The Uchiha Clan is very specific in the world of Masahi Kishimoto’s Naruto. It was massacred by its own kin and left only with a few surviving members. Itachi Uchiha massacred his own clan, sparing only his younger brother, Sasuke. And while Itachi is going to be the focus of this article, we are not going to compare him to Sasuke, but rather to another very powerful character, Jiraiya, who is known for being one of the strongest Naruto characters of all time. If you want to find out who wins in this match-up between Jiraiya and Itachi, keep reading!
Jiraiya is stronger than Itachi Uchiha, and that has been officially confirmed. Namely, Masahi Kishimoto has confirmed that Jiraiya is indeed stronger and all of that Itachi himself, who – on two separate occasions – admitted that Jiraiya was too strong, even from him, and that he would not be able to defeat him in a one-on-one fight. Jiraiya is a legendary shinobi from the series, so this actually makes perfect sense.
Now that you have the short version of the answer, the rest of the article is going to be divided into three sections, with the first two introducing the characters, their powers, and their abilities. In the end, we’re going to give our final verdict and explanation on why Jiraiya is stronger than Itachi and why Itachi himself acknowledged that.
Chakra and physical prowess
Jiraiya has sufficient chakra reserves to call forth Gamabunta, and her chakra is powerful enough to perform Senjutsu. He was skilled with his chakra, able to use both hands simultaneously to produce a Rasengan or even use it to engrave words even when it was halted. He was skilled enough in genjutsu to instruct others on how to escape from it. With a single stroke of his finger, he has the raw force to launch Naruto a good distance. He is portrayed in the anime lifting and hurling enormous stones as well as chasing some of the multiheaded gigantic dogs away.
Itachi Uchiha demonstrated extraordinary qualities from a young age, such as his intellect and exceptional talent for all ninja disciplines. He managed to graduate from the ninja academy at the young age of 7, become a Chūnin at age 10, and be an ANBU squad captain at age 13. He was also admired by the teachers, who ensured that his progress needed no help. It’s hard to name all of his accomplishments, but that can’t be said to measure Itachi’s true ability.
His true potential could only be understood by those who approached his level. In the few battles he was seen participating in, he proved to be an incredibly strong ninja, managing to defeat a large number of powerful shinobi with great ease. Despite his modesty regarding his abilities, his Akatsuki teammate Kisame Hoshigaki, as well as Orochimaru, recognized that Itachi was much stronger than them. Even Obito said that Itachi never ceased to amaze him, even when he was dead.
And while Itachi is undoubtedly one of the most gifted characters in the whole series, Jiraiya is simply on a different level, and Itachi himself acknowledged that. This is why he gets this point easily.
Points: Jiraiya 1, Itachi 0
Jiraiya is skilled in a wide range of ninjutsu techniques. He had the unique ability to could grow and trim his hair for offense and defense, and he could even spit forth oil that would immobilize an adversary. Jiraiya picked up the method from his student Minato, the Rasengan, who managed to perfect it and create fantastic variations. He could even instruct Yahiko and Nagato in the manipulation of his chakra, thanks to his knowledge. Jiraiya’s reputation as a perfectionist was well-known. He could improvise or push the boundaries of a technique so much that he could even improve a simple Rank E move.
Over time, he proved to be highly valuable in espionage and reconnaissance, much as he did while developing the Jutsu: Transparent Escape, which he designed to aid him in spying on ladies. Jiraiya was an extremely skilled barrier practitioner in addition to his combat abilities. His skills include the Barrier: Pumpkin Toad Prison, which allows him to imprison an adversary within the belly of a tiny shaped toad with a lake of stomach acid, and the Barrier: Dome Formation Method, which enables him to detect movement within a set range. Although he possessed a basic understanding of genjutsu and how to counter it, he was not skilled at applying it and instead relied on his teammates’ use of illusions.
Itachi was a great connoisseur of all the techniques of the Uchiha Clan, especially the capabilities of the Sharingan. He could use high-level ninjutsu, such as the Great Clone Blast. In Itachi’s techniques, the presence of crows was common, both in ninjutsu and genjutsu. For example, he was able to create a clone that split into large numbers of crows, which would attack the opponent with various shurikens.
Also, he could summon ravens to use as a distraction. Itachi was also a common user of the Shadow Clone Jutsu and the Crow Clone Jutsu. During his battle with Sasuke, when they were continuously performing a shuriken attack, Itachi was able to create a shadow clone and attack his brother with it. As an experienced member of the Uchiha Clan, Itachi was a great user of the Fire Release.
He knew jutsu like the flames of the phoenix or the great ball of fire, a jutsu characteristic of his clan. He was also shown to be a user of the Water Release, whereby he could use jutsu such as the Water Dragon Missile jutsu without needing to be near pre-existing water.
As a fully trained ANBU from Konoha, Itachi was also proficient in Kenjutsu, mainly demonstrated in his battle with Kabuto Yakushi after being reincarnated. Itachi also had great skill with Fūinjutsu, as seen when he performed the Transcription Seal: Amaterasu on Sasuke just moments before his death.
