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Gaara of the Desert

Voiced by: Akira Ishida (JP), Liam O'Brien (EN, main series), Kyle Hebert (EN, Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals) Eduardo Garza (Latin American Spanish), Fernando Cabrera (Spain), Tony Beck (French)

Debut: Naruto Chapter 35 (Manga), Naruto Episode 20 (Anime)

One day, I'd like to become something precious to others, too, not just to be viewed as some hideous weapon, but as the Sand's next Kazekage.
Part II appearance
Click here to see his pre-timeskip appearance 
Click here to see him in The Last 
Click here to see him in the Epilogue/Boruto era 

Gaara of the Sand Waterfall is a young shinobi from the Hidden Sand Village who makes his first appearance in the Chunin Exam arc as Naruto's Evil Counterpart. Like Naruto, Gaara had a Tailed Beast, the maniacal sand spirit Shukaku, sealed in him by his father, the Fourth Kazekage, before he was even born. The Kazekage's intent was for him to become a weapon for the village, but after several years declared the experiment a failure and repeatedly tried to have the child assassinated. However, Shukaku's power protected Gaara from all harm. Gaara eventually grew to enjoy killing the assassins his father sent after him, reasoning that only through killing could he validate his own existence.


Gaara speaks in a dull monotone at all times except when he's in a killing frenzy. (This is later explained by the fact that Shukaku eats away at his consciousness when he sleeps, so he's become a chronic insomniac.) Even after his Heel–Face Turn, he is quiet, creepy, and not very social.

At the end of the Invasion of Konoha arc, Gaara faces off against Naruto, who beats him with The Power of Friendship. The battle causes Gaara to reconsider his philosophy. He vows to protect the ones close to him rather than attempt to destroy them, and makes it his goal to win the trust and admiration of his village. Gaara feels indebted to Naruto for the insight.

Later, Gaara and his siblings appear as allies in a Big Damn Heroes moment at the end of the Sasuke Retrieval arc. Gaara is matched up with the strongest opponent, Kimimaro, and battled him to a draw before Kimimaro's terminal illness took his life.


All of Gaara's jutsu revolve around sand. He carries a gourd filled with it at all times and can control its movements instinctively. Shukaku, wanting to protect its vessel, always moves the sand as a shield to protect Gaara (even when he doesn't want it to), which wards off most blows, although it can be defeated with sufficient speed. When the Shukaku is extracted from him, this power remains and it is revealed later on (in the Fourth Shinobi World War Arc) that it is in fact his mother's love and protection that motivates the sand to protect him. Before the main storyline, Gaara had never been injured thanks to the sand shield. In addition to this defense, Gaara can wear the sand as armor, although this is heavier and requires more chakra and effort to maintain. His main battle tactic is to remain stationary and lash out at his opponent with waves of sand from a distance, relying on the sand shield and armor to defend him. When he has finally captured his opponent with the sand, he can use his signature offensive jutsu, "Sand Coffin", to encase his enemy in sand and uses the "Sand Burial" jutsu to crush them, killing them instantly.

In Shippuden, Gaara has become the Fifth Kazekage. The first major arc of the new series revolves around him, as he is defeated and captured by the Akatsuki, who attempt to extract Shukaku from his body as part of their mission to collect all nine Tailed Beasts. The reformed Team 7, as well as Team Guy and Chiyo of the Sand Village, mount a rescue mission. The Akatsuki manages to delay the rescuers long enough to extract the spirit, killing its host; however, Chiyo sacrifices her own life to revive him. It's unknown to what degree, if any, his abilities were affected.

After attending the meetings of the Kages called by the Raikage, he is appointed as the Regimental Commander of the Allied Shinobi Forces, and also commands the 4th/Long-Ranged-Battle Division. Fortunately, he still possesses enough power to be compared with Shukaku itself.

Throughout the war, Gaara has proven himself to be worthy of the Kazekage name and then some, first by defeating and reconciling with his father, the previous Kazekage, and then taking down Gengetsu Hozuki, the Second Mizukage. He goes on to fight Madara Uchiha with the other four Kage but fail despite their best efforts. After getting a second wind, Gaara rushes where Naruto is confronting the Ten-Tails and Madara, being instrumental in keeping Naruto alive and safe throughout the rest of the war.

Two years after the war, Gaara proves his mettle once again by using his powers to protect nearby innocents from falling meteors. He later attends his best friend's wedding.

During the epilogue, Gaara is the only member of the five Kages from the previous Shinobi World War not to go into retirement, still continuing his duties of leader to this day. At some point before that he adopted a son, Shinki.

