Naruto: 10 Villains Fans Love
The villains in Naruto have become some of the most interesting and popular characters in the franchise.
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With an enormous cast of characters, the anime and manga series Naruto has, for years, introduced fans to countless beloved ninja with unique powers and personalities. The series’ villains have become some of the most interesting and popular characters in the franchise, with their dark and often tragic stories inspiring fans.
In addition, these villains tend to have some of the most unique abilities in the series, as they need to be powerful and flashy enough to be intimidating for the increasingly powerful heroes. Whether they were ultimately redeemed or remained villainous to the bitter end, these evil ninja are some of the most lovable.
Despite being one of the founders of Akatsuki, Konan’s presence in Naruto was always somewhat limited compared to some of her allies. Konan was notably very close to Pain, being the only member of Akatsuki to know his true nature and name, creating an emotional bond for fans to latch onto.
With abilities that revolved around paper folding and manipulation, Konan is a very powerful ninja, as well, even appearing in her most striking form as an angelic figure with wings of paper. Konan’s empathetic and intelligent nature, as well as her connection with Nagato and the late Yahiko, definitely made a mark on fans.
Akatsuki partner of Orochimaru and Deidara, Sasori was known for his use of puppets in combat, much like Kankurō and Chiyo from his home village of Sungakure. Similar to Orochimaru, Sasori had a desire to be immortal, creating a puppet body, all of which made for a very compelling and interesting villain.
When he was pitted against Sakura and his own grandmother Chiyo, Sasori provided fans with a lengthy and epic battle that he ultimately lost. The complex story of this orphaned puppeteer has intrigued fans despite his comparatively short time in the series, as he is both a potentially sympathetic figure and a dastardly villain.
8 Tobi/Obito Uchiha
When the mysterious Tobi was revealed to be the secret leader of the Akatsuki, fans started to see the truly multifaceted nature of the once-goofy villain. The mystery unraveled further as Tobi revealed himself to really be Obito Uchiha, a former friend of Kakashi’s whose tragic past involves his falling out with Kakashi and the death of their friend Rin, as orchestrated by his mentor Madara.
Obito is not only defined by tragedy, though, as his role as one of the series’ later antagonists shows his power. Holding the power of both a Sharingan and Rinnegan eye, Obito is one of the strongest ninja in the franchise. This combined with his admirable idealism make him undeniably fascinating for fans.
Kimimaro was the leader of the Sound Five and the last survivor of the Kaguya Clan, who received bone manipulation abilities from his ancestral lineage. His bodily manipulation is an incredibly unique and powerful tactic, and his relationship with Orochimaru made him a compelling villain.
Young Naruto, Gaara, and Rock Lee all fought with Kimimaro, and this epic battle cemented Kimimaro in fans’ minds as one of the series’ most memorable villains. The fact that his terminal illness left him to leave the Sound Five, only to be pulled back into Orochimaru’s schemes, also makes him a sympathetic figure.
A young Akatsuki member specializing in creating sculptures out of explosive clay, Deidara is certainly unique, not to mention his mechanical scope installed in one eye and mouths on his palms. This odd, cool-and-collected villain captured fans’ hearts with his power and his charm.
Being partners with other fan-favorite villains Sasori and Tobi also helped elevate Deidara in fans’ eyes, as did the fact that he was powerful enough to defeat strong characters like Gaara. Although Deidara died during his battle against Sasuke, the character left quite an impression on fans as one of the most indelible Akatsuki members.
5 Zabuza Momochi
Early on in Naruto’s run, the titular ninja and his team encountered the imposing swordsman Zabuza Momochi, one of the legendary Seven Swordsmen of the Mist. With a massive blade and a mouth covering that makes his emotions hard to read, Zabuza is quite an intimidating figure.
What really appeals to fans, however, is the more sensitive side of the character, as he is revealed to have a close, paternalistic relationship with the young ninja Haku. Sadly for fans, the two die together very early on in the series, but their legacy lives on in that they are still fondly remembered, so many manga chapters and anime episodes later.
The horrifying, manipulative, and incredibly intelligent Orochimaru was probably the biggest villain of Naruto and friends’ earliest adventures, as he led an attack on Konohagakure and became known for his thirst for immortality. His snake-like appearance and powerful control over Sasuke also made him intimidating.
Although he has since been reformed and become a major positive presence in the franchise’s next chapter Boruto, Orochimaru is a fan favorite mostly because of his effectiveness as a villain. Despite being one of the series’ earliest antagonists, Orochimaru’s menace is never overshadowed by the series’ later villains.
One of the series’ most sympathetic antagonists is probably Pain, also known as Nagato, the apparent leader of the villainous Akatsuki organization. Founding the original Akatsuki with his friends Yahiko and Konan, Nagato was inspired to fight for peace in a war-torn world, but the death of Yahiko intensified his desire.
Using the bodies of several dead people in his life as avatars, Nagato became the ruthless Pain who wanted his new Akatsuki to achieve world peace even at extreme cost. Because of this dark past and his incredibly powerful use of Rinnegan techniques, Nagato has always stood out to fans as a terrifying villain and a sympathetic victim of war and manipulation.
Gaara was an early villain in Naruto during the Chūnin Exams, but he eventually became a much more sympathetic hero. Still, his time as a villain marked the Sunagakure ninja as an intimidating force to be reckoned with, thanks to his powerful sand-related abilities and his connection to the One-Tailed Shukaku.
Flashbacks revealed Gaara’s childhood to have been very difficult, making him quite a sympathetic figure, especially considering that his story mirrored Naruto’s own grappling with the Nine-Tailed Fox. Eventually, Gaara was able to learn from Naruto and put his abilities to good use, befriending Naruto and becoming someone whom fans would want to be friends with, too.
1 Itachi Uchiha
Brother of series anti-hero Sasuke, Itachi Uchiha spends much of the series as an enigmatic and intimidating villain after having killed his entire clan, leaving only Sasuke alive. Itachi was a powerful member of Akatsuki, wielding his illusionary genjutsu to incredible effect against his foes.
In the end, though, after he was defeated by Sasuke, Itachi was revealed to have much more complicated allegiances than it initially seemed. His slaughter of the Uchiha clan came as part of an ultimatum presented to him by Danzō Shimura, and his allegiance ultimately always stayed with Konohagakure and his brother, making him turn from cruel villain to sympathetic antihero in fans’ eyes.
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