Naruto: Which Summon is Best?

Naruto: Which Summon is Best?

Summon Animal Rankings

Summon animals (and non-animals) have been around since the beginning of the Naruto series. And what you may have forgotten is that there are many more summon animals than just toads, snakes, and slugs. So today I’ll be ranking the summon animals featured throughout the series.

Unlike my post on which chakra nature is the strongest, in most situations, we can’t really compare summon animal types directly. Instead, I’ll be discussing the abilities, strengths, and weaknesses of each and listing them out from worst to best.

And as one final note before we begin, this list will only cover summons that are animals (including demons and chimeras) that either have more than one entry or are significant enough to include.

That means Tenten‘s weapon summoning doesn’t count, and neither do many of the one-off animal summon’s like Kamatari the weasel, Moguranmaru the mole, and a few of Pain’s summons such as the giant panda.

14. Dogs

Ninja dogs were the very first animals to be summoned in the series, all the way back in episode 17. There have been nine summoned dogs in the series, with eight of them being Kakashi’s summons and one being the two-headed guard dog of Hozuki Castle in Boruto.

Kiba with the ninja dogs Pakkun, Bull, Ūhei, and Guruko from the anime series Naruto: Shippuden
Kiba with the ninja dogs Pakkun, Bull, Ūhei, and Guruko

Pain also has a multi-headed dog summon, but that one is actually classified as a chimera, not a dog. And the dogs used by the Inuzuka clan aren’t actually summons, so they don’t count either.

Unfortunately, despite being the summon with the longest history in the series, dog summons just aren’t that good compared to other options. While we’ve seen that there can be larger, more unique variations, they’re generally normal dog-sized and don’t have any special abilities beyond tracking.

13. Fish

Fish summons are barely better than dog summons from what we’ve seen. I can think of two notable examples, which are the giant marlin with a sword for its snout and Kisame’s sharks. There were other fish summons in one of the novels, but I’m sticking to anime series summons for the sake of this ranking.

There are two reasons I rank fish above dogs. The first is that with the giant marlin, we saw that there’s the possibility for giant, unique fish as a summon. The second reason is that they’re generally going to be more dangerous than dogs. For example, sharks.

However, the reason fish are so low on this list is because they require there to be water. If the giant marlin is your summon, you can only really use it in a large body of water — but it’s a powerful summon in that terrain.

Kisame’s sharks are much more versatile because of their smaller size. You probably wouldn’t have a fish summon unless you’re proficient at using water-style jutsu. So as we see Kisame do, you can simply create water and then summon the sharks within it. You wouldn’t be able to create enough water for the giant marlin, though.

12. Birds

I really wanted to put birds higher up on the list, but the more I looked into them, the worse they seemed. There have been a few birds throughout the series. These include Sasuke’s hawk Garuda, Pain’s giant drill-beaked bird, the giant eagle, Fukuemon the owl, and Itachi’s crow.

You’d expect that bird summons would be powerful considering Sasuke, Pain, and Itachi all use them. But the problem with bird summons is that they’re generally just large versions of regular birds. They don’t have any special abilities that make them particularly strong.

But, I still have to put birds above dogs and fish because there is one benefit to using them: Flight. Garuda is the best example of this. While he’s large enough to be used in combat, such as against Danzō, Sasuke generally only summons him when he needs to fly.

11. Bugs

Some people are definitely going to think that bugs should be at the bottom of the list, but they’re actually extremely versatile. Every bug summon we’ve seen in the series is a giant bug, so basically just think of all the amazing things normal bugs can do and then imagine there was a giant version that can do the same thing.

Shino rescuing Boruto and Mitsuki with his giant insect summon from the anime series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Shino rescuing Boruto and Mitsuki with his giant insect summon

Examples of bug summons are Pain’s giant centipede, Susumebachi’s giant bee, Shino’s giant insect (not the normal insects he controls), and Kidōmaru’s eponymous giant spide Kyodaigumo. I’m not including the slug Katsuyu here with the rest of the bugs because she has additional abilities beyond simple “bug abilities.”

But as you can see, bug summons are very diverse. The giant centipede is basically the bug version of a giant snake; the giant bee is extremely agile, can fly, is venomous, and can trap people in honey; the giant insect can be used to fly like a giant bird; and Kyodaigumo can do everything a spider can, but on a much larger scale.

10. Tortoises

While there’s only one tortoise summon we know of, I think Ningame is significant enough to include on this list. He’s the personal summon of Might Guy and has been in the series for almost as long as Kakashi’s dogs have. Unfortunately, Ningame doesn’t get quite as much screen time as they do.

Ningame is the most difficult summon for me to rank. Part of the reason is that he’s the only tortoise we know of, and part of the reason is that he doesn’t really do all that much. But what we do know about him is that he basically has the highest defense stat of any summon animal.

So why did I place Ningame (and summon tortoises in general) higher than bugs that have much more variety? First, I honestly don’t think any of those bugs could defeat Ningame. The giant centipede could probably come to a draw with him though. Second, unlike the bugs, Ningame is shown to have a personality of his own.

