My Top 40 Narutoverse [Critique?]
I for the most part use a methodical approach that is defined by how closely ninja are to achieving the power of Rikudō Sennin. However, there are anomalies caused by raw intelligence, as I'm a strong believer that a ninja's greatest tool is his mind, followed then by his power. Because of this, some traditional viewpoints about ninja strength may be counterweighted. Moreover, there is not a direct linearity of power, as some ninja can both defeat ninja higher on the list and lose to ninja lower on the list. That's just the reality when each shinobi possesses diverse abilities, but keep in mind that many of the ninja on this list fall into the same tier in my mind, with some obvious gaps. Also, obviously: this is all just my own opinion, and I like writing about Naruto characters way too much.
To comprehend Mifune's greatness, you must first comprehend Hanzō's greatness, for Mifune defeated the [admittedly rusty] Hanzō with his Iaidō, a style that strikes so quickly that even Kages cannot access ninjutsu, and must instead engage him with pure physical skill, an area where Mifune and his chakra-enhanced blade have the distinct advantage against all but the most monstrously skilled ninja. He is the greatest samurai to ever live, and one who sits among the shinobi Kages as a revered equal.
Konan has easily proved herself to be one of the most powerful and intelligent kunoiche to ever live, for Obito himself admonished that she was deserving of her rank after having underestimated and losing his arm as a result. With enough durability to survive Jiriaya's fire release in her paper form, and the ability to seemingly create endless amounts of paper and explosive tags, Konan's potential is difficult to gauge, because her power fluctuates depending on her preparation. For with enough preparation, she becomes a ninja powerful enough to force Obito to use Izanagi to survive, but if nipped in the bud, she can quickly be humiliated and distmantled by base Jiraiya.
A remarkable mixture of genius and experience, Kakuzu was able to instantly counter Shikamaru with preparation, and outmaneuver Kakashi in several instances. With physical invulnerability to practically everything but lightning ninjtusu, tentacles that can quickly snatch even the fastest physical combatants, and the firepower of four powerful ninja, Kakuzu is every bit as terrifying as he looks. Ultimately, in order to defeat him, you must find a way to penetrate his “diamond-like” defense, slay him five separate times, and avoid his elemental onslaught and remarkable physical skill. Just run from this zombie.
37. Yondaime Kazekage
By virtue of being resurrected by Kabuto, the 4th Kazekage is implied to be among the most powerful Kages to ever exist. Being capable of going head to head with a tailed beast, and winning, by summoning vast amounts of gold dust to weigh down Shukaku's sand, his abilities are in some ways, superior to that of Gaara. Unfortunately, the Yondaime Kazekage met his demise at the hands of the legendary Sannin, Orochimaru, and his Kusanagi.
Implied to have identicial powers to his brothers, I'm going to breeze over Ginkaku in favor Kinkaku, who was implied to be slightly superior as the leader of the powerful “Kinkaku Force.”
You know this list has some monstress ninja on it when a buff version of Naruto's six-tailed state places 35th on the list of all time greatest warriors. Yet Kinkaku was not only a musclebound chakra-freak, but he also demonstrated remarkable trickery and strategy with his Rikudō weapons. Incidentally, it was no surprise that hearing of his resurrection was so alarming to the Alliance leaders that the Yondaime Raikage demanded to go the battlefield immediately to challenge the duo, for he feared that his lieutenant ninja stood no chance. Additionally, Kinkaku doubled his infamy by being the leader of the “Kinkaku Force,” the group of elites that forced a young Hiruzen and his peers to flee while Tobirama volunteered himself to be outnumbered and butchered. Do I need to go on? Really? Kurama ate Kinkaku, and Kinkaku said “No, demon, I'm going to eat you!”
34. Terumī Mei
Like most kunoiche in the manga, Mei is easy to underestimate. Yet not unlike Tobirama, Mei can release absolutely monstrous suitons, without a source, that could counter even Madara's enormous fire releases, which had, by the way, previously required dozens of normal ninjas to counter. Additionally, she possesses not one, but two kekkei genkai, the more powerful of which produces an incredibly acidic version of Zabuza's hidden mist that can quickly melt through the early stages of Susano'o while she utilizes the revered silent killing method of her homeland. Fortunately for Madara's entertainment, Mei had to use a light version of the regular hidden mist jutsu against against him, so as not to blind and melt the other Kages, which speaks worlds of the power of her jutsu.
