The series built up to it perfectly. Two of fan’s favorite characters standing on opposite ends of the Valley of the End. On one side there was Naruto, a genin trying to prove to his friend there was still a path for him back at Konoha. On the opposite side, there was Sasuke, an avenger determined to find a way towards power even if it cost him his life. The image is iconic in the lore of the Naruto Series.
Naruto and Sasuke duel it out for the prestige of most powerful character throughout the entire series. It is clear at the beginning that Sasuke is ahead of Naruto, but by the end of the manga, the two appear to be on equal footing. That being said, the appearance of neutrality does not mean Naruto cannot overpower Sasuke and vice versa. Each character has strengths in given areas. When matched face to face those advantages cancel each other out, but that does not mean they do not exist.
For that reason, Screen Rant worked on a list to go deeper into each of those individual strengths. The list plays out like a tennis match; the two characters will go back and forth trading entries. Each Sasuke entry is a direct response to the previous Naruto entry, so think of it like ten groups of distinct comparisons. Each entry examines an area where the character overpowers the other character, and all entries are considered for their advantage in a fighting scenario. No entry is suggesting that the character completely overwhelms the other; instead, the entry is suggesting there is an overwhelming advantage there. The list will make clear that both Sasuke and Naruto overpower each other in certain areas, but the strengths of the other usually cause the stalemate fans see in battles throughout the series.
With these details out of the way, here is 10 Ways Naruto Beats Sasuke (And 10 Ways Sasuke Can Overpower Him).
20 Naruto: Summoning Chief Toad
One can argue that Gamabunta is a definite advantage for Naruto. The chief toad is a powerful summon that gives Naruto a clear ally in any battle. Gamabunta is strong and agile. Plus, he is capable of using jutsu and combining it with Naruto’s jutsus. The two can work in tandem, and that is not something Sasuke can necessarily do.
Sasuke can summon Madara, and that is noteworthy. However, Madara dies at the hand of Sasuke, and their relationship is more of a contract than an ally-ship. The distinction signals and inability to match Naruto in the teamwork he has with Gamabunta. The two would work in tandem better than Madara (the new one) and Sasuke ever could.
19 Sasuke: Has Two Summonings
In contrast, Sasuke may not have the teammate that Naruto has in Gamabunta, but he is able to summon two different types of animals into battle. Sasuke is one of few shinobi to hold this distinction. The fact he can summon both snakes and hawks gives him a clear advantage.
Naruto may be able to summon the assortment of toads available to him, but Sasuke can summon with variety. Both snakes and hawks have distinct advantages in battle and having them both gives Sasuke flexibility. Naruto’s toads can do a lot, but Sasuke can do just as much with this combination of summonings.
18 Naruto: Always Lucky
This entry title may be a little misleading, but in a second it will make sense. Naruto always appears lucky in battles, but luck is just the surface explanation. Most fans would argue that Naruto creates his own luck. It is luck that no fan sees out of Sasuke.
Naruto is consistently underestimated by his opponents. This underestimation allows him to catch his enemies by surprise and maneuver his way into an advantage. That surprise advantage appears like luck on the surface. The ability to surprise opponents makes him nearly unpredictable, and his fighting style is better for when plans go off the rail.
17 Sasuke: Always Prepared
Sasuke does not like when things go off the rail. He is a strategist, who dissects his opponent's strengths and plans a way to defeat them. This shrewd calculating makes for a clear path to victory for Sasuke. He knows an opponent's weak points, and he knows where his advantages are in any fight.
The style contrast Naruto in a ton of ways. Naruto is at his best when things fall apart, but Sasuke holds the advantage when everything goes according to plan. Sasuke is not shown to be as lucky as Naruto, but he often does not need luck at all. The planning phase is vital for Sasuke to gain an advantage over Naruto.
16 Naruto: Sage Mode
Naruto learns about the art of senjutsu from the toad sages of Mount Myoboku. The ability allows Naruto, due to his high chakra reserves, to enter full sage mode, something, not even his teacher, Jiraiya, could accomplish.
Sage mode allows Naruto to gather natural energy and use it for his own purpose. As the series goes one, this develops into his six paths sage mode given to him by Hagoromo. The transformation is peak power, and Naruto even can deflect truth-seeking balls in this state. Naruto is able to accomplish these power-ups through his time with Jiraiya, because, without the toad sage, Naruto never discovers this ability in the first place.
15 Sasuke: Orochimaru’s Teachings
Orochimaru never taught Sasuke how to enter Sage Mode. The only reason is Orochimaru could not enter it himself. Instead, Orochimaru accesses the natural energy through curse seals. The curse seal, along with the teaching Sasuke received from Orochimaru, was an essential part of Sasuke’s development.
