With hundreds of episodes to its credit, watching Naruto is one of the biggest undertakings an anime fan can pursue. While audiences need to watch it in its entirety to know what's going on – minus any filler arcs that don't interest them – they may want to be a bit more selective when it comes to re-watching.
To figure out which parts are worth one's time, it's good to know the most exceptional arcs. Everyone has their personal favorites, but certain arcs contain some of the best fight scenes and most poignant emotional moments to be found across Naruto, Naruto Shippuden, and Boruto.
The Pain Invasion Arc
"The Pain Invