Best Changes Between Naruto Manga & Anime

Gaara sand shield Sasuke in jail and Hinata confession

The Naruto anime stays fairly faithful to its manga overall, especially when it comes to the overarching plot. However, fans have noticed quite a few differences between Naruto‘s manga and anime over the years. For example, like many long-running anime, Naruto is notorious for its filler episodes. However, there are quite a few elements from Masashi Kishimoto’s manga that fans don’t miss.

RELATED: 10 Anime Adaptations That Disappointed Manga Readers

TV and manga are very different mediums and there are a variety of reasons a storyline or plot point might not work as an anime. Naruto is one of the most important manga of all time but fans continue to appreciate the differences between them, and in many cases are relieved that the anime diverged from its source material.

Updated by Matthew Z. Wood on 5/8/2023: CBR is committed to updating its popular articles, making sure they are formatted for easier reading and greater utility for our audience.



10 Naruto’s Manga Is Blood-Soaked

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Naruto is a series about ninjas, so a certain amount of blood feels natural in its violent stories. However, the difference between the family-friendly anime and the manga can be pretty disturbing.

It’s not surprising that the Naruto anime is a lot less bloody. Even its most intense fights feel toned down compared to the bloodshed that permeates the manga. Some fans honestly miss this element but plenty of others are relieved that they don’t have to put up with a goofball ninja gorefest.

9 Gaara Is Softer

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Gaara scowling in the Naruto anime

When Gaara first appears during the Chunin Exams arc of Naruto, he’s nothing short of terrifying. His fellow genin are all pretty scared of him too, noting that he reeks of blood. As dangerous as Gaara seems in the anime, he’s far worse in the manga.

Some Naruto fans even argue that Gaara’s irredeemable in the manga since he kills a massive number of people. Anime Gaara is far softer in comparison, and fans are very glad of the change. Gaara’s one of the most popular characters in the series and most anime-only fans would be shocked to see how brutal and cruel he can be in the manga.

8 Jiraiya Likable In The Naruto Manga

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Jiraiya striking a pose in Boruto anime

Jiraiya is a major part of the Naruto franchise as well as one of the most beloved characters. He’s Naruto’s pervy-yet-lovable mentor, and though he’s always had his faults, fans know that he’s ultimately good at heart. While this is the case in either version, the manga presents a much less likable Jiraiya than the one anime fans meet.

In the Naruto manga, Jiraiya is morally corrupt, and sometimes just a jerk. He isn’t a bad person exactly, but the anime made him seem much nicer. For all his flaws, anime fans love Jiraiya, so it’s probably for the best that the anime changed his personality.

7 Kimimaro’s Power Is Gruesome In The Manga

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Kimimaro using his kekkei genkai in Naruto anime

As previously stated, the Naruto anime dials it down when it comes to blood and gore in battles, so it’s no surprise that Kimimaro changed a lot. He’s able to use his own bones as weapons, constantly pulling them out of his body. In the manga, this makes for some pretty graphic imagery.

RELATED: 10 Ways Naruto Got Better Since The First Episode

However, in the Naruto anime, Kimimaro’s bone removal is a lot tamer. Granted, it seems strange when he pulls his bloodless bones out of his body but given the weird magic that permeates Naruto, it doesn’t really strain the suspension of disbelief.

6 The Naruto Anime Lets Hinata Shine

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Hinata protecting Naruto in the anime.

Romance has always been one of Naruto‘s weaker points, and Hinata’s confession of love in the manga epitomizes this problem. Even fans who don’t ship Hinata and Naruto together can’t help but feel frustrated by the way Pain takes her out instantly after she pours her heart out to Naruto.

Thankfully, the Naruto anime gives Hinata the spotlight she deserves during this moment, allowing her to hold her own against Pain and even showing Naruto’s reaction. Anime and manga fans alike agree that this version of the confession is far superior and gives Hinata more dignity.

5 Sai & Sasuke’s Sexy Jutsu Scene Is Less Weird In The Anime

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Naruto’s Sexy Jutsu is one of his funniest and most iconic abilities throughout the series. He’s been able to subdue many foes with just this one technique. However, this pales in comparison to what Konohamaru does with the Jutsu in the manga. In one instance, he creates sexy versions of Naruto’s teammates, Sasuke and Sai, hoping to get a rise out of Sakura.

While it’s somewhat funny, there’s a lot wrong with this questionable move and the Naruto manga creeped out a lot of fans here. Thankfully, the anime censors a lot of what made this moment feel weird, sparing both Sakura Haruno and the audience.

4 The Anime Perfects Naruto & Sasuke’s Final Fight

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Sasuke Uchiha vs Naruto Uzumaki in the Naruto anime

As the final showdown of the series, Naruto and Sasuke’s last battle is the epic climax of both the manga and the anime. However, the manga’s depiction of their battle is much more straightforward, mostly focusing on the fight itself.

The Naruto anime decides to take things a bit further, delving into the emotional side of the battle and what’s going on inside Naruto’s and Sasuke’s heads. While it’s not a completely accurate adaptation of this moment in the manga, the anime actually improved on it by giving it emotional weight.

3 In The Naruto Anime, All The Fallen Ninja Matter

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Naruto Cast at Neji's Funeral in the anime

At the end of the Fourth Great Ninja War in the manga, everyone gathers together for a funeral to say goodbye to Neji, a major character who tragically lost his life while saving his friends. While this was a touching moment, it undermined the many other deaths that were just as deserving of recognition.

RELATED: 10 Ways Naruto Got Worse Since The First Episode

Thankfully, the Naruto anime decides to change this bit, opting instead to honor all fallen ninja during the funeral. It honors everyone equally for their efforts in the war and doesn’t treat people as expendable.

2 Sakura Isn’t Helpless In The Anime

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Sakura Haruno is infamous for being the most useless member of Team 7. From the start, she’s leagues below her teammates, and she’s good for very little aside from crying and getting in the way. Like everyone else, she goes through a great deal of development, but the manga doesn’t let her grow enough. It regularly turns her into a helpless damsel in distress.

While the Naruto anime adapts a lot of these moments from the manga, some scenes get changed up, allowing Sakura to save herself occasionally. It’s a small change and probably too little, too late, but even a little bit of strength makes Sakura a much better character.

1 Sasuke Is Punished For His Crimes In The Anime

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One of the most frustrating aspects of the Naruto manga is the way every atrocity Sasuke commits is glossed over, especially in the end. Despite the horrors he perpetrated, he gets a full pardon from Konoha and sees absolutely no consequences for his actions. Much to fans’ relief, the anime rejected this plot. Sasuke had to face his punishment before he left on his atonement journey.

Naruto fans got a glimpse of this at the very end of the series, with Sasuke in a cell, restrained, and his eye abilities sealed. Though he was only imprisoned for a brief time, it was a cathartic and symbolic victory. Seeing Sasuke get away scot-free felt unjust and unnatural, and didn’t fit in well with Naruto‘s world.

NEXT: 10 Fastest Attacks In Naruto


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