|Manga||Volume #4, Naruto Chapter #35|
|Anime||Naruto Episode #20|
|Novel||Kakashi Hiden: Lightning in the Icy Sky|
|Movie||Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of Gelel|
|Game||Naruto: Ninja Council|
|OVA||Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival!|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Novel, Game, Movie|
|Tailed Beast||Shukaku (Forms)|
|Academy Grad. Age||12|
|Chūnin Prom. Age||14|
Gaara (我愛羅) is a shinobi of Sunagakure. He was made the jinchūriki of the One-Tailed Shukaku before he was born, causing the villagers of Suna to fear him as a monster. With nobody to connect to, Gaara grew up hating the world and looking out only for himself, justifying his own existence by killing anyone he came across. After being defeated in battle by Naruto Uzumaki — a jinchūriki like himself who found strength in his friendships — Gaara starts emulating Naruto. He becomes Suna's Fifth Kazekage (五代目風影, Godaime Kazekage, Literally meaning: Fifth Wind Shadow) so that he can protect the village and all those who live there, in the process dispelling the villagers' and the rest of the world's fears of him.
Because of heavy cuts to Sunagakure's budget, the Fourth Kazekage, wanted to make one of his children the jinchūriki of the One-Tailed Shukaku to serve as a weapon for the village. His first two children, Temari and then Kankurō, had not been compatible with Shukaku. Rasa's third child, who would become Gaara, was compatible, and for that reason Shukaku was sealed into him by Chiyo while he was still in his mother's womb. Gaara ended up being born prematurely and, from the ordeals of childbirth, his mother, Karura, died. Before dying, Karura looked lovingly at Gaara's small form and vowed to always protect him.
Gaara was raised in isolation during his early life, taught ninjutsu by his father and cared for by his maternal uncle, Yashamaru. When he was allowed to roam around the village, Gaara would try to connect with the villagers, being kind to them and offering them any assistance he could. However, being a jinchūriki made the villagers frightened of Gaara; adults avoided him and, when they couldn't, treated him delicately while children would run from him on sight. Gaara would try to assure them he meant no harm, but in the process would inadvertently injure or even kill them with his sand. Gaara did not understand this pain he caused others because his sand protected him from all injury. When he was six years old, Gaara asked Yashamaru to explain pain to him. From Yashamaru's explanation, Gaara believed he did know pain: the unbearable agony in his heart.
From this, Yashamaru elaborated that physical pain, what causes one to bleed, could be cured with medicine and time, whereas pain of the heart, like Gaara experienced, could only be cured with love. Gaara, said Yashamaru, received love everyday, from both his mother - whose spirit controlled the sand that protected him - and from Yashamaru himself. Gaara was pleased by this and went out into the village to show some love to those he'd harmed, but his efforts were met only with more fear and hate. Gaara was dismayed and went off to try and understand why he was treated as such a monster. While doing so, he was attacked by one of Suna's Anbu, who he fatally wounded with his sand. When he unmasked the Anbu, Gaara discovered it was Yashamaru.
Gaara was devastated that Yashamaru, the only living person to love him, would try to kill him and asked for an explanation. Yashamaru replied that it was a mission given to him by Rasa, it having been decided by the Suna Council that Gaara was a failed experiment that, if allowed to live, would only continue to do harm to the village and its people. Gaara tried to find solace in the fact that Yashamaru had been ordered to kill him, but Yashamaru insisted he volunteered and that he'd always hated Gaara for causing Karura's death. Karura had not loved Gaara either, and named him after the phrase "a self-loving carnage" (我を愛する修羅, Ware o aisuru shura) so that he would be a curse upon Suna for what it had done to her. With his explanation done, Yashamaru asked Gaara to "please die" before blowing himself up with explosive tags.
Gaara's sand - a product of Shukaku rather than Karura if Yashamaru's words were to be believed - shielded Gaara from the blast. Having lost everything he cared for, Gaara decided that he would from that point forward live up to his namesake by loving only himself; to that end, he used his sand to etch the kanji for "love" (愛, ai) onto the left side of his forehead. Overwhelmed with grief, Gaara transformed into Shukaku and attacked Suna, which Rasa stopped with his gold dust. Rasa would arrange five other assassination attempts on Gaara over the following years, each of which Gaara survived. Due to his singular focus on himself, Gaara eventually learned to reign in his powers and became the lethal weapon Suna wanted him to be, prompting Rasa to stop trying to kill him and instead find a use for him.
Gaara was consistently warm to others during his early life. Although most of Suna's villagers feared and despised him, he was able to persevere due to the love that he felt from Yashamaru and his mother. His father, Rasa, believed these niceties were impeding Gaara's development as a jinchūriki and as such had both taken from him: he ordered Yashamaru to try and kill Gaara and, if he were to fail, to tell Gaara that neither he nor Gaara's mother had ever loved him. Rasa's plan succeeded, as following Yashamaru's death Gaara stopped trying to connect with people. Rather, Gaara focused on himself, driven solely by his own desires and his own survival.
During his years of caring only about himself, Gaara becomes infamously known as "Gaara of the Sand Waterfall" (砂瀑の我愛羅, Sabaku no Gaara, English TV: Gaara of the Desert). Though he outwardly appears calm, "Gaara of the Sand Waterfall" is deeply unbalanced, completely unmoved by others' pleas for mercy and, in certain situations, driven mad with bloodlust. This behaviour is partly due to Shukaku, whose voice Gaara alone can hear in his head, who encourages violence at every opportunity, and who torments Gaara with threats to take control of his body if he falls asleep, thus making Gaara an insomniac. But Shukaku is not wholly responsible: Gaara simply hates other people for existing, believing that so long as they are alive they are a threat to his own life. His purpose, therefore, is to kill anyone who is strong or who he perceives as similar to himself, as only by killing them can he assert his own existence. With those who do not interest him, Gaara is typically withdrawn and silent. When he must interact with them, he does so with open disregard for their feelings and often threatens to kill them, even his own siblings, if they become too much of a nuisance to him.
Gaara's background is very similar to that of Naruto Uzumaki: both have been jinchūriki since the day they were born, both were hated by almost everyone in their village, and both were raised without a parent's love. But whereas Gaara eventually gave up on other people, Naruto continued trying to win the acknowledgement of his peers and village, pursuits he eventually succeeds at. Whereas Gaara seeks strength only in protecting himself, Naruto seeks strength in protecting the friends he makes. When the two fight during the Konoha Crush and Naruto defeats Gaara, Gaara takes this as proof that his own choices in life were wrong; he had surrendered to his difficult circumstances too easily. From that point onward he starts moving away from "Gaara of the Sand Waterfall" and starts emulating Naruto instead, improving his relationships with his siblings, making friends within Suna and without, and finding something that he's willing to give his life to protect. His relationship with Shukaku did improve somewhat when he told the tailed beast he used to hate it, but was grateful to the beast because it was he was able to meet Naruto due to the painful life Shukaku made him ensure.
Gaara becomes Suna's Kazekage by the start of Part II, signalling the success of his emulation of Naruto. Gaara gains a new purpose in life by exerting all his energies to serving the village and those who live there; although he still has his detractors, most of the villagers adore him and will do what they can to help him reform Suna and the rest of the world. Even this reform is very much inspired by Naruto, as he wishes for the Five Kage and their hidden villages to cooperate and benefit from each other in the same way that he has benefited from Naruto's influence. Gaara believes in forgiving past differences and strife, abandoning antiquated concepts of "honour" that only promote isolation, and serving a purpose greater than one's self. As in Suna, this unity that Gaara advocates is slow to catch on, for a time only gaining support from Naruto's own Konohagakure. By the time of the Fourth Shinobi World War, however, the Five Kage are convinced by Gaara and this in turn starts trickling down into the larger Allied Shinobi Forces.
