Top 15 Most Iconic Naruto Villains, RankedThis post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Although as a community we’ve all agreed that Boruto doesn’t exist, Naruto is somehow still the talk of the anime town.
And if you ask me, that’s largely due to its cast. Sure, not everyone is in love with Naruto himself (or Sakura). But the villains more than make up for that.
So we’re going to be ranking the best villains that this show has given us over the years. And gushing over them profusely, of course.
15. Momoshiki Otsutsuki
I know I just said that Boruto doesn’t exist, but Momoshiki is an exception.
It’s no secret that almost everyone hated the introduction of the Otsutsuki clan. It completely derailed the ending of Shippuden and signalized even more power creep than before.
However, I can at least appreciate Momoshiki.
His fight against Naruto and Sasuke is one of the best in the entire series. And this is largely due to how Momoshiki operates as a villain.
He’s extremely powerful, makes ninjutsu worthless (most of the time), and likes to flex on his opponents.
All of this led to a beautiful, quick-paced taijutsu battle that completely blew me away.
But don’t worry – he’s the only one of his kind that’s going to get a spot on this list.
14. Danzo Shimura
Before you click away, hear me out.
As a villain, Danzo is nothing short of perfect.
I say that because no other character had me cheer for their demise as honestly as Danzo. The dude is just so unlikable that you’re at the edge of your seat whenever he’s in a fight.
Plus, I have to say that his battle with Sasuke was extremely fun.
Instead of it just being the usual “who has the larger chakra ball” contest, both Danzo and Sasuke had to use their head. And the payoff was everything I wanted it to be.
So even though he doesn’t have the same moral complexity as most other Naruto villains – I still think he deserves a seat at the big-boy table.
13. Kabuto Yakushi
Kabuto’s story was truly all over the place.
At first, he just seemed like a one-off side villain that would get killed within a few episodes. But then he just kept getting stronger.
Plus, he didn’t really have a single “character-defining” jutsu. So, all bets were off as to what he’d do next.
And let’s just say that his involvement in the Great Ninja War was definitely not something I saw coming. Especially once the Sage mode came out.
However, it was pretty hype.
His design was extremely cool and the amount of hax in his kit really made the Uchiha boys sweat. Sure, he did eat dirt in the end – but his inclusion was positive if you ask me.
Conceptually, Hidan is just hilarious.
He’s the only person in the Naruto universe who objectively found the correct god to pray to. But for some reason, everyone seems to ignore that part.
And while his jutsu wasn’t all that powerful (after all, it’s literally MHA level), it did provide some interesting fights.
But just like Danzo – we all know the character moment that really stood the test of time. And that’s him eating dirt while Shikamaru emotes on his grave.
It was one of the most tragic yet satisfying “deaths” in the entire series. And it wouldn’t have been possible without this immortal Hero Killer.
Sasori commonly gets written off when talking about cool Naruto villains. And that’s entirely because of who put him down.
Because an old lady plus a punching bag with a pulse beating you in a fight really damages your street cred.
However, Sasori was still an amazing villain in my eyes. His initial form was nothing short of badass. In fact, it looked more villainous than any of the other Akatsuki members.
And when his true form is revealed – I was honestly even more delighted.
He was the one-man army that could take down entire villages and he looked the part. Plus, his kit was very versatile and allowed for some truly hyped moments.
But no amount of online praise is ever going to make up for the shame on his tombstone.
10. Sasuke Uchiha
For this one, it’s important to keep in mind which article you’re reading. I’m only discussing Sasuke as a villain here – this is why he isn’t in the top three.
And as a villain, Sasuke was honestly pretty interesting.
The crashing of the Kage summit was by far his best showing as I genuinely couldn’t predict what was going to happen next. And every time he stabbed one of his female teammates – he got some very evil brownie points.
And Sasuke is just incredibly interesting as a character. His jutsu are cool, his motives change with the times, and his overall design is badass.
However, I’m putting him relatively low on this tier list because he’s still a protagonist at the end of the day. You already know that he isn’t going to die, and I’ve rarely felt fear when he was on screen (except for his introduction in Shippuden).
Overall, an amazing character and a really decent villain.
Original Naruto’s Orochimaru is probably one of the best villains in all of anime.
His appearance in the Forest of Death was pure nightmare fuel. He seemed impossibly powerful and gave me legitimate chills.
And when he casually attacked the Leaf Village, it was the most high-stake battle we’ve seen in the show up to that point.
Add to all of that his involvement with Sasuke and the Curse Mark, and you get a truly sinister villain.
However, he fell off slightly in Shippuden.
He started getting bodied by other villains and there wasn’t as much mystery surrounding him anymore. So I can’t place him too high up.
