Naruto is considered one of the greatest and most popular manga-animes of all time. Focused on a fictional world of ninja nations, defying clans, and powerful demons that threaten humanity, Naruto is a grand adventure with a variety of heroes and villains. Even set in a fictitious land where the ninja way is predominant, the anime has many stories that focus on the human element, making it relatable and even heart-warming at times. The anime centers on a boy named Naruto who carries a dangerous demon called the Nine-Tailed Fox. Naruto swears he will become Hokage, the chief of his village, but he has to fight many villains along the way. These foes are some of the show’s most interesting characters, and while they all want to wreak havoc in the Village Hidden in the Leaves, their motifs and back stories are all complex and compelling.
The same can be said for their powers. Not all villains are created equal, and this is true for the bad guys in Naruto, but as some villains were clear threats from the moment of their introductions, others grew throughout the story. Some were originally heroes that turned to the dark side while others were hiding in the shadows. It’s not easy being bad, and some of these baddies made the show great, even though others dragged it down. So, without further ado, here are 10 Of Naruto’s Most Powerful Villains (And The 10 Weakest).
20 Weakest: Sound Four
Maybe it’s unfair to consider Sound Four one of the weakest when there is such a variety of villains, but they did target the Leaf Village, and that makes them villains in our book. This gang, originally prisoners of Orochimaru, were a group of Chunin-level ninjas who did anything the dark lord asked for. Even though they were able to defeat two powerful Jonin together, they are definitely the weakest of all villains when separated.
When Orochimaru sent them on a mission to bring back Sasuke, the Sasuke Recovery Team took them out one at a time. As a team, they were able to cover for each other’s weaknesses, but once separated, they didn’t last for very long; not to mention a group of Genins and a Chunin took them out.
19 Strongest: Deidara
There is no doubt Deidara is one of the most annoying villains in the anime; anyone that talks that much about their art is bound to be considered unpleasant. However, that does not mean opponents should take a match with Deidara lightly.
This cool-mannered arsonist is not an easy enemy to defeat. As an Akatsuki member, Deidara was prone to mayhem, preferably through explosives, and his peers regarded him as a worthy opponent; even Pain frequently remarked on his abilities. His weapon of choice was his explosive clay, which he would mold into any creature or shape that would assist him in battle. He could even transform the clay into clones that would give him the advantage in numbers, making Deidara a difficult opponent to beat.
18 Weakest: Haku
Haku was one of the first interesting villains to show up in Naruto. While blending the gender lines, Haku was one of the first wicked characters to have a compelling and sad background story. Haku was a blind follower of Zabuza, who saved him from his dangerous fate. After that, Haku was loyal to Zabuza to a fault.
Even though Haku was Zabuza’s sidekick, he possessed some interesting abilities of his own. His speed was a noticeable skill and even his Taijutsu was quite special. However, Haku was most well-known for his use of water and wind chakra to create his ice techniques. If he hadn’t met his fate so early by the hand of some fresh-out-of-the-academy Genins, Haku would have become more powerful in time.
17 Strongest: Danzo
Danzo Shimura was as sneaky as they come from the first moment he appeared in Naruto. As leader of the Anbu Black Ops, Danzo did most of his bidding in the shadows, doing as he pleased without the permission of the Elders.
In skills alone, Danzo is not one of the most powerful villains in the manga, but his acquirement of information and intelligence made him a dangerous opponent. It was his power as an Elder and leader of the Anbu that ended up sealing the fate of the Uchiha Clan; not to mention what he later did with all the Sharingan eyes of the fallen Uchihas.
16 Weakest: Zabuza
As one of the first villains to appear in the anime, it’s hard to place him at the top of the strongest villains. He was the first encounter Team 7 had with a rival from the Village Hidden in the Mist. Accompanied everywhere by Haku, Zabuza was the carrier of Kubikiribocho, the Executioner’s Blade. The sword was part of the collection of weapons belonging to the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist and it give Zabuza a great advantage. On top of that, he was incredibly adept in Water Ninjutsu as he demonstrated with his Water Prison Technique.
Zabuza and Haku were a real threat to any villagers that crossed their path, but in the end, even though they showed great prowess and power, they lost the battle to Team 7.
15 Strongest: Kisame
While the world of Naruto knew Kisame as the Monster Hidden in the Mist, fans of the anime knew him as Itachi’s partner in crime. Another one of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen, Kisame was a force to be reckoned with. He was a member of the Akatsuki after he betrayed his village and ended his former master.
Aside from being an expert swordsman, he also possessed massive chakra reserves that matched his physical strength and speed. Aside from wielding Samehada with ease, he could heal and replenish his energy by fusing with it, but his true power lied with his Water Jutsu. He manipulated and created large quantities of water to tip the scales in a battlefield into his advantage. His ninjutsu skills were endless, making him one of the coolest villains in the Naruto universe.
