Millions have grown together with Naruto and have become a part of their childhood. The reason for the show’s success is because of its characters. Kishimoto created many fun, strong, and relatable characters to inspire and root for.
Apart from the heroes, Naruto also has sympathetic, tragic, and not wholly evil villains making them appealing to many fans. Many villains in Naruto want to fix the world as much as Naruto does, but their method is far too extreme. One of these villains is Kabuto Yakushi, an orphan child whose tragic childhood made him the villain today.
In this article, we will talk about Kabuto Yakushi, a former student of the infamous Orochimaru who will become one of the major players of the 4th Shinobi World War. As always, if you haven’t started or finished watching Naruto beware that this article contains spoilers.
Bottom Line Up Front
Kabuto Yakushi is the right-hand man of Orochimaru, one of the three legendary Sannins, along with Tsunade and Jiraiya. Kabuto is a powerful shinobi whose skills in espionage and medicine made him a critical part of Orochimaru’s machinations.
Kabuto felt lost following the death of Orochimaru. Kabuto injected himself with his master’s DNA and acquired the Snake Sannin’s abilities and memories. Kabuto’s mastery over the Impure World Reincarnation Jutsu made him a powerful ally to Obito Uchiha during the 4th Shinobi World War.
Who is Kabuto Yakushi?
Kabuto was once an orphan from a recently destroyed city. A nun named Nonō Yakushi found the boy, who suffered from a head injury that left him with no memories and identity. Urushi, a fellow orphan, gave him a helmet so that the boy won’t be injured again, which gave him the name ”Kabuto”. The nun also gave him his signature circular glass because he has poor eyesight.
Kabuto volunteered to become a member of Root after Danzo Shimura threatened to cut funding for the orphanage. He was attacked by a Hidden Rock Shinobi during one of his missions, but he manages to fatally wound the latter. The shinobi turns out that it was his mother who was unable to recognize him. The traumatic event caused Kabuto to have an identity crisis which will define his character.
Orochimaru explained that Danzo set up the entire mission to cleanly get rid of him and his mother. He further explained to Kabuto that his mother was unable to recognize him because Root has been giving her fake pictures of Kabuto. Feeling betrayed by Root and Hidden Leaf, Kabuto agrees to join Orochimaru and his machinations.
Kabuto: Appearance, Personality, Quotes, and more
Like many major characters in Naruto, Kabuto’s appearance varies across the series. Kabuto’s change reflects the character’s further descent into evil in his quest to have his own identity. According to Kabuto, people mimic the people that they admired the most. This is true for Kabuto as his appearance is directly inspired by the people that have a profound influence on his life.
Kabuto has black eyes and gray hair which he kept in a ponytail. His defining feature was his circular eyeglass which was given by his mother, Nonō. In Part 1 and in the earlier parts of Part 2, Kabuto wore a sleeveless purple shirt with a white shirt underneath, dark purple pants, and a white waistband. When he disguised himself as a Hidden Leaf Shinobi during the Chunin Exam, we wore an armored fingerless glove and the Konoha forehead protector.
Kabuto’s appearance would gradually change after he injected himself with Orochimaru’s DNA. At first, the white scales are only on his left forearm and the left side of his face which can be hidden with a hood. Later on, the scales would spread throughout the body and his eyes became slit and yellow with purple marks surrounding them, similar to Orochimaru’s.
During the 4th Shinobi World War, Kabuto wore a red cloak with a prominent hood that looks like the head of a serpent. Kabuto’s Sage Form makes him a more serpentine appearance with horns growing out of his head.
In the New Era, Kabuto tied his hair into a ponytail again and wore the Orphanage’s staff uniform. Nono and Orochimaru’s influence remained in his appearance; he still wore the circular eyeglass of the former and the scales that he received upon injecting DNA from the latter appears to be permanent.
Kabuto is an enigma to many people. His most trusted allies cannot trust him fully because of his secretive and conflicting nature. He can be respectful and at times, cruel. Friendly and confrontational to peers and enemies. Kabuto manages to hide his true intention due to his experience as a former spy.
Kabuto’s character arc revolves around his lack of identity. Ever since he had amnesia Kabuto has been striving for identity and will be loyal to anyone who will give him one. Nonō’s inability to recognize him when she died shattered his initial identity for himself as it was Nonō who gave him his name. This will start his obsession with making an identity that he can be satisfied with.
Orochimaru told Kabuto that he can build a new identity by using his knowledge and ability. However, it was proven to be unsatisfactory for Kabuto as it was no different from making a fake identity when he was a spy. Kabuto concluded that he will follow Naruto’s example by building an identity that surpasses the people that overshadowed him.
