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Every Member Of Naruto's Akatsuki Ranked Worst To Best

"Naruto" is a classic anime series that follows the titular ninja as he pursues his dream of becoming Hokage, the respected leader of the Hidden Leaf Village. Along the way, Naruto must prove himself to his peers, his teachers, and everyone else who has ever doubted him. He gains a little more trust and respect after each battle, but as he grows stronger, so do the villains. This is especially true when it comes to the Akatsuki, the notorious group of criminals who serve as the main antagonists for much of the series.

The Akatsuki's main goal is to capture the Jinchuriki, nine ninjas who serve as hosts for legendarily powerful tailed beasts, and extract said beasts from their bodies. As the current Jinchuriki of the Nine-Tailed Fox, Naruto is a huge target. The Akatsuki work tirelessly to track down and capture the young hero, and become a key part of the series in the process. They range wildly in terms of personality, appearance, and skills, and their reasons for joining the group are even more diverse. While Naruto doesn't get to fight every single member of the Akatsuki, each of them plays an important role in his ninja journey. But even the most devoted fan has to admit that some of them clearly stand above the rest. Taking key factors such as their motives, failures, and successes into account, we're ranking every member of the Akatsuki from worst to best.

11. Hidan

If there's one Akatsuki member who deserves to be ranked at the bottom of the list for his lack of redeeming qualities, it's Hidan. Initially, he comes off as an intriguing character who serves as living proof that immortality is real in the "Naruto" universe. Unfortunately, that immortality leaves him with a personality that is repulsive and bloodthirsty. Even among a group of deadly criminals, he stands out as someone especially vile. Hidan seems to genuinely enjoy harming and killing others in a way no other "Naruto" villain does.

Hidan's fight with Asuma provides a particularly vivid example of this unpleasantness. He laughs out loud as he tortures the jonin ninja, even as he begins to cough up blood. He then smiles in satisfaction after killing him. This is one of the series' most extremely uncomfortable moments. Thankfully, Shikamaru gets his revenge on Hidan later: He lures him into an explosive trap in the middle of the Nara clan's forest and uses the Akatsuki member's own immortality against him. Hidan is ultimately blown to tiny bits by a string of explosives, and crushed by a pile of rocks at the bottom of a pit for good measure. Thanks to his alienating immortality and truly disgusting behavior, he will live on at the bottom of that pit — as well as the bottom of this list.

10. Zetsu

Unique among Akatsuki members, Zetsu isn't shown doing very much at all for the majority of the series. His role within the group is less about fighting and more about observing events, gathering intel, and reporting back to the rest of the team. This makes sense, but it also makes him a pretty middling character. With such a lackluster presence, it's easy to completely forget about him — until he suddenly becomes important very late in the series. During the Fourth Great Ninja War, he supplements the Akatsuki's side with a whole army of White Zetsu clones. Even more importantly, it's revealed that he's the mastermind behind many of the events that led up to the war. 

Given how little is known about Zetsu's character at this point in the story, this revelation is surprising, but not very exciting. Even though he manipulates some of the strongest characters in the series, deals the final blow to Madara, and successfully brings Kaguya into the war in Episode 458, all of Zetsu's efforts come a little too late for them to be appreciated in full. Everything involving him happens so abruptly after such a long lull that the viewer hasn't built any real investment in the character once he finally makes his move.

9. Kakuzu

Much like his partner Hidan, Kakuzu possesses a certain degree of immortality. He has multiple hearts that his opponents must go through before they can actually kill him, which makes him a real pain to fight against. This asset is pretty impressive. But his underwhelming motives keep him from being a more impactful member of the Akatsuki, or a more memorable character.

Many of the other Akatsuki members have something meaningful that motivates them to fight. Nagato and Konan strive for peace, Itachi does what he can for his younger brother, and Sasori's entire origin story centers around the loss of his parents. Even Deidara acts out of his deep love of art. As a bounty hunter, Kakuzu is mostly driven by money, which he talks about in the midst of battle. For example, in Episode 85 of "Naruto Shippuden," Kakuzu casually comments on how high Shikamaru's bounty will be in the future as he fights Kakashi. There's just nothing else to him, aside from his money obsession and multiple hearts, which makes him a so-so villain. This stands out especially vividly among the Akatsuki, who often contain interesting hidden depths.

Kakuzu might rank a little higher if he had a specific reason for seeking money, such as helping those in poverty or funding a project that he feels passionate about. Unfortunately, that's not the case. He's all about the money, period. It appears as though nothing else really matters to him.