His hobbies are battling and cultivating cacti.
Favorite words:"love for oneself" and later, "affection" and "future"

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  • The Ace: Once he's defeated by Naruto and makes a genuine turn to good, he steps up to this. He becomes the Kazekage, earns the support of his village, and is one of the strongest ninja in the world. He was even able to give Madara Uchiha pause for a moment. By the end of the series, Gaara is possibly the strongest shinobi in the world currently alive apart from Naruto and Sasuke.
  • Adaptive Armor: Gaara's sand armor is influenced by his mother, and on occasion the sand would defend Gaara automatically during fights.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Despite lashing out from loneliness at other children, it's hard to call Gaara at that age a complete sociopath when he searched out a kid he hurt just to give them ointment and say sorry.
  • All-Loving Hero: Towards the Sand Village, he made it his goal to become Kazekage and be needed by everyone in it.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Like Naruto he was hated and despised for being a Jinchuriki. During the time skip his being made Kazekage has gotten him his won't-you-guide-my-sleigh-tonight moment.
  • Animal Motifs: Tanuki due to the Shukkaku.
  • Arc Villain: Serves as one of the main antagonists, along with Orochimaru, for the Chunin Exams and Konoha Crush arcs. His bloodlust and insanity makes him a relatively separate threat from Orochimaru and the Hidden Sand's alliance, but he becomes an ally afterwards once Naruto convinces him that not all people are bad.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Gets an epic one on the other Kage during the Kage Summit that shows how far he's come. Extra points for getting through to them the same way Naruto would have.
    Gaara: When did you lose yourselves?
  • Arranged Marriage: In Gaara Hiden, the Sand's elders rope him into one, leaving him no way to back out of it. His fiancee, however, elopes with someone else that she had loved first, with Gaara's blessing.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Gaara has overcome several attempts on his life starting from when he was six years old. His father the Fourth Kazekage alone sent 6 assassins after Gaara because he deemed the danger Gaara posed to the village to be too great, the first assassin being Gaara’s own uncle Yashamaru.
    • One memorable case was when Dosu tried to kill him, it did Not end well for the Sound genin.
    • Gaara continued dealing with assassins when he became Kazekage, especially evident in the anime where his own village, still fearing him, repeatedly tried to do him in, or in Gaara Hiden, where Gaara dealt with two attempts on his life from dangerous opponents.
    • Sadly this trope was averted when he fought Deidara though.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Partly why he became Kazekage was because he was just so talented as a shinobi.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: His Elemental Armor is useful as a last line of defense past his sand shields, but Kankuro notes it has so many drawbacks it might as well be one giant weak-spot: It weighs Gaara down, is actually weaker than the sand shield, and most damning is that it's not automatic, as it requires both constant attention and chakra from Gaara to keep it in place and repair any damage. As such, Gaara only uses it when his enemy is just that dangerous enough to warrant the extra protection.
  • Ax-Crazy: Initially, he was a psychotic tyke that spoke in monotone and would crush people to bits without flinching. He gets better in part two.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Gaara is the youngest of his siblings.
  • Back from the Dead: He is revived by Chiyo's jutsu after the bijuu extraction killed him.
  • Badass Arm-Fold: This is his default fighting stance. Since he can control sand with his mind, he doesn't need to move.
  • Badass Baritone: Had a deep voice since Part I, especially in the English version.
  • Badass Family: His father was the Fourth Kazekage. In addition, his siblings Kankuro and Temari aren't too far off either, the former being a powerful puppet master with one of his puppets being the body of an Akatsuki member and the latter being incredibly proficient with a large fan and wind elemental attacks.
  • Badass in Distress: When he gets captured by Deidara and his rescue becomes the main plot point during the Kazekage Rescue Arc. He dies, but it revived soon afterwards after Deidara is defeated.
  • Badass Longrobe: After becoming Kazekage, Gaara sports a long robe in Part II.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason why he was able to regain his sanity was that Naruto saw his pain. Afterwards, Naruto becomes his best friend.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Especially in the beginning, when he was a cold-hearted, quiet sociopath.
  • Big Brother Mentor: An inversion. Gaara mentors and trains Matsuri in the final filler arc of the original series, despite the fact that Matsuri is actually older than Gaara by a month.
  • Blade on a Rope: While he doesn't usually use weapons, he did show skill in this when he demonstrated how to use a jouhyou to Matsuri in part 1 episode 216.
  • Blessed with Suck: As the jinchuriki of Shukaku, Gaara has the ability to control and manipulate sand, is very skilled at it, his offensive and defense powers are superb and having a tailed beast sealed inside of him makes him one of the most powerful ninjas from Sunagakure. Unfortunately, this is also the reason why Gaara was feared and detested by everyone in the village, not to mention the amount of assassins who are out to kill him under the orders of the Fourth Kazekage, who happens to be Gaara's father! Lastly, Gaara has to keep himself from drifting asleep as this would cause Shukaku to gain control of his body.
