Template:Infobox Character (fixed)Gaara (我愛羅) is a shinobi of Sunagakure. He was made the jinchūriki of the One-Tailed Shukaku before he was born, causing the villagers of Suna to fear him as a monster. With nobody to connect to, Gaara grew up hating the world and looking out only for himself, justifying his own existence by killing anyone he came across. After being defeated by Naruto Uzumaki — a jinchūriki like himself who found strength in his friendships — Gaara starts emulating him. He becomes Suna's Fifth Kazekage (五代目風影, Godaime Kazekage, Literally meaning: Fifth Wind Shadow) so that he can protect the village and all those who live there, dispelling the fears he cast on the villagers.
Because of heavy cuts to Sunagakure's budget, the Fourth Kazekage wanted to make one of his children the jinchūriki of the One-Tailed Shukaku to serve as a weapon for the village. His first two children, Temari and then Kankurō, had not been compatible with Shukaku. Rasa's third child, who would become Gaara, was compatible, and for that reason Shukaku was sealed into him by Chiyo while he was still in his mother's womb. Gaara ended up being born prematurely and, from the ordeals of childbirth, his mother, Karura, died. Before dying, Karura looked lovingly at Gaara's small form and vowed to always protect him.
Gaara was raised in isolation during his early life, taught ninjutsu by his father and cared for by his maternal uncle, Yashamaru. When he was allowed to roam around the village, Gaara would try to connect with the villagers, being kind to them and offering them any assistance he could. However, being a jinchūriki made the villagers frightened of Gaara; adults avoided him and, when they couldn't, treated him delicately while children would run from him on sight. Gaara would try to assure them he meant no harm, but in the process would inadvertently injure or even kill them with his sand. Gaara did not understand this pain he caused others because his sand protected him from all injury. When he was six years old, Gaara asked Yashamaru to explain pain to him. From Yashamaru's explanation, Gaara believed he did know pain: the unbearable agony in his heart.
From this, Yashamaru elaborated that physical pain, what causes one to bleed, could be cured with medicine and time, whereas pain of the heart, like Gaara experienced, could only be cured with love. Gaara, said Yashamaru, received love everyday, from both his mother - whose spirit controlled the sand that protected him - and from Yashamaru himself. Gaara was pleased by this and went out into the village to show some love to those he'd harmed, but his efforts were met only with more fear and hate. Gaara was dismayed and went off to try and understand why he was treated as such a monster. While doing so, he was attacked by one of Suna's Anbu, who he fatally wounded with his sand. When he unmasked the Anbu, Gaara discovered it was Yashamaru.
Gaara was devastated that Yashamaru, the only living person to love him, would try to kill him and asked for an explanation. Yashamaru replied that it was a mission given to him by Rasa, Gaara's father, it having been decided by the Suna Council that Gaara was a failed experiment that, if allowed to live, would only continue to do harm to the village and its people. Gaara tried to find solace in the fact that Yashamaru had been ordered to kill him, but Yashamaru insisted, lying to Gaara, that he volunteered and that he'd always hated Gaara for causing Karura's death. Karura had not loved Gaara either, and named him after the phrase "a self-loving carnage" (我を愛する修羅, Ware o aisuru shura) so that he would be a curse upon Suna for what it had done to her. With his explanation done, Yashamaru asked Gaara to "please die" before blowing himself up with explosive tags.
Gaara's sand - a product of Shukaku rather than Karura if Yashamaru's words were to be believed - shielded Gaara from the blast. Having lost everything he cared for, Gaara decided that he would from that point forward live up to his namesake by loving only himself; to that end, he used his sand to etch the kanji for "love" (愛, ai) onto the left side of his forehead. Overwhelmed with grief, Gaara transformed into Shukaku and attacked Suna, which Rasa stopped with his gold dust. Rasa would arrange five other assassination attempts on Gaara over the following years, all of which Gaara evidently survived. Due to his singular focus on himself, Gaara eventually learned to reign in his powers and became the lethal weapon of destruction Suna wanted him to be, prompting Rasa to stop trying to kill him and instead find a use for him.
Gaara was consistently warm to others during his early life. Although most of Suna's villagers feared and despised him, he was able to persevere due to the love that he felt from Yashamaru and his mother. His father, Rasa, believed these niceties were impeding Gaara's development as a jinchūriki and as such had both taken from him: he ordered Yashamaru to try and kill Gaara and, if he were to fail, to tell Gaara that neither he nor Gaara's mother had ever loved him. Rasa's plan succeeded, as following Yashamaru's death Gaara stopped trying to connect with people. Rather, Gaara focused on himself, driven solely by his own desires and his own survival.
