Boruto: The Hokages of Konoha, Ranked From Worst to Best

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Chapter #53, “That's Reality,” of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations by Masashi Kishimoto, Mikio Ikemoto, Ukyo Kocachi, Mari Morimoto and Snir Aharon, available in English from Viz Media, as well as the Boruto anime, streaming now on Crunchyroll.

In one of the most recent episodes of the Boruto anime, Mugino recalls how the Third Hokage, Hiruzen Sarutobi, saved him and turned him from a child assassin into someone who wanted to be a hero in Konoha -- reminding fans just what these leaders stood for. Mugino, after all, was a war orphan who accepted asylum and every day, he looks up to the mountains, inspired by the Hokages.

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It felt like hearing Naruto's own aspirations as a kid, as well as Konohamaru and Sarada's in the present, recalling their intentions to lead someday. And sure, while the Hokages of the Leaf have made numerous bad calls, they've also done a world of good in slowly uniting the ninja nations. With this in mind, let's rank them based on what they've accomplished thus far, from worst to best.

7. Tobirama Senju

Tobirama's considered the worst Hokage but not because of a lack of prowess in the field, but because he really sowed seeds of discord centuries ago. As the Second Hokage, he inherited the title from his brother, Hashirama, but Tobirama wasn't diplomatic at all. He was more aggressive, and this is what drove Madara over the edge and angered the Uchiha clan.

Tobirama's actions caused Madara to attack Hashirama after a civil war, with the First Hokage killing the villain. But when Tobirama got the mantle, Hashirama begged him not to alienate the Uchiha clan, which he sadly did anyway. He created the academy, ninja exams, ANBU black ops team, the shadow clone and resurrection jutsus, but Tobirama ultimately nullified these good deeds by making the Uchiha feel like they were just weapons.

To sum up his personality, when Hashirama collected the Tailed Beasts, Tobirama wanted him to sell them rather than disburse them so each village would be protected. This is the mindset he carried over and why he couldn't unite nations. Because of him, the likes of Sasuke, Danzo, Itachi and so many more ended up becoming soldiers that claimed many lives. Had he inculcated some of Hashirama's warmth, Konoha wouldn't have been as a scary place.

6. Hiruzen Sarutobi

Hiruzen Sarutobi Third Hokage

Hiruzen as Lord Third was a remarkable humanitarian and nurturer of kids. It's why he tried to care for orphans like Sasuke, Naruto and Mugino, but ultimately, he couldn't fix what Tobirama, his teacher, handed down. Hiruzen should have broken this cycle as he knew how child soldiers suffered, as well as spurred nations on in war. And yet, he still followed through on the concept, with the shinobi exams basically used as a means to hone more weapons.

He commissioned Itachi and Shisui to turn on the Uchihas and wipe them out, which would have a trickle-down effect causing Orochimaru, Sasuke and the Akatsuki to kill many people. Hiruzen was a hypocrite and while he gave his life against Orochimaru, his former student, it just didn't feel like he atoned and effected as much change in Konoha.

He died a hero, though, just like Tobirama who sacrificed his life to save Hiruzen's battalion, but Hiruzen still didn't stick to the initial plan. It's why Kakashi and the other seniors also grew up winging it, persisting with the idea of child soldiers when it was something Hashirama wanted them to eventually phase out when he died. Still, Hiruzen did begin planting seeds for the future to change, but he could have done more of it himself in practice.

5. Lady Tsunade

Tsunade, Naruto

Lady Tsunade was Hashirama's granddaughter and got the mantle of Fifth Hokage when Hiruzen died (as he re-assumed the mantle when the Fourth perished). But what makes her so impressive on her own is her sense of diplomacy and decorum, which is odd, as she didn't have that personality to begin with due to her drinking and gambling habits. Still, she understood the vision of the Senju family, especially Hashirama, and started to bridge the gap better when she assumed the role.

Tsunade helped Naruto form the alliance to fight Kaguya and placed focus on medical ninjas, chakra and healing as she knew defense was just as important as offense. She inspired Sakura to greatness as a protege, too, which helped the teen fight alongside Naruto and Sasuke to destroy the Rabbit Queen.

Tsunade also made big sacrifices, even if they were unpopular, such as sending Jiraiya to his death against the Akatsuki to recover intel. Years later, Naruto even admitted that while he was angry about the decision in the past, she made the right call. "Granny Tsunade" definitely added a degree of compassion and empathy Konoha was missing for years, which deserves major kudos as she was rushed into the job and had weeks to adapt.

