I ask not for lighter burdens, but for broader shoulders.
Gaara of the Sand | The Desert Viper
"Gone forever! I'm no longer the jinchūriki you created!"
Name: Gaara | 我愛羅
Nickname: Gaara of the Sand; Fifth Kazekage; The Desert Viper
Like Naruto, Gaara is a little shorter than the average males of his age, which is due to the fact that he was born prematurely. He has fair skin and short, spiky, auburn hair which was sometimes depicted as red in the earlier parts of the series. He has green eyes, in the anime it is predominantly blue. Gaara has no distinctive pupils, or eyebrows either. He has two very notable traits in his appearance: firstly, he has tanuki-like black eye rings, having them since his birth. Secondly, he carved the kanji "love" (愛, ai) on the left side of his forehead, having it since Yashamaru's betrayal. Gaara's forelocks are parted from the left side, making the kanji more visible. Matsuri and Sari who both seem to have a crush on Gaara, have described him as the strong silent type, elite and very handsome.
In Part I, Gaara has been seen in two different outfits. When he was seen for the first time, he wore black full body suit with t-shirt-like sleeves, ¾-length legs, and an open neck. With this, he wore a white cloth over his right shoulder and the left side of his hips, and a wide leather band system over the left shoulder and right side of his hips. With this leather band, he carried around his gourd that contains his sand. He also wrapped his black forehead protector over the band. In his childhood flashbacks, he was seen wearing a beige poncho-like shawl over a short-sleeved black T-shirt, a white obi around his waist, dark blue pants that were rolled back several times at the hem, revealing the inside cloth to be gray, and black sandals.
In the Sasuke Retrieval Arc, and in the final pre-Shippūden filler arc, he switched his previous black overalls to a reddish-brownish one with longer sleeves and an upright collar. He retained the white cloth, but had mesh armour on his wrists and ankles. He used this costume in Naruto the Movie 2: Legend of the Stone of Gelel as well.
In Part II, Gaara had a considerable growth spurt, like Naruto. During his battling against Deidara and during the Kage Summit, he wore full-length dark trousers, with a pair of laces on each leg, respectively a few inches below the waist and the knees, a long-sleeved crimson coat with flaring hemlines on the front and the back, a grey holster vest held in place by a single strap over his left shoulder and by two buckled belts which he uses to carry his gourd. He also wears another pair of casually worn belts around his waist. He is also seen wearing Kazekage robes, and a simple black pants suit, the latter one greatly resembling Kankurō's suit, and worn for the memorial of Elder Chiyo. All the time, he has been seen wearing Sunagakure's standard shinobi sandals. As the Regimental Commander of the Allied Shinobi Forces, he added his village's flak jacket to his standard outfit.
Gaara was once a kind child who, despite their fear and hatred towards him, tried desperately to be friendly towards others. His uncle, Yashamaru's, actions changed and twisted his personality. Misled into believing nobody loved him, Gaara used his sand to create the kanji on his forehead "love" (愛, ai), as a symbol of his ideal to be a "demon loving only itself", and to live up to the name his mother gave him. Gaara became emotionally withdrawn and silent, as he was consumed with a loathing towards everyone but himself and "Mother", the voice of Shukaku in his head. He learned to derive pleasure and a reason to live in the annihilation of the numerous assassins sent to kill him — and by extension, anyone who posed a threat to his own existence. This was worsened by Shukaku's occasional demand for blood to satisfy its blood lust, resulting in Gaara's remorseless nature, demonstrated when he murdered Baiu and Midare, despite their pleas for mercy. Gaara's insomnia forced fear upon him; if he were to fall asleep, the demon within him would begin to eat away at his soul. This only furthered his instability and desire to kill. Gaara's hatred for his own father is due to the the multiple assassination attempts, but his misanthropic nature even extended to his siblings, whom he never saw as related to him, despite them never offending him directly. He was fully willing to kill them if he viewed that the situation called for it. In addition, due to the sand activating at any time injury would otherwise befall Gaara, he never saw his own blood until Sasuke Uchiha pierced his shield and injured him, thus causing Gaara to have a mental breakdown.