During his years of caring only about himself, Gaara becomes infamously known as "Gaara of the Sand Waterfall" (砂瀑の我愛羅, Sabaku no Gaara, English TV: Gaara of the Desert). Though he outwardly appears calm, "Gaara of the Sand Waterfall" is deeply unbalanced, completely unmoved by others' pleas for mercy and, in certain situations, driven mad with bloodlust. This behaviour is partly due to Shukaku, whose voice Gaara alone can hear in his head, who encourages violence at every opportunity, and who torments Gaara with threats to take control of his body if he falls asleep, thus making Gaara an insomniac. But Shukaku is not wholly responsible: Gaara simply hates other people for existing, believing that so long as they are alive they are a threat to his own life. His purpose, therefore, is to kill anyone who is strong or who he perceives as similar to himself, as only by killing them can he assert his own existence. With those who do not interest him, Gaara is typically withdrawn and silent. When he must interact with them, he does so with open disregard for their feelings and often threatens to kill them, even his own siblings, if they become too much of a nuisance to him.
Gaara's background is very similar to that of Naruto Uzumaki: both have been jinchūriki since the day they were born, both were hated by almost everyone in their village, and both were raised without a parent's love. But whereas Gaara eventually gave up on other people, Naruto continued trying to win the acknowledgement of his peers and village, pursuits he eventually succeeds at. Whereas Gaara seeks strength only in protecting himself, Naruto seeks strength in protecting the friends he makes. When the two fight during the Konoha Crush and Naruto defeats Gaara, Gaara takes this as proof that his own choices in life were wrong; he had surrendered to his difficult circumstances too easily. From that point onward he starts moving away from "Gaara of the Sand Waterfall" and starts emulating Naruto instead, improving his relationships with his siblings, making friends within Suna and without, and finding something that he's willing to give his life to protect. His relationship with Shukaku did improve somewhat when he told the tailed beast he used to hate it, but was grateful to the beast because he was able to meet Naruto due to the painful life Shukaku made him endure.
Gaara becomes Suna's Kazekage by the start of Part II, signalling the success of his emulation of Naruto. As Kazekage, Gaara becomes much wiser than most people his age when he took on the role. He forgave his father for trying to assassinate him as he was only trying to protect the village. Gaara also gains a new purpose in life by exerting all his energies to serving the village and those who live there; although he still has his detractors, most of the villagers adore him and will do what they can to help him reform Suna and the rest of the world. Even this reform is very much inspired by Naruto, as he wishes for the Five Kage and their hidden villages to cooperate and benefit from each other in the same way that he has benefited from Naruto's influence. Gaara believes in forgiving past differences and strife, abandoning antiquated concepts of "honour" that only promote isolation, and serving a purpose greater than one's self. As in Suna, this unity that Gaara advocates is slow to catch on, for a time only gaining support from Naruto's own Konohagakure. By the time of the Fourth Shinobi World War, however, the Five Kage are convinced by Gaara and this in turn starts trickling down into the larger Allied Shinobi Forces.
Gaara feels indebted to Naruto for how significantly he's changed since his time as "Gaara of the Sand Waterfall"; he considers Naruto his closest friend and believes all the tragedies of his childhood were worthwhile since they led him to meet Naruto. He takes part in the Fourth Shinobi World War not simply because he believes Akatsuki must be stopped, but because by doing so he can keep Naruto safe. Gaara's desire to protect Naruto, at times, means acting against Naruto's wishes: he knows that Naruto wants to redeem Sasuke Uchiha, but will kill Sasuke if Naruto's own leniency places himself at risk; he knows Naruto would want to participate in the Fourth Shinobi World War to protect his loved ones, but feels Naruto would be safer if he were forbidden from doing so. Just like before, however, Naruto's desire to protect his friends gets through to Gaara, as he advises that Naruto should at least consider for himself what he can do for Sasuke and accepts his participation in the war after realising he made an error in judgement. Gaara often cites his own experiences as "Gaara of the Sand Waterfall" during his interactions with Sasuke and others who suffer hate and loneliness, explaining the missteps that he didn't realise he'd made until he met Naruto so that they, in turn, might realise their own. His words do not always convince them, but Gaara is able to empathise with their choices and, as with Sasuke, he even wonders if Naruto could get through to them, just as Naruto got through to him.
Gaara has fair skin, green eyes, and short auburn hair; for most of his life his hair is spiky, but by adulthood it is combed and parted to the right. He lacks distinctive pupils or eyebrows, the latter of which others sometimes make fun of. He's had tanuki-like black rings around his eyes his whole life, which Gamabunta attributes to insomnia. As a child, he carved the kanji for "love" (愛, ai) on the left side of his forehead, which his hair is parted in order for it to be kept visible. In Part II, many girls in Suna start to consider Gaara handsome.
