In his journey to becoming Hokage, Naruto Uzumaki had to overcome countless obstacles, from the Chunin Exams to rescuing his best friend from the darkness. It only makes sense that he and his ninja comrades fought against all kinds of villains along the way.
Some of these villains are the ones that we love to hate because they were just that good. Others, unfortunately, fell short of expectations and don't really have any redeeming factors—they're just terrible in the worst ways possible. Regardless, each villain played a role in Naruto's growth as a ninja whether they wanted to or not. Here are five of Naruto's greatest enemies alongside five of his worst.
10 Best: Madara
In many ways, Madara shares similarities to his fellow Uchiha clan member, Sasuke. While Madara's former friend and rival was the First Hokage, Sasuke's was Naruto. When both Madara and Sasuke were unable to achieve their goals, they sought more power. The big difference is that Madara never found his way out of the darkness as Sasuke did.
Although Madara's original goal was to bring peace to the ninja world, his way of going about it was anything but peaceful. Killing anyone who stood in his way and manipulating young children into doing his dirty work, Madara would do just about anything to fulfill his dreams of trapping the world in the Infinite Tsukuyomi for the sake of peace.
9 Worst: Team Dosu
As the primary villains in the Chunin Exam Arc, Dosu, Zaku, and Kin were three ninjas from the Sound Village under the instruction of Orochimaru. They believed their purpose was to kill Sasuke, but, in reality, they were only Orochimaru's expendable puppets.
After failing to put up a fight with Sasuke in the Forest of Death, each member of Team Dosu went on to lose pathetically during the third part of the Chunin Exams. Kin lost to Shikamaru after smashing her head into a wall, Zaku got his arms blown up by Shino's insects, and Dosu got himself killed by Gaara. Kin and Zaku were later used as sacrifices when Orochimaru resurrected the Hokages from the dead.
8 Best: Zabuza & Haku
As one of the infamous Seven Swordsmen and a talented young ninja with special ice kekkei genkai, Zabuza and Haku were quite a powerful duo. Although they resorted to the bloody lives of assassins, they both redeemed themselves before their deaths.
Ever since he was taken in and raised by Zabuza, Haku displayed a commendable loyalty to Zabuza, ultimately sacrificing his life to protect the swordsman. Upon Haku's death, Zabuza expressed emotions no one thought was possible from a coldblooded assassin; he cried, probably for the first time in his life. It just goes to show that even a villain can have a heart.
7 Worst: Danzo
Danzo is one of those characters whose role was apparently significant to the story, but he still somehow managed to get overshadowed by other villains. In fact, he may just be one of the most disliked and forgettable characters within the series.
Although he was technically on Konohagakure's side, Danzo was always a shady character with questionable motives. He obsessively sought the title of Hokage, and it's likely he would've turned even more corrupt had he lived to become the Sixth Hokage. But, of course, Danzo was killed by Sasuke right before that could happen!
6 Best: Orochimaru
Orochimaru is the definition of a villain who starts out vile and hated by the entire fandom, only to have a change of heart and be forgiven by everyone.
Initially, Orochimaru's plan was to kidnap Sasuke and take over his body to gain all of the perks of the Uchiha blood. Despite going as far as performing countless experiments for immortality and assassinating his former teacher, the Third Hokage, Orochimaru reevaluated his life decisions after being killed by Itachi and resurrected by Sasuke. He gained a newfound respect for Sasuke and ultimately became an ally to Konohagakure.
5 Worst: Kaguya
To wrap up the main Naruto series, the final boss was not Madara or Tobi, as one would've expected. Instead, Naruto and Sasuke found themselves against a new character that no one had heard of up until that point: Kaguya.
With the help from Zetsu, a fellow irrelevant character, Kaguya was resurrected out of the chakra gained from Madara's Infinite Tsukuyomi. Despite being somehow blessed with the powers of both the Byakugan and Rinne Sharingan, Kaguya was still defeated with help from one of Naruto's cheekiest strategies, the Reverse Harem Jutsu.
4 Best: Itachi
Though Itachi was painted as a major villain by Sasuke and the rest of Konohagakure at the beginning of the series, his truths do not come to light until later on.
When Sasuke tells the story of how his older brother ruthlessly killed the entire Uchiha clan, it's a natural reaction to hate Itachi despite not knowing his side of the story. In reality, Itachi posed as a villain and killed his clan in order to prevent them from executing a coup against Konohagakure. This was the only way Itachi felt he could protect his little brother while also remaining loyal to his village.
3 Worst: Mizuki
When Naruto failed his graduation exam to become a genin, Mizuki was there to steer him in the wrong direction. Acting as a friendly pal to the young ninja, Mizuki encouraged Naruto to steal a scroll with forbidden jutsu in order to pass his exam. Of course, the "Number One Knucklehead Ninja" would agree to do that.
But, as soon as Iruka ruins Mizuki's plan by showering Naruto with love as his father-figure, Naruto uses the scroll against Mizuki. Instantly learning the forbidden Multi Shadow Clone Jutsu from the scroll, Naruto defeats Mizuki with ease.
2 Best: Pain
Pain, also known as Nagato, was once a disciple of Jiraya as well as the leader of the infamous Akatsuki. As his name suggests, Pain suffered much pain as a result of war and wished to end the violence for good.
Like many other villains within the Naruto universe, Pain had good intentions, but went about it in a destructive manner. To make his version of an "ideal world," Pain firmly believed he had to make humanity feel true pain so that they would realize they need to stop causing others pain. Because of this twisted logic, he attacked Konohagakure and killed many ninja, including Kakashi, with his Six Paths. It's only after Naruto talks some sense into him that Pain atones for his sins by reviving all of the fallen ninja who died because of him.
1 Worst: Obito
Obito was Kakashi's best friend who gave him his Sharingan and was remembered for his heroic death in the Third Shinobi War. The only problem was that he didn't actually die and instead became evil.
When Kakashi's tragic past was first revealed in the Kakashi Chronicles Arc, everyone was heartbroken at Obito's death but admired him for gifting his best friend with his Sharingan. However, instead of dying with a heroic legacy, Obito was eventually revealed to be the Akatsuki's Tobi, whose identity had been one of the biggest mysteries of the series. This not only ruined everyone's good impression of his character, but it was also a huge let down after all the hype around Tobi's secret identity.