For those who don’t know, Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto manga launched in 1999, and fans were then gifted with the Naruto anime adaptation in 2002. The anime ran for 220 episodes until it reached its conclusion in 2007, marking the end of one chapter in Naruto’s life.
This chapter ended with Naruto and Sakura going their separate ways and training to become better shinobi in the hopes of reuniting and saving Sasuke from the grips of Orochimaru (and the dark side).
With the actual Naruto manga fast-approaching the finale, what better time then now to reveal CtrlGeekGirl’s TOP 5 BATTLES from the original Naruto anime?
So without further adieu, here is our list in no particular order!
[MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD]
BATTLE ONE: Sasuke vs Naruto at the Valley of the End
Oh, the betrayal, blooded boil emotions, the confusion, and the angst. Our two beloved ninja friends are no longer in sync anymore, and with Sasuke’s adamant decision to accept Orochimaru’s proposition of joining the dark side could not have been easy for Team 7.
After Naruto was commended for defeating Gaara-Shukaku, and appearing dominant over Sasuke in one of Team 7’s missions, Sasuke has never felt so lost in his life. When on earth did Naruto become so strong? How on earth was Sasuke meant to achieve his revenge when he couldn’t even save his friends? Would he be able to surpass Itachi and execute his revenge if he continued to become a normal shinobi?
With Orochimaru’s impending presence that looms in the darkness and slowly filling up Sasuke’s head with intense thoughts about revenge — there was only one pathway to go about it, and that was to join the darkside. Despite Sasuke’s peers’ attempt to stop Sasuke, Naruto ended up being the last one standing.
Naruto, who grew up with no-one, considered Sasuke as a brother because Sasuke also endured the same lonely path as Naruto. After all the things they went through as Team 7 comrades, Naruto didn’t want to sever the bond. Sasuke, who grew up with family but lost them all, notices Naruto’s loneliness. Despite being on different terms with Naruto throughout school, Sasuke eventually considered Naruto a close friend and as a brother.
With thoughts, emotions and adrenalin running high in their hearts and minds, they verbally and physically exchanged fists in a battle like no other. In a moment of mutual silence, they avoided life-threatening blows and walked different paths from thereon. This is the best of the best rival battles in anime history, and it’s a battle that would have definitely emotionally destroyed fans without a doubt.
BATTLE TWO: Team 7 vs Mist ninjas Haku and Zabuza
The battle between Team 7 and mist ninjas Haku and Zabuza may have occurred in the early stages of the series but it was an arc that would have shaped our initial impressions of Naruto. Going to the Land of Waves and acting as bodyguards for bridge-builder Tazuna was Team 7’s first real mission. And to think that it instantly went from a low-graded mission to something more, it compels fans to rethink about the type of world they live in.
Although Haku and Zabuza were enemies of Konoha, we were given the privilege of obtaining insight into the characters’ background stories. Both ninjas followed the ninja code — to be ninja is to be a ‘tool’ that shows no emotions. But as Naruto’s words intervene with their mindset, Naruto makes Haku and Zabuza realise that they’re ultimately humans in the end with a heart, soul, goals, and a strong bond that no-one can take away from them.
This was the first arc of many arcs to showcase Kishimoto’s skilled storytelling as it demonstrates how he can form an engaging plotline accompanied by a strong message, character development, and highly-charged action. Compared to fellow shounen series in the mainstream market, Naruto tops the list as #1 for sure.
BATTLE THREE: Naruto vs Gaara after Chuunin Exam
This is probably the first one-on-one Naruto battle that we see on a grand scale. After spending weeks training intensely with Jiraiya to control his Nine Tails power, we finally see Naruto’s training put to the test, and we certainly weren’t disappointed!
While Orochimaru caused chaos in Konoha, Temari and Kankuro were ordered to take the unconscious Gaara away from the village. In the heat of being chased by Konoha ninja, the One-Tail Beast (aka Shukaku) slowly awakens, repossessing Gaara’s mind and body. Unfortunately, it was up to Naruto to save the day, and he must do so before Gaara loses consciousness completely.
Just like Naruto, Gaara was feared, ostracised, despised, and used by his village, and since childhood, Gaara was not able to love or trust anyone. Once again, Kishimoto uses the power of storytelling, memories, and morals to tell a marvelous background story for such an intriguing character. It’s not just Gaara — we also witness Naruto reminiscing the past, and how he has managed to overcome adversity, thanks to his peers and teachers who acknowledge him.
Since Naruto understood Gaara’s pain and loneliness, Naruto can’t help but want to save him. And although it was a battle of strength and strategy, the power of Naruto’s words made Gaara see a whole new light. This was the inception of an everlasting friendship between two Jinchuurikis — a feat that has never occurred in shinobi history.
BATTLE FOUR: Naruto vs Neji
After Hinata was defeated in the Chuunin Exam by fellow Hyuga member and cousin, Neji, Naruto vowed to defend Hinata by wanting to prove that dropouts can defeat geniuses. In what appears to be a fight that was destined to happen, Neji and Naruto gets paired up in the semi-finals. Self-proclaimed genius vs class-clown dropout…who will win?
While Neji showed off his jutsus using the Byakugan, Naruto had to somehow defeat Neji with what he knows best: the Shadow Clone jutsu. With the inclusion of flashbacks surrounding Neji’s past and his grudge against the Hyuga Head Family, Naruto straightens him out by proving that not everything is set by fate, and that fate can be changed if you have the will power to do so.
Using the power of the Nine Tails, Naruto comes out triumphant by displaying a surprising show of wit, power, and words. Naruto’s win was a real game-changer in the story. He not only proves to the audience that he is no dropout, but his win also makes a statement that he is just as worthy as other shinobi.
BATTLE FIVE: Tsunade and Jiraiya vs Orochimaru
We hear so much about the Legendary Sannin, and it makes us wonder how badass they really are. And the moment of truth finally arrives where we see them in action — Jiraiya vs Tsunade vs Orochimaru. How would it end?
To our surprise, some of our impressions about the Sannins were off the chart. Tsunade (also known as ‘The Cash Cow’) comes across as one loose canon and a failure at gambling, but she turns out to be the best medical ninja in the world with superhuman powers. Jiraiya, on the other hand, is on a completely different level, as he is best-known as the author behind the Icha Icha book series ….which is incredibly perverted in many ways. He might be known as the ‘Perverted Hermit’, but believe it or not, Jiraiya actually has some cool techniques up his sleeve. And Orochimaru? Whoa, where do we even begin?
The events leading up to this great battle was rather interesting as each of them were on separate paths before they went looking for one another in one intertwined triangle. Everything about this battle went beyond our expectations — it was a full showcase of the Sannins’ past, true powers, intellect and emotions on the battlefield. And we haven’t even mentioned Naruto’s presence yet which is an entirely different story. As passionate Naruto fans, we can’t help feeling amused at how this battle was a major foreshadowing for Team 7’s future. But who could have guessed it back then?
OTHER MEMORABLE FIGHTS:
– Hinata vs Neji
– Gaara vs Rock Lee
– Rock Lee vs Kimmimaro
– Neji vs Kidmaru
– Shikamura vs Tayuya
– Choji vs Jiroubu
– Third Hokage vs Orochimaru