8. Orochimaru

Orochimaru is one of the most prominent villains in "Naruto." He plays a huge role in convincing Sasuke to join the dark side, which automatically puts him higher in the rankings than several other Akatsuki members. His greatest accomplishment, however, comes when he kills the Third Hokage, a moment that changes everything for Naruto and the people of the Leaf Village. He's also the only Akatsuki member to make it out in one piece by the end of the series — a noteworthy feat, considering how often "Naruto" villains are killed off for good. 

That being said, Orochimaru's time as an Akatsuki member is pretty limited. In fact, he's already left the group by the time he's introduced during the Chunin Exams. After abandoning the Leaf Village, Orochimaru joined the Akatsuki and partnered up with Sasori. In an attempt to take over an Uchiha body, Orochimaru confronted fellow Akatsuki member Itachi, but was no match for the Sharingan's genjutsu. As a result of that failure, Orochimaru lost a hand and left the Akatsuki. Other than that, not much is known about his time with the Akatsuki. If he had stayed in the group longer, he could have had the potential to rank a lot higher. But he doesn't, so he lands near the middle of this list.

7. Sasori

Sasori is the first Akatsuki member to die in the series, so he doesn't get much time to build a solid resume of dastardly deeds. Still, his complicated backstory and exciting battle against Sakura and Chiyo make him a fairly memorable character. As Sasori's grandmother, Chiyo recalls the tragic circumstances that led him down such a dark path. Kakashi's father killed Sasori's parents, which left the boy struggling without love or support from a very young age. 

In that regard, he earns a few potent sympathy points from the audience. He also gets points for giving Sakura the opportunity to fight without hiding behind the rest of her team, something she's guilty of for much of the rest of the series. His intent to kill forces her to step up alongside Chiyo and prove how far she's come as a ninja. He comes at the duo with poisons, blades, and the Third Kazekage's iron sand, but it just isn't enough to stop the two kunoichi. The whole battle is a delight to watch for Sakura fans, and even though it's what leads to Sasori's demise, it makes him a more memorable member of the Akatsuki than he would otherwise be.

6. Deidara

One of the most destructive "Naruto" villains, Deidara has an undeniable appeal. He has an intriguingly wicked appearance, a very bold personality, and a few big fights under his belt, which separate him from the rest of the pack. His wacky look is not only unique, in fact — it goes hand-in-hand with his genuine enthusiasm for chaos and art. He sums it up with his famous line from Episode 125 of "Naruto Shippuden," "Art is an explosion." That's pretty much the essence of his character.

In terms of fighting, Deidara's value as a member of the Akatsuki becomes dramatically obvious when we take a look at the opponents he faces. At the beginning of "Naruto Shippuden," he's tasked with kidnapping Gaara, who is both the Jinchuriki of the One-Tail and the Kazekage of Sunagakure. There are few fighters who can match the power of a Jinchuriki or Kage, and yet Deidara still manages to successfully defeat and capture Gaara. That's undeniably impressive.

Later in the series, Deidara faces another notable opponent in Sasuke. Throughout their battle, Deidara shows off his art bombs and becomes infuriated when Sasuke doesn't acknowledge his talents. The young Akatsuki member nearly succeeds in killing his foe with one final explosion, but falls short after Sasuke escapes at the expense of his snake, Manda. Despite that disappointment, Deidara clearly does a lot of work for the Akatsuki, and really knows how to go out with a bang.

5. Konan

Konan is the only female member of the Akatsuki, as well as the one who is closest to their leader, Pain. She's also very different from a lot of the other Akatsuki members in terms of personality. While many Akatsuki fighters are obnoxious and out for blood, like Hidan and Deidara, Konan is calm, quiet, and won't pick a fight with someone unless she has a good reason to do so. This makes her a much more likable character, and far less of a villain compared to her compatriots. It almost feels as though she doesn't quite belong in an organization filled with such vile folks — but in fact, it's revealed in flashbacks that she's actually a founding member who hopes to fulfill the Akatsuki's ultimate goal.

To be fair to Konan, the original Akatsuki — formed by her, Nagato, and Yahiko — wasn't the same villainous group that opposes Naruto throughout the series. They admirably strove for peace out of deep and admirable convictions. The newer Akatsuki members might not care as much about that lofty goal, but Konan continues to hang onto her dream, right up until Pain's defeat. From that point on, she trusts Naruto to find a more humane way to bring peace to the shinobi world. It's clear that her heart is in the right place, which is why she ranks fairly high on our list.