33. Senju Tsunade
Easily the most underestimated of the “legendary three ninja,” Tsunade certainly deserves her titles as Sannin, Hokage, “the strongest kunoiche,” and “greatest medic.” Her greatest power is a Senju-derivative, one that Hashirama himself had, and that's basically the... inability to die. Oh, and her acid-spewing summon is even more un-killable. However, don't think that her talent is purely defensive support, for she has demonstrated that with just one touch, she can shatter the ribs of Susano'o, or scramble a ninja's nervous system with highly sophisticated electrical signals. She's an incredibly dangerous enemy, and an invaluable ally. At this very moment, she will likely glue herself back together and save the lives of her fellow Kages.
A is the grand-daddy of the Alliance's military heirarchy, but admittedly doesn't do much... nor is he the smartest Kage on the block. But what he does he does so damn well that he's one of the greatest ninja of all time because of it. He runs. And he smashes. Yep, that's it. That's his strategy 100% of the time. But he runs so fast that Sasuke couldn't track him, and he smashes so hard that the first form of Susano'o shattered like a wine glass being hit by a baseball bat. Moreover, A's durability is such that he practically tanked Sasuke's Chidori, and his stamina has been compared to that of a tailed beast. Better yet: A far-and-away surpassed his father in pure speed, having developed a Sharingan-blitzing shunshin that requires enormous [tailed beast amounts] of chakra to perform.
31. Sabaku Gaara
Gaara was called the “golden egg” of the Five Kages by the Nidaime Mizukage, and what Gaara lacks in eyebrows he makes up for in heart. Yet more than any other individual on this list, Gaara's power fluctuates wildly. In a desert, only the most ideal match ups, or absolutely most supreme ninja, can even hope to defeat him. The power he wielded against Deidara was so monstrous that even several hundred chapters later, it remains incredibly impressive. Yet in a closed room, with only his gourd of sand, Gaara's battle power is extremely limited, although his nimbus sand is still extremely, extremely quick, capable of blocking even A and Sasuke's enton. Most importantly though, Gaara possesses a dynamic calm in battle that very few ninja, even of the genius class, have managed to replicate.
30. Hoshigake Kisame
Don't underrate him based off of his part one humility. When fused with Samehada, Kisame can absorb ninjutsu, can Tsunade-regenerate from any physical attacks, and is a powerful sensor. He is thus only weak to genjutsu, and only if we assume Samehada cannot act as a partner or if Kisame hasn't formed clones. More frightening still, the scale of Kisame's techniques were comparable to that of a Rinnegan user, because he created an ocean-sized prison, spawned thousands of summoned sharks, and created an enormous bullet that absorbed all chakra, and thus counters all ninjutsu in a head to head clash. Furthermore, Kisame's movement speed in the water surpasses that of all living ninja... make no mistake, Kisame was quickly defeated by Gai's Hachimon due to the ridiculous chakra-less match-up, and only after Samehada had abandoned him. He was a true monstrosity, as cunning as he was powerful and honorable. A truly amazing and underrated shinobi.
When Deidara died, Nagato demanded a moment of silence in respect for his power. Obito called his jutsu terrifying. Deidara possessed techniques that could lay waste to entire countries. Abilities that he believed (and I believe) could potentially kill Orochimaru, Itachi, and many others higher up on this list. His c4 clones, upon being destroyed, release invisible nano-bombs that can only be seen by skilled dōjutsu users, and only deactivated by raiton users. Deidara captured the Godaime Kazekage, in his own military city, in his living desert. Later, he escaped and nearly killed all of Team Gai and Team Kakashi without arms and would have slaughtered them all (still without arms!) if not for Kakashi's huge Kamui usage. Extraordinarily analytical, versatile, and destructive, nobody can convice me that Deidara isn't one of the most spectacular ninja to ever live. Whether from beneath the earth, or high in the sky, Deidara is a... blast.
28. Sandaime Kazekage
A man that, even at the beginning of part two, was revered as “by far the strongest Kazekage” in the village's history. The Sandaime Kazekage was inventor of the magnetism technique, and he employed its diversity in ways that had been reverse engineered from Shukaku's power, not unlike how Minato invented the Rasengan, and Chiyo believed the Satetsu to be the most fearsome weapon in all the history of Sunagakure. Unfortunately, outside of his monstrous hype, not much else is known about the man. But we certainly know enough to conclude that he is one of the most powerful and intelligent ninja to ever live, an individual who shined brightly even among his fellow Kages.
