Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Zabuza Momochi Details That Naruto Fans Should Feast Their Eyes On

The anime adaptation of "Naruto" is adored all over the world because of the unique characters, gripping story, and, of course, the well-written villains. Many of them are straight up evil, but others are hard to hate. One such villain is Zabuza Momochi — a ninja from the Hidden Mist Village who turns to the dark side. We see him only briefly in the Land of the Waves arc, but he quickly proves that he's not a one-dimensional character incapable of redemption.

In the little time that we see the so-called Demon of the Hidden Mist, he manages to present himself as a legitimate threat to the heroes. Zabuza spends his time on the show fighting with Kakashi Hatake and his team before meeting a tragic end. Despite his relatively short stint on the show, there's a lot about this character that you might not know. Here are 12 details about Zabuza Momochi that you might have missed in the anime.

Zabuza Momochi: The Man

There's some lore attached to Zabuza's name beyond the moniker he's infamous for. His first name, Zabuza, translates to "never cut twice." His surname Momochi might be inspired by a real-life ninja leader from the Iga Clan, named Momochi Sandayu. In a less history-oriented sense, Zabuza's last name might even translate into "peach soil," which follows a different kind of tradition — every member of the Seven Swordsmen except one has their last names derived from several types of vegetables. 

While we discuss Zabuza, it should also be mentioned that when the ninja is introduced to us in the anime, he's 26 years old. We also find out that he became a genin when he was 9. While introducing the Demon to his students, Kakashi says that Zabuza massacred the Academy students, "10 years ago in the Village Hidden in the Mist." This means that Zabuza would be at least 15 years old when he kills the other Academy students. This might be a loophole in the story that doesn't match with the rest of Zabuza's life history, but it might be something Kishimoto forgot to correct later on. 

His brief appearance in the third Naruto OVA

You might be forgiven for thinking that someone as skilled as Zabuza gets far too little screen-time in "Naruto" and "Naruto: Shippuden." Be that as it may, you can always see him in the several "Naruto" games where he's a playable character. He also makes a cameo with his trusted sidekick Haku in the third "Naruto" OVA. "Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival!" came out in the U.S. in late 2008, but the TV premiere featured just the original version in Japanese. The English dub can be found exclusively as a DVD extra.

In this brief episode, Zabuza can be found participating as part of some team in the sports festival. Haku, on the other hand, is found waiting in a long queue for the men's restroom. Funnily, these two aren't the only known faces, as several other characters make cameos, especially in the queue for the men's room. The Akatsuki members, Kisame and Itachi, as well as Kabuto, Gaara, and the beloved Ramen guy are also waiting their turn to use the washroom.

Demon of the Hidden Mist

The world of "Naruto" is not exactly the fairest when it comes to children. For example, 12-year-olds are frequently forced into tests where weapons, brutal attacks, and even murders are allowed. However, the Hidden Mist clan went to a whole new level of messed up when they made their academy graduates fight one another to the death as the final exam. The reward for maiming, brutalizing, and even killing your classmates is the possibility of becoming one of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen. Zabuza not only succeeds in this challenge but also slaughters more than one hundred of his classmates — a feat that earns him the infamous "Demon of the Hidden Mist" moniker. 

You would think clearing the playing field by killing that many students would be enough for international infamy, but in the case of Zabuza, he truly becomes globally renowned after joining the ANBU. He then proceeds to join the Seven Swordsmen and continues carrying out heinous tasks, which only helps grow his reputation for ruthlessness and cruelty. Interestingly, he's the last ninja to join this class of an elite but merciless sword-wielders before most of the group's members are killed by Might Duy's taijutsu.

His encounter with Kimimaro

Imagine facing one of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist and his two proteges with immensely powerful kekkei genkai (bloodline limit). That terrifying ordeal would be the scenario if Zabuza was indeed the soulless monster that his reputation indicates. While on the road, Zabuza and Haku cross paths with Kimimaro, the soon-to-be disciple of Orochimaru. Kimimaro's kekkei genkai hasn't eluded the Demon, and he knows that having Kimimaro's shikotsumyaku — the ability to manipulate one's skeletal structure into weapons — in addition to Haku's ice release would make his team an unstoppable force. 

