Only a handful of anime have ever achieved true global popularity, and Naruto was one of them. It became popular because it featured battles between skilled ninja, some of whom possessed very unique abilities. It also helped that the main character exemplified the ideas of friendship, following your dream, and never giving up; it also helps that he was a powerful ninja who participated in many of those battles.
By the end of the series, Naruto achieves god-level strength, to the point that only a handful of individuals are currently able to beat him in a real fight. It’s true that Naruto is practically unbeatable now, and it’s also true that he has won virtually every fight he has been in, but he has not won all of them.
10 Kakashi Schooled Him During The Bell Test
The argument can be made that Kakashi is the best teacher Naruto has ever had, and he handed him his very first defeat early on in the series while also teaching him a valuable lesson. This loss occurred during the bell test in Konoha’s training grounds, and it required Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura to steal a pair of bells that hung from Kakashi’s hip.
The trio members tried to capture the bells individually, and this resulted in constant failure. Naruto ended up being countered by the comical Thousand Years of Death taijutsu ability, and when he used his shadow clones, Kakashi turned the clones against each other before tying Naruto up. At least Naruto learned that abandoning his friends is never an option.
9 Lee Swiped Him Aside Before The Chūnin Exam
Rock Lee has now surpassed quite a few characters, but during the Chūnin Exam Arc, it was clear that he was better at melee combat than Naruto. When Lee first met Team 7, he wanted to have a sparring match with Sasuke, but Naruto stepped up to take him on first.
Naruto charged at Lee and tried to punch him, but Lee brushed the blow aside with his fingers. Naruto then tried to kick him in the head, but Lee countered that by ducking and using Leaf Whirlwind, which sent Naurto flying into a wall.
8 vs Orochimaru In The Forest Of Death
Orochimaru has done some terrible things, and as a member of the Legendary Sannin, he has power comparable to that of a Kage. During the second part of the Chūnin Exam, Orochimaru killed and impersonated a Grass Village ninja in order to fight Sasuke and test his skills.
Naruto decided to fight Orochimaru after Sasuke decided to forfeit their chances of advancing in the exam, but the Sannin was able to overpower him with ease. Naruto even used a bit of the Nine-Tails’ chakra during the fight, but Orochimaru grabbed him with his tongue and knocked him out by using a special sealing jutsu.
7 Tsunade Beat Him With One Finger
After the 3rd Hokage’s death, The Leaf Village needed a new leader, which is why Jiraiya went on a mission to find Tsunade, and he brought Naruto along to give him some training. When Naruto first met Tsunade, she disparaged the title of Hokage, which prompted him to challenge her to a fight.
During the fight, Tsunade dodged his shuriken and kunai effortlessly, and she nearly knocked him out by flicking him in the forehead with one finger. He then tries to hit her with the Rasengan, but she stopped him by hitting the ground with one finger, which caused a small rift that Naruto fell into.
6 Kabuto Severing Naruto’s Heart Muscles
Like Orochimaru, Kabuto has done some terrible things, and during the Search for Tsunade Arc, he nearly killed Naruto. After defeating Shizune, Kabuto started hitting Tsunade, and when he went in for a finishing blow, Naruto intercepted it with his own forehead.
After Kabuto struck him several times, Naruto manages to hit him with a perfected Rasengan, but as soon as this happens, Kabuto uses his medical ninjutsu to tear apart Naruto’s heart muscles. Many consider this fight to be a draw since Kabuto was briefly incapacitated by the Rasengan, but he was still able to move around and help Orochimaru, while Naruto remained unconscious for the duration of the Sannin fight.
5 Kimimaro Was Too Skilled For Him
Kimmimaro was the sole surviving member of the Kaguya Clan, and before he got sick with an incurable illness, he was on track to become Orochimaru’s next vessel. Orochimaru gave his life meaning, so he wanted to repay him by making sure his new vessel (Sasuke) got to him.
Naruto and his friends tried to rescue Sasuke, and at one point, Kimmimaro was the only person standing in his way. Thanks to his skill and his ability to create and manipulate bone from inside his body, Kimmimaro was able to easily hold Naruto back, and he singlehandedly defeated over 100 of Naruto’s shadow clones in melee combat.
4 Sasuke Was Victorious During The Fist Fight At Final Valley
The first half of Naruto’s story ended when he fought Sasuke at the Valley of the End in order to stop him from joining Orochimaru, and this led to one of the original anime’s best fights. The fight had the two friends/rivals go all out against each other, and it ended with a Curse-Mark-enhanced Sasuke clashing with a one-tailed Naruto.
Sasuke used his black Chidori, while Naruto used his Tailed-Beast-infused Rasengan, and Naruto would have actually won the fight, but he held back in order to not hurt Sasuke.
3 Sasuke Overpowering Him At Orochimaru’s Hideout
The next time Naruto met Sasuke, it was at one of Orochimaru’s hideouts, and at that point, almost three years had passed. Over that time, the two became much stronger, but Sasuke clearly had the upper hand as he took on Naruto, Sai, and Yamato all at once.
Sasuke was able to knock Naruto to the ground with his lightning-style jutsu, and when Naruto tapped into some of the Nine-Tails’ chakra, Sasuke seemingly entered Naruto’s mind and dispersed the Tailed Beast’s chakra with ease.
2 He Lost To Pain After Eliminating Five Of His Other Bodies
Pain is arguably the best villain in the series, and he literally took Naruto to his limits. The fight started off with Pain fighting Naruto with six bodies, all of whom had their own specific Rinnegan power, but Naruto was able to hold out until there was only one body left standing.
This happened to be Pain’s strongest body, as it allowed him to attract and repel objects. This initial one-on-one fight didn’t last long though, as Pain killed Fukasaku, the toad sage in order to distract Naruto, and it worked because he grabbed Naruto by the throat, threw him to the ground, and impaled him with several black rods.
1 Madara Overpowered Him & Stole Kurama
In the Naruto universe, Madara Uchiha is basically a god, which is why he was able to take on some of the strongest shinobi in history. When Madara finally revived himself properly, he fought Naruto who was joined by all the other Tailed Beasts.
It looked as though Madara was going to have a hard time, but all that changed when he summoned the Gedo Statue to seal all the Tailed Beasts. This statue also extracted Kurama out of Naruto, an act that would have killed Naruto if it wasn’t for Sakura keeping his heart pumping until he received Kurama’s Yin chakra.
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