27. Hatake Sakumo
So renowned was Sakumo that the young Sannin, the “legendary three ninja,” a group of ninja that individually overshadowed many Kages, were said to be overshadowed themselves by Sakumo's greatness, which makes him one of the most highly decorated ninja to ever live, and lends credit to both his power and his intellect. Whether he was as powerful as the Sannin are in modern times remains unknown, but I personally believe the contrary, and that Kakashi (particularly with a mastered Kamui) and a handful of other gifted ninja have managed to surpass the legendary White Fang.
26. Sanshōuo Hanzō
Jiriaya did not believe Hanzō could have possibly been defeated, and for good reason. Hanzō, in his prime, was the level of ninja that said “Hey, I effortlessly slaughtered everybody else on the field, but you three runts survived. I'm going to name you the 'Legendary Three Ninja.' and let you live.” and the rest of the world called them “the legendary three” for the rest of their lives. However, it should be noted that despite learning of Hanzō's assassination, Jiraiya still believed he could defeat Pain, so there is somewhat of a counterbalance to Hanzō's incredible hype. In spite of this, even after losing to Pain and Mifune, both of his enemies noted that Hanzō had lost his way as a ninja, so Hanzō in his prime, “the icon of the shinobi world,” remains illusive and quite difficult to place.
25. "Mighty Guy"
Uchiha Itachi was not fooled by Gai's (or Jiriaya's for that matter) goofiness, but was extremely cautious of Gai, repeatedly warning Akatsuki members to be weary of him. For within Gai is the rare talent to unlock numerous bodily gates, granting him godlike power while his body is put under unbearable stress. In this state, Gai's movement and strength go far beyond mere chakra-enhancements. His blows strike so quickly and so forcefully that they cascade waves of fire, devastating anything in their wake, and as of yet, we haven't even seen Gai explore the limitations of his gift—Madara likely earns that honor. Criticized for being unintelligent, this is untrue, for the perceptive reader observes that Gai often notices important details before even Kakashi, and has developed, or assisted in developing, unique strategies to counter immensely powerful abilities, including the Sharingan and Rinnegan.
24. Hatake Kakashi
Kakashi was almost made Rokudaime Hokage, and for good reason. Possessing arguably the single most devastating offensive ninjutsu of all time, Kakashi has on two occasions instantly warped entire bodies away. The first was Deidara's exploding clone, and the second was Naruto's clone. The latter went completely unnoticed by even Obito, which proves its incredibly refined speed. It would be unfair to sum up Kakashi's power by Kamui, however, as he possesses one of the most brilliant tactical minds of all time, placed above even Shikamaru by Naruto, and incredible skill in ninjutsu, having created and mastered an S-rank technique as well as several variant raitons, dotons, and suitons. Operating on pure skill, Kakashi is a ninja that can take down mountain-busting shinobi with a clever feint and precise, devastating dōjutsu.
23. Akasuna Sasori
Most of the less prominent Akatsuki members are horrible underrated, but none moreso than Sasori! He has the power of at least two powerful Kages, because he defeated “by far the strongest Kazekage” as a teenager before adding that strength to his own, essentially doubling his fighting power. He went on to add his special poison to the Kazekage's iron sand, making the legendary jutsu infinitely more dangerous. With an army of puppets that need only the smallest scratch to paralyze their foes, a Kazekage of godlike renown, and an inventive and deductive mind easily comparable to that of Itachi or Minato, Sasori stands as by far the greatest genius to ever rise up from the desert. It's no coincidence that, in order to be defeated, his opponents needed prepared antidotes, in depth knowledge of his puppetry, and for Sasori to still choose to willingly choose to die.
22. Nidaime Mizukage
The Nidaime Mizukage was Mū's primary rival, and by the virtue of that alone, must be one of the strongest ninja to ever exist. Blessed with Hōzuki blood, the Mizukage is physically invincible to all but the most devastating ninjutsu. However, his chances of being hit are even slimmer, given that his summoned clam is arguably... one of the greatest and most baffling genjutsu users of all time. Combined with one of the best and most unique defenses in history, the Mizukage also possesses handfuls of devastating offensive ninjutsu, and his ultimate technique involves the creation of an incredibly durable and incredibly fast clone that explodes and reforms perpetually. So while we have never see the Mizukage combine these abilities, the mere possibility of doing so demands that for a ninja to defeat him, they must have powerful defensive or evasive ninjutsu at their disposal, and countermeasures for his mass genjutsu.