Gaara feels indebted to Naruto for how significantly he's changed since his time as "Gaara of the Sand Waterfall"; he considers Naruto his closest friend and believes all the tragedies of his childhood were worthwhile since they led him to meet Naruto. He takes part in the Fourth Shinobi World War not simply because he believes Akatsuki must be stopped, but because by doing so he can keep Naruto safe. Gaara's desire to protect Naruto at times means acting against Naruto's wishes: he knows that Naruto wants to redeem Sasuke Uchiha, but will kill Sasuke if Naruto's own leniency places himself at risk; he knows Naruto would want to participate in the Fourth Shinobi World War to protect his loved ones, but feels Naruto would be safer if he were forbidden from doing so. Just like before, however, Naruto's desire to protect his friends gets through to Gaara, as he advises that Naruto should at least consider for himself what he can do for Sasuke and accepts his participation in the war after realising he made an error in judgement. Gaara often cites his own experiences as "Gaara of the Sand Waterfall" during his interactions with Sasuke and others who suffer hate and loneliness, explaining the missteps that he didn't realise he'd made until he met Naruto so that they, in turn, might realise their own. His words do not always convince them, but Gaara is able to empathise with their choices and, as with Sasuke, he even wonders if Naruto could get through to them, just as Naruto got through to him.
Gaara has fair skin, green eyes, and short red hair; for most if his life his hair is allowed to remain naturally spiky, but by adulthood it is combed and parted to the right. He has no distinctive pupils or eyebrows, the latter of which others sometimes make fun of. He's had tanuki-like black rings around his eyes his whole life, which Gamabunta attributes to insomnia. As a child, he carved the kanji for "love" (愛, ai) on the left side of his forehead, which his hair is parted in order for it to be kept visible. In Part II, many girls in Suna start to consider Gaara handsome.
As the start of Part I, Gaara wears a black body suit with an open neck, t-shirt-like sleeves, and almost full-length leggings. With this, he wears a white cloth over his right shoulder and the left side of his hips. He has a wide leather band from his left shoulder to his right hip with which he carries his sand gourd and around which he wraps his forehead protector. In early chapters of the manga, he also has several earrings. His appearance is mostly the same at the end of Part I, though he switches his previous black body suit to a reddish-brownish one with longer sleeves and an upright collar, and wears mesh armour on his wrists and ankles. In Part II, Gaara wears a long-sleeved crimson coat and full-length dark trousers with a pair. Over the coat he wears two buckled belts, a grey vest held in place by a single strap over his left shoulder, and two buckled belts which he also uses to carry his gourd. On certain occasions he wears the typical Kazekage garb and during the Fourth Shinobi World War he wears Suna's typical flak jacket.
In The Last: Naruto the Movie, Gaara dons a crimson long-sleeve shirt with several buttons and pants that match the colour of his shirt. He also wears a brown belt and now has a smaller sand gourd which is strapped to his left side. By adulthood, Gaara starts wearing a trench coat.
Having been raised from childhood as Suna's "ultimate weapon", Gaara is very strong for his age. In Part I, he becomes a favourite to win the Chūnin Exams, as well as essential in the planned success of the Konoha Crush. His fame spreads from that point, such that he is recognisable to Kimimaro of Otogakure later on. By Part II, Gaara becomes Suna's Fifth Kazekage, tasked with leading and protecting the entire village. His fellow Kage initially doubt his suitability for the position due to his young age, but come to respect him by the start of the Fourth Shinobi World War, appointing him the commander-in-chief of the Allied Shinobi Forces' combat divisions. The reincarnated Kage that Gaara fights also come to approve of his abilities after he defeats them. He could hold his own against five of Madara Uchiha's Susanoo-clad wood clones for some time.
Chakra and Physical Prowess
Gaara has large chakra reserves, a fact Akamaru recognises even before Gaara has performed any jutsu. His chakra levels are partly because he is the jinchūriki of Shukaku, but even after Shukaku is removed from his body in Part II, there is no noticeable difference in the jutsu he is able to perform. In combat, Gaara tends to stay away from his opponents and for this reason he rarely uses taijutsu. In the anime, he acknowledges that this is a shortcoming and therefore trains with Shira to improve his abilities. In the novelisation of Boruto: Naruto the Movie, Kinshiki Ōtsutsuki regards Gaara's taijutsu as highly as he does the taijutsu of Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Darui.
In the anime, Gaara is shown to be practised with several different ninja weapons, enough that he can identify the jōhyō as comparatively less lethal and then teach Matsuri how to wield it. His nature transformations include Earth, Lightning, and Wind Release, the latter of which he often mixes with his sand in order to increase its speed and coverage area. In Gaara Hiden, Gaara is shown to have inherited the Magnet Release kekkei genkai from his father, which he avoids using in battle so that he can have it as a last resort that opponents won't know about. He can use his Magnet Release to increase the density of his chakra and sand, thereby strengthening his defences.
As Shukaku's jinchūriki, Gaara is able to manipulate sand. He carries a supply of sand wherever he goes in a gourd, which itself is made from sand. This personal sand is infused with his own chakra, allowing him to deploy it faster and manipulate it more precisely. If he needs more sand, he can either use sand from the surroundings or, if there isn't any, use his personal sand to break down minerals in the ground to create some; these secondary sand supplies require more chakra to control. Gaara's ability to manipulate sand remains even after Shukaku is removed from his body. Indeed, the Fourth Kazekage, upon seeing how much sand Gaara can control at once, wrongly assumes it is Shukaku itself doing so, not Gaara.
In combat, Gaara's usual tactic is to remain stationary, using his sand to attack opponents from afar. The attacks typically follow the same formula: capture and immobilise the the target, such as with the Sand Binding Coffin, and then crush all or parts of their body, such as with Sand Waterfall Funeral. If opponents are able to get close enough to attack him, Gaara's Shield of Sand automatically protects him from all threats, even those he is not aware of; the Shield of Sand is commonly thought to be Shukaku's doing, an act of self-preservation, but it is actually Gaara's mother, Karura, whose love protects Gaara even after her death. If the Shield of Sand is penetrated, either through speed or brute-force, Gaara also has a secondary Armour of Sand covering his body; it is chakra-taxing to maintain and weighs him down. Nevertheless, Gaara's sand is extremely effective at keeping him safe, earning fame as an "absolute defence" and allowing him to go years without experiencing a single injury. By adulthood, Gaara's Shield of Sand's defence increased tremendously, able to shrug off attacks that Sasuke Uchiha's Majestic Attire: Susanoo could not.
Gaara's sand is highly malleable and can be used for any number of purposes. Often this is to protect others, such as with a wall for one person or, in his capacity as Kazekage, a shield as large as Suna. Offensively, he can shape Sand Shuriken or Sand Swords. Gaara also has a variety of supplementary uses for his sand: a form of flight for himself and others; a method of sensing concealed targets; a Sand Clone to reinforce himself or allies; a Third Eye for reconnaissance. During the Fourth Shinobi World War, he uses the Desert Layered Imperial Funeral Seal to serve the same functional purpose as the Cloth Binding Technique, giving him a way of stopping reincarnated opponents.
Main article: Jinchūriki Forms The One-Tailed Shukaku is a very valuable resource in battle but, like all tailed beasts, becoming able to use it effectively takes a great deal of time and effort on Gaara's part. During their first conversation when Gaara was a child, Shukaku warned Gaara that it would take control of his body and start killing people if he ever fell asleep, preventing Gaara from getting a full night's sleep for the duration of his time as a jinchūriki. Even while awake, Shukaku's powers were a constant risk, causing the young Gaara to inadvertently kill those around him and, in moments of particular stress, unleash Shukaku upon Suna. Gaara is able to keep Shukaku in check under normal circumstances by Part I.
