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How fast is Naruto?

Really, really fast.

Image via Studio Pierrot

It’s an age-old question. How fast is the Child of the Prophecy, the Savior of this World, the Seventh Hokage?

You’d think that at some point in the past 22 years, we would have gotten something of an answer, but the shonen world does not seem to have the same regard for the laws of gravity, inertia, or internally consistent physics as our own. Still, fans have tried to make sense of the fictional ninja world to answer these pressing questions.

So for Naruto fans, here’s what we know about the titular character’s speed.

The speed of anime

Image via Crunchyroll

There have been many approaches to figuring out how fast Naruto moves in various arcs and fights, and they produce many different answers. In part, this has to do with various forms, power levels, and characters’ ages changing. The methodology of various fan theorists is dubious as well. Counting pixels of hand-drawn animation is quite unreliable.

Therefore, we don’t have an exact estimate of just how fast Naruto Uzumaki can travel. But it seems likely he can move faster than light, depending on the circumstances.

One user on Quora takes some liberties in calculating Naruto’s movement speed relative to lightning to estimate his speed at tens of thousands of times the speed of sound. But it’s worth noting that their calculation rests on the in-universe claim that lightning travels from the clouds to the ground in a millisecond, even though that’s not entirely accurate in our own world — which is where their other numbers are pulled from.

Whether or not Naruto is faster than light or not is almost its own discussion. When one fan crunched the numbers, he argued Naruto was capable of FTL. Another looked frame-by-frame at Naruto’s fight with Madara in Shippuden. While Naruto is able to dodge Madara’s light beam attack, seemingly proving Naruto can move faster than light, this also raised more physics-y questions about the Naruto universe. How could Naruto sense the attack if he literally couldn’t see it? Can he truly move faster than light, or is this just an incomplete conclusion fans are coming to based on their own assumptions of the Naruto world’s physics?

And we still don’t have much of anything to go on to guess at Naruto’s speed in Boruto, where Naruto is even stronger.

Let’s instead consider the speed of Naruto and every character in the series through the relativistic lens of anime. Anime speed is however fast a character needs to travel for plot reasons, because that’s probably what Masashi Kishimoto was thinking about when he created Naruto. It’s not about physics, but good storytelling.

So, how fast is Naruto according to this theory?

Fast. Like, really fast.

About the author

Autumn Wright

Autumn Wright is an anime journalist, which is a real job. As a writer at We Got This Covered, they cover the biggest new seasonal releases, interview voice actors, and investigate labor practices in the global industry. Autumn can be found biking to queer punk through Brooklyn, and you can read more of their words in Polygon, WIRED, The Washington Post, and elsewhere.