The protagonists of the Naruto series are part of Squad 7 (Team Kakashi), a group of ninja affiliated with the village of Konoha.
Naruto is the primary protagonist of the series. Naruto has ambitions of becoming Hokage, the leader of the village hidden in the leaves (Konoha), but 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 Squad 7.
Sasuke is one of the members of Squad 7. He acts as a rival to Naruto, as well as a, "cool genius". He is one of the few remaining members of the Uchiha clan along with his brother, Itachi Uchiha, who killed the rest of their clan. Due to this, Sasuke's sole desire is to kill his brother, and he develops a cold and withdrawn personality. His interactions with his fellow teammates, who are all considered precious to him, make him focus less on revenge at the start of the series. Later in the series, during an encounter with his brother, Sasuke is easily beaten, which leads him to leave the village to seek more power from the criminal Orochimaru.
Sakura is the sole female member of Squad 7. As a child, Sakura was taunted by other children because of her large forehead and was comforted by Ino Yamanaka making them close friends. As the two continued to grow, however, they became increasingly distant due to their shared affection for Sasuke Uchiha. Sakura is in love with Sasuke and depises Naruto, but after Sasuke leaves the village, Naruto makes a lifelong promise to her to bring him back. After his 1st attempt is delayed by the Sound Ninja 4, she resolves to become stronger by training with Tsunade. When Sakura and Naruto are 16, she displays highly developed skills from her training giving her the brutal power and strength of about 10 men.
Kakashi is the leader of Squad 7 and the sensei of Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura. Kakashi treats his leadership position with a detached manner, and is consistently late to meetings as a result. In a gaiden on Kakashi's past, this is shown to be the result of an incident in which he witnessed the death of one of his teammates, Obito Uchiha, who gave Kakashi his Sharingan eye and imparted many of his habits, including his tardiness. With Obito's Sharingan, Kakashi has amassed a reputation as a skilled and powerful ninja, earning the moniker "Copy Ninja Kakashi". Although he mentors all three members of Squad 7 early in the series, he concentrates on training Sasuke as the series continues, teaching him his Chidori technique; however, he is unable to prevent Sasuke from leaving the village to seek Orochimaru for greater power.
Squad 8 is a group of Konoha ninja led by Kurenai Yuhi. The members of Squad 8 primarily concentrate on tracking, with each of the members' unique abilities being utilized in this role.
Kiba is a member of Squad 8, characterized by a number of dog-like traits such as being very protective of his teammates and extremely keen senses such as smell. Most apparent of his connection to dogs is the constant presence of his ninja dog, Akamaru. Kiba is fiercely loyal to Akamaru, unwilling to abandon him and putting himself in harm's way for Akamaru's sake. In exchange for Kiba's devotion, Akamaru fights with him in battle; he uses his heightened senses to Kiba's advantage, and helps to double-team opponents with volleys of physical attacks. Since Akamaru is naturally better equipped for combat, Kiba usually modifies his own abilities at the start of a battle, growing claws and traveling on all four limbs to increase his speed. He can also drastically increase his sense of smell.
Shino is one of the members of Squad 8 and is fascinated with insects; he spends his free time capturing and studying insects and often uses them as analogies during conversation. A deep connection with insects runs in Shino's family, as each person born in to the Aburame clan is infused with a special breed of insects known as "destruction bugs" during birth. In exchange for using Shino as a hive and feeding on his chakra, the bugs do as he commands. During a battle, Shino directs his bugs towards an opponent, boxing them in without their knowledge and absorbing their chakra once they have been surrounded. Shino's merciless tendencies, in regards to opponents as well as his attachment to insects, have caused other characters to label him as "creepy." Nevertheless, Shino cares deeply for his teammates, being acutely aware of their inner workings and always regretting when he is unable to help them.
Hinata is a member of Squad 8 who suffers from a lack of self-confidence throughout the series. She is always reluctant to speak her mind or to do something that might antagonize another character, causing her difficulties whenever she is on a mission. Hinata's inability to stand up for herself caused her father to disown her at a young age, leaving her in the care of her teacher, Kurenai Yuhi. Soon after her introduction, Hinata begins training to become stronger, both to overcome her own weaknesses and to prove her worth to her father. Though Hinata's training has in large part been to prove herself, she also trains to try to win the attention of the series protagonist Naruto Uzumaki. Inspired by Naruto's confidence and determination, Hinata becomes infatuated with Naruto to the extent that she immediately blushes upon seeing him. However, as the series progresses, she goes out of her way to help him. While Hinata is hesitant to openly admit her feelings for him, most characters are aware of her feelings.