Like all jinchūriki, Gaara can transform into his tailed beast. Whereas other jinchūriki achieve this transformation using only chakra, Gaara does so using sand: by layering sand onto parts of his body, he transforms those body parts into human-sized versions of Shukaku's. The more of his body that is transformed in this way, the more his speed and strength increases. As a consequence, however, Shukaku's personality starts influencing his own the more advanced the transformation, making Gaara increasingly homicidal; he has seemingly mastered the transformation enough by Part II that he can at least create Shukaku's arms without this happening. In the final stage, Gaara creates a full-sized Shukaku form, which he ordinarily remains safely deep within. By emerging from the form and putting himself to sleep, Gaara can transfer control of the body to Shukaku itself.
Main article: Chūnin Exams Gaara and his siblings are teamed together under Baki's leadership and sent to Konohagakure to participate in the Chūnin Exams. Shortly after arriving, Kankurō nearly starts fighting Team 7, forcing Gaara to threaten to kill him if he doesn't leave them alone. Sasuke Uchiha is impressed by Gaara and asks his name; Gaara is impressed by Sasuke and asks the same of him. After they exchange names, Gaara and his siblings depart. During the first stage of the Chūnin Exams, Gaara uses his Third Eye to copy the answers from others participants' written tests. The proctor, Ibiki Morino, though he notices that Gaara must be cheating, can't actually tell what he's doing and is therefore deeply impressed. Because neither he nor his siblings are caught cheating, they advance to the second stage.
For the second stage, Gaara and his siblings enter the Forest of Death with the task of collecting a set of two scrolls, one of which they are given and the other of which they must take from another team. They encounter Team Shigure first and, despite not knowing which scroll they have, Gaara insists on fighting them. He quickly kills Shigure with his Sand Waterfall Funeral, prompting Shigure's team-mates to surrender their scroll in exchange for their lives. Gaara kills them too and makes to also kill the members of Team 8, who are secretly watching. Despite Gaara's threats to kill them if they interfere, Kankurō and Temari convince him to desist and they leave Team 8 unharmed. They ultimately reach the centre of the forest with the two scrolls they need in a record-breaking one hour and thirty-seven minutes. Moreover, Gaara doesn't get so much as a speck of dust on his clothes, something the proctors remark is nearly impossible even for more experienced ninja.
In the preliminary rounds, Gaara is matched against Rock Lee. Though Lee is quite fast, Gaara's Shield of Sand is faster and blocks all of Lee's attacks. With encouragement from his instructor, Might Guy, Lee removes the ankle weights he wears, therefore making him faster than the Shield of Sand and allowing him to hit Gaara, the first person to ever do so. Lee lands several additional blows, causing Gaara's Armour of Sand to start chipping away, exposing an excited expression beneath. With Guy's permission, Lee attacks Gaara with Front Lotus, but during a brief spasm of pain Gaara is able to escape and attack Lee with his sand. Lee fends off the attack and counters with his strongest move: Reverse Lotus.
Due to the speed of the Reverse Lotus, Gaara loses his Shield of Sand and parts of his Armour of Sand are broken away. However, he is able to use his sand gourd as a cushion for the attack, therefore avoiding any noticeable damage. Lee, however, has difficulty moving afterwards and is left at Gaara's mercy, who uses his sand to crush Lee's arms and legs. Guy intervenes, and from seeing Guy's concern for Lee - an emotion Gaara doesn't understand - Gaara opts to leave Lee alone. Gaara is declared the winner and, after the preliminaries conclude, he is informed that his first opponent in the finals taking place in a month will be Sasuke Uchiha. That night, Gaara is attacked by Dosu Kinuta, another finalist who wants to kill Sasuke himself. Gaara briefly transforms into Shukaku and kills Dosu.
During the following month, Gaara and his siblings are informed of Suna and Otogakure's plans for an invasion of Konoha, set to begin during the Chūnin Exams' final matches. Once the invasion starts, Gaara is to transform into Shukaku and attack the village from within while Suna and Oto's forces invade. The day before the finals, Gaara tracks down Lee at the Konoha Hospital and attempts to kill him, but he is found and stopped by Shikamaru Nara and Naruto Uzumaki. Gaara isn't intimidated by their superior numbers and threatens to kill them too, explaining that it is by killing others, particularly those who are strong, that he asserts his own existence. He briefly explains his past and how he came to arrive at this motivation for living, which convinces Naruto that they can't beat Gaara. Guy interrupts them before a fight can break out and Gaara is forced to withdraw.
Gaara is eager to fight Sasuke, having noticed that Sasuke, like himself, is driven by hate and who may therefore be the greatest challenge Gaara has ever faced; by killing Sasuke, Gaara's reason for living would be indisputable. However, Sasuke does not show up for their match on time and, when he does finally arrive, Gaara is on edge. Midori and Shiba intercept Gaara as he heads down to the arena to face Sasuke and ask him to take a fall in the fight; Gaara kills them without warning, briefly slaking his bloodlust. His fight with Sasuke starts and Gaara is surprised to find Sasuke's speed and movements are almost identical to Lee's and, as such, bypass his defences in much the same way. Gaara surrounds himself with sand so that Sasuke's punches and kicks can't disturb him as he prepares to transform into Shukaku. However, Sasuke pierces through the sand with his Chidori, injuring Gaara's arm. Gaara is frightened to see his own blood for the first time and cancels the transformation.
Main article: Konoha Crush Gaara is so unnerved by his injury that he is unable to participate as planned in the invasion of Konoha when it begins in the middle of his fight with Sasuke. Baki instructs Temari and Kankurō to take him back to Suna. As they carry Gaara away from Konoha they are confronted by Sasuke, who wants to finish their fight. Kankurō tries to delay him, but this fails and when Sasuke catches up with them again Gaara flings Temari away so that she won't interfere. Gaara transforms his right arm into Shukaku's, who has been causing Gaara ongoing discomfort because of the earlier cancelled transformation. When Sasuke is able to counter Gaara's increased speed and strength with another Chidori, Gaara manifests Shukaku's tail. Sasuke counters this too, but is left unable to move afterwards.
Gaara is stopped from killing Sasuke by the arrival of Naruto Uzumaki. Naruto doesn't recognise Gaara at first, but when he does he attempts to retreat. Gaara goes after Sasuke again but is blocked by Sakura Haruno, who reminds Gaara of Yashamaru. Startled by this, Gaara binds her to a tree with his sand. Because Naruto can't break Sakura free, he decides to stay and fight so that he can save her and Sasuke. Gaara advances his transformation yet again and attacks with Sand Shuriken, hoping to draw out the same surprising power that Naruto displayed during his earlier match in the finals. Naruto endures several rounds of attacks and even tries attacking Gaara's un-transformed quarters with One Thousand Years of Death, but is ultimately forced to tap into his power source to create hundreds of shadow clones. The clones' onslaught surprises and overwhelms him, forcing him to fully transform into Shukaku.
Gaara tries to kill Naruto with Sand Waterfall Funeral, which Naruto escapes by summoning Gamabunta. Gamabunta uses his sword to cut off one of his transformation's arms, exciting Gaara. Because of how strong Naruto has proven to be, Gaara puts himself to sleep to transfer control of his body to Shukaku. After prolonged fighting, Gamabunta is able to get Naruto close enough to punch Gaara and wake him up, suppressing Shukaku. Gaara forces Naruto away with his sand, but Naruto quickly strikes again. Gaara is able to restrain Naruto's arms and legs, but Naruto is able to head-butt him, doing enough damage to force the release of the Shukaku transformation. Both Gaara and Naruto are exhausted from the fight, but have enough energy for one last exchange. They leap at each other and Naruto punches Gaara again, claiming victory.
Naruto and Gaara fall to the ground, unable to move. Gaara can't comprehend how Naruto can be so strong and is troubled by what this loss means for his existence. When Naruto starts crawling towards him, Gaara screams at him to stay away. Naruto, however, only sympathises with Gaara, having had a childhood that was just as lonely as Gaara's was. However, Naruto was able to find friends like Sasuke and Sakura, and for their companionship he will do anything to protect them, even if that means he has to kill Gaara. Gaara is amazed that Naruto's strength derives from his love for his friends and admits defeat. Temari and Kankurō collect him and start carrying him home; along the way, Gaara apologises to them.
Sasuke Recovery Mission
Main article: Sasuke Recovery Mission
After the invasion of Konoha ends in failure, Konoha and Suna becomes allies, both having been wronged by Orochimaru. As a sign of this alliance, Konoha later requests Suna's help in stopping Sasuke from defecting to Orochimaru. Suna sends Gaara and his siblings to help the Sasuke Recovery Team in their fights with the Sound Four; Gaara arrives to save Rock Lee from Kimimaro. On arrival, Gaara remarks that Lee is slower than when they last met, which Lee indicates to be because the injuries he received from Gaara were very severe. Gaara feels guilty about this and insists on fighting Kimimaro by himself so that Lee doesn't risk further injury. After blocking several of Kimimaro's attacks, Gaara catches him with his sand and uses Sand Waterfall Funeral on him.
Through a combination of his Shikotsumyaku abilities and his Cursed Seal of Earth, Kimimaro is able to survive the Sand Waterfall Funeral. Gaara therefore increases the scale, blanketing Kimimaro and the surrounding area with sand and then using Sand Waterfall Imperial Funeral. Kimimaro survives yet again, this time by advancing his cursed seal to its second level. The transformation allows him to outpace Gaara's sand and restrain Gaara with his spine. He then prepares to attack with Dance of the Clematis: Flower, which Gaara blocks with his Shield of Shukaku. Gaara congratulates Kimimaro for his performance and states his regrets that someone so talented is about to die. Kimimaro states his willingness to give his life if it is in service to Orochimaru. Gaara decides Kimimaro has been brainwashed and uses his sand to drag him deep underground.
As he's pulled down, Kimimaro uses his Dance of the Seedling Fern, forcing Gaara to use Desert Suspension to get himself and Lee out of harm's way. While they start discussing their apparent victory, Kimimaro emerges behind them and insists that he is not brainwashed. Kimimaro dies of a preexisting illness before he can land an attack. Afterwards, Gaara muses that Kimimaro was somewhat similar to Naruto in that both would stop at nothing to protect what was precious to them, even if that precious thing was itself evil. Gaara escorts Lee back to Konoha and, once all members of the Sasuke Recovery Team are safely accounted for, he returns to Suna with Temari and Kankurō.
Sunagakure Support Mission
Main article: Sunagakure Support Mission In the anime, Gaara and his siblings volunteer to teach at Suna's new Konoha-inspired Ninja Academy. Most of the Academy students still fear Gaara and avoid him during their lesson on ninja weaponry. Matsuri, however, is curious about him and asks to train with him. Gaara senses her fear of weapons and violence and so instructs her in how to use the jōhyō, a relatively non-lethal weapon. Matsuri and Gaara get along well, prompting the Four Celestial Symbols Men to kidnap her in order to get to him. Suna requests Konoha's help in rescuing her, for which the entire Konoha 11 is sent.
Gaara first fights Suiko, then he attacks the Four Celestial Symbols Men's leader, Hōki, but is captured. To escape, Gaara does a partial Shukaku transformation, which in the process revives Seimei. Gaara stops the transformation and later destroys Seimei's armour with a Spear of Shukaku and kills him with a Sand Waterfall Imperial Funeral. He goes to Konoha to rest and, once he's recovered, returns to Suna with his siblings and Matsuri.
In Naruto's Footsteps: The Friends' Paths
Main article: In Naruto's Footsteps: The Friends' Paths At some point over the next few years, Gaara becomes Suna's Fifth Kazekage. His reason for pursuing the office is twofold: to show the villagers that he is no longer the fearsome weapon he once was, and so that, by protecting the entire village, he can gain the same kind of strength as Naruto has. In the anime, Gaara does away with several antiquated policies, such as one that bars anyone who can't use ninjutsu or genjutsu from entering the Academy. This allows Shira, who excels in taijutsu, to become a Suna-nin; Shira later trains Gaara in taijutsu.
About two years after the end of Part I, the Fifth Hokage proposes that their villages hold a Chūnin Exam. Publicly, the exam will demonstrate the alliance that now exists between their two villages. Secretly, the exam will hopefully draw out Akatsuki, who are after jinchūriki like Gaara. Gaara agrees, believing this will also be a good way to prove himself to his dissenters in Suna. Kankurō makes repeated attempts to convince Gaara not to put himself at risk like this, but Gaara insists it is the best way for him to unify with Suna's population. Gaara presides over the start of the second stage of the exams, held in Suna's Demon Desert. When he later receives reports that two jōnin from Takigakure are participating in the exams, Gaara observes them with his Third Eye. It is quickly discovered by Fū, the third member of the Taki team, who Gaara realises is also a jinchūriki.
During the second stage, sandstorms start rampaging across the Demon Desert. Gaara secretly gets away from his guards to go into the desert to rescue Team Matsuri. Once he locates them, he finds that they are also being helped by Fū, who reminds Gaara of Naruto. As soon as they escape the sandstorm, Gaara is attacked by Hōichi, who uses a fūinjutsu chain to try and extract Shukaku from his body. Fū tries to help him, only to have for her own tailed beast also start being extracted. Matsuri is able to locate Neji Hyūga, who stops the extractions by blocking Gaara's and Fū tenketsu. This also causes the fūinjutsu chains to turn on Hōichi, so Gaara asks that Neji save him as well. Gaara then thanks Neji and Matsuri for their help. Gaara deduces that Fugi was behind Hōichi's attack and contacts him, asking that, no matter what opinion he may have of Gaara, he not do anything in the future to harm Gaara's friends. Fugi is surprised by this response as well as Gaara's forgiveness for his actions.
Due to the attack on himself and Fū, Gaara cancels the Chūnin Exams before the second stage ends. He informs the remaining participants that reports on their performance will be sent to their superiors, who will then decide if they are to be promoted.
Kazekage Rescue Mission
Main article: Kazekage Rescue Mission
Two-and-a-half years after the end of Part I, the Suna Council discusses reports from Jiraiya of Konoha about Akatsuki's likely imminent activity. Because Akatsuki will undoubtedly come after Gaara because of the One-Tailed Shukaku sealed within him, Suna places its borders under heavy guard. While working in his office later, Gaara looks out the window and sees a non-native bird flying in the sky. Guessing it's an intruder, Gaara confronts the bird's rider: Deidara of Akastuki. Gaara attacks Deidara with the sand surrounding Suna and at the same time uses his personal supply of sand to defend against Deidara's Explosive Clay.
Gaara uses his personal sand to crush Deidara's left arm, prompting him to drop his C3 on Suna. Gaara defends the village with his Air Sand Protective Wall and narrowly blocks another set of Deidara's C1 explosives. As he regroups within his Shield of Sand, he discovers that Deidara has managed to sneak some explosives into his personal supply of sand, which detonate at point-blank-range. Before he loses consciousness, Gaara moves the sand he's been using during the fight away from Suna so that it won't fall on the villagers. Deidara captures him and takes him back to an Akatsuki lair, where for three days Akatsuki's members extract Shukaku from Gaara's body. As the extraction nears completion, Gaara sees a lonely vision of himself that he is increasingly unable to recognise.
Gaara dies when Shukaku is removed from his body. Naruto and his team are able to retrieve him from Akatsuki, but they can't revive him conventionally. Chiyo trades her life for Gaara's, her way of apologising for sealing Shukaku into Gaara in the first place. As life returns to him, Gaara sees a vision of himself, once alone and unknowable, befriended by Naruto. He wakes up to find himself not only surrounded by Naruto and his team, but also his siblings and the dozens of other Suna-nin that have been tirelessly trying to find and rescue him. When he learns what Chiyo did for him, Gaara forces himself to stand and requests that everyone pray for her. They attend Chiyo's funeral a few days later and, before Naruto and his team leaves, Gaara uses his sand to shake Naruto's hand in place of saying goodbye.
Past Arc: The Locus of Konoha
Main article: Past Arc: The Locus of Konoha In the anime, Gaara receives a report that Konoha has been destroyed during an Akatsuki attack. Gaara is confident they'll be able to rebuild since they have Naruto, and recalls when Team 7 helped him deal with the Suna Assassin Captain.
Five Kage Summit
Main article: Five Kage Summit
The Fourth Raikage calls for a Kage Summit to discuss Akatsuki's recent activity. On receiving the summons, Gaara travels to the Land of Iron with Temari and Kankurō as his bodyguards. Once the Kage are all together, Gaara opens the proceedings by discussing his own experiences with Akatsuki and his previous efforts to collaborate with the other Kage, efforts that only the Fifth Hokage helped with. The other Kage offer their own excuses for why they didn't help, but the Fourth Raikage's accusation that the current Kage and their predecessors employed Akatsuki stands out. Gaara is disgusted by the news, which the Third Tsuchikage argues he can't understand simply because he's too young.
Zetsu interrupts the Summit with news that Sasuke Uchiha, who has been collaborating with Akatsuki, has infiltrated the Summit. The Fourth Raikage goes off to find Sasuke, and the other Kage bicker while he's gone. Gaara becomes pessimistic that the Kage will be able to work together since his peers seem too willing to give up, qualities that he, because of Naruto's influence, cannot respect. Gaara leaves to meet with Sasuke, arriving in time to stop him and the Raikage from injuring each other too badly. While the Raikage's wounds are treated, Gaara speaks with Sasuke, remarking that he possesses the same hate that drove him the last time they met. Gaara uses his own experience with hate to advise Sasuke to turn back while he still can, as no good can come from his present actions. Sasuke refuses.
Saddened by Sasuke's response, Gaara joins Temari, Kankurō, and Darui in attacking him. Sasuke uses Susanoo to defend himself and destroy the room to cover his escape. Gaara uses his sand to protect the others and they pursue Sasuke back to the Summit room, arriving in time to see him teleported to safety by Tobi, the leader of Akatsuki. Tobi explains his Eye of the Moon Plan to those in attendance and requests that the Kage surrender Naruto and Killer B to him to complete the plan. Gaara and the other Kage refuse, prompting Tobi to declare the start of the Fourth Shinobi World War before departing. The Kage agree to form an Allied Shinobi Forces; although they want Konoha to join, the Kage do not trust the Sixth Hokage Candidate and will require someone else to represent Konoha. Gaara recommends Kakashi Hatake, who the other Kage agree with.
After the Kage disperse, Gaara locates Kakashi elsewhere in the Land of Iron and finds Naruto in his company. Gaara tells them all that happened at the Summit, including what Sasuke did. Gaara emphasises to Naruto that the approaching war will be fought to defend Naruto and that, if Sasuke chooses to side with Akatsuki, Gaara will fight him in order to keep Naruto safe. He states his opinion that Sasuke can no longer be saved from himself and that, if Naruto truly wants to be Hokage someday, he will need to accept the same conclusion. However, before leaving he also advises that Naruto at least figures out for himself what can be done for Sasuke. Gaara, Temari, and Kankurō return to Suna, and when they arrive they are informed that the daimyō have already authorised the Allied Shinobi Forces' formation.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Countdown
Main article: Fourth Shinobi World War: Countdown Gaara travels to Kumogakure to meet with the other heads of the Alliance and discuss tactics. He shares his belief that Naruto and Killer B should be kept away from the battlefield so that protecting them will be easier. When the recently recovered Fifth Hokage argues against this, Gaara reminds her that Naruto takes too many risks for his friends to be allowed to fight. Akatsuki later finds Naruto and B on the Island Turtle and Gaara volunteers to go there to provide additional security, but the Kage decide to send the Tsuchikage instead.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation
Main article: Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation
Gaara is made commander of the Allied Shinobi Forces' Fourth Division, as well as the commander-in-chief of all the other combat divisions. When some of the shinobi from different villages start fighting over past grudges, Gaara uses his sand to break them up. He then delivers a speech to the assembled forces, asking that they set aside the factors that once set them apart and focus on what now unifies them: stopping Akatsuki. The Allies are inspired by his words and mobilise for battle; Gaara leads his Fourth Division to the border of the Land of Lightning. There, Gaara scatters his Sand Sensing around the area so that he can detect any approach by Akatsuki's forces. This ends up exposing a reincarnated Mū, causing the reincarnated Second Mizukage, Third Raikage, and Gaara's father, Rasa, to be sent to reinforce Mū. Seeing them with his Third Eye, Gaara calls for backup.
The Third Tsuchikage is sent to provide assistance, but they avoid combat until the second day of the war. Once they're ready, Gaara launches the first attack with his sand, which Rasa counters with his gold dust. When Rasa sees Gaara, he is surprised to find that Gaara has not transformed into Shukaku, having assumed he had based on the amount of sand he was controlling. Gaara informs him that Shukaku was removed from his body, but that his life was saved by the many friends he's made in his capacity as Kazekage; he adds that, as Kazekage, he now understands all of Rasa's attempts to assassinate him and forgives him. Rasa finds this all very strange and asks that Gaara fight him so that he can see how Gaara has grown. After several exchanges, Gaara surrounds Rasa and the other Kage with sand, which takes the form of Gaara's mother, Karura.
Gaara is surprised to see his mother. Rasa, accepting defeat, explains that the sand that has always protected him was not Shukaku's doing but rather his mother's, because she loved Gaara from the moment he was born. He confesses that he forced Yashamaru to try and kill Gaara all those years ago and to lie to him about his mother in order to test Gaara's emotional suitability as a jinchūriki. Gaara cries at the news and Rasa apologises for not being as good a parent to Gaara as his mother was. Gaara places sealing tags on the Kage's sand confinements, but all except Rasa escape. Gaara then assists the Tsuchikage in his fight with Mū, using his sand to locate Mū whenever he turns invisible. One of Naruto's shadow clones eventually joins the battle and, with Gaara's help, is able to briefly incapacitate Mū, allowing Gaara to seal him before he can speak.
Gaara angrily questions Naruto about his presence on the battlefield and his new Nine-Tails Chakra Mode, but Naruto assures him that he knows what he's doing and he should not treat him like child just because he's Kazekage. While Naruto's shadow clone goes off to fight the Third Raikage, Gaara and the Tsuchikage face the Second Mizukage. The Mizukage berates them for fighting Mū before fighting him, telling them that he's the stronger opponent and therefore should have been dealt with first. When the Mizukage is repeatedly able to neutralise his sand, Gaara admits this is apparently true. Because the Mizukage is protected by a genjutsu, Gaara uses his sand to locate the giant clam casting it so that the Tsuchikage can destroy it. The Mizukage immediately attacks the Tsuchikage, forcing Gaara to save him with a sand clone. Gaara then tries to capture the Mizukage with his Desert Layered Imperial Funeral, which the Mizukage escapes from by using an explosive clone.
Gaara is able to capture the Mizukage in his sand again, but the clone keeps interrupting before the seal can be completed. Although the Mizukage has repeatedly given them pointers about how to defeat him, he decides not to help them defeat the clone, believing they now need to prove themselves. Gaara uses his sand to protect the Fourth Division from the clone's attacks and then tries to attack the clone with his sand, but the clone is too fast. In order to slow it down, Gaara secretly adds some of Rasa's gold dust to his sand which, when heated up by the clone's body, acts as the perfect restraint. Naruto's shadow clone, having defeated the Third Raikage, comes to join Gaara and the Mizukage, seeing them both, remarks that they make a good pair. Gaara seals the Mizukage and reports their victory to the Allied headquarters.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Climax
Main article: Fourth Shinobi World War: Climax
The Fourth Division is confronted by a half of Mū, who is now accompanied by the reincarnated Madara Uchiha. Madara starts attacking the Fourth Division and Gaara, the Tsuchikage, and Naruto's shadow clone team up against him. Their combination is effective enough to force Madara to activate his Rinnegan, which he then uses to drop a meteorite upon the Fourth Division. Gaara orders that the Fourth Division evacuate and uses his sand to help the Tsuchikage stop the meteorite. Madara responds by dropping a meteorite, which they're not able to stop. Gaara's sand protects him from serious injury, but the Tsuchikage and the rest of the Fourth Division are badly hurt.
