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List of Naruto characters

The Naruto anime and manga series features an extensive cast of characters created by Masashi Kishimoto. The series takes place in a fictional universe where different countries vie for power by using ninja who can use supernatural abilities in combat. The Naruto storyline is divided into two parts, simply named Part I and Part II, with the latter taking place two-and-a-half years after the conclusion of Part I. The series' storyline follows the adventures of a group of young ninja from the village of Konohagakure.

The titular character of the series is Naruto Uzumaki, an energetic ninja who wishes to become Hokage, the leader of Konohagakure. During the early part of the series, he is assigned to Team 7, during which he meets Sasuke Uchiha, a taciturn and highly skilled "genius" of the Uchiha clan; Sakura Haruno, who is infatuated with Sasuke yet has Naruto's affection; and Kakashi Hatake, the quiet and mysterious leader of the team. Over the course of the series, Naruto interacts with and befriends several of his fellow ninja in Konohagakure as well as other villages. He also encounters the series' antagonists, including Orochimaru, a former ninja of Konohagakure scheming to destroy his former home, and the elite ninja of the criminal organization Akatsuki.

While developing the series, Kishimoto created the three primary characters as a basis for the designs of the other three-person teams. He also utilized characters in other shōnen manga as references in his design of the characters, a decision that was criticized by several anime and manga publications. The characters that Kishimoto developed were however praised for incorporating many of the better aspects of previous shōnen characters, although many publications lamented the perceived lack of growth beyond such stereotypes. The visual presentation of the characters was commented on by reviewers, with praise and criticism given to Kishimoto's work in the manga and anime adaptation.

Creation and conception

When Masashi Kishimoto was originally creating the Naruto series, he looked to other shōnen manga for influences while attempting to make his characters as unique as possible. Kishimoto cites Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball series as one of these influences, noting that Son Goku, the protagonist of Dragon Ball, was a key factor when creating Naruto Uzumaki due to his energetic and mischievous personality. To complement Naruto, Kishimoto worked on creating a rival that was a "cool genius", as he believed this was "the archetypal rival character". After reviewing different manga for ideas, he ultimately developed Sasuke Uchiha. When creating the primary heroine, Kishimoto admitted, "I don't have a definite image of what a heroine should be". He eventually created Sakura Haruno, emphasizing "her energy and flirtatious spirit" as her primary characteristics. These three characters would be the mold for the other three main Naruto teams.

The separation of the characters into different teams was intended to give each group a specific flavor. Kishimoto wished for each team member to be "extreme", having a high amount of aptitude in one given attribute, yet talentless in another. This approach was used to make each team perform best when individual members worked together to overcome their weaknesses. Having watched tokusatsu dramas as a child, Kishimoto wished for his teams to be different from the superhero teams in these dramas, dismissing the value of a team in which all the teammates were "strong to the point of perfection". Kishimoto notes that the different roles the characters assume is similar to many role-playing games, and "each character stands out better that way".

Kishimoto inserted villains into the story to counteract the lead characters' moral values. He stated that this focus on illustrating the difference in values is central to his creation of villains to the point that, "I don't really think about them in combat". The villains' physical appearances were also embellished in order to differentiate them from other characters, making it easier for a reader to follow the story and identify the villains, even in heated battle scenes. Kishimoto noted that making the villains "flamboyant" with a "showy costume" is "one of my guiding principles", as well as making them "more memorable".

When drawing the characters, Kishimoto consistently follows a five-step process: concept and rough sketch, drafting, inking, shading, and coloring. These steps are followed when he is drawing the manga and making the color illustrations that commonly adorn the cover of tankōbon, the cover of the Weekly Shōnen Jump, or other media, but the toolkit he utilizes occasionally changes. For instance, he used an airbrush for one illustration for a Weekly Shōnen Jump cover, but decided not to use it for future drawings largely due to the cleanup required.

Protagonists

The protagonists of the Naruto series are part of Team 7, a group of ninja affiliated with the village of Konohagakure. After Sasuke Uchiha's departure from Konohagakure at the end of Part I, the team disbands. During Part II, the team reforms with two new members, Sai, who occupies Sasuke's position, and Yamato, who acts as Kakashi's replacement when he is briefly incapacitated and later stays with the team when Kakashi returns.

Naruto Uzumaki

is the primary protagonist of the Naruto series. He was the first character created by Kishimoto during the conception of the series, and was designed with many traits from other shōnen characters, including Son Goku of the Dragon Ball series. In the series, Naruto has ambitions of becoming Hokage, the leader of Konohagakure. Because he is the host of the nine-tailed demon fox, a malevolent creature that attacked Konohagakure, he is ostracized by the other villagers. He compensates for this with his cheerful and boisterous personality, and over the course of the series, manages to be-friend many foreign and Konohagakure ninja. He develops an especially close relationship with Sasuke Uchiha, one of his fellow ninja in Team 7, and treats him as his brother. Naruto's seiyū in the original Japanese anime is Junko Takeuchi, and he is voiced by Maile Flanagan in the English adaptation.

