Kabuto Yakushi is the secondary antagonist of Part I of the Naruto series. He is rogue ninja who originally worked with Orochimaru before striking out on his own and becoming a more dangerous threat to the protagonists in his own right, until he found his true self and became a valuable ally, along with Obito Uchiha against Madara and Black Zetsu.
During the course of the series, Kabuto acted as the tertiary antagonist in the Chunin Exams arc and in the Konoha Crush arc, the secondary antagonist in the Search for Tsunade arc and in the Tenchi Bridge Reconnaissance Mission arc, the main antagonist in the Three Tails' Appearence arc, the secondary antagonist in the Fourth Shinobi World War: Countdown arc and in the Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation, the main antagonist in the Power arc and the tertiary antagonist in the Fourth Shinobi World War: Climax arc.
When Kabuto was a child, he was found outside a destroyed village with a head injury and no memories. He was brought to an orphanage where a nun named Nonō Yakushi treated him and due to his shyness, said nothing to anyone, not even thanking Nonō for her kindness. Thus one of the other orphans, Urushi, asked if Kabuto had any manners, before putting a helmet on his head to protect his head wound. Urushi said his lack of a name was annoying and Nonō, taking inspiration from the helmet, decided to call him “Kabuto.” That night, Kabuto, feeling guilty because he didn’t thank Nonō, got out of bed to look for her. However the other wards caught him and he got in trouble for being up past curfew. They brought Kabuto to a clock to teach him the time of curfew and at first, it seemed like he was too young to know how to tell time. However Nonō saw he was squinting and gave the boy her glasses, letting him figure out the curfew time. Since the orphanage couldn’t afford to get glasses for Kabuto, Nonō allowed him to keep hers. The boy started crying in gratitude, thanking her over and over as she consoled him.
As he grew up, Kabuto learned medical skills from Nonō, helping her heal shinobi and raise money for the orphanage. This led to his first meeting with Orochimaru, who suggested that he become a shinobi, but Kabuto wasn’t interested. But later, the boy overheard Nonō talking with Danzo Shimura, who wanted an orphan in exchange for his funding the orphanage. Kabuto took him up on the offer and would be assigned to missions, infiltrating hidden villages. On one of these missions in Iwagakure, Kabuto’s cover was blown and he had to retreat, accidentally attacking Nonō as he did so. She was unable to recognize him, even as he was healing her injuries, and Kabuto started to reflect on and question his purpose in life.
Kabuto was again approached by Orochimaru, who told him that his fight with Nonō had been orchestrated by Danzo as Kabuto has become to mush of a liability due to his skills. Furthermore, having been show photos of what she was made to think was Kabuto, Nonō was tricked into killing him on the promise that Root would release him from his position. Orochimaru went on reveal his position to kill the survivor and enraged Kabuto by pointing out that Root's missions have made him devoid of an identity to truly called his own.
However, admitting he sees a bit of himself in the the youth, Orochimaru offered him a new identity and a position as his right-hand man in the Hidden Sound village. Orochimaru did indeed give Kabuto his new identity, that he’d been found at the Battle of Kikyo Pass and he’d been raised by a captain in the Konoha Medic Corps. Kabuto was later sent to spy on Sasori for Orochimaru, however the Akatsuki member used a technique to make him his own sleeper agent. But Orochimaru was able to break Sasori’s control over Kabuto, who would continue to pretend to be the Akatsuki member’s servant so as to find out about the Akatsuki’s plans. During Kabuto’s time in Konoha, he attained the rank of genin and took part in the Chunin Exams, so as to gain information on the other participants for Orochimaru. Also Kabuto helped Orochimaru with his human experiments, gaining more knowledge on the human body over the next few years.
