The Naruto manga and anime series features an extensive cast of characters created by Masashi Kishimoto. The series takes place in a fictional universe where countries vie for power by employing ninja who can use superhuman abilities in combat. The Naruto storyline is divided into two parts, simply named Part I and Part II, with the latter taking place two-and-a-half years after the conclusion of Part I. The series' storyline follows the adventures of a group of young ninja from the village of Konohagakure.
The titular character of the series is Naruto Uzumaki, an energetic ninja who wishes to become Hokage, the leader of Konohagakure. During the early part of the series, he is assigned to Team 7, in which he meets Sasuke Uchiha, a taciturn and highly skilled "genius" of the Uchiha clan; Sakura Haruno, who is infatuated with Sasuke yet has Naruto's affection; and Kakashi Hatake, the quiet and mysterious leader of the team. Over the course of the series, Naruto interacts with and befriends several fellow ninja in Konohagakure and other villages. He also encounters the series' antagonists, including Orochimaru, a former ninja of Konohagakure scheming to destroy his former home, as well as the elite ninja of the criminal organization Akatsuki.
As he developed the series, Kishimoto created the three primary characters as a basis for the designs of the other three-person teams. He gyalso used characters in other shōnen manga as references in his design of the characters, a decision that was criticized by several anime and manga publications. The characters that Kishimoto developed, however, were praised for incorporating many of the better aspects of previous shōnen characters, although many publications lamented the perceived lack of growth beyond such stereotypes. The visual presentation of the characters was commented on by reviewers, with both praise and criticism given to Kishimoto's work in the manga and anime adaptations.
Creation and conceptionEdit
When Masashi Kishimoto was originally creating the Naruto series, he looked to other shōnen manga for inspiration while still attempting to make his characters as unique as possible. Kishimoto cites Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball series as one of these influences, noting that Goku, the protagonist of Dragon Ball, was a key factor when creating Naruto Uzumaki due to his energetic and mischievous personality. To complement Naruto, Kishimoto worked on creating a rival that was a "cool genius", as he believed this was "the archetypal rival character". After reviewing different manga for ideas, he ultimately developed Sasuke Uchiha. When creating the primary heroine, Kishimoto admitted, "I don't have a definite image of what a heroine should be". He eventually created Sakura, emphasizing "her energy and flirtatious spirit" as her primary characteristics. These three characters would be the mold for the other three main Naruto teams.
The separation of the characters into different teams was intended to give each group a specific flavor. Kishimoto wished for each team member to be "extreme", having a high amount of aptitude in one given attribute, yet talentless in another. This approach was used to make each team perform best when individual members worked together to overcome their weaknesses. Having watched tokusatsu dramas as a child, Kishimoto wished for his teams to be different from the superhero teams in these dramas, dismissing the value of a team in which all the teammates were "strong to the point of perfection". Kishimoto notes that the different roles the characters assume is similar to many role-playing games, and "each character stands out better that way".
Kishimoto inserted villains into the story to counteract the lead characters' moral values. He stated that this focus on illustrating the difference in values is central to his creation of villains to the point that, "I don't really think about them in combat". The villains' physical appearances were also embellished to differentiate them from other characters, making it easier for a reader to follow the story and identify the villains, even in heated battle scenes. Kishimoto noted that making the villains "flamboyant" with a "showy costume" is "one of my guiding principles", as well as making them "more memorable".
When drawing the characters, Kishimoto consistently follows a five-step process: concept and rough sketch, drafting, inking, shading, and coloring. These steps are followed when he is drawing the manga and making the color illustrations that commonly adorn the cover of tankōbon, the cover of the Weekly Shōnen Jump, or other media, but the toolkit he uses occasionally changes. For instance, he used an airbrush for one illustration for a Weekly Shōnen Jump cover, but decided not to use it for future drawings largely due to the cleanup required.
The main characters of the Naruto series are part of Team 7, a group of ninja affiliated with the village of Konohagakure. After Sasuke Uchiha's departure from Konohagakure at the end of Part I, the team disbands. During Part II, the team reforms as Team Kakashi with two new members: Sai, who occupies Sasuke's position, and Yamato, who acts as assistant leader.