21. Sandaime Raikage
If Sasori is Magneto, then the Sandaime Raikage is the frickin' juggernaut, *****! He practically possesses the same hype as Itachi's legendary items. Blessed with a indestructible skin, neither the Rasenshuriken nor the Hachibi seem to have been able to injure him. His nukite was said to be able to pierce any defense, including even himself, which is what ultimately spelled his humbling downfall. Yet blessed with the top tier speed and enough stamina to fight for several days at a time, the Sandaime Raikage remains a god among shinobi, and make no mistake, he is not limited to close-range combat like his son, for he is also a master of deadly “black lightning,” indicating creativity and intelligence that one might not initially perceive from his brutish appearance... or his son's table-smashing hotheadedness.
Orochimaru has been humiliated and humbled more than any other ninja in the manga, but he has survived through it all, and at one point even had Hashirama and Tobirama as his soldiers. Yet even without arms, his knowledge and power terrifies ninja, and its Orochimaru's scrolls that can potentially control the tides of the war even now... additionally, Orochimaru has invented & mastered more S-rank jutsu than any other known ninja, and prime Hiruzen confessed in the second databook that all of his intelligence and knowledge was nothing compared to Orochimaru's raw talent. Make no mistake, Orochimaru was the genius predecessor and inspiration to Kabuto, and there is the distinct possibility that Orochimaru, in all of his magnificent-bastard glory, will evolve into the final villain of the manga. Nevertheless, up until the day comes when Orochimaru achieves his unlimited potential, he freely yields to the awesome power of dual-Mangekyō Uchiha.
Jiraiya, while not a traditional genius, is universally exalted throughout the manga, and not just as “one of the legendary three.” For example: Nagato said he'd never beat him in a fair fight. Itachi told Kisame that no matter how many Akatsuki were present, a fight between Jiraiya and him would result in mutual injuries or death to them both. Minato praised him as the greatest shinobi (greater than Minato himself.) Ultimately, Jiraiya has demonstrated an extreme diversity and talent in ninjutsu, and could vastly amplify all of his abilities by calling upon the two Elder Sages to fuse with him, effectively granting him the power of three powerful Kages. It's no wonder that the Konoha elders begged him to be the Godaime Hokage. I suspect that Jiraiya will return, and that he may climb this list. Until then, it's difficult to separate his copious praise from the reality of his limitations.
18. Uchiha Shisui
Having awoken not only the Sharingan, but the Mangekyō Sharingan, Shisui is automatically placed in the ultra-elite group among the Uchiha bloodline. But that is not the sum of his greatness, for Shisui was not only hailed as the most powerful genjutsu user in the world during his lifetime, indicating an immense intelligence and chakra control required for the field of genjutsu, but was even more famous for his shunshin jutsu, which implies that Shisui doubled as one of the fastest ninja in the world. Humorously, when Kabuto and Obito were denied Shisui's power, they were each quite... butt-hurt. Nevertheless, I do not believe Kotoamatsukami is completely un-counterable to ninja with knowledge of its mechanics, so those possessing Shisui's eyes do not top my list by that virtue alone. Nevertheless, it's impossible to deny that Shisui is one of the most gifted and powerful ninja to ever exist, for even god-like shinobi with control over life and death are tripping over themselves to attain his ocular powers.
17. Killer Bee
Killer Bee is the original perfect Jinchūriki, and he possesses an undeniable genius in battle, one that his brother bragged about to even Minato. It was, after all, that same ninja-genius that allowed Bee to save both his brother and himself from Minato's Hiraishin assaults. Additionally, there has likely has never existed a more dangerous swordsmen than Killer Bee, and yet that is only a tiny fraction of his true power, as Bee can effortlessly level mountains and forests with his inner beast. When factoring in his internal genjutsu partner, Samehada's ninjutsu resistance, and Killer Bee's massive top tier physical talents and cloaks, he is easily one of the most skilled and well-rounded ninja of all time, limited only by his humorous antics à la Jiraiya.