He believes that by surpassing Orochimaru, Kabuto has achieved perfection. Kabuto would become aggressively defensive over his ‘perfect’ self-image during his fight with Sasuke and Itachi. Kabuto only accepted his true identity as the adopted son of Nonō after he was subjugated by Izanami.
Kabuto first appeared as an enigmatic shinobi who just want our heroes to pass the Chunin Exam. It was only revealed later in the arc that Kabuto is not as heroic as he seems to be. The series slowly unravel who Kabuto really was and why he became the villain. Here are some memorable quotes that Kabuto said throughout the series:
“Why didn’t mother recognize me? Why didn’t she remember me? Why? What was the purpose of my life then? What did I receive from her!? My name, being one of her sons, even these glasses. Who is this? This isn’t me. It’s not the real me.”
“After Orochimaru died, I found myself not knowing who I was, again. Without knowing parent or country, I was taken in by the enemy. Since a young age I’ve moved about countries and villages as a spy. To me, things like countries, villages they hold no firm reality in my mind. That was, of course, until I found myself under the wing of Orochimaru, but that presence is gone again. What am I anyway? The pain of not having an identity. I’d think you should understand, Naruto.”
“I decided I wished to be like you as well, Naruto, and for that reason with Lord Orochimaru now integrated into this body, I plan on finding a new “me”, one stronger than Lord Orochimaru himself! Finding a new me. That is the lesson you taught me.”
“My name is a code. My glasses are a tool. I’ve been no one from the start. From the very start I had nothing.”’
“A genius that had everything will never understand. I just want to become myself.”
Many of his quotes was him anguishing over his lack of identity. Kabuto genuinely believed that he can build his identity by serving Orochimaru following the death of his adoptive mother. With the death of Orochimaru at the hands of Sasuke, Kabuto was lost once again.
Naruto has a knack for influencing his opponent. He even influenced Kabuto to forge his own identity by overcoming those that overshadow them. However, Kabuto interpreted Naruto’s struggle as becoming a perfect being. This is the only time where Naruto’s influenced the villain to become even more villainous.
Kabuto is an enigmatic character with an untrustworthy reputation. In this section, we will explore Kabuto’s shifting alliances and enemies as seen in the anime.
Orochimaru recruited Kabuto because he saw his potential and talent. Kabuto grew disillusioned with the Hidden Leaf after Orochimaru told him of Danzo’s machinations. Since then, Kabuto began to build his identity over his servitude to Orochimaru. Orochimaru entrusts Kabuto enough to execute his plans to invade the Hidden Leaf.
Kabuto hid his intentions, and Orochimaru himself is unsure of Kabuto’s true feelings. Orochimaru secretly suspects that his long-time subordinate is planning to undermine him. Kabuto still greatly respected Orochimaru and felt lost after the latter died.
Nonō Yakushi was Kabuto’s adoptive mother. The nun discovered the boy on the outskirt of a ruined city. The boy does not remember anything because of the head injury, and so it was his mother who gave him the name ‘Kabuto’ and his signature circular glass. Kabuto greatly valued her and think of her constantly when he was a spy for Danzo.
Their relationship ended in a tragedy as the two were unknowingly set up to kill each other. Since Root gave Nonō a falsified picture of Kabuto, she was unable to recognize him when they meet for the last time. Her death would lead to Kabuto abandoning his identity and seeking a new one under Orochimaru.
Kabuto and Obito Uchiha are tentative allies for the 4th Shinobi World War. Obito cannot trust Kabuto because he considered Kabuto a traitor to the Akatsuki. Obito only agreed to an alliance with him after Kabuto demonstrated the Impure World Reincarnation Jutsu and blackmailed him with a reanimated Madara.
Kabuto’s true plan is to pit Obito and the Five Shinobi Villages and let them destroy one another so that he can rise up to the top. After Kabuto was subjected to the Izanami by Itachi Uchiha, Kabuto switched to the Allied Shinobi Forces.
Kabuto and Sasuke first met during the Chunin Exams. Kabuto pretended to help Team 7 in passing the Chunin Exam when in reality he was gathering the intelligence of Sasuke Uchiha. Kabuto began to seek Sasuke Uchiha to subject him to numerous scientific experiments after the former injected himself with Orochimaru’s DNA.
Sasuke is the reason why Kabuto proposed an alliance with Obito Uchiha. Kabuto will aid Obito in his war in exchange for Sasuke’s capture.
Kabuto and Naruto first met during the Chunin Exams where they started as allies. Both met again during Naruto’s mission to convince Tsunade to become Hokage. Kabuto is the first person to be hit by Naruto’s Rasengan during their fight in the Sannin Arc.
Kabuto thanked Naruto for inspiring him to forge an identity by overcoming the people that overshadowed them. Thanks to Naruto he will be pursuing to become a ‘perfect being’.
