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‘Naruto’: Kakashi’s 7 Greatest Fights

These are some of Kakashi Hatake's greatest battles.

Kakashi Hatake revealing his Sharingan
via Crunchyroll

When it comes to fan-favorite characters in the Naruto franchise, nobody receives as much praise and admiration as Kakashi Hatake. “Sharingan” Kakashi is introduced early in the series as Team 7’s Jonin leader. This means he’s front and center as the series progresses, sharing the limelight with his students Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Sakura Haruno. From battling ruthless rogue ninjas from the Hidden Mist to clashing with alien moon goddesses, the Hidden Leaf shinobi has been in the thick of things from the very beginning.

Famously known as the “Copy Cat Ninja,” Kakashi is a proven and elite Jonin. He’s arguably the most complete and well-rounded ninja ever introduced in Naruto, boasting incredible intelligence, a high-level understanding of taijutsu and genjutsu, and an absolute mastery of ninjutsu. He’s also the first character ever shown wielding the Sharingan despite not being a Uchiha.

Equipped with such a unique and diverse skillset, the Hidden Leaf shinobi is always fun to watch, especially in battle. He has fought some of the deadliest foes Naruto has to offer, and while he hasn’t always emerged victorious, his fights always left fans entertained. In this article, let’s break down seven of Kakashi’s best fights in the Naruto franchise.

7. Kakashi laid the smackdown on some Snow ninja

Image via Toho

The franchise’s first feature film, Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, sees Team 7 on a mission escorting a famous movie star, who is secretly a princess. Kakashi and his students are forced to do battle with a tyrant and his gang of elite Snow ninja.

Throughout the film, Kakashi mostly encounters Nadare Rōga. The Leaf shinobi quickly discover that the Snow ninja wear special armor that makes them seemingly impervious to genjutsu and ninjutsu. Talk about overpowered. But, that doesn’t stop Kakashi from absolutely ragdolling Nadare. In the end, the Snow ninja’s icy jutsu and fancy armor were little match against the famous Copy Ninja and Kakashi brutally reminds Nadare that even without ninjutsu and genjutsu there’s still taijutsu. Nadare is killed when Kakashi slams him head first into the icy ground.

Fans also got to see Kakashi’s Sharingan at work in record time; within mere moments of encountering the Snow ninja’s specialized ice jutsu, he was able to copy and replicate it with great success.

While most Naruto movies don’t seem to be canon, this battle still deserves an entry because it shows just how absolutely — excuse the pun — cold Kakashi can be. I mean, c’mon, he legitimately delivered a piledriver on a dude! That is epic, canon or no.

6. The second bell test helped showcase Kakashi’s strengths

Kakashi holding the bells
Image via Crunchyroll

At the start of Naruto: Shippuden, almost three years have passed since the original story. Naruto and Sakura, now older and more experienced, are given a challenge: complete the bell test against their sensei. It’s a bittersweet moment. Although Naruto, Sakura, and Kakashi sensei are reunited, Sasuke is gone, having abandoned the village to train with Orochimaru.

While this fight isn’t a life-threatening ordeal that forces our characters to the brink, it’s a perfect start for Shippuden. It allows the viewer to see just how much Naruto and Sakura have grown since the time skip. It also reminds us just how powerful Kakashi is. Even with his students’ incredible improvements, such as Sakura’s terrifying power and Naruto’s creativity with shadow clones, Kakashi can still hold his own. Heck, he was about to win the challenge as time was running out until Naruto started spoiling his sensei’s favorite book series, forcing Kakashi to close his ears and eyes. Yes, even the great Kakashi is a loyal and serious member of a fandom.

The second bell test was a wholesome duel between a teacher and his pupils. It was the perfect callback to the early days of the original series, and it was also a sharp reminder that despite how far Naruto and Sakura may have come, they were still leagues below their sensei.

5. Itachi vs. Kakashi was the first time we saw our hero get absolutely demolished

Image via Crunchyroll

Early into the Naruto franchise, Masashi Kishimoto worked quickly to establish that Kakashi Hatake was powerful. He was not a ninja to be trifled with. When Episode 81 — “Return of the Morning Mist” — came out, fans saw two other Jonin, Asuma and Kurenai, get pretty battered by two new characters: Kisame and Itachi Uchiha. This was the first introduction to the Akatsuki organization.

At the end of the episode, Kakashi arrives to save the day. Or so we thought. This was the first time in the Naruto series that we got a Sharingan vs. Sharingan showdown; it was going to be epic. It was going to be … a one-sided beatdown.

Itachi tore Kakashi up. Using his spectacular and legendary command of genjutsu, Itachi was able to trap his opponent in an illusion of pure torture. Up until that point, we never saw genjutsu performed at that level. Defeating someone like Kakashi with such ease cemented Itachi, and the Akatsuki as a whole, as a terrifying and legitimate threat.

While this battle wasn’t Kakashi’s most glorious moment, it only enhanced his overall character. He wasn’t some unstoppable ninja who was always a step above his opponents. He was an elite ninja who had his own weaknesses, which Itachi brutally pointed out and which Kakashi acknowledged.

This fight showed that Kakashi was intelligent enough to recognize his own limitations while also having the heart and guts to keep going, even when faced with a superior foe.

4. Kakashi vs. Zabuza was a true ninja clash

Kakashi vs. Zabuza
Image via Crunchyroll

Zabuza Momochi was the first major villain Naruto fans ever encountered. He was menacing. He was ruthless. And he was an absolute killer who wielded an epic blade.