As in the previous category, Itachi Uchiha was well-aware of both his own powers and abilities, as well as those of Jiraiya. That is why he was so certain that Jiraiya was stronger and why we give the point to the old master.
Points: Jiraiya 2, Itachi 0
Senjutsu / Dōjutsu
Jiraiya was able to learn Senjutsu because of his abundant chakra reserves, which allowed him to transition into Sage Mode and use natural energy to significantly improve all of his skills. Jiraiya called Shima and Fukasaku, the Two Great Sage Toads, in order to gather the natural energy required for Jiraiya to enter Sage Mode as well as serve as his combat partners. He gained more physical strength as a result of this change, enabling him to kick one of the Pains away and conduct combination strikes with the Toads’ pair like the Sage Art: Bath of Boiling Ol.
The Ultra-Big Ball Rasengan, a huge variation of the Rasengan that is far larger than his own body, is only one example of an expanded version of one of his techniques that he is capable of performing. Jiraiya needed the assistance of Shima and Fukasaku because he lacked genjutsu expertise. Jiraiya disliked utilizing Sage Mode because he would then sport a toad-like appearance, including facial marks, a beard, a bigger, warty nose, and webs on his hands and feet, which made him less alluring to females. This occurs as a result of Jiraiya’s incomplete technique mastery.
This shinobi was mainly characterized by having the ability to study the movements of his opponent from a long distance and respond quickly, almost always using genjutsu. Like all bearers of the Sharingan, he was capable of inducing his enemies with simple eye contact.
Furthermore, he had trained his eyes so much that he was able to have the Sharingan activated for a long period of time with minimal chakra wear. Itachi possessed the Mangekyō Sharingan, which increased his power exponentially, easily surpassing any normal Sharingan, allowing him to use the eye techniques derived from it.
Since it is really difficult to compare such different techniques, especially since both of them use them as their strongest ones. This is why we decided to split the points in this category, as it was thoroughly impossible to objectively compare Senjutsu and Dōjutsu under such circumstances.
Points: Jiraiya 3, Itachi 1
Although he was very clumsy, Jiraiya developed a great intellect, thanks to his extensive experience, allowing him to acquire knowledge about a large number of jutsu. In addition, in fights, he could carefully analyze the abilities of an opponent, being able to counter them in the most effective way.
Since he was a child, Itachi had a keen sense and awareness of what was going on around him. He was also blessed with the innate ability to perceive a person’s nature. It was because of this that Itachi took great interest in the history of the town and what his ancestors left behind. Due to his way of thinking, he was never bound by the limited view of the ‘clan’ but actually thought of the village as a whole. Also, in Hiruzen’s words, it was noted that at the age of seven, his reasoning was already at the level of a Hokage. Itachi was shown to be analytical and insightful, being able to deduce the inner workings and weaknesses of powerful techniques, even under pressure.
He staged his battle against Sasuke to achieve his desired results and even took into account the possibility that his plan was not going as he intended, preparing countermeasures for it by sealing his powers inside Sasuke and placing a special crow inside Naruto. The first of these measures was in case Tobi could come into contact with Sasuke, having transcribed Amaterasu into Sasuke’s eyes in an attempt to kill him when he was off guard. This led the masked man to realize that if he hadn’t kept some secrets from Itachi, he would have died from his latest trap.
We don’t actually know whether Jiraiya has a higher IQ than Itachi Uchiha, but since Uchiha was smart enough to know that he should not engage Jiraiya, we have to credit him for that, so we decided to split the points.
Points: Jiraiya 4, Itachi 2
Jiraiya vs. Itachi: Who would win?
And now for the most important and interesting section of our article – the analysis. Here, we are going to use what we have found out about these two characters and analyze how all these facts would (or would not) help them in a fight against each other. Let us continue.
Before we get to our analysis, please read the following excerpt from the Naruto series:
Kisame: Perhaps you can fight with him evenly…but I cannot. He’s too strong.
Itachi: Yes. If we both fought him, we would both be killed. Or, in a good case, we might kill him, but we’d die along with him. Even if we had more men, that result would not change.
Kisame: His caretaker’s one of the Legendary Three. Before that name, even Konoha’s Uchiha Clan and the Mist’s Seven Shinobi-gatana seem pretty petty.
This simple reply made by Itachi Uchiha himself tells us everything we need to know about the balance of power between Itachi and Jiraiya. Sure, Itachi Uchiha was probably the most gifted shinobi in the whole series, and we know that he was capable of some amazing feats. Had it not been for his illness, he probably would have never been defeated, especially not so easily.
Jiraiya, on the other hand, is a legendary shinobi and a master whose feats and achievements are far above anything that Itachi was able to do. He taught Naruto, and Naruto became the best; Jiraiya was feared and respected throughout the shinobi world, and in comparison to Itachi, he was simply on another level. And this is something that both Itachi (in-universe) and Kishimoto (out-of-universe) acknowledged. It was quite obvious that Jiraiya was stronger, and that is why Itachi avoided a direct confrontation with the legendary shinobi.