Wayne Rock, Anime Head Writer
I’m starting this one with a Tailed Beast-sized SPOILER warning. Seriously, don’t even continue reading if you haven’t seen the latest episodes of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Alright, if you’re still here I’m not responsible for what you see next.
If you have been following the events of nobody’s favourite new generation ninja, in a last ditch attempt to save Boruto and Sasuke Kurama sacrifices himself in spectacular fashion. I’ll spare the details because this one is definitely going on this list, but seeing Naruto say goodbye to his longtime parasite-turned-ally made me think of my favourite moments of this dynamic duo together. From OG Naruto to Shippuden to Boruto, here are my Top 5 Naruto and Kurama Moments:
Honorable Mention: Gamabunta becomes the Kyuubi
Way back in the original Naruto series, during the Chunin Exam Arc, Naruto faced off against a mentally deteriorating Gaara, who was hellbent on destruction. A jinchuuriki himself, like Naruto, Gaara had the ability to summon his inner beast, Shukaku. To try to end Gaara’s rampage and save Sakura and Sasuke (and the entire Leaf Village) Naruto summons the toad boss, Gamabunta. Bunta is able to face off against Shukaku for a while, until Gaara puts himself to sleep, allowing Shukaku access to 100 percent of his power. After figuring out that they need to punch Gaara in his gigantic, red-haired, dead-eyed face, Shukaku explains that as essentially a giant frog, he doesn’t have the claws or teeth necessary to hold Shukaku in place for Naruto to hit Gaara like Swizzle Stickman hit Mouttxt.
He then tells Naruto about a combination transformation jutsu that will allow him to transform into such a creature, but that Naruto is the one who has to imagine it and then Bunta will become whatever Naruto envisions. Naruto is stumped for a while, but eventually he remembers the Kyuubi and we get to see, for the first time (other than briefly in the flashback of the first episode) a fully realised nine-tailed fox in all his glory. The resulting fight is epic and is really our first glimpse into the sheer scale of some of the battles that Naruto was capable of. Maybe I’m giving Kishimoto too much credit, but this also may have been foreshadowing of Naruto and Kurama eventually becoming a team and working together. Remember, at this stage Kurama was simply known as the Kyuubi; the nine-tailed fox and his relationship with Naruto was a reluctant, forced one predicated on survival. This moment however, though it doesn’t quite meet the criteria to join the main list, is certainly worth mentioning.
#5 You owe me rent
Kicking things off at number five is a moment that shocked Naruto watchers across the globe. Naruto had finally found a mentor in the perverted hermit Jiraiya, who undid Orochimaru’s seal allowing Naruto to once again access the Kyuubi’s chakra. Naruto, however, can’t seem to grasp how to do the summoning jutsu Jiraiya is trying to teach him, and in an act of desperation, Jiraiya throws him off a cliff. As Naruto falls to his death (you know as they normally do in a children’s show) his fear brings him face to face with the monster inside him. As Kyuubi taunts his host, Naruto reminds him that if he dies they both die, ending with a final, impertinent demand, “Since you’re staying in my body, as your rent, lend me your chakra!”
Kyuubi, impressed with Naruto’s guts, grants him his request, paying his “rent” and allowing Naruto access to the seemingly Pitch Lake-levels of chakra reserves in order to summon Gamabunta and not die. At this point in the series, Kyuubi had been established as this unstoppable monster that every single villager in the Leaf was scared of. So to see Naruto stare him down and demand his chakra was the stuff of legend. Seeing the Kyuubi comply, well that, that earns it a spot on this list.
#4 More than Frenemies
Given Naruto and Kurama’s parasitic yet symbiotic relationship, it was a big surprise when the narrative started to delve into Kurama’s character and fleshed him out into a more sympathetic personality. Kurama was always willing to help Naruto, usually giving him a much needed chakra boost, but it was always out of self-preservation, as if his vessel perished, so would the tailed beast. This all changed when Naruto straight out tells Kurama that he would be coming for the hatred within his unwilling captor as well.
However, it’s after Kurama witnesses Naruto’s determination to save the life of Son Goku the Four Tails that he finally decides to fully trust Naruto, merging their chakra. For the first time in the series they move past their relationship based on self-preservation into one of trust and support. Naruto, touched by Kurama’s offer, opens the seal keeping him caged and acknowledges him as a valuable member of the Leaf Village. In a series that was once heavily focused on the negative consequences of breaking that seal, and considering it was once Kurama’s goal to forcibly destroy said seal and kill Naruto, it was an unforgettable moment seeing the image of Naruto standing in front of his new best friend, cage open, smiles all around.
