Anime deaths can be some of the most emotional and poignant moments in general TV culture, many people enjoy creating bonds with the characters in their favourite anime and when they die it can have a profound effect on a viewer.
In Naruto, the fictional anime and manga world created by Mashashi Kishimoto, there are a few heartbreaking anime deaths that certainly rocked fans around the world.
Sometimes in Naruto characters die and come back to life, and sometimes even when they do die they often come back in some spirited form or simply in the form of flashbacks.
So, it can be a struggle to understand when some characters have died and when some are alive, or are a spirit, especially with the show’s disjointed narrative approach.
Kakashi Hatake is beloved character, created by Kishimoto, who was particularly favoured and enjoyed by fans, partly for his cool character design, but also simply for his cool and skilled personality, teaching the correct shinobi way to Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Sakura Haruno under his leadership of Team 7.
There is a point in Naruto where it appears that Kakashi died so it led many fans to wonder if he is dead, how did he die, and what his status is in the Boruto: Next Generations sequel anime, also created by Kishimoto.
Who Is Kakashi Hatake?
Kakashi Hatake is shinobi of the Hidden Leaf Village, he is part of the Hatake clan who are lowly farmers.
Kakashi’s father Sakumo is his main source of inspiration in becoming a ninja, known as ‘The White Fang of the Leaf’ his father was famed for his skills and loyalty to the village, to the extent that some considered him more powerful than the village’s famed Sannin.
Sakumo’s wife and Kakashi’s mother died when he was only an infant. Sakumo died when a mission of great importance failed, rather than endanger his teammates Sakumo had to abandon his mission.
The missions failure brought great dishonor to Sakumo and he committed suicide. Sakuma waited in limbo for a long time until he could meet his son and ask him for forgiveness.
Kakashi himself was a particularly famous shinobi of the Hidden Leaf Village. By age 14 he was a captain of the Anbu, due to his previous success, even as a child, in the Second Shinobi World War.
In the Third Shinobi World War, Kakashi had to witness both his team mates, Obito Uchiha and Rin Nohara, die. Minato Uzumaki, their sensei, left the three in charge of the destruction of Kannabi Bridge, at the young age of 12.
On Kannabi Bridge, the three shinobi ended up under attack by three Iwa scouts. After Minato had to return to save them from one encounter, the deceased shinobi’s teammates returned to kidnap Rin in the name of their deceased teammate.
Rather than going back to save Rin, Kakashi said the mission was too important to abandon in the name of another teammate.
Obito refused the suggestion and went off on his own to save Rin, telling Kakashi that his father Sakumo was a hero in the village and that even though he abandoned his mission, it was worse to abandon one’s team mates.
Kakashi originally left to finish the mission on his own, but by the he decided Obito was right and returned to Obito and Rin, they were already under siege.
When in battle, a cave collapsed and, as Kakashi’s eye was injured, he was almost crushed under the rocks until Obito pushed him out the way and was crushed himself.
Aware he was going to die, Obito gave Kakashi his recently earned sharingan eye, which is how Kakashi has the sharingan even though he is not a part of the Uchiha clan.
Fugaku Uchiha, Sasuke and Itachi’s father, and head of the Uchiha clan, allowed Kakashi to keep the sharingan in order to honour Obito’s death.
On a later Mission, Rin was kidnapped, again now by Kirigakure forces.
Eventually, Kakashi was able to save but her but on their way back to the Hidden Leaf village Rin admits to Kakashi that the Kiri-nin had sealed the Three-Tails into her body with the intention that when she lost control of it, invariably, it’s destruction would be unleashed upon the Hidden Leaf Village.
Rin demanded that Kakashi kill her in order to protect the village, but he refused, citing his promise to Obito that he would keep Rin safe.
When the Kiri-nin attacked them, Kakashi held them off as best he could, but during one of his attacks with his infamous lightning chidori Rin chose to jump in front of it, dying by Kakashi’s hand so Konoha would be safe from the Tailed Beasts.
This trauma caused Kakashi’s sharingan to evolve into the Mangekyo Sharingan.
Many people within the village believed for a long time that Kakashi killed Rin in order to not abandon his mission like his father, although Kakashi doesn’t move to solve these rumours unless they are personally spoken to him.
It is this experience that led Kakashi to understand that working as a team is the most important thing a shinobi can learn. He applies this teaching in his bell tests with the genin once he is promoted to jonin.
This is the test that Sasuke, Sakura, and Naruto have to learn in their attempt to pass the infamous Bell Test and be considered genin.
