Naruto characters
Image Source: Viz Media

10 Naruto Characters That Should Have Died

Or are Shinobi just born with nine lives?

The Shinobi world of Naruto is filled with dangerous missions, powerful antagonists, and full-fledged wars, so it’s no surprise that there’s been many tragic losses of character lives along the way. However, among the frequent deaths occurring throughout the ninja lifestyle, there are several instances in Naruto where characters realistically should have lost their lives but somehow managed to escape such a fate. We’ve rounded up the most notable characters that come to mind regarding near-death experiences and defying the odds, so without further ado, here are 10 Naruto characters that should have died.

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Orochimaru

Orochimaru from Naruto
Image Source: Studio Pierrot

The strange mentor-student dynamic between Sasuke and Orochimaru has always seemed to be building up to the moment Sasuke would finally overthrow the latter, killing him off for good. There had been years of training to this build-up, fuelled by Sasuke’s hunger for revenge and desires to hone his abilities, so it only made sense that the time would finally come and Orochimaru’s chapter would be closed for good, leaving Kabuto to carry on his legacy.

However, things didn’t quite end this way. Even when Orochimaru was no longer a necessity to the plot, he was kept alive due to the armor of his Curse Marks with the bizarre reveal of his ability to be resummoned through any of the Curse Marks he had inflicted on an individual, as each person with a Curse Mark contained a part of Orochimaru and his DNA. Furthermore, Orochimaru’s revival serves no purpose, as he is no longer needed as an antagonist.

Instead, Orochimaru ended up suddenly seeing the errors of his ways and completely turning a 180 on his ambitions and personal views. After Orochimaru had such strong beliefs for almost the entirety of his involvement in the story, it seemed odd that they’d suddenly change like that, and it almost feels like a missed opportunity to show Sasuke truly surpassing him as his student or Kabuto overcoming Orochimaru in his role, carrying the torch on.

Hidan

Hidan from Naruto
Image Source: Studio Pierrot

Hidan’s character ark was put to rest after his final battle with Shikamaru, finally bringing resolution and justice to the death of the beloved Sensei, Asuma Sarutobi, whom Hidan had tragically killed in battle. However, despite Shikamaru managing to get the upper hand over Hidan and the Jashinist Akatsuki member being written out of the story, Hidan was never killed.

Instead, Hidan was buried alive by Shikamaru, who swore that the Nara Clan would keep him there for all eternity. This was a significant letdown and dulled the feeling of victory that team Ino-Shika-Cho fought tooth and nail to obtain on behalf of their Sensei.

While the logic of Hidan being immortal is somewhat understandable due to his Jashin abilities, there was nothing to gain by keeping Hidan alive, as his involvement with the plot of Naruto had reached the end. It wouldn’t have been much of a stretch to have the weight of the rocky ground crush Hidan’s already dismembered body to a pulp when his grave was filled in, concluding the heartbreaking story arc of Asuma’s death with the most satisfying outcome.

Choza Akimichi

Choza Akimichi from Naruto
Image Source: Studio Pierrot

Choza Akimichi is the third member of the older Ino-Shika-Cho generation, known for being the father to Choji Akimichi and operating as one of the Hidden Leaf’s most experienced Shinobi alongside Inoichi Yamanaka and Shikaku Nara. Tragically, Shikaku and Inoichi sacrificed their lives in a noble, highly emotional act during the Fourth Shinobi Great War.

This was a tragedy for both Shikamaru and Ino, who were forced to fight on, knowing that their fathers had lost their lives. However, this moment also acted as the time for the old Ino-Shika-Cho generation to step aside and let the future generation take over their roles through the existence of their three children. Because of this, I’ve always found it odd that Choza wasn’t written to die alongside them, as it meant that Choji was less impacted and moved by the losses than his teammates.

With the slate wiped clean, all three of them could have stepped up as heads of their Clans to establish the foundation for the new Ino-Shika-Cho trio rather than having Choza lingering in the background for a role Choji undeniably deserves.

Might Guy

Might Guy from Naruto
Image Source: Studio Pierrot

Might Guy is one of the characters whose survival of death is baffling. To ensure the death of Madara Uchiha during the Fourth Shinobi Great War, Guy utilized the power of the Eight Gates — a technique well-known for resulting in death if the eighth gate is unlocked. Realistically, Guy should have succumbed to the effects of having unlocked the Eight Gate once he defeated Madara, going out in a true blaze of glory in a style that was very much suited to his character.

However, for no apparent reason, Naruto comes to the rescue and manages to spare Guy from losing his life as a result of the Jutsu with his Yin-Yang release, which is used to revitalize Guy’s heart. During the entire fight, the dialogue was shaped to sound like it would be Guy’s final battle, even referencing the way his father had so nobly died for him in the same fashion when he was just a Genin.

To have Guy survive the Eight Gates by some miracle just doesn’t make sense, especially since the damage to his body means Guy’s life as a Shinobi is over, leaving him confined to a wheelchair. At that point, they might as well have given him the badass death scene he deserved, leaving the future to his apprentice, Rock Lee.

Hiashi Hyuga

Hiashi Hyuga from Naruto
Image Source: Studio Pierrot

Hiashi Hyuga has had a very safe spot on the shitlist of many Naruto fans ever since his first appearance. Watching his disapproval and harsh judgment towards the Branch House of the Hyuga Clan, young Neji in particular, was already a hard pill to swallow. This is due to causing much tension and conflict between Neji and Hinata as a result of the former’s inability to understand how the branch system could ever be considered fair or honorable.

Following this mess, when his own daughter wasn’t meeting his high expectations quickly enough, he pretty much banished her, throwing poor Hinata away like a stray dog. Thankfully, Kurenai stepped in to play both a Sensei and parental role to the young Genin in Hiashi’s absence, allowing her to unlock her true potential.

Due to Hiashi’s harsh, traditional views, many fans feel that he should’ve taken the place of Neji’s death, finally seeing the errors of the separated house branches in his final moments and passing the responsibility down to Neji and Hinata to make things right and unify the Hyuga as one clan again. For many, Hiashi dying for Neji would been much more satisfying to watch rather than Neji sacrifice his life for a Main Branch individual, allowing the elder Hyuga Clan leader to repay the sacrifice of life his brother once made for him.

Karin

Karin from Naruto
Image Source: Studio Pierrot

Unfortunately, Sasuke manipulated and exploited Karin quite consistently during his plan for revenge, with him keeping her close due to her unique ability to restore health and Chakra to others by having them bite into her skin. Unfortunately for Karin, she was made a sacrifice by Sasuke in combat against Danzo, with the revenge-orientated Uchiha stabbing Karin through the heart in order to take out Danzo at the same time.

Even though Karin has impressive healing capabilities of her own and strong Chakra reserves, an attack such as Chidori going straight through the heart should have ended her life, especially when viewed in parallel to Kakashi’s very similar attack on Rin, which resulted in the latter’s death.

Karin could have been used as a horrifying indicator of Sasuke’s true descent into darkness, creating the unforgettable betrayal and killing of one of his own comrades. Instead, Sakura arrives on the scene and manages to use her medical Ninjutsu skills to heal Karin, eventually allowing the pink-haired Shinobi to make a full recovery from the devastating blow.

Shizune

Shizune from Naruto
Image Source: Studio Pierrot

Shizune is most well-known for her role as Tsunade’s assistant and close friend, often pulling her back into line and even helping encourage her to take on the responsibility of Hokage. When it came to the Fourth Great Shinobi World War, Shizune had more than served her purpose in the story. She was by no means shown to be as powerful as the likes of Tsunade, Kakashi, or Naruto, but rather someone who had somewhat fairly solid Jonin-level skills and some expertise when it came to poisons.

Shizune would have been a suitable casualty as a result of the fight against the White Zetsu Army, as she was still an important enough character that it would have affected the likes of Tsunade, Naruto, Kurenai, Kakashi, and the other Jonin adults of the Hidden Leaf quite deeply, stirring emotion without the need of sacrifice of more prominent figures. It’s also quite unrealistic that Shizune somehow survived the Zetsu invasion, as they were able to tank powerful attacks from the likes of Neji and Sakura. She physically should not have stood a chance, especially when medical ninja were being focused as priority targets.

Kankuro

Kankuro from Naruto
Image Source: Studio Pierrot

Back during the Akatsuki’s capture of Gaara, Kankuro was inflicted with a fatal poison manufactured by Sasori, leaving him with only three days to live before his body would shut down. The Sand Siblings have always been some of the strongest ninja in the Naruto world, right from their first appearance in the Chunin Exams, and had been proven to have grown much closer to one another during the time skip. Because of this, having Kankuro pass away would have been the perfect opportunity to showcase that despite their levels of expertise, these young Jonin were not invulnerable and still had weaknesses.