Sasuke Uchiha

is one of the members of Team 7. He was created to be a rival to Naruto, as well as a "cool genius", which Kishimoto believed was an integral part of an ideal rivalry. He is one of the few remaining members of the Uchiha clan along with his brother, Itachi Uchiha, who killed the rest of their family. Due to this, Sasuke's sole desire is to kill his brother, and he develops a cold and withdrawn personality. His interactions with his fellow teammates, especially Naruto Uzumaki, make him focus less on revenge at the start of the series. During an encounter with his brother in Part I, Sasuke is easily beaten, which leads him to leave the village to seek more power from the criminal Orochimaru. His teammates' attempts to recover him from Orochimaru form a major component of the Part II plot. In the Japanese anime, Sasuke's seiyū is Noriaki Sugiyama, and his English voice actor is Yuri Lowenthal.

Sakura Haruno

is the sole female member of Team 7. Kishimoto created her as the heroine of the series, although he has admitted that he has little perception of what an ideal heroine should be. As a child, Sakura was taunted by other children, particularly because of her large forehead, a feature Kishimoto has tried to emphasize in Sakura's appearances. She was comforted by Ino Yamanaka. As the two continued to grow, however, they became increasingly distant due to their shared affection for Sasuke Uchiha. During most of Part I, Sakura is infatuated with Sasuke, and spurns the advances of Naruto Uzumaki. After Sasuke leaves the village, she resolves to become stronger by training with Tsunade. In Part II, she displays highly developed skills from her training, and a more open disposition towards Naruto. In the Japanese anime, her seiyū is Chie Nakamura, and she is voiced by Kate Higgins in the English adaptation.

Kakashi Hatake

is the leader of Team 7 and the sensei of Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura. Kishimoto had originally intended for Kakashi to be introduced earlier in the series than he actually was, and created him as an easygoing person that would be able to keep the members of Team 7 in check. Kakashi treats his leadership position with a detached manner, and is consistently late to meetings as a result. In a gaiden on Kakashi's past, this is shown to be the result of an incident in which he witnessed the death of one of his teammates, Obito Uchiha, who gave Kakashi his Sharingan eye and imparted many of his habits, including his tardiness. With Obito's Sharingan, Kakashi has amassed a reputation as a skilled and powerful ninja, earning the moniker . Although he mentors all three members of Team 7 early in the series, he particularly concentrates on training Sasuke as the series continues, teaching him his Chidori technique; however, he is unable to prevent Sasuke from leaving the village to seek Orochimaru for greater power. Kakashi's seiyū in the Japanese anime is Kazuhiko Inoue, and his English voice actor is Dave Wittenberg.

Antagonists

Orochimaru

is one of the primary antagonists of the Naruto series. To emphasize his role as a villain, Kishimoto worked towards making him appear "pasty and sickly" as part of his theme of distinguishing villains from the protagonists. In the series, Orochimaru is a former ninja of Konohagakure and a student of the Third Hokage. During his time in the village, he distinguished himself as one of the village's most powerful ninja along with his teammates, Jiraiya and Tsunade. His desire to obtain immortality led him to conduct experiments on other Konohagakure ninja, and he eventually fled the village and joined the criminal organization Akatsuki. After attacking fellow Akatsuki member Itachi Uchiha, who defeats him, he leaves Akatsuki and establishes his own ninja village, Otogakure, in the hopes of destroying his former home. His immortality technique involves transferring his consciousness between different host bodies, and his desire for a new host, particularly Sasuke Uchiha, is one of his driving motivations throughout the series. Because of his different host bodies and the disguises he assumes, a panoply of voice actors are utilized for Orochimaru; his most common seiyū in the Japanese anime is Kujira, and the corresponding English voice actor is Steven Jay Blum.

Akatsuki

is an organization of criminal ninja that serves as the series' primary antagonists. Akatsuki's goal (as defined by its leader, Pain) is world domination, which they plan to accomplish by capturing the tailed beasts. The members of Akatsuki are ninja who have abandoned their villages, and are considered by their former homes to be S-class criminals, the most powerful and wanted ninja in the Naruto universe. At any given time, Akatsuki is composed of ten members, who operate in two-man teams. They share similar clothing, most notably a long, dark cloak bearing red clouds and a chin-high collar. Aside from an attempt by two Akatsuki members, Itachi Uchiha and Kisame Hoshigaki, to capture the nine-tailed demon fox within Naruto Uzumaki, Akatsuki is not prominently featured in Part I. In Part II, they take a more active role, capturing Gaara and extracting the one-tailed beast, Shukaku, from his body, as well as working towards capturing the remaining tailed beasts.

Other characters

Team 8

Team 8 is a group of Konohagakure ninja lead by Kurenai Yuhi. The members of Team 8 primarily concentrate on tracking, with each of the members' unique abilities being utilized in this role. During Part II, Team 8, except Kurenai, joins Naruto Uzumaki and Team 7 in their search for Sasuke Uchiha.

