Just like One Piece has being the forefront of bringing pirates dreams back to the readers, Naruto (or Naruto Shippūden), a work of Masashi Kishimoto, brought the world of japanese ninjas back into imaginations. Top notch setup with fantastic in-depth storyline of each individual character in the manga, Naruto is one of the best selling comics ever.
With dozens of characters available, let’s take a look at who stands atop the ninja world, without comparing against the god-like characters like Kaguya Otsutsuki and Hagoromo Ōtsutsuki (aka Sage of the Six Paths). To make it more interesting, we won’t add in the manga’s favourites shinobi prodigies such as Naruto Uzumaki and Sasuke Uchiha.
1. Madara Uchiha
Why did I put Madara as the best ninja? Because even though he wasn’t able to defeat Shinobi God Senju Hashirama within one lifespan, his plans allowed him to be reborned and finally attaining the power of the Rikudō (Six Paths). Only through the betrayer of the Black Zetsu was Madara defeated. This makes him the most powerful, be it skills or intelligence.
Madara was part of the Uchiha clan, who descend from the Sage of the Six Paths’ other son, Indra Ōtsutsuki, and was widely recognised as the most skilled and gifted ninja of the clan.
Madara’s battle with Hashirama in the past was of a different league compared to the current Kages. He was already able to control the Nine-Tails Kurama and even use Susanoo as a form of armor for the Bijuu. When he came back through impure World Reincarnation during the Fourth Shinobi World War, he easily obliterated the five Kages, whom were considered the top ninjas in their respective shinobi countries.
Madara possesses the Sharingan, Eternal Mangekyō Sharingan as well as Rinnegan when he gained Hashirama’s DNA. He is also able to use unforbidden genjutsu such as Izanagi to bring himself back to life in exchange for his eye, as well as having the skill to dispel the control of the Impure World Reincarnation. Madara’s complete body Susanoo is so huge that a wave of its blade is able to cut through mountains. Not only that, he was able to summon meteorites to level an entire army. Eventually, it was his tactical brilliance and strategy of crafting the “Eye of the Moon” plan which enabled him to obtain the power of the sage of the Six Paths as well as the Ten-Tails.
2. Senju Hashirama
Also known as “God of Shinobi” for his unrivaled ninja powers in his era. Hashirama founded the Hidden Leaf Village and became its first Hokage. He belongs to the Senju clan, who are descendants of Asura Ōtsutsuki, the youngest son of the Sage of the Six Paths.
The “Shinobi God” was so strong to be able to resist Impure world, control tailed beasts, as well as causing walls to crack just by arousing his chakra. Senju Hashirama was also able to use barrier ninjutsu so powerful that it could trap the Ten-Tails, as well as having advance instant healing skills without the need for hand seals.
Hashirama was equally skilled in all five nature transformation, and his wood release allows him to control tail beasts, absorb chakra,and when he enters into Sage Mode, he is able to construct the “True Several Thousand Hands” to totally strip Susanoo from Ninte-Tails Kurama.
His eternal rival Madara Uchiha has also admitted to being second best when compared against the Shinobi God as he wasn’t able to best Hashirama even once within a single lifespan.
3. Itachi Uchiha
Itachi was a prodigiously talented Shinobi who mastered the Sharingan at age 8 and was promoted to captain of Konoha’s Special Assassination and Tactical Squad at a very young age of 13.
In battle records, Itachi Uchiha was able to defeat two of his fellow Akatsuki members, gain recognition from Orochimaru of the Sannin for being more powerful than himself, and even took on Kakashi Hatake, Kurenai Yūhi, and Asuma Sarutobi (whom all were jōnin) single-handedly. He was an absolute brilliant tactician and strategist, where he displayed his intellect by dispelling the forbidden kinjutsu Impure World Reincarnation.
Itachi was extremely accomplished in all three main ninja skill sets of ninjutsu, taijutsu, and genjutsu. He has the evolved Sharingans, Mangekyō Sharingan, which give him access to Amaterasu flames as well as the powerful genjutsu Tsukuyomi. With both awaken eyes, Itachi was also able to use the fame Susanoo, which is a huge humanoid of chakra that surrounds the user.
In addition, his Susanoo carries the enchanted blade – Totsuka sword of sealing as well as the Yata Mirror, which can change its nature in order to nullify any attack. This combo was hailed by the Black Zetsu as invincible. Not forgetting Itachi was also able to use Izanami, one of the most powerful Dōjutsu of the Uchiha clan.
4. Minato Namikaze
Known as the Yellow Flash, Minato is the Leaf Village’s fourth Hokage as well as Naruto’s father.
He was the youngest Hokage in Konoha’s history and specialises in Space-Time Ninjutsu. Using seal kunai or Hiraishin mark, he can teleport himself to pre-marked places with the Flying Thunder God technique.
Hailed by the Fourth Raikage as the fastest Shinobi ever, the Yellow Flash’s appearance on the battlefield would be enough to make enemy shinobi flee-on-sight.
Minato Namikaze is also a skilled user of the Frog Sage Mode and Summons. He is also adept at seals when he used the Eight Trigrams Sealing Style to seal the Kyuubi. On top of those, he could also use the Shadow Clone Technique, Time-Space Barrier, as well as inventing the Rinnegan.
5. Nagato Uzumaki/ Pain
As the leader of the S-rank criminal organisation Akatsuki, Nagato (aka Pain) possesses the Rinnegan, which is the most illustrious of the Three Great Eye Techniques (the others being Sharingan and Byakugan), that gives Pain the Six Paths Technique.
Being an Uzumaki, Pain’s clan is known to have huge chakra reserves. With the Six Paths Technique, Nagato is able to use gravitational powers, summons, control over other souls, mechanising his own body, absorbing Ninjutsu, power having access to the King of Hell, as well as having the ability to control death by reviving the dead.
He was able to single-handedly took down renowned Shinobi Hanzō and Jiraiya of the Sannin (Legendary Three Ninja). During the fourth Ninja war, Nagato’s reincarnation was considered the strongest after the legendary Madara Uchiha.