  • Blow You Away: By the time of Gaara Hiden, he uses wind release in conjunction with his sand for added speed and defence.
  • Blood Knight: Before his Heel–Face Turn, Gaara believed that killing was the only way to prove his existance and maintained a literal mask of cold ruthlessness, under which he could be seen sporting a Slasher Smile. He would even go as far as to threaten his siblings if they disturbed him during his gradual transformation into Shukaku. After Naruto defeats him, he mellows out and grows for the better.
  • Blood Upgrade: During his Ax-Crazy phase, Gaara would soak his sand in the blood of his enemies, believing it made it stronger. Considering he has the Magnet Release kekkei genkai, he may very well have been right.
  • Body Horror: Whenever Gaara's sand armor breaks apart, the sight of it isn't pretty. His gradual transformation into Shukaku is also terrifying to look at, especially during the first phase as one half of Gaara's body looks exactly like Shukaku.
  • Break the Cutie: He was a cute yet sad little boy. Exclusion and psychological torture turned him into a cold-blooded murderer. His childhood was so bad that he was a sociopath by the age of six. Thankfully, he got better.
  • Broken Bird: Got a Tailed Beast planted inside of him which got him out of control, was hated and despised by all the villagers for this reason, got assassins sent after him by his father because of this, including his uncle, who raised him and who he had thought would love him. Given this, it's not so weird that he snapped.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: He has a chat with his revived father during the Fourth Great Shinobi war. He had every right to criticize his father for all that abuse he went through, but he ultimately says that he doesn't hate his father anymore and also that he understands why his father acted the way he did. His father outright admits that he was a horrible parent. Indeed, he spends more time calling himself out than Gaara does.
  • Celibate Hero: Justified. His upbringing didn’t really give him a chance to properly develop a romantic relationship with anyone. His later status as Kazekage, in conjunction with Temari’s handiwork in getting rid of “unwanted admirers” prevented romance as well. However, even with that, he notes that he never had any intentions for relationships — not that he was necessarily against it, unless he was forced into like with Hakuto, — and that the people who had feelings for him didn't truly love him. He does become an uncle and adopts a son, however.
  • Character Development: Arguably the most extreme example in the series. He went from an Ax-Crazy murderer with no apparent empathy to a well-intentioned but still unsure of himself young Kazekage, to a Wise Beyond His Years Reasonable Authority Figure who truly cares about others. Unlike Shikamaru's, his character development was very much caused by his contact with Naruto. He is even able to convince Shukaku to aid him in battle after helping free him from the Ten-Tails.
  • Character Tics: Gaara folds his arms wherever he goes. After all, his powers do the fighting for him.
  • Chick Magnet: Many girls want to eagerly come to his aid at the end of first arc of Shippuden, as they go on about how strong and handsome he is.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: He's appointed as the Fifth Kazekage during the time skip, and later becomes Commander General of the Allied Shinobi Forces.
  • Clueless Chick-Magnet: He doesn't seem to give the attention the ladies give him much thought.
  • Color Motifs: Red, given he's one of the few characters with red hair and his attire after his Heel–Face Turn is mainly red.
  • Cool-Down Hug: How Gaara initially approached Shinki, who had attacked the Kazekage out of fear. It's implied that Gaara saw a lot of his childhood self in the boy, and is noticeably more affectionate to Shinki than his own father was to him.
  • Costume Evolution: During his fight against Kimimaro, Gaara had changed his brown clothing for one with long sleeves and more shades of red. This continues after the time-skip where he also wears some grey on top of his red costume. After the war, he trades his gourd for a much smaller one.
  • Creepy Monotone: Gaara has a very emotionless way of speaking that makes him come across as being creepy. Even after his Heel–Face Turn, he still remains very measured in his speech.
  • Creepy Child: In Naruto. You're lying if you say you didn't shiver at his behaviour, especially when he had a Slasher Smile. Fortunately, he gets better.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
  • Dark Magical Girl: Gender Inverted. He's a lonely antagonistic foil for Naruto who becomes a good guy and a friend after his defeat in Part I.
  • Death Glare: Pre Heel–Face Turn Gaara was prone to display a scowling, ominous glare most of the time.
  • Declaration of Protection: To Naruto — the main reason he joined the fight against the Akatskui was to keep Naruto safe and Gaara was willing to kill Sasuke if the latter proved a threat to Naruto.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After Naruto defeats him and they become good friends. Gaara, at that point, wanted to be like Naruto, accepted by everyone around him.
  • Disney Death: By the end of the Kazekage Retrieval Arc the Akatsuki's removal of his Tailed Beast kills him. Chiyo with a little help from Naruto gets him better.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In Episode 34 of the original anime, he kills a man and his teammates rather gruesomely (though he claims it was painless). Why? He claimed they looked at him the wrong way! Admittedly that man tried to kill him first, the "looked at him the wrong way" part was the reason he didn't stop attacking after it became clear he was much more powerful than them.