When Team 7 first crosses paths with the Hidden Mist exile, Kakashi tells his students to stand back. It’s the first time we see the Leaf shinobi’s Sharingan and the first time we see two Jonin-level ninjas go at it.

The fight is arguably the most tactical clash ever portrayed in Naruto. Zabuza uses his Hidden Mist jutsu to perfection and attacks with deadly stealth. He and Kakashi are constantly trying to outthink one another. Every maneuver they pull has immense thought behind it; just when you think one has outdone the other, they pull an ace from their sleeve.

As the Naruto franchise went on, the battles grew bigger and brighter, as is the case with most anime. Compared to later fights portrayed down the road, Zabuza vs. Kakashi may seem minimal and not very exciting compared to Madara Uchiha calling down meteors. However, this is what makes Zabuza vs. Kakashi so great. It’s grounded in stealth and tactics. It’s about not making a single mistake and punishing your opponent for every one of theirs.

All of this is what makes this battle one of Kakashi’s best fights. It’s the first time we see him pushed to his limit and have to exhaust his entire toolbox. Going up against Zabuza helped audiences understand just how intelligent and skilled Kakashi Hatake really was.

3. Kakashi nearly broke his back trying to carry the fight with Kakuzu and Hidan

Image via Crunchyroll

Snarky subheading aside, watching Kakashi fight two Akatsuki members almost singlehandedly was really cool. Seeing him partner up with a completely new team in Shikamaru, Ino, and Choji was something different. However, Ino and Choji weren’t exactly written to be all-stars in this fight. (Come on, Kishimoto!)

So, the majority of the fight fell on Kakashi and Shikamaru’s shoulders. While the latter developed an incredible and well-thought-out plan to take out the immortal Hidan, it primarily came down to Kakashi keeping Kakuzu busy. And the Copy Ninja accomplished that with flying colors.

The battle started with Kakashi taking out one of Kakuzu’s many hearts with his signature Lightning Blade attack. This is arguably one of the coldest moments in the franchise. Even if this attack didn’t kill the Akatsuki member, it still stunned him and made him collapse. Until then, Kakuzu was portrayed as a stoic and colossal force. Seeing him get taken down, even for a moment, further cemented Kakashi sensei’s badassery.

Throughout this arc, the Copy Ninja pulls out all the stops. His ninjutsu skills are on full display; he’s able to defend against Hidan’s terrifying scythe. In a beautifully animated sequence, he uses his taijutsu to full effect against Kakuzu. Overall, this fight perfectly encapsulated Kakashi’s wide array of skills.

2. Kakashi vs. Pain was a heart-wrenching bout

Image via Crunchyroll

The Pain arc in Naruto: Shippuden delivered quite the emotional toll. While all of the casualties from Pain’s attack on the Hidden Leaf were revived thanks to Naruto Uzumaki’s incredible grasp of talk no jutsu, it was still devastating to see all of our characters get whooped, especially Kakashi sensei.

Kakashi battles the Deva and Asura Paths of Pain. He’s immediately overwhelmed and flat out admits he needs reinforcements. Choji and his father arrive with several Leaf shinobi. While they appear to eliminate the Asura path, the Deva Pain completely overwhelms them.

This fight sees Kakashi’s intelligence shine bright. He’s able to analyze the Deva Path’s gravitational jutsu and deduce that it can’t be performed too consecutively. This allows Kakashi to craft the perfect plan in the span of a few moments. However, thanks to the Asura’s interference, the Deva pain is saved. It’s absolutely devastating to watch Kakashi get so close to winning, only for victory to be snatched at the last second.

The fight with Pain once again helped prove how much of a threat Kakashi is. Even when the Copy Ninja was trapped in rubble and breathing his last breaths, Pain kept his distance before trying to finish things off. You know you’re an elite ninja when you are barely breathing and your enemies still fear you.

1. We all needed tissues for Kakashi vs. Obito

Image via Crunchyroll

You probably guessed the last entry on this list before you even clicked on the article. But let’s face it, there can be no other placeholder here. Kakashi vs. Obito in Naruto: Shippuden was simply the perfect fight.

A little while after we find out that Tobi is actually Obito Uchiha — could’ve been a little more subtle with the names there, Kishimoto — Kakashi is pulled into the Kamui dimension. There, he and his old friend and teammate engage in the most emotional brawl ever portrayed in the series. The fight has so many gorgeously animated taijutsu sequences. Obito flips Kakashi on his head like a pro wrestling hurricanrana; Kakashi heel kicks a kunai into Obito’s face. No other fights had moves like these. The animation here was simply on another stratosphere. And remember when Obito used Kakashi’s own hand to complete a hand sign? Yeah, that was pure savagery.

And playing throughout this heated fight is a heartfelt flashback of a young Kakashi and Obito sparring, while their sensei and friend watch.

This tragic fight is a full-circle moment. We see Kakashi come face-to-face with a past he thought long buried. And, even while engulfed by this heavy emotional moment, we still see Kakashi’s brilliance shine through, as he tricks Obito with one of his signature lightning clones.

Kakashi Hatake has been in some hellacious fights. And in each encounter, he’s always proven his mettle, even when on the losing end. However, Kakashi vs. Obito is the one fight that represents what the franchise is all about: pain, love, regret, grief, hate, and punching people in the face until you feel better.

Genci Papraniku
About the author

Genci Papraniku

Genci Papraniku is a freelance writer for We Got This Covered. A Spider-Man fanatic and a graduate from the University of Memphis, he loves to write and loves to consume anything related to pop culture. If Genci isn't watching the latest superhero flick, he's probably studying house lineages from "A Song of Ice and Fire."