10 most unexpected Naruto team-ups, ranked

Naruto Shippuden, with a whole lot of enemies to friends (Image via Viz Media)
Naruto Shippuden, with a whole lot of enemies to friends (Image via Viz Media)

Who said enemies can't become friends in Naruto? This article will take a look at the most unexpected team-ups in the anime's history. From Naruto and Sasuke at the start, to the three Sannin, and all the way to the end, see just what team ups happened, and the ones we never saw coming.

Note: This article is subjective and reflects the author's opinions.

The list will be based on dramatic timing, its narrative payoff, and just how unexpected it was. Naturally, with such a long and storied franchise, Naruto has had plenty of team-ups, below is a list of 10 such collabs that were the most shocking.


10) Naruto and Kurama

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We all know this was going to happen sooner or later, but it didn't change the fact that you really weren't expecting the titular character and the Nine-Tailed fox to ally with each other so readily, especially not after a lifetime of beating each other into a pulp in Naruto's very own mind. But when it happened, it was one of the most hyped moments in the series.

We've known forever that one day, Naruto would make friends with the big orange vulpine, hence the low spot on this list, but it earns a point here for the emotional payoff.


9) Sasuke and Itachi

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Brother against brother, one seeking revenge, the other following duty. Needless to say, these two Uchiha siblings have a rocky history, full of stabbing and punching each other in the face when the opportunity presented itself. They went on blood-soaked revenge quests for more power.

It all seemed over when Sasuke finally managed to get revenge on Itachi for the murder of their family, but was even more shocked when Itachi revealed one last secret.

When Sasuke made his way to the Fourth Ninja War, he was shocked to discover that his brother, back from the dead, had made his way over to his location. What follows is a team up full of brotherly love.


8) Rock Lee and Sakura

Sakura and Rock Lee as in the series (Part 1).
Sakura and Rock Lee as in the series (Part 1).

With both Sasuke and Naruto down for the count and under attack by a group of ninja from another country, Sakura and Rock Lee are trapped in the forest.

Sakura is getting the tar beaten out of her. But who else to save the day by the green clad, jumpsuit wearing, bushy eyebrow martial arts master Rock Lee? Sure, he can't do ninjutsu, but when you can punch apart a boulder with your bare fist, do you really need to?

Sakura isn't sitting this one out though, and with her own display of will and skill, not to mention cutting the long hair that defined her, she vows to become a stronger person because of this encounter.


7) Naruto and Sasuke (Part one)

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On one hand, we've got Sasuke, the last of the Uchiha clan, prodigy, bad boy, the trend setter for anime kids with chips on their shoulder. On the other hand, we have Naruto, the hyperactive knuckle head ninja with a tailed beast inside him. A more unlikely pair if there ever was one.

When push comes to shove in the land of the mist, with their teacher incapacitated and facing off against Zabuza, Naruto and Sasuke manage to pull a perfect team up with little to no warning.


6) Team Sasuke

Team Taka/Hebi (Image via Viz Media)
Team Taka/Hebi (Image via Viz Media)

While this is more a 'team' than a 'team up,' the idea that loner Sasuke, who is currently going through a mild sociopathic phase at this point in the story, is more than a bit surprising. Granted, each of them are just as messed up as he is, but you have to give the man credit for being able to lead a dysfunctional team as this.

With Karin, Sasuke, Hebi, and Taka at his side, Sasuke managed to invade the Land of Steel's stronghold, and took down some pretty heavy hitters in the process.


5) Sasuke and Orochimaru

Naruto Shippuden. (Image via Viz Media)
Naruto Shippuden. (Image via Viz Media)

Okay, who saw this one coming? Sasuke has always had a chip on his shoulder, with the loss of his entire family and feeling like he's constantly coming up short to Naruto, but the idea of teaming up with Orochimaru, the big bad of the first half of the story was just unthinkable.

While Sasuke has always been a bit of an edgelord and was going through a trauma roller-coaster, the idea that he would turn his back on his friends shocked the viewers and left them asking for more.


4) Three Sannin

Old enemies, old friends.(Image via Viz Media)
Old enemies, old friends.(Image via Viz Media)

The three legendary Sannin namely, Orochimaru, Lady Tsunade, and Jiraiya have had a calamitous past, with all three of them having more than enough reason to insult the other, yet somehow still hold onto a bond.

When this is shown in detail, the audience is left dumbstruck as these three adults prove that they had what it takes to be called the legendary Sannin. While it's true that this team-up took place in the past, and their history was hinted at before, it was still awesome to see the three legends in their prime have one last go as a team.


3) Team 7 Reunited

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With such a strong focus on the two characters, Naruto and Sasuke, did you really expect there not to be multiple team ups with these two? The history between them is turbulent, but there is always an undercurrent of a bond regardless. These two polar opposite ninjas met again, this time with the threat of Marada hanging over their heads.

What's more, their old teacher, Kakashi and longtime friend Sakura, joined the fray. A meet-up the fans waited years for, and to see Team 7 reunited once again.


2) Kakashi and Obito

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Some friendships go through a lot of obstacles, some lose contact with each other. While some get boulders dropped on their heads, lose a girl, and be horrifically scarred for the rest of their lives. That's what happened to these two ninjas early in their youth, and neither Kakashi, nor Obito, really forgot each other.

Despite trying to kill each other chapters before, Kakashi and Obito managed to reconcile what remained of their friendship, and went straight for Madara who had made both of their lives a nightmare.


1) Everyone

All together now. (Image via Viz Media)
All together now. (Image via Viz Media)

When the world is at stake, it's time to let bygones be bygones and embark on the path of the ninja. With Marada, and later, the creator of Chakara, Kaguya Otsutsuki, make their move, everyone in the ninja world teams up to make one last attempt at stopping their plot for total domination.

From throughout the Naruto franchise, everyone makes an appearance, even the dead characters like the Third Hokage Hiruzen Sarutobi, to the founder of the Hidden Leaf Village, Hashirama Senju.

While team-ups are the norm in this series, there has never been one on this scale, and never one that fans quite expected.