Kurenai is the leader of Squad 8. Of all her students, Kurenai is closest with Hinata, acting as a surrogate parent in the absence of Hinata's father and helping Hinata overcome her weaknesses. Whenever Kurenai appears in the series, she is usually accompanied by Asuma Sarutobi. Because of this, many other characters assume them to be a couple, though they both deny this. In battle she specializes in casting genjutsu, and is shown to be particularly skilled with illusions involving plants.
Team 10 is a group of Konoha ninja led by Asuma Sarutobi. The fathers of the three team members Choji Akimichi, Shikamaru Nara, and Ino Yamanaka were also on a team together, and both generations refer to their team using the moniker "Ino-Shika-Cho".
Shikamaru is one of the members of Team 10. Shikamaru has an easygoing, almost lazy, nature despite being a genius. Shikamaru's intelligence is such that Asuma Sarutobi, Team 10's leader, has never been able to defeat Shikamaru at games such as shogi or go, and he can devise complex strategies even in the heat of battle. However, his laziness frequently prevents him from effectively utilizing his intelligence. Shikamaru is a longtime friend of Choji Akimichi, his fellow Squad 10 member, as he chooses to look upon Choji as a person rather than only considering his large girth. In battle, Shikamaru can manipulate his shadow, and by extending it into another person's shadow he can force the target to mimic his movements.
Choji is a member of Squad 10 who is typified by his deep love for food to the extent that he always has a snack with him during the series. Though his habit of always eating gives him a relatively large appearance, Choji insists he is not fat, instead using explanations like being "big-boned". If someone refers to him as fat, Choji instantly becomes hostile and increases his resolve to battle. Shikamaru Nara has never found an issue with Choji's weight, instead choosing to look upon Choji's inner strength. Because of this, Choji regards him as his best friend, stating he would willingly give his life to defend Shikamaru. In battle, Choji can increase the size of his body to improve the amount of damage his strikes deal upon impact.
Ino is the only female member of Squad 10. She is a childhood friend of Sakura Haruno, helping her to develop her own identity. When they discovered that they both liked Sasuke Uchiha, Sakura ended their friendship so they could properly compete for his affection. The two eventually make amends and rekindle their friendship, but still maintain a competitive attitude towards each other. In terms of combat abilities, Ino specializes in mind-altering techniques. To use these techniques, Ino transfers her consciousness to her target's mind, gaining control over their body which she can then use to attack others.
Asuma is the leader of Squad 10 and son of the Third Hokage Hiruzen Sarutobi. He had a falling out with his father when he was younger, and briefly left Konoha in protest. The two had not completely reconciled by the time of Hiruzen's death. Asuma is usually seen smoking a cigarette, but will temporarily drop the habit when something is bothering him, such as when his father died. Among all his students, Asuma shares a particularly close relationship with Shikamaru Nara, and the two often play shogi or go together. Asuma frequently appears alongside Kurenai Yuhi, leading many characters to assume the two are a couple. Both deny this and promptly try to change the subject whenever it is brought up. In battle, Asuma wields trench knives that can be infused with chakra. When infused with his wind-based chakra, Asuma can extend the blades' length and easily pierce through rock.
Team Guy is a group of Konoha ninja led by Might Guy. The members of Team Guy primarily concentrate on physical attacks and weapons. They are a year older than the other members of Konoha's teams, as Guy wanted to wait a year before they could take the test to advance in ninja rank and become Chunin.