14 Weakest: Konan
Konan could have had an incredible story arc as a fearsome villain, but her story was more about Nagato and Yahiko than herself. This kunoichi was a founding member of the original Akatsuki; she grew up during enduring war times and was trained by none other than Jiraiya, the Toad Sage. She was also unique in her ninja skills, being the only ninja at the time who could manipulate and use paper to her advantage.
Konan is peculiar and different from the rest of the villains because she was more wounded than ill-natured. However, it was hard to see her shine since she spent most of the time as Pain’s right-hand woman.
13 Strongest: Sasuke
How can one fully describe the complexity and power of Sasuke? Initially a member of Team 7 and sole survivor of the Uchiha massacre, Sasuke was a brooding boy with one mission: stake his revenge on his brother and traitor, Itachi Uchiha.
From then on, Sasuke’s quest became more complicated and so did his powers. He quickly grew and developed his Sharingan into Mangekyo Sharingan, and not long after that, he was able to use Amaterasu, a power that very few Uchihas were able to summon. With his intense emotions, his power continue to grow. He is a fallen member of the Leaf Village who doesn’t know how to satiate his quench for power and revenge. His quickness and intelligence only made Sasuke more powerful, making him a superior opponent to villains that others failed to defeat.
12 Weakest: Karin
Some villains are just plain annoying. If you thought young Sakura was a pain for her boy-obsessed ways, Karin is the same, but a little wicked. Karin was originally a subordinate of Orochimaru when Sasuke recruited her for his team. Karin separates herself from the rest with her ability called the Mind’s Eye of the Kagura. This ability allows her to sense the chakra signature of any opponent. This helps her track a target much easier than others and to assess their power.
However, any ability Karin has is deeply affected by her fluctuating personality. Sometimes, she appears to be a tough baddie who can stand up to anyone. At other times, she is obsessed with Sasuke and making him fall for her.
11 Strongest: Orochimaru
The Legendary Sannin was the main antagonist for the majority of the first few seasons of Naruto. He was a snake-like creature that desired more than anything to destroy his hometown, the Leaf Village. Orochimaru is one of the spookiest of villains in the anime because he molded his power from performing unspeakable experiments. However, it was that research and intelligence that allowed him to modify his body and abilities to make him practically immortal.
What made Orochimaru so malevolent was how far he would go to achieve what he desired. Completely lacking a moral compass, he used children for mutant experiments, reanimated deceased people to do his bidding, and targeted powerful ninjas in order to use them later on as hosts. He had no limits, and that makes him one of the most powerful villains in Naruto.
10 Weakest: Kimimaro
Kimimaro became one of Orochimaru’s most loyal ninjas. After his entire family (the Kaguya clan) was destroyed, he found purpose under the command of Orochimaru. There is no denying that Kimimaro is a powerful ninja since Orochimaru intended to transfer himself into Kimimaro’s body. In fact, he might have proven himself later on if he hadn’t gotten ill. This decreased his value and power drastically.
Even in his weakened state, Kimimaro proved to be the most outstanding of the Sound Four members. His abilities from the Shikotsumyaku allowed him to manipulate his skeleton in the battlefield and he could even create an entire forest of bone blades. He was able to battle Naruto, Lee, and Gaara consecutively and not be defeated. In the end, Kimimaro was defeated by his own illness.
9 Strongest: Pain
The introduction of Pain enriched the anime with new characters, powers, and storylines to discover. His presence revealed past students of Jiraiya who turned to the dark side and it introduced the power of the Rinnegan, which is foreshadowed later in the show.
As one of the most experienced and few ninjas with Rinnegan, Pain was easily the most powerful of the Akatsuki. With the Rinnegan, his power grew into a massive threat to anyone who crossed his path. This ability allowed him to control corpses and channel his power through them, giving him the ability to be in multiple places at once and attack his target with vast intelligence.
8 Weakest: Suigetsu
Suigetsu Hozuki might be funny and a juxtaposed companion of Sasuke, but he was vastly overrated. What separated Suigetsu from other water-style ninjas was his ability to transform his body into liquid form. It was one of the reasons why he was captured by Orochimaru and used for experiments. He is also capable of merging his water with other existing bodies of water to extend the range of his attack.
Even though it had been a while since water-wielding ninja showed up in Naruto when Suigetsu was introduced, his role was very minimal. He was considered a child prodigy in the art of elimination, but he mostly spent his time following Sasuke around and disappearing for multiple episodes at a time.
7 Strongest: Itachi Uchiha
From the very beginning, the way Sasuke spoke of his brother alluded to great wickedness. Even in his absence, the trauma and pain he caused in the Leaf Village was still very much alive. That is what made it so spooky when Itachi finally arrived to the village in a foggy path. We knew he would show no mercy and that his power was boundless.
