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Naruto is one of the Big Three anime in the Shounen universe, with 720 episodes.
For such long-running anime, having a lot of characters and villains ultimately also means a lot of deaths as well.
The anime has some of the most unforgettable characters, making it easy for fans to get attached to them.
The death of a character, in general, can be pretty painful; however, only some characters’ deaths can have a lasting impact on your mind.
Therefore, this article will list the 15 most popular characters with the saddest deaths.
15. Sasori of the Red Sand
At the bottom of the list is Sasori of the Red Sand, whose death was terribly painful for many people.
Sasori dies on the 27th episode of Naruto Shippuden. Sakura and his grandmother Chiyo, defeat him using his own puppets.
Granny Chiyo used his father and mother’s puppets to deal the final blow to Sasori.
Sasori was the first Akatsuki member to die in the anime, and his death was unfortunate to watch.
It leaves a lasting impact on fans due to Sasori’s backstory of being a lonely child.
In an attempt to discard his loneliness during childhood, Sasori had made two puppets that resembled his parents. Ultimately, he died at the hands of the two puppets he loved the most.
Additionally, it was so painful to watch because Sasori could’ve easily dodged the final blow but decided that this was the best possible way to die in the arms of his parents.
Yahiko was one of the founders of Akatsuki and had died an honorable death.
Yahiko’s death scene airs in episode 252, where he chooses to kill himself.
Hanzo the Salamander had Nagato cornered and wanted him to choose between two of his friends, Yahiko and Konan. He kidnaps Konan to lure them out, making the two try to save her.
To save Konan and stop his friend from making such a difficult decision, Yahiko killed himself with Nagato’s Kunai.
His death was unimaginably sad because Yahiko was an orphan child who had always wandered around, looking for peace.
Jiraya had taught the three how to use Ninjutsu and gave them hope of finding peace one day.
Yahiko couldn’t witness the peace himself and passed the torch to his two friends to find it.
Additionally, the fact that Yahiko sacrificed himself for his friends makes his death scene all the more unbearable and heart-wrenching for fans.
13. Shisui Uchiha
Shisui Uchiha was one of the most commendable and talented Uchiha shinobi, and his death was all the harder to witness.
He left his Sharingan to Itachi and committed suicide by jumping into the Naka River.
Shisui and Hiruzen had planned to use Kotamatsukami to prevent the Coup by Uchiha from happening.
However, Danzo learned their plans and forcefully took one of Shusi’s eyes, preventing him from using the technique.
Additionally, the anime reveals the details of Shisui’s death in episode 454 of Naruto Shippuden.
Shisui killed himself to awaken Itachi’s Mangekyou Sharingan and to prevent Danzo from achieving his plan.
His death was one of the saddest in the series due to its effect on Itachi. Shisui sacrificed himself for the greater good, but no one knew this.
The Konoha Village does not commemorate Shisui’s death. Furthermore, he is hated as an Uchiha for a lifetime by the Village despite his major sacrifice, making his death terribly sad.
12. Rin Nohara
Rin Nohara was a fellow Shinobi of Kakashi and a chunin.
Rin placed herself between Kakashi and a rival shinobi while Kakashi was on the move with Chidori. Kakashi accidentally killed her with the attack.
Rin had died long before Naruto had started. However, the death scene is shown in Obito’s flashback in episode 345 of the anime.
At that time, Rin had the Three-Tails implanted inside her by Madara, which would take over once she reached the Konoha Village.
She knew what would happen and told Kakashi to kill her, but he refused to do so.
Ultimately, when Kakashi tries to kill one of the fake cloud shinobi, she jumps in between and dies instead.
Her death was quite painful to witness as Kakashi had lost Obito a while back, and now he had to kill another one of his friends.
Obito also saw her death and turned evil, thinking Kakashi killed her.
Rin had sacrificed her life for the greater good, but no one would remember her like that except for Kakashi.
Additionally, it led to Obito doing Madara’s dirty work, meaning her death was in vain.
11. Nagato Uzumaki
Nagato Uzumaki was the leader of Akatsuki and a kind-hearted Shinobi.
After being convinced by Naruto about Jiraiya’s lessons and world peace, Nagato dies by undoing his mistakes.
While performing Rinne Tensei, he died a noble death to revive all the people he killed during his Konoha invasion.
Nagato dies in episode 252 of the Naruto Shippuden anime.
Like Yahiko, Nagato was also an Orphan who had lived quite a tough life.
Yahiko and Konan were all he had as a child, and he laid the foundation for Akatsuki with them to find the peace that Jiraya had always talked about.
Therefore, losing Yahiko was unbearable for Nagato and affected his physical and mental health.
His death was incredibly sentimental because the once kind boy had turned into a villain due to Danzo’s actions.