After all, Sasuke has transformative powers that rival Naruto’s senjutsu. His ability to harness dark power and his overwhelming thirst for power made him an excellent pupil for Orochimaru. Sasuke’s time with Orochimaru, while attached to the curse seal, helped him gain tremendous strength. Without this time, Sasuke could not match Naruto in a one on one fight.
14 Naruto: Ability to Change People
This entry may not seem related to fighting, but just wait one moment and hear the explanation. When someone battles an opponent, they do not necessarily need to defeat them. If that person can appeal to their opponent's sensibilities, they can end a fight quicker with a better resolution.
Naruto never enters a fight determined to obliterate his opponent. He seeks a resolution that changes the person’s outlook or appeals to their emotional core. Look at early battles with Haku and Gaara for examples. The ability to discern a person’s intentions and work for them in a battle with empathy is a gift. It is something not many other shinobi possess in their fighting style. It actually helps Naruto overpower opponents by helping them drop their guard and/or underestimate him.
13 Sasuke: Ability to Avenge People
Sasuke is the opposite side of the coin when it comes to how he and Naruto approach opponents. Sasuke dismantles his opponents with a vengeance. His primary motivation is not to empathize with his opponent but instead defeat that at all cost.
The cold, unfeeling nature of his fighting style makes him a dangerous, unforgiving opponent. In contrast to Naruto, Sasuke will do whatever it takes to finish his opponent off. He does not enjoy talking during a battle unless it helps him to gain an advantage over his opponent. Fans saw the most prominent example of this during the final battle of part one at the Valley of the End.
12 Naruto: Chakra Reserves
The Uzumaki clan is gifted an extraordinary amount of chakra reserves. Naruto’s clan passed down that trait to him, and the gift is mentioned over and over again in the show. However, add in fact Naruto has a tailed-beast inside him, and that gift explodes to a new level.
Shinobi cannot change chakra reserves easily. The reserves grow as a character grows up, but no two shinobi have the same kind of chakra reserves. Now Sasuke has an unusual amount of chakra, but his is not on the same level as Naruto’s. This fact gives Naruto an apparent ability to cast more jutsu than Sasuke in a long-lasting battle assuming the two are both using similar amounts for jutsus (which is never the case).
11 Sasuke: Bukijutsu
Sasuke shows a talent for Bukijutsu that seems to surpass anything Naruto exhibits in the show. Sasuke is a master of shuriken techniques and always uses that edge in battle. The skill only further develops over time as Sasuke learns to become a gifted swordsman.
The Sword of Kusanagi is a wild card for Sasuke that separates him in talent and gives him a clear upper hand. Naruto is capable of Bukijutsu, but the series never shows him as a master of the technique like Sasuke is. Being able to overtake Naruto with this talent is a notable way Sasuke overpowers Naruto.
10 Naruto: Hashirama’s Spirit Inside Him
Every shinobi fights for something, and every shinobi has a fighting spirit within them. It is remarked upon in the series, that Naruto has the same spirit of fire that Hashirama Senju (the first Hokage) had within him. That spirit lives within him, and technically one of his arms is made of his cells.
Hashirama Senju is one of the first legendary ninjas, and he became known for creating the foundations of Konoha. Having his spirit in Naruto gives him the ability to never give up in the face of uncertainty and inspire his comrades. Naruto is the living embodiment of Hashirama, and that similarity gives him an upper hand in a battle similar to the empathetic aspect he fights with.
9 Sasuke: Madara’s Spirit Inside Him
Sasuke also has his own fighting spirit forged in a mold similar to another legendary shinobi. Sasuke’s spirit seems to be the living embodiment of Madara Uchiha. The fighting spirit of Madara Uchiha is said to be within Sasuke by some characters in one way or another.
Madara Uchiha is right up there with Hashirama Senju as a legendary ninja. He helped create Konoha with the first Hokage, but the two had diverging visions for the village’s future. The split revealed the dark nature of Madara’s soul and led to a cataclysmic battle between him and Hashirama. Sasuke has that same dark motivation within him, and the avenging aspect of his fighting style contributes to this idea.
8 Naruto: Stamina and Durability
Naruto does not give up quickly, and more importantly, he does not go down smoothly. Seriously, the amount of times Naruto goes down and does not get back up eventually can be counted on fan’s fingers. He is hard to put away. On top of this, his chakra reserves give him overwhelming stamina. Naruto can outlast just about any shinobi alive by the end of the series.
In contrast, Sasuke is durable, and he has tremendous stamina, but it is not the same level as Naruto. The difference is Sasuke knows not to fight to the point of exhaustion. Naruto is capable of fighting for what seems like days without rest, but the same cannot be said for Sasuke. His character never shows that kind of stamina that Naruto possesses, and it even frustrates him in their final fight.
