10 times kind characters proved to be ruthless in Naruto
Naruto fans often make fun of the protagonist’s “talk-no-jutsu,” wearing down even the most hardened villains and making them realize the error of their ways. Some of these, for instance his verbal confrontations with Gaara and Pain, make sense, but other instances seem a little too convenient after everything the latter had done in the series.
But in the midst of bad guys switching sides and becoming allies, people forget how ruthless and deadly even some of the kindest characters in the series can be.
Spoilers for Naruto and Naruto Shippuden ahead.
Moments when kind Naruto characters sent chills down fans’ spine
10) Kimimaro fighting for Orochimaru
Kimimaro’s back story proved him to be a kind person at heart, a victim of terrible and bloody circumstances. He saw Orochimaru as his savior, and his gratitude manifested as unflinching loyalty towards the older shinobi to the point where he willingly agreed to be his next vessel.
After being struck by a mysterious illness and losing his viability as a vessel, he still fought against the Leaf shinobi pursuing the Sound Five. For all his mild personality, he was a formidable and ruthless opponent in battle, almost killing Rock Lee and Gaara with his combat skills and proficiency with his kekkei genkai.
9) Gaara’s anger at Rock Lee
Gaara was a product of trauma and prejudice, not to mention the instability that came with hosting the One Tail. This was seen most prominently during his fight against Rock Lee during the Chunin exams. He truly believed that his only worth was as a weapon to be feared, and having a genin break through his Absolute Defense with nothing but taijutsu, and then having a mentor/father figure intervene to save their protegé took its toll on Gaara.
While watching the chilling scene with him in Rock Lee’s room trying to kill him after having shattered his foot, few fans would have expected the same boy to become the next Kazekage or become one of Naruto’s closest allies.
8) Shikamaru exploding Hidan
Throughout the Naruto series, Shikamaru has shown a general distaste for violence and a tendency to weave around obstacles rather than charging headfirst into them. But Asuma’s death caused him to break down, and he vowed to destroy Hidan even if he couldn’t kill the immortal Akatsuki member.
It was during this operation to lure in Hidan and Kakuzu, and having Kakashi collect Kakuzu’s blood to deceive Hidan and finally trap him in the Nara forest and explode his body into pieces, showed just how ruthless and ferocious Shikamaru could be.
7) Kakashi’s killing instincts
Kakashi has always had a deadly streak, courtesy of his past as a member of the ANBU. Furthermore, his past was one of the most traumatic in the series, having to watch his father, both his teammates and even his teacher die. This ruthlessness first showed itself after he lost Obito and Rin during the Third Shinobi War, and his ANBU teammates reported to Minato how efficient but terrifyingly vicious Kakashi was.
Kakashi proved once more how deadly he could be during the Fourth Shinobi War, and during the final confrontation with Obito after his Ten Tails was absorbed by Madara. He decided to save Obito by killing his current self since he couldn’t save him in the past. It was only due to the reanimated Minato’s intervention that Obito was saved.
6) Naruto’s reaction to Hinata’s “death”
Naruto is one of the kindest characters in the series, but even he has had some pretty chilling moments, especially when he surrendered to Kurama’s hatred. The first major instance of this was seen when he lashed out at Orochimaru and unintentionally hurt Sakura.
But the worst episode was during Pain’s attack on Konoha, when Hinata tried to fight Pain and free Naruto. Pain struck her down with chakra rods, and she appeared to have died, which sent Naruto into a blind fury. He transformed into a six-tailed version, tossing the Rinnegan-user around like a ragdoll and bashing him repeatedly into the ground.
5) Nagato destroying Konoha
Nagato had always been a quiet and precocious child with a kind and somewhat timid nature. We see his true personality emerge once more when he is reanimated by Kabuto using Edo Tensei during the War arc of the series. But he changed after Yahiko’s death, disillusioned and blinded by hatred.
It was this hatred that prompted him to cruelly extract Tailed Beasts out of their hosts, and for him to attack Konoha. While he did indeed come to the village to capture the Nine Tails, he revealed to Naruto that Leaf shinobi had killed Yahiko, which he also sought revenge for.
4) Obito causing Yahiko’s death
Obito was originally the "Naruto" of his team, Kakashi being the more aloof, brooding member. He impacted Kakashi to the extent that the latter even picked up his habit of being perpetually late because he got held up helping some old lady with errands. But Madara’s manipulation, coupled with seeing Rin die before his own eyes, disillusioned him completely.
Obito even went another step further and intentionally led Yahiko to his death to make Nagato experience the same trauma he himself did, after trying and failing to convince Nagato to join the Akatsuki.
3) Might Guy fighting Madara
Might Guy is a fan favorite in the Naruto series, both for his personality and his immense power as the best living taijutsu specialist in Konoha and possibly in the shinobi world. Kakashi’s best friend, Might Guy, mostly added a comedic touch to the series, but during his confrontations with Kisame and Madara himself, he reminded fans that he was not someone you should mess around with.
He was able to completely subdue Kisame by opening the Sixth Gate and Madara declared him to be the strongest shinobi after almost being killed by his Night Guy technique.
2) Hashirama killing Madara
Hashirama’s personality came as a delightful shock to Naruto fans, being a complete antithesis to his reputation as the “God of Shinobi.” But his reputation was not built on empty threats, as it becomes very evident when Tobirama’s words offend him and all the reanimated kage, along with Orochimaru, Sasuke and others, see raw chakra surrounding his form.
Not only was he capable of using Wood-style nature transformation and controlling the Tailed Beasts, but he was also able to defeat and kill Uchiha Madara at his finest. Although the two were friends, Hashirama chose the village and the lives of its inhabitants, vowing to kill anyone who tried to harm them.
1) Itachi’s massacre of the Uchiha clan
Itachi was probably one of the most tragic characters in the Naruto series. It became clear early on in the manga and the anime that Itachi was a prodigy and, as was expected of him, went into the elite ANBU squad. But due to his proximity to the Konoha government, he was given no choice but to become involved in the politics between the Uchiha clan and the village as a whole.
To prevent a coup détat and to save Sasuke, Itachi went through the horrifying ordeal of singlehandedly murdering his entire clan, especially because he was the only person who could pull it off.
What made Itachi so terrifying was the ruthless determination with which he carried out his mission, and the facade he was able to maintain for years, urging Sasuke to get stronger, although it meant filling his brother up with hatred and anger towards himself.
The world of Naruto was one that was inherently violent, with children spending their entire lives learning deadly jutsu and accumulating combat experience. The beauty of the series lies in these characters retaining their humanity and kindness despite living in a world that is ruled by, as Pain called it, "a never-ending cycle of hatred."