Kiba Inuzuka

is a member of Team 8 characterized by a number of dog-like traits, including being very protective of his teammates and enjoying any food he can chew on. Most apparent of his connection to dogs is the constant presence of his , Akamaru. Kiba is fiercely loyal to Akamaru, unwilling to abandon him and putting himself in harm's way for Akamaru's sake. In exchange for Kiba's devotion, Akamaru fights with him in battle; he uses his heightened senses to Kiba's advantage, and helps to double-team opponents with volleys of physical attacks. Since Akamaru is naturally better equipped for combat, Kiba usually modifies his abilities at the start of a battle, growing claws and traveling on all four limbs to increase his speed. He can also drastically increase his sense of smell, and by the second half of the series he can use it to track things dogs cannot. Kiba's seiyū in the Japanese anime is Kōsuke Toriumi, and his English voice actor is Kyle Hebert.

Akamaru

is Kiba Inuzuka's , best friend, and constant companion. At the start of the series, Kiba carries Akamaru around on his head or inside his jacket. By Part II of the Naruto storyline, Akamaru grows large enough for Kiba to ride atop his back, but since Kiba spends so much time with Akamaru, he fails to notice this drastic difference. With his heightened sense of smell, hearing, and the ability to detect others' chakra levels, Akamaru acts as a valuable tool for Kiba in hostile situations. To help Kiba keep track of opponents, Akamaru can urinate on them, giving them a strong odor that can easily be tracked. In battle, however, he relies on Kiba to provide the chakra for the combination jutsu they execute, which requires Akamaru to transform into a clone of Kiba. In the original Japanese anime, Akamaru is voiced by Junko Takeuchi, who is also the seiyū for Naruto Uzumaki, and Kōsuke Toriumi, who voices Kiba, when Akamaru transforms into a clone of Kiba. In the English adaptation of the anime, he is voiced by Jamie Simone, but when Akamaru transforms, he is voiced by Kyle Hebert, who additionally acts as Kiba's voice actor.

Shino Aburame

is one of the members of Team 8 and is fascinated with insects; he spends his free time capturing and studying insects and often uses them as analogies during conversation. A deep connection with insects runs in Shino's family, as each person born in to the Aburame clan is infused with a special breed of insects known as "destruction bugs" during birth. In exchange for using Shino as a hive, the bugs do as he commands. During a battle, Shino directs his bugs towards an opponent, boxing them in without their knowledge, and absorbing their chakra once they have been surrounded. Shino's merciless tendencies, in regards to opponents as well as his attachment to insects, have caused other characters to label him as "creepy". Nevertheless, Shino cares deeply for his teammates, being acutely aware of their inner workings and always regretting when he is unable to help them. In the Japanese anime, his seiyū is Shinji Kawada. His first voice actor in the English anime was Sam Riegal, who voiced Shino in episodes 23 and 24, but in all following appearances, he has been voiced by Derek Stephen Prince.

Hinata Hyuga

is a member of Team 8 who suffers from a lack of self-confidence throughout the series. She is always reluctant to speak her mind or to do something that might antagonize another character, causing her difficulties whenever she is on a mission. This results in her effective expulsion from her clan even though she is the eldest daughter of the Hyuga clan's leader and the heiress to the clan. Hinata's inability to stand up for herself caused her father to disown her at a young age, leaving her in the care of her teacher, Kurenai Yuhi. Masashi Kishimoto had originally intended Hinata to be a regular member of the Hyuga clan, but instead made her a ninja. Soon after her introduction, Hinata begins training to become stronger, both to overcome her own weaknesses and to prove her worth to her father. Her efforts begin to prove successful towards the end of Part I, as her father takes a greater interest in her training.

Though Hinata's training has in large part been to prove herself, she also trains to try and win the attention of series protagonist Naruto Uzumaki. Inspired by Naruto's confidence and determination, Hinata becomes infatuated with Naruto, to the extent that she immediately blushes or faints upon seeing him. However, as the series progresses, she goes out of her way to help him. While Hinata has yet to openly admit her feelings for him, most characters (except for Naruto, who only considers her blushing "weird") are aware of her feelings. In the anime, Hinata's attempts to impress Naruto result in her creation of a new ability capable of instantly blocking or attacking anything in her extended field of vision. Her seiyū in the Japanese anime is Nana Mizuki, and her English voice actor is Stephanie Sheh.

Kurenai Yuhi

is the leader of Team 8. Of all her students, Kurenai is closest with Hinata, acting as a surrogate parent in the absence of Hinata's father, and helping Hinata overcome her weaknesses. Whenever Kurenai appears in the series, she is regularly accompanied by Asuma Sarutobi. Because of this, many other characters assume them to be a couple, though they both deny this. During Part II of the series, Kurenai is revealed to be pregnant with Asuma's child, making their relationship clear. In battle she specializes in casting illusions, and is shown to be particularly skilled with illusions involving plants. In the Japanese anime, her seiyū is Rumi Ochiai. In the English adaptation of the anime, she was voiced by Saffron Henderson in episode three, and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn in all subsequent appearances.