When Does Kakashi Die?
Well, Kakashi does die in one episode, continue reading to understand how and when this happens and how it pans out.
During Pain’s Assault Arc, shortly after figuring out Jiraiya’s dying encoded message, the Six Paths of Pain invade the Hidden Leaf Village.
Kakashi hunts down some of the Paths, entering a battle with the Deva Path, whom ,recognising that Kakashi is a powerful shinobi, calls for back up from the Asura Path.
Due to the shared vision of their Rinnegan Kakahi’s Sharingan becomes partly nullified. Their jutsu attracts the attention of Konoha reinforcements in the form of Choza and Choji Akimichi who destroy the weakened Asura Path once they arrive.
Kakashi manages to understand the weaknesses in the attacks of the Paths and constructs a plan with the Akimichi;s to destroy the Paths. However, the paths counter and nullify Kakashi’s endeavours before Kakashi can deliver a final blow.
The Paths understand that Kakashi is a powerful shinobi and that he will continue to interfere if allowed to live, in a final act, the Asura Path fires a nail at Kakashi’s head.
Kakashi uses his Kamui ability to teleport the projectile into a different dimension, saving his life so he can feign death.
So, How Does Kakashi Die?
Well, like most Naruto characters, Kakashi dies as his chakra becomes depleted, essentially.
After feigning death, Choji wakes up and Kakashi orders him to return to the Hidden Leaf Village to the Hokage Tsunade and report to her what they have learned about the Six Paths of Pain’s abilities.
As Choji runs away, the still active Asura Path fires another projectile at Choji. The only way for Kakashi to save Choji, and the fate of the Hidden Leaf, is to use his Kamui again to warp away the missile from Choji.
Declaring that this is the only and best way for him to save the Hidden Leaf in his current state, uses his final chakra reserves to use Kamui. As he depletes all his chakra Kakashi does indeed die.
In order to understand this you must understand Chakra. Chakra, once spread around the land by Hagaromo the Sage of the Six Paths, is both a physical and spiritual energy.
All individuals produce chakra to some degree but it is necessary to keep a human alive. Those unfortunate shinobi who deplete their chakra, as Kakashi had, will die once it runs out.
This is nearly the cause of Naruto’s death by Pain, also.
In the afterlife, Kakashi meets his father Sakumo who tells him he has been waiting for him. Kakashi’s father is eager to hear of his son’s successful shinobi career.
At the end Kakashi concludes his story by telling his father, Sakumo, that he understands the actions of Sakumo and learned a lot about what it meant to be a shinobi, but that ultimately he is proud to be Sakumo’s son.
But, Did Kakashi Actually Die?
You’ll be glad to hear, hopefully, that Kakashi actually didn’t die.
As Sakumo thanks his son Kakashi for finally putting him to rest and allowing him to enter the afterlife, Kakashi becomes engulfed within a white light which signals his revival.
As Sakumo passes into the afterlife, Kkashi passes back into the living plane.
So, what happened? Well, Naruto eventually defeats the Six Paths of Pain and locates the actual location of the real Nagato, finally understanding what Jiraiya’s encoded message: ‘the real one is not among them’, Naruto chooses to face the real Nagato face to face.
Naruto feels that if he could talk to Nagato in person he could convince him to change and could save his life. As Naruto has been through trauma himself, just like Kakashi, he wants a moment to understand why the defected shinobi has acted this way.
Naruto’s mercy is reward and as Nagato appreciates that Naruto has come to at least start to understand his behaviour, and Naruto’s promise that things will change, Nagato decides that rather than being spared he would use his Rinne Rebirth Jutsu to revive all the ninja that have died during Pain’s assault on the Hidden Leaf.
This act similarly kills Nagato as his chakra becomes depleted. This Rebirth Jutsu revives the sacrificed Kakashi as he learns that Naruto has defeated Pain and parts of Konoha have been destroyed.
Indeed, Kakashi does die in Naruto Shippuden, during Pain’s Assault Arc, but he is luckily revived by Nagato’s final act of redemption.
This pleased many fans that Kakashi wasn’t actually dead, nor Hinata, as they were both beloved characters that had some form of death in this narrative arc.
For those wondering, Kakashi doesn’t die in Boruto either. His return, from his vacation after finishing his term as Hokage, shocked some fans who forgot he was still alive.
Kakashi Hatake, in fact, remained a largely important character throughout all the Naruto series and manga.