7 Sasuke: Jutsu Knowledge and Speed
Sasuke grows so much over the series it is hard to conceive of just how much he is capable of by the end of the series. One thing is for sure, his Sharingan and time with Orochimaru opens up his jutsu knowledge to unimaginable possibilities.
He is able to get close to Rock Lee’s top speed during the chunin arc, and his speed likely only grows from there. He is also able to travel through space and time, so, yeah, the guy is incredibly fast. On top of that, the Sharingan gives Sasuke the ability to copy jutsu, so it is entirely possible that he mastered jutsu that the fans never even get to see. These two areas are essential talents that Sasuke is above Naruto in comparison.
6 Naruto: Natural Wind Release
Both Shinobi can use all five nature releases, but that does not mean they are naturally gifted with that. For instance, Naruto’s natural nature release is wind. That aspect of his chakra gives him an advantage over Sasuke.
Now, some fans are likely shouting “Sasuke’s natural release is fire which has an advantage over wind release.” This is true, but the Chidori is a lightning release, and that is the basis for most of Sasuke’s best attacks. In contrast, Naruto’s Rasengan is built off the wind release, and most of his best moves come from that nature release. Wind release has an advantage over the lightning release; therefore, Naruto holds the lead here.
5 Sasuke: Genjutsu
This entry is making a lot of assumptions, but all things are assumed based on knowledge from the series. For instance, Naruto is not shown to have much ability with genjutsu techniques. It is clear that he knows how to deal with it, but not much is revealed of him actually using it.
In contrast, Sasuke is shown not only breaking genjutsu constantly but also being able to cast strong genjutsu techniques. He possesses the same genjutsu ability unlocked by the Mangekyou Sharingan that Itachi uses. This displayed ability is way more than Naruto shows in the series, so it is safe to assume that Sasuke is more powerful in this area.
4 Naruto: Rasengan
Now is when this list dives into the nitty-gritty. Naruto desperately tried to understand the Chidori after he saw Sasuke use it against Gaara, but he is never able to master the technique. Instead, Jiraiya teaches the genin one of the most legendary techniques right up there with the Chidori.
Minato’s Rasengan is the staple move of Naruto’s arsenal. The technique sends an incredible amount of force spiraling through the opponent's body. By the end of the series, a direct hit with Naruto’s big ball Rasengan would spell the end for any opponent (and any surrounding landscape). The move is distinct to Naruto and a weapon that Sasuke has trouble avoiding directly. Plus, Naruto can use the Rasengan with many nature releases if he took the time to develop them.
3 Sasuke: Chidori
On the opposite side of things, Sasuke might be able to learn the Rasengan (Kakashi is able to with the help of the Sharingan), but there is no proof he has. Therefore, that power is seen as off limits to him just as the Chidori is to Naruto. However, that means Sasuke has the advantage of using the Chidori.
The lighting blade that Sasuke is able to wield in the palm of his hand is remarkably powerful. It can cut through just about anything. The Chidori is a slashing blade-like technique that gives Sasuke the ability to cut which significantly differs from the Rasengan’s ability. The Chidori is a power-up unique to Sasuke that allows the two to offset each other’s “finishers.”
2 Naruto: Nine-Tails Fox Chakra
Naruto is a jinchuuriki and with that distinction comes some abilities that distinguish him from Sasuke. After all, the Nine-Tails Fox and its chakra support Naruto through the first part of the series, and by the end, Naruto knows how to wield it and control Kamura. Plus, all nine tailed-beast energy resides in him by the end, and that sort of power cannot go understated.
The ability to enter Nine-tailed mode gives Naruto the ability to resist genjutsu and heal rapidly. This kind of upper hand is power Sasuke cannot possess even with his own unique skills. Being connected to the tailed beast gives Naruto unique powers that no other shinobi has and makes that a significant power over Sasuke.
1 Sasuke: Sharingan
Sasuke also has an ability that his opponent will never have, and that is his Sharingan. The Uchiha Clan’s Kekkei Genkai is one of the most overwhelming powers in the entire series. The ability gives Sasuke the ability to foresee Naruto’s move through a sort of hypnosis and counter his jutsu.
Sasuke is one of the few people to ever unlock the Rinnegan and the Mangekyo Sharingan. With these abilities, Sasuke is able to summon his own Susanoo that serves as the ultimate defense against any of Naruto’s attacks. On top of this, Sasuke can see the flow of time and summon Amaterasu flames both of which are unique to his abilities. Naruto may have the jinchuuriki distinction, but Sasuke’s bloodline helps him match that power in any fight.
Who do you think can win the battle? Let us know in the comments!