Fans couldn’t help but shed a tear for a boy as tragic as him.
10. Hiruzen Sarutobi
Sarutobi Hiruzen, the Third Hokage, died in his attempt to seal Orochimaru using the Reaper Death Seal.
Though he failed to seal Orochimaru fully, he still managed to seal both of his arms, rendering them useless.
Sarutobi Hiruzen was the youngest Shinobi who ever became Hokage and served for the longest time.
He died while protecting the Konoha Village in episode 80 of Naruto anime.
Hiruzen’s death was unfortunate as he was one of the first characters introduced in the anime and also the kindest.
What made it genuinely heartbreaking was the fact that he had to fight one of his own students, the one he cherished more than his own child.
Additionally, he possessed the Will of Fire and never wished to raise a hand against his students.
However, ultimately he had to make a choice, and he chose the Village as the good Hokage he was.
His last moments were painful to watch, and although he couldn’t finish off Orochimaru, he did manage to seal away his arms.
9. Zabuza Momochi And Haku
While fighting team 7, Haku died protecting his teammate Zabuza.
Whereas, Zabuza died fighting and killing Gato and his men to show respect for Haku’s lifelong loyalty.
Haku dies in episode 18 of the Naruto anime, and Zabuza dies in the very next episode.
Additionally, Zabuza and Haku were the first significant anti-protagonists ever appearing in Naruto.
The two got a decent screen time during the arc, enough for fans to develop an attachment to them.
Although they were the first antagonists to appear in the anime, how their death was showcased made it heart-wrenching for fans to watch.
In their last moments, the two realize each other’s importance in their life and how they only had each other and considered each other important.
Additionally, in Zabuza’s last moments, he requests Kakashi to place his body close to Haku’s and expresses how he wishes to go to the same place as his.
This scene itself caused more than enough pain for most fans.
Utakata of the Mist Village was an admirable Shinobi with a unique set of skills.
In episode 324 of Naruto Shippuden, Utakata was defeated and captured alive by Nagato.
Though his death is not shown explicitly, it is clear that he died when Akatsuki members extracted Saiken, the Six Tales, from him.
His death left a deep scar on the hearts of fans even though he was just a support character.
An entire filler arc was dedicated to his backstory and life, showcasing what a tragic character he was.
Utakata bore a lot of pain in his heart due to a certain misunderstanding with his master.
However, soon he met a girl named Hotaru, who Bandits wanted for her clan’s secret technique.
Utakata owed her for saving his life and, therefore, tried to protect her as well.
The two eventually developed a deep bond, and Utakata wished to become her master.
Unfortunately, he got caught by Akatsuki, and in his dying moments, he used his bubble technique in hopes that Hotaru would find the bubble and realize what had happened to him.
Most are still wondering if Hotaru even knows that Utakata is not alive anymore, which adds to the sentiment.
Utakata’s entire life was a tragedy; even his ending proved quite tragic, making it a tear-jerking scene for fans.
7. Obito Uchiha
Obito Uchiha died two times in the anime, and both deaths were tragic and heroic simultaneously.
Although the famous “crushed by rock” scene is shown several times via Kakashi’s recall, the whole story is actually shown in episode 344.
The first time, Obito died protecting Kakashi in a cave. The roof caved in, and Obito got crushed by a rock.
Furthermore, it was later shown that he indeed did not die that time and was saved by Madara.
He ultimately died in Episode 472, again saving Kakashi, this time from Kaguya’s attack.
The reason his deaths had such an impact on the audience was that Obito was a tragic character and due to his bond with Kakashi.
Additionally, Obito was one of the major Villains in the anime who Madara manipulated. However, he changed when he realized the reality behind Rin’s death.
Obito’s character was quite similar to Naruto’s, and he also wished to become the Hokage.
Most fans believe that he would’ve been in a different place had he not gone evil, making his death even sadder.
Konan was the last of the Amegakure trio to die, and her death was quite sad.
She breathed her last breath in episode 252 of the anime Naruto Shippuden.
She died fighting Tobi, who was desperate to know where Nagato’s corpse was hidden. Tobi split her body in half using Kamui, but he also lost his right arm in the battle.
Though Konan lost the battle, she didn’t go down without a pretty good fight.
Kona’s death was highly heart-wrenching for fans as she died protecting her friend and believing in Naruto.
Nobody in the Narutoverse knows how hard Konan fought for Naruto, as she thought he could find the road to real peace.
Her sacrifice may not be visible to everyone, but it indeed wasn’t in vain and definitely left a scar on the hearts of fans.
5. Sarutobi Asuma
Sarutobi Asuma’s death was one of the most unexpected in Narutoverse. Asuma’s death scene airs in episode 78 of the Naruto Shippuden anime.