Gaara's childhood was similar to Naruto Uzumaki's in many ways. Both were unbearably lonely and longed to be liked, loved and acknowledged as individuals, free of the prejudices of others — they were human beings, not the demons they had been forced to contain — and were driven to separate states of desperation. While Naruto consequently developed the misconception that pranks and mischief would bring him the attention he sought, Gaara came to the conclusion that he could preserve and confirm his own existence by killing any and all who challenged it, securing this extreme form of existentialism as his key trait. In the absence of outside recognition, he could compensate by valuing only himself to the exclusion of every other person. Furthermore, while Naruto eventually had Iruka Umino and Team Kakashi to comfort him, Gaara never bonded with anyone, not even his father or siblings, as they too despised and feared Shukaku. The person who grew the closest to acknowledging Gaara was his mother's brother Yashamaru. Yashamaru was ordered to betray Gaara, transforming him into a lonely sociopath. As such, Gaara couldn't understand the concept of fighting for anything but himself until his confrontation with Naruto.
After his defeat at Naruto's hands, Gaara was shocked to discover that Naruto understood very well the pain he had endured throughout his life. He was even more surprised to learn that Naruto never lost his ambition to be recognised as an individual, and ultimately found companions who truly cared for him. Witnessing the resolution Naruto possessed to protect his friends made Gaara finally question the path he had determined for himself. Realising that he gave up too easily, Gaara decided to follow Naruto's chosen path instead in order to finally have people acknowledge him as an individual, and not the tailed-beast within him. Over the next few years, Gaara's resolve to find happiness caused him to rely on his own power rather than that of Shukaku. Gaara eventually formed a close friendship with Naruto, and became rather protective of him.
Since becoming one of Naruto's companions, Gaara has somehow taken on his ability to alter people's personalities. In the anime, he convinced Matsuri to overcome her fear of weapons. During the Kage Summit, he shocked the older, more experienced Kage by asking them when they had forsaken themselves, later causing Ōnoki to become much more determined to protect the Shinobi World. Before the Shinobi Alliance marched off to battle, he motivated them to set aside their differences, forget their past rivalries and unite under a single banner. He even managed to make Naruto think about the choices he had made in regards to Sasuke, stating that he only cared about revenge. His bond with Naruto has also made him capable of tossing aside any grudge, including his previous hatred of his father, who was partly responsible for Gaara's miserable childhood. He admits to having forgiven his father's actions, but openly weeps after learning that his mother truly did love him, and that she had vowed to protect him forever by infusing her will into his sand which, as his father noted, would always protect him.
Gaara cares deeply for Naruto and his well-being, and despite Sasuke's actions during his assault at the Kage Summit and his status as an international criminal, went so far as to attempt to convince Sasuke to come out of the darkness one more time on behalf of Naruto, and when unconvinced, even shed a tear for the failure Sasuke has become, and the disappointment Naruto will face. Despite respecting Naruto's goals, his care for him does not block his personal beliefs, and he believes his friend's well-being is more important, most prominent is his support to keep Naruto out of the war saying to Tsunade that Naruto takes too many risks when it comes to protecting his friends. Gaara also bluntly tells Naruto that chasing after Sasuke is foolish, as he sees him as no longer being able to return from the path of corruption. Though he defies Naruto's goal to bring Sasuke back, he only says this for Naruto's well-being because they are "friends".
Although he remained ruthless against his opponents, Gaara is extremely protective of his allies and innocent people, as seen when he protected his village from Deidara; and his siblings, Darui and even the Raikage against Sasuke. He also deeply understands those who have suffered from loneliness and hatred in the past by the look in their eyes, such as Naruto, Kimimaro, and even Sasuke.
As a Kage, Gaara believes that the ideals of previous generations, that each village must mind their own business and solve their own problems without having to ask for the aid of others in order to keep appearance and honour, is "ridiculous old-fashioned thinking", and that cooperation between the villages is fundamental in order to defeat Akatsuki.
Village of Birth: Sunagakure
Village of Alliance: Kumogakure
Gaara is the third and youngest child of the Fourth Kazekage and Karura, and the younger brother of Temari and Kankurō. Before Gaara's birth, his father had Chiyo seal Shukaku within him, in hopes that Gaara would become the ultimate weapon for Sunagakure as he was the only one of the Kazekage's three children to be compatible with the beast. He was born premature and therefore, was an unusually small and frail infant. Before she died, Karura passionately held her son, vowing to always protect him. Gaara was trained in ninjutsu by his father, but mainly raised by his maternal uncle, Yashamaru.
Because of the power of Shukaku, the villagers of Sunagakure hated and feared Gaara. Seeing him only for the monster sealed within him, for a time, Yashamaru seemed to be the only person who cared about Gaara. When Gaara would unintentionally harm others due to the subconscious abilities granted to him by Shukaku, Yashamaru was the only one who understood that Gaara hadn't intended to harm anyone. The Sunagakure Council, however, saw Gaara's frequent attacks as a threat to the village. Because of the danger Gaara imposed, disappointed by the turn of events, the Kazekage decided to test his son by having Yashamaru attack Gaara both physically and psychologically to see if Gaara could retain control of Shukaku. As a result, on the Kazekage's orders, Yashamaru told Gaara that his mother never loved him. He also tried to assassinate Gaara, only to be fatally wounded by the boy before Gaara realised whom he killed.