  • The Dreaded: Pre-Heel–Face Turn. His own siblings are scared witless of him during Part I, and upon hearing his backstory, Naruto is so taken aback by the parallels between him and Gaara that he's actually scared to fight him.
  • Driven to Villainy: Upon his birth a demon was sealed inside him, with his mother becoming a sacrifice, so that he could become his ninja village's ultimate weapon. But said demon also makes everyone in the village terrified of him, and he grows up reviled as a monster. Finally, his own father (who arranged the whole thing in the first place), finding him growing unstable, sends assassins to kill him. The first assassin is his beloved uncle, the only one who seems to care for him, who reveals that he's actually secretly hated him all these years for killing his sister (Gaara's mom, the one who was sacrificed to make him what he was), and that his mother had died cursing the village and hoped that Gaara killed them all — his name, given by her, means "The Demon who loves only himself". Naturally, he finally snaps, and spends the next few years killing anyone who gave him half a reason to as a way of proving that he exists. Oh, and the demon in question prevents him from sleeping, less it starts eating away at his mind.
  • Dying Alone: While Akatsuki performed the bijuu extraction, he faced death all by himself, not sure what his purpose was and why he wanted to feel needed.
  • The Eeyore: Pre-Heel–Face Turn he was constantly morose.
  • Elemental Armor: He can cover his body with a thin layer of sand for a last line of defense, and when channeling Shukaku's power he can shape said armor into a miniature version of Shukaku's form over his body.
  • Elemental Baggage: Played with. He can control any kind of sand and create more from stones in the ground. However, he always brings with him a huge gourd full of a specially prepared sand which is much more efficient and faster. Also the gourd itself is sand and is the same sand shown following him around during his childhood, just put together into one shape. That sand is always with him; it just isn't shown when it's not the gourd or being used.
  • Elemental Shapeshifter: Gaara does not have a Animal Battle Aura form like other jinchuuriki. Instead he fuses sand with his body, becoming a monstrous Tanuki, resulting in far more Body Horror.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Initially, he believed friendship was meaningless. But after witnessing multiple people jumping in front of his attacks to protect their friends and loved ones, combined with damage suffered from strong opponents, he starts having a mental breakdown. After Naruto thoroughly defeats him in combat due to his strong desire to protect his friends, Gaara starts to reconsider his outlook on relationships with others.
  • Evil Counterpart: Naruto's first: a lonely and fatherless container for an energy demon. The difference is that he went insane instead of channeling his angst into mischief. The parallels are even stronger when you realize that both are the sons of the Fourth of their villages' Kage. Naruto's father only sealed Kurama within him because he didn't have much of a choice and desired his son to be seen as a hero, while Gaara's father (though eventually remorseful about the fact) sealed Shukaku within his son specifically so he'd become a weapon. Naruto openly admired his father even before he was aware of his heritage, while Gaara outright despised his.
  • Evil Redhead: During the first half of Part I. Gaara evolves into a full redheaded hero for the rest of the series.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: When he was a villain.
  • Evil Wears Black: During his stint as a villain, he wore a black outfit. After he reforms, he switches to a red one.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: Pupil-less with turquoise iris.
  • Eyes Never Lie: Before their match in the chūnin exams, he approached Sasuke only to tell him he considered him "prey". He actually had a particular interest and went on to explain he could see in Sasuke's eyes that he knew what loneliness was and that it was the worst suffering there was in the world, and they both had the "same eyes" full of hate seeking revenge and murder towards the people who caused them such loneliness. When they meet again in Part II at the Kage Summit, he tells Sasuke he still has the same eyes as before and fails to change his mind about turning away from the darkness.
  • Faceless Eye: His Third Eye technique which is a disembodied eye he shares a field of vision with and he typically uses for spying.
  • Facial Markings: He's had tanuki-like black rings around his eyes his whole life.
  • Fiery Redhead: When he was a villain. He's hot blooded, after all. He is one you would not want to provoke, or you would be dead. Completely averted after his defeat by Naruto, in which he undergoes a lot of character development, including becoming nicer. He's also more calm and close to being stoic of his siblings.
  • Foil:
    • One of the first ones to Naruto. Both have spiky hair, were despondent and lonely in their childhoods and are the jinchuriki of a tailed beast, Shukaku for Gaara and Kurama for Naruto. They also became the kages of the village the reside in. The major difference however, is that Naruto did have a select few people who looked after him in his childhood and had loving parents despite them being deceased. Gaara on the other hand was hunted by Sunagakure assassins hired by his father and had only one paternal figure in his uncle, Yashamaru, who died trying to kill Gaara.
