Yura Naruto Guide: Naruto’s Only Canon Murder Explained

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There is something to be said about the altruistic nature of heroes like Naruto in the Naruto manga and anime series. They try their best not to kill anyone when they don’t have to. However, even Batman has to murder every once in a while, and such is even the case for Naruto. While it is a massive spoiler, it is known that the only canonical kill for Naruto is Yura, the star of this Yura Naruto guide.

This Yura Naruto guide will dive deep into the strange character that is this jonin ninja. There isn’t much known about the character since his presence in the series is minimal at best.

However, he plays a massive part in Naruto’s character as the only person in his lifetime (that we know of) that he canonically murders, nearly in cold blood, too. Find out all about that and even more below.

Bottom Line Up Front

Yura is the tale of two different parts of the Naruto series. There is Yura, which is pronounced Yuura in Japanese, which is a jonin shinobi from the village of Sunagakure. While he seems to be on the side of Gaara in Naruto Shippuden, it turns out that he’s a spy for the Akatsuki.

He also ends up as the only person that Naruto ever kills canonically in his entire lifetime. But Yura can also mean Yura Yura, the ninth opening for the original Naruto series, which is a fan-favorite song for many Naruto fans.

Yura Naruto Overview

There are massive villains and heroes throughout the Naruto series. Even some of the lesser-featured ones like Zabuza leave their mark on the series and on fans’ hearts. However, the Naruto series is so extensive that there are some villains that are honestly forgettable, and understandably so.

One such villain is none other than Yura, the star of this guide. While Yura is relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things, he impacts Naruto as a person and the entire canon of his story. Yura is one of the spies for the Akatsuki, the main villainous group of the Naruto Shippuden sequels storyline.

He plays a role very early in the Shippuden manga and anime series, being the first arc there. He is a jonin shinobi from the town of Sunagakure who serves under the Kazekage, who happens to be Gaara at the time of this storyline.

However, Gaara is not his true master, as Yura is the servant of Sasori and the rest of the Akatsuki. His goal is to infiltrate and disrupt the deeds of Gaara and the other heroes. Though his time in the series is cut short, his removal from the storyline is one of the most unforgettable in the series.

In addition, there is more to Yura than meets the eye besides his double-crossing nature. Yura is also the name of one of the opening songs for the original Naruto anime, which I will note at the end of this guide. You’re in the right place to learn about both of these underrated but intriguing parts of the Naruto canon.

Appearance

Yura Naruto Appearance
Image from naruto fandom

Yura only appears in the series a few times, but his canonical look is that of a rather handsome ninja. Like Kakashi, he hides part of his face, in his case being the right side. His hair is rather long, allowing his bangs to cover the right eye and most of the right side of his face.

He has a little goatee on the bottom of his chin that adds some maturity and character to his facial features. He has a long thin face that adds to his attractiveness. He wears a traditional desert garb that is drab in its appearance and a headdress that covers a fair portion of his head.

However, this is a slight spoiler, but there are some other appearances for Yura, too. In his final appearance in the series, he shows up as Sasuke’s brother, Itachi, looking exactly like the older Uchiha brother and wearing the Akatsuki robes. However, this appearance was only because of his Genjutsu powers, as that is not what he usually looks like.

Key Moments in the Naruto Series

Though Yura doesn’t do much in the Naruto series, he has a fair presence at the beginning of the time jump in the Shippuden section.

Not to mention, there is the fact of the matter that Yura has some vast spoilers for Naruto as a character that happen during his lifetime. This is your firm warning of spoilers ahead if you haven’t finished the Naruto manga or anime, including Shippuden, at this time for whatever reason. Which, if that’s you, this is your sign to go finish Naruto already!

Being an Akatsuki Spy

Yura Akatsuki Spy

Going in chronological order, what happens before the viewer and reader find out in Naruto is that Yura is initially working for the Akatsuki. This isn’t known to anyone in the story as they think of Yura as a standard jonin shinobi who serves the Kazekage, and that’s it.

However, his initial loyalties are to the Akatsuki, which is something that isn’t even known to Yura himself. This is because he is used as a sleeper agent rather than the standard spy. What this effectively means is that he is being brainwashed to work for the Akatsuki, specifically under Sasori, without even realizing it.

So, Yura entered the service of the Kazekage’s council and began serving him as an advisor on the council.

Making His Move

Yura would serve the Kazekage for four years in total, biding in time for his master, Sasori, to activate his true purpose and make him make his move. When the time came for the Fifth Kazekage, Gaara, to host the Chunin Exams, it was Yura who suggested it happen in the desert.

This was to allow his Akatsuki companions to make their move then and try to assassinate Gaara and start their plan for world domination. Though this would be unsuccessful, it was the first significant step Yura secretly took to let his organization take over the village.

After this happened, Yura went back into hiding as a sleeper agent until he was to be commanded by Sasori again to make his next move.

Killed by Naruto

Yuras death
Image from naruto fandom

Near the beginning of the Naruto Shippuden series, Sasori finally enacted the plan of the Akatsuki and awakened Yura to his true purpose once and for all. Yura immediately acted, allowing Sasori and Deidara to enter the village after Yura killed the guards.

Soon after that, Pain of the Akatsuki Clan manipulated Yura further, making him transform into Itachi, Sasuke’s brother. It is at this point that Naruto, Kakashi, and Sakura run into Yura, thinking that he is Itachi. The group, along with the help of Chiyo, fought Yura and defeated him in the end.

It was Naruto who cast the final blow using his giant Rasengan, which ended up killing Yura in the process and revealing his true identity as not Itachi in the end.

This revelation shocked the group as they had no idea that this was the case and that Naruto had now killed a fellow shinobi. This would remain the one and only instance in the entire Naruto and even Boruto series in which the protagonist murdered someone that we know of.

Special Abilities

Yura isn’t present in the Naruto series for very long, at least in terms of what the fans are able to see. As such, it is hard to nail down what exactly his ninjutsu abilities are. That said, here are the abilities that we know about from the few fights and moments that we see Yura in the manga and anime series.

Powerful Genjutsu Skills

First off, there are the powerful genjutsu skills that Yura displays. There is a chance that this is only because of people like Sasori and Pain, but it seems that Yura is capable of impressive deceptive abilities. We see this in the fact that he is able to disguise himself as people like Itachi in the first place.

Then there is even the fact that Yura can hide within the ranks of the Kazekage’s council in the first place for many years and enact his missions along the way.

This required a ton of deceptive ninja skills, and it worked brilliantly up until the moment of his death when he was killed by Naruto. He is capable of tricking his opponents, cloning himself, and seemingly copying some of the abilities of the people he transforms into.

Infiltration Techniques

In a similar vein to the genjutsu skills that Yura has, there are the natural abilities he has when it comes to infiltration and spying. Though you could argue that some of this was outside of his will, there is no doubt how impressive it is that he was able to keep up this image for so many years.

Whether it was of his own will or not, some people might break under pressure, especially once they find out the truth. But it seems that he is loyal to the cause, and he devoted all of his energy to furthering the goals of the Akatsuki, which was relatively successful as a result.

Anime Voice Actor

When it comes to Yura in the anime, his two main voice actors come down to which language you’re listening to. If you’re watching the classic English dub, arguably a little messy, you’ll find that the amazing Keith Silverstein voiced Yura.

Silverstein is generally accustomed to much more prominent roles than this random side Naruto character who is almost forgettable, besides what happens with Naruto, so there are plenty of roles to check out for him.

I recommend hearing Silverstein as the wonderful Hisoka in Hunter x Hunter, Zhongli in Genshin Impact, and Johan Liebert in the underrated masterpiece, Monster. Seriously watch Monster if you haven’t; one of the best anime series of all time.

On the other hand, the Japanese voice for Yura is none other than Hideo Watanabe. Unlike Silverstein, he isn’t a well-known voice actor in the slightest. In fact, it looks like Yura might have been his last role in the industry, as he hasn’t officially done anything (at least with a name credit) since. He voiced some other characters in Naruto, like Daimaru, plus a few Japanese dubs of American cartoons, and that’s it.

Key Relationships

It should be noted that Yura doesn’t have too many critical relationships in the Naruto series, given the fact that he is only present for a short time in both the manga and the anime. However, there are some characters that he has connections with that should be mentioned.

Gaara
Image from naruto fandom

First and foremost, there is his boss, at least initially, in Gaara. He serves under the Kazekage, being one of the shinobi that serves his village. He is loyal to Gaara, but this is primarily a facade for the true nature of his character and what he has planned as a spy for the Akatsuki.

Then there is his actual boss in Sasori for the Akatsuki. This is where Yura’s true loyalty lies, as he will do anything his boss asks him to do. This includes spying on the Kazekage and setting up his assassination. It is for Sasori and the rest of the Akatsuki that Yura is willing to give up his own life.

Lastly, there is his relationship with Naruto. They don’t know each other for long, but he leaves an impact on the protagonist as he is the only person that Naruto ever canonically murders.

Even with all of the villains and rogue shinobi out there in the series, Yura still remains the one person that Naruto has officially killed, which likely kept the jonin firmly in the thoughts of Naruto for years to come and possibly forever.

Yura Yura Naruto Anime Opening Explained

To be clear, the character of Yura is not the only thing of note in association with the Naruto series with that name. The other part, and one that many fans might be more interested in, is that there is an anime opening for Naruto that is named Yura Yura.

This may seem odd given the fact that there is a character with the same, but there are some notable differences to keep in mind. For one, while they sound and are spelled the name in the alphabet, they are different when it comes to the Japanese language.

In reality, the character Yura is more like Yuura in Japanese, with a long vowel sound. However, the song is a shorter vowel of Yura Yura. In practice, though, when speaking so fast, they will essentially sound the same, even coming from native speakers.

Even still, if you want to check out the famous Yura Yura Naruto opening, you’ll find that it is the ninth opening for the original Naruto anime back in the day, long before the character Yura made his appearance. You can see the anime opening for yourself in this YouTube video.

As a Naruto fan myself, I have to be honest and say that I am far more interested in the Yura Yura song than the similarly named character.

It is one of the top three Naruto songs (including both openings and endings) of all time, and even the same if you include all of the Boruto songs. I adore the slower, more emotional nature of the music rather than the lively faster songs that you usually see for a Naruto or Boruto opening. It’s just that amazing.

FAQs

Question: What is Naruto’s kill count? 

Answer: Officially and canonically, Naruto’s kill count is only one. He only killed, spoiler alert, Yura, the star of this guide. He has not officially killed anyone else due to them dying because of someone or something else or not dying in the first place.

Question: Did Naruto kill Kakuzu?

Answer: No, Naruto didn’t kill Kakuzu. Though Naruto landed the finishing blow that would put Kakuzu almost out of commission, it was ultimately Kakashi who would end Kakuzu’s life. This doesn’t, technically, count as a kill for Naruto.

Question: Did Naruto kill Pain? 

Answer: Well, this is an entirely complicated scenario in regards to which Pain you’re referring to. But either way, Naruto didn’t kill any of the Pains. They were either already dead, had a change of heart, or died after being defeated by Naruto (but not by his hands).

What Naruto Character to Check Out Next

Yura might not be one of the most important characters in the Naruto series, but he left an impact on the protagonist. And even if he isn’t all that interesting in the long run, besides his death, there is still the brilliant masterpiece that is the Yura Yura Naruto opening song. You seriously need to go listen to that.

In addition, if you want to check out a Naruto character who is much more important to the storyline and worth being a fan of, I recommend taking a look at Naruto himself and, specifically, his Rasengan attack. This is the power, after all, that he used to completely obliterate Yura and send him to an early grave.

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