However, the would-be sole survivor of the Kaguya Clan, Kimimaro departs after a brief conversation with the duo and Zabuza doesn't object. It's bad enough that Zabuza makes Haku a partner in his crimes and is training him to be as strong as he is — something Zabuza isn't too happy about. Zabuza doesn't want the same for another kid who could, in Zabuza's reasoning, have a better life if he doesn't join the two. Thus, no matter how useful Kimimaro's kekkei genkai may have been, Zabuza shows a rare kindness by not inviting a child to join a group of assassins and killers.

Becoming Gato's henchman

When we're first introduced to Zabuza in the series, he comes off as a paid thug, moonlighting as a murderous monster. However, the member of the storied Seven Ninja Swordsmen didn't originally picture his 20s as serving as a mercenary for a crime boss. In fact, Zabuza's decision to act as a mercenary is driven by a deeper, and more profound reason. Of course, that reason involves killings and murders. 

Hidden Mist wasn't exactly the Village of the Year during Fourth Mizukage (water shadow) Yagura Karatachi's reign. Be it pitting kids in a battle to the death to determine the better ninja or earning the nickname "Bloody Mist," Karatachi's actions had disillusioned the Demon of the Hidden Mist. Zabuza planned an attack on the Mizukage's life to remove him and rid his childhood village of the growing corruption, but a betrayal on the part of his teammates foils the coup d'etat. Although now without a village and surviving in the brutal ninja world of "Naruto" with just Haku at his side, Zabuza isn't letting go of his decision that easily. Trained to be a killing machine since his childhood, Zabuza offers his services as a mercenary to Gato in exchange for money. This money is utilized to make a fresh attempt to overthrow Karatachi — hopefully with trustworthy teammates this time. This is why Team 7 — comprising Naruto, Sasuke, Sakura, and their mentor Kakashi — sees Zabuza and Haku acting as paid thugs for Gato.

When he chooses not to help

In the brief screentime that Zabuza receives, we see him through the eyes of dislike and mistrust, partly because of his grim moniker and the ominous sword that he carries around. However, to understand his actions, one needs to look past his current employment and probably quite a few murders. 

The anime gives Zabuza a little more character than that of just a henchman. He and Haku are seen standing afar and witnessing the invasion of Hidden Mist by the members of the Kaguya Clan. The two watch their childhood village being attacked but don't make a move to help the people or fight back against the attackers. At first glance, this makes first-time watchers despise Zabuza even more, at least until his death. 

In hindsight, Zabuza and Haku are watching an attack on the same village that has thrown them away — the Ninja Swordsman had to flee for his life and Haku wasn't treated like a part of the village from the start. Any loyalty that Zabuza feels for the village where he was born is destroyed that day when his teammates betray him. Speaking of loyalty, Haku is only loyal to the person who accepted him — Zabuza. So, the two don't have any moral obligation or feelings of affection left for Hidden Mist while they watch it burn.

A talented shinobi

Although his appearance certainly says otherwise, Zabuza wasn't always the ruthless mercenary that "Naruto" fans are introduced to. Before he becomes a mercenary paid to do dirty work, Zabuza values the role of shinobi and has great hopes for the ninjas, even believing that they could elevate themselves to the position of the ruling class. Previously, he wasn't the monstrous and bloodthirsty swordsman that we know him as — apparently, he was once charismatic enough to inspire people. However, this all changes when he is betrayed by his own and forced to escape. It can be assumed that it's around this time when he discards his faith that shinobis could join the ruling class and degrades the purpose of his brethren to that of tools of war. 

Zabuza abandons his beliefs and ideals back in his village when he runs from Hidden Mist in order to save his life. Now a hardened murderer, the Demon doesn't question his orders or think before carrying out murders. This immense fall from grace leads many of his followers who had joined him during his escape to ultimately abandon him, except for Haku. However, this is probably because Haku doesn't know better than blind loyalty and carrying out tasks as asked of him. 

His immense combat stats

Remember the times when "Naruto" is all about shurikens, fast attacks with blades, and proper ninjas who just have their weapons and chakra instead of gods like Isshiki and the massive Ten Tails Statue? Back then, the ninjas could only rely on their combat skills to fight and survive, and this is where the "Naruto" databooks prove useful to demonstrate the statistics of each character in the series. If the few times we have seen Zabuza Momochi launch an attack on Team 7 say anything, it's that the Ninja Swordsman is immensely skilled at every technique save genjutsu. Granted, without a proper dōjutsu (eye technique), it's not possible for a ninja to do genjutsu. However, all of Zabuza's other statistics are insanely high, according to the official "Naruto" databooks that Masashi Kishimoto released. 