Neji is a member of Team Guy and a child prodigy of the Hyuga clan, as well as being Hinata's cousin. Though a member of the branch house, Neji displayed his title as a prodigy of the Hyuga throughout the series as a master of his clan's Gentle Fist style of combat that he taught to himself. At the start of the series, Neji openly hated the main house because his father was killed in the place of the main house's leader, his uncle and Hinata's father. Originally, Neji believed in a fatalistic philosophy: that one's destiny is inescapable and that a weak person will always be weak. After being defeated in the Chunin Exams by Naruto Uzumaki, who defied his own "fate" by getting stronger, Neji had a change of heart once Hiashi revealed the full story of his twin brother's death as an act of self-sacrifice. Since then, Neji abandoned the idea of a predetermined fate and resolved to get strong enough to never lose a battle. As the series progressed, Neji refined his Gentle Fist and devised original variations that either increase their potency or to fix an inherent flaw such as a blindspot in his Byakugan. Neji also remedied the estranged relations between himself and the members of the main house, resulting in his training with Hiashi and Hinata.
Rock is a member of Team Guy and the favorite student of team leader Might Guy. In the ninja academy, Rock Lee was unable to use ninjutsu or genjutsu techniques, but his persistence impressed Guy. Guy spends much of his free time training with Lee to help him accomplish his dream of becoming a respected ninja by using only taijutsu. Lee has adopted several of Guy's habits because of this, such as his wardrobe and his perseverance. Guy has taught him a number of powerful, even forbidden, techniques. Because some of these techniques, such as the ability to open the eight chakra gates, can pose a severe risk to Lee's body, he is only permitted to use them to protect something or someone dear to him.
Tenten is the only female member of Team Guy, and longs to prove that a female ninja can be just as skilled as a male ninja. Of all the Naruto protagonists, Tenten receives the least amount of screen time in the series, such that her only fight in Part I of the manga is almost entirely skipped; the battle's start and her eventual defeat are the only portions shown. In battle, Tenten specializes in weaponry, ranging from projectiles to close-combat weapons and even explosives. During a fight she uses the hundreds of weapons kept stored in scrolls she carries with her to bombard opponents with pinpoint accuracy. Tenten uses this expertise to help Neji Hyuga train his defensive techniques, and she holds him in high regard since he can always block her attacks.
Guy is the leader of Team Guy, and dedicates most of his time to only one of his students, Rock Lee. Because of Guy's dedication to him, Lee has modeled himself in his master's image, mimicking Guy's distinctive green jumpsuit and shiny bowl haircut. Lee has also adopted many of Guy's mannerisms, including his "My Rules" philosophy, which involves setting tough self-imposed penalties for failure in the belief that the punishment will make him stronger. In battle, Guy specializes in physical attacks, which he constantly tries to teach to Lee. While Lee is forced to concentrate on physical attacks due to his inability to use other types of techniques, Guy deliberately chooses not to use techniques other than physical attacks. When not teaching Lee a new ability, Guy is usually found in competition with his self-proclaimed rival, Kakashi. Throughout the series, Kakashi has never displayed a particular interest in their rivalry, which only further motivates Guy to defeat Kakashi and his "coolness".
The Hokage is the leader of Konoha Village. Over the course of the series, there have been five Hokage, who are honored by the village by having sculptures of their faces carved into the rock formation overlooking Konoha Village. The First Hokage was Hashirama Senju, who founded the village along with Madara Uchiha. The First was succeeded by his younger brother, Tobirama Senju, the Second Hokage, who created Konoha's government system and attempted to keep the Uchiha clan members from ending up like Madara. He in turn was followed by one of his students, Hiruzen Sarutobi, who became the Third Hokage. After a long rule, the Third abdicated in favor of Minato Namikaze, who took the position of Fourth Hokage, but reclaimed his position after the Fourth gave his life to save the village from Kurama, the nine-tailed fox. Another of the Fourth Hokage's students, Hashirama's granddaughter Tsunade, succeeds him as the Fifth Hokage.
Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third Hokage, has been the longest-ruling Hokage, being forced to return to duty after the Fourth Hokage's death. He is a peace-loving leader, preferring nonviolent discussions to his advisers' more militaristic suggestions. Throughout the series, he acts as a source of wisdom to younger generations; and from the start, is one of the few characters to treat Naruto Uzumaki as a person, not as the host of Kurama. In his youth Sarutobi was known as "The Professor", as he purportedly knew every jutsu in Konoha Village, and was also revered as the "God of Shinobi". He was also the teacher of Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and Tsunade. Orochimaru had always been his favorite student, and Sarutobi could never bring himself to recognize Orochimaru's evil qualities.