Naruto Uzumaki (うずまき ナルト Uzumaki Naruto?) is the title character and protagonist of the series. He was the first character created by Kishimoto during the conception of the series, and was designed with many traits from other shōnen characters. In the series, Naruto has ambitions of becoming Hokage, the leader of Konohagakure. Because he is the host of Kurama, the nine-tailed fox that attacked Konoha, he is ostracized by the other villagers. He compensates for this with his cheerful and boisterous personality, and over the course of the series, manages to befriend many foreign and Konoha ninja. He develops an especially close relationship with Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno, two of his fellow ninja in Team 7. Naruto's voice actor in the Japanese anime is Junko Takeuchi, and he is voiced by Maile Flanagan in the English adaptation.
Sasuke Uchiha (うちは サスケ Uchiha Sasuke?) is Naruto's rival, designed by Kishimoto to be the "cool genius" as he saw it to be an integral part of an ideal rivalry. He is one of the few remaining members of the Uchiha clan along with his brother, Itachi Uchiha, who killed the rest of their family. Because of this, Sasuke's sole desire is to kill his brother, and he develops a cold and withdrawn personality. When made a member to Team 7, Sasuke began to consider them precious to the point of risking his life to protect them, while focusing less on revenge at the start of the series. Following an encounter and subsequent defeat at the hands of his brother in Part I, Sasuke severs his ties and leaves the village to seek more power from the criminal Orochimaru. In the Japanese anime, Sasuke is voiced by Noriaki Sugiyama, and his English voice actor is Yuri Lowenthal.
Sakura Haruno (春野 サクラ Haruno Sakura?) is the sole female member of Team 7. Kishimoto created her as the heroine of the series, although he has admitted that he has little perception of what an ideal heroine should be. As a child, Sakura was taunted by other children because of her large forehead, a feature Kishimoto has tried to emphasize in Sakura's appearances. She was comforted by Ino Yamanaka. As the two continued to grow, however, they became increasingly distant due to their shared affection for Sasuke Uchiha. During the early of Part I, Sakura is infatuated with Sasuke, and looks down upon Naruto Uzumaki (though the boys' opinion on her is completely opposite, albeit more subtlely). In the Japanese anime, her voice actress is Chie Nakamura, and she is voiced by Kate Higgins in the English adaptation.
Kakashi Hatake (はたけ カカシ Hatake Kakashi?) is the leader of Team 7 and the sensei to Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura. Kishimoto had originally intended for Kakashi to be introduced earlier in the series than he actually was, and created him as an easygoing person that would be able to keep the members of Team 7 in check. Kakashi treats his leadership position with a detached manner, and is consistently late to meetings as a result. During a gaiden on his past, Kakashi is revealed to been trained by Naruto's father during the Third Great Ninja War and obtained his Sharingan eye from one of his teammates, Obito Uchiha. Kakashi's Japanese voice actor in the anime is Kazuhiko Inoue, and his English voice actor is Dave Wittenberg.
Zabuza Momochi (桃地 再不斬 Momochi Zabuza?) is a former member of Kirigakure's Seven Swordsmen of the Mist, a group of ninja that use particularly large swords in battle. Zabuza possesses a sword called Kubikiri Bōchō (首斬り包丁? lit. Decapitating Knife). After a failed coup d'état wherein he tried to assassinate the Fourth Mizukage, Zabuza and his followers fled the village and began working as mercenary assassins. He also takes in a young boy, Haku, as his apprentice, mostly treating him as a tool although he ultimately does care for him. Zabuza is skilled in water-based abilities, but his area of expertise is in assassinations in areas covered by mist. His talents lead to his commission by a criminal named Gato to kill a man named Tazuna, which he is unable to perform due to interference by Tazuna's bodyguard, Kakashi Hatake. Because he takes too long to complete the task, his contract is revoked, and his employer tries to have Zabuza killed. Zabuza kills him first, though is mortally wounded and dies soon afterwards. He is one of the shinobi resurrected by Kabuto to fight on the Akatsuki side and is defeated, being released from Kabuto's control in a rematch with Kakashi. In the Japanese anime, his voice actor is Unshō Ishizuka, and his English voice actor is Steven Blum.