Asuma, together with Shikamaru, Hagane, and Kamizuki, was deployed on a mission to capture a pair of Akatsuki members.
The group comes into direct contact with Hidan and his fellows, and Asuma decides to take Hidan head-on.
Although a shinobi as smart as Shikamaru is backing him up, Hidan still manages to pierce Asuma’s heart.
His last words to his students made the death scene incredibly sad. Before dying, Asuma smoked his one last cigarette and spoke heartbreaking words to Shikamaru.
Additionally, it was sad to witness his death as he left behind a pregnant Kurenai.
Most fans were shipping the two together, and it was painful to see Asuma breathe his last breath without even getting married to Kurenai.
4. Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki
Fourth on the list is Minato and Kushina’s death, which was too painful to watch for fans.
Minato and Kushina were the series’ highlights, even without much screen time.
Although the two die before the naruto anime begins, the death scene airs in episode 249.
The flashback showed the attack on Konoha led by Obito and the nine-tails.
At that time, Minato and Kushina sacrificed their lives to protect Naruto and the Village from nine-tails.
They breathed their last breath as Kurama pierced the two with his claw, and Minato used this to seal Kurama inside Naruto.
As the anime slowly unveils the death of Minato and Kushina, it adds much more depth to the scene, making it incredibly heartbreaking for fans.
Minato and Kushina’s love for each other was admirable, especially considering how the two died together.
Moreover, the scene was even more heartbreaking due to the hardships Naruto faced after their death.
Read more: When Did Naruto and Kurama Become Friends?
3. Neji Hyuga
Neji Hyuga was a prodigious shinobi from the very beginning, even by the ideals of the Hyuga clan itself.
As a young Shinobi, Neji’s skill is remarkable and unrivaled by most of his peers. His death occurred in episode 364 of the Naruto Shippuden anime.
During the war, the Juubi went on a rampage and attacked everyone.
At that moment, Neji shielded Hinata from the attack, who at that time was protecting Naruto.
Neji’s wound was too fatal to heal, and he died very soon after having his last words with Naruto.
It’s safe to say that Neji’s death left a profound impact on the lives of other Shinobi and also on the lives of most fans.
Growing up, the Hyuga clan never recognizes Neji’s efforts as he doesn’t belong to the main house.
However, Naruto’s strong determination and refusal to accept the ridiculous ideologies encouraged Neji to stand his ground.
Ultimately, Neji sacrificed himself for the one who taught him what freedom of choice was, making his death quite tear-jerking for most.
2. Itachi Uchiha
Similar to Obito Uchiha, Itachi also dies twice in the anime, and both deaths leave a lasting impact on the fans and Sasuke.
Itachi had been suffering from an incurable chakra disease since he was very young.
During his battle with Sasuke, Itachi used too much of his chakra to perform Mangekyu Sharingan and Susano, which exhausted him to death.
His first death occurred in episode 138 of the anime at the hands of Sasuke.
Afterward, Kabuto reincarnates him, only for him to die again in episode 339 when the reincarnation Jutsu was broken.
Itachi’s death was so unfortunate that it left fans crying for days.
The impact was so significant because of the kind of image Itachi had throughout the anime and the kind of life he lived.
Itachi sacrificed his reputation to save his brother by murdering the clan. Thereby becoming the bad guy not just in front of the village he deeply loved but also in front of his beloved brother.
He died at the hands of Sasuke the first time, thinking that he had redeemed himself for the mistakes he made.
However, it was his second death when he truly felt at peace as he finally revealed his true intentions to Sasuke, making it a sentimental moment for fans.
Hands-down, the saddest death of the Naruto anime goes to the Toad sage, Jiraya.
Jiraya was a renowned Shinobi, a part of the legendary Sanin due to his remarkable skills.
The Toad Sage took his last breath in episode 133 while fighting Pain of Akatsuki.
During the fight, the six paths of Pain technique defeats Jiraya, making him lose his left arm and voice.
Pain stabs Jiraiya in the back multiple times, leaving him mortally wounded.
After writing his last message on Fukusaku’s back, his body drowns in the deep water.
Jiraya’s death is terribly sad due to how lovable of a character he was.
Jiraya had a peculiar and perverted personality, but the kind that charms you and makes you love him.
His bond with Naruto and his last moments made the scene unimaginably sad.
In his very final moments, Jiraya pondered over his entire life, wondering if it ever meant anything and if he was able to accomplish something heroic.
However, once he thought of Naruto and his ninja way, Jiraya smiled and died with relief, knowing that he had taught Naruto well.
His last words to Naruto made the scene add to the sadness of his death.
Read more: Strongest Characters in Naruto Ranked