Invasion of Konoha
Before the Chunin Exams, Kabuto befriended the Rookie Nine by giving them information on the other competitors. In the second phase, Kabuto teamed up with Team 7, so he could get through it with as little effort as possible. They eventually faced off against Team Oboro and Kabuto saved Naruto from an attack, which caused his glasses to get knocked off. He briefly lost his composure and his Killing intent appeared, paralyzing Team Oboro, as well as Sasuke and Sakura. However Kabuto allowed Naruto to defeat Team Oboro and afterwards, he met back up with his team, YoroiYoroi Akadō Akado and Misumi Tsurugi, before giving his report on Sasuke to Orochimaru. After his master went to observe Sasuke himself, Kabuto forfeited from the Chunin Exams. He made the excuse to Naruto that he was tired, weakened, and afraid to risk his life anymore, but in reality, he feared that he might show his real abilities and expose himself.
Eventually, Orochimaru had learned all he wanted about Sasuke and commanded Kabuto to capture him. The defector genin was able to defeat the eight ANBU guarding Sasuke, but was forced to retreat by Kakshi Hatake. After this, Kabuto talked with Baki about the imminent Sunagakure and Otogakure invasion of Konoha. However they realized that Hayate Gekko was eavesdropping and Kabuto offered to deal with him, but Baki did it instead. During the finals of the Chunin Exam, Kabuto killed an ANBU member and disguised himself with his garb, hiding in the audience. After Sasuke wounded Gaara, Kabuto used a technique to make the audience fall asleep to start off the invasion of Konoha. He sent an Otogakure ninja after Naruto, while he pursued Sasuke, thinking that he could be a problem if he wasn’t dealt with quickly. However, Kabuto seemed to expect the Oto ninja to fail, since he only wanted to test Naruto’s abilities. After the invasion was stopped, Kabuto retreated from the village.
Search for Tsunade
Due to Orochimaru being badly wounded from the invasion, he and Kabuto searched for Tsunade, hoping she could heal him. They managed to find her and apparently convinced her to help them, but as she was healing Orochimaru, Kabuto realized her healing techniques had killing intent in them and stopped her. After Tsunade revealed her intent, Kabuto resolved to beat her into complying. Though outmatched even after a Military Rations Pill to strengthen himself, Kabuto used Tsunade's hemophobia against her before Shizune arrived, easily beating her.
When faced by Naruto, surprised that he was working for Orochimaru, Kabuto overwhelmed the youth and insulted his dream as he managed to land a mortal blow on his heart. However Naruto hit Kabuto with a Rasengan, gravely wounding him and leaving him unable to fully heal as he helped Orochimaru summon Manda before retreating from the fight. Later when Orochimaru was waiting for Sasuke to come to their base, Kabuto advised him to take Geny'maru as his new host while talking Kimimaro into risking his life to bring Sasuke to them.
Further Missions with Orochimaru
Almost three years later, Kabuto encountered the reformed Team Kakashi under Yamato when arrived at a meeting with Sasori's spy and found that agent was Kabuto. However, ordered to kill Sasori, Kabuto destroyed the Hiruko puppet before Orochimaru revealed to him that their opponent was not Sasori. While Orochimaru fought Naruto, forced to be at the sidelines, Kabuto healed Sakura after she was accidently attacked by Naruto in his four-tailed form and told her that they had a mutual enemy in the Akatsuki. After the fight, Kabuto, along with Orochimaru and Team Kakashi's new member, Sai, went back to their base. He was also commanded to leave a corpse in Sai’s likeness so no one would follow them. After Sai’s capture, Kabuto came to help him, but he found himself captured by Sai instead. With no means of escape, Kabuto was willing to divulge information, but he told Naruto not to try and get Sasuke back. As Team 7 searched Orochimaru’s base, Kabuto was left on his own and managed to escape, joining up with his master and Sasuke.
Soon after this, Orochimaru realized he would need to change bodies soon and sent Kabuto to get Guren. He found her, but she attacked him, to test if he was worthy of attending to Orochimaru, and he succeeded in proving himself. Kabuto then brought Guren to Orochimaru’s base, where he assigned her to testing prisoners so as to form a team. After Guren and her team failed to kill a group of Konoha ninjas, Kabuto made them help him in summoning Isobu the Three-Tailed Beast. He had Guren try to restrain it with her Crystal Release technique, but this failed and Kabuto decided he needed to think of a different method, withdrawing for the time being. After this, as he was working on his final attempt to capture Isobu, he had a secret meeting with Rinji, a spy working under him. Kabuto found out that Konoha had been trying to seal Isobu and went to get back Guren and Yūkimaru to stop their attempts. He succeeded, but the Konoha ninjas managed to get Yūkimaru back and Kabuto became very distressed. He made Kigiri, Kihō, and Nurari believe they were dying from the wounds they’d received in their fight with the Konoha ninja. Thus Kabuto was able to make them undergo an operation, where they had Orochimaru’s cursed seals placed on them to grant them additional power.