As the start of Part I, Gaara wears a black body suit with an open neck, t-shirt-like sleeves, and almost full-length leggings. With this, he wears a white cloth over his right shoulder and the left side of his hips. He has a wide leather band from his left shoulder to his right hip with which he carries his sand gourd and around which he wraps his forehead protector. In early chapters of the manga, he also has several earrings. His appearance is mostly the same at the end of Part I, though he switches his previous black body suit to a reddish-brownish one with longer sleeves and an upright collar, and wears mesh armour on his wrists and ankles. In Part II, Gaara wears a long-sleeved crimson coat and full-length dark trousers with a pair. Over the coat he wears two buckled belts, a grey vest held in place by a single strap over his left shoulder, and two buckled belts which he also uses to carry his gourd. On certain occasions he wears the typical Kazekage garb and during the Fourth Shinobi World War he wears Suna's typical flak jacket.
In The Last: Naruto the Movie, Gaara dons a crimson long-sleeve shirt with several buttons and pants that match the colour of his shirt. He also wears a brown belt and now has a smaller sand gourd which is strapped to his left side. By adulthood, Gaara starts wearing a trench coat.
Having been trained since infancy as Suna's "ultimate weapon", Gaara was exceptionally strong even as a child, effortlessly killing the countless assassins sent after him. As a genin, he became known internationally for completing B-rank missions. He also set the record time of completing the Chūnin Exams in the Forest of Death, and unscathed; a feat normally incapable for a chūnin. By Part II, Gaara becomes Suna's Fifth Kazekage, tasked with leading and protecting the entire village. His fellow Kage initially doubted his worthiness due to his young age, but come to respect him by the Fourth Shinobi World War, where he was appointed the commander-in-chief of the Allied Shinobi Forces' combat divisions. The reincarnated Kage that Gaara fights, including his father, also come to approve of his abilities after he defeats them. He could hold his own against five of Madara Uchiha's Susanoo-clad wood clones for some time.
Chakra and Physical Prowess
Gaara has large reserves of strong chakra, a fact Akamaru recognises even before Gaara has performed any technique. His chakra levels are partly because he is the jinchūriki of Shukaku, but even after Shukaku is removed from his body in Part II, there is no noticeable difference in his performance. In battle, Gaara tends to stay away from his opponents and rarely uses taijutsu. In the anime, he acknowledges this as a shortcoming and therefore trains with Shira to improve his abilities. In the novelisation of Boruto: Naruto the Movie, Kinshiki Ōtsutsuki regards Gaara's taijutsu as being on par with Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Darui, stating that their skill in this particular style of combat is "first-class".
His nature transformations include Earth, Lightning, and Wind Release, the latter of which he often mixes with his sand in order to increase its speed and coverage area. In Gaara Hiden, Gaara is shown to have inherited the Magnet Release kekkei genkai from his father, which he avoids using in battle so that he can have it as a last resort that opponents won't know about. He can use his Magnet Release to increase the density of his chakra and sand, thereby strengthening his defences.
As Shukaku's jinchūriki, Gaara is able to manipulate sand. He carries a supply of sand wherever he goes in a gourd, which itself is made from sand. This personal sand is infused with his own chakra, allowing him to deploy it faster and manipulate it more precisely. If he needs more sand, he can either use sand from the surroundings or, if there isn't any, use his personal sand to break down minerals in the ground to create some; these secondary sand supplies require more chakra to control. Gaara's ability to manipulate sand remains even after Shukaku is removed from his body. Indeed, the Fourth Kazekage, upon seeing how much sand Gaara can control at once, wrongly assumes it is Shukaku itself doing so, not Gaara.
In battle, Gaara's usual tactic is to remain stationary, using his sand to attack opponents from afar. The attacks typically follow the same formula: capture and immobilise the target, such as with the Sand Binding Coffin, and then crush all parts of their body, such as with the Sand Waterfall Funeral. If opponents are able to get close enough to attack him, Gaara's Shield of Sand automatically protects him from all threats, even those he is not aware of; the Shield of Sand is commonly thought to be Shukaku's doing, an act of self-preservation, but it is actually Gaara's mother, Karura, whose love protects Gaara even after her death. If the Shield of Sand is penetrated, either through speed or brute-force, Gaara also has a secondary Armour of Sand covering his body; it is chakra-taxing to maintain and weighs him down. Nevertheless, Gaara's sand is extremely effective at keeping him safe, earning fame as an "absolute defence" and allowing him to go years without experiencing a single injury. By adulthood, Gaara's Shield of Sand's defence increased tremendously, able to shrug off attacks that Sasuke Uchiha's Majestic Attire: Susanoo could not.
