While Naruto truly is the story of an Uzumaki orphan becoming the hero he always dreamed to be, there's a lot more going on. For example, there are conspiracies, love triangles, and even comedy. However, one of the most important other parts of Naruto is the lead character's relationship with Sasuke Uchiha. Young genin friends turned bitter rivals and enemies, Sasuke and Naruto have a complex relationship. They may be on opposite sides of several conflicts, but they also are loyal to one another, in their own way. Sasuke always believes in Naruto's abilities, and Naruto always assumes his friend will one day come back to him. These are just two examples, among many other things, of course.
Either way, the conflict between the two ninja became the heart of the show, questioning if Sasuke could ever come back or if Naruto will ever give up. With 700+ episodes covering this, the anime has a lot of material exploring their friendship. However, there are some things casual or new fans might not realize about the pair. After all, there's a lot between them.
Here are 25 Wild Revelations About Naruto And Sasuke's Rivalry.
25 Sasuke Didn't Consider Naruto A Rival (At First)
As children, Sasuke was the clear favorite in class to become a legendary ninja. Not only did he have the Uchiha heritage, but he also maintained a serious disposition about training and learning. When he lost his family, that focus only became stronger.
On the other hand, his teachers, peers, and other adults always saw Naruto as a goofball. He didn't show much promise as a ninja and also never seemed to take anything seriously. He broke countless rules and made daily life in Konoha more chaotic. Because of this, Sasuke barely considered Naruto worth notice, let alone a rival. It wasn't until the Chunin Exams that the Uchiha heir really saw the power in his teammate.
24 They Are Reincarnated Rivals
The Naruto world includes countless cycles and repeating patterns, whether it's feuding families, recurring dangers, or similar rivals. The woman who brought ninja abilities to the world, Kaguya, had two sons that spread the gift with their genetics. However, her son, Hagaromo, had his own children and they began a cycling rivalry that would spread down generations. After all, these the universe continually reincarnated these two souls in new young men.
The process started with Indra and Asura, but then spread to their descendants Madara and Hashirama. As reincarnations of the pair, Sasuke (Indra) and Naruto (Asura) have been fighting the complex, deep bond that keeps them together but also keeps them at odds.
23 Naruto Stopped Sasuke From Ending It
When Sasuke and Naruto's battle with Kaguya ended, the Uchiha heir decided that the world was better off without his kind. Over time, the Uchiha family used their hatred to cause endless amounts of pain. He thought their influence should vanish with him.
However, Naruto wasn't having any of that. He fought his friend to keep him alive, just like he'd found him for years to bring him back to Konoha. In the end, they ended in a draw that took both an arm from both men and Sasuke relenting.
If it wasn't for Naruto, though, the Uchiha story would have ended with Sasuke, heartbroken, angry, and alone. With Naruto, he learned to be more.
22 They Took Each Others' Arms
Even though Team 7 reunited to fight against the world-eating Kaguya Otsutsuki, the boys still weren't on the best of terms. Naruto had become obsessed with finding a way to save Sasuke. Sasuke had drenched himself in so much blood and revenge that he could barely see anything else. Their conflicts culminated in a final, epic fight. Not only would it deal with their feelings, but it would finally prove which one of them was stronger.
Ultimately, the battle proved nothing. Meeting each other strike for strike, the combat ended with both men losing an arm. They seemed so equally match that, at best, they'd tear each other apart. Luckily, the two decided an arm each was enough and they'd go back to Konoha, together.
21 Naruto And Sasuke Share Hokage Duties
Though Naruto holds the official title as Seventh Hokage, most shinobi know Sasuke as the "Shadow Hokage". Together, the pair share duties of the role. While Naruto takes care of everything going within the walls of Konoha, Sasuke protects them from outside. He goes on dangerous, faraway missions to keep his people, his friends, and his family safe.
Complementing each other, they create an effective protective leadership for Konoha. With a powerful agent in the shadows and a figurehead strongly standing in the light, they can take care of more danger than most Hokage ever were capable of. If only the incoming threats of Boruto didn't seem more than even Sasuke and Naruto can handle.
20 Their Kids Are Also Rivals (In Their Own Way)
In Boruto, the Uchiha/Uzumaki rivalry doesn't stop with the parents. When Sarada and Boruto meet, they're pretty antagonistic and combative. Not only do they want to be better than one another, but they don't like the other's attitude. Sarada thinks Boruto is way too lazy. Boruto thinks Sarada is far too serious and uptight.
