that granted him access to Six Paths Jutsu, the powers of the legendary Sage of Six Paths. Not long after that, Obito became the jinchuriki host of the unstoppable Ten-Tails. In his new and final form, Obito could naturally fly and had access to the Truth-Seeking Balls.
Hailing from the Village Hidden in the Rain, Nagato was transplanted with the Rinnegan eyes at a very young age. He was trained in ninjutsu by Jiraiya, who revered the young war refugee as a reincarnation of the Sage. Nagato was capable of all five chakra natures, projecting an astral image of himself and others, and could spy on people through rainfall.
With the Six Paths of Pain, Nagato could control gravity, summon a wide variety of giant animals, absorb chakra, control people's souls, and turn into a weaponized cyborg. With his Rinnegan, he had shared his vision with his Paths. With this power, he captured and killed several powerful jinchuriki, murdered his old teacher Jiraiya, and even decimated the Village Hidden in the Leaves.