One of the biggest anime and manga series of the last twenty years is Naruto. The character that even the worst people in the world would root for has been through a lot in the series, and all the losses he experienced made him into what we know today. Naruto is a current Seventh Hokage in the Boruto series and one of the most powerful ninjas ever; however, over the 700 chapters of the manga series and 500 episodes of anime, Naruto has lost a lot to get to his happy ending.
In this article, we will present you with all 13 Naruto deaths that shocked the audience and the characters within the Naruto series and provide you with a ranked list of their importance and impact on the series. We will provide you with our reasoning for each entry, and if you are interested in this Naruto topic, stay with us until the end of the article.
One of the characters that was a villain of the series in the first part of Naruto, Gaara, is one of the characters with the most progression throughout the series. At first, a bitter young boy with dark childhood and the burden of being a One-Tailed Shukaku’s jinchuriki, Gaara died during the Naruto Shippuden story arc called Kazekage Rescue Mission when the members of Akatsuki kidnapped him intending to extract the Tailed Beast from his body.
Gaara dies when One-Tailed Beast is extracted from him, and the rescue team of Naruto, Sakura, Kakashi, and Chiyo cannot conventionally save him. Chiyo trades her life for Gaara’s and apologizes to the young man for even sealing the One-Tailed Beast into him and burdening his already hard life. Gaara realizes he is not alone and gains friends in Sakura, Kakashi, and Naruto, for whom he always said his friendship saved the young Kazekage’s life.
Before Hinata became Naruto’s wife, she was only an admirer of the Konoha’s Misfit from afar. Her life was hard enough with being the next heiress of the Hyuuga clan and the fact that her own father almost disowned her because she didn’t seem fit for the role. Despite all of that, one problematic boy inspired her to try her best, and Hinata became Naruto’s shadow.
However, during the Pain’s Assault on the Konohagakure, many people were in danger, and Naruto stepped up to protect his village. In one sequence, Naruto almost died, pinned to the ground, and Hinata came out of nowhere and decided to protect her love from Pain.
She was obviously overpowered, but during the sequence, Hinata confessed her feelings to Naruto and sacrificed her life, which triggered the awakening of Naruto’s Nine-Tail manifestation. In the end, she was resurrected by Nagato himself, with the rest of the fallen Konoha shinobi, and Hinata became one of the more prominent characters in Naruto’s story.
11. Rin Nohara
Even though she wasn’t the main character of the Naruto series, Rin Nohara’s importance was hailed as one of the most important ones, especially to the likes of Kakashi and Obito Uchiha. Rin herself held up Kakashi and Obito’s story and friendship, and the team of shinobi led by the Yellow Flash himself, Minato Namikaze, had a bright future ahead of them.
However, the cheerful medical ninja Obito loved dearly was tainted by Uchiha’s supposed death during the Third Shinobi World War. After the devastating death of their teammate, the remaining members of Team Minato continue with their lives. Still, when Kakashi unintentionally kills Rin, Obito watches the death from the shadows and vows to destroy Konoha and his once dear friend.
He did not know that Rin was kidnapped during the Third Shinobi World War by Kirigakure and was forcibly made into jinchuriki of Three-Tailed Beast. Rin Nohara was supposed to release the best onto her village and destroy it, but her sacrifice to save everyone had an unimaginable impact on the main story of the Naruto series.
10. Third Hokage
Hiruzen Sarutobi, also known as the Third Hokage, was one of the most powerful shinobi in the world. Other shinobi barely matched his skill, but his wisdom was valuable to countless people of the Konohagakure. The Third was also the sensei of legendary Sannin, and his impact on Naruto’s story is bigger than we realize.
During the Konoha Crush storyline, Orochimaru, with the help of Suna village, uses the Chuunin exams to attack the Konoha village. Orochimaru purposely separates the Hokage from the rest and starts fighting his former mentor. Realizing his end is near regardless, Hiruzen sacrifices himself to seal Orochimaru’s powers and manages to drive Orochimaru away from the village in years to come. His sacrifice prompted the change of the leader and the truth of Konoha’s vulnerability against the outside forces.
Chiyo, or as Naruto called her, Granny Chiyo, was an important character during the Kazekage Rescue Mission arc in the Naruto Shippuden series. A legendary Puppet Master of Suna, Chiyo helped Sakura take down Sasori, her estranged grandson and one of the most talented Suna shinobi ever.
Chiyo uses her life force-transferring jutsu to heal Sakura and proceeds to help the Gaara rescue team locate the young Kazekage. The team stumbles upon an already dead Gaara, and Chiyo decides to sacrifice herself to save the Fifth Kazekage. Ultimately, Granny Chiyo passed on her legacy to the younger generations.
Another Sarutobi on this list is Asuma, a leader of Team 10 and a new generation of Konoha’s famous Ino-Shika-Cho. Asuma was always a cool and patient character in the series, and his presence always gave off calming aura. Despite being cool and wise (inherited from his father, Hiruzen), Asuma was a vicious cigarette smoker, which was his signature.
Of course, being part of the Sarutobi clan, Asuma was an immensely skilled Jonin and hailed as one of the best of his generation. His compassion and willingness to help the Konoha Eleven generation were always present, so his death in the Naruto series was a huge shock and emotional rollercoaster.
During the fight with the Akatsuki members, the immortal Hidan kills Asuma, who dies in Shikamaaru’s arms. His death greatly impacted Team 10’s life, especially Shikamaru, who looked up to his mentor.
Personally, this death was one of the most impactful ones since it changed the way Naruto and others looked at the Akatsuki threat and realized that even the best cannot always win.