#3 Two-Man Team
Immediately following the number four moment, Naruto and Kurama’s chakra merging enables a new form known as Bijuu Mode. Naruto becomes immensely powerful, allowing him to deflect Bijuu bombs from all of the other tailed beasts simultaneously.
We also get to see Naruto cloak himself with his new chakra and create a giant, energy kaiju form that is an avatar of Kurama, showing them for once as truly a two-man team. Of course this is an anime so in true anime fashion Naruto is only able to hold this form for five minutes initially. This is more than enough to do some considerable damage, however, but more importantly, it was just amazing to finally see what the combined, controlled force of a Naruto and Kurama combo can do.
#2 The Ultimate Sacrifice
The latest and probably the most touching Naruto and Kurama moment comes neither of the Naruto-focused series’ but in his son’s. In a show that’s supposed to be focused on the next generation, it’s kind of funny that the most memorable moments somehow always involve the old Team 7. This is probably why the writers decided to take the opportunity to nerf both Naruto and Sasuke in the same arc, so that they could actually focus on the true main characters of the series. I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea what led to the events of this particular moment, since I only watch Boruto when the original Team 7 takes the stage, but according to the Naruto wiki, an enemy called Isshiki Otsutsuki, a member of the same clan as Momoshiki, was giving Naruto and Sasuke some trouble to defeat. In a last ditch effort Kurama tells Naruto of a “final move” that would grant Naruto a level of power able to rival and even surpass the godlike Isshiki, at the cost of Naruto’s life.
The Seventh Hokage, always ready to lay down his life for his village and understanding that it is the only way to save his son, accepts the terms, revealing his most powerful form yet, Baryon Mode. The new form is visually striking, representing a true merging of Naruto and Kurama without having them become a Kaiju. Normally Kurama’s chakra manifests as a bright yellow cloak around Naruto, but here it is a deep red along with nine mini tails. The Chakra even gives Naruto Kurama’s signature dark eye shadow look and his ears, an indicator that it is truly an equal mixture of the two. Because anime rules, Baryon mode does not come without a cost, as unnecessary movements drains the user of chakra reserves faster than normal, thus Naruto is uncharacteristically reserved and calculated, relying on an amazing display of Taijutsu we have never seen from normally wild, loud ninja.
This also leads to one of the best verbal utterances of the word Rasengan ever in the series, as instead of yelling it, Naruto simply calmly and firmly says it. Eventually, though, the epic moment is over before Isshiki is quite defeated and Kurama reveals that it was not Naruto who would perish, but himself. He made the ultimate sacrifice, ending their forced life together on his terms, to save his best friend. Naruto fans across the globe shed a tear for the nine tailed fox and his presence will be missed.
#1 Bro Fist
Though the number two entry is a lot more emotional than this particular memory, this gets the top spot because it was part of Naruto’s series (and not his whiny son’s) and also because it took place at the climax of Shippuden. During Naruto and Sasuke’s final battle, after which they have kicked the crap out of each other, Naruto is exhausted and no longer has any chakra to continue fighting. Kurama, sensing this, tells Naruto that he will give him the remainder of his chakra but again, anime rules, it comes with the consequence of Kurama’s presence fading (basically he goes to sleep and won’t be able to guide Naruto).
Naruto accepts and with some parting advice to help him avoid Sasuke’s attacks, Kurama gifts his friend his powers and fades away, but not before a signature fist bump. Naruto smiles knowingly, realising that Kurama now trusts him completely to win the fight on his own and ensure both of their survival. Of course Naruto does win and he and Kurama go on to have a long friendship and partnership until the events of entry #2, but the moment was incredibly memorable due to its demonstration of how much Naruto and Kurama’s relationship had evolved. It was also indicative, not only of Kurama’s trust in Naruto, but also his investment in Naruto’s friendship with Sasuke as the yellow-haired future Hokage was trying to save the wayward Uchiha. Whereas their first fist bump was still in that new friendship stage (Kurama still took the time to act as though he didn’t care) and their last fist bump represented their goodbye, this one was a simple reminder of their unbreakable bond and that’s why it takes my number one spot.
I hope you enjoyed reading my Top 5 picks for Naruto and Kurama Moments throughout the years. Feel free to share any of your picks in the comments section below. I’ll catch you whenever Team 7 shows up again in Boruto or in another anime, because there is no way your boy is watching Boruto.
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Wayne loves to complain, and that was an unintentional rhyme. When I’m not watching movies, TV, anime or trophy hunting on PS4, you can usually find me deep in my thoughts preparing my next scathing review of a bad movie. I think Zack Snyder’s take on superheroes is terrible and that The Quick and the Dead is actually a decent movie. I re-watch Death Note every year. Unlike the other fine writers on this site, I’m not a critic, but I can definitely Rock a review…(Read More)