The Naruto universe boasts a huge cast of powerful characters, some of them being either reanimated corpses or even actual gods. But blinded by these extremely overpowered characters, the limelight fails to focus on many who, while not as powerful as Kaguya Otsutsuki or Uchiha Madara or even Uzumaki Naruto himself, play pretty important roles in the series.
On that note, let's take a look at some powerful but underrated characters from the Naruto series.
When we think Zabuza, we think Haku. Appearing in one of the first arcs in Naruto, Haku provided the perfect gateway into understanding the 'kekkei genkai', as well as the prejudices and social stigma that haunted the shinobi world. Though the arc ends on a poignant note with both his and Zabuza's deaths, the duo makes a brief reappearance during the war arc of Naruto Shippuden.
Orochimaru's vessel of choice before he found Sasuke, Kimimaro proved to be both an interesting and formidable opponent against Naruto, Rock Lee and even Gaara. Another character with a unique 'kekkei genkai', Kimimaro manipulated and used his bones for both offense and defense in a stunning and lethal display of elegance. Combined with his backstory, it was a pity we did not get to see more of him.
Orochimaru had a knack for surrounding himself with interesting characters, Yakushi Kabuto being another prime example. An efficient and experienced spy, Kabuto was not only skilled in various types of ninjutsu, and senjutsu, but was almost at par with Tsunade with his medical ninjutsu skills. Although he plays a very significant role throughout the Naruto series, he is seen to operate mostly behind-the-scenes, thus making him somewhat obscure compared to many others.
Kabuto also appears in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations.
A character with a complicated backstory and history in the ANBU, Yamato's origins can also be traced back to Orochimaru. Kidnapped as a child and used as test subjects, Yamato was the only successful subject whose body incorporated Senju Hashirama's DNA, allowing him to use Wood Release and control the Nine Tails. In Naruto Shippuden, Yamato replaces Kakashi as the captain of Team 7, to subdue the Nine Tails when Naruto loses control.
Equally fascinating and terrifying, both Black Zetsu and White Zetsu make for formidable enemies. Created by Kaguya Otsutsuki, Black Zetsu especially, is revealed to be shrewd and manipulative, living for centuries and fooling even Uchiha Madara, to revive Kaguya.