Naruto was at the center of everything. He and his friends worked hard to save the village from the threats that seeked to destroy it. That commitment led to tragedy in the 500 episodes of the anime.
10 When Naruto Met Minato
Naruto grew up without his parents. In fact, he didn’t even know who they were, though they played a big part in Konoha’s recent history. His father Minato was the village’s Fourth Hokage.
Naruto finally got to meet his father during a battle. When Naruto’s anger allowed the Nine-Tails to take over his body, Minato’s chakra inside him activated. Minato had sealed a bit of himself on the ninth seal as well. Naruto’s shock at discovering one of his heroes was actually his father was enough to get anyone watching to tear up.
9 When Asuma Sacrificed Himself For Shikamaru
Shikamaru is one of the few secondary characters in the franchise to get arcs devoted to him in the anime. When shinobi teams had to take on members of the Akatsuki, Shikamaru’s team joined forces with Naruto’s to take on Kakazu and Hidan. The fight split the team up as Shikamaru and their former teacher Asuma fought Hidan.
Shikamaru and Asuma figured out a lot of Hidan’s tricks, but it came at a price. It was too late in the battle for both of them to be saved. Asuma knew how things would play out once Shikamaru put all the pieces together. He sacrificed himself so that Shikamaru, and the next generation, could keep fighting. As one of the coolest senseis in the franchise, it hit the audience hard.
8 When Shikamaru And His Father Played Shogi
If the loss of Asuma hit the audience hard, it was nothing compared to how hard it was for Shikamaru. Shikamaru held a lot of guilt for what happened to his sensei. His guilt and despair came to a head while playing a game of shogi with his father.
During the game, Shikamaru’s grief overcame him and he flipped the board, scattering the pieces across the room, finally “letting it all out.” If Asuma’s loss hadn’t already got to the audience, seeing the logical and steady Shikamaru break down certainly did. It even hit manga readers hard since this particular scene didn’t happen on the page.
7 When Jiraiya Sent His Last Message
Jiraiya was a big source of comic relief for the Naruto franchise. Despite his comedic lines and outlandish behavior, he was one of the best shinobi to ever come out of the Hidden Leaf Village. He mentored Naruto for the two year time period between Naruto and Naruto Shippuden.
About half way into the Shippuden era, however, Jiraiya went out on his own mission and came into contact with the Akatsuki member known as Pain. After a lengthy confrontation, Jiraiya couldn’t best his former student. His final moments in the series involved him realizing he would die a hero’s death, and believing that Naruto was the child of prophecy that was meant to change the world. He managed to use the last of his chakra, and sheer force of will, to bring himself back to life long enough to send a final coded message to the Hidden Leaf Village.
6 When Naruto’s Parents Sacrificed Themselves
As a small child, Naruto never seemed to be really clear on just what happened to his family. He knew they perished during the Nine-Tails’ attack on Konoha, but that wasn’t the whole story.
Well into his teen years, Naruto discovered the truth thanks to his parents leaving chakra behind to activate the seals inside him for the Nine-Tails. He learned that at one point, Kurama was sealed inside his mother, but when she gave birth, he was released into the world. Kushina wanted to seal Kurama inside herself again, but Minato decided to split the chakra between them. That decision gave Kurama time to try to kill the baby. Kushina and Minato both jumped in front of Kurama, saving their child and completing the seals, but ended their own lives in the process.
5 When Ino And Shikamaru Hear Their Father’s Last Words
The Fourth Shinobi World War allowed Naruto Shippuden to demonstrate how seriously powerful some of the characters were. Shikamaru’s father Shikaku and Ino’s father Inoichi both played integral roles in the war. While Shikaku was in charge of strategy for the Hidden Leaf, Inoichi was in charge of intelligence.
During the major battle, Inoichi was able to telepathically link the allied forces to one another so that everyone could hear important information at the same time. That skill meant Inoichi and Shikaku were able to tell their children, in the midst of battle, when they knew they were going to die. Ino and Shikamaru had to keep fighting, even while hearing the last words of their fathers in real time.
4 When Itachi’s Backstory Was Revealed
Many fans initially saw Itachi as a horrible villain. After all, he destroyed his entire clan - with the exception of his baby brother Sasuke. As it turned out, he only destroyed his entire clan because he didn’t really have a choice.
Eventually, when Sasuke and Itachi had their final confrontation, the series revealed that Itachi did everything to protect his younger brother. He became the scapegoat for a conspiracy so that his brother could live and become strong enough to carry on the Uchiha name. Itachi, despite all the bad he did, was the definition of self sacrifice.
3 When Neji Shielded Hinata And Naruto
Neji wasn’t originally Hinata’s biggest fan. He hated that his family was considered a “branch family,” meant to protect Hinata’s in the main house. Neji knew he was more skilled than Hinata, and that caused him to take his anger out on her when they were matched during their Chunin Exams.
Years later, however, Neji mellowed and Hinata became a much stronger shinobi. The two weren’t just family, but friends. They fought side by side on the battlefield, which gave Neji a vantage point for when Hinata was in danger. When Hinata shielded Naruto, trying to help him, Neji did the same for her. As a result, Neji lost his life when he took the full force of the attack so Hinata and Naruto could live.
2 When Hinata Refused To Give In To Pain
The war wasn’t the first time Hinata stepped in to save Naruto’s life. Nursing a crush on him since childhood, Hinata wouldn’t allow an enemy to get the better of him. When Pain had the advantage over Naruto, Hinata took it upon herself to save him.
Though Hinata didn’t have the same skills or power as Naruto, she tried her best to fend off the enemy. She was so badly hurt in the fight that Naruto believed she died. His rage triggered the emergence of the Nine-Tailed fox. Fans who didn’t already know the story were heartbroken at the possibility of losing Hinata.
1 When Minato And Naruto Said Goodbye
Naruto and friends faced off against Kaguya Otsutsuki in a huge confrontation. The battle involved a jutsu that reanimated long gone shinobi. As a result, Naruto and his father were able to work together.
Of course, every jutsu eventually wears off.
When Naruto and his father had to say goodbye, Minato got a tear-jerker of a sendoff. Not only did he wish Naruto a happy birthday, reminding the audience of all the years he missed, but Naruto got to give Minato messages for his mother in the afterlife.