Team 10

Team 10 is a group of Konohagakure ninja led by Asuma Sarutobi. The fathers of the three team members Choji Akimichi, Shikamaru Nara, and Ino Yamanaka were also on a team together, and both generations refer to their team using the moniker "Ino-Shika-Cho". During Part II, Asuma is slain in an encounter with members of Akatsuki, and Kakashi Hatake briefly assumes leadership of the team to hunt down those responsible for Asuma's death.

Choji Akimichi

is a member of Team 10 who is typified by his deep love for food to the extent that he continually has a snack with him during the series. Though his habit of always eating gives him a relatively large appearance, Choji insists he is not fat, instead using explanations like being "big-boned". If someone refers to him as fat, Choji instantly becomes hostile and his resolve to battle grows stronger. Shikamaru Nara has never found an issue with Choji's weight, instead choosing to look upon Choji's inner strength. Because of this, Choji regards him as his best friend, stating he would willingly give his life to defend Shikamaru. In battle, Choji can increase the size of his body to improve the amount of damage his strikes deal upon impact. His seiyū in the Japanese anime is Kentaro Ito, and his English voice actor is Robbie Rist.

Shikamaru Nara

is one of the members of Team 10. Creator Kishimoto has noted that he "likes" Shikamaru due to his easygoing nature despite being a genius, and contrasted him against Sasuke Uchiha's intelligent but abrasive personality. Shikamaru's intelligence is such that Asuma Sarutobi, Team 10's leader, has never been able to defeat Shikamaru at games such as shogi or go, and he can devise complex strategies even in the heat of battle. However, his laziness frequently prevents him from applying his intelligence. Shikamaru is a longtime friend of Choji Akimichi, his fellow Team 10 member, as he chooses to look upon Choji as a person rather than only considering his large girth. In battle, Shikamaru can manipulate his shadow, and by extending it into another person's shadow he can force the target to mimic his movements. In the Japanese anime, Shikamaru's seiyū is Showtaro Morikubo, although Nobutoshi Canna acted as a stand-in for Morikubo in episode 141. His English voice actor is Tom Gibis.

Ino Yamanaka

is the only female member of Team 10. She has known Sakura Haruno since they were children, befriending and helping her to develop her own identity. When they discovered that they both liked Sasuke Uchiha, Sakura ended their friendship so they could properly compete for his affection. The two eventually make amends and rekindle their friendship, but still maintain a competitive attitude towards each other. In the anime, when Sakura begins to excel in healing techniques, Ino becomes her surrogate apprentice, hoping to be more useful to her friends and teammates as an able medical ninja. In terms of combat abilities, Ino specializes in mind-altering techniques. To use these techniques, Ino transfers her consciousness to her target's mind, gaining control over her opponent's body which she can then use to attack others. In the Japanese anime, her seiyū is Ryōka Yuzuki, and her voice actor is Colleen O'Shaughnessey in the English adaptation.

Asuma Sarutobi

is the leader of Team 10 and son of the Third Hokage. He had a falling out with his father when he was younger, and briefly left Konohagakure in protest. The two had not completely reconciled by the time of the Third's death. Asuma is usually seen smoking a cigarette, but will temporarily drop the habit when something is bothering him, such as when his father died. Among all his students, Asuma shares a particularly close relationship with Shikamaru Nara, and the two frequently play shogi or the game "go" together. Asuma frequently appears alongside Kurenai Yuhi, leading many characters to assume the two are a couple. Both deny this and promptly try to change the subject whenever it is brought up. During Part II of the series, however, Kurenai is revealed to be pregnant with Asuma's child, making their relationship clear. In battle, Asuma wields unique brass knuckles equipped with blades that can be infused with his chakra. When infused with his wind-based chakra, Asuma can extend the blades' length and easily pierce through rock. After Asuma is killed by Hidan, a member of the criminal organization Akatsuki, these knuckles fall into Shikamaru's possession, and he uses them to defeat Hidan and avenge Asuma. Asuma's seiyū in the Japanese anime is Jūrōta Kosugi, and he is voiced by Doug Erholtz in the English adaptation.

Team Guy

Team Guy is a group of Konohagakure ninja led by Might Guy. The members of Team Guy primarily concentrate on physical attacks and weapons due to Guy's influence. They are a year older than the other Konohagakure teams' members, as Guy wanted to wait a year before they could take the test to advance in ninja rank and become chunin. In Part II, Team Guy joins Team 7 in attempting to save Gaara from the criminal organization, Akatsuki.

Rock Lee

is a member of Team Guy and the favorite student of team leader Might Guy. Guy spends much of his free time training with Lee to help him accomplish his dream of becoming a respected ninja by using only taijutsu. Lee has adopted several of Guy's habits, including his perseverance. Guy has taught him a number of powerful, even forbidden, techniques. Because some of these techniques, such as the ability to open the eight chakra gates, can pose a severe risk to Lee's body, he is only permitted to use them to protect something or someone dear to him. In the Japanese anime and manga, he always utilizes honorifics such as "san and "kun". In the English adaptations, he never uses contractions. In the Japanese anime, his seiyū is Yoichi Masukawa, and his voice actor is Brian Donovan in English.