Although Gaara tried to consider Yashamaru's attack as his father's order, Yashamaru lied to him by saying that he had willingly accepted the mission to kill Gaara. He also lied that he never truly loved Gaara, and told him that killing him would avenge the death of his sister, who had named him Gaara after the phrase "a self-loving carnage" (我を愛する修羅, Ware o aisuru shura), a sign of her intense hatred for Suna rather than love for her son. In the last ditch effort to kill Gaara, Yashamaru detonated a number of explosive tags covering his body, asking Gaara to "please die". Using his sand, Gaara survived the blast, and lost the only person he thought had cared for him, while not knowing the true reasons behind Yashamaru's actions. Gaara then used his sand to etch the kanji for love (愛, ai) onto his forehead. Gaara then lost control and transformed into Shukaku, rampaging around the village before his father stopped him with Gold Dust.
Since this incident, Gaara became an aloof and cruel person who would kill anyone to prove his existence and to obtain recognition from the village, all the while giving up any desire for friendship. Seeing that Gaara was unable to cope with the loss of his mother's love, the Kazekage deemed him a failure and arranged several assassinations of his son that all failed yet made Gaara hate his father even more. In time, Gaara's new ideology allowed better control over Shukaku, and his father would come to appreciate this and the uses he could serve, and cancelled all assassination orders. This revived the idea of having Gaara as the ultimate weapon of the village.
Becoming both Regimental Commander of the primary fighting force and Commander of the Fourth Division, Gaara used his sand to break up a quarrel among Suna and Iwa shinobi. He explained to the joined forces that he himself was a product of the hatred between the villages yet his fellow jinchūriki, Naruto, bore no ill will towards him and others. At the end of the speech, everyone was united and all went out for battle to reach their assigned destinations. With the Fourth Division settled along a rocky terrain, Gaara surrounded their position with his sensory sand to detect any who approach. In doing so, he caught the reincarnated Mū and used his Third Eye to gather intel on the situation and learns that three other reincarnated Kage were with him, his father among them. This information is relayed to headquarters and Ōnoki is sent to provide assistance. When Ōnoki arrived Gaara told him that there was no reason for him to strain his back, and is in return told that his earlier words were the reason Ōnoki was picking up his principles again.
On the second day of the war, him and Ōnoki deciding to finally advance where they had been retreating for some time, Gaara attacked the Kage with a long-ranged attack, but the Fourth Kazekage counters it with his Gold Dust while realising his son is not using Shukaku. After he captured his father and the other previous generation of Kage with his sand arms, Gaara reveals to his father that he is no longer a jinchūriki and that he was now the Kazekage, now understanding his father's reasons and forgiving him. Shocked at how far Gaara had come, the Fourth decided to test his son's worth again by facing him directly. With Gaara getting the upper hand, his father tried to attack him from behind when Gaara's sand takes on the form of his mother, greatly shocking his father. The Fourth Kazekage then finally revealed the truth to Gaara: that his mother loved him and that her dying words were to always protect him which became a reality through the sand. Hearing that this mother truly loved him as well as the truth behind his uncle Yashamaru's actions before he died, Gaara was overcome with emotions as his father apologised for robbing his son of so much. Once the Fourth Kazekage is sealed, Gaara faces the battlefield with new determination and sets out to aid Ōnoki in his fight with Mū before Naruto arrived with Gaara helping him defeat the Tsuchikage before sealing him.
After moving to a safe location at Ōnoki's request to get an explanation from Naruto, Gaara asked him if it was okay for him to be using the Nine-Tails' chakra so much to which Naruto retorted that he was going to be Hokage someday and until then, he would not die, so Gaara shouldn't treat him like a child. Soon after, Gaara and Ōnoki headed off to the area of battlefield where the Second Mizukage is. Though the Second began to rant about himself being a stronger opponent than Mū first, Gaara tells him he learned not to judge others by their appearance yet admits that the Second Mizukage was indeed strong. He later detected the Giant Clam with his sand and raised a platform of sand that Ōnoki used to prepare his attack from. After Ōnoki's assault on the clam was successful and the mirage of the Mizukage that Gaara was speaking to vanished, Gaara immediately activated his Third Eye to locate them. With Ōnoki's life seemingly in peril, the Second shoots him, but it was revealed that Ōnoki was in fact a sand clone which began to restrain the Mizukage. The Second's Hydrification Technique activated immediately, however, before he can free himself, Gaara used his Desert Layered Imperial Funeral technique which seemingly, successfully restrained him. Before the shinobi could rejoice however, a huge explosion occurred and the Second's face appeared above them in the sky. As Gaara watched in horror, he wondered whether it was another genjutsu. Ōnoki informed him that it was the technique that even Mū could do nothing about: the Steaming Danger Tyranny.