Kabuto then disguised himself as Rinji and tricked Yūkimaru into using his powers to unleash Isobu’s full powers, despite how weakened he was at the time. Kabuto tried to make Yūkimaru send the Three-Tailed Beast go on a rampage, but when this didn’t work, he revealed to Yūkimaru that Guren had killed his mother. However much to Kabuto’s shock, he forgave her and Kabuto attacked the two with scalpels, but Naruto intervened. He managed to reveal the defector's deception and fought Kabuto. Naruto, having improved his skills, was able to gain the upper hand over his opponent at first and when Guren tried to escape with Yūkimaru, Kabuto summoned Rinji to stop her. However Guren sacrificed herself to kill Rinji, causing Yūkimaru to let Isobu go on a rampage and Kabuto withdrew, satisfied.
After Orochimaru was defeated by Sasuke, Kabuto used his genjutsu to find out what happened. Kabuto took his master’s remains and proceeded to infuse them into his body, but found the foreign cells attempting to take over his body as he tried to assert dominance over them. Kabuto eventually encountered Naruto and explained why he’d done such a dangerous thing to himself; so he could become strong enough that he’d no longer have to be anyone’s minion. Kabuto thanked Naruto for inspiring him to do so and gave him a book that held all of Orochimaru’s information on the Akatsuki. He also told Naruto that he’d settle things with him after he killed Sasuke as revenge for his former master.
While still in the middle of his metamorphosis, Kabuto attempted to use the Reanimation Jutsu that he was still mastering at the time to use Deidara and other deceased ninja to conquer Tonika Village so he could use its unique waters to enhance his cellular snakes' ability to reconstruct a living ninja's body to suit his needs. However, while he successfully gained control over a recreated Hidan, Kabuto found it more difficult to control a clone of Naruto in his Four Tails state. Sometime after that and later, Kabuto discovered Ryuchi Cave where he dabbled in Snake Senjutsu. Ultimately, Kabuto obtained a true Sage Mode and exceeded his master by perfecting the Reanimation Jutsu in a revolutionary fashion.
Later, after mastering his full power and killing Takigakure ninja, Kabuto set out for the Mountains’ Graveyard, killing people along the way so that Anko and her Infiltration and Reconnaissance Party would follow him. When Kabuto arrived at the graveyard, he found Tobi, who was pretending to be Madara Uchiha. Tobi, remembering that Kabuto had once been a spy of Akatsuki, tried to kill him for being a traitor.
However, Kabuto used the Renimation Jutsu to revive five of the Akatsuki's deceased members with the promise of an army of reanimated ninja for the upcoming Fourth Great Ninja War with Sasuke as payment. Though Tobi refused, Kabuto convinced him to accept the proposal when he summoned a sixth coffin, containing the real Madara Uchiha. Accepting on the grounds that he turn Sasuke over once the war ended, Tobi allowed Kabuto into his inner circle. Accompanied by Deidara, though more interested in Yamato, Kabuto headed out to capture the final two Tailed Beasts beyond Tobi's grasp, Gyuki and Kurama.
Though they used Deidara's clay clones to distract the Third Tsuchikage as they drew close to the Island Turtle, they find Onoki tricked them with a rock clone as he and his allies confronted them. But Kabuto used Manda II to slow the Island Turtle and had Deidara hit it with an explosive clay squid, finally stopping it. While Deidara dealt with Onoki, Kabuto went ashore with Kurotsuchi hot on his heels. Yamato showed up and tried to help Aoba Yamashiro get close enough to Kabuto that he could read his mind. However he shed his body, takin on a snake form, and captured Yamato, before he withdrew into Manda II’s nose and returned to Tobi, returning Deidara to his coffin. Tobi asked if he’d failed, but Kabuto said that by studying Yamato, he could increase the power of their White Zetsu Army. Tobi accepted this and was talked out of using his Human Path ability to get information from Yamato, before allowing Kabuto to make the modifications.