Neji Hyuga

is a member of Team Guy and a child prodigy of the Hyuga clan. Despite his natural talent, Neji's membership in one of the clan's lower houses leaves him ineligible to learn the clan's most secret techniques. At the start of the series, Neji openly hates the main house because of this, readily attacking its members verbally or physically when given the chance. At this point in the series, Neji believes in a fatalistic philosophy: that one's destiny is inescapable and that a weak person will always be weak. After being defeated in battle by Naruto Uzumaki, a character that has proven his "destiny" wrong by getting stronger, Neji has a change of heart. He abandons the idea of a predetermined fate, and resolves to get strong enough to never lose a battle. He also tries to remedy the estranged relations between himself and the members of the main house, resulting in his training with the leader of the main house at the end of Part I.

Neji displays his title as a prodigy of the Hyuga throughout the series; when first introduced he is highly proficient with the Gentle Fist style of combat, with which he can directly attack an opponent's internal systems. Though never having been trained in the form, Neji has been able to replicate it and its most powerful attacks through simple observation. As the series progresses, Neji refines these abilities into more powerful counterparts, either to increase their potency or to fix an inherent flaw. One such example is his Byakugan, an eye technique that by default grants the owner a near-360-degree field of vision within a fifty meter radius. Neji constantly trains to overcome a small blindspot and to increase the Byakugan's range of sight. In the Japanese anime, his seiyū is Kōichi Tōchika, and when he is featured as a child, he is voiced by Keiko Nemoto. His voice in the English anime is provided by Steve Staley, and Wendee Lee provides his child voice.

Tenten

is the only female member of Team Guy, and longs to prove that female ninja can be just as skilled as male ninja. Of all the Naruto protagonists, Tenten receives the least amount of screen time, such that her only fight in Part I is almost entirely skipped; the battle's start and her eventual defeat are the only portions shown. Despite her lack of appearances, series creator Masashi Kishimoto favors her design more than those of any of the other female characters he has created, and plans to use her more. In battle, Tenten specializes in weaponry, ranging from projectiles to close-combat weapons and even explosives by the second part of the series. During a fight, she can overwhelm opponents by summoning hundreds of weapons and bombarding them with pinpoint accuracy. Tenten uses this expertise to help Neji Hyuga train his defensive techniques, and she holds him in high regard since he can always block her attacks. Her Japanese seiyū is Yukari Tamura, and her English voice actor is Danielle Judovits.

Might Guy

is the leader of Team Guy, and dedicates most of his time to only one of his students, Rock Lee. Because of Guy's dedication to him, Lee has modeled himself in his master's image, mimicking Guy's distinctive green jumpsuit and shiny bowl haircut. Lee has also adopted many of Guy's mannerisms and his philosophy, including his "My Rules" philosophy, which involves setting tough self-imposed penalties for failure in the belief that the punishment will make him stronger. Series creator Masashi Kishimoto likens Guy's passionate personality to that of a gym teacher he had in junior high school, but notes that the teacher was not a model for Guy's character.

In battle, Guy specializes in physical attacks, which he constantly tries to teach to Lee. While Lee is forced to concentrate on physical attacks due to his inability to use other types of techniques, Guy deliberately chooses not to use techniques other than physical attacks. When not teaching Lee a new ability, Guy is usually found in competition with his self-proclaimed rival, Kakashi Hatake. Throughout the series, Kakashi has never displayed a particular interest in their rivalry, which only further motivates Guy to defeat Kakashi and his "coolness". In the Japanese anime, his seiyū is Masashi Ebara, and his English voice actor is Skip Stellrecht.

Hokage

The is the leader of Konohagakure. Over the course of the series, there have been five Hokage, who are honored by the village by having sculptures of their faces carved into the rock formation overlooking Konohagakure. was , who founded the village along with Madara Uchiha. With his unique Mokuton abilities, he created the trees that act as the foundation for Konohagakure, and his method of rule became a model for all subsequent Hokage. The First was succeeded by his younger brother, , who became the . He in turn was followed by one of his students, who became the Third Hokage. After a long rule, the Third abdicated in favor of Minato Namikaze, who took the position of Fourth Hokage, but reclaimed his position after the Fourth gave his life to save the village from the nine-tailed demon fox. The Third is the Hokage at the beginning of the series, but he is slain in a battle by his former student, Orochimaru, during an invasion of Konohagakure by Sunagakure and Otogakure. Another of his students, Tsunade, succeeds him as the Fifth Hokage.

