8 reasons why Sai is one of the most underrated characters in Naruto

Sai drawing (Image via Pierrot)
Sai drawing (Image via Pierrot)

Naruto has received critical acclaim thanks to an incredible array of fascinating characters, impressive techniques, and phenomenal fight scenes. Character appeal is strongly related to personality traits and combat style.

The Naruto community has strong opinions on the shinobi (or ninjas) featured in the series, and Sai is one character who is often slandered or overlooked by the community. This article will dive into why Sai is an underrated character and should receive more praise.

8 reasons why Sai is underestimated in Naruto

1) Mobility

Sai is able to use his Cartoon Beast Mimicry jutsu to create bird familiars. This technique is useful for quick travel into battle, transporting injured allies, and escaping dire situations. Considering that most shinobi travel by foot, this ability can have a huge impact on mission success.

2) Combat power

Sai is a skilled fighter who has killed numerous bingo book targets. He wields effective taijutsu as well as both mid-range and long-range jutsu. As a member of Root (The Foundation), Sai has undergone extensive training to ensure his victory in combat. Additionally, he boasts impressive quickness and reaction speed.

3) Refinement

Sai is a perfectionist. As an artist and a member of Root, his skills have been sharply honed. Sai must often paint cartoon beasts in the midst of battle, a task that would regularly be quite time-consuming. His steady hand moves swiftly across his scrolls so that he can quickly execute his jutsu.

Unlike characters such as Naruto and Rock Lee, Sai never wastes any energy. Every move he makes is carefully timed and calculated. Such precision is crucial for a high-level shinobi.

4) Character evolution

When Naruto first met his new team member, Sai was cold and emotionless. Contrasted with the boisterous personalities of Naruto and Sakura, Sai had trouble fitting in. He initially only followed his secret orders from Danzo, even deserting Team 7 at one point to make contact with Orochimaru.

Sai clashed with his teammates over differences in their beliefs, but he became more likable as the plot developed. Learning from Naruto and Sakura, Sai developed his long-suppressed emotional intelligence. Although he originally disliked Naurto and Sakura, he later considers them friends. He even offered Naruto emotional support, something that would have been impossible for him when he was first introduced.

5) Ambition

This Root shinobi is completely dedicated to his mission at all times. While many shinobi strive to suppress their emotions in battle, Sai doesn't have this concern. His cold heart allows him to remain locked in during dynamic fights. Additionally, although it may be seen as problematic, Sai's extreme loyalty to Danzo drives him to accomplish his mission at any cost.

6) Intelligence

An often underdeveloped aspect of ninja skills is intelligence. The most intellectually gifted shinobi like Shikamaru are able to approach fights like a chess battle - planning multiple steps ahead at every moment. Sai brings balance to Team 7, compensating for the brash decisions made by squad mates. Much like Tanjiro's application of water breathing in Demon Slayer, Sai possesses an acute ability to insert himself into battle at the right place and the right time.

7) Sealing jutsu

Sealing jutsu was infinitely crucial to the success of the Allied Shinobi Forces in the Fourth Ninja World War. The only way to defeat their reanimated enemies was by sealing them away. Sai is able to use his animated paintings to restrain and seal opponents. It is somewhat rare for a ninja so skilled in hand-to-hand combat to also utilize sealing techniques.

8) Versatility

While many shinobi train hard just to master a single nature transformation, Sai is able to employ four different nature releases.

In addition to all of his other utilities, Sai is capable of using Earth Release, Water Release, Fire Release, and Yang Release. This greatly amplifies his effectiveness in battle against a skilled opponent, as he can adapt his fighting style to the strengths and weaknesses of his foe.

Furthermore, Sai uses his Cartoon Beast Mimicry jutsu for a variety purposes. As stated above, his animated paintings are multidimensional in battle and can transport allies. Beyond that, Sai has used mice to spy on enemies as well as snakes to restrain opponents.