Great Ninja War
After getting their army ready and modified, Kabuto sent out his revived ninjas to the battlefield, except his surprise attack and diversion unit. He gave the unit specific instructions, before engaging Anko and defeating her. Though ordered to kill her, Kabuto explained he needed her alive to increase his power over the reanimated ninja by absorbing her Curse Mark's chakra. Realizing that Kabuto arranged Anko's appearance and compromised their location, Tobi demanded that he show him the function of the Reanimation Jutsu.
Kabuto proceeded to demonstrate the jutsu in a step-by-step method, with Fu sacrificed to revive Torune, and a few means of stopping it. Kabuto then left an apparently satisfied Tobi, still having a few other tricks up his sleeve and on the verge of learning the Sage of the Six Path’s secrets. With his power boosted, seeing some of his revived ninjas' emotions getting the best of them, Kabuto began rendering those remaining into mindless beings save those whose individual emotions could prove useful. He only took part in the fighting if needed, eventually having Gari and Pakura summon the previous Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist to help the Akatsuki retain the upper hand. But, much to Kabuto’s shock, Zabuza Momochi was defeated, even with his Hiding in Mist technique. Kabuto then had the Second Tsuchikage, Mu, summon the Fourth Kazekage, Second Mizukage, and Third Raikage as more of his forces battled the First Division.
After Tobi took extra effort to obtain the items containing sealed Gold and Silver Brothers, Kabuto suspected he was trying to get the chakra from Kurama, which was inside them. However he realized that Tobi had only one of the tails from Gyuki, so he couldn’t figure out what he really was after. In the war’s second day, Kabuto was surprised when Naruto used his Nine-Tails Chakra to instantly beat Toroi. However he was excited by the chance to track down Naruto and Killer Bee before Tobi could find them. Kabuto sent Itachi Uchiha and Nagato after them, hoping to use them as leverage against Tobi. But much to Kabuto’s shock, Itachi summoned the crow he’d planted in Naruto to break Kabuto’s control over him and attacked Nagato, who ended up sealed.
Deciding to take the fight up a notch, Kabuto played his trump card and unleash Madara Uchiha, erasing the Third Raikage’s personality so he could distract the Fourth Divison to make preparations while attempting to capture Naruto as well. Once he revived Madara, using Mu as a medium, Kabuto updated the reanimated ninja on the events and how he knew he survived his fight with Hashirama before sending him to fight the Fourth Division.
However, as Madara engaged the Kage, Kabuto was found by Itachi and congratulated him for doing so, despite the barrier he’d put in place. He reminded the former ANBU captain that he couldn’t die if Itachi wanted to stop the Reanimated Jutsu. Kabuto then sensed Sasuke and began laughing crazily, saying that his luck had changed. He then then tried to get Sasuke to join his side, trying to play on his hatred, but he chose to fight with Itachi.
Kabuto closed his hood, saying he was unsettled by so many people staring at him, before attacking the two brothers with snakes. Though they fought the snakes off, Kabuto hid in one of his snakes and assumes Sage Mode to battle the brothers. During the fight, while trying to turn Sasuke on Itachi, Kabuto revealed he augmented his body with the cells of Jugo so he maintain Sage Mode indefinite, Suigetsu Hozuki's ability to liquidify his body, and Karin's abilities.
After the brothers' attempt to pin him down resulted in him losing one of his horns, Kabuto admitted the brothers worked together well. After trying to play on Sasuke's desire to destroy the Hidden Leaf Village, using his background story to show how alike they were, Kabuto summoned his chakra scalpel while using the cave itself against Itachi and Sasuke.
He managed to incapacitate Itachi and prepared to get rid of his personality, but Sasuke stopped him with a ring of Amaterasu. Though Kabuto gloated that he was the closest to the Sage of the Six Paths in power, Itachi told him he would fail as he no idea who he truly was. As he thought about his past, Kabuto explained that everything he had done was to create an identity and assimilating Sasuke into him would make him the ultimate being. As the fight continued, Kabuto revealed that he assimilated the DNA of Kimimaro and the Sound Four, using a manifestation of Sakon through his kekkei genkai to access his team mates' ability.