While Mū's arsenal may possess more finesse, Ōnoki definitely possesses more raw power with clones and enormous Jinton blasts. Against Madara, Ōnoki was supercharged with the strength to release a Jinton of such monumental size that it consumed over twenty clones and their Susano'o, as well as half of the true Madara's body. With that level of firepower and flight, Ōnoki is a force to be reckoned with, and was rightfully singled out by Madara as being the true “problem” among the five Kages. However, despite all his experience and firepower, Ōnoki is not without his weaknesses. His back suffers from age, making each strain in battle a gamble of life and death.
Mū invented the Kekkei Tōta, and possibly invented the flight and invisibility techniques as well. As such, he is certainly a top tier creative genius, and has been blessed with an immense natural gift for chakra sensing too. His most notable hype is after the Alliance heard of Mū's resurrection. The Kages panicked, and unanimously admitted that only Ōnoki was capable of defeating Mū, largely because Mū had taught Ōnoki nearly everything he knew. Yet when the time came, the invisible Mū taunted that Ōnoki, in his old age, would certainly die if he did not call for help from the Kazekage, and I believed him. Moreover, while the 2nd Mizukage and Mū fought to a stalemate, and are within the same tier of greatness, I feel that Mū's superior hype and attitude warrants him a higher position. However, there is a noteworthy de-hyping of the Tsuchikages, which came in the form of Madara, whom easily subjugated them without his Perfect Susano'o, indicating that the diverse insight and abilities of the mastered dual-Mangekyō are powerful counters to their techniques.
14. Shimura Danzō
As the rival of Hiruzen, Danzō has always been an immensely dangerous ninja, and after having Orochimaru experiment on him, Danzō learned to wield two of the greatest eye powers ever conceived: Izanagi and Kotoamatsukami. Danzō ultimately became a pseudo-Rikudō, having supplemented himself with Hashirama and Shisui, and he possessed enough raw power to toy with the imperfect-Mangekyō Sasuke without even having Shisui's power recharged. And while that overconfidence is precisely what killed Danzō, challenging a dual Mangekyō Uchiha is something that even ninja as confident and powerful as Orochimaru never dared to attempt, and even the powerful Tsuchikages took on only jointly (and still came up short.) Ultimately, Danzō's experience, intelligence, and cunning easily places him as one of the greatest, albeit misguided, shinobi to ever walk the earth.
13. Uchiha Izuna
Izuna, while virtually an unknown in the plot of the manga, was said to constantly have been competing with an adult Madara to see which brother was stronger, and is by that sentence alone, one of the greatest ninja to ever exist. Along with Madara, Izuna was the first to ever awaken the Mangekyō Sharingan, and he was the joint leader of the Uchiha clan. Moreover, because Izuna was Madara's brother, who likewise possessed two Mangekyō, he likely mastered Susano'o, as well as the other powerful ninjutsu and genjutsu inherent to the bloodline. Make no mistake, up until the moment Madara attained the Eternal Mangekyō, there was no sizable level difference between the brothers, and Izuna himself vied for the position as the most powerful shinobi in the world.
12. Senju Tobirama
Tobirama is so overshadowed by his brother that we often forget about him, but when resurrected along with Hashirama, there wasn't a great distinction made between their power by the spectators. However, presumably after Hashirama's death, the young Hiruzen fearlessly referred to the Nidaime Hokage as the absolute strongest ninja in the village. Having demonstrated his scientific genius in inventing what is arguably the most powerful jutsu in existance, Edo Tensei, as well as mastering a form of space time jutsu that Minato himself respected, and being the greatest suiton user of his time, Tobirama is obviously a mangificently intelligent and powerful shinobi. He met his death willingly, at the hands of twenty elite shinobi, possibly including the two pseudo-jinchūriki revered as some of the most powerful Kumogakure ninja to ever live, Kinkaku and Ginkaku.
11. Sarutobi Hiruzen
Hiruzen was said to be the strongest of the Five Kage during his reign, and he was referred to as the god of shinobi, and the professor. It is probable that these names have the same root meaning, as the original “god of shinobi” is the individual who invented ninjtusu, and Hiruzen was renowned for knowing of all the ninjutsu in Konoha. Regardless, he possessed immense eclectic talent for the ninja arts, and his numerous maximum scores in the databook support his absolute brilliance. His one forgivable shortcoming is that he possessed no special powers, and created no special jutsu like the other Hokages, but was exalted as one of the greatest Hokages purely because of his phenomenal intellect and universal talent. A truly admirable ninja that died from sealing Hashirama, Tobirama, and a portion of Orochimaru.
