As a shonen series centered on a bunch of ninjas, one would expect many fight scenes in Naruto. Among the many fights that have occurred pre-Shippuuden era, there are several that stand out and remains pretty fresh in our memory. Off the top of our heads, these are the top 10 fights in the Naruto series that wowed us so much that we do not mind watching them a couple of times over. We wish there were more fights like these in the series!
10. Zabuza and Haku vs Team 7
- Episodes: 7-9
Zabuza Momochi was a missing nin who was also referred to as the Demon of the Hidden Mist after he killed more than 100 of his classmates. After some time, he found an orphan named Haku who has the kekkei genkai ability called Ice Release. Although Zabuza seemed like a cold and cruel person, he did care for Haku. The pair met Team 7 during the latter’s mission.
This fight was when things started to get serious in the Naruto series as the kids in Team 7 are pitted against enemies which are far stronger than them. Like Naruto, we were frankly tired of seeing him and other ninja doing menial tasks. Moreover, we wanted to see Kakashi demonstrate more of his fighting ability because him fighting with little kids in his team did not amount to much. We are kind of unsure about the relationship between Zabuza and Haku but the confusion made their relationship even more interesting.
9. Shikamaru vs Temari
- Episodes: 64
Temari is one of the Three Sand Siblings. She wields a giant folding fan which she uses alongside her Wind Release ability. During the first round of Chuunin Exam, Temari fought against Tenten and defeated the Tenten easily. At the final round of Chuunin Exam, Temari is pitted against Shikamaru from Konohagakure’s Team 10 who has the ability to manipulate shadows.
Temari was obviously stronger than Shikamaru, as evident by how she previously defeated Tenten so easily. Temari is not a bimbo so it wasn’t like she was not cautious about Shikamaru’s shadow ability, but Shikamaru’s intelligence was shown to be superior. Despite her best to avoid getting caught by Shikamaru’s shadow, Shikamaru still managed to trap her. Unexpected by everyone, Shikamaru gave up when it seemed like he could win as he had exhausted his chakra, and could not defeat Temari even though he had thought of over 200 possible moves.
8. Neji vs Kidomaru
- Episodes: 116-118
Kidomaru was a member of the Sound Four. Like the rest of the members, he had an arrogant personality. He had a sadistic side to him as he enjoyed tormenting his opponents. Kidomaru had 2 pairs of arms, which went with his spider theme. On the other hand, Neji from the Hyuga clan fights using the Gentle Fist style.
Kidomaru was the smartest member of Sound Four as he was good at analyzing and figuring out the weakness of his opponent. Kidomaru was able to find out the blind spot of Neji’s Byakugan, but his overconfident behavior led to his demise. Neji appeared to have given in as he just accepted the attack to his blind spot, knowing that it could not be evaded anyway. However, Neji had a surprising counterattack plan which made him victorious!
7. Shikamaru vs Tayuya
- Episodes: 119-125
The only female member of Sound Four, Tayuya had masculine mannerisms. Due to her foul mouth, Jirobo always sounded her for being unladylike. She alleged that she was the second strongest member of her team. She was the only one in her team who used sound as the main technique to fight.
Shikamaru always seemed to be pitted against women. Shikamaru did not seem like a strong enough opponent to defeat Tayuya, but sometimes, brains can defeat brawn. Without having much musical knowledge, Shikamaru was able to figure out how Tayuya used her flute based on the placement of her fingers. There is a limit to how much brains can defeat brawn, though, so, in the end, Shikamaru had to be saved by Temari.
6. Lee and Gaara vs Kimimaro
- Episodes: 123-127
Kimimaro possessed a rare kekkei genkai known as Shikotsumyaku which enabled him to manipulate his bones. He used to lead the Sound Five, but due to his poor health, he had to leave the group which was then renamed to Sound Four. He forced himself to fight despite his ailing health as he wanted to be useful to Orochimaru.
Fight scenes involving Lee are usually fun to watch since he is a skilled taijutsu user. Lee’s Drunken Fist was unpredictable but was not enough to defeat Kimimaro, which then brought Gaara in the nick of time to save Lee. Both Gaara and Kimimaro were formidable ninjas, but as Kimimaro almost struck Gaara to death, Kimimaro died from his illness.