Hiruzen Sarutobi

, the , is the longest-ruling Hokage, having abdicated his position to the Fourth Hokage and subsequently reclaimed it after the Fourth's death. He is a peace-loving leader, preferring nonviolent discussions to his advisers' more militaristic suggestions. Throughout the series, he acts as a source of wisdom to younger generations and is one of the few characters to treat Naruto Uzumaki as a person and not just the container of the nine-tailed demon fox. In his youth the Third was known as , as he purportedly knew every jutsu in Konohagakure. He was also the teacher of Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and Tsunade. Orochimaru had always been his favorite student, and the Third could never bring himself to recognize Orochimaru's evil qualities. When Orochimaru invades Konoha years later, the Third fights him to repent for never prosecuting Orochimaru as he should have. When he is unable to win, the Third robs Orochimaru of his ability to use jutsu, bringing an end to the invasion and thus allowing him to die happy. In the Japanese anime, his seiyū is Hidekatsu Shibata, and his English voice actor is Steve Kramer.

Minato Namikaze

, the , was the father of Naruto Uzumaki. Although Naruto and Minato are noted to have a number of similar traits throughout the series, their familial relationship is not revealed until Part II of the series. He was the student of Jiraiya and the teacher of Kakashi Hatake. Minato was a prodigy among ninja, such that enemy villages issued flee-on-sight orders if ever he appeared on a battlefield. He developed a jutsu that was in essence a teleportation jutsu, allowing him to wipe out whole armies in the blink of an eye, thus earning him the title of . Before the start of the series, he gave his life to seal the nine-tailed demon fox into Naruto's body, saving Konoha from destruction and giving Naruto access to its great strength.

Tsunade

, as well as her former teammates Jiraiya and Orochimaru, is a former student of the Third Hokage. She is also the granddaughter of the First Hokage and grand niece to the Second Hokage, and so many characters in the series refer to her with the Japanese honorific "hime" (meaning "princess"). Despite her connections to past Hokage, Tsunade hates the position when she is first introduced. After her brother and boyfriend died in pursuit of their dreams to become Hokage, she lost faith in the title and the concept of dreams. She regains her faith in both after meeting Naruto Uzumaki, who consistently overcomes any obstacle in his own dreams of being Hokage. As a result, Tsunade accepts the position of so that she can protect Konohagakure until Naruto is ready to replace her. Despite the importance of her position, Tsunade tends to avoid her duties, instead leaving them for her assistants. She will fulfill her role to address matters important to the village, and throughout Part II leads Konoha in combating Akatsuki.

Tsunade possesses a number of traits that set her apart from other characters in the series, such as being a compulsive gambler with terrible luck. On the rare occasions that she hits a winning streak she perceives it as a bad omen, and makes it a point to fortify her defenses or assist her allies when it occurs. Additionally, although she is in her fifties, she constantly assumes the appearance of a twenty-year-old woman, retaining only her characteristically large breasts. Despite her odd personality Tsunade is a talented ninja; she has superhuman strength that allows her to reduce buildings to rubble and can heal injuries that most others would consider incurable. Her healing abilities are such that she has devised a method of regeneration for herself, making her all but invincible in battle. At the conclusion of Part I, Tsunade takes Sakura Haruno as an apprentice, teaching her how to use both of her trademark abilities. In the Japanese anime, Tsunade's seiyū is Masako Katsuki, and her English voice actor is Debi Mae West.

Sand Siblings

The Sand Siblings are ninja from the Sunagakure village, and the children of the Fourth Kazekage, the leader of the village. They come to Konohagakure to participate in the biannual ninja exams, and serve as antagonists in the subsequent invasion of Konohagakure. Due to their interactions with Naruto Uzumaki, they later return as allies of Konohagakure, aiding him in his attempts to retrieve Sasuke Uchiha from Orochimaru's ninja. Kishimoto changed their costumes for their return due to the difficulty in drawing their original attire, as well as to symbolize their new friendship with Konohagakure.

Gaara

is the youngest of the three siblings. He was created by Kishimoto as a foil to Naruto Uzumaki, with a similar background yet a highly divergent personality. When Gaara was born, his father intended to make him a military weapon for Sunagakure by sealing the , a powerful and dangerous tailed beast, inside him. Similar to Naruto, Gaara was tormented by his fellow villagers for being the host of a tailed beast. After one of his few remaining relatives tried to kill him, Gaara developed a sadistic and withdrawn personality, killing others to affirm the value of his existence. His battle with Naruto during the invasion of Konoha changes this mentality; as a result, he becomes more willing to help others as the purpose for his existence, and he assumes his deceased father's position as Sunagakure's Kazekage during Part II. Gaara's seiyū in the Japanese anime is Akira Ishida, and his English voice actor is Liam O'Brien.

Kankuro

is the second oldest of the three siblings. For the first half of the series, he is frequently at odds with Gaara, though he tends to hold his tongue for fear of being killed. In Part II, once Gaara begins to reveal his dreams and motivations to Kankuro, Kankuro becomes very protective of Gaara; he lashes out at anyone who speaks poorly of Gaara and when Gaara is kidnapped, he readily risks his life to save him. Kankuro is a talented puppeteer, and has thus far been shown to have three puppets in his arsenal: , , and . Karasu is used for offensive purposes, Kuroari traps opponents in its body to make them easier targets, and Sanshōuo protects Kankuro and his allies from enemy attacks. The puppets are all destroyed by their original creator, Sasori, in Part II, and it has yet to be seen whether Kankuro has repaired them. In the Japanese anime, his seiyū is Yasuyuki Kase, and his English voice actor is Michael Lindsay.