10. Uchiha Sasuke
Sasuke possesses extremely powerful illusions despite his specialty being ninjutsu, and he has demonstrated ridiculous versatility and inventiveness in his usage of Susano'o, Amaterasu, and raitons. Having created handfuls of A-ranked techniques, as well as an S-ranked technique, and developing unique spatial formations of Amaterasu, such as his Amaterasu orb and sword, Sasuke's creative genius is immense. Concurrently, I have him placed here (despite his arguably superior arsenal to those above him) because of the rage and pride that impairs his decisions in battle, but I suspect that he will soon shed his brashness, and return to the genius tactics and mindset employed by his Hebi incarnation now that he is finding peace with Itachi's deception.
9. Uchiha Itachi
Itachi inspires a huge fandom because of his almost supernatural level of ninja talent (let's face it, Sasuke has a pertier face.) He executed basic ninjutsu so quickly that the Sharingan couldn't see it, he threw basic weapon vectors so skillfully that Rinnegan shared vision was blinded, he used basic genjutsu to humiliated multiple ninja on this list, his basic battle insight was likened to peering into an enemy's soul, and the list goes on and on. Ultimately, there is an undeniable x-factor with Itachi. Kabuto claimed that Itachi's unique mind made him a completely different beast from other Uchiha, Obito confessed to being constantly amazed by Itachi, and while Itachi was the guardian of several allegedly "invincible" and "unavoidable" tools and abilities, his mind was his greatest weapon.
8. Namikaze Minato
Minato was said to be the fastest man to ever live, and the greatest ninja that the Raikage had ever met, one whom he thought would never be surpassed. The mere memory of Minato holding a Rasengan forced Killer Bee to catch his breath, and many other powerful ninja that knew the Yondaime Hokage have expressed a belief that only Naruto can surpass him. Additionally, Minato was easily one of the most creative ninja in history, having reverse engineered the tailed beast bomb to create the Rasengan, and similarly having reverse engineered Uzamaki sealing techniques to create his Hiraishin, an S-rank difficulty jutsu. Unfortunately, not unlike other immense geniuses, Minato chose to sacrifice himself for his loved ones, but he nevertheless stands as one of the most sublimely talented and powerful ninja to ever walk the earth.
7. Uzamaki Nagato
Nagato was entrusted with Madara's eyes, and while not a genetic Rikudō himself, his bodily power seemed to rival that of Hashirama. Consequently, Madara's eyes have never seemed to exhaust Nagato like practically every other eye transplants seen in the manga. Unfortunately, it was the lack of genetic prerequisites that resulted in Nagato's weakness: he was horribly crippled after trying to access too much of Madara's power. Dozens of black rods were mercilessly impaled through Nagato's body, permanently impairing his ability to move in life, and forever emaciating him. However, seemingly after being unhooked from Gedō Mazō postmortem, Nagato was able to repair his body and absorb the chakra of a tailed beast. In that state, Nagato achieved power that could rival anybody on this list, given his decades of experience with the legendary Rinnegan, but a lifetime of being unable to move still presented an exploitable weakness to his defenses.
6. Uzamaki Naruto
Putting Kurama's full power into perspective is not easy. Hiruzen Sarutobi in his prime couldn't seem to injure Kurama with Konoha at his back. Minato ultimately died in order to counterbalance Kurama's overwhelming power. Nagato was having difficulty suppressing only eight of the nine tails in his ultimate jutsu, Chibaku Tensei. Kurama alone countered the bombs from five combined tailed beasts. And yet Naruto's power does not begin or end with Kurama, which is, incidentally, amplified by a perfect Jinchūriki channeling it into sophisticated ninjutsu. Naruto is also a perfect Sage and thus a master of the Senju power, who has also perfected the elemental Rasengan, the apex of spatial and elemental ninjutsu itself. He is an absurdly powerful individual, limited solely by his youth and brash nature.