Haku (白?) is Zabuza Momochi's most faithful follower. Before he started working for Zabuza, Haku lived as an orphan. His father killed his mother when it was discovered that he possessed a genetic ability, Hyōton (氷遁? lit. "Ice Release"), which allows him to mix wind and water elements to create ice, and Haku then killed him. After wandering from place to place for a time he was found by Zabuza. He recognized Haku's talents and agreed to take him in as a tool. As a result, Haku becomes unquestioningly protective of and loyal to Zabuza, and only by being useful does he find a purpose in life. He ultimately gives his life in his mission to be useful to Zabuza, becoming a human shield to protect his master from Kakashi Hatake's Lightning Blade. Haku is resurrected by Kabuto later in the series to fight in the Shinobi World War until being sealed by the alliance. His voice actress in the Japanese anime is Mayumi Asano, and his English voice actress is Susan Dalian. Mona Marshall voiced Haku as a child.
Orochimaru (大蛇丸?) is a criminal who was previously affiliated with Konohagakure. He serves as the principal villain of Part I. To emphasize his role as a villain, Kishimoto worked towards making him appear "pasty and sickly" as part of his theme of distinguishing villains from the protagonists. In the series, Orochimaru is a former ninja of Konohagakure and a student of the Third Hokage. During his time in the village, he distinguished himself as one of the village's most powerful ninja along with his teammates, Jiraiya and Tsunade. His desire to obtain immortality led him to conduct experiments on other Konohagakure ninja, and to establish his own ninja village, Otogakure, as both his personal laboratory to continue his work and to amass a personal army to destroy Konoha with. His immortality technique involves transferring his consciousness between different host bodies, and his desire for a new host, particularly Sasuke Uchiha, is one of his driving motivations throughout most of the series. Because of his different host bodies and the disguises he assumes, a panoply of voice actors are used for Orochimaru; his most common voice actor in the Japanese anime is Kujira, and his corresponding English voice actor is Steven Blum.
Kabuto Yakushi (薬師 カブト Yakushi Kabuto?) is a spy working for Orochimaru, though he acts on his own whims. As a child with no memory of his past, he was found on a battlefield by a nun from Konohagakure who raised him before he was recruited by the Foundation as a spy for the village to infiltrate numerous countries and organizations. However, after the Foundation found him a risk to be kept alive for knowing too many secrets, Kabuto left with Orochimaru after being promised an identity he can call his own. Using his former affiliations, and infiltrating the Akatsuki, Kabuto gathers intelligence on Orochimaru's behalf; for instance, he participates in the bi-annual Chunin Exams as a Konoha representative to gather information on his fellow participants. Highly proficient with medical techniques and genetic manipulation, Kabuto devises means to heal wounds by reactivating dead cells to grow new ones and can form a scalpel with chakra to deal surgical strikes to his opponents.
In Part II, after his mentor's defeat by Sasuke, Kabuto integrates some of Orochimaru's remains into his body to become powerful enough to not serve anyone again. Once perfecting the Reanimation Jutsu, Kabuto forces Obito Uchiha into a tenuous alliance with him under the promise that he can have Sasuke once they win the war against the Ninja Alliance. However, during the second day of the Fourth Great Ninja War, Itachi manages to break free of Kabuto's control and ends up forcing him to end the Reanimation Jutsu. In the Japanese anime, Kabuto is voiced by Nobutoshi Canna, and his English voice actor is Henry Dittman.
The Sound Four (音隠れの忍四人衆 Otogakure no Shinobi Yonin Shū?, lit. "Hidden Sound Shinobi Four People", English TV: "Sound Ninja Four") are Orochimaru's elite bodyguards. The group was originally known as the "Sound Five" as they were forced to accept Kimimaro (君麻呂?), the last of the Kaguya Clan who has his kin's ability to manipulate his bone structure, as leader after he defeated the entire group in battle. After Kimimaro became bedridden due to his illness, the group resumed calling themselves the Sound Four. As a group they specialize in barriers, defensive walls, sealing techniques as well as possessing their own individual unique techniques and Curse Marks that increase their strengths.