Naruto's shadow clone tries facing Madara alone, but the prolonged fighting has left it exhausted. Gaara and the Tsuchikage join him, as do the other three Kage, having all teleported to the battlefield to help. The Fifth Hokage heals Gaara and the Tsuchikage and the Five Kage team up against Madara. Confident they can defeat him, they tell Naruto's shadow clone to entrust Madara to them and to go defeat Tobi elsewhere. Although they outnumber Madara, the Kage struggle against him; Gaara uses Desert Suspension to keep the Kage out of range of Madara's attacks and Desert Layered Imperial Funeral whenever an opportunity to try and seal Madara presents itself. Their attacks consistently fail and Madara, in order to make things "fair", creates twenty-five wood clones, five for each of the Kage to fight.
The wood clones each use Susanoo and fight the Kage into the night. Despite the superior forces against them, the Kage are able to combine forces against the original Madara, impressing him enough to use Susanoo's "Complete Body" form. Before he can use it to destroy the Kage, the Impure World Reincarnation is released and Madara's soul starts returning to the Pure Land. Madara removes the Impure World Reincarnation's user's control over him, thus allowing him to stay. Now free to do what he wants, Madara decides he's lost interest in the Kage and states his intentions to go after Naruto. The Kage try to stop him and thus fulfil their promise to Naruto, but Madara defeats them all and leaves them near death.
Birth of the Ten-Tails' Jinchūriki
Main article: Birth of the Ten-Tails' Jinchūriki
Orochimaru and members of Taka eventually locate the Hokage, and by helping her heal herself she is able to heal the other Kage. Once they've recovered, Gaara uses his sand to transport the Kage to where the Allied Forces are fighting; Katsuyu informs them of what's been happening up until now. On arrival, the Kage rally the surviving forces against the recreation of the God Tree. After Naruto is able to destabilise the tailed beasts' chakra sealed within Tobi, real name Obito Uchiha, Gaara latches onto Shukaku's chakra and pulls it free. With Obito defeated, the Allied Forces head off to fight Madara, the only remaining threat. Gaara requests that Shukaku help him seal Madara. Shukaku is uninterested until Gaara suggests that he'll ask another tailed beast, at which point Shukaku decides to help.
Gaara and Shukaku attack Madara with Wind Release: Sand Buckshot, slowing his movements so that the other tailed beasts, Killer B, and Naruto can attack him. Once he's down, Gaara and Shukaku combine efforts to create a bigger and stronger Desert Layered Imperial Funeral, which Madara escapes using his Susanoo. Madara returns once he obtains one of his Rinnegan and starts sealing the tailed beasts into the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path. Gaara tries to prevent Shukaku from being sealed using Desert: Hand, his way of thanking Shukaku for enabling him to meet Naruto all those years ago. Madara attacks him in order to stop him, which Shukaku blocks so as to preserve its title as Gaara's "absolute defence". Despite Gaara's efforts, the tailed beasts - including those sealed in B and Naruto - are successfully sealed.
In its final moments, the Nine-Tails within Naruto communicates to Gaara how to save Naruto's life: have the Nine-Tails' chakra sealed within the reincarnated Minato Namikaze transferred to Naruto. Gaara starts carrying Naruto to Minato, but his life is rapidly fading. Gaara takes him to the Fifth Hokage so she can provide medical assistance, but she sends Sakura Haruno instead. While Sakura performs emergency life support on Naruto, Gaara carries them to Minato and, on finding him, tells him what the Nine-Tails told him. Minato starts sealing his half of the Nine-Tails into Naruto, but it is intercepted by Black Zetsu and they are shortly afterwards joined by Madara, who is now the jinchūriki of the Ten-Tails. Gaara and Minato team up to try and stop Black Zetsu from giving the Nine-Tails to Madara, but they are easily repelled.
Through the combined efforts of Kakashi Hatake and Obito Uchiha, the Nine-Tails' chakra is reclaimed and Naruto is gotten to safety. Might Guy then joins the fight against Madara and ultimately decides to use the Eight Gates Released Formation. Because Guy only has a limited amount of time, Gaara helps Kakashi create an opening in Madara's defences by carrying him closer so that he can use Kamui on some of Madara's Truth-Seeking Balls. Guy is able to successfully attack Madara, but Madara survives and Guy is unable to keep fighting. When Naruto and Sasuke Uchiha join the battle, Gaara carries Guy to safety so that he isn't harmed in the crossfire.
Kaguya Ōtsutsuki Strikes
Main article: Kaguya Ōtsutsuki Strikes
Despite Naruto and Sasuke's efforts, they are unable to stop Madara from casting the Infinite Tsukuyomi, trapping the world in a dream. Gaara dreams that he has a happy childhood in Suna with his parents, siblings, and Yashamaru and where he gets to play with Naruto everyday. Naruto and Sasuke eventually release the Infinite Tsukuyomi, freeing Gaara and the rest of the world and thus ending the Fourth Shinobi World War.
Kakashi Hiden: Lightning in the Icy Sky
Main article: Kakashi Hiden: Lightning in the Icy Sky Over a year after the end of the Fourth Shinobi World War, Kahyō is made the new warden of the Blood Prison. Gaara and the other Kage visit the Blood Prison to interview her and see if she is suitable for the responsibilities. They approve of her after she humiliates the Fourth Raikage in a fight.
Shikamaru Hiden: A Cloud Drifting in Silent Darkness
Main article: Shikamaru Hiden: A Cloud Drifting in Silent Darkness Two years after the end of the Fourth Shinobi World War, Gaara notices that Temari is bothered about something and guesses that it has something to do with Shikamaru Nara. She confides her concerns about Shikamaru's recent behaviour, which has been cold and distant. They both assume that he's on some mission for Konoha that is to be kept a secret. Although Gaara would ordinarily be content to leave it at that, he remarks that Shikamaru is too important to the Shinobi Union's future and thus gives Temari any resource she requires to find out what Shikamaru is up to.
After visiting Konoha, Temari learns that Shikamaru has gone missing during a mission in the Land of Silence. Gaara and a force of Suna-nin join her, Naruto, and some of Shikamaru's other friends from Konoha in going to rescue him. When they arrive after several days of travel, Gaara instructs his men to not kill any of the Land of Silence's Enlightened Ones if they can avoid it; although there are some injuries, nobody is killed. Shikamaru thanks Gaara for his help afterwards and Gaara once again insists that it was in the Shinobi Union's best interests to do so. However, Gaara promptly returns to Suna with all of his men except for Temari, leaving her behind to talk to Shikamaru.
The Last: Naruto the Movie
Main article: The Last: Naruto the Movie Two years after the Fourth Shinobi World War, Gaara attends an emergency Five Kage Summit to discuss the imminent crashing of the Moon. A few days after returning to Suna, meteors start falling on the village and Gaara uses his sand to protect the villagers. With the crisis becoming dire, the Kage contact each other and decide that the Moon must be destroyed. When the Sixth Hokage later reports that Naruto is on the moon, Gaara and the other Kage decide to delay the Moon's destruction to give Naruto a chance to save them.
