Naruto: The Pain’s Assault Arc, Explained

Reflecting Naruto’s coming-of-age, this moment was a turning point in Part II, featuring the epic introductions of Sage Mode and the Rinnegan.


  • Naruto’s battle against Pain tested his morality and marked a coming-of-age moment for the main cast, exploring themes of war and revenge.
  • The Pain’s Assault Arc is among Part II’s best, showcasing high stakes, enthralling fights, and Naruto’s evolution into a hero.
  • The arc’s climax, with Naruto sparing Pain and vowing to find a path to peace, emphasizes the series’ underlying message of compassion.

From a retrospective review of Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, many would agree that the Pain’s Assault Arc is one of the highlights of Part II. Pain’s Assault was the payoff for many of the plot threads revolving around the Akatsuki, set up in Part I of Naruto. It was Naruto’s greatest victory till that point, featuring the first instance where the entire Hidden Leaf Village saw him as a hero.

Looking past the jaw-dropping introductions of Sage Mode and the Rinnegan’s Six Paths Technique, Naruto’s battle against Pain was the first real test of his own morality. This arc saw Naruto and the main cast come of age, as the series explored themes of war, revenge, and inherited will. With high stakes, enthralling fights, and a poignant message tying it all together, the Pain’s Assault Arc is one of Part II’s highest peaks, often counted among the best arcs in Naruto.

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The Prelude To Pain’s Assault


Pain’s Assault continued the momentum of The Tale of Jiraiya The Gallant and the Fated Battle Between Brothers Arc. This arc can be viewed as a mid-series finale, as it tied off loose ends with one set of antagonists, pulling the story in a different direction. The mystery behind Pain and his invincibility was exposed in a fateful battle between him and Jiraiya, which ended in the latter’s death. What must be noted here is the effect that Jiraiya’s demise had on Naruto, where the series’ boisterous protagonist had to process his grief and anger, as he mourned the passing of his mentor.

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It was a rare instance where Naruto was truly inconsolable, and it took time for him to come to terms with his loss. Eventually, Naruto helped in decoding Jiraiya’s final message. He was subsequently invited by Fukasaku to train with the toads of Mount Myoboku in the art of senjutsu. Choosing to accept the elder toad’s offer, Naruto journeyed to Mount Myoboku and worked on mastering Sage Mode while struggling to soothe the flames of revenge flickering in his mind.

Parallels between Naruto’s moral dilemma about forgiving Pain, contrasted Sasuke’s resolve to eliminate Itachi in retribution for their clan’s massacre. Although Sasuke got his revenge, his horror upon learning about the truth behind Itachi’s actions only made his success feel hollow, illustrating the pitfalls of pursuing vengeance.

Pain’s Invasion And Konoha’s Darkest Day


While Naruto was deep into his training, Pain finally made his move and attacked Konoha, in a bid to capture the Nine-Tails. This was one of the last steps in his plan to acquire all the tailed beasts to create a kinjutsu weapon. In doing this, Pain sought to hold the entire shinobi world hostage to end all wars.

As the Six Paths of Pain rampaged through the village, Konoha shinobi scrambled to stop their advance. The Fifth Hokage, Tsunade, used mass healing techniques \to treat injured villagers. On the front lines, Konohamaru Sarutobi and Kakashi Hatake engaged the Naraka Path and the Deva Path respectively.

Whereas Konohamaru defeated the Naraka Path, Kakashi stalled the Deva Path to allow Choji Akimichi to escape with information about Pain’s gravity manipulation ability. Sadly, he was killed by the Deva Path soon after. With Konoha in dire straits, the Deva Path ascended towards the heavens, and with one almighty push, Pain destroyed the village, leaving a massive crater at its former site.

Sage Mode Versus The Rinnegan’s Six Paths Technique


Amid these desperate circumstances, Naruto learned of Pain’s attack returned to the village. Brought back by the Reverse Summoning Technique, Naruto was unable to recognize what had become of his home, adding fuel to his hatred, as Pain had now taken away both his mentor and his village.

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Displaying newfound strength with Sage Mode, Naruto rapidly took down the Six Paths of Pain, dispatching them with Frog Kata and Wind Release: Rasenshuriken. However, he was unable to defeat the Deva Path, which pinned him down with black receivers. Naruto then spoke to Pain about his motives and past relationship with Jiraiya, their common mentor, analyzing their connection as his sibling students.

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As Pain explained his ultimate goal and described Jiraiya’s vision for peace as unrealistic, Hinata Hyuga valiantly stepped forward to profess her love for Naruto. Hinata tried to free him from his restraints, but was struck down by the Deva Path. Fearing that she had died, Naruto lost control and transformed into his six-tailed form, as the Deva Path beat a hasty retreat towards the location of his main body, in a bid to seal the beast with Chibaku Tensei.

Hero Of The Hidden Leaf


While this was taking place, Naruto came to the realization that he did not have a response to Pain’s solution. Drowning in sorrow, Naruto’s seal weakened, as the Nine-Tails attempted to convince him to destroy everything along with Pain. Fortunately, just before he was about to remove the seal, the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, appeared in his consciousness.

After informing Naruto that he was his father, Minato helped soothe his son’s pain, and fixed the seal. Now back to normal, Naruto confronted the Deva Path and used a swarm of shadow clones to distract it, before taking it down with a Rasengan in the small window where it could not use its gravity manipulation.

Taking one of the black receivers from the Deva Path, Naruto went to speak with Pain’s real body, Nagato. Face to face with Nagato’s actual, emaciated form, Naruto had his enemy at his mercy. He questioned Nagato about his hatred towards Konoha and his past. Revealing his horrific war-torn childhood, Nagato shed light on his training with Jiraiya as well as the tragedy that had befallen his friends in the original incarnation of the Akatsuki.

Hearing all this, Naruto began to see Nagato’s point of view, and acknowledged his pain, but stated that he would continue to believe in Jiraiya, just as his mentor had believed in him. Moreover, he chose to spare Nagato, even though he could not find it in himself to forgive his enemy. Despite not having a solution at the time like Nagato did, he refused to give in and declared that he would find a path to peace, aided by his own sense of morality.

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This conversation is a highlight of the entire arc, and one of the best instances of Naruto’s uncanny ability to win people over through his compassion. Visibly moved, Pain chose to put his own faith in Nafruto, and used the Rinnegan’s Outer Path to activate the Samsara of Heavenly Life Technique, reviving all those who had perished during his invasion, in exchange for his own life.

As Naruto walked back to the village, he nearly collapsed but was supported by a revived Kakashi. Upon arriving in Konoha, he was given a hero’s welcome. This moment cemented his remarkable journey from an outcast to the village’s savior, bringing Naruto’s character arc to an incredibly satisfying resolution, where he was now acknowledged by everyone in the village, just as he had always dreamed.

Why Is The Pain’s Assault Arc Important?

Naruto Vs Pain

Since its conclusion, this arc has received acclaim for its depiction of war, and how it weaved complex debates on revenge and morality into a battle shonen context. Such discourse was relatively uncommon within the shonen genre at the time, and Naruto’s growth in dealing with loss, hatred, and revenge, was a sign of his growing maturity. Finally, it also tied up many loose ends, including the orignal generation of the Akatsuki, and Naruto’s goal of becoming a hero for the village, which helped wrap up the series’ mid-point in resounding fashion.

Naruto is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

Naruto_ Shippuden


Release Date

February 15, 2007




Masashi Kishimoto

Number of Episodes


Streaming Service(s)

Amazon Prime Video
, Crunchyroll
, Hulu

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