4. Kakashi Hatake

Kakashi's famous for being Naruto's mentor yet someone who never wanted to lead. But it just felt natural for Tsunade to pass down the mantle of Lord Sixth to him after peace had been achieved. And, honestly, Kakashi did a great job in honoring his teacher, Minato (Naruto's dad), by melding two worlds. Under him, science became an integral part of Konoha's evolution as the nations became more progressive and diplomatic with each other.

Child soldiers still existed but they weren't the first wave, with young shinobi of the time really being groomed to defend inside the village. Kakashi also mentored Sasuke as a Ranger, perfecting the vision Tsunade had when she pardoned the Uchiha, and it worked wonders as Kakashi was like a father to him in his younger days.

While he'd never admit it, Kakashi was the Hokage who bridged the gap across many generations of shinobi, to the point he's still doing so for Boruto's crew even though he's supposedly in retirement. It's all due to him losing his dad to suicide and giving up his childhood to kill, eventually learning that family helps make a happy shinobi. Naruto taught him that, changing him for the better, and he's since installed it into Konoha's politics.

3. Minato Namikaze

naruto meeting with minato

Minato took on the role of Fourth Hokage when Hiruzen retired and he's definitely the most laid-back of them all. But what really makes him stand out is his dedication in the field. Not only did he turn Kakashi into a legend, but he also had to help Konoha recover after Obito and Rin died and 'Madara' attacked them using the Nine-Tails.

Minato and his wife, Kushina, would sacrifice their lives, storing Kurama in Naruto the night he was born, saving the village and so many others. It's regarded as one of the biggest feats any ninja could have accomplished. So much so, in fact, that Hiruzen came back as he realized there wasn't anyone ready to fill Minato's shoes. He was brave, composed, selfless and dedicated, uncovering details that proved the Uchiha, along with other mysterious forces, were working in the shadows again.

Hiruzen did become warmer due to what Minato had done in office, but he had to kiss that dream goodbye as soon as he knew trouble was coming. It's sad because had Minato lived on, peace would surely have been achieved earlier as he wasn't as aggressive as previous Hokage and really wanted villages to help each other out. But as "Yellow Flash," he's regarded as one of the fastest and deadliest ninjas ever, which intimidated plenty lot of major enemies.

2. Hashirama Senju

Hashirama Senju Has Large Reserves Of Chakra

When it comes to legends, the First Hokage is revered by all shinobi. Hashirama fought countless wars yet always drove the dream of peace home. It's a shame no one else wanted it, making him someone clearly ahead of their time. What proved this was how he tempered Tobirama and tried to keep him in line, ensuring the villages were all on equal pegging and wanted to co-exist.

He also had ample opportunities to kill Madara and the Uchihas, yet he kept trying to unite everyone, which resulted in Konoha forming. He even brokered temporary peace but alas, no one was on the same page. Hashirama embraced war reluctantly and took thousands of lives as his bloodline and cells made him the most lethal soldier around: someone who could control the Nine-Tails with ease.

And yet, he never weaponized it, sealing it away instead as he didn't even want his people becoming too powerful for fear they'd oppress others after becoming corrupted by it. That's the kind of man he was -- a paragon of virtue, and when the Kaguya war brought him back, we realized that he and Naruto had much in common, which is testament to his jovial, loving nature.

1. Naruto Uzumaki

As the current Hokage, Lord Seventh, Naruto has learned from the best. He's exemplary, in fact: he shifting Konoha into a technological wonder to achieve what Hashirama wanted all along. What's so special, however, is that the likes of Kakashi and Tsunade learn from him and trust everything he does. And because he was the key cog in stopping Kaguya, under Naruto's watch, there's even more peace within the alliance.

But what makes him so unique isn't that he has Kurama and unlimited power within -- it's his heart. He grew up an orphan, only meeting his parents' after they died in the Kaguya war, and because of that, he truly understands family. It's why he fought tooth and nail for those he cares for, even losing a hand to redeem Sasuke, and why he opened Konoha's borders. To him, it's all spreading the love: eradicating poverty by helping other regions advance financially and medically.

Though it might not be flashy, he's really creating political change, fighting on paper rather than in the field. Seeing him sacrificing family time, yet going all out for one abandoned kid like Kawaki says it all. Even in the field, we can't underestimate him as Kara and Isshiki did. As he proves in his new Baryon Mode, he still has a lot more secrets in battle left to unravel, and we can't wait to see. That said, his loving attitude and caring disposition trump even Hashirama, which his son Boruto is now slowly beginning to appreciate.

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