Aside from his formidable presence, Itachi was a child prodigy. His intelligence and ability to use his Sharingan separated him from the rest of the Uchiha clan. He was master of the Mangekyo and his genjutsu, which trapped his target in illusions he created to attack them. It was also his ability to plan for every scenario that made him virtually unbeatable. His mind went to great lengths to anticipate any circumstance or any attack.
6 Weakest: Zetsu
Since Black and White Zetsu form such an important part of the Fourth Great Ninja War, he should be considered a strong opponent. However, Zetsu’s abilities were limited, making him a great partner in crime, but not an outstanding villain by himself.
While White Zetsu can emulate ninja attacks and has incredible healing powers, Black Zetsu can control his opponents and other beings. Their power came from an infusion of the DNA of Hashirama Senju administered by Madara Uchiha. Their ability to replicate and be in many places at once made them a powerful enemy in the war as they were basically an entire army. Even though he was a great warrior, Zetsu is more of an inconvenience in the path towards a more threatening villain.
5 Strongest: Tobi
Don’t let the silly voice and comical mannerisms fool you. It is all a ploy to distract everyone from Tobi’s true identity, which is later revealed as one of the greatest villains of all time. With past trauma rooted in the Leaf Village, Tobi gathered power and knowledge throughout the years that later ignited the Fourth Great Ninja War.
Tobi appears to be a clueless member of the Akatsuki, but in reality, he is the one calling the shots. His ability to manipulate others is outstanding as he is the one who influences Pain to go on a rampage. He also acquires the Rinnegan abilities and the Mangekyo Sharingan, a dangerous combination of abilities never before seen by any other ninja. On top of that, he can transport himself, or parts of himself, into different dimensions when he is attacked.
4 Weakest: Gaara
We are aware that Gaara is incredibly powerful as anyone who is a Jinchuriki will surely have great reserves of chakra. However, because Gaara was a villain for such a short period of time, we have no choice but to place him as one of the weakest bad guys in the anime.
Gaara first showed up for the Chunin exams with a thirst for violence unrivaled by any of his peers. We soon find out about his loveless, traumatic childhood and his motives become clear. While Gaara wreaks havoc in an already wrecked village by Orochimaru, he is mostly misguided and unable to control his Jinchuriki. There is no doubt he is strong, but if Naruto is able to defeat him at his early stages, maybe he wasn’t that strong.
3 Strongest: Madara
Madara Uchiha was known as one of the most powerful Uchiha clan members ever. Known as Hashirama’s rival, fans knew of Madara long before he showed up in the anime, and although the rumors revealed his passing, the tales of his prowess lived on.
Madara was the first Uchiha to use the ability of Susanoo, a summoning technique that requires to have Mangekyo Sharingan in both eyes. The first ninja we see summoning Susanoo is Itachi, and while Itachi struggled to maintain his chakra, Madara could summon his Susanoo with ease. When Madara finally showed up, he eliminated an army of allied forces with ease. Even against the five great Kages, Madara didn't even break a sweat. Very few, if anyone, could surpass Madara in power and in Shinobi abilities.
2 Weakest: Kabuto
Yes, Kabuto is like that fly that won’t go away; he continued to find ways to meddle in the Shinobi world and cause chaos. Kabuto was a main enemy in the Fourth Great Ninja War, even surpassing his former master. However, the truth is that Kabuto was not such a great ninja.
Kabuto’s true power lied in manipulating other great powerhouses to his will. He knew what Orochimaru needed to hear in order to stay close to him and later on, he manipulated Tobi into doing what he wanted, as well as all the deceased powerful ninjas. He leeched off Orochimaru’s research once Sasuke weakened him, and his snake-like form is not from his own power, but it’s merely a copy of Orochimaru’s abilities. He has no real identity of his own and his motives are unclear, aside from creating chaos and war.
1 Strongest: Kaguya
Kaguya Otsutsuki is the final main villain of Naruto: Shippuden. Her introduction completely flipped anything fans knew about the world of Naruto from the beginning.
It’s true that many fans found Kaguya’s role in the series tacked on and unnecessary, but it doesn’t change the fact that she might be the strongest villain in Naruto. Essentially, Kaguya is an alien, or what they call an Otsutsuki, and the reason there is chakra in the first place is because of Kaguya’s existence. She was the first being on Earth to possess chakra after she consumed the fruit of the God Tree. As the bearer of all ninjutsu, her abilities are almost infinite. She is able to teleport herself, along with anyone else into other dimensions, and her Infinite Tsukuyomi allows her to transport her opponents into dreams and false paradises of her choosing, or into enduring punishments.
Are there any other strong/weak villains in Naruto that belong on our list? Let us know in the comments!