The group is composed of Jirobo (次郎坊 Jirōbō?), a large-sized man who specializes in absorbing chakra and close-quarters combat, Kidomaru (鬼童丸 Kidōmaru?), a six-armed ninja who can produce spider-webs to fight and specialized in ranged combat, Sakon (左近?) and twin brother Ukon (右近?), who are the strongest of the Sound Four and count as one member due to their merging abilities, and Tayuya (多由也?), a woman that uses a flute to control summoned Ogres and cast illusions. Though introduced during Orochimaru's invasion of Konohagakure, the Sound Four do not become a prominent part of the story until sent by their leader to escort Sasuke Uchiha to him. Even with Kimimaro joining the group to ensure Sasuke's passage to Orochimaru, the Sound Five all died in the process during the Fourth Great Ninja War, Kimimaro is revived by Kabuto for the war against the allied Shinobi Forces. In the anime adaptation, unaware that Kabuto brought them back instead of Orochimaru, the Sound Four were also reanimated and were allowed to act on their impulse for revenge before being defeated. It was also at the time of the war's climax that Kabuto reveals that he assimilated the Sound Five's DNA to access their abilities.
Akatsuki (暁? lit. "Dawn" or "Daybreak") is an organization of criminal ninja that serves as the primary antagonistic force of the Naruto series. It was founded by Yahiko, Nagato and Konan under instruction from Obito Uchiha. After Yahiko's death, it was led by Obito with Nagato as the figurehead leader. The Akatsuki's goal is world domination by using the power of the nine Tailed Beasts. The members of Akatsuki are ninja who have abandoned their villages, and are considered by their former homes to be S-class criminals, the most powerful and wanted ninja in the Naruto universe. At any given time, Akatsuki is composed of ten members, who operate in two-man teams; it was later reduced to nine after Orochimaru's departure. Aside from an attempt by members Itachi Uchiha and Kisame Hoshigaki to capture Kurama (the nine-tailed fox sealed within Naruto Uzumaki), Akatsuki is not prominently featured in Part I. In Part II, they take a more active role, capturing Gaara and extracting the one-tailed tanuki, Shukaku, from his body, as well as working towards capturing the remaining Tailed Beasts. Kishimoto called the Akatsuki's members antiheroes as he wished to expand their backgrounds as much as the ones from the series' protagonists, contrasting them with other types of villains.
Itachi Uchiha (うちは イタチ Uchiha Itachi?) is a former ninja of Konohagakure and the partner of Kisame Hoshigaki. Though having spent his early youth as the child prodigy of the Uchiha clan, Itachi is treated as a villain for much of the series. He is initially portrayed as being solely responsible for the killing of his entire clan and family, sparing only his brother, Sasuke Uchiha, with the explanation that he was testing his abilities. Around the time of his death his villainous role is downplayed; not only is he revealed to offer help to Obito Uchiha in killing the clan, but he performed the massacre under the orders of Konoha's leadership so as to prevent an Uchiha coup d'état. In the Japanese anime, Itachi's voice actor is Hideo Ishikawa. His first voice actor in the English anime was Skip Stellrecht, who voiced Itachi in episodes 29 and 30, but in all following appearances, he has been voiced by Crispin Freeman.
Kisame Hoshigaki (干柿 鬼鮫 Hoshigaki Kisame?) is a former ninja of Kirigakure and partnered to Itachi Uchiha, having a unique appearance with pale blue skin, a gill-like facial structure, and sharp triangular teeth. While he was still loyal to Kirigakure, Kisame was one of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist, a group of violent ninja that use particularly large swords in battle. His sword, Samehada (鮫肌 "Sharkskin" in Shippuden?), is a living weapon covered in scales that can absorb untold amounts of an opponent's chakra. Only allowing those it sees as worthy to wield it, Samehada can provide the user with the chakra it holds, ensuring him an infinite amount of stamina. Kisame himself has massive amounts of chakra, and by fusing Samehada into him, Kisame can assume a more shark-like form that increases his abilities. In battle, he frequently shapes water into the forms of sharks to damage opponents. After discarding Samehada when it chose Killer Bee over him, Kisame is decapitated by Killer Bee and the Raikage. It is later revealed that the decapitation was just a shapeshifting technique performed by Zetsu; the real Kisame having hidden inside Samehada. He attempts to flee from the ninjas but is defeated by Might Guy and captured. Kisame commits suicide by summoning sharks and allowing them to eat him, but not before using one of them to steal back the information he had compiled and send it to the Akatsuki. His voice actor in the Japanese anime was the late Tomoyuki Dan, and his English voice actor is Kirk Thornton.