4. Obito

Obito joins the Akatsuki under the name Tobi after Sasori's death, and quickly becomes the most mysterious character in the entire series. The enigma hidden behind his iconic mask adds a huge amount of intrigue to the story, and keeps the viewers guessing until the very end. After getting a glimpse of his Sharingan, many start to believe that Tobi is actually Madara Uchiha, the famed leader of the Uchiha clan. Obito pretends to be Madara — until the real Madara is reincarnated, and his mask is destroyed during the Fourth Great Ninja War. This results in one of the biggest moments in "Naruto."

With Obito's true face revealed, Kakashi immediately identifies him as his childhood friend and teammate, who supposedly died in the previous war. The Obito Kakashi knew was a kind and gentle person with a good head on his shoulders. He's always been remembered as a hero who put his friends before the mission. But this completely changes when our heroes learn that he's actually one of their greatest enemies. Obito eventually has a change of heart, and assists Naruto in fighting Madara and Kaguya, but it's hard to overlook all the damage he does to the ninja world. If he hadn't turned evil in the first place, he would have remained one of the most admirable ninjas in the "Naruto" universe. Instead, he earns himself a high ranking in the Akatsuki for all the mystery and chaos he creates.

3. Kisame

Kisame is one of the first Akatsuki members to make an appearance in the series, and ends up outlasting most of them. Naturally, this gives him more opportunities to prove his worth throughout the story. With his chakra-hungry blade Samehada in hand, Kisame takes on impressive foes like taijutsu specialist Might Guy and the Eight-Tails Jinchuriki Killer B. His fights against Guy are especially notable, considering the fact that he's one of the most powerful characters in the series when it comes to pure physical strength. In Kisame's first big battle against Guy's team, he uses a clone at only 30% of his full power to take on Rock Lee, Neji, Tenten, and their teacher. Kisame fares pretty well against the four Leaf ninja, and truly tests their limits.

Later on, Kisame and Guy have a rematch at the Falls of Truth. This time, Kisame is able to fight at full power, and forces Guy to open the seventh gate. Although he ultimately loses the battle and dies shortly afterward, Kisame puts up a phenomenal fight against a true powerhouse, and shows a respectable amount of persistence that many of his fellow Akatsuki members lack.

2. Nagato/Pain

Nagato is ranked as highly as he is for several reasons. Firstly, he has one of the most fleshed-out backstories in the Akatsuki, which gives his character impressive depth. Secondly, he triggers one of the most intense arcs in the series. Thirdly, he fully acknowledges the error of his ways and atones for his sins. 

As the original founder and leader of the Akatsuki, Nagato has a specific goal he wishes to accomplish through the terror and destruction caused by his group. Because of the Second Great Ninja War, he grew up as an orphan and experienced the pain and suffering that are caused by violence firsthand. As a result, Nagato intends to use the Akatsuki to make the entire world experience pain, in the hopes that everyone will then learn to forgo war for the sake of a more decent future. As twisted as this plan is, Nagato's backstory gives him a valid motive to create world peace at all costs. He's an excellent example of someone who becomes a villain to do what they believe is the right thing. This is the crux of what makes his character so complex and intriguing, especially compared to the rest of the Akatsuki.

By the end of the Pain arc, Naruto convinces Nagato to abandon his approach in favor of something that isn't as extreme. As a way to redeem himself, Nagato puts his faith in Naruto and revives everyone in the village who died during the assault.

1. Itachi

For much of the series, Itachi has both Sasuke and the audience convinced that he's a ruthless villain who murdered the rest of his clan. This, however, changes after the final battle between the two brothers takes place. In the wake of Itachi's death, it's revealed in a shocking twist that his motives were much more complex than they'd always seemed to be. From that point on, his character quickly goes from heartless murderer to loving older brother. As it turns out, he has the biggest heart among the Akatsuki.

Itachi was pressured by Danzo to kill his own family for the sake of the whole village. This obviously wasn't an easy decision, but he followed through with Danzo's mission because he felt that it was the only way to spare the life of his younger brother, Sasuke. In this way, Itachi painted himself as the bad guy, so that Sasuke could live on to become a respected shinobi and, eventually, a hero of the village. The sacrifices Itachi makes for Sasuke make him one of the greatest characters in the series, despite the fact that he's part of such a feared criminal organization. No other Akatsuki member can say they've made the selfless decisions Itachi has.