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The Naruto Villain With A Surprisingly Sympathetic Backstory

Countless villains have made their mark on Naruto fans over the course of the series' expansive story. From Haku in its first proper story arc to perennial baddies like the members of the Akatsuki, Naruto's villains are often defined not by their misdeeds but by their motivations. Thus, many of the series' bad guys end up granted a form of redemption, whether that comes prior to their death or results in their rehabilitation.

Kaguya Otsutsuki is something of an original Naruto villain. In the story arc in which she serves as its big bad, it's revealed that she was the source of all Chakra users on Earth dating back to centuries before the series' start. That means that virtually none of Naruto's heroes and villains alike would be capable of their super ninja powers were it not for her.

That said, Kaguya's motivations for granting humanity the ability to wield otherworldly powers were ultimately less than noble. Thus, in both her backstory as the progenitor of all magical ninjas and in her revival during the timeline of Naruto, she serves as a villain.

However, she wasn't always driven by evil. Upon Kaguya's introduction to humanity, she was so enamored with what she encountered that she initially acted as a sort of savior to the human race. Ultimately, in typical Naruto fashion, despite Kaguya's villainous behavior, her backstory reveals her to be a sympathetic, tragic figure.

Kaguya's fall from grace before becoming a Naruto villain

Kaguya is a member of the Otsutsuki Clan, which is a group of otherworldly beings who convert entire planets into their lifeblood. They do this by planting trees, called God Trees, on their target worlds. Those absorb the Chakra from their host planet and its inhabitants alike, converting their collective energy into fruit that grants the Otsutsuki Clan strength.

Prior to Naruto's main storyline, Kaguya accompanied a high-ranking member of the Otsutsuki Clan named Isshiki to Earth to harvest its God Tree. Kaguya was a low-ranking member of the clan and intended to be a necessary sacrifice for the God Tree harvest. Once on Earth, however, Kaguya became enamored with humanity and ended up eating the Chakra fruit before it could finish growing properly. This granted her tremendous power and saved humanity from subsumption by the tree.

Her turn toward evil was a result of the betrayal of the human with whom she had connected most. Once she was familiar with humanity's capacity to betray, she directed her considerable power no longer toward living in harmony with humans but toward self-preservation.

This instinct extends to her revival in Naruto's main timeline, in which she serves as a major series villain in a story arc called "Kaguya Otsutsuki Strikes." In that arc, Naruto describes Kaguya as "heartless."

However, viewers are aware that Kaguya's heartlessness is not an inherent personality trait but the end result of a slow descent into madness due to a routine human betrayal. Her drive toward destructive power instead of forgiveness brands her a villain, but her motivations remain relatable all the same.