5. Senju Hashirama
You'll come to notice that most of the ninja above Hashirama have supplemented themselves with Hashirama's power. Incidentally, Hashirama is, in my opinion, the single strongest individual to ever exist (barring Rikudō) to rely on nothing but his own innate power. He is Superman. Implanting just a few of this man's cells has given ninja superhuman stamina and ability. His power is so overwhelming that he could bend tailed beasts to his will, and at one time had the majority of them under his control, similar to how Obito does in the modern day. Moreover, Hashirama was not just a hax meathead, but is implied to have been a devastatingly talented, diverse, and intelligent ninja, as he evidently invented and employed mass-genjutsu so powerful that it had left Sarutobi Hiruzen blind and helpless. Madara said that the Shodai Hokage was the only ninja that he had ever admired, and even to this day, Madara and the common people alike believe that only Hashirama could possibly challenge Madara's overwhelming dominance. Such was his legend, his power.
4. Uchiha Obito
It was by mere chance that Obito came across Madara, but in him, Madara found a worthy apprentice, one that he taught nearly everything he knew, and entrusted with him all of his crafted tools. In Obito, Madara placed his absolute trust as a partner. The power of Hashirama flows through Obito's body and grants him prodigious, and nigh unlimited access to his Mangekyō, as well as the legendary Mokuton. Since then, Obito has meticulously added to Madara's armory by contracting the slaughter of the Uchiha clan and collecting dozens, if not hundreds, of Sharingan to be used for their own purposes. Aside from Madara, Obito is closest to achieving the individual power of the original Rikudō by demonstrating remarkable talent in Senju and Uchiha powers, as well as high degrees of intelligence in skill in various, if not all, ninja areas. With his second Edo Tensei version of Pain at his finger tips, and ultra-efficient Izanagi, Obito is an absolute beast to behold.
3. Uchiha Madara
Make no mistake, there is only one other true Rikudō beside the original Sage, and that man is Uchiha Madara. He is the only other to awaken the Rinnegan. Similarly, no other individual has amassed the raw knowledge that Madara has collected. He is arrogant, however, like Orochimaru to an extent, but just like Orochimaru, he is a scientific genius. Most of the greatness surrounding the modern incarnation of the Rinnegan is, in fact, Madara's personal creation. The black rods used to control tailed beasts and Pain, the Gedō Mazō statue, and the Zetsu army that challenged the united world were all invented by Uchiha Madara. And while it is implied that Hashirama defeated Madara at the Valley of the End, it is also stated that his wife, Mito, helped control Kurama, and thus presumably turned the tides of battle at that point. However, even in a desolate situation, Madara manipulated the cirumcstances into taking his first steps toward godhood. Concurrently, Madara possesses in invincible, immortal body that replenishes his Hashirama-amounts of chakra at superhuman rates, allowing him to ceaselessly exercise the full power of the Senju, Uchiha, and Rikudō.
2. Yakushi Kabuto
Kabuto once claimed that he was closer to the power of the Rikudō Sennin than anybody had ever been, and I believe him. In terms of knowledge and fighting power, Uchiha Madara and dozens of others on this list were his loyal soldiers before his Edo Tensei was released. Moreover, distinct from Orochimaru, who himself had Hashirama as an Edo Tensei, Kabuto took strides to develop his individual power to rival that of even the greatest legends. In terms of Senju ability dealing with life force and bodily energy, Kabuto could breathe his life force into the inanimate and command them as his allies. He had developed bodily regeneration and resillience that surpassed that of Hashirama and Tsunade, and possessed nearly inexhaustible stamina through his perfection of senjutsu. Moreover, he invented many devastatingly powerful and unique genjutsu and ninjutsu with his frighteningly potent sage chakra. His weakness was solely in his mind, and that is ultimately what defeated him and dismantled his nearly invincible undead army of legends.
1. Rikudō Sennin
With Banbutsu Sōzō, Rikudō Sennin could create form from nothingsness, and with a perfect Izanagi, he could escape death perpetually. Make no mistake, the man that invented ninjutsu itself didn't have to die. It was his decision, and given his Buddhist theme, it was almost certainly because he ascended through the Six Paths of Desire into Nirvana, which is essentially the welcoming of individual-nonexistence. However, Nirvana is supposed to be the stage where you cease to be reincarnated, so if certain rumors are in fact true... then the Rikudō, like Nagato, may have instead chosen the seventh path, or Outer Path, which in Buddhism is the reliance of sorcery to extend your life to near-immortality and is generally thought to be an unbecoming and wretched state of existence. Still shrouded in mystery, everything we learn about the Rikudō Sennin bolsters his legend to new, unreachable heights...