Deidara (デイダラ?) is a former ninja of Iwagakure, having previously left the village after bombing it. He was a terrorist bomber-for-hire before Itachi Uchiha forced him to join Akatsuki. Though he came to embrace the organization, Deidara still holds a grudge against Itachi and all other Uchihas throughout the series, as he feels their Sharingan eyes look down on his artwork. Upon joining the Akatsuki, he is partnered with Sasori, who is subsequently replaced by Tobi after his death. Though he abuses Obito when he annoys him, Deidara becomes more like a teacher to Tobi, and adopts a genuine care for his well-being. Each of Deidara's hands have mouths on them that, by infusing clay or other fine-grained minerals with chakra, create "sculptures", bombs that explode with varying intensities. Deidara's bombs can take any form he chooses, and from the time of their creation to their detonation, he can animate and control them remotely. Sasuke Uchiha, Itachi's younger brother, is able to systematically nullify his bombs in combat, and so Deidara transforms himself into a living bomb in a last effort to kill Sasuke and to prove the supremacy of his art, but fails in the attempt. He is later resurrected by Kabuto for the war against the Shinobi Alliance but is defeated by Kankuro. His voice actor in the Japanese anime is Katsuhiko Kawamoto. In his cameo appearance in episode 135 of the English adaptation, he is voiced by Quinton Flynn, and in the anime of Shippuden by Roger Craig Smith.
Sasori (サソリ?) is a former ninja of Sunagakure and known as "Sasori of the Red Sand" (赤砂のサソリ Akasuna no Sasori?). His parents were killed by Sakumo Hatake, also known as the White Fang of Konoha. This left him in the care of his grandmother, Chiyo who taught Sasori the art of puppetry, which he refined to fit his needs over the years. In due time he secretly devised a way to convert the corpses of humans into puppets, allowing him to use any of the ninja abilities they possessed during their lives for himself. Sasori left Sunagakure when he got older and joined Akatsuki where he is initially partnered with Orochimaru. Sasori teamed with Deidara, who looks up to him and his artistic knowledge with reverence. In time he even converted his own body into a puppet, which essentially gives him eternal life and allows him to control hundreds of puppets at once. Sakura and Chiyo eventually destroy his heart, the only part of his humanity he kept when converting himself to a puppet, resulting in his death, but not before telling Sakura about his rendezvous with one of Orochimaru's henchmen who had been working for him as a spy. After being resurrected by Kabuto, Sasori fights Kankuro who convinces him to be at peace with himself. Sasori comes to terms with his life and is finally able to pass on and rest in peace. In the Japanese anime, Sasori is voiced by Akiko Yajima as a child and by Takahiro Sakurai as an adult. In the English version he is voiced by Kari Wahlgren and as an adult he is voiced by Johnny Yong Bosch. His scorpion-like puppet body, Hiruko, is voiced by Yutaka Aoyama in the Japanese version and in the English version by J. B. Blanc.
Zetsu (ゼツ?) is the only member of the Akatsuki to regularly act without a partner, also being the only nonhuman member and Obito's right hand. Originally, Kaguya created a shadow-like symbiotic entity known as Black Zetsu (黒ゼツ Kuro Zetsu?) to manipulate her grandson Indra and his descendants throughout history so one among them can manifest a Rinnegan and free his creator. Black Zetsu succeeds with Madara, whom he deceived into believing that he created his host White Zetsu (白ゼツ Shiro Zetsu?), who like his assumed clone brothers was actually a human who mutated as a result of being assimilated by the Ten Tails during Kaguya's Infinite Tsukuyomi ages ago. Though he and White Zetsu are effective in their symbiosis, Black Zetsu occasionally argued with his easygoing host. As White Zetsu is an extension of the Shinju, he can merge into the ground or vegetation to quickly travel to a new location or separate himself from Black Zetsu and uses spores to create clones of himself or whoever he touches. This makes Zetsu not only of use to the Akatsuki as a spy, but also to devour bodies of deceased Akatsuki members or those that the organization does not want found. After White Zetsu is killed off during the Fourth Great Ninja War while sent after the Feudal Lords, Black Zetsu went into hiding until he later merges himself onto Obito to force the human into resurrecting Madara. But ultimately, once the Eye of the Moon Plan ran its course, Black Zetsu reveals his true identity as he proceeds to betray Madara to fusing onto him to convert the human into a new body for Kaguya to inhabit. Revealing his role in the conflict between the Senju and Uchiha as he helps Kaguya deal with Naruto and Sasuke, Black Zetsu is eventually ripped away from his creator when Naruto severs Kaguya's arm. As Kaguya is sealed, thinking he would have to start all over again before the youth grabs him, Naruto throws the limb holding Black Zetsu into the forming moon so he would trapped with his creator.