Minato Namikaze, the Fourth Hokage, is the father of Naruto Uzumaki and spouse to Kushina Uzumaki. Although Naruto and Minato are noted to have a number of similar traits throughout the series, their familial relationship is not revealed until Part II of the series. He was the student of Jiraiya and the teacher of Kakashi Hatake. Minato was a prodigy among ninja, such that enemy villages issued flee-on-sight orders if ever he appeared on a battlefield. He developed a jutsu that was in essence a teleportation jutsu, allowing him to wipe out whole armies in the blink of an eye, thus earning him the title of "Konoha's Yellow Flash". Before the start of the series, he gave his life to seal Kurama, the nine-tailed fox, into Naruto's body, saving Konoha from destruction and giving Naruto access to its great strength.
Tsunade, as well as her former teammates Jiraiya and Orochimaru, is a former student of Hiruzen. Despite looking like a buxom woman in her twenties, Tsunade is actually an old woman who can maintain her youthful appearance through a special jutsu. Tsunade is also the granddaughter of Hashirama Senju and Mito Uzumaki, and Tobirama's grandniece, with many referring to her by the Japanese honorific "hime" (princess). Despite her connections to the three first Hokage, Tsunade hates the position when she is first introduced. After her boyfriend Dan and brother Nawaki died in pursuit of their dreams to become Hokage, she lost faith in the title and the concept of dreams. She regains her faith in both after meeting Naruto Uzumaki, who consistently overcomes any obstacle in his own dreams of being Hokage. As a result, Tsunade accepts the position of Fifth Hokage to protect Konoha Village on behalf of everyone she has loved. Despite the importance of her position, Tsunade tends to avoid her everyday duties, instead leaving them for her assistants. Tsunade is a compulsive gambler with terrible luck with a rare winning streak perceived by her as a bad omen. Despite her odd personality, Tsunade is a talented medical ninja with superhuman strength that allows her to reduce buildings to rubble, and can heal injuries that most others would consider incurable. Utilizing her Senju bloodline, Tsunade devised a method of mitotic regeneration for herself that makes her nearly invincible yet greatly shortens her overall lifespan.
The Sand Siblings
The Sand Siblings are ninja from The Village Hidden in The Sand and are the children of the Fourth Kazekage, the leader of the village. They come to Konoha to participate in the biannual Chunin exams, and serve as antagonists in the subsequent invasion of Konoha. Due to their interactions with Naruto Uzumaki, and learning their father was murdered by their supposed ally Orochimaru, the Sand Siblings return as allies of Konoha, aiding Naruto's group in their attempts to retrieve Sasuke Uchiha from Orochimaru's forces. Kishimoto changed their costumes for their return due to the difficulty in drawing their original attire, as well as to symbolize their new friendship with Konoha.
Gaara is the youngest of the three siblings, made into a weapon by his father when he became the Jinchuriki of the tailed beast Shukaku the One-Tail, before he was born. This act caused the death of his mother during labor and Gaara was placed in the care of his mother's brother. Like Naruto, because of his sand unconsciously attacking those around him, Gaara was tormented by his fellow villagers. After his uncle tried to kill him, Gaara developed a sadistic and withdrawn personality, killing others to affirm the value of his existence. He was created as a foil to Naruto Uzumaki, with a similar background yet a highly divergent personality. His battle with Naruto during the invasion of Konoha changes this mentality; as a result, he becomes more willing to help others.
Kankuro is the second oldest of the three siblings. For the first half of the series, he is frequently at odds with Gaara, though he tends to hold his tongue for fear of being killed. Kankuro is a talented puppeteer, and uses his puppets in battle.
Temari is the oldest of the three siblings. Unlike her more combat-loving brothers, Temari values peace, as she questions her village's justifications for going to war with Konoha. In battle, Temari wields a giant iron fan that can create powerful gusts of wind capable of leveling the surrounding landscape. As she is skilled at deducing an opponent's strategies and weaknesses soon after a battle begins, she typically uses her winds to remove parts of the battlefield that might be advantageous to the enemy.