As a clone of the Mizukage emerged from the sky, Gaara tried attacking with his sand but the clone proved to be faster than Gaara had thought. Ōnoki explained the mechanism behind the Mizukage's technique, after which Gaara went after the Mizukage, whose position was given away by a sensor. Gaara trapped him with the Desert Layered Imperial Funeral technique again, but as he is applying sealing tags, they are ripped off by the clone. The Mizukage then told Gaara that he would not simply divulge any more details pertaining to the technique as he wanted Gaara to defeat him with his full power or else they'd have no chance at all when they went up against the leader of the opposing side. The Mizukage the lamented that he had found the "golden egg" amongst the current generation of Kage, but was having second thoughts on the matter.
As the clone attacked some of the shinobi and prepared to explode again, Gaara protected them with his sand. He tries to attack the clone but is once again out-done in speed, and the clone struck him only for it to be revealed to be another sand clone after which Gaara emerged from the ground and attacked again. This time, the sand was able to catch, and cover the clone. Inside the sand, it exploded again, but the blast is stifled. The sand breaks down, exposing his father's Gold Dust underneath, which Gaara hid in the sand clone. The gold had melted due to the heat generated by the clone and fused onto its body rendering it unable to move and harder to explode. The sand on the outer layer that had been drenched in the Mizukage's hail was cool enough to keep the clone from heating up. Greatly impressed by this, the Mizukage stated that he was a "golden egg" after all.
When Naruto's clone arrived on the battlefield, Gaara asked him how things went on his end and Naruto informed him that the Third Raikage had been sealed. Gaara then told him that he would finish up here as well and then informed Naruto that the pyramid was his technique when the latter mistook it for the enemy's body. After the Second Mizukage remarked to Gaara that he and Naruto made a good duo, Gaara smiled and wondered whether that was so as he finished sealing him. He then told a shinobi to report to headquarters and turned his attention to Naruto, asking him where his original was. The division was later alerted by a sensor that someone was coming and Gaara stares in shock as he sees Mū appear on a cliff above them. As the members of his division exclaimed that someone else was up there, who is revealed by Ōnoki to be Madara Uchiha, Gaara wondered what was going on, drawing their attention to Madara's eyes that gave away the fact that he was reincarnated. On this revelation the division stood in shock wondering just who the masked man that claimed to be Madara really was.
As a new battle commenced, Gaara attacked Madara, but he evaded it and jumped to the ground below. With this, Madara began his assault and proceeded to tear through the division's remaining forces. Gaara used his sand to catch Madara's arm, creating an opening for a Kumo shinobi to attack, but Madara easily countered. Naruto finally entered Sage Mode and Ōnoki lightened the sand in Gaara's gourd, which made it even faster and easier to manipulate. Gaara uses the sand to pull Madara out of his Susanoo, and into the flight-path of Naruto's Rasenshuriken. Their combo fails when Madara reveals his Rinnegan and uses the Preta Path to absorb the attacks. Madara then retreated to the top of a rock formation and summoned a huge meteorite, which shocked everyone present, and caused Gaara to wonder whether that was the power of a god.
As the meteorite plummeted towards them, Gaara told his troops to try and escape as far as they could while he remained behind, and attempted to help Ōnoki, who had flown towards the rock in order to lighten it. With their combined efforts, they were able to stop the meteorite, but when Madara sent another one crashing into it, they are unable to stop it. Predominantly unharmed, Gaara went to check on the Tsuchikage. As Ōnoki declared that he would fight Madara, Gaara moved to help an exhausted Naruto to his feet. As Ōnoki stumbled getting up, Gaara used his sand to support him, telling him that they would fight together. As Madara and Mū attacked, they are buffeted by Tsunade and A who arrived on the battlefield via the Heavenly Transfer Technique. Mei arrived soon afterwards via the Flying Thunder God Technique and Gaara stood with the other Kage, prepared to fight Madara.