Sakura Hiden: Thoughts of Love, Riding Upon a Spring Breeze
Main article: Sakura Hiden: Thoughts of Love, Riding Upon a Spring Breeze Gaara is informed by his Anbu that a man fitting Sasuke Uchiha's description has been meeting with a terrorist cell near Suna. When the Anbu are about to raid the compound, Gaara accompanies them and observes the man with his Third Eye. His appearance and chakra signature are identical to Sasuke's but the man speaks of wanting to destroy Konoha, which Gaara does not believe Sasuke would do. He and his Anbu attack the compound, but the lookalike escapes. Gaara tells all this to Sakura Haruno and Ino Yamanaka while they visit Suna a few days later; like them, he believes that the man was not really Sasuke. In order to prevent unsubstantiated rumours from spreading, Gaara asks that they tell the Sixth Hokage about this.
Konoha Hiden: The Perfect Day for a Wedding
Gaara Hiden: A Sandstorm Mirage
Main article: Gaara Hiden: A Sandstorm Mirage Gaara has a routine meeting with the Suna Council and reports recent events in and relating to the village before then allowing the Council to make requests of him. Normally their requests are minor and petty, and for that reason Gaara is surprised when the councillors request that he get married. Because Temari is about to get married to Shikamaru Nara of Konoha, her children will be Konoha-nin. If Gaara and Kankurō should die before producing heirs, that would mean that a Konoha ninja will have a claim to the Kazekage position. To avoid this, the Council wants Gaara to find a wife so that he can, in turn, have children. The Council insists that their interest in seeing Gaara married is more of a recompense for turning him into a jinchūriki years ago than it is a political matter. Unable to argue out of the situation, Gaara accepts whatever marriage the Council decides to arrange for him.
Temari helps Gaara dress for the occasion and Kankurō advises him on being sociable, giving him a rare opportunity to spend with his brother and sister. Under heavy security, Gaara meets the woman the Suna Council has found for him to marry: Hakuto of the Hōki family. His first impression of her is that she is beautiful, something that embarrasses him once he realises that she is to be his wife. Having forgotten all the etiquette lessons Temari gave him, Gaara decides to try and emulate Naruto's successes from being unoriginal: they discuss their hobbies. Hakuto is intrigued to hear Gaara speak with passion about raising cacti and it dispels some of the rumours she's heard about him from his days as "Gaara of the Sand Waterfall". She, therefore, declares that Gaara is "kind". Gaara is pleased, filled with the same happiness he experiences when he tends to his cacti.
Gaara and Hakuto are attacked during their meeting. Gaara is able to kill their initial attackers and keep Hakuto safe, but struggles against the attackers' leaders: twin brothers Etoro and Metoro Konjiki. The brothers simultaneously attack with their kekkei genkai and break Gaara's Shield of Sand, injuring him for the first time in several years. Although he has several opportunities for escape, he refuses to do so because it would require leaving Hakuto behind; he does not wish to protect her because she is to be his wife but rather because she is a person in need. Hakuto's sister and bodyguard, Shijima, soon arrives and creates an opening for Gaara to kill both Etoro and Metoro. With the fighting done, Hakuto treats Gaara's injury before heading back to her family home.
Afterwards, Baki suggests the attack was part of some plot to eliminate Gaara, who plays politics behind closed doors, and replace him with Kankurō, who leads from the frontlines and as such is much-loved by the standard infantry. When they later receive reports that Hakuto has been kidnapped, they realise that she was the target of the attack, not Gaara. Gaara leaves in the night to rescue Hakuto by himself, not wanting help from anyone as that would only draw attention to the mission and allow his detractors to use her kidnapping against him. As he leaves, he is met by Shijima, who was easily defeated by Hakuto's kidnapper and now wants to help in retrieving her. They travel through the desert, tracking the footsteps that, despite the kidnapper's attempts to conceal them, Gaara is able to follow.
When they catch up, the kidnapper introduces himself as one of Hakuto's clansmen, Shigezane. Shigezane quickly defeats Shijima and then starts attacking Gaara, using his many water jutsu to convert the area to quicksand. Gaara could escape if he wanted to, but does not believe he could locate Shijima in time to save her if he did. For that reason, he goes to her and wraps them both in sand as they sink under. Gaara wakes up after several hours in the underground cavern that Shigezane drew his water from. Shijima asks Gaara why he, the Kazekage, would risk his life to protect her. He replies that all life is precious regardless of one's station, something he learned from Naruto. He knows there are times when sacrifice is necessary, but he tries to avoid that as much as he can. Shijima understands and, when they're ready, leads Gaara out of the cavern.
Gaara and Shijima find Hakuto and Shigezane as they're about to enter the Land of Fire. Gaara has long since figured out that they are lovers who planned to use Hakuto's arranged marriage as an opportunity to elope. He is not upset by this as he never intended to force Hakuto to marry him, but at the same time he, the Kazekage, can't let them abandon Suna. He asks them to return, but Shigezane refuses and attacks Gaara; Gaara uses his Magnet Release to defend himself, counter, and hold Shigezane at his mercy. Shijima threatens Gaara to let Shigezane go. Gaara is already aware that she helped them stage Hakuto's kidnapping, but he repeats that he can't let them abandon Suna. When Shijima proves willing to kill Gaara and herself so that Hakuto and Shigezane can escape, Gaara asks why she didn't kill him earlier when he was unconscious. She replies that it was not her way, which satisfies Gaara.
Gaara attacks with a Sand Sword, but rather than strike Shijima he hits Metoro, who faked his earlier death and has been following them so that he could take revenge; despite his attempts to conceal himself, Gaara has been aware of Metoro's presence the whole time. After confirming that Metoro was hired by Tōjūrō - a member of the Suna Council who Kankurō and Baki are already in the process of arresting - Gaara kills him with his Sand Waterfall Funeral. Gaara points out how effective the Sand Waterfall Funeral is at eliminating all traces of Metoro and once more repeats that he can't let Hakuto and Shigezane abandon Suna. Hearing this, Shijima realises that Gaara plans to fake their deaths so that they can be together. At that moment Shikamaru Nara appears, his help having been requested by Gaara via Temari; Shikamaru will corroborate reports that Shigezane and Hakuto were killed so they can settle in Konoha under new identities. Gaara and Shijima return to Suna, Shijima vowing her service to the Kazekage.
The relationship between the hidden villages improves over the following thirteen years and Gaara becomes close with a new generation of Kage. He has also become the father of three: Yodo, Araya, and Shinki. During one Kage Summit, Sasuke Uchiha shares his concerns that a threat greater than Kaguya Ōtsutsuki is still lurking somewhere; Gaara shares the other Kage's belief that this should be kept a secret so that a panic is not spread. During a later Kage Summit in Konoha, Gaara visits Temari and greets his nephew, Shikadai.
Boruto: Naruto the Movie
Main article: Boruto: Naruto the Movie
Gaara and the other Kage observe the final round matches of the Chūnin Exams taking place in Konoha. When Kinshiki and Momoshiki Ōtsutsuki start attacking the stadium, Gaara helps the other Kage defend the spectators and get them to safety. Kinshiki and Momoshiki kidnap Naruto, so Gaara joins the other Kage, Sasuke, and Naruto's son, Boruto, in rescuing him. On Momoshiki's Planet, they free Naruto and team up against Momoshiki. Although they briefly defeat him, Momoshiki is able to recover and immobilises the Kage with a stolen Shadow Imitation Technique. Boruto is ultimately able to defeat Momoshiki, allowing everyone to return to Konoha.
In Other Media
Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of Gelel
Main article: Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of Gelel Gaara and Kankurō save a band of Suna villagers from a group of seemingly invulnerable armoured warriors. They are then attacked by knights wielding the power of the Stone of Gelel; Gaara is drawn into battle with Ranke. Ranke defeats Gaara's sand with her lightning powers and then undergoes a monstrous transformation. Gaara uses Sand Lightning Needles to drain her lightning and crushes her using Sand Waterfall Imperial Funeral. Later, he and Kankurō safely return to Sunagakure.