Once they become team members, though, that rivalry dissolves away into a deep friendship. Afterwards, Sarada sees his laziness makes him more adaptive and he's a great, compassionate friend/leader. Similarly, Boruto realizes Sarada's uptight nature just comes from her deep-seated love for helping others and her fierce ambition to become Hokage. Instead of fighting like their fathers, the rivalry is short-lived. They choose to help each other reach their goals.
19 Sannin Taught Them Both
When Naruto started, the two Team 7 boys were leagues apart. Sasuke was ahead in every way. However, as time went on, Naruto caught up to his friend with record speed. Ultimately, not wanting to fall behind and his desire to destroy Itachi turned the young Uchiha towards Orochimaru, the powerful, yet devious, Sannin.
At the same time (after not being able to retrieve Sasuke), Naruto joined Jiraiya on his journeys. The other Sannin already taught him some abilities, but to match up to Sasuke, become stronger, and save his friend, he had to learn more.
Under the tutelage of two incredibly powerful men, Naruto and Sasuke became stronger ninja than any of their previous teachers could have ever hoped.
18 Boruto Learned A Lot From Both Ninja
During his own series, Boruto always struggled with connecting to his heavily negligent father. However, he succeeded more with the absent Sasuke. After all, his reason for being gone was noble. Naruto just always chose even busy work over his family. Through intense training sessions, Boruto learned a lot of Sasuke's specializations.
Because of this, Boruto not only inherited a lot of Uzumaki abilities, but also learned a fair bit of Uchiha ones. This meant that he could wield lightning like Sasuke, but also use the Rinnegan like his father. Between the two men, Boruto became a stronger ninja for learning from them.
17 Their Iconic Colors Complement One Another
In iconic moments between Indra and Asura Otsutsuki, the pair are often seen as the moon and sun, respectively. They complement one another as people, even though the opposition can lead them to become bitter rivals.
As reincarnations of Indra and Asura, Sasuke and Naruto have those same elements to them. Those elements not only show up in their serious versus goofball demeanor, but also their clothes. Between his hair and outfit, Sasuke is a night child. The black and blues exemplify his darker personality. In the same way, Naruto's bright blonde hair and orange clothes set him up as the sun, a cheerier ninja who acts as a beacon to his people.
16 Naruto Was Jealous Of Sasuke Since Childhood
Even though Sasuke felt inadequate compared to Itachi, he still was an Uchiha. Other students in class saw the power and strength within him and were jealous of that. One of the most envious was Naruto, a lonely kid who wished he was as strong or as popular as Sasuke.
Though Sasuke only really cared about becoming powerful like Itachi, he had the attention of girls and teachers. Naruto had none of that, as the common screw-up. He wouldn't dare change who he was, but that kind of recognition? Of course a lonely orphan would want all that.
As he grew older that admiration and jealousy turned into annoyance, and they eventually moved beyond it.
15 Both Ninja Grew Up Orphans
For both Sasuke and Naruto, the topic of family is touchy. Naruto lost his parents before he could ever really know them and their identities were kept from him for most of his life. Both Kakashi and Jiraiya knew, but it wasn't until the Fourth Shinobi War that he learned anything, really. After losing them, he spent the rest of his childhood terribly alone.
Sasuke had a different experience. Though he ended up losing his parents, he did spend at least 5-6 years with them. However, he did lose more when Itachi decimated them and the rest of their extended family.
The pair turned into rivals, but their lonely childhoods did connect them during their time on Team 7.
14 Sasuke Considered Naruto His First Friend
When Sasuke was young, he focused hard on training to be as good as his genius brother, Itachi. His brother was the closest thing to a friend he had, but he ruined that when he destroyed their lives. After that, Sasuke didn't bother with socializing. Now, besting Itachi became an obsession. He needed to take revenge for what he did to their family.
At first, Naruto's attempts at friendliness were rebuffed. Over time, though, Sasuke started to feel comfortable with his Team 7 companions. Though he wouldn't admit it, Naruto became the first person he cared for since losing his family; his first friend. Otherwise, Sasuke would have destroyed him when he left Konoha, but he didn't.
