With news announced that the Naruto manga will finally draw to a close soon, I thought it was a good time to pause and reflect on the anime series which has run for nearly 10 years of my life. I mean, I practically grew up with this show. And what better way to celebrate by naming my favourite characters in the series and why I liked them so much? So, in ascending order, I present my top five picks for my favourite Naruto characters.
I have a strange hate/love relationship with Sakura. As in, I hate her about 90% of the time in the series but in that remaining 10% of moments she redeems herself I really, really like her. It’s not her fault; I attribute most of it to Kishimoto’s seeming inability to write female characters who aren’t incredibly annoying and/or fall to pieces at inopportune moments.
Still, Sakura serves as an anchor in the show and her presence adds to what would otherwise be an anime dominated by two teenage boys who have some yaoi moments going on. I just wish she wasn’t annoying Sakura who pines after a total asshole most of the time, and was instead kick-ass Sakura all the time. It’s illogical why she would continue to chase after Sasuke when he
a) Betrayed her village
b) Is an asshole to everyone, including her
c) Has absolutely zero redeeming qualities about him
I mean, seriously. It makes no sense. Anyway, I liked her serious side much better. She’s super smart, well-prepared, super strong, and medics/healers are generally invaluable imo. Also, her fight versus Sasori ranks as one of my top 3 favourite fights in the series.
Slightly-crazy, sweets-loving, over-the-top kunoichi Anko Mitarashi was an instant “like” for me the moment she made her series debut. Especially when she was ready to blow herself up to kill her former-instructor turned traitor, Orochimaru. That takes guts.
My only qualm was that she didn’t have enough screentime for her character to be really fleshed out. Which is a shame, because I thought she was super interesting and had some cool techniques up her sleeve, given her history with Orochimaru. That, and I really enjoyed listening to her voice in the Japanese dub.
GRAB SOME TISSUES, TRAGIC WAR ORPHAN BACK STORY INCOMING.
I don’t know why I liked Sasori so much. In the grand scheme of the Naruto anime, he had such little screen time but left quite an impression. Maybe because when he first appeared, it was under the guise of the gruff, “I’m ugly but tough” anime trope type dude. And then during his fight we see his true face (see above picture), gain insight into the tragedy of his parents being killed in the war, how he took up puppetry and tried to rebuild them, and his finding peace in death at the hands of the puppets he himself crafted to resemble his folks. *sniff*
Man, that was a turnaround. His lengthy fight with Sakura and Chiyo is still one of my favourites in the series, and I couldn’t get enough of it. Or Sasori and his twisted ways.
Ahh, Pain. The man who knew what it meant to be angry in the face of tragic loss, and went on to try and teach the world how to endure suffering by inflicting pain upon it. You know, I felt some of Pain’s life philosophies were pretty thought-provoking. I wouldn’t say they were outright wrong (or right, for that matter), but he had the right idea about hardship building character. That’s what he was ultimately trying to say, right? Also, he had the most amazing theme song.
The seven paths of pain technique that he used I found to be absolutely fascinating, although it was at this point in the series I figured that ninjas were gods or whatever. Unfortunately even one of the greatest ninjas alive was susceptible to Naruto’s ultimate bullcrap ability to talk-an-enemy-down-no-jutsu. Sigh. Pain should’ve won that fight, but I guess we can’t have the main character in the series dying. Or can we?
Itachi is so far high up this list that’s it’s almost no contest that he was going to be my number one. In fact, I should’ve made all five points on this list Itachi. Itachi places one to five. If this were a point-based system, he would be twice that of the second place on my list. He would score higher than all the other characters put together. The gap is that huge. Can you tell I might be a little bit in love with Itachi?
To me, his character was the true embodiment of self-sacrifice. He killed his entire family line and gave up everything for his village and little brother. He went on to live the harsh life of a missing nin, earning the hatred of his former village and his brother, the only person left in the world he cared for.
But he endured it all, for the sake of peace in the countries. And then he dies so young, at the hands of the unknowing little brother whom he loved so much. He was even planning to carry the secret with him to the grave. THE GRAVE, MAN! That’s intense bro. That’s honour.
Some honourable mentions
I think he would be an awesome dad/teacher: Minato Namikaze
Who I’d like to grab a drink at the pub with: Naruto Uzumaki
I think we’d have highly entertaining conversations: Deidara
I’d like to party with this person: Tsunade
I would’ve liked to see more fights from them: Konan