Temari

is the oldest of the three siblings. Unlike her more combat-loving brothers, Temari values peace, as she questions Sunagakure's justifications for going to war with Konohagakure. This trait carries over to Part II, in which she begins acting as a liaison between Sunagakure and Konohagakure to help the two villages work together. Like her brothers, Temari does not appear in the series very often, and when she does appear she is commonly in the company of Shikamaru Nara. When they make their Part II debut together, Naruto Uzumaki asks if they are on a date, though both Shikamaru and Temari state that this is not the case. In battle, Temari wields a giant iron fan that can create powerful gusts of wind capable of leveling the surrounding landscape. As she is skilled at deducing an opponent's strategies and weaknesses soon after a battle begins, she typically uses her winds to remove parts of the battlefield that might be advantageous to them. Temari's seiyū in the Japanese anime is Romi Paku, and her English voice actor is Tara Platt.

Other

Iruka Umino

is a Konohagakure ninja and instructor at the Ninja Academy, a school for prospective ninja. Masashi Kishimoto's initial design of Iruka featured "evil" eyes and sharper cheekbones, but this was abandoned in favor of a more relaxed appearance. When Iruka was a child, his parents were killed by the nine-tailed demon fox, which was sealed into Naruto Uzumaki. He bears no ill will towards Naruto, instead being one of the few people at the start of the series to recognize Naruto as a person and not just a container for the fox. Naruto thinks of Iruka as a father figure because of this, and Iruka in turn has great faith in Naruto's potential to be a great ninja. In the Japanese anime, his seiyū is Toshihiko Seki, and his English voice actor is Quinton Flynn.

Konohamaru

, named after Konohagakure, is the grandson of the Third Hokage. He strives to replace his grandfather as Hokage so the villagers of Konohagakure will recognize him by name, not as the Hokage's grandson. He looks to Naruto Uzumaki as a mentor in this quest, emulating his work ethic, determination, and perverted jutsu. Konohamaru insists, however, that he will only become Hokage after Naruto has been Hokage first. Konohamaru's design caused great difficulties for Masashi Kishimoto; he intended for Konohamaru to look like a "punk" smaller than Naruto, yet all of his attempts resulted in a mere recreation of Naruto. He eventually gave Konohamaru small, angry-looking eyes, and was instantly happy with the design. He is voiced in the Japanese anime by Ikue Otani, and by Akiko Koike as a stand-in. Colleen O'Shaughnessey is his English voice actor.

Jiraiya

is a Konohagakure ninja and one of Naruto's teachers. Kishimoto has commented that out of all the master-pupil relationships he has created in the Naruto series, the bond between Naruto and Jiraiya is his favorite, noting that it makes drawing them "worthwhile". As a child, Jiraiya was under the tutelage of the Third Hokage, along with his teammates, Tsunade and Orochimaru. Jiraiya is known throughout the Naruto world as the due to his toad-related jutsu. Although still affiliated with Konohagakure, he spends much of his time traveling. Jiraiya's personality is openly lecherous, and he proudly describes himself as a "super pervert", authoring a series of best-selling adult romance novels. During Part I, he takes Naruto as his student, and returns him to Konohagakure in Part II as he begins to keep tabs on the movements of the criminal organization Akatsuki. In the Japanese anime, Jiraiya is voiced by Hōchū Ōtsuka, and his English voice actor is David Lodge.

Shizune

is a Konohagakure ninja introduced in the series as Tsunade's assistant. She left Konohagakure with Tsunade after the death of her uncle, and over the years, Tsunade taught her medical techniques. Despite her medicinal affinity, many of the attacks she uses in the series are poison-based, including using concealed poisoned needles or emitting toxic gas from her mouth. Shizune is one of the few characters that Tsunade trusts with absolute certainty, as she identifies details that Tsunade tends to overlook. In Part II of the series, Shizune's concern for details causes her to question Tsunade's judgment, creating interference with Tsunade's plans and straining the relationship between the two, although they later reconcile. In the Japanese anime, her seiyū is Keiko Nemoto, and her English voice actor is Megan Hollingshead.

Chiyo

is an adviser to Sunagakure who is introduced at the start of Part II. She is mistrustful of other ninja villages, making treaties as a formality and quietly strengthening Sunagakure's military might simultaneously. During the various ninja wars, she used her knowledge of poisons to aid Sunagakure, only to have many of her efforts nullified by the work of Tsunade. She is a skilled puppeteer and taught her grandson, Sasori, everything she knew. When Sasori kidnaps Gaara, the leader of Sunagakure, in Part II, Chiyo joins a group of Konohagakure ninja in rescuing him. With the help of Sakura Haruno, the apprentice of Tsunade, Chiyo is able to kill her grandson. Despite their efforts, Gaara also dies before they can rescue him. Touched by the genuine bond formed between Sunagakure and Konoha, Chiyo gives up her life to revive Gaara, hoping that the relationship of peace might be continued. In the Japanese anime, her seiyū is Ikuko Tani.

