Naruto: 30 Heroes Reimagined As Villains

Spanning more than a decade and lasting for 72 volumes, Masashi Kishimoto's manga weaved a captivating tale about friendship, forgiveness, and cool ninjas doing cool ninja things. Despite 2014 marking the end of the property's run on Weekly Shōnen Jump, Naruto continues to be among the more frequently discussed anime. In Japan, One Piece reigns king; however, Naruto is comfortably a bigger hit in the West. Admittedly, this can be partially credited to the pirate show's awful English dub, but Studio Pierrot's anime sparked a worldwide sensation comparable to the likes of Dragon Ball Z and Attack on Titan.

In 2017, the anime came to a close, but the quick release of a sequel centering around Naruto's son kept the franchise in the spotlight. Earlier this year, Bandai Namco published a video game covering both generations, therefore, Kishimoto's series has yet to completely lose its luster. Even if Naruto to Boruto: Shinobi Striker's commercial performance has been somewhat underwhelming, there is no denying the loud-mouthed shinobi's journey left an impression on countless people from every corner of the planet. Over the years, Naruto succeeded in amassing a passionate fanfiction community, one which is not afraid to explore new territory.

Sasuke's allegiance might shift at the throw of a shuriken, but the angst teenager is not the only shinobi deemed deserving of a mood change. Here are 30 Naruto heroes reimagined as villains!

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30 Foxy Naruto

Via deviantart.com/schizzy

Shunned by the Hidden Leaf village due to sharing his body with one of the nine tailed beasts, Naruto's life has been shrouded in sorrow. Out of no fault of his own, the young shinobi was ostracized by the rest of his clan. Minato Namikaze essentially sacrificed Naruto to imprison Kurama, but the Hidden Leaf village's savior is still treated like a monster. After all the unnecessary hatred hurled his way, Schizzy's Naruto seems like an understandable outcome. Naruto deserved better; however, the Konoha's behavior was quite human.

29 Fallen Angel Sasuke

Via deviantart.com/soreiya

Soreiya's Sasuke is a stunning portrait of a character caught between two worlds. Among the last members of the Uchiha clan, Sasuke used to be a relatively positive young lad, but this changed once the boy's brother decided to burn down their family tree. Serving as Naruto's main rival, Sasuke's desire for revenge leads the ninja down a dangerous path, one marred by betrayal and regret. Putting aside Sasuke's contentious relationship with Sakura, the unpredictable shinobi is the manga's most fascinating character.

28 Gaara's Red Sand

Via deviantart.com/seifer-sama

Shunned by Sunagakure's inhabitants due to being chosen as the One-Tailed Shukaku's jinchūriki, Gaara was obviously introduced to reflect Naruto's upbringing. Filled with hatred and disgust, Gaara became the very monster people feared him to be. After being defeated to Naruto, Sunagakure's future Fifth Kazekage gradually learned the importance of friendship and started working towards becoming a better person. While good-guy Gaara is a delight, we will always have a special fondness for the shinobi's darker days! Apparently, seifer-sama agrees!

27 Sakura's Sinister Smile

Via deviantart.com/zackarra

Coming to a nightmare near you, Zackarra weaves a haunting tale about obsession and unrequited love. Starring everyone's favorite pink-haired shinobi, Sakura is defined by her (non-existent) relationship with Sasuke. While this pairing has its fair share of detractors and admirers, anime is hardly a stranger to unhealthy romances. Love is complicated, but issues arise when a clearly mismatched pair are not allowed to learn from their mistakes. Sakura's infatuation is perfectly normal, but Sasuke's terrible attitude fails to influence the girl's feelings. There is nothing romantic about blind love.

26 Pushed Beyond The Point Of No Return

Via deviantart.com/forsakenlight77

Despite the protagonist's complicated past, Naruto is a reasonably straightforward character. The dude only wants to eat, save Sasuke, and earn the villagers' respect. Really, is that too much to ask? Naruto's unflinching optimism is hardly a unique trait for shounen protagonists, but Kishimoto injects just enough nuance to leave a permanent impression. The genre does not permit Luffy, Naruto, and Goku to flirt with the dark side. While the source material might be restricted by Weekly Shōnen Jump's formula, forsakenlight77 is free to explore any avenue.

25 Sakura's Fiery Obsession

Via deviantart.com/joy1003

Finally, Sakura has snapped! Honestly, we are surprised she managed to last this long! As tends to always be the case with Sakura, joy1003's tribute is driven by the girl's relationship with Sasuke. In this alternative timeline, the turncoat shinobi ended Sakura's life, but the Grim Reaper is merely a powerless peasant in the face of the ninja's obsession. Back from the abyss, Sakura breathes only to put Sasuke out of his misery. Regardless of whether she is alive or a zombie, Sakura cannot seem to get over her puppy love!