    • Also serves as one to Sasuke. Both were abnormally powerful Ninja for their age, were motivated by hatred, and as a result of their pasts, were loners who initially cared for nobody but themselves before Naruto caused them to change their ways. The difference being that while Sasuke was beloved by the majority of his village, Gaara was feared and despised for his whole childhood. Additionally, while Sasuke's hatred was towards a specific person who he wanted to kill, Gaara hated the whole world and desired to kill indiscriminately. Finally, while Gaara ultimately changes for the better thanks to Naruto's influence, Sasuke's envy of how much stronger Naruto's became ultimately kickstarts his descent into villainy.
  • Four-Star Badass: He is made the General of the Ninja Army during the Fourth World War.
  • Freak Out: Happens twice.
    • First when Yashamaru crushed all of Gaara's hopes and tried to kill him, resulting in the homicidal maniac he became in his introduction.
    • Second when he saw his own blood after Sasuke injured him.
  • Freudian Excuse: The whole village hated him, he was not able to sleep for years on end, he was constantly targeted by his father for assassination, being betrayed by the one person he thought cared about him, who reveals he actually always hated Gaara right after trying to kill him, or being infused with a demon spirit while still in the womb. Not so surprising he ends up being a serial killer. What's even more surprising is that, once he gets over it, he's actually a pretty nice guy.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: As a child, Gaara made many attempts to connect to the people of Sunagakure, all of whom feared him because of his connection with Shukaku. That, alongside with Yashamaru's betrayal of him turned him into a sociopathic murderer, which remained until his defeat at the hands of Naruto.
  • Good Parents: Unlike his own abusive father, Gaara is shown to be a compassionate and attentive parent to Shinki, who was already on his way to ending up like pre-chunin exam Gaara if he hadn't been adopted by someone who was willing to train and love him.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: As a child, he carved the kanji for "love" (愛, ai) on the left side of his forehead. It first started off as an "evil" scar before becoming a "good" one.
  • Goth: Certainly looks the part, and starts off as the Lone Psycho Goth, then becomes more like a Gloomy Goth after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Goth Girls Know Magic: A Rare Male Example. He looks the part of a goth, has the dark personality, and his fighting style is based entirely around manipulation of sand and he rarely moves his own body at all, making him one of the most "wizard"-like ninjas in the series.
  • Guardian Entity: Originally Shukaku was this for Gaara, protecting him from harm. After Shukaku's removal, Gaara's father tells him that his mother Karura is the true will behind his defensive ability. This is reflected in the forms of Gaara's techniques; after the reveal his attacks and shields are in the form of his mother's image.
  • Guttural Growler: Especially when voiced by Liam O'Brien in the English dub.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: Although it's very clear he has red hair, Anko calls him brown haired when observing how quickly he made through the Forest of Death, uninjured.
  • Heel–Face Turn: He was a villain who thought he only lived to kill people since he couldn't get any other response from them. Then Naruto, someone with a similar backstory, came along and showed him how other people could improve his life's quality. Gaara not only made it his goal to become Kazekage and succeeded but became one of Naruto's biggest allies.
  • He Is All Grown Up: Post time skip. Gaara is taller and crosses into being a Bishōnen.
  • Hero of Another Story: He did work hard to become Kazekage and earn their acceptance during the time skip.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Played straight and then averted. Gaara using up all of his chakra to protect his village from Deidara's C3 completely exhausted and rendered him unconscious, leading to his capture, followed by the Akatsuki extracting Shukaku from his body and his death. He does get revived by Chiyo, at the cost of her own life.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: He has very light blue eyes that go with his cold and stoic demeanor.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: When the Moon's Eye plan succeeds and traps everyone in a genjutsu of their own personal heaven, Gaara sees himself as a child among his loving family. His mother, father, siblings, and uncle are there. And Naruto comes to play with him.
  • Improbable Age: Youngest Kage at the age of 15.
  • The Insomniac: To keep the monster within at bay, Gaara is shown to really limit the time he spends sleeping, which does wonders for his overall personality.
  • Instant Armor: His sand-armor automatically activates when he's attacked.
  • Irony: When he and Naruto first met, Gaara blankly said he "couldn't care less" who Naruto was. And as of now, Gaara considers Naruto his closest friend and will protect him at any costs.
  • Jerkass: At first. Gaara was a complete sociopath who killed people just for annoying him.
  • Knight of Cerebus: During the chunin exam, things always gotten darker and bloodier whenever it focused on him, from start to end. Until Orochimaru came in, Gaara was incredibly the most ruthless and savage (constantly wanting to see blood comming from people), and the only Chunin Exam villain without any comedic traits, or even moments of comedy at all.
