The Naruto series has seen a large number of deaths, some that caused fans to bawl their eyes out, and others that most agreed were deserved.
But while some were deaths we saw coming from a mile away, Uchiha Itachi being a prime example, others were at least somewhat surprising, the Third Hokage and Jiraiya’s deaths being such instances. But some character deaths were completely unexpected, and more than anything else, left fans shocked.
Six most unexpected character deaths in the Naruto franchise
6) Sarutobi Asuma
When Asuma faced Hidan in Shippuden, most fans had an inkling that the Konoha jonin would probably lose the fight. But what nobody saw coming was him dying at the hands of the undead Akatsuki member.
What made his death worse was when it was revealed that he was going to be a father, as Kurenai was pregnant.
5) Hyuga Neji
Hyuga Neji was considered one of the strongest of the Konoha Eleven. Most fans expected him to eventually become the head of the Hyuga clan. Even Hyuga Hiashi favored him for inheriting the clan’s kekkei genkai so strongly, despite being from the branch family.
So when Neji died during the Fourth Ninja War while protecting Hinata, it was both shocking and poignant for fans of the series.
4) Hatake Kakashi
Pain’s invasion of Konoha was both awe-inducing and terrifying. Despite using his Mangekyo Sharingan ability, Kakashi stood no chance against Pain. The former held his own against not one but two Pains, but finally received a shocking and cruel end.
Even then, he used Kamui one last time to protect Choji. While fans were relieved when Nagato restored everyone back to life, seeing Kakashi temporarily dead was traumatizing.
Another temporary death on the list, this one was more about timing than the event itself that left fans stunned. Gaara’s death featured in the very first arc of Naruto Shippuden when the One Tail’s jinchuuriki was abducted by the Akatsuki.
Team Kakashi and Team Guy set out to rescue the Kazekage, but reached too late and found Gaara’s lifeless body. Both his death and resurrection were unexpected, so it was not one but two gut punches for fans.
Fans deeply mourned the death of the Nine Tailed Beast, who became not only Naruto’s partner and companion, but had also looked over him since childhood. Naruto and Kurama’s bond was one of the highlights of the series, with the former almost dying during the war when Kurama was extracted out of him.
Fans had always expected the two to be a combo pack, with Kurama probably being inherited by a new jinchuuriki at some point in the future. So him dying during the fight against Isshiki Otsutsuki in Boruto was a huge shock for everyone.
1) Uchiha Madara
Uchiha Madara was the ultimate villain of the Naruto series. Charismatic and extremely powerful, Madara was easily one of the most dominant characters on the show, and virtually unbeatable in his Ten Tails’ jinchuuriki form, even with Sage of Six Paths Naruto and Rinnegan Sasuke working together against him.
Hagoromo even revealed that Madara and Hashirama were reincarnations of Indra and Ashura Otsutsuki, with Naruto and Sasuke being their modern counterparts.
So it came as a rude shock when Black Zetsu, of all people, defeated Madara to revive Kaguya, Hagoromo Otsutsuki’s mother. Many fans considered it to be a huge let down and were disappointed by the end that the powerful Uchiha met.
Character deaths in the Naruto series range from shocking to heartbreaking to cathartic. With the recent Boruto manga chapter predicting an unexpected death that left fans baffled, now seems like the best time to revisit other such instances in the franchise.