Almost every animal summon can think for itself, but the only ones that we really see acting on their own rather than simply following orders are those with a distinct personality. And the reason this is a benefit is that it allows the summoner and the summoned animal to work in tandem — such as pairing Guy’s monstrous attack with Ningame’s unbreakable defense.

9. Chameleons

Chameleons are the first of what I would call the mid-tier summons. Everything before them is a low-tier summon (though any summon is better than no summon). There have been two chameleon summons in the series, and both were pretty formidable opponents with unique traits.

The first is Shiromari, the personal summon of Kōza Kubisaki. Shiromari is a giant chameleon that can shape-shift into any form. Most notably, it turned itself into an immense castle and ate anyone who ventured inside. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a pretty powerful summon.

Pain’s giant snake-tailed chameleon is the second chameleon summon. While technically a chimera like the multi-headed dog, I’m including it in the chameleon section due to its primary ability. This summon animal can perfectly blend into its surroundings to effectively become invisible. Its user can also hide within its mouth.

I wouldn’t really say that there’s a downside to using chameleon summons. The only thing to remember is that they’re not exactly the most offensive creatures. Instead, they’re better suited for ambush tactics.

8. Chimeras

There are a decent number of chimera summons throughout Naruto and Boruto. The aforementioned snake-tailed chameleon is technically one, the multi-headed dog is one, and the conch king is one as well. There are also more traditional chimera summons such as the ultimate summoning beast and Nue.

For the purpose of this category, I’m including the multi-headed dog, the ultimate summoning beast, and Nue.

The multi-headed dog is classified as a chimera and not a dog summon because of its hydra-like ability. When one head is destroyed, two new heads grow in its place. The ultimate summoning beast is a man-made creature that can transform into a variety of forms. And Nue is just a nue, which is a traditional Japanese chimera.

While chimeras are often more on the offensive side and have a variety of abilities, their main drawback is that they simply aren’t specialized. As the saying goes, “jack of all trades, master of none.”

7. Demons

Under the umbrella of demons, I’m including any demonic summons. That means there are four or five different summons depending on how you want to classify them. These are the doki, the demonic statue, Rashōmon, possession demons, and the reaper.

The doki are three demons summoned by Tayuya of the Sound Four. Despite being extremely physically strong, the drawback to using the doki is that they have to be controlled by their summoner and don’t have the ability to act on their own.

Tayuya controlling the Doki from the anime series Naruto: Shippuden
Tayuya controlling the Doki

The demonic statue can only be summoned by someone who possesses the Rinnegan. The statue can then absorb the chakra (life force) of anyone nearby. Rashōmon is a demonic, defensive wall summon that can be layered. It’s unclear whether the demonic statue and Rashōmon can really be considered living things, but whatever.

Demonic possession-type summons were only introduced in Boruto with Enko Onikuma. The Onikuma family has a secret jutsu where they form a pact with a demon that allows the demon to possess their bodies.

Finally, there’s the reaper. It’s unclear whether the reaper should be counted as a true summon, but it does work in a similar fashion to standard summons. Normally, you would form a two-way pact with the being you want to summon beforehand. But with the reaper, everything is done at once.

When you summon the reaper, such as to use the reaper death seal jutsu, you have automatically entered into a pact with it. Regardless of what transpires beyond that point, the reaper will take your soul as payment (which could be seen as the two-way nature of the summoning).

Basically, demonic summons are very powerful, but they also all have fairly severe drawbacks. I don’t recommend using them.

6. Shellfish

If you’re thinking that it’s odd for shellfish to be this high up on the rankings, I completely agree. But they’re actually quite strong. The three shellfish summons we see in the series are Pain’s giant crustacean, the Second Mizukage’s giant clam, and Kandachi’s conch king.

All three have high defense stats like Ningame but also come with other notable abilities. The giant crustacean is the least impressive, only being able to use the wild bubble wave jutsu. The giant clam is able to produce a mist that creates mirages. And the conch king can shoot spikes, use its tongues like whips, and freeze enemies with genjutsu.

Both the giant clam and conch king are why shellfish made it so high on this list. The giant clam was used extremely effectively during the Fourth Great Shinobi War and the conch king even gave Jiraiya trouble.

5. Monkeys

Monkeys are the final mid-tier summons. There have only been two in the series: The Monkey King Enma and Enra. Enma was the personal summon of Hiruzen Sarutobi while Enra is the personal summon of Konohamaru Sarutobi. Saru means monkey in Japanese, which is why the Sarutobi clan has summoning pacts with monkeys.

Originally I wasn’t going to put monkeys this high up, but after some extensive consideration, I think they deserve it. Enra isn’t exactly all that strong, but Enma definitely was considering he’s the leader of the monkeys (similar to the conch king, Manda, and Gamabunta for their respective species).

Enma was able to take down the reanimations of both Hashirama and Tobirama Senju, so he’s pretty strong. The only reason I don’t have monkeys higher up on the list is actually the reason I didn’t think they would be this high to begin with: Their jutsu.