As Kishimoto originally planned Akatsuki to be a group of individuals with close to no human characteristics, he decided to make Zetsu half black and half white to emphasize his split personality. In the Japanese anime, Zetsu is voiced by Nobuo Tobita, who also voices Guruguru and the White Zetsu Army. In episode 134 of the English adaptation, Black Zetsu is voiced by Michael Sorich and White Zetsu by Brian Beacock, though in the English Shippuden anime both halves are voiced by Travis Willingham.
Obito Uchiha (うちは オビト Uchiha Obito?), also known under his alias Tobi (トビ?) is the true leader of Akatsuki. He is originally Kakashi Hatake's teammate who gives him his Sharingan before his presumed death in the Third Great Ninja War. As a child, Obito dreamed of becoming Hokage and was ultimately assigned to a team composing of himself, Kakashi and a young medical-nin named Rin Nohara with Naruto's father, Minato Namikaze leading the team. During the Third Great Ninja War, Rin was kidnapped with Obito and Kakashi rescuing her from rogue ninja although Obito was left paralyzed and near death after having the right side of his body crushed in a landslide. It was at that moment that he gave Kakashi his Sharingan which Rin later transplanted into Kakaski's left eye which had been permanently scarred when a rival ninja had attacked him. Despite their grief over what had happened, Rin and Kakashi were forced to flee when more reinforcements arrived, destroying the cave and presumably killing Obito. In reality, Madara Uchiha saves him and takes him as his apprentice after the youth who had high hopes of returning home in spite of the grave injuries he had sustained witnesses Kakashi kill Rin caused by the actions of the ninja villages' conduct. Obito serves a behind-the-scenes role throughout the first half of Part II and caused most of the tragic events that occurred prior to the series, including the Nine-Tails attack. Other than being able to use his right Sharingan to manipulate Kamui in a fashion that made it seem he is intangible and teleport over great distances, Obito can use Wood Style attacks as he possess Hashirama's blood.
Creating the identity of Tobi to take an active role in the organization, Obito joins the Akatsuki as Sasori's carefree replacement and Deidara's partner. After Deidara's death, Obito takes a special interest in Sasuke Uchiha, taking him under his wing. After Nagato's death, Obito reveals his mentor's Eye of the Moon Plan to the Kage, so, as the resurrected Ten-Tails's host, he can cast an eternal illusion called the Infinite Tsukuyomi (無限月読 Mugen Tsukuyomi?) to subjugate all life. After the Kage refuse to surrender to him, Obito declares the Fourth Great Ninja War and ends up forming a reluctant alliance with Kabuto Yakushi who blackmails him with a reanimated Madara. He retrieves Nagato's Rinnegan to replace his replacement Sharingan. He also converts the reanimated corpses of the captured Jinchuriki into his personal Six Paths of Pain so he can use the captured Tailed Beasts' power through them. During the ensuing war, Madara is revealed and Obito's true identity is exposed. Mortally wounded by Kakashi, Obito becomes the Ten Tails host himself. From there, Obito is defeated by Naruto and Sasuke aided by the Allied Shinobi Forces, who extract the Tailed Beasts from the Shinju. Shortly afterwards, a guilt-driven Obito attempts to make up for his past actions by reviving everyone who died in the war. However, Black Zetsu binds himself on Obito to force him to resurrect Madara instead. Now on the verge of death, but managing to restrain Black Zetsu to keep the parasite from returning to Madara with the Rinnegan, Obito betrays Madara to save Naruto's life. But Obito's defiance is short-lived; he ends up in a comatose state after Madara uses the eye he gave Kakashi to reach him and forcefully exchange left eyes, with Black Zetsu leaving him soon after. Naruto uses his power to restore Obito back to life, with Obito using his full Sharingan abilities to help Sakura find Sasuke. However, Obito sacrifices himself to protect Kakashi from Kaguya's attack and dies thanking his friend and Naruto for reminding him of his true self. However, Obito's spirit remains among the living long enough to aid Kakashi by momentarily giving him his chakra and Sharingan. But once the battle against Kaguya ended, Obito passes on to the next life.