13 Naruto And Sasuke Were Romantic Rivals
Power was hardly the only thing these two young ninja battled for. They also competed for the romantic affections of Sakura Hurano. However, to be fair, it wasn't like Sasuke ever tried to win. The only reason they were "rivals" at all was because, despite all reason and odds, Sakura was madly in love with the Uchiha boy.
From the first moment Naruto met Sakura, he thought she was cute and had a crush on her. Similarly, that's what happened to Sakura when she met Sasuke.
It took too many years for this rivalry to end, but it stopped when Naruto fell in love with Hinata and Sasuke, after finding himself, came back for Sakura.
12 Evil Plots Ended Both Their Parents' Lives
As the Uchiha and Uzumaki familes were full of ninja, the conditions that led to their downfall were more sinister than most. Sasuke's father and the rest of his family, segregated from the rest of Konoha, planned a coup to overthrow the government oppressing them. Danzo urged Itachi that destroying his family was the only way to stop the insurgence. Between Danzo's selfish machinations and the Uchiha Curse of Hatred, darkness surrounded Sasuke's parents' execution.
In Kushina and Minato's case, her jinchuriki seal would be at its weakest while giving birth to Naruto. In an attempt to destroy Konoha, Tobi attacked after labor, freeing Kurama. Kushina lost her life when he was freed, and Minato sacrificed himself to seal the Beast within Naruto.
11 Sarada Wants To Be Like Naruto And Boruto Aspires To Be Like Sasuke
Despite the hereditary influence on their children, Boruto and Sarada are very different from their fathers. Sarada maintains a deep sense of duty and compassion. Conversely, Boruto doesn't want to be a symbol like his dad is. He wants to live his life on his own terms.
Over time, both children discovered their personality reconciles with the other's parent. For example, Sarada feels her passion for helping others makes her a great future candidate for Hokage. And Boruto? His preference to make his own rules and protect people his own way attracts him to Sasuke's way of life, as a lone agent outside the walls.
Most importantly, though, is that unlike young Naruto and Sasuke, Sarada and Boruto fully support each other in their respective dreams.
10 Sasuke Let Naruto Live (When He Could Have Destroyed Him)
During the Chunin Exams, Orochimaru left a curse mark on Sasuke's neck that gave him more power each time he activated it. However, the power was unsustainable without Orochimaru's assistance. He hoped it would lure the young Uchiha to him, wanting to use him in experiments.
Orochimaru's hopes were correct.
However, all of his friends and teachers were wary to let the snake ninja steal the young Uchiha away. Each time he tried to leave the village, Naruto came running after him. The final time, though, Sasuke faced his friend and beat him down, convinced no one should get in his way.
But then he let Naruto live. Though he could have ended his life, and it would have made things easier, he couldn't.
9 They Are the Only Ninja That Can Stop One Another
Several times throughout Naruto, the anime has made it clear that Naruto and Sasuke are opposite, incredible forces that other ninja can't compare with. Not only do they have powerful legacies behind them, Sannin influence, and reincarnation mysticism, but they also are equally intense personalities. Throughout their young lives, they clashed often. Each time, if any one was stronger, next time the other would come back even stronger. They motivated each other to become better, stronger people.
If their final battle doesn't emulate their frightening, but equal, power, nothing does. In the end, both men lost an arm trying to win. They were so well-matched that their body disintegrated before one beat the other. That's serious equality.
8 Both Their Families Suffer Curses
For decades, the Uzumaki clan used their intense chakra reserves to help host and contain the Nine-Tailed Beast. An aggressive and unpredictable creature, unregulated it could put the entire village in danger. Or worse, can make the person a target for evil plots. The dangers of being a jinchiruki make it a curse more than a gift.
As far as the Uchiha family goes, their curse isn't just relegated to a single person each generation. Every single Uchiha faces the Curse of Hatred, a part of them that can fall too easily to anger, frustration, and injustice. Any of these normal feelings can turn an Uchiha to do dark and terrible things. For example, it caused the whole Uchiha clan to try and revolt.
7 Naruto Influences Sasuke More Than He'd Ever Admit
Save a few rare, heartfelt moments, Sasuke spends most of his time pretending he doesn't care about anyone. Especially once he leaves Konoha, he turns his emotions off and focuses on his goals of overcoming Itachi. However, something about Naruto keeps on getting to him.