Sai

is introduced during Part II of the series as Sasuke Uchiha's replacement in Team 7. Having been a member of Root since he was a child, Sai has been trained to not possess or desire any type of emotion or camaraderie. After spending time with Naruto Uzumaki, however, he begins to crave bonds with other people, which has since become his primary role in the series. Sai's attempts to form bonds involve giving pet names to others; however, he often says what he actually thinks of a person, resulting with him choosing names such as "fatso" and "ugly". He eventually learns from his mistakes and attempts the opposite approach, for instance, calling Ino Yamanaka "gorgeous". When not making an attempt to bond with others, Sai spends his time painting and drawing, and has produced thousands of works. His artistic talents extend to his choice of attacks in battles: anything he paints on a scroll that he carries with him, most commonly animals, comes to life. Sai's seiyū is Satoshi Hino in the Naruto: Shippūden anime.

Yamato

is introduced during Part II of the series as a temporary replacement for Kakashi Hatake as the leader of Team 7. After Kakashi's return, he stays on the team in an additional leadership position. Though "Yamato" is a codename assigned to him for the purposes of joining Team 7, he prefers it over his real name, . During his infancy, Yamato was abducted by Orochimaru and experimented upon in an attempt to replicate the First Hokage's unique abilities. Orochimaru was forced to flee Konohagakure before he could complete his testing, and thus never knew that Yamato had successfully obtained the First's Mokuton techniques. When using Mokuton techniques, Yamato can form anything out of wood at will, and is not above using this ability for making creature comforts like two-story houses to "camp out" in. Mokuton also allows Yamato to suppress a tailed beast's influence over its host. This is the primary reason he is assigned to Team 7, as he can stop Naruto Uzumaki if the nine-tailed demon fox within him gets out of control. In the Naruto: Shippūden anime, Yamato's seiyū is Rikiya Koyama.

Nine-tailed demon fox

The is the most powerful of the tailed beasts. It is regarded as an age-old natural disaster, as a single swipe of one of its tails can raise tsunamis and flatten mountains. Twelve years before the start of the series, the fox attacked Konohagakure. Its attack was stopped by the Fourth Hokage, who gave his life to seal the fox into his son, Naruto Uzumaki. Throughout the series, Naruto tries to gain dominance over the fox, as harnessing its great strength allows him to perform jutsu that would normally be impossible for a ninja of his level. At the same time the fox tries to gain control over Naruto, provoking his rage and thus allowing its violent personality to influence and consume him. As Naruto draws upon more of the fox's power the seal keeping it trapped within him weakens, and in the event the seal is broken the fox will be released. In the Japanese anime, its seiyū is Tesshō Genda, and in the English adaption the fox is voiced by Paul St. Peter.

Merchandise

Several types of merchandise have been produced based on the likeness of the characters in the Naruto series. Apparel such as clothing, backpacks, and other accessories, have been released, as well as full costumes used for cosplay. Other merchandise includes action figures, plush dolls of characters' Part I and Part II appearances, key chains, and figurines—many of which are limited editions produced in small quantities. Many characters are also featured on posters, wallpapers, and trading cards from the Naruto Collectible Card Game.

Reception

The characters of Naruto have received praise and criticism from several publications for anime, manga, and other media. Active Anime lauded the characters for not being "simple cardboard cut-out characters" due to their "fleshed out personalities" and "underlying dramatic motivations", and praised the "deeply moving emotional trials" they undergo over the course of the series. Anime Boredom agreed with this assessment, extolling the characters as "well rounded" and "imaginative", and celebrated how the characters allowed the series to successfully incorporate comedy, action, and drama together in a believable manner. T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews digressed, dismissing the characters as echoes of stereotypical shōnen characters, and noted that several of the characters were not likable. A second review from T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews offered a more positive view, commenting that Naruto Uzumaki combined the finer values of his shōnen predecessors, but lamented the characters' personalities tended to fall between Naruto's "charisma and coolness" and Sasuke's "blandness", making it was difficult to think about the characters on "any deep or meaningful level". Mania asserted that the series lacked the "tremendous depth in it’s [sic] characters" or "the most flushed out backgrounds" seen in other shōnen series, and believed the primary focus of the series was on the fighting. The anime and manga magazine Neo described Naruto's character as "irksome", but attributed the series' "almost sickening addictiveness" to its level of characterization.

The visual appearances of the characters in the anime and manga have also received notice from reviewers. Anime News Network praised the characters' "distinctive clothing, hair, faces and personalities" that made them easily identifiable, as well as Kishimoto's "clear eye for geography, movement and the human form" and "impeccable visual timing". T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews considered Kishimoto "an average artist at best" and derided the poor transition of his artistic style into animation. Despite this, the second review from T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews admitted that when the animators were at their best, they produced "artistic renderings that leave little to be desired on the part of fans of the manga", but concluded the animation was "a mixed bag".

References

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