Naruto Shippūden the Movie: The Will of Fire
Main article: Naruto Shippūden the Movie: The Will of Fire After Hiruko initiates a Fourth Shinobi World War, Gaara leads a force of Suna-nin through a rocky terrain. They are attacked by Hiruko's forces but saved by Jiraiya, who informs Gaara of Kakashi Hatake's willingness to sacrifice himself to defeat Hiruko. Gaara goes after Naruto so that he can't stop Kakashi, telling him that he can't risk war for the life of one man. They fight, but Naruto breaches Gaara's defences and convinces him that that he won't back down, prompting Gaara to retreat. Gaara returns to his troops and takes them back to Suna.
Gaara is a playable character in the following video games:
While Gaara often relies on his sand to fight, in the Clash of Ninja game series, he uses actual taijutsu in tandem with his sand techniques.
Creation and Conception
As revealed in Jin no Sho, Masashi Kishimoto's original prototype for Gaara was an elite 7-year-old ninja named Kumomaru (雲丸), who would have abused drugs to push his physical capabilities beyond their natural limits. He also had a ninken named Manji (まんじ), likely an homage to Hiroaki Samura's Blade of the Immortal. Kumomaru had wild hair and wore a tattered cloak and a forehead protector with a symbol resembling a sun or moon partially obscured by clouds, which also appeared in prototype designs for other antagonists such as Zabuza Momochi and a group of shinobi that became the Sound Four; Manji was a small dog with dark markings around his eyes and the kanji for manji (卍) tattooed on his forehead.
The character design went through many revisions, eventually becoming a character named Kotarō (小太郎), after the famed Fūma Kotarō, which Kishimoto thought was a perfect fit. However, his editor opposed the name and instead suggested Gaara (我愛羅, Literally meaning: "self-loving demon"); Kishimoto later learned that his editor had actually based the name on the GALA Yuzawa ski resort in Nīgata Prefecture where he had recently vacationed.
Kishimoto created Gaara as a foil to the series' protagonist, Naruto Uzumaki. He and Naruto have a similar background: he was rejected by his peers and fellow villagers for being the host of a tailed beast, Shukaku, a situation that Kishimoto describes as "very much like Naruto's". Gaara's development from this state into a highly withdrawn, sadistic character was intended to induce sympathy for him from readers, as it was contrasted against Naruto's development into a cheerful troublemaker. Additionally, his design was designed to look like the Tanuki since Kishimoto thought that it would make him a good rival for Naruto's Nine-tailed Demon Fox since several parts from the Shukaku were considered by Kishimoto to be opposite ones from the Demon Fox. Gaara's backstory became one of Kishimoto's favourite stories from Part I; Kishimoto had to revise his illustrations in such chapters in as he wanted readers to understand more Gaara's mental state.
Gaara's initial attire, along with the costumes of his siblings, was difficult for Kishimoto to draw on a weekly basis. Because of this, Kishimoto gave the three of them simpler costumes towards the end of Part I; Gaara received an outfit with an upright collar. In addition to being easier to draw, it was used to demonstrate the change in relationship between Gaara and Naruto following their previous fight. Kishimoto cites The Matrix, one of his favourite movies, as an inspiration for Gaara's new costume, and he considers it to be his favourite costume of the three siblings.
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- The name "Gaara" literally means "self-loving demon" (我愛羅).
- When Gaara was first named in the English Shōnen Jump, his name was rendered as "Gāra".
- In the Naruto character popularity poll, Gaara is one of four characters to have always placed in the top ten of every poll.
- In the Live Spectacle Naruto, the role of Gaara was played by Kenta Suga.
- According to the databook(s):
- Gaara's hobby is battling and cultivating cacti.
- Gaara's favourite foods are salted tongue and gizzard, while his least favourite are yōkan and marron glacé.
- Gaara and Naruto are both the same weight and height by Part II.
- Gaara wishes to fight Sasuke Uchiha and anyone, if it is for the sake of his village.
- Gaara has completed 34 official missions in total: 0 D-rank, 9 C-rank, 8 B-rank, 14 A-rank, 3 S-rank.
- Gaara's favourite words are, in the first and second databook, "love for oneself" (自愛, jiai), and in the third databook, "affection" (慈愛, jiai) and "future" (未来, mirai).
- Shukaku's previous jinchūriki foretold that one day someone would show it the meaning of the words which were tattooed on his own hands: "accept" (受, ukeru) and "heart" (心, kokoro). The tattoo on Gaara's forehead, "love" (愛, ai), is a combination of these two kanji.
- (To Naruto and Shikamaru) "I am a relic they want to get rid of, so why do I exist and live? In order to exist, you need a purpose. To exist for no reason is the same as being dead… Then I came to the conclusion that I would love only myself and fight for only myself. If all other people exist to magnify that love, then there is no more a splendid universe than this one… My existence will not vanish."
- (To Sasuke) "You have the same eyes as I do… the eyes, filled with hatred and death, that long for strength… just like mine… your eyes tell me how badly you wish to kill the one who put you through the hell called loneliness."
- (To Rock Lee) "You're the same then. When you feel the honour of your idol under scrutiny… you become enraged, as if it were your own honour being questioned. The more precious your idol is to you… the harder you fight for him."
- "Perhaps the companionship of an evil person is preferable to loneliness."
- (To Kankurō) "I will work hard, because I want to become acknowledged by others. That's what I thought when I look at Naruto Uzumaki. Bonds with others… Up until now, I only known them as hate and murderous intent. But I wonder, what is that bond he longed for? Now I understand, even only a little. Pain, sadness… and joy. These feelings allow you to understand others."
- "This is where it all starts for me. Starting with this small bond. I too want to become someone who is needed, instead of a weapon that is feared. And as the Kazekage of Sunagakure."
- (To Naruto) "I think of you as a friend. I used to think "friend" was just another word… Nothing more, nothing less. But when I met you, I realised what was important was the word's meaning."
- (To the Allied Shinobi Forces) "There are no enemies here because we've all suffered at Akatsuki's hand! So there is no Suna, no Iwa, no Konoha, no Kiri, and no Kumo! There are only shinobi!"
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 First Databook, pages 50-55
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Second Databook, pages 62-66
- ↑ Shō no Sho, page 7
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Third Databook, pages 60-63
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Fourth Databook, pages 76-78
- ↑ Retsu no Sho, page 34
- ↑ Zai no Sho, page 33
- ↑ Naruto chapter 129, page 15
- ↑ Naruto chapter 35, page 17
- ↑ Boruto episode 24
- ↑ Naruto chapter 97, pages 9-10
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Naruto chapter 547
- ↑ Naruto chapter 130
- ↑ Naruto chapter 131, pages 1-12
- ↑ Naruto chapter 280, page 5
- ↑ Naruto chapter 548, page 14
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 399
- ↑ Naruto chapter 215, page 14
- ↑ Naruto chapter 546
- ↑ Naruto chapter 83, page 9
- ↑ Boruto: Naruto the Movie
- ↑ Naruto chapter 249, pages 12-14
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 400
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 394
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 395
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 398
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 401
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 410
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 411
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 412
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 413
- ↑ ANN Interview
- ↑ Naruto chapter 700+5, pages 9-11
- ↑ Naruto chapter 700
- ↑ Art Collection: Uzumaki, page 142
- ↑ Illustration Collection: Naruto, page 98
- ↑ Tō no Sho, pages 310–311
- ↑ Art Collection: Uzumaki, page 127
- ↑ Naruto chapter 660, pages 5-9
- ↑ Naruto chapter 97, pages 15-17
- ↑ Naruto chapter 127, page 10
- ↑ Naruto chapter 217, page 14
- ↑ Naruto chapter 217, page 16
- ↑ Naruto episode 120
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 182
- ↑ Naruto chapter 475, page 13