24 Hinata Relinquishes Control

Via deviantart.com/darkhatdesign

If Sasuke and Sakura's relationship represents an unwillingness for either party to mature, then Hinata's marriage to Naruto is the other side of the coin. Some might suggest the former is nothing more than the hero's consolation prize, but that is an incredibly superficial way to view their relationship. Deemed to weak by her father, Hinata found inspiration in Naruto's unwillingness to accept other people's imposed reality. Rather than instinct, their romance is founded on respect and admiration. Also, DarkHatDesign's possessed Hinata is quite impressive!

23 Dark Devil Sasuke

Via deviantart.com/vashperado

Sasuke spends the majority of Naruto Shippūden fighting for the wrong team, but this was not the case during the anime's predecessor. Fond of brooding and forever speaking with a condescending tone, Sasuke walked the straight and narrow line for the first 100 episodes, but the gulf in power between him and Itachi motivates the young shinobi to pursue other means of furthering his training. The Sasuke Recovery Mission arc opens with a fight between Sasuke and Naruto, and this marks the point of no return for our tormented anti-hero. Sadly, vashperado's portrait is simply an average Tuesday for Sasuke.

22 Animalistic Tendencies

Via deviantart.com/fuyna

Fuyna's gorgeous tribute paints Naruto's eponymous character at a point when Kurama's influence has permeated throughout the teenager's entire psyche. Despite his accepting and wholesome personality, Naruto is not above succumbing to rage, and these moments frequently coincide with a high point in the story. In an age when most protagonists toe the line between good and evil, classic shounen heroes are a breath of fresh air; nevertheless, seeing Naruto lose control can be somewhat cathartic. After getting through countless grueling fights and being the subject of ridicule for years, Naruto has earned the right to cut loose.

21 End Of The Line

Via deviantart.com/iiyametaii

In comparison with its contemporaries, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations has already outlasted most series; however, Ukyō Kodachi's manga is merely a drop in the ocean. As the anime approaches three digits, Boruto has finally stepped out of his father's shadow, but the sequel is unlikely to ever match Naruto's brilliance. My Hero Academia and Attack on Titan are superior shounen anime, while the industry has evolved considerably since the days dominated by Naruto and Bleach. Jumping forward to the property's possible endpoint, IIYametaII's darker Boruto could reinvigorate the series.

20 Dangerous Lessons

Via deviantart.com/saitomaks

Bar none, Kakashi Hatake is Naruto's best character. Frankly, this is an indisputable fact! Rarely bothered by anything but never shunning his duties, Kakashi's earlier life was defined by tragedy. The son of a highly respected shinobi, Sakumo took his own life after falling into a depression. The Third Shinobi World War left a similar impact on Kakashi, who gradually yielded to the darkness. In due time, Konohagakure's Sixth Hokage recovered his composure and positive attitude, but things could have easily progressed differently. SaitoMaks' Kakashi remains lost in the shadows.

19 Black & Pink

Via deviantart.com/kohane-chan

Kohane-chan's stunning Sakura has more of a presence than the source character. Creative and atmospheric, the fantastic backdrop injects an air of mystery and danger into the painting. Wielding a sword that would slot seamlessly onto Cloud Strife's back, this version of Sakura is not dependent on Naruto to fight her battles. Draped in a stylistic one-piece black dress, this shinobi perfectly walks the line between beauty and horror. Shadows are a ninja's greatest tool, and Sakura seems to have embraced the darkness.

18 Tenten Unleashed

Via deviantart.com/bayneezone

Aspiring to follow in Tsunade's footsteps, Tenten is a highly skilled kunoichi who loves weaponry. Ultimately, she even opens a shop dedicated to ninja tools. A member of Mighty Guy's Team 8, the teenager is regularly required to calm down her more vigorous companions. BayneezOne accomplished the impossible! The artist turned the relatable and calm Tenten into an intimidating villain. The teenager's brand-new horns are an interesting touch, but the red highlighter deserves most of the credit. If they know what is good for them, Mighty Guy and Rock Lee will just do as they are told!

17 Inverted Naruto

Via deviantart.com/nick-ian

Nick-Ian published a series of art pieces inverting Naruto's universe. As the story's main antagonist and Naruto's doppelganger, Menma is the villain to end all villains! How do we even start dissecting this masterpiece? The traditional art style suits the darker tone, while the red spots scattered across the drawing introduce an element of menace. Menma's black Rasengan is cooler than a black hole, and the antagonist's piercing blue eyes juxtaposition splendidly with the character's darkened wardrobe. Rising out of Naruto's ashes, Menma eviscerates any traces of his inspiration.