A and Mei confronted Madara directly in order to buy some time for Tsunade to heal Gaara and Ōnoki. When Madara decided to test their defences, Gaara and Ōnoki worked together to build a double-layered shield of sand and rock to block his attack. Before Naruto's clone dispersed, having been told to leave things there to them, Gaara and the other Kage leave him with one message "win".
As the battle waged on, Gaara suspended everyone above Madara's technique. As Tsunade warned them not to inhale the pollen, Madara attacked Gaara and the other Kage from behind and knocked them into the forest below where they lose consciousness after inhaling the pollen. Regaining consciousness after Ōnoki destroyed the forest, the Kage watched in shock as the face formed from the DNA of the First Hokage juts out of the regenerating Madara's, exposed chest.
When Tsunade moved to the front-lines and the other Kage confronted Madara, Gaara wasted no time in the opportunity that was provided to seal Madara within his Desert Layered Imperial Funeral technique and applying sealing tags immediately after. Declaring that Madara was sealed, Gaara was shocked to see Tsunade impaled by a Susanoo Sword and then to see Madara emerging from one of the tree roots, and revealed that they had sealed a wood clone. After Madara noted that five-against-one was a good match-up, he created more wood clones, sending five of them at each Kage.
As Gaara battled five Susanoo-clad clones, he was able to save Mei from being skewered onto a sword of one of the clones she was battling. With his attentions elsewhere however, his own opponents took the opportunity to land a surprise attack which initially failed due to his automatic defence, but is buffeted by a combined assault from the clones. As Gaara agreed with Mei statement that Madara was too strong, Ōnoki spurred the other Kage to keep fighting on, reminding them that Naruto and the shinobi of the world had entrusted their titles and that battle to them. Motivated, Gaara relocated to the side of the other Kage in order to lure all the clone into gathering in one area as the Tsuchikage prepared a large-scale Dust Release: Detachment of the Primitive World Technique which is successful in destroying the twenty-five clones and the real Madara partially. Launching their collaborative attack, Gaara's sand is revealed to be hidden inside A and Mei's lightning-infused Water Release: Water Dragon Bullet Technique which he used to restrain Madara.
As Gaara started to seal Madara, the latter released his full Susanoo and destroyed the sand barricade before declaring to the Kage that even their power was futile against Susanoo's perfect form. Staring in shock as the humongous construct stabilised, Gaara and the other Kage are knocked off their feet by a single swing from the Susanoo's sword. After regaining their footing, Gaara and the others stood to face Madara once again. When Madara prepared to attack the Kage once again, Gaara stared in shock as Madara's Susanoo de-materialised and a light of sorts enveloped him. When Tsunade deflected Madara's desperate attempt to attack them one last time only to fall unconscious due to overusing her Strength of a Hundred Technique, Gaara and the rest of the Kage moved to protect her from Madara's follow-up attack as she fell through the air and listened on as Madara declared that he would break contractual ties from the summoner which would cause him to remain in the real world and retain all the benefits of the Impure World Reincarnation.
Earth Release: Training throughout his lifetime in earth release, Gaara can perform all earth related techniques with only a single hand seal. He has acquired and created many unique earth techniques throughout his lifetime. Each one is more deadly than the previous one.
Fire Release: Gaara can perform all fire related techniques faster and more deadly than the average shinobi.
Sand Release: Gaara's unique sand release ability allows him to manipulate and create sand from earth minerals. He carries a brown gourd on his back that contains a large quantity of sand used in many of his techniques.
Seals: Gaara bears a number of seals on his body. On his arms, there are three seals. The first seal is arranged in a pentagon shape, one kanji of for each basic element. This would unseal already prepared scrolls for use in the “Fire/Water/Wind/Earth/Lightning Sealing Method” technique. The second seal is arranged adjacent to each other, the kanji for Dragon and Tiger. This compartment stores prepared scrolls for use in the “Fire Release: Exploding Dragon Strike” and “Fire Release Summoning Technique: Fire Tiger Explosion” techniques. The last seal is arranged adjacent to each other, the kanji for weapon and flash. This compartment stores prepared scrolls consisting of a variety of weapons. This also stores several scrolls that unseal massive torrents of flash bombs. He has wrist seals that contain large, windmill shuriken.
Weapons: Gaara carries a variety of weapons. In his ninja pouch, he carries shuriken, kunai, explosive tags, flash and smoke bombs, ninja wire, and all the other items essential for a ninja. Gaara also carries two folded Windmill Shuriken in his backpack. He also carries a basic katana and staff into many of his fights. The basic ninja tools are concealed in multiple pockets and pouches located around his waist. He wears his signature gloves into all battles.