  • The Leader: During the time-skip, Gaara becomes the fifth Kazekage, effectively succeeding the previous leader, who happens to be his father.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Notably averted; his outfit changes in each of his major appearances, and he also has the black outfit he wears to Chiyo's funeral and his Kage robes, making six outfits outside of flashbacks.
  • Long-Range Fighter: The sand does such a great job protecting and attacking for him he's never developed any real need for close range attacks outside of when Shukaku took over.
  • Magnetism Manipulation: Gaara can use the Magnet Release kekkei genkai to manipulate a high-density "Sparkling Metalic Sand".
  • Manly Tears:
    • Sheds a single one after concluding that Sasuke won't listen to him and that he must kill him, and that this will make Naruto suffer.
    • And later on, he breaks down in tears when his father tells him his mother did love him after all.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: When Sasuke breaks through his sand armor for the first time in Gaara's entire life, the Suna shinobi dramatically freaks out and loses his head all due to a minor wound on his shoulder.
  • Mirror Character: With Sasuke and Naruto:
    • He and Naruto are both a host and were shunned by their villages. Naruto however found people who accepted him and kept him from becoming like Gaara. After being defeated, Gaara chooses to follow Naruto's path.
    • In Part I, he and Sasuke both had "the same eyes" motivated to prove their existence and punish those who caused them pain. He later tries this again while trying to convince Sasuke to seek redemption like he did, but it doesn't work.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Gaara means "self-loving gauze", meant to refer to "a demon loving only himself"; The literal translation of his title in Japanese, Sabaku no Gaara, is "Gaara of the Sand Cascade".
  • Never Sleep Again: His Tailed Beast gains more power over him as he sleeps. If he should sleep for too long, his Tailed Beast would take over his body completely and he would no longer exist.
  • Nice Guy: Post-Character Development. Gaara became considerably more polite and sociable. Heck, he's even an All-Loving Hero.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Before his Heel–Face Turn. A sociopathic pre-teen who can control a substance with his mind, and turn said substance into a near-perfect weapon.
  • No Social Skills: Thanks to having a similar childhood, is not much better than Naruto — in fact, he might be even worse. Gaara Hiden reveals he was completely unaware of Shikamaru and Temari's sexual tension (something that even Naruto noticed), and thus was the only one surprised when they got together. Further interactions with his fiancée reveal that as great a leader as he is, Gaara has little-to-no idea on how to interact with other people on a more familiar level (besides his family).
  • Not So Stoic:
    • In his fight with Rock Lee, Gaara's stoic face cracks down along his sand armor mask and strikes a terrific Slasher Smile.
    • Post-timeskip, Gaara's reaction when he finds out the truth about his mother.
    • The look on his face after getting revived and seeing not only his first friend, but also his siblings and other Suna ninja around him in the Kazekage Rescue Arc.
    • Gaara Hiden: A Sandstorm Mirage shows that the thought of marriage is enough to make his sweat-drop and lose the ability to form coherent sentences.
  • Oblivious to Love: According to Temari in Gaara Hiden, he's just as bad as Naruto, if not worse. He knows that something is different about the love between a couple and the love between family but can't quite get it. Definitely worse than Naruto as he didn't notice the obvious feelings between his sister Temari and Shikamaru.
  • Oedipus Complex: Especially before his Heel–Face Turn, after he still has some mild signs but his hatred for his father waned but is counterbalanced by his sand shield resembling his (nude) mother.
  • Oh, Crap!: Rock Lee induces this reaction in him after dropping his leg weights and going full Flash Step mode on him during the Chunin Exams, marking the first time he ever lost the upper hand on an opponent.
  • The Paranoiac: Had well-justified paranoia, stemming from having a demon stuck inside him as a baby (that threatened to possess him if he ever fell asleep), causing everyone in his village to hate and fear him and eventually leading his father (who put that demon there, to make a weapon out of him) to try and assassinate him after deciding that Gaara was too unstable (and the person chosen was the uncle he loved, who then denied ever loving Gaara). As a young teen, he's an Ax-Crazy Serial Killer who keeps his siblings in line with threats of murder, mistrusts and despises everybody and refers to his inner world as chaos that can only be fed by murdering people. Fortunately, he got better.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Even when he became good, he rarely smiles.
  • Powers Do the Fighting: Gaara is protected by his sand, so for most of his fights early on in the series, he stands by while the sand deflects projectiles and destroys his enemies for him.
  • Power Incontinence: As a child Gaara could not control his powers and injured a number of people from his village (killing at least one) which led him to become even more of a pariah who his father the Kazekage was forced to mark as a threat to the village's stability, which led to a huge breakdown in Gaara's psyche and even more death and destruction courtesy of Shukaku rampaging the night his uncle attempted to kill him.
  • Progressively Prettier: Gaara's appearance still maintains that gothic look to it, but becomes softer in the filler arcs and Shippuden.
  • The Quiet One: Gaara doesn't speak all that much in Part I. He gets more vocal in Part II.