Now, we all know Kakashi is alive, but the temporary death of one of the series’s most important and loveable characters was insane back in the day. Fans who read the manga knew what would happen during the Pain invasion, so anime fans were shocked, to say the least when Pain killed Kakashi.
The Copy-nin sacrificed himself for the village, and when Naruto came back to the village and realized his mentor was dead, he was devastated. In the end, Nagato used his Rebirth Jutsu and revived the deceased people of the conflict, but that death scare and whole arc showed how even the most powerful shinobi are vulnerable.
Arguably, one of the most heartbreaking deaths of the Fourth Shinobi World War is the death of Neji, one of the members of Team Guy, and Konoha 11. This death came out of nowhere since Neji’s arc mostly consisted of him dealing with the fact he is part of the branch family and his acceptance of Naruto and his cousin Hinata.
During the Fourth Shinobi War, Neji protects his cousin Hinata and fulfills the duties of the Branch Hyuuga family to sacrifice for the Main Hyuuga family. His death impacts Hinata and Naruto greatly, and even though his death was an emotional rollercoaster at that time, looking back to it, I realized that Masashi Kishimoto really abandoned his character after the Chuunin Exams in the first part of the Naruto series. Neji deserved much better.
Uchiha clan was always the sacrificial lamb of the Naruto series, without exaggerating at all. Itachi was one of the most skilled and talented shinobi of the Naruto series, and his impact directly stirred the plot of the series as a whole.
Itachi was Sasuke’s brother and prodigy of the Uchiha clan. He always wanted to protect his village and was always against his clan’s motivation to start a coup d’etat against the Konoha leaders. But most importantly, Itachi loved his brother Sasuke more than everything. Despite sacrificing his whole clan for Sasuke’s and Konoha’s sake, Itachi became the village’s enemy, and Sasuke vowed to kill his older brother.
During the long-awaited fight between the Uchiha brothers, even in his bad state, Itachi defeats Sasuke and presents the truth about Konoha and his clan. Itachi was deemed a hero of Konoha village and one of the most important characters in the Naruto series.
4. Obito Uchiha
One of the most important characters and antagonists of the Naruto series, Obito Uchiha, went through a lot. Team Minato marked his beginning, and his ties with Rin and Kakashi only grew over the years. After his supposed death and witnessing his love Rin dies at the hands of Kakashi, Obito becomes a pawn of Madara and starts the conquest that was active for years.
Death and manipulation surrounded Obito for decades, and when the escalation occurred during the Fourth Shinobi War, Obito was once again on the side of evil. However, after meeting Naruto, Obito surrenders to the Allied Forces and saves Kakashi’s life. Finally, after so many years of yearning, Obito is reunited with Rin, his first and only love.
3. Haku and Zabuza
One of the first big arcs of the Naruto series was the Prologue – The Land of Waves arc and the first mission of Team 7. Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, and Kakashi encountered the former member of the Kirigakure’s Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist, Zabuza Momochi. Now the missing-nin, Zabuza, travels and does illegal jobs as a thug for the local crime boss Gato, with the help of Haku, a boy that Zabuza trained as his ultimate weapon.
Zabuza treats Haku badly and uses him as a tool for his doings. After the fight with Team 7 and the death of Haku, Naruto confronts Zabuza for his actions and treatment of Haku. Zabuza realizes that he loves the boy, and after the heartfelt and emotional goodbye, Zabuza attacks Gato and avenges his death by killing the filthy crime boss.
In his ending moments, Zabuza looks at Haku once more and wishes he could go wherever the boy goes in the afterlife and dies of injuries. Zabuza and Haku were buried next to each other, and The Prologue of Naruto series, part one, impacted the life of Naruto massively – and Team 7 as a whole.
We are getting closer to the end of the list, and the character deaths are getting increasingly important. Jiraiya is one of the most loveable and important characters in the Naruto series. Mostly characterized as a pervert and hermit with rarely unmatched shinobi skill, Jiraiya is Naruto’s godfather.
The fans didn’t know this fact until the Chuunin Exam arc when one-third of the Konoha’s Sannin unexpectedly came back to the village. After surviving the invasion of Konoha village, Jiraiya makes it his mission to train his godson and teach him everything he knows. Ero-Sennin and Naruto come back to the village after a few years, and the protegee shows what he learned in the years of absence. The loveable but perverted legendary Sannin, writer of the popular Icha Icha series, inspired by the rejections of Tsunade, and the mentor of Naruto, dies at the hands of Pain.
Jiraiya’s death was heartbreaking to the fans, but the emotional reaction of Naruto upon hearing the news was the ultimate blow to already emotional arc. However, even in death, Jiraiya’s presence is always known in Naruto and even the new Boruto series – Naruto made sure of that.
1. Kushina and Minato
Finally, we have the parents of Naruto, beloved Kushina and Minato. The talented shinobi of Konoha village met when they were young. Kushina was made fun of because of her hair, and Minato was a soft-spoken but immensely talented shinobi who fell for the Red-Hot Habanero pretty fast. Kushina was part of the Uzumaki clan, and her talents made her one of the best shinobi in Konoha. The duo eventually gets married and is pregnant with Naruto. As soon as Naruto was born, Tobi appeared and took the baby hostage.
Tobi released the Nine-Tails from Kushina’s body, intending to attack Konoha. In the end, Kushina and Minato’s sacrifice for Naruto and Konoha was inevitable and complete and their deaths are the most important in the series – it brought us Naruto, the title character of the Naruto series.