Kakashi Hatake is Team 7's mentor in Naruto. He taught his students, Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Sakura Haruno, the importance of teamwork and has been instrumental in many battles in the series.
However, there are more than a few mistakes he's made throughout his stint as a ninja.
Here's a look at Kakashi Hatake's five biggest mistakes and the five ways he redeemed them.
Note: This article solely reflects the author's opinion and contains spoilers for all of Naruto, Naruto Shippuden, and Boruto: Naruto Next Generations.
Kakashi's 5 biggest regrets and mistakes in Naruto
1) Selfish rule-following
Kakashi lost his mother before the events of Naruto. His father Sakumo committed suicide after he was vilified by the villagers of Konoha for choosing to save people instead of completing an important mission.
Sakumo's death heavily traumatized the young Kakashi into following the rules no matter what. This led to several questionable decisions and mistakes from Kakashi, including using his team as stepping stones to accomplish his goal and completely ignoring any lessons about teamwork.
Kakashi would go on to regret his inability to save Obito from the massive boulder that was crushing him. He also mourned Rin's death from the lightning blade that he used to try to save her.
As a result of these incidents, Kakashi adopted his own motto, which stated:
"Those that break the rules are scum, but those who abandon their friends are worse than scum."
2) Actions in Root
Kakashi was heavily influenced by Danzo's words that Hiruzen was a hapless, ineffectual fool not suited for the position of Hokage.
He would break into Hiruzen's residence to try to find out what was going on with a Wood Release-using Root member named Kinoe.
Fortunately, Hiruzen took pity on Kakashi and freely told him what was going on: Konoha had tried replicating the Wood Release powers but failed due to too many fatalities.
Kakashi, in turn, told Hiruzen of Danzo's plans to assassinate him. He then intercepted these assassins and later confronted Danzo.
Ultimately, were it not for Hiruzen's influence and aid, Kakashi would've died full of regret for the perceived "betrayal" of Root.
3) Tried to stop Orochimaru by himself
Despite having his own team as an Anbu Black Ops member, Kakashi decided to investigate a strange series of disappearances by himself. This proved unwise since it led him to Orochimaru. The Legendary Sannin was able to incapacitate Kakashi with his killing intent alone.
Kakashi would continue to track Orochimaru but was always side-tracked or intercepted by Kinoe when he tried. The first time, it was by the Iburi clan with Kinoe's help since he was working with Orochimaru. The second was just Kinoe alone.
Fortunately, those two encounters worked in his favor even if he didn't apprehend or kill Orochimaru. It was still foolish of Kakashi not to have his team with him, seeing as even Orochimaru could potentially have trouble with a group rather than a single person.
4) Failing to aid Itachi
This is something Kakashi regretted since he worked alongside Itachi Uchiha as part of the Anbu's Team Ro during the early days of Naruto.
The two got along, but Kakashi tried to dissuade Itachi from his ruthless tactics and focus more on teamwork instead. It seemed to work, as the team successfully accomplished many missions together.
However, Itachi asked Kakashi something rather peculiar: should a dead friend's request be honored? Kakashi, who had experience in that particular area, stated that it should.
Kakashi wouldn't know what Itachi meant until much later when the latter slaughtered the Uchiha Clan.
Learning the truth about things years later didn't make it any easier to stomach. Kakashi felt as though he'd failed again, this time to properly have a better influence on Itachi.
5) Failing to properly aid Sasuke
Sasuke was one of the last members of the Uchiha following the massacre of the clan via Itachi. He had revenge in his heart that Kakashi attempted to curb.
Kakashi did aid Sasuke in getting more acquainted with his team and sealed the Curse Mark that Orochimaru put on him. He also helped him learn Chidori.
The only problem was that Sasuke had too much revenge and turmoil to listen to Kakashi at all. Even during the events of Shippuden, where Sasuke had to be fought multiple times, Kakashi still tried reasoning. He even pinned him down during the Five Kage Summit assault.
Of course, this was countered by fighting, as Sasuke still didn't listen. It took an epic final battle with Naruto to stop Sasuke.
5 times Kakashi redeemed himself in Naruto
1) Helping Kinoe
Kinoe was a Root member with Wood Release Jutsu and was a constant thorn in Kakashi's side.
Kinoe tried killing Kakashi many times. He first tried to do so when he was assigned to spy on the Third Hokage and assassinate him. Kakashi spared Kinoe's life after the assassination attempt.
After a series of events, Kakashi burst into Root's HQ to save Kinoe. He succeeded in doing so thanks to the Third Hokage's intervention in Naruto Shippuden's flashback episode 326.
Kinoe was rechristened with the name Tenzō. It may not be too surprising for Naruto fans to know that Tenzō is actually Captain Yamato, the captain of Team 7 in Shippuden.
2) Following the principle of teamwork and teaching it to his students
Kakashi's whole motto of not abandoning friends was born after he lost Rin and Obito. He carried that regret for a long time and vowed to keep his teammates in mind rather than solely focus on the mission.
Kakashi led his Anbu team Ro through various missions. During his teaching career at the Ninja Academy, his troublesome students flourished under his mentorship.
Even with Sasuke eventually leaving, Naruto and Sakura surprised Kakashi with their skills and teamwork in Shippuden. Seeing Team 7 effectively work as a team throughout Naruto reinforced that motto and his teachings of teamwork.
3) Becoming Hokage
Kakashi didn't want to become Hokage. He felt as though his inexperience in political matters would muddy the waters when it came to the job.
The problem was that the first time he was approached, it was because Danzo died and Tsunade was in a coma.
After the Fourth Great Ninja War, however, he couldn't avoid it any longer. His actions as Hokage aided the ninja world in many respects. Here are a few examples:
- Stopped the hijacking of the Tobishachimaru.
- Let Kahyō become warden of the Blood Prison, cutting secondary offenses by half.
- Let Naruto go to the Land of Silence, ensuring Shikamaru's safe return.
- Helped mobilize and blow up meteors from the moon.
- Helped former slave ninja free others.
These are but a few things Kakashi did as Sixth Hokage. He also ushered in a new era of peace by helping the ninja world modernize. The aid to the Shinobi Union also helped ensure nobody faced a crisis alone.
4) Pardoning Sasuke
After his perceived failure to help Sasuke out of his revenge quest, this came as a relief.
Sasuke did spend a while in jail for his contemptuous actions before and during the Fourth Great Ninja War. However, he was pardoned by Kakashi at the end of Naruto Shippuden for his role in ending the conflict.
This would prove to be a very wise decision, as Sasuke would aid multiple people and protect the Leaf in various ways.
Kakashi even gave Sasuke advice on how to deal with his daughter Sarada in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. It wasn't particularly great advice, coming from Make Out Paradise of all books. But it was the thought that counted, and Sasuke at least tried.
5) Training the next generation
Naruto's son, Boruto, and his class were nearing their graduation days, and the proctor was none other than Kakashi. Despite a rather brilliant plan failing, Kakashi passed them all after Boruto demonstrated resolve and teamwork by hatching the plan.
Kakashi would also aid Naruto in delegating some of his tasks as Hokage. However, he mostly helped Boruto train with his chakra control and Rasengan control. He was definitely impressed with the young man's ability to fight and keep going, something he attributed to Naruto.
Ultimately, Kakashi taught Boruto a great deal about teamwork, resolve, and how to ensure his chakra reserves were plentiful enough to handle the Rasengan.
Even if Kakashi retired, Naruto fans found it great that he was still teaching the next generation.