  • Rain of Blood: Sand Burial liquefies its victims. "A senbon rainstorm, huh? I have a better idea. Let's make it rain blood instead."
  • Real Men Eat Meat: His favorite foods (according to the databooks) are liver and tongue.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: As the word love written on his forehead, carved into his forehead by his sand-shaping powers the moment he finally broke after his Uncle Yashamaru tried to kill him and then told him that he never was and never would be loved. This symbolizes that he loves only himself and fights only for himself, prior to his Heel–Face Turn. It has also been revealed that, like Naruto, he enjoys gardening, specifically cultivating cacti.
  • Red Baron: "Gaara of the Sand Waterfall".
  • Red Is Heroic: Inverted at first given his sociopathic nature. Played straight after being defeated by Naruto.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The calmer, softspoken blue to Kankuro's loud, Hot-Blooded red.
  • Redemption Promotion: As seen in Took a Level in Badass, Gaara becomes even more awesome after he pulls a Heel–Face Turn. He also becomes the Kage of his village.
  • Rousing Speech: His speech to the Allied Shinobi Forces (possibly the most he's ever said at once in the entire series).
    Gaara: "Three times now, we've fought world wars for our own nations, our own villages. We've hurt one another. We've hated one another. That hatred bred a lust for power, and that lust for power created me. I was a jinchūriki, the embodiment of hatred and power. And I hated this world, and all the people in it. I wanted to destroy it with my own hands. The exact same thing Akatsuki is trying to do today. But one man, one ninja from Konohagakure stopped me. ...I was his enemy, yet he wept for me! I hurt him, yet he called me his friend! He saved me! My enemy, my fellow jinchūriki... He suffered the same pain as me, yet bore no ill will! There are no enemies here because we've all suffered at Akatsuki's hand! So there is no Suna, no Iwa, no Konoha, no Kiri, and no Kumo! There are only 'shinobi!' And if you still hold a grudge against Suna, when this war is over, come and take my head instead! Our enemies are after the friend who saved my life! If they take him, if we hand him over, our world is finished! I want to protect him! I want to protect our world! But I'm too young to protect it all on my own! All of you, lend me your aid! Everyone who's with me, let's go!"
  • Sadist: During the Chunin Exams. He grows out of it thanks to Naruto's influence.
  • Sand Blaster: Gaara can control both environmental sand, and his personal supply of sand that's been seeped with his chakra, the latter being more powerful and moving automatically to protect him from attacks. When away from the desert, he can also sneak some of his sand underground to secretly grind up a larger supply of sand for himself underneath the battlefield. This comes from having Shukaku, one of the Tailed Beasts, sealed inside of him at birth, though he retains this ability after Shukaku is removed (with it later being revealed that the sand's automatic movements to protect him come from his dead mother's love). Because they both control physical matter (not Elemental Baggage) and have their own will, Gaara's sand techniques are immune to being negated, absorbed or controlled by others, which combined with the sand's incredible speed and durability has earned them the title of "The Absolute Defence".
  • Sanity Strengthening: Gaara starts out quite insane and Ax-Crazy but over the course of the series (thanks to his friendship with Naruto) becomes slowly more and more sane.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: As a Jinchuriki, but not anymore since the Shukaku was removed.
  • Self-Duplication: Gaara is able to use Sand Clones to reinforce himself or act as diversions.
  • Shading/Colour Dissonance: Gaara's dark red hair is entirely unshaded in the manga panels, which can give the impression of a much lighter hair color to the readers.
  • Sibling Team: With Temari and Kankuro, because no one else was willing to work with him and/or he would have killed anyone else.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Post-timeskip, Gaara's much more reserved and introspective than his more boisterous and rowdy older siblings.
  • Sickly Child Grew Up Strong: Gaara was born a very tiny premature baby.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Gaara has red hair and green eyes. And he has an important role throughout the series — First as an antagonist, the Kazekage in Part II, and one of the few who trusts Naruto no matter what.
  • Slasher Smile: In the Rock Lee fight.
  • Socially Awkward Hero: In Gaara Hiden, Gaara struggles to talk about his interests and hobbies towards Hakuto.
  • So Proud of You:
    • Gaara's resurrected dad is shocked that his failed experiment of a son is now the leader of an allied ninja army (and Kazekage to boot) and realizes what an idiot he's been.
    • In the filler arc that features him and his siblings, Temari and Kankuro beam proudly at Gaara when he begins teaching Matsuri, and Kankuro later expresses pride and encouragement for Gaara when he is able to figure out a way to suppress Shukaku.
  • The Spock: To Temari's Kirk and Kankuro's McCoy. Gaara is for the most part The Stoic compared to his more emotional siblings. While it highlights his Lack of Empathy and mercy in Part 1, it changes to showing his rationality as a leader who thinks of what's best for everyone in Part 2.
  • Squishy Wizard: Uses elemental jutsu and Shukaku's power, but almost never uses taijutsu because he never really has to. (So he isn't proficient at it.) It's downplayed in that he carries around an enormous jug of sand on his back, so he definitely isn't physically weak. He just doesn't fight with taijutsu.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Pre Heel–Face Turn Gaara is this. Beneath his expressionless demeanor and vicious tendencies lies a mentally shattered boy who was unloved and feared for all of his life.
  • The Stoic: He's very calm and measured most of the time. In Part 1, it was used to highlight how much of a Creepy Child he was. In Part 2 onwards after he's taken a huge level in kindness, it's more to indicate how he can keep a cool head under pressure.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Towards Sasuke when they meet again after the time skip. He reminds Sasuke they are similar and tells him he can make a change towards the good just like himself, unfortunately Sasuke is consumed in revenge and his siblings remind him not to become personal as he is the Kazekage, Gaara can only shed a tear in response.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Prior to his fight with Naruto, he essentially turned to this, after repeatedly trying to befriend kids his own age, only to be shunned because of his scary powers. Then after having an assassination attempt on his life by someone he trusted, he no longer trusted other people, and felt it was better to be powerful and fight for oneself than to be burdened by others. As a result, he emanated a very intimidating aura, so much so that even Kankuro and Temari feared him despite being his siblings.
  • They Died Because of You:
    • He makes no excuses that he killed his mother during his birth. During an assassination attempt early in his life, Gaara finds out the assassin was Yashamaru, his uncle and caretaker. Though his uncle seemed to care for him on the surface, as he lay dying, Gaara is told deep down his uncle hates him because of the death of his sister during the childbirth. This causes him to stop caring about others, and to be suspicious of everyone around him.
    • Subverted in that Yashamaru was lying. He really did love Gaara, and the person he held accountable for Karura's death was Gaara's father, for sealing Shukaku into his son while he was still in her womb, the act of which killed her. Karura herself loved Gaara and her desire to protect him even after death is what drives his automatic sand protection.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Like many, many others during the Time Skip. We see him beforehand and his whole gimmick is to stand still behind an ultimate defense and deal environmental damage, so much so that he freaks out on seeing his own blood. Then afterwards, he's flying around and controlling Kaiju-sized masses of sand to interdict the skies over Suna. The biggest example of his skills increasing? He easily bested his farther, held his own while weakened against the Second Mizukage, and Madara Uchiha. By the New Era, he's taken a few more. While still no match for an Otsutsuki, he's the only person alive, besides Naruto and Sasuke, shown so far to be able to give one of them at least somewhat of a fight.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Probably the biggest example in the series. He went from Jerkass sociopath who could never love to an All-Loving Hero who is now a much respected and beloved person.
  • Tragic Villain: During the Chunin Exam, he killed because he thought the world was out to get him, and thought that no one could ever love him.
  • Trauma Conga Line: He's probably the character, along with Sasuke, who has one of the most tragic background stories in the series. See Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: A 12-year-old who kills someone in a gruesome manner, because he looked at him the wrong way, and then threatening to kill his big brother, is not what a normal child would do. Then again...
  • Tyke-Bomb: Was implanted with the Shukaku in utero, by Chiyo at the command of his father, the Fourth Kazekage.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: A variation. Like Naruto, possessing a Tailed Beast gave him massive amounts of chakra, but where's Naruto didn't know and couldn't access it, Gaara can but uses it differently. His general fighting style as a result is simply relying on the sand to automatically take care of his enemies for him. Eventually he drops this after becoming good.
  • Unusual Eyebrows: Of the "not there" category.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: As a kid, he was very kind and cheerful, but having everyone being afraid of him for having Shukaku in him, and his father sending the only person who was ever nice to him, who is also his uncle, out to kill him, discovering that even he didn't care, it most likely didn't hold.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Prior to his Heel–Face Turn, he had three of these. When he is injured by Lee, he displays more emotion in his fight than he usually does. When Sasuke makes him bleed, he goes completely mental. When Naruto outright defeats him, he can only panic.
  • Vocal Dissonance: His deep baritone in Part 1, especially in the dub, makes it easy to forget that he's supposed to be 12 at that point. The voice fits him better post-timeskip onwards.
  • Vocal Evolution: In the English dub, at least. He's a lot less gravelly and a lot more refined in Shippuden, which suits his character development.
  • Warrior Prince: The youngest child of the Fourth Kazekage.
  • Warrior Therapist: Gaara was like this towards Sasuke in Part I. Interestingly, they still have this dynamic the next time they meet several years later, except, well, they have exchanged their places as Ax-Crazy and The Stoic.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: A young Gaara sought the approval of anyone who would show him some form of love.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Thanks to a childhood deprived of unconditional affection (or at least, remaining unaware of it), Gaara, much in the vein of Naruto, cannot comprehend romantic love. In fact, he might be worse than Naruto; Gaara Hiden reveals that he was completely oblivious to Shikamaru and Temari's Belligerent Sexual Tension, something so obvious that even Naruto noticed it.
  • What Would X Do?: When he's having trouble, he often wonders what would Naruto do in his place. After failing to convince Sasuke to abandon his quest for revenge, he asks himself what would Naruto have done differently. In Gaara Hiden: A Sandstorm Mirage, he resorts to one of Naruto's tactics when he's trying to start a conversation with Hakuto.
  • When He Smiles: When he gives a genuine smile (in Part II, that is), you just can't help but feel warm inside.
  • Wise Beyond His Years: Not the sort of person you'd expect to display this, but after becoming Kazekage, Gaara becomes one of the wisest characters in the Narutoverse. Specifically, when it comes to the risks Naruto takes, Gaara displays a cooler head and quite frankly, much better judgment than Tsunade concerning that matter. To say nothing of his response to Tobi's Assimilation Plot.
    "Peace under an illusion is not true peace. Peace is only meaningful when the world manages to accomplish it."
    • Though he's not above admitting when he could be wrong, such as when Naruto's presence, despite his risking-taking mentality, in the war actually proven to be more of a benefit for the allied forces rather than a detriment like he, Mei and A originally thought.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: His father tried to kill him, everyone in his village feared him, he never knew his mother, and his uncle committed suicide in front of him while claiming that neither he nor Gaara's mother loved him. After enduring all of that, he became the cold, sadistic monster he was feared to be. He's lucky Naruto is a Warrior Therapist, or else he would've stayed that way.
  • The Worf Effect: He is outwitted, outmanuvered, defeated and kidnapped by Deidara during Deidara's introduction, as the Akatsuki member has a much easier time with him than Naruto did. This establishes how dangerous an opponent Deidara is and, by extension, Akatsuki as a whole can be because only the other member to show their stuff before this was Itachi, the prodigy of the Uchiha Clan.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Backhands Temari in the belly and tries to kill Sakura.
  • Young and in Charge: He became the Fifth Kazekage when he had just reached his mid-teens.
  • You Are Not Alone: Being revived by Chiyo's jutsu, Gaara awoke, shocked by being surrounded by his siblings, friends and village who were all relieved that he was alive after having gone looking for him. This was the first time Gaara truly felt loved and not so alone.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Sort of; on one hand he has the amazing sand techniques and is The Leader of a ninja village. On the other hand, he was driven psychotically evil by the energy demon which marked him for death by Ataksuki.