Kabuto then created a manifestation of Orochimaru’s true form to finally capture Itachi and Sasuke, confident he was going to win. However he began to weep when the brothers fought off the snake and finally, emerged from Orochimaru’s mouth to suddenly slash Itachi in half. Kabuto said that a genius in everything wouldn’t understand his goal of finding who he was and no one would stop him. He quickly tried to erase Itachi’s personality and was attacked by Sasuke, but caught the sword he threw at him and escaped to the cave roof to evade another attack. Kabuto then used a water technique to counter Sasuke’s fireball, knocking him away as well. However a regenerated Itachi attacked him, cutting off his horn, and Kabuto scolded him for using the same tactic he used before. However he eventually realized that he was under the effect of Itachi’s Izanami, trapping him in his mind in a time loop. With his plan falling apart, Kabuto cursed Itachi as Itachi used another genjutsu to make him reveal the seal needed to deactivate the Reanimation Jutsu.
As a result, the army Kabuto had created faded back to the afterlife, except for Madara, who had severed his contact with the Reanimation technique. Sasuke then brought back Orochimaru using Anko’s Cursed Seal of Heaven, who absorbed all of his chakra from Kabuto, changing him back to normal though still trapped in his personal hell.
After some time had passed, Kabuto was able to break out of Izanami by finally accepting who he is. He realized that deep down he was actually a good person, and had a home at the orphange in Konoha, where he was initially raised.
Later, Kabuto went to the battlefield where he tended to a badly injured Sasuke. Kabuto has since inherited Itachi's will to protect Sasuke and was able to successfully heal Sasuke. After Sasuke returned to his battle against Madara and some time passes, Kabuto along with everyone else (with the exception of the original Team 7 and the revived Hokage) was caught in Madara's Infinite Tsukyomi. After some time passed, Kabuto and everyone was released by the genjutsu with the help of Naruto and Sasuke.
Years after the war, it is shown that Kabuto has followed in his adoptive mother Nonō's footsteps and is now running the orphanage he grew up in. After Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura defeat Shin Uchiha, he agrees to adopt Shin's clones as his own sons, intending to name every single one of them.
Kabuto is rather sadistic with a very dry sense of humor, taking enjoyment in playing mind games with his enemies, but can also be polite and helpful. When Kabuto revived people for his army, those he picked were also often meant to attack his foes emotionally and saw those he revived as nothing more than pawns. Kabuto dislikes rudeness and despite his being Orochimaru’s right-hand man, his master has trouble figuring out what he was thinking. However Kabuto has proven he is very loyal to Orochimaru, saving his master’s life a number of times, though he does help Orochimaru’s enemies on occasion, but this seems to in service to his own goals. Kabuto has something of an interest in Naruto, acting polite to him most of the time, even though they have never had the same goals. He also respects other powerful ninja, but views others without reputation as inferior and useless. Kabuto states that he doesn’t like forcing people to do things, preferring to instead manipulate them using sympathy. He also likes to spend his time in secluded places and considers his reincarnation technique’s downside to be that it would be bring him unwanted infamy. After taking in Orochimaru’s remains, Kabuto has demonstrated more arrogant ambition, wanting to become more powerful than his master. Like Orochimaru, he wants to increase his knowledge in techniques, which has lead to Kabuto becoming obsessed with capturing and studying Sasuke. He has also shown interest in studying Yamato and Zetsu, as well as to learn about the secrets of the Sage of the Six Paths. Despite Kabuto maintaining a calm and controlled personality most of the time, he has numerous insecurities about his identity. After Orochimaru’s defeat, Kabuto has sworn to do whatever he feels like, having no loyalty to anyone. He says that he does not know who he used to be or what he wanted to do, until he saw Naruto’s resolve. Kabuto often compares himself to Itachi, because of the similar events in their lives. But after being trapped in his mind with his plans falling apart, he tries to justify what he’s done by saying he wanted someone to affirm his existence.