16 Pulling The Strings

Via deviantart.com/chi-haku

Pulling the strings from behind the curtain, Chi-Haku's tribute paints Sakura in a rare position of power. So far, Team 7's Kunoichi has been given a hard time, but Sakura does have a couple of positive features. Her banter with Naruto leads to some of the anime's funniest scenes, and it takes courage to admit you are not physically strong enough to stand in the front lines. Battles amount to more than just fights, but Sakura's involvement was gradually reduced to a glorified cheerleader. Some might argue she was the heart of the show, but this role was already filled by Naruto.

15 The Final Generation

Via deviantart.com/iitheyahikodarkii

IITheYahikoDarkII was inspired by a flashforward depicting the so-called "end of the shinobi era." In a rather unexpected move, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations launches with this particular dispute, before reversing time to outline the events leading to Boruto and Kawaki's fight. Basically, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is a flashback that lasts (conceivably) hundreds of episodes. Raised by the anime's worst parent before being bought as a guinea pig by Jigen, Kawaki's childhood makes Sasuke's upbringing seem almost picturesque. Boruto has seen better days.

14 Shrouded In Wickedness

Via deviantart.com/wa-luigi

Speaking of the devil, evilness tends to draw the best out of Sasuke. Wa-Luigi's sketch is living proof. A complex adolescent torn by an insatiable thirst for revenge, the character's frequent betrayals are not a point of contention, as Sasuke's motivations tend to be crystal clear. Issues start to arise when the rest of the cast continuously forgive his treacherous actions. A protagonist's own personal feelings should not determine whether someone is deemed redeemable. A full-blown villainous Sasuke would have been brilliant, but Kishimoto tried to have it both ways.

13 Corrupted

Via deviantart.com/segmakun

Describing Obito Uchiha as anything other than a villain might be too lenient; however, after experiencing a change of heart, the powerful warrior helps defeat Kaguya Ōtsutsuki. Admittedly, the fact Obito was partially responsible for Kaguya and Madara's reign of terror casts a shadow over his redeeming actions, but better late than never. Desperately clinging to the person he used to be, SegmaKun's creation reflects Tobi's shattered psyche. Thankfully, Naruto's words manage to reach Obito before Madara completely seizes control.

12 Crawling On Walls

Via deviantart.com/kejablank

Presumably, KejaBlank's portrait is not mean to depict Kakashi as a villain. While Team 7's mentor seldom sees the need to take things seriously, Kakashi continues to be among the most capable shinobi in Naruto's universe. If the situation calls for it, Hatake would not hesitate to complete his mission. For the sake of argument, assume Naruto is not an anime and Kakashi is a real-life ninja. On a seemingly random night, a peculiar figure catches your attention out of the corner of your eye. Rushing to the window, you look out to find Kakashi climbing the wall! That is the stuff nightmares are made of.

11 Red Eyed Naruto

Via deviantart.com/kasukiii

Rather than washing the pain away, Kasukiii's waterfall transformed Naruto into a bonafide villain! If there is one thing Supernatural has made clear, red eyes are synonymous with evil. Kasukiii's Deviant Art page is littered with fantastic drawings, but the artist's sinister Naruto might just be the portfolio's crowning jewel. Be it the splashing water or the hero's wrinkled jacket, the dynamic art style imparts a sense of movement into this static image. It almost seems like Naruto is seconds away from stepping out of the screen and setting out on a rampage!

10 Hinata's Marvelous Transformation

Via deviantart.com/leebigtree

With each passing day, X-Men: Dark Phoenix keeps on looking better and better! Who could have predicted that Marvel and Kishimoto's manga would blend so effortlessly? Evidently, LeeBigTree saw the writing on the wall and opted to take steps into realizing this unusual but welcome matrimony. Even though the anime accumulated a huge Western following, Naruto's lore is soaked in Eastern mythology. On the other hand, Marvel's comics celebrate values and ideals. Despite hailing from completely unrelated industries, LeeBigTree's fusion successfully pays tribute to both cultures.

9 A Precious Quest

Via deviantart.com/mosnarutopage

Tired of playing second-fiddle to Naruto and Sasuke, Sakura chose to journey across the land towards Mordor. Surely, we cannot be the only ones who sensed a touch of Tolkien in mosnarutopage's gloomy portrait! The ring's allure reaches beyond the borders of Middle-Earth. Fanart's appeal is showcased by this particular entry. Besides proving a means for fans to show their appreciation for their favorite properties, artists frequently traverse paths left untouched by the source. Sakura's aesthetic is quite typical for shounen anime, but fans are free to explore the unknown.

