Following the original Naruto series, Naruto Shippuden brought audiences tales of a ninja community on the brink of war. The anime spent a decade releasing new episodes. Teenagers with advanced fighting abilities were the saviors in the series based on Masashi Kishimoto’s manga. During that decade, more than 500 episodes of television were produced.
Those 500 episodes received more than 67,000 user ratings on the Internet Movie Database. There, the series has an 8.5 rating out of a possible 10 stars. All of the top episodes of the series actually rank with at least nine stars.
10 The End, Episode 138 (9.0)
Though the title of this episode is “The End,” it doesn’t come at the end of Naruto Shippuden. Instead, this episode comes at the end of a chapter in Sasuke’s life.
This is the final episode of Sasuke’s fight with his brother Itachi. Sasuke vowed for years to make the person who tore his family apart pay for what they did. Given the chance, he used every power in his arsenal to take on his brother. “The End” saw the two brothers nearly evenly matched, with Sasuke only “winning” the fight when Itachi’s chakra depleted. This episode was a long time coming, so it’s fitting that it leads off the top ten.
9 Thank You, Episode 249 (9.0)
Like many of the episodes that make the top ten, “Thank You” revealed quite a bit of backstory for Naruto Shippuden. In it, Naruto met his mother and heard her story. At least, he got to meet the chakra left from his mother present inside him that helped to seal the Nine-Tails.
Kushina spent the episode recounting just what happened after Naruto was born. She explained how the Nine-Tails attacked Konahagakure under Tobi’s urging, and that in order to contain the tailed beast, its chakra had to be sealed inside someone. Kushina wanted to sacrifice herself, sealing the beast inside her as her life ended, but her husband took another path. He sealed only half the beast inside Naruto, and half in himself, using both their chakras to help do it. Both Kushina and Minato sacrificed themselves when Kurama attempted to kill the infant Naruto.
It’s an emotional episode for the series that allowed Naruto to understand the decisions made for him.
8 Planetary Devastation, Episode 167 (9.0)
The episode “Planetary Devastation” has another name. It’s also called “Chibaku Tensei,” a reference to a shinobi technique used by those who have the Rinnegan.
The episode led off with Naruto angry at what he thought was Hinata’s death by Pain. So angry, he allowed the spirit of the Nine-Tails to take over, and took on Pain alone. As the massive fight progressed, Naruto grew more and more tails until he gave over to the fox completely. Little did he know that Hinata was still alive and in the midst of the battle itself. Pain was forced to use a massive sphere, through Chibaku Tensei, to contain Naruto, but as the episode came to a close, it wasn’t enough. It was a great use of a cliffhanger to keep the audience coming back for more.
7 The Fourth Hokage, Episode 168 (9.0)
Immediately following the previous entry is “The Fourth Hokage.” The two episodes likely ended up with the same IMDb rating because of how closely tied to one another they were. This episode provided a massive download of information for fans - all while the Nine-Tails continued to battle Pain.
In Naruto’s mind, he met the part of the Fourth Hokage’s mind left behind for the Nine-Tails’ seal. Naruto not only discovered that the Fourth Hokage was his father, but that the previous attack by the Nine-Tails on Konohagakure was manipulated by a member of the Akatsuki. With so many pieces in place, Naruto took back his own body as the Fourth Hokage’s chakra vanished. The episode ended with Naruto understanding how to find the real Pain, bringing the battle closer to its end.
6 Congratulations, Episode 474 (9.0)
Though episodes depicting the confrontation with Madara, and so much of the revelations about shinobi history, rank higher in the top ten, this particular episode gave the heroes their happy ending. Of course, this episode only focused on Kakashi’s Team Seven.
In the episode, Kakashi, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura teamed up in Kaguya’s dimension to stop her. The spirits of all the Kage who helped them in battle were able to return to the afterlife, their jobs done. Before Minato left them, Naruto got the chance to give his father several messages for his mother. All around, it’s a fairy tale ending to a major battle. It wasn’t, however, the end of the series, and some of the episodes that followed ranked higher amongst IMDb ratings.
5 The Tale Of Jiraiya The Gallant, Episode 133 (9.2)
It’s no wonder that this particular episode winds up in the top ten. It features one of the most tragic endings to a beloved Naruto Shippuden character.
“The Tale Of Jiraiya The Gallant” focused on Jiraiya’s battle with the paths of Pain. Throughout a tense fight where Jiraiya gained the upper hand, only to be thwarted by the enemy, the tension built until the very end. Jiraiya, often disappointed that he didn’t lead an extraordinary life, found himself satisfied that he could go out with a heroic death.
4 Kakashi Vs. Obito, Episode 375 (9.2)
In the midst of several episodes depicting a massive battle, this episode stood out. So many characters were present in the action, but most eyes were on the titular characters of Kakashi and Obito.
Given the chance to take on his old teammate, Kakashi had to do it. Of course, while much of the episode is spent with Kakashi and Obito going head to head, it became clear that Obito wasn’t really acting alone. Instead, he was under the control of Madara Uchiha. By the end of the episode, however, Naruto noticed that Obito might not be completely in tune with Madara, resisting some of the control.
3 The Sage Of The Six Paths, Episode 421 (9.2)
Naruto and Sasuke got the chance to talk to a legend in this episode. While unconscious, the two spoke with Hagoromo Otsutsuki. The ancient shinobi gave the former teammates-turned-enemies-turned-allies some context for the conflict they were embroiled in.
Hagoromo revealed to the two that his own mother - Kaguya - used her shinobi abilities to rule. It’s her visual power that Madara wanted. Hagoromo wanted Naruto and Sasuke to stop him. That wasn’t all he revealed. It turned out, Naruto and Sasuke had the reincarnated chakra of his own two sons. To help them reach the full potential of that inherited chakra and defeat Madara, Hagoromo shared his own power with them. That power allowed Naruto to stop Madara from killing Might Guy at the end of the episode, changing the course of the battle.
2 The Final Battle, Episode 476 (9.3)
Following the events of the Fourth Shinobi World War, the series didn’t just end. Instead, Naruto Shippuden continued to follow the title character into “The Final Battle” and beyond. Though the war was the culmination of large plot threads in the series, this particular arc was the culmination of Naruto’s personal journey.
Naruto spent his formative years thinking of Sasuke as a friend and constantly competing with him, though the latter didn’t realize it until much later. Here, the two finally got to see what they were made of as they engaged in a battle against one another instead of a common enemy. It was the fight that fans had been waiting years for… but it didn’t actually end in this episode.
1 Naruto And Sasuke, Episode 477 (9.5)
In the aptly titled “Naruto And Sasuke,” the duo’s final battle raged on. The highest rated episode of the series contains the bulk of their fight.
Every trick the two learned over the years since end up used here. Naruto even called back to his first major skill of shadow clones. Here, however, he made shadow clones of Kurama, not himself. The audience also got to see the symbolism of all those who helped the two shinobi become who they are as hands help form different attacks for them. For Sasuke, there’s Itachi. For Naruto, there’s nearly every teacher and classmate he’s had. It’s a stark contrast in support when Sasuke tries to needle Naruto about loneliness.
The episode ended with the two completely exhausted, leaving fans wondering just how this conflict would truly end.