|“||My name is a code… My glasses are a tool… I've been no one… From the start. From the very start… I had nothing||„|
|~ Kabuto revealing his origin to Itachi.|
|“||After Orochimaru died, I found myself not knowing who I was, again… Without knowing parent or country, I was taken in by the enemy… Since a young age I've moved about countries and villages as a spy… To me, things like countries, villages… they hold no firm reality in my mind. That was, of course, until I found myself under the wing of Orochimaru… but that presence is gone again. What am I anyway… The pain of not having an identity… I'd think you should understand… Naruto.||„|
|~ Kabuto speaking to Naruto about his origin.|
Kabuto Yakushi (in Japanese: 薬師カブト, Yakushi Kabuto) is the former major antagonist of the Naruto franchise. He was the secondary antagonist of Part I of the Naruto series and a major antagonist in Part II, Naruto Shippuden. He is a rogue ninja who originally worked with Orochimaru before striking out on his own and becoming a more dangerous threat to the protagonists in his own right, until he found his true self and became a valuable ally, along with Obito Uchiha against Madara and Black Zetsu.
During the course of the series, Kabuto acted as intially the supporting protagonist in the first half of the Chunin Exams Arc and later, the supporting antagonist in the second half of the arc and the Konoha Crush arc, the secondary antagonist in the Search for Tsunade Arc and in the Tenchi Bridge Reconnaissance Mission Arc, the main antagonist in the Three Tails' Appearance Arc, the secondary antagonist in the Fourth Shinobi World War: Countdown Arc and in the Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation, the main antagonist in the Power Arc, the supporting antagonist in the Fourth Shinobi World War: Climax Arc and the supporting protagonist in the Birth of the Ten Tails Arc.
In the Japanese dubbed version, he was voiced by Nobutoshi Canna as an adult, and Mariko Mizuno as a child. In the English dubbed version, he was voiced by Henry Dittman (who also voices Craniamon) as an adult, and Tara Sands as a child.
Kabuto is rather sadistic with a very dry sense of humor, taking enjoyment in playing mind games with his enemies, but can also be polite and helpful. When Kabuto revived people for his army, those he picked were also often meant to attack his foes emotionally and saw those he revived as nothing more than pawns. Kabuto dislikes rudeness and despite his being Orochimaru’s right-hand man, his master has trouble figuring out what he was thinking. However Kabuto has proven he is very loyal to Orochimaru, saving his master’s life a number of times, though he does help Orochimaru’s enemies on occasion, but this seems to in service to his own goals. Kabuto has something of an interest in Naruto, acting polite to him most of the time, even though they have never had the same goals. He also respects other powerful ninja, but views others without reputation as inferior and useless. Kabuto states that he doesn’t like forcing people to do things, preferring to instead manipulate them using sympathy. He also likes to spend his time in secluded places and considers his reincarnation technique’s downside to be that it would be bring him unwanted infamy.
After taking in Orochimaru’s remains, Kabuto has demonstrated more arrogant ambition, wanting to become more powerful than his master. Like Orochimaru, he wants to increase his knowledge in techniques, which has lead to Kabuto becoming obsessed with capturing and studying Sasuke. He has also shown interest in studying Yamato and Zetsu, as well as to learn about the secrets of the Sage of the Six Paths. Despite Kabuto maintaining a calm and controlled personality most of the time, he has numerous insecurities about his identity. After Orochimaru’s defeat, Kabuto has sworn to do whatever he feels like, having no loyalty to anyone. He says that he does not know who he used to be or what he wanted to do, until he saw Naruto’s resolve. Kabuto often compares himself to Itachi, because of the similar events in their lives. But after being trapped in his mind with his plans falling apart, he tries to justify what he’s done by saying he wanted someone to affirm his existence.
As a former Root sleeper agent, combined with his medical skills, Kabuto is an extremely skilled and powerful ninja who can quickly analyze a situation and defeat stronger opponents by exploiting their weaknesses. Kabuto mainly utilizes chakra-infused scalpels with his taijutsu style, which lets him attack key points in his opponent’s body. Kabuto also has a unique technique that allows him to regenerate dead cells. His medical skills have led to him developing a number of different drugs that he utilizes, such as a drug that suppresses the powers of Wood Release and a truth serum. He is also skilled at creating genetically altered clones that are stronger than the original versions.
After mastering Orochimaru's powers and Sage Mode, as well as mastering the powers of the Sound Four members and their leader after modifying his body with the cells of each of the individuals, Kabuto's combat prowess increased exponentially, to the point that he was able to completely overwhelm the combined efforts of both Itachi Uchiha and his brother, Sasuke Uchiha, despite their considerable fighting prowesses, as well as the former's mastery of the Mangekyo Sharingan and the latter's possession of the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan, eventually forcing Itachi to sacrifice his left eye to utilize the forbidden technique, Izanami, to finally incapacitate Kabuto and force him to end the Reanimation technique.
Kabuto also has something of an interest in corpses, particularly using them as decoys to fight for him. However one of Kabuto’s most notable abilities is his Summon: Impure World Reincarnation technique, claiming to be the most skilled practitioner of it. Using this technique, he can reincarnate the dead, using DNA from the one he wishes to revive and a living sacrifice for their soul to take over Kabuto has used this to summon an army of famous and powerful ninja and can monitor them, as well as take away their free will. He also applies a seal to those he revives that does not take away their free will, but makes it so he can control their body movements. Kabuto can even boost the abilities of those he reincarnates.
He is able to manipulate earth to move around underground and after he infused himself with the Sound Four's DNA, he can use the Earth Shore Return technique, where he summons a wall of earth to defend himself. Kabuto can also manipulate water to unleash huge waves of water and even use the Water Dragon Bullet technique, where he unleashes a large water dragon, even without hand seals or a source of water. Kabuto has also combined himself with the DNA of others, most notably Orochimaru. Kabuto has the Taka members’ DNA, which gives him near-instant regeneration, the ability to liquefy himself, and the passive power to absorb natural energy. Kabuto is also fused with the DNA of the Sound Four, so he can manifest a second body that uses any of their techniques, as well as a version of Orochimaru’s true form, which he can hide in and emerge from.
With Orochimaru’s remnants, Kabuto can use his snake techniques, alter his body, and has even greater chakra He can communicate with snakes, summon snakes from his wrists or sleeves, use snakes to inject his drugs through their fangs, and alter the size of the ones he summons. Kabuto can also shed his skin to turn into a snake with arms, similar to Orochimaru’s true form, where he can move faster and even swallow people whole. Kabuto can even deal with genjutsu techniques that need eye contact by using his snakes’ ability to sense their surroundings with their tongues.
Thanks to his training in the Ryuchi Cave, Kabuto has learned senjutsu, allowing him to enter Sage Mode, which he can maintain thanks to his DNA instilled ability to absorb energy. This increases his physical abilities, grants him snake like anatomy, including a snake emerging from his stomach, and make his chakra scalpels even sharper. Kabuto can even bring inanimate objects to life and control them. He is also skilled at genjutsu and barrier ninjutsu and somewhat skilled with swords.
- Kabuto’s name is the last of the Japanese name for Aconitum, a plant that either relieves pain or kills. His name is also the name for a samurai helmet and his last name is the shortened form of the Japanese name of the Healer Buddha, Yakushi nyorai.
- In chapter 521 of the Naruto manga, when it was first published in Shonen Jump, Kabuto was drawn without his glasses. However this was corrected in later versions.