With Naruto Shippuden slowly coming to an end, it’s time to look back on the series that has captivated for so long. All of the shinobi are currently in the middle of the fourth great ninja war, and they have grown immensely since the very first episode of Naruto. Even before the Shippuden series started, the Naruto anime/manga revealed glimpses into just how awesome things would become in the future.
With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at the ten best fights the series has given us over the years. These are in no particular order, by the way. It wasn’t easy to select so few, but these are shining examples of what make Naruto as a whole so great.
Without further ado, let’s kick things off with one of the toughest exams anyone has ever had to take.
THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD. READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Rock Lee vs. Gaara (Chuunin Exams)
This was a fight between one of the deadliest shinobi in the world and one of the most determined. Rock Lee is unable to use both ninjutsu and genjutsu, putting him at a large disadvantage against most other ninjas. Gaara, on the other hand, is the One Tail’s jinchuriki, giving him an immense pool of chakra, powerful abilities, and the “perfect defense.”
At the time, Gaara was still being manipulated to be a murderous bastard with no regard for his fellow man. He used the full power of his sand jutsu combined with the One Tail’s abilities to decimate any who came before him. But he ended up facing a troublesome foe in the form of Rock Lee.
Taka vs. Killer Bee
It’s easy to not take Killer Bee seriously. His incessant attempts at rapping, joking demeanor, and weird way of moving make him a ninja that you may overlook. But you can’t allow yourself to forget that he’s the jinchuriki of the Eight Tails. He also happens to use a peculiar sword style in which he employs eight blades to launch an onslaught against his foes.
Sasuke using his chidori and Sharingan, Suigestu using his water jutsu, Jugo with his curse mark, and Karin being Karin had their work cut out for them going against the Raikage’s brother. Even with all of their abilities, Killer Bee toys around with them, dancing while delivering devastating blows to all that oppose him.
Sasori vs. Chiyo and Sakura
All of the fights against the members of the Akatsuki were pretty intense. But few displayed the emotional burden that Granny Chiyo faced when fighting her own grandson, Sasori of the Red Sand. Chiyo herself had taught Sasori the art of puppetry and must now face her own blood in a battle to the death.
With Sasori being extraordinarily skilled, the combination of Sakura’s living body and Chiyo’s own puppet jutsu lead to one of the toughest clashes in the series.
Naruto vs. Pain (in Konoha Village)
Naruto has been in a lot of fights throughout the anime/manga. After all, he is the titular character and he has a lot to prove. One of his greatest fights was when he absolutely lost his mind. After losing to Pain, Hinata stepped in to defend him. She fought valiantly, but was violently brought down right before Naruto’s eyes. All of the emotion he was feeling welled up inside of him and the Nine Tails chakra took over.
Naruto loses all sense of self as his cloak sprouts six tails and the battle begins. The artstyle used for the anime was raw and reminiscent of a much more classical anime, like something you’d see in Akira. As both Pain and Naruto race around, delivering huge attacks and destroying everything around them, you can feel the pain that Naruto is suffering throughout the whole ordeal.
Kakashi vs. Zabuza
Kakashi vs. Zabuza was one of the first time in the series where fans got to see just how far teachers were willing to go for their students. It’s also one of the first times you got a chance to see what makes Kakashi so dangerous. The “Copy Ninja” put his full skill set on display as he battled one of the Hidden Mists deadly swordsmen and powerful assassin.
The fight pit both shinobi against one another as their students fought their own battles. In the end, Kakashi revealed the true heart of the hardened Zabuza, and showed the bond between students and masters.
Shikamaru vs. Hidan
The death of Asuma sent an emotional blow to Shikamaru and the rest of his team. He was not only Shikamaru’s teacher, he was his friend and mentor. Hidan has the power of immortality thanks to the Jashin religion. Normally, that would mean there’s no point in even facing him.
Luckily, Shikamaru is a tactical genius who won’t let a little thing like Hidan’s inability to die get in the way. With a lot of planning and positioning, the Hidden Leaf’s smartest ninja proves that brains can definitely triumph over brawn.
Jiraiya vs. Pain
In easily one of the saddest encounters in all of Naruto Shippuden, Jiraiya faces off against Pain. This isn’t just a one-on-one. The member of the legendary Sannin has to face all the forms of this mysterious ninja. It’s clear to see just why Jiraiya, lovingly known as the Pervy Sage, is so respected.
His ability to quickly adapt to a situation and learn his enemies pattern is unmatched. Pain was far from a slouch in this battle, though, constantly keeping up the pressure and mixing up several different techniques in the midst of battle. Few fights showed off as much diversity and action as this legendary brawl.
Kabuto vs. Itachi
There weren’t many instances in Naruto Shippuden where you got to see two certified geniuses go head to head. Yet that’s exactly what fans were treated to once a reanimated Itachi squared up against a brand new Kabuto. One is the best ninja the Hidden Leaf had ever seen, and the other was Orochimaru’s right hand, and one devious combatant.
Kabuto was struggling with his identity and the part that he needed to play in the ongoing war, but Itachi knew just how to fix that. Fans get treated to the Izanami in action as Kabuto is trapped inside of loop that will force him to face reality. Like all of Itachi’s fights, the constant twisting of perception and illusion make this an interesting battle.
Madara vs. The Five Kages
Most of the fights we’ve shown you so far stand out because of interesting techniques or demonstration of character. There’s a certain level of finesse between each of the combatants that transformed each encounter to more of a dance then a battle for one’s life. That is not the case here. Madara vs. the Five Kages is nothing more than a display of vicious power.
The legendary leader of the Uchiha clan is a demon. He fights as if everyone’s life is a toy and has no qualms with snuffing out life. Even when up against the five most powerful shinobi in the land, he toys around with them. He goes so far as to rip one in half, never allowing his smile to leave his face.
The Masked Man vs. Minato
This is the fight that started the adventure for Naruto, although you never get to see it until well into the series/manga. Minato, the fourth Hokage, fights against a masked ninja as the Nine Tails is rampaging throughout the village. This masked ninja would show his face again many years later, but not before leaving his mark on the world and on Naruto.
This is also the only time you get to see Minato show off his skills as the “Yellow Flash” while he’s still alive. Watching him push back the mysteriously powerful Masked Man is nothing short of amazing. Even in the end, as he breathes his last breaths, you can’t help but respect who Minato was.