Hiruzen is a character that pops up in numerous discussions among Naruto fans. One of the main reasons is that he was given the title, 'God of Shinobi.' Besides him, the title was only conferred on Hashirama Senju. So it was a big deal.
But Hiruzen, as a character, wasn’t tackled with care since he accomplished no significant feat to shoulder such a heavy title. Despite his old age, he has shown considerable strength and the ability to fight hard on numerous occasions. Nonetheless, he is vulnerable on several points.
Naruto characters that can beat Hiruzen Sarutobi
1) Naruto Uzumaki
Undoubtedly, Naruto Uzumaki is one of the strongest characters on this list and he has proven this on numerous occasions.
While there are zero feats for Hiruzen in his prime, he is considered one of the strongest Hokages aside from Naruto.
Nonetheless, Hiruzen cannot match Naruto in his Six Paths Sage Mode, who can produce some of the most destructive jutsus in the series.
2) Madara Uchiha
While Madara Uchiha, in his base form, would have struggled against Hiruzen, in the Ten Tail Jinchuriki mode, Madara would still have been able to beat Hiruzen comfortably. The former Hokage is capable of all five nature transformations and has access to the most forbidden jutsus.
Madara has access to Truth Seeking Orbs and uses techniques like Limbo: Border Jail Madara to beat Hiruzen. Madara also has one of the strongest doujutsus, Rinnegan, and has many options in terms of techniques.
3) Hashirama Senju
Hiruzen, despite lacking in fighting accomplishments, delivered solid versatility. He could perform all the techniques present in the Konohagakure knowledge base.
Hashirama is someone who took on the Kyuubi and Madara in a Susanoo by himself without summoning anything. His Wood Release was highly powered, and his chakra levels were comparable to Naruto’s. Hashirama can beat Hiruzen if the two face off in a 1v1 battle.
4) Obito Uchiha
Obito Uchiha had one of the most broken Sharingan abilities in the Naruto series. Obito in Ten Tail Jinchuriki mode also had access to the Rinnegan. If the Ten Tail released a Bijuu Dama, Hiruzen would be forced to dodge or counter it.
But Obito’s chakra levels at that stage are far higher compared to Hiruzen's counter. With the help of his Rinnegan, Obito should be able to beat Hiruzen.
5) Might Guy
In his base form, Might Guy will surely lose to Hiruzen owing to the sheer versatility Hiruzen possessed in his prime. However, things will be slightly different if Guy opens all Eight Gates. He was so strong that he almost killed Madara in his Ten Tail Jinchuriki form.
While Hiruzen might have a vast array of techniques that will help him counter most attacks that a person throws at him, Guy’s raw power and speed in his Eight Gates is something that he cannot match.
Characters that cannot beat Hiruzen
Neji hails from the Hyuga clan and has access to the Byakugan doujutsu. It gives him a near 360-degree vision to fight close-range opponents. That being said, Hiruzen was able to take on Edo Hashirama, Edo Tobirama, and Orochimaru when the village was being invaded, which shows his strength and fighting abilities.
Hiruzen’s versatility will allow him to attack Neji from long range without taking damage from him.
Tsunade is one of the Three Legendary Sannin and has immense raw strength that very few can match. She specializes in medical jutsu and has excellent chakra control, which allowed her to use the Hundred Healings technique.
However, Hiruzen could still beat Tsunade despite his old age because he has a level of versatility that very few characters have in the series. Hiruzen would be able to dodge her attacks since his speed is superior and launch long-range attacks to slowly reduce her ability to regenerate and deal damage simultaneously.
Kabuto is one of the most underrated characters in the Naruto series and happens to be quite strong. He perfected Sage Mode, something that even Jiraiya couldn’t do, and showed his strength during the fight against Sasuke and Itachi.
However, Hiruzen would be able to beat someone like Kabuto since he was someone that could rival the likes of Tobirama in his prime. Hiruzen’s ability to use sealing techniques elevates his offensive abilities to another level and could take on some of the strongest characters in the series.
Sakura is said to have surpassed Tsunade towards the end of Naruto Shippuden and can also use the Hundred Healings jutsu. However, just like her mentor, her area of specialization lies in medical jutsu and not in combat.
Hiruzen will not struggle against her simply because his physical abilities are superior to hers. Factoring in the knowledge that he has about various jutsus, he would be able to beat Sakura with ease.
Hidan is a member of the Akatsuki and proved to be troublesome since he was immortal. That also gave way to complacency since he thought there was no way to defeat him. However, he was beaten and outsmarted by Shikamaru.
Hiruzen might not possess the same IQ that Shikamaru had, but he is far superior in the variety of jutsus he can use and overall fighting abilities.