8 Evil Or Normal?

Via deviantart.com/c-haoart

As evident by Sasuke's divisive reputation, anti-heroes are incredibly difficult to write. What actions are beyond excusable? Replace adult Sasuke's with a fresh character without a connection with Naruto, would the orange-haired ninja defend their actions? The answer should be pretty obvious. Anti-heroes are willing to commit vile acts for the greater good, but there is nothing heroic about justifying unforgivable actions with a selfish goal. Depending on the arc, Sasuke is either a villain or a hero, and he seldom finds a balance. C-HaoArt's portrait is the closest the character has been to attaining equilibrium.

7 Back In Form

Via deviantart.com/darkchildx2k

Case in point, DarkChildx2k's chosen ninja is a wonderful anti-hero. Introduced as an antagonist, arguably one of the franchise's best, Sunagakure's shinobi is driven to the brink of madness due to his hostile upbringing. Gaara's villainous run culminates during the invasion of Konoha, leading to Naruto literally smacking some sense into him. After that point, Gaara seeks redemption for his past deeds, but he never entirely abandons that earlier ruthlessness which was such a vital aspect of his depiction. There is no such thing as a lost cause, and Gaara is living (fictional) proof!

6 Tobi

Via deviantart.com/silver-fate

Awesomely depicted by Silver-Fate, little is known about Madara Uchiha's subordinate. Serving as Obito's comrade in arms and contributing significantly to the Third and Fourth Shinobi World Wars, Tobi's playful personality and memorable design allowed the secondary villain to evolve into a fan favorite. A victim of Kaguya's Infinite Tsukuyomi, Tobi used to be a normal human, but those days are long since past. Regardless of his later crimes, Tobi's life was stripped away from him. Who is to say whether the real Guruguru was someone worth respecting?

5 Dark Digivolution

Via deviantart.com/migs308

Who has never mentally pictured Naruto in a mecha suit? Showing up in a Gundam might undermine the whole point of ninjas, but Naruto's shinobi rarely seem to care much about hiding their presence. If skyscraper-sized beasts are acceptable, then there is no reason the same suspension of disbelief cannot be extended to include robots. Forged from the digital world's leftovers, migs308's dark armor compliments Naruto's pale complexion and crimson pupils. Only idiots bring a shuriken to a mecha fight!

4 Kakashi's Dark Arts

Via deviantart.com/hayr

Set during the manga's earlier training chapters, hayr imagines an alternate reality laced with darkness and turmoil. In this realm, Team 7 carry out missions far beyond the scope of a children's shounen anime. Naruto was not afraid to tackle dark themes, but most of Team 7 were largely kept clean from corruption. If Kakashi's devotion to teamwork was replaced with an unflinching willingness to always carry out orders, Naruto and Sakura would have developed into unrecognizable shinobi. As the core trio's teacher, for better or worse, Kakashi exerted the most influence over their personalities.

3 A Broken Rock

Via deviantart.com/matjosh

Rock Lee is infallible. Under the guidance of another mangaka, Lee could comfortably substitute as the protagonist. Naruto's internal conflict hinges on the character's turbulent social life, but Lee's struggle is more practical. The likable chap lacks the affinity to perform ninjutsu or genjutsu. Similar to the hero, Lee is unfairly mocked and ostracized due to something that is out of his control. Unwilling to just accept reality, Lee passionately pursues and masters taijutsu, a combat style rewarding physical prowess. Optimistic to a fault, Matjosh paints the warrior during a rare outburst.

2 Naruto's Endless Struggle

Via deviantart.com/nakedmazafaker

The artist effortlessly presents the exact instant when Naruto stops being Naruto. Forever stuck in a tug of war with Nine-Tails, the teenager lives with the knowledge that a day might come when the beast breaks free from its cage. Rather than educating the child on his predicament and, perhaps, brainstorming methods to keep Kurama in check, Naruto was pushed aside and left to rot on his own. Who thought the best way to prevent a repeat would be to isolate the person keeping the monster at bay?

1 Sakura's Darkest Timeline

Via deviantart.com/chocolat-hime

Based on Kakurenbo, a twisted but incredibly entertaining Naruto fanfiction, Chocolat-Hime's accompanying illustration presents the story's deranged protagonist in all her glory. Rather than following the footsteps of a lonely but good-natured boy, Kakurenbo centers around a sickly girl who inherits an attraction pheromone from a deity. Blending humor, horror, and action; this short story is worth reading for fans. Diverting our attention to the drawing, Sakura has never looked this ominous! The deity's influence cannot be ignored, but the girl's redesign is nothing short of impeccable.

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