Obito in his Tobi persona was Kishimoto's favorite Akatsuki character at the time to draw, due to his simple mask. In the Japanese anime, Obito is voiced by Wataru Takagi, while Naoya Uchida voiced his Madara guise. In his youth, he is voiced by Sōsuke Komori, with Megumi Han taking over the position in 343. In the English anime, Obito is voiced by Todd Haberkorn with Neil Kaplan voicing his Madara persona, Michael Yurchak voicing his Tobi persona, and Vic Mignogna voicing him in his youth. Also, Nolan North does Obito in his Madara guise in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2.
Hidan (飛段) is the immortal, foul-mouthed, and sadomasochistic partner of Kakuzu and a former ninja of Yugakure, the Village Hidden in Boiling Water. He is a member of the Jashin (ジャシン, lit. "evil god") religion which worships a deity of the same name and believes that anything less than death and utter destruction in battle is considered a sin. His religion's experimentations have led to the creation of his unique abilities; by consuming an opponent's blood and then drawing Jashin's triangular symbol on the ground, Hidan can create a link with his opponent. Once this link is created, any damage done to Hidan's body is reflected on his opponent, allowing him to kill them by giving himself fatal injuries. Though his immortality keeps him from dying or suffer any impairment, Hidan feels his victims suffering with an excitement bordering on arousal. After Hidan used this ability to kill Asuma Sarutobi, Shikamaru Nara fights him to avenge his teacher. Their battle culminates in Hidan being blown up, and Shikamaru burying his still-speaking remains in a place that the Akatsuki will never be able to reach. As such, Hidan is no longer considered a member by the rest of the Akatsuki.Template:Gnr In the Japanese version of the anime, Hidan is voiced by Masaki Terasoma. In the English version, he is voiced by Chris Edgerly and in Naruto Shippūden: Clash of Ninja Revolution 3 by Wally Wingert.
Kakuzu (角都) is the partner of Hidan and a former ninja of Takigakure, the Village Hidden in the Waterfalls. Kakuzu is motivated by greed and joins the Akatsuki to seek out valuable bounties. However, his extreme temperament led Kakuzu to dislike having a partner and eventually killing whomever he is partnered with in a fit of rage, being paired up with the immortal Hidan as a result. Kakuzu's body is composed of large amounts of black threads, allowing him to reattach any body part, being his or another, back onto its owner. The threads are also capable of piercing flesh, which Kakuzu uses to remove the still-beating hearts of his opponents for his personal use and integrates their hearts into his body to extend his life indefinitely. Kakuzu can store up to four spare hearts in animal masks that are sewn to his back, which can be detached during combat situations to shoot elemental blasts at his opponents, and quickly recalled to his body if he needs a replacement heart. Kakuzu's hearts are systematically destroyed soon after his introduction by a group of Konohagakure ninja. After Naruto Uzumaki leaves his final heart on the brink of failure, Kakuzu is easily finished off by Kakashi. After being resurrected by Kabuto, he is sent out to participate in the war until being sealed. In the Japanese anime, Kakuzu's Japanese voice actor is Takaya Hashi and in the English version he is voiced by Fred Tatasciore.