The speed, strength, and stamina with which we have seen him clash with Team 7 make it clear that he isn't lacking in any of these departments. The databook ranks these skills at four each, along with his hand seal-making ability. A master at hand-to-hand combat and capable of carrying out water-style attacks with ease, his taijutsu and ninjutsu are both marked at an impressive four and a half. The book ranks his intelligence at three. Finally, his lowest trait of genjutsu is marked at two and a half. For reference, the databooks rank the Sharingan-wielding Itachi Uchiha's genjutsu prowess at five, while his stamina is ranked at two and a half.

Not giving in to external control

During his 26 years of life, Zabuza is never known to shy away from an opportunity to shed blood and kill people. Growing up with the blood of more than a hundred classmates on his hands, killing is everything that he knows and how he earns a living. However, we see a different side of him when he's brought back by Kabuto's Edo Tensei jutsu (reanimation technique) and made to be a part of the Fourth Shinobi World War. 

Zabuza is a staunch believer that the purpose of a ninja's life is to serve as a tool and to be discarded once it is no longer needed. However, he also believes that a ninja who finally dies after a lifetime of killing and brutality has earned his rest. Therefore, being forced out of his well-deserved retirement in the grave, Zabuza hates the idea of being used in someone else's war, even after his death. When the Orochimaru protege Kabuto attempts to remove the consciousness of the reanimated ninjas, Zabuza requests his former enemy Kakashi to undo this cursed situation so that he doesn't have to spill any more blood. It seems spending some time in the afterlife has reformed the Ninja Swordsman. 

Zabuza's Executioner's Blade

Canonically, Momochi is one of the three ninjas ever who have owned the massive broadsword known as the Executioner's Blade. The previous owner of the Kubikiribōchō was Juzo, another Seventh Swordsmen member, and following Zabuza's death, the blade is inherited by Suigetsu of Sasuke's Team Hebi (snake). There has been an anime-only fourth owner of the blade known as Tenzen, a crime boss.

The blade does more than just hack enemies in half, though. Much like Kisame's Samehada has a special power of eating up chakra, the Kubikiribōchō can repair itself no matter how broken or damaged it might be. All it needs to regenerate is the iron it harvests from the blood of the victims it cuts down. This process is almost instantaneous so that the wielder can go right on killing people without worrying about the sword losing its edge. Sounds like the ideal weapon for the Demon of the Hidden Mist.

Haku's importance

Haku is brought up by Zabuza with the knowledge that he is to serve as a tool to do his master's bidding, and he does so with his dying breath. At the Great Naruto Bridge when Kakashi charges at Zabuza with his Lightning Cutter, Haku throws himself between the two shinobis and offers himself as a human shield. Zabuza doesn't seem too bothered that his partner is dead and his corpse is being disrespected by Gato. Naruto rants about Haku's loyalty and his feelings towards his master that Zabuza supposedly ignores. 

At Naruto's words, the Demon is affected enough to weep for his fallen partner and looks at Naruto to say, "You talk too much, kid ... your words cut deep ... deeper than any blade." He proceeds to kill Gato before submitting to the wounds inflicted upon him. Through his moist eyes and heartfelt words, it's revealed that the Ninja Swordsman of Hidden Mist had always valued Haku and his importance in his life, in his own way. It's only after the boy's death that the Demon's emotions pour out for the tool and Team 7 ends up burying the two together somewhere peaceful. 

An inspired death

No true-blue Naruto fan can forget Zabuza's death when he wildly charges at Gato and his henchmen with just a kunai in his mouth before being killed. Not only does he kill Gato, but also manages to attack several of his hired thuds before being overpowered. Apparently, this was inspired from an actual historical event of the Heian period of Japan. The death of the Demon of Hidden Mist is most likely inspired from the story of a warrior monk, Saitō Musashibō Benkei who fought to his death on a bridge to protect his friend. The warrior didn't let any of the enemies cross and had killed around three hundred enemies before finally succumbing to the numerous wounds.

By the time the enemies gained courage to cross the bridge, they found that Benkei had died in a standing position, much like how Zabuza stands — battered, bloody, but never giving up to his dying breath. As it turns out, Kishimoto used some actual historical references in creating his masterpiece.