Naruto’s pain was the most important villain of the entire franchise

This is how Pain forced the main character of the Naruto franchise to reexamine his worldview and reconnect with a long-lost friend.

The popularity of pain among naruto fans can not be exaggerated. The Akatsuki leader wielding the Rinnegan took command of every scene he appeared in through his intimidating and philosophical presence about his only true path to peace. It may not have been the biggest fish in the series, but Nagato Uzumaki played a major role, no other. naruto the villain could, and in doing so brought one of history’s most heartbreaking parallels full circle.

Seeking the power that would allow him to realize his dreams of revenge, Sasuke Uchiha fled the Leaf Village with Sound Ninja 4 to join Orochimaru’s side. Naruto, along with the other Genin of Konoha, Shikamaru, Kiba, Choji, and Neji, set off in pursuit, believing that Sasuke had been kidnapped. When they reached their group, the other genin dealt with the sound ninja, leaving Naruto to capture Sasuke. Surprisingly, Naruto’s rescue mission turned into a fight to the death and as they traded blows, Sasuke highlighted a major difference between them.

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While the two of them were fighting, Naruto had been trying to convince Sasuke to return to the Leaf Village. He compared Sasuke’s situation to his own, reminding his old friend that they were both orphans and could relate somehow. Rather than console himself, Sasuke sneered at Naruto and claimed that the two of them were nothing alike. He described his pain as more intense than Naruto’s, as he had actually experienced the love of his family and members of his clan. Naruto had always been lonely, and Sasuke believed that he was much worse off since he had previously had love and then lost it in such a cruel way.

As insensitive as Sasuke’s statement was, there was some truth to it. Before joining Team 7, Naruto had very few friends in the Leaf Village. The ones he had managed to make, including Sasuke himself and Sakura, had never been taken from him in one way or another. He couldn’t fully understand the hatred for Itachi that Sasuke carried in his heart, and as such he had no moral authority to ask Sasuke to give up revenge on him. The duo simply couldn’t agree on this particular issue, until Jiraiya’s death.

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Pain using Shinra Tensei in Naruto

Naruto was understandably heartbroken over his master’s death at the hands of Pain. Jiraiya had been the closest thing to a father figure Naruto had, and he swore to pay Pain back. His battle in the ruins of Konoha was legendary and Naruto was victorious; but after listening to Pain explain the cycle of hatred, he did not dare to finish off the murderer of his teacher. Instead, he chose to break the cycle by sparing Pain’s life and overcoming the revenge he desperately sought, just as he had advised Sasuke to do years before.

This aspect of Naruto and Sasuke’s relationship perfectly illustrated Pain’s notion of never being able to understand another human until one had experienced the pain they caused. For the first time, Naruto realized how Sasuke must have felt after losing his family.

Choosing to forgive Nagato in the end honored the words Naruto had carelessly said to Sasuke when they were children. When she repeated them to Sasuke during their final fight, his gospel of forgiveness wasn’t just empty advice given by an immature kid desperately trying not to lose his best friend. They were words of wisdom shared by a fellow sufferer who understood the enormity of what he was asking for, and that it would be the only way to calm Sasuke’s inner turmoil.

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