Nagato (長門), primarily known as Pain (ペイン Pein?) is the figurehead leader of Akatsuki and a ninja from Amegakure, partnered to Konan, with Obito acting as his benefactor. The "Pain" that is normally seen in the series and uses the Deva Path abilities is actually Nagato's deceased friend, Yahiko (弥彦), one of six animated corpses collectively known as The Six Paths of Pain (ペイン六道 Pein Rikudō?) that are all controlled by Nagato and use one sixth of his full power. The Pain Paths are all outfitted with a number of body piercings that serve as a means for Nagato to control them and to give them a "more dangerous" appearance in relation to their name's installation. Through Nagato's Rinnegan, they can also share visual information and coordinate attacks. At a young age, Nagato is secretly visited by Madara Uchiha who implantes his Rinnegan (輪廻眼? lit. "Saṃsāra Eye") into the child's body, giving him the ability to use powerful abilities. Orphaned from the war-torn country of Amegakure, Nagato meets fellow orphans Konan and Yahiko before they are all trained by Jiraiya. Nagato desires peace for the world, aiding Yahiko to create the Akatsuki to achieve that shared dream. However, Yahiko's death in a fight causes Nagato to take over as the new leader of the organization, and to realize that peace can only be attained by teaching the world the pain caused by war.
Jiraiya confronts Nagato while infiltrating Amegakure, resulting in a fight that ends with the mentor's death. However, Nagato's captured Animal Path vessel is replaced shortly afterwards for Pain's attack on Konoha. The rest of the Paths are destroyed in the fight against Naruto, while Nagato recovers his faith in their mentor and world peace when talking personally. Then, he sacrifices his life to revive the people he killed in Konoha. However, Nagato is reanimated by Kabuto and sent alongside Itachi to battle Naruto and Killer Bee. Though he regains his ability to fight at his full potential, Nagato is sealed by Itachi and sent back to the afterlife. In the Japanese anime, Yahiko/Pain and the other male Paths are voiced by Kenyu Horiuchi while Nagato's voice actor is Junpei Morita. In the English Version, Pain is voiced by Troy Baker, with Nagato being voiced by Vic Mignogna. Also, in his cameo appearance in episode 135 of the English adaptation, Pain is voiced by Dave Wittenberg.
Konan (小南) is the only female ninja in Akatsuki. As such, Kishimoto originally wanted her to have an obscene appearance showing more of her bust. Being a partner of Nagato, Konan was also a pupil under Jiraiya after she was orphaned as a child by one of Amegakure's many wars and forced to fend for herself. Because she serves under Nagato, she is referred to by villagers of Amegakure as "God's angel". While under Jiraiya, Konan learned to take advantage of her natural talent with origami, using it as a key component in her battle style. Konan can divide her body into countless sheets of paper, which she controls and reshapes remotely to scout out an area, form weapons for attack, or create wings that mirror her title. While Konan's abilities are restricted when the paper is wet, since paper will cling to itself and lose its stiffness, she is able to use this weakness to her advantage as she implements explosive tags into her paper clones. After Nagato's death, Konan withdraws her position in Akatsuki and leaves the organization. Later, she is confronted by Obito over the location of Nagato's Rinnegan eyes. She fights him, but is killed after being forced to reveal Nagato's resting place. In the Japanese anime, Konan is voiced by Atsuko Tanaka and in the English anime, her voice actress is Dorothy Elias-Fahn.
Taka (鷹, "Hawk") is a group formed by Sasuke Uchiha that consists of Orochimaru's former subordinates. When it first formed, the group went by the name "Hebi" (蛇, "Snake"), with its mission being to find and kill Sasuke's brother, Itachi Uchiha, to avenge the latter's slaughter of the Uchiha clan by the time the name change occurs. Its first recruited member is Suigetsu Hozuki (鬼灯 水月 Hōzuki Suigetsu), former test subject of Orochimaru whose Kekkei Genkai allows him to change his body to liquid form, who wishes to restore the Kirigakure's Seven Swordsmen by taking their swords.Template:Gnr He uses the regenerative sword Kubikiribōchō, formerly owned by Zabuza Momochi. The second member is Karin (香燐), a former assistant to Orochimaru who specializes in tracking specific individuals through chakra over long distances, and is highly flirtatious when she is alone with Sasuke. She is later revealed to be one of the few surviving members of the Uzumaki clan; thus she is related to other characters descended from the clan, including the series' titular character, Naruto Uzumaki, and the Akatsuki's figurehead, Nagato. The third and last member is the prisoner Jugo (重吾 Jūgo), the source of Orochimaru's cursed seals due to experiments that often make him mentally unstable, who follows Sasuke as he sees him as the living legacy of his late friend Kimimaro.