Gaara's sand is highly malleable and can be used for any number of purposes. Often this is to protect others, such as with a wall for one person or, in his capacity as Kazekage, a shield as large as Suna. Offensively, he can shape Sand Shuriken or Sand Swords. Gaara also has a variety of supplementary uses for his sand: a form of flight for himself and others; a method of sensing concealed targets; a Sand Clone to reinforce himself or allies; a Third Eye for reconnaissance. During the Fourth Shinobi World War, he uses the Desert Layered Imperial Funeral Seal to serve the same functional purpose as the Cloth Binding Technique, giving him a way of stopping reincarnated opponents.
Jiinchūriki TransformationsThe One-Tailed Shukaku is a very valuable resource in battle but, like all tailed beasts, becoming able to use it effectively takes a great deal of time and effort on Gaara's part. During their first conversation when Gaara was a child, Shukaku warned Gaara that it would take control of his body and start killing people if he ever fell asleep, preventing Gaara from getting a full night's sleep for the duration of his time as a jinchūriki. Even while awake, Shukaku's powers were a constant risk, causing the young Gaara to inadvertently kill those around him and, in moments of particular stress, unleash Shukaku upon Suna. Gaara is able to keep Shukaku in check under normal circumstances by Part I.Like all jinchūriki, Gaara can transform into his tailed beast. Whereas other jinchūriki achieve this transformation using only chakra, Gaara does so using sand: by layering sand onto parts of his body, he transforms those body parts into human-sized versions of Shukaku's. The more of his body that is transformed in this way, the more his speed and strength increases. As a consequence, however, Shukaku's personality starts influencing his own the more advanced the transformation, making Gaara increasingly homicidal; he has seemingly mastered the transformation enough by Part II that he can at least create Shukaku's arms without this happening. In the final stage, Gaara creates a full-sized Shukaku form, which he ordinarily remains safely deep within. By emerging from the form and putting himself to sleep, Gaara can transfer control of the body to Shukaku itself.
Continuing his friendship with Naruto, the two were photographed in their Kage attire by Genzō, and Naruto's children came to view him as a dear uncle. At some point, Gaara became the adoptive father of Shinki. During one Kage Summit, Sasuke Uchiha shares his concerns that a threat greater than Kaguya Ōtsutsuki is still lurking somewhere. Gaara shares the other Kage's belief that this should be kept a secret so that a panic is not spread. Two years later, he would visit Temari and greet his nephew Shikadai in Konoha before heading to another Five Kage Summit..
Versus Momoshiki Arc
Gaara and the other Kage observe the final round matches of the Chūnin Exams taking place in Konoha. When Kinshiki and Momoshiki Ōtsutsuki start attacking the stadium, Gaara helps the other Kage defend the spectators and get them to safety. Kinshiki and Momoshiki kidnap Naruto, so Gaara joins the other Kage, Sasuke, and Naruto's son, Boruto, in rescuing him. On Momoshiki's Planet, they free Naruto and team up against Momoshiki. Although they briefly defeat him, Momoshiki is able to recover and immobilises the Kage with a stolen Shadow Imitation Technique. Boruto is ultimately able to defeat Momoshiki, allowing everyone to return to Konoha.
- (To Naruto and Shikamaru) "I am a relic they want to get rid of, so why do I exist and live? In order to exist, you need a purpose. To exist for no reason is the same as being dead… Then I came to the conclusion that I would love only myself and fight for only myself. If all other people exist to magnify that love, then there is no more a splendid universe than this one… My existence will not vanish."
- (To Sasuke) "You have the same eyes as I do… the eyes, filled with hatred and death, that long for strength… just like mine… your eyes tell me how badly you wish to kill the one who put you through the hell called loneliness."
- (To Rock Lee) "You're the same then. When you feel the honour of your idol under scrutiny… you become enraged, as if it were your own honour being questioned. The more precious your idol is to you… the harder you fight for him."
- "Perhaps the companionship of an evil person is preferable to loneliness."
- (To Kankurō) "I will work hard, because I want to become acknowledged by others. That's what I thought when I look at Naruto Uzumaki. Bonds with others… Up until now, I only known them as hate and murderous intent. But I wonder, what is that bond he longed for? Now I understand, even only a little. Pain, sadness… and joy. These feelings allow you to understand others."
- "This is where it all starts for me. Starting with this small bond. I too want to become someone who is needed, instead of a weapon that is feared. And as the Kazekage of Sunagakure."
- (To Naruto) "I think of you as a friend. I used to think "friend" was just another word… Nothing more, nothing less. But when I met you, I realised what was important was the word's meaning."
- (To the Allied Shinobi Forces) "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!"