Kabuto was trained at a young age by his adoptive mother in medical ninjutsu such as the Mystical Palm Jutsu. His knowledge of medicine has greatly expanded under Orochimaru’s servitude due to various human experiments.
His proficiency in medicine and healing made him a formidable opponent in battle. Kabuto can use Chakra Scalpels as weapons just as much as it was used for surgery which he used to sever muscles and the chakra system to disable an opponent. Kabuto can also pre-emptively heal himself from an incoming attack allowing him to withstand a direct hit from powerful jutsus such as Naruto’s rasengan.
Kabuto made numerous body modifications after Orochimaru’s death. Kabuto acquired Orochimaru’s Power of the White Snake by injecting himself with his former master’s DNA. Kabuto can summon numerous white snakes and stretch his mouth to swallow his target whole.
Aside from Orochimaru, Kabuto also modified his body to gain numerous abilities from his previous subordinates, such as Kimimaro’s accelerated bone production and Kidomaru’s spider-based jutsus.
Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation
Kabuto claimed that he perfected the Impure World Reincarnation Jutsu, a Jutsu invented by the Second Hokage and was last used by Orochimaru. The Impure World Reincarnation allows Kabuto to resurrect any shinobi he deemed powerful by sacrificing a living person.
The resurrected individual retained their original personality but can be suppressed by Kabuto and controlled like a pawn. Shinobis cannot kill the resurrected as they can regenerate so the only way to stop them is by using sealing jutsus.
Itachi manages to put a stop to the Impure World Reincarnation by subjecting Kabuto to his Izanami and releasing the reincarnated soul – with the exception of Madara.
Interesting Facts about Kabuto
Danzo caused Kabuto to side with Orochimaru
Danzo Shimura is infamous for being the chief reason why a number of shinobis became enemies of Konoha. Kabuto is no exception, as Danzo forced him to join his organization in order for Konoha to continue funding the orphanage. Kabuto became a capable spy and for that, he became a threat to Danzo.
Danzo gave Nono falsified images of a grown-up Kabuto, allowing Danzo to pit her against Kabuto in hopes that they killed each other. Nono’s inability to recognize Kabuto made him question his identity. Kabuto sided with Orochimaru after the Snake Sannin told him the truth about what happened to his adoptive mother.
Kabuto has his own Sage Mode
Kabuto is able to learn senjutsu from the White Snake Sage after obtaining Orochimaru’s chakra. Kabuto has purple markings around his eyes and four horns growing at the back of his head. His eyes are also covered in brill which makes him immune to Genjutsu.
His Sage Mode allows him to have faster reflexes, stronger attacks, and sturdier physical defense.
Kabuto resurrected the real Madara Uchiha
Obito Uchiha has been pretending to be Madara Uchiha in order to intimidate his opponents. Many powerful characters actually believed Obito’s lies, except Kabuto. Kabuto showed Obito the reanimated Madara as blackmail to force Obito into an alliance with him.
The real Madara is strong enough to ignore Kabuto’s control and become the bigger threat as the war drags on.
Question: Did Kabuto die?
Answer: Kabuto was trapped in an endless loop by Itachi after their fight. However, the Izanami is not used to kill people but to punish those who abuse the Izanagi. The only way for Kabuto to escape the Izanami is to accept reality.
Kabuto eventually escaped the genjutsu and accepted his identity as the adoptive son of Nono Yakushi. He sided with the Allied Shinobi Forces and helped Sasuke.
Question: What happened to Kabuto after the war?
Answer: Kabuto returned to Nono’s orphanage and became its head staff. In Boruto he welcomed Shin’s clones to the orphanage.
Question: Why did Kabuto inject himself with Orochimaru’s DNA?
Answer: Kabuto felt lost after the death of Orochimaru. He believed he can forge his own identity by overcoming people who overshadowed him. Kabuto came to the conclusion that he can achieve perfection by succeeding where Orochimaru failed.
Question: Why did Danzo betray Kabuto
Answer: Danzo is a secretive person who will do anything to make the Hidden Leaf powerful. Danzo believed that although Kabuto is a capable spy, he knew too much about his organization’s operations. Danzo viewed both Nono and Kabuto as a threat and so he manipulated them into killing each other.
Kabuto Naruto: Conclusion
Kabuto first appeared as an enigmatic character. He was initially a character that helped our heroes overcome the challenges in the Chunin Exams until his true allegiance is revealed.
Even after his reveal, Kabuto has been continuously evolving as a character, becoming one of the major villains by the series’ climax. Kabuto is a complex character with a tragic past. His pursuit of identity is a problem that we ourselves can relate to.