Iruka Umino is a Konoha ninja and instructor at the Ninja Academy, a school for prospective ninja. When Iruka was a child, his parents were killed by Kurama, the nine-tailed fox, which was sealed into Naruto Uzumaki. He bears no ill will towards Naruto, instead being one of the few people at the start of the series to recognize Naruto as a person and not just a container for Kurama. Naruto thinks of Iruka as a father-figure because of this, and Iruka in turn has immense faith in Naruto's potential to be a great ninja.
Konohamaru Sarutobi, named after Konoha Village, is the grandson of the Third Hokage. He strives to replace his grandfather as Hokage so the villagers of Konoha will recognize him by name, not as the Hokage's grandson. He looks to Naruto Uzumaki as a mentor in this quest, emulating his work ethic, determination, and signature jutsu such as the Sexy Jutsu and a variety of other techniques. Konohamaru insists, however, that he will only become Hokage after Naruto has been Hokage first.
Jiraiya was a Konoha ninja, being not only Naruto's teacher but also his god-father. As a child, Jiraiya was under the tutelage of Hiruzen Sarutobi, along with his teammates, Tsunade and Orochimaru. Jiraiya is known throughout the Naruto world as the "Toad Sage" due to his toad-related jutsu and learning Sage Jutsu. Prior to Naruto, due to a prophecy he heard that his pupil would be a great man, Jiraiya also trained a few others like Minato and Nagato. Although still affiliated with Konoha, Jiraiya spends much of his time traveling to watch over potential threats to his home. Jiraiya's personality is openly lecherous, he proudly describes himself as a "super pervert" while authoring a series of best-selling adult romance novels. He also wrote the epic "Tale of the Gutsy Ninja", with Naruto named after its protagonist.
Shizune is a Konoha ninja introduced in the series as Tsunade's assistant. She left Konoha with Tsunade after the death of her uncle, and over the years, Tsunade taught her medical techniques. Despite her medicinal affinity, many of the attacks she uses in the series are poison-based, including using concealed poisoned needles or emitting toxic gas from her mouth. Shizune is one of the few characters that Tsunade trusts with absolute certainty, as she identifies details that Tsunade tends to overlook.
"The Village Hidden in The Sound" is a village founded by Orochimaru for the purpose of collecting ninja for his experiments to learn all the jutsu in the world. The village is not contiguous, consisting of multiple assorted lairs located within the Land of Sound and outside it.
Orochimaru is a criminal who was previously affiliated with Konoha. In the series, Orochimaru is a former ninja of Konoha 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 Konoha ninja, and he eventually fled the village and joined the criminal organization Akatsuki. After attacking fellow Akatsuki member Itachi Uchiha, who defeats him, he leaves Akatsuki and establishes his own ninja village, The Village Hidden in The Sound, in the hopes of destroying his former home. 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 the series.
Kabuto Yakushi is a spy working for Orochimaru initially introduced as an experienced Konoha genin that takes Team 7 under his wing during the chunin exam. As a child with no memory of his past, he was found on a battlefield by a nun from Konoha who raised him as a son before he was recruited by Danzo as a covert spy for the village to infiltrate numerous countries and organizations. However, after Root declared him too great a security risk to be kept alive, 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 villager of Konoha so as to gather information on his fellow participants. Kabuto is highly proficient with medical techniques, being likened in ability to Tsunade: he can regenerate from wounds by reactivating dead cells in order to grow new ones and can form a scalpel with chakra to deal surgical strikes to his opponents using his knowledge of human anatomy.
Sound Ninja Four
The Sound Ninja Four are Orochimaru's elite bodyguards. The group was originally known as the "Sound Five" as they were forced to accept Kimimaro, the last of the Kaguya Clan whose kin's ability is to manipulate their bone structures, 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, a large-sized man who specializes in absorbing chakra and close-quarters combat, Kidomaru, a six-armed ninja who can produce spider-webs to fight and specializes in ranged combat, Sakon and twin brother Ukon, who are the strongest of the Sound Four and count as one member due their merging abilities, and Tayuya, a woman that uses a flute to control summoned demons and cast illusions. Though introduced during Orochimaru's invasion of Konoha, the Sound Four do not become a prominent part of the story until sent by their leader to escort Sasuke Uchiha to him.