While Sasuke is wildly independent and focused, Naruto influenced him more than he'd admit. Naruto was part of the reason why he got desperate to join Orochimaru. When leaving Konoha, he spared Naruto when he shouldn't have. After defeating Kaguya, he assumed the world would be better off without the Uchiha. Naruto convinced him otherwise.
Without Naruto, Sasuke's life path would have looked very, very differently.
6 Neither Man Is A Great Dad
Despite loving their children, neither Naruto or Sasuke are very great parents. Naruto may live in the village, but he neglects his kids. Too often, he chooses even the most mundane work over seeing them. Considering he even skipped Himawari's birthday, he doesn't comprehend how important presence is to kids. He thinks being alive is enough.
Similarly, Sasuke isn't there much for Sarada, either. While Sasuke has a bit of a better reason (he is very far away on missions for long periods of time), it's no excuse. He could have written letters to his daughter, but didn't. He could have scheduled visits to Konoha every so often to see her, but didn't. Considering Sarada didn't see him for 12 years, Sasuke could try harder.
5 Naruto Pardoned All Of Sasuke's Crimes
During Sasuke's time away from Konoha, he partook in countless unspeakable actions. Whether with Orochimaru or the Akatsuki, he forfeited his morals for power once he passed those Leaf Village gates. As the leader of the Sound Four he was ruthless, and as a member of the Akatsuki he was worse. Between acts of terror and planned assassinations, the boy he once was seemed gone.
However, Naruto was different. Sasuke sometimes hesitated when fighting him, eventually leading them to become equals who couldn't destroy one another. When Naruto offered that he should come back to Konoha, he sweetened the deal by pardoning all of Sasuke's crimes. Though even the Uchiha didn't think he deserved that, it proves the (possibly unhealthy) trust in their relationship.
4 They Both Didn't Want The World To End
Sasuke blamed Konoha for segregating his family and "making" Itachi destroy his own family. Near the end of Naruto, his sole goal was to destroy the village he thought ruined the Uchiha clan. However, when Kaguya reared her beautiful, evil head, Sasuke had to put his plans on hold. After all, there will be no revenge on Konoha if the whole world's destroyed.
Of course, being a dedicated shinobi, Naruto already planned to stop the Otsutsuki powerhouse at all costs.
Together, they finally were able to take down the powerful origin of ninja abilities. No matter their rivalry or the bad experiences between them, they worked together to save the world they cared about.
3 Naruto Never Gave Up On Saving Sasuke
Throughout his time as a villain, most all of the Konoha 11 tried (at least once) to bring Sasuke back home. No one tried as hard as Naruto, though. Far past the point where everyone else gave up on him, Naruto was still convinced they could save the sole Uchiha survivor. Despite his terrible crimes, Naruto thought there was still good in his old friend. Even Sakura gave up, willing to end his life to stop his tirade of terror.
In the end, Naruto was correct. Sasuke gave up his revenge plots after all his persistence and returned to the shinobi. Finally the pair were together again. Now, if he really should have pardoned all of Sasuke's crimes like he did is a different conversation.
2 They Ended Up Best Friends
Before Orochimaru whisked Sasuke away from Konoha, Naruto and the Uchiha heir were building a strong, competitive friendship. When he left, Naruto already considered Sasuke a brother. That bond was the only reason Sasuke didn't destroy him when Naruto tried to stop him from joining the Sound Village.
Years later, when both men were back in Konoha and loyal shinobi again, their friendship only blossomed. By the time they had children, they were best friends. They even shared Hokage duties, both doing their respective work to protect the village. Though they remained wildly different people, their passion and persistence brought them together.
1 If Naruto Passes Away, Sasuke Becomes Far More Dangerous
The final battle of Naruto: Shippuden made it very clear that in combat, Sasuke and Naruto are equals. While they are both tremendously powerful, stronger than most everyone else, they struggle to beat one another. When Sasuke conceded to join Konoha again, he accepted his lost arm and Naruto as protection against him turning evil again.
In Boruto, there is a distinct future where Naruto isn't alive anymore. While Kawaki is the direct threat, there is a serious, mysterious danger in Sasuke. He may be loyal to Konoha now, but after losing Naruto, his closest friend? There's no telling what might happen to him. And without Naruto to keep Sasuke in check, he might just become a villain all over again.
Were there any unique facts about Sasuke and Naruto's rivalry in Naruto that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!