Both Enma and Enra are able to transform into expandable staves that are wielded by their summoners. The reason I don’t like this jutsu that much is because it means the summoner is effectively summoning a weapon as Tenten does. But in staff form, Enma was able to push Kurama out of the Leaf Village, so I guess it’s still a good jutsu.

4. Salamanders

I almost want to put salamanders higher up on this list, but I’ll refrain from doing so. As with tortoises, there’s only one salamander summon in the series, Hanzō’s giant salamander Ibuse. But despite being the only one of his kind (that we saw), Ibuse is strong enough to reach position number four.

Hanzō and Ibuse standing over the Sannin from the anime series Naruto: Shippuden
Hanzō and Ibuse standing over the Sannin

Ibuse was able to help Hanzō fight off the Sannin (Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and Tsunade), Granny Chiyo of the Hidden Sand, and even the original formation of the Akatsuki. While that says a lot about Hanzō’s strength, we can’t ignore Ibuse’s role in those fights.

The primary ability Ibuse has is to expel poisonous gas from its body. Not only does this obscure Hanzō and Ibuse’s movements from sight, but it can also paralyze and outright kill anyone who breathes it in. Ibuse has also been seen burrowing underground and appearing beneath its opponents, eating them.

The reason Ibuse is so high on this list is due to the wide-spread nature of its poisonous gas. Without the right equipment, even an army can do little to stop it.

3. Slugs

As you can tell at this point, slugs, snakes, and toads make up the top three summons. I was hoping this wouldn’t be the case, but these summons really are extremely powerful. The only other summons that can compete with them are salamanders like Ibuse.

Katsuyu is the only slug summon in the series. She has two main abilities: acid spitting and body division. Katsuyu’s acid is a sticky substance that she shoots from her mouth. It’s so potent that it can even disolve rock. However, she doesn’t use this ability all that much, and typically plays a more supportive role.

Her second ability, body division, plays much more into this role. She can break her massive body down into tens or hundreds of thousands of smaller slugs and disperse them throughout the battlefield. Her summoner can then channel their chakra through these smaller slugs to other people.

During the Fourth Great Shinobi War, we see her use this body division in three ways. First, she could be used to heal the allied shinobi. Second, she could be used to share Kurama’s chakra with the allied shinobi. And third, she could gather and share information throughout the battlefield thanks to her small slugs having a shared mind.

Although we never saw this happen, I would also assume that Katsuyu can be used to spread genjutsu over a wider range as well. For example, if someone like Sasuke or Itachi had a pact with her, they could affect anyone Katsuyu is in contact with.

2. Snakes

Snakes are pretty straightforward when it comes to summoning animals. They’re giant and strong. Manda and the later Manda II were the strongest of the giant snakes. Then there’s also the so-called three giant snakes summoned by Orochimaru, Aoda who is Sasuke’s summon, and Garaga who was temporarily Boruto’s summon.

Ignoring the three giant snakes, Manda is basically just the physically strongest snake summon — or at least he was until Sasuke decided to use him as a meat shield. But despite dying from it, Manda’s body withstood the blast from Deidara’s ultimate technique

Aoda isn’t quite as strong as Manda was, but he’s much more agile. He’s also more willing to cooperate with Sasuke, effectively being completely subservient to him.

Garaga is the only one of the giant snakes we’ve seen that actually has a special ability. He’s able to spit venom that can petrify victims (I wish Chouchou was still petrified). Aside from that, he’s basically like a newer version of Manda, which is to say that he’s strong.

The reason the snakes are this high up despite being so simple in their abilities is because of the battles we’ve seen them in. Specifically, Manda was able to hold his ground against both Katsuyu and Gamabunta at the same time.

1. Toads

It probably comes as no surprise that Toads are the best summon animals in Naruto. However, I’d like to point out that the reason for this is likely because we’ve seen the most toads compared to the other summon animals. There have been at least 13 different toads summoned throughout the series.

These include Fukasaku and Shima, Gama, Gamabunta, Gamagorō, Gamahiro, Gamaken (my favorite), Gamakichi, Gamariki, Gamatatsu, Gerotora, Kōsuke, and the giant, fire-breathing toad.

Most toads we’ve seen can use either water-style jutsu, fire-style jutsu, or both. That, combined with their wide variety (similar to bug summons) makes them formidable in battle. There’s basically a toad for every situation.

If you need raw power, Gamabunta is your toad. Want a bit more agility? Then try out Gamahiro. Need some extra defense? Gamaken has a shield. Is genjutsu more your thing? Fukasaku and Shima are experts when it comes to genjutsu. And then there’s the giant, fire-breathing toad that can trap and dissolve anyone who ends up inside it.

Conclusion

How would you rank the various types of animal summons in Naruto? Keep in mind that my rankings are simply based on what we’ve seen in the anime series. I think if we saw at least 13 examples of each type as we do with the toads, then salamanders might be the true strongest. Or perhaps Ibuse is the only powerful salamander.

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