Kakuzu honestly could’ve been the final boss of the series and I wouldn’t even be mad.
His power is undeniable and even his legacy within the Naruto world is quite legendary. Plus, his non-nonsense, “it’s all just business” attitude makes him terrifying.
His fight with Kakashi had some amazing moments. His jutsu are varied and his hand-to-hand combat skills are up there as well.
Plus his drip goes quite hard.
All of this is to say that he had everything he needed in order to be an epic villain. Sure, he’s not all that morally gray – but if you’re just looking for a straightforward bad guy, he’s one of the best examples.
With Deidara, I just love how creative the team got. Everything from his visual design to his fighting style just oozes charisma.
And that just means that it’s incredibly difficult to forget the guy – even if he’s a minor character in a certain scene.
Plus, his personality fits in perfectly with the villain role.
He’s the Nero type – capable of burning an entire civilization down for the sake of art and their own amusement. And villains with this type of crazy installed in their brains will always be a treat to watch.
6. Zabuza Momochi
Even though Zabuza is arguably one of the weakest villains on this list, the fanbase still recognizes him as an OG.
He was the first notable villain in the series, and he single-handedly hooked millions of us onto the show.
His design is badass, his sword can do a lot of damage, and his backstory made me shed quite a few tears. He was the type of villain that you almost want to root for.
And the finale of his fight with Team 7 was just an all-out tear-jerker. To this day, there are very few fights in the series that can get the same emotional impact as Zabuza and Haku lying next to each other.
Although Gaara has the same position as Sasuke (with him becoming a good guy relatively quickly) he used his time on the dark side way more effectively.
Yes, Sasuke has a pretty dark backstory. But Gaara’s story just made me depressed. Especially if you read the light novels as well.
And his fight with Lee is downright one of (if not THE) best fights in the entire show.
This is largely due to how terrifying Gaara was at that point. He was mysterious, powerful, and absolutely ruthless toward his enemies.
While we were all freaking out about Sasuke breaking some dude’s arms, Gaara was making it rain guts without batting an eye.
My only regret in life is having to see what Boruto did to this character.
4. Madara Uchiha
Now we’re moving on to the real heavyweights of the series.
Madara’s introduction is arguably one of the most badass entrances anime has ever seen. After all, he manhandles the army of every other nation with no effort.
And seeing how his name was hyped up for hundreds of episodes – this amount of power was to be expected.
The dude was nothing short of a legend in the Naruto universe. And finally seeing him in the flesh marked quite the high point for Shippuden.
And while I do hate how he was defeated in the end – I still can’t knock on Madara’s legacy. He’s definitely one of the best villains in the series, and arguably one of the most iconic anime characters in general.
3. Obito Uchiha
I was extremely torn between Madara and Obito – as both of them are part of Naruto history.
However, I decided to give Obito a slight edge because of the mystery involved. After all, the first time he flashed his Sharingan as Toby, I properly screamed at the screen.
Not to mention that his story with Kakashi was as hyped and tragic as a story can get. And of course, their story ended with one of the best-choreographed fights in the entire series.
Sure, he did get the talk-no-jutsu treatment in the end. But at least for him, it makes sense.
As many people have pointed out – this is just a Naruto that has lost hope. And thematically that just makes him an incredibly interesting villain.
So he’s definitely deserving of being in the big three.
The Pain arc was arguably where Shippuden peaked for a lot of people.
The visual design was nothing short of iconic and the fights this character was a part of were all series-defining.
Nagato gave us the saddest death in the entire series, the grandest of entrances, and the weirdest of animations. Everything just clicked.
Not to mention that his “cycle of pain” monologue turned millions of people into instant fans and/or Tumblr users.
And as I’ve mentioned, his relevance in the story itself was incredibly high. So whenever he showed up, you knew that something big was about to happen.
Overall, I wouldn’t even be opposed to people putting Nagato in their number one slot – he was simply that good of a villain.
1. Itachi Uchiha
In case the previous few picks didn’t give it away, I’m a diehard Uchiha fan. And Itachi has always been the crowning jewel of the entire crown.
That’s mostly because the dude was always surrounded by so much mystery.
He seemed all-powerful, and even seeing him on screen made teenage me punch a hole in the wall out of excitement.
You could never fully guess what Itachi was going to do. And he always seemed like he had the entire world dancing to his tune. Even just his presence made each scene heavy and intense.
And I’m glad to say that he never really fell from grace in my eyes.
Even when we learn about his past and the decisions he’s had to make – he never stopped seeming like an absolute badass.
In fact, learning that he wasn’t even a bad guy somehow made him even more badass in the grand scheme of things.
Needless to say, I love this dude to death. Easily my favorite villain in the entire Naruto franchise.