5. Sannin Fight
- Episodes: 91-96
The Sannin are the Legendary Three Ninja who are Orochimaru, Jiraiya, and Tsunade. Even though they used to be a team, they were always not in agreement with each other, so when each of them became strong enough, they went separate ways. After some time, they met again and Orochimaru offered Tsunade to revive her 2 loved ones, while Jiraiya warned Tsunade that he would kill her if she accepted the offer.
Who is the strongest among the legendary Sannin? Though we have to say the fight appeared to be unfair as two Sannins were pitted against one Sannin. Orochimaru had Kabuto but Kabuto was more like a third (or fourth?) wheel who provided minor help as an assistant. Besides that, Orochimaru could not use his hands. So judging by this situation, we supposed Orochimaru was the strongest among the three. Nevertheless, it was an amazing fight when the three sannins summoned their own beasts!
4. Naruto vs Neji
- Episodes: 60-62
Neji was cruel during his battle with Hinata which angered Naruto, so Naruto vowed to win in the fight against Neji. Neji possessed the Byakugan which Kakashi remarked to be more powerful than the Sharingan, but honestly, we could not see how that could be as the latter Shippuuden episodes revealed that the Sharingan could be developed into many stages, but no development was shown for the purportedly superior Byakugan.
Naruto was mad at Neji for beating up Hinata while Neji kept on blabbering on and on about how life is unfair and how much his life sucked. Yeah, we get you Neji, but it’s kind of irritating to repeat the same philosophy again and again. A sucker punch by Naruto from beneath the ground managed to shut Neji up and changed his mind, which showed that Neji was not that smart at all, as his lecture was right seeing that Naruto had the unfair advantage of possessing the power of the demon fox.
3. Naruto vs Sasuke
- Episodes: 128-134
As Naruto was chasing after Sasuke to bring him back to Konohagakure, Sasuke appeared to have chosen the dark side and had no intention to return. Therefore, the two of them battled against each other at the Valley of the End, where the legendary battle between the First Hokage named Hashirama Senju and the Uchiha leader named Uchiha Madara took place.
The fight between Naruto and Sasuke always involves a lot of shouting of each others’ names, as if that would be effective in changing each other’s minds. At this point, Sasuke had some control over his cursed seal and could use the Chidori, while Naruto had some control over his demon fox power and had learned the Rasengan. Hence, we were all curious about who was stronger.
2. Naruto vs Gaara
- Episodes: 76-80
Sasuke was losing the battle against Gaara as Gaara had partially transformed into the Shukaku, and the cursed seal that Sasuke received from Orochimaru was affecting Sasuke. As Gaara was about to charge at Sasuke, help arrived in the form of a kick in the face by Naruto.
This episode is exciting because it was the first time Naruto fought another person who had a monster sealed within him. All along, Gaara was portrayed as being supremely powerful even when he had not unleashed the strength of Shukaku. Now that Gaara had lost control and allowed the Shukaku to take over, how would Naruto win against him?
1. Gaara vs Lee
- Episodes: 48-50
During the Chuunin Exam, the flamboyant and exuberant Lee was matched against the mysterious and dangerous Gaara. Gaara was said to have never been injured before as he had absolute defense from the sand which would protect him from any attacks. As for Lee, he had no talent for genjutsu or ninjutsu, but he had greatly developed his taijutsu skills through hard work and perseverance.
Gaara vs Lee is hands down the best fight in Naruto. No need for talking but just pure fighting. Gaara was mainly to thank for that since he was a quiet freak. Gaara seemed to be the strongest genin at that moment but Lee had some tricks up his sleeves which made him an incredible opponent of Gaara. After Lee removed the weights and released some chakra gates, Gaara was shown to be no longer an untouchable foe and that he was capable of having a shocked expression. Lee beat Gaara up real good but since Gaara had a monster in him, Lee was the one defeated, but his will was so strong that he managed to stand up again despite being unconscious.
These are the top 10 fights that we absolutely love during the pre-Shippuuden era of Naruto. Back when most of the main characters were kids with not much experience, the fights kept us in suspense as those were the first few times they had to be pitted against very strong characters. Are there any other fights which should have been mentioned in this list? Let us know in the comment section below!