Furthermore, if one of the Sand Siblings were to die, Kankuro was the perfect candidate due to Gaara holding the role of Kazekage and Temari’s budding relationship with Shikamaru already beginning to take place. Sakura once again managed to save Kankuro’s seemingly lost life by reverse engineering a cure from the poison still active in his system. I couldn’t help but feel that this made the whole point of Kankuro getting poisoned an entire waste, as he was soon back on his feet searching for Gaara.

At most, he received a couple of days of bed rest, nothing more than a slap on the wrist in comparison to the fates of others. If not during this time, then perhaps Kankuro should have been a casualty of the Great Ninja War when he faced off against the reanimated Sasori. With how much emphasis is constantly put on Sasori’s level of prodigy-like expertise, It doesn’t seem very accurate that Kankuro could defeat the puppetmaster twice, let alone without any long-lasting effects or damage.

Yamato

Yamato from Naruto
Image Source: Studio Pierrot

During the Fourth Great Shinobi War, Yamato was captured and used to power the White Zetsu Army, with the army absorbing his abilities to strengthen their own. Yamato was also trapped within the Infinite Tsukuyomi, a jutsu very well known for frequently killing those stuck inside. Yamato was introduced much later on in Naruto’s story, yet bonded with Team Seven on a similar level to their other sensei, Kakashi. Having Yamato pass during the war would have brought Team Seven even closer together, forcing them to overcome a very personal, and tragic loss.

After years of confusion regarding his life due to being a victim of one of Orochimaru’s experiments and spending an extended amount of time serving in the Anbu Black Ops, Yamato finally found his happiness in Team Seven, as indicated by his Infinite Tsukuyomi hallucination, where he hoped to be a captain acknowledged and admired by Naruto, Sai, and Sakura.

It would have been a very sentimental and moving death to have Yamato come full circle and give up his life for the individuals that had finally granted him true purpose and aspirations, either finding a weakness to exploit from within the Infinite Tsukuyomi and dying whilst inside, or dying shortly after Naruto and Sasuke manage to pull him from he Jutsu in an explosive self-sacrifice against Kabuto, alongside, or instead of Itachi and Sasuke being the ones to kill him off for good.

Kakashi Hatake

Kakashi Hatake from Naruto
Image Source: Studio Pierrot

I know, it hurts, but if anyone deserves to be on this list, it’s Kakashi Hatake, and for a good reason. This is due to the fact that Kakashi actually did die in combat during Pain’s invasion of the Hidden Leaf Village but was soon resurrected by Nagato alongside all the other fallen Shinobi as an act of redemption upon connecting with Naruto.

Kakashi’s death was used as an opportunity to explore the complicated relationship with his father, the White Fang of the Leaf, as the two briefly met in the afterlife. While the resolution with Kakashi’s dad was a nice touch, bringing him back from the dead cheapened the huge shock factor and outrage that the Sensei’s passing had brought to the screen. I’ve always wondered if killing Kakashi in this fashion was necessary at all, as he could have confronted his issues with his father through other means, such as Genjutsu or having the White Fang be reanimated for the Fourth Great Ninja War.

If there was a decision made to have Kakashi pass away during the Pain Invasion ark, then it should have been final, rather than the bouncing back and forwards between life and death. However, this means Naruto would have been missing another important figure in his life as a result, but also would have opened up more opportunities, such as Yamato taking over Team Seven or Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, Sai, and Yamato even being forced to go up against a reanimated Kakashi during the war.

That’s it for 10 Naruto characters that should have died. Do you have any more individuals that belong on this list (and don’t just say Sakura, I know you’re out there)? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below, and don’t forget to check out the rest of our content here at Twinfinite for plenty more anime news, lists, and guides to keep you up to date on all the topics you need to know


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Grace Black
Grace is a writer and digital artist from New Zealand with a love for fiction and storytelling. Grace has been writing for Twinfinite for one year and in the games industry for two years. She's an enthusiast of everything spooky, an occasional anime enjoyer, and a die-hard Ghost-Type Pokemon fangirl. Her favorite video games include Overwatch 2, Life is Strange, The Last of Us, Baldur's Gate 3, and Pokemon - all of which she will never tire of.