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Naruto is inarguably one of the most popular and well-loved anime of this generation. Many of us, in fact, grew up with this anime. The fact that that same lot stuck to the anime for the years it’s been running is a testament to its popularity. That may have something to do with the powerful, action-packed and moving yet interesting storylines, the exceptional animation, and the unforgettable characters—especially the characters. Here is a list of the thirteen most popular characters of the anime Naruto.

 

13. Kabuto Yakushi

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At number 13, we have Kabuto. He is, in my opinion, the sneakiest guy in Naruto. A wolf in sheeps clothing, if you will. His is a characterization that underwent a startling metamorphosis. He started out as a lackey, a simple henchmen, who then turned into a mastermind himself. You rarely ever see this in anime, and his transition was flawless.

12. Neji Hyuuga

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I think we can all agree that Neji is one cool dude. He’s a prodigy, a jounin, amazing in a fight and that already earns him points, but he’s also a very nice guy. He cares for his friends despite his cool guy reputation.

11. Madara Uchiha

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There can’t be great heroes without super villains to give them a hard time, and boy, did he give them a hard time. He’s a true mastermind who lived the phrase, “lying in wait”, and wait he did. For decades. Talk about boss level. As badasses go, Madara is definitely one of the top contenders.

10. Pain/Nagato

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Although well-meaning at the beginning, Nagato had a skewed view of the world that strangely enough is logical. We don’t often see opponents like him in shounen manga or anime. Because of this, he’s easily one of the most complex characters in the series, and complex, in my book, is interesting.

9. Tsunade

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In a world dominated by men (particularly in a world in a shounen manga), it’s rare to see a female take on the spotlight. But Tsunade doesn’t disappoint all womankind, what with her monstrous strength and kickass skills that lands her the title of Hokage.

8. Shikamaru Nara

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Shikamaru is a funny contradiction. He’s lazy yet brilliant, which is probably why many people love him so much. He hates having to expend any energy but he’ll readily jump into action whenever his friends are in trouble. Sloth? Yes, but he’s actually a pretty reliable guy.

7. Rock Lee

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Lee is the personification of “hardwork pays off”. Handicapped with a lack of ninjutsu arsenal, Lee doesn’t let that stop him from becoming a powerful ninja. His dedication, his intensity (perhaps a little too much, sometimes) and his cheerful personality got him through his physical limitations.

6. Minato Namikaze

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As the Yellow Flash, his reputation inspired fear in awe among other ninjas. He’s well respected and powerful. He’s also kind and considerate of others. As leaders go, Minato is definitely someone to look up to.

5. Sabaku no Gaara

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He started off as an incredible villain for the hero of the series, but later on transitioned into one of the most well-loved characters in the series, mostly because of his heartbreaking backstory that highlights sensitive emotions. Someone who came from a dark place and emerged into the light a better person, that’s Gaara.

4. Sasuke Uchiha

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Sasuke is that guy you love to hate and you hate to love. Many of us have a love-hate relationship with him, really. But if he weren’t this dark and twisted avenger, we wouldn’t have much of an epic story. His path through the road of darkness is probably the catalyst of all the things that happen in the series.

3. Naruto Uzumaki

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Can’t have an epic show without an epic hero, right? Naruto is probably your typical shounen hero, but he’s no less likable than the rest. Despite being shunned by people of his own village, his heart was big enough to forgive and love the village he was from all the same. That alone shows his strength of character.

2. Itachi Uchiha

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Itachi is the anti-hero we all love. He gave everything for his village, even the lives of his family. He became the villain Konoha needed for it to become more powerful. Taking on that kind of burden takes more than just great personal strength and discipline, to be sure. That and he’s no one can deny that he’s completely badass!

1. Kakashi Hatake

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Kakashi, in a word, is simply Awesome. With a capital A. Why? Because he’s the teacher, the mentor, the friend and the leader all wrapped into one. Despite his faults, he tried very hard to be there for his team and students, and he’s worthy of admiration.

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