As a former Root sleeper agent, combined with his medical skills, Kabuto is an extremely skilled and powerful ninja who can quickly analyze a situation and defeat stronger opponents by exploiting their weaknesses. Kabuto mainly utilizes chakra-infused scalpels with his taijutsu style, which lets him attack key points in his opponent’s body. Kabuto also has a unique technique that allows him to regenerate dead cells. His medical skills have led to him developing a number of different drugs that he utilizes, such as a drug that suppresses the powers of Wood Release and a truth serum. He is also skilled at creating genetically altered clones that are stronger than the original versions. After mastering Orochimaru's powers and Sage Mode, as well as mastering the powers of the Sound Four members and their leader after modifying his body with the cells of each of the individuals, Kabuto's combat prowess increased exponentially, to the point that he was able to completely overwhelm the combined efforts of both Itachi Uchiha and his brother, Sasuke Uchiha, despite their considerable fighting prowesses, as well as the former's mastery of the Mangekyo Sharingan and the latter's possession of the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan, eventually forcing Itachi to sacrifice his left eye to utilize the forbidden technique, Izanami, to finally incapacitate Kabuto and force him to end the Reanimation technique.
Kabuto also has something of an interest in corpses, particularly using them as decoys to fight for him. However one of Kabuto’s most notable abilities is his Summon: Impure World Reincarnation technique, claiming to be the most skilled practitioner of it. Using this technique, he can reincarnate the dead, using DNA from the one he wishes to revive and a living sacrifice for their soul to take over Kabuto has used this to summon an army of famous and powerful ninja and can monitor them, as well as take away their free will. He also applies a seal to those he revives that does not take away their free will, but makes it so he can control their body movements. Kabuto can even boost the abilities of those he reincarnates.
He is able to manipulate earth to move around underground and after he infused himself with the Sound Four's DNA, he can use the Earth Shore Return technique, where he summons a wall of earth to defend himself. Kabuto can also manipulate water to unleash huge waves of water and even use the Water Dragon Bullet technique, where he unleashes a large water dragon, even without hand seals or a source of water. Kabuto has also combined himself with the DNA of others, most notably Orochimaru. Kabuto has the Taka members’ DNA, which gives him near-instant regeneration, the ability to liquefy himself, and the passive power to absorb natural energy. Kabuto is also fused with the DNA of the Sound Four, so he can manifest a second body that uses any of their techniques, as well as a version of Orochimaru’s true form, which he can hide in and emerge from.With Orochimaru’s remnants, Kabuto can use his snake techniques, alter his body, and has even greater chakra He can communicate with snakes, summon snakes from his wrists or sleeves, use snakes to inject his drugs through their fangs, and alter the size of the ones he summons. Kabuto can also shed his skin to turn into a snake with arms, similar to Orochimaru’s true form, where he can move faster and even swallow people whole. Kabuto can even deal with genjutsu techniques that need eye contact by using his snakes’ ability to sense their surroundings with their tongues. Thanks to his training in the Ryuchi Cave, Kabuto has learned senjutsu, allowing him to enter Sage Mode, which he can maintain thanks to his DNA instilled ability to absorb energy. This increases his physical abilities, grants him snake like anatomy, including a snake emerging from his stomach, and make his chakra scalpels even sharper. Kabuto can even bring inanimate objects to life and control them. He is also skilled at genjutsu and barrier ninjutsu and somewhat skilled with swords.
Rock Lee & His Ninja PalsKabuto appeared in the chibi spin-off Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals. He is almost as the same as the original one but he is even more featured in the series as his master's sidekick and a much more comedic villain. It is even notable that he is seen throughout the series dressing up as a girl on some episodes. He always acompanies Orochimaru ( Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals).
- Kabuto’s name is the last of the Japanese name for Aconitum, a plant that either relieves pain or kills. His name is also the name for a samurai helmet and his last name is the shortened form of the Japanese name of the Healer Buddha, Yakushi nyorai.
- In chapter 521 of the Naruto manga, when it was first published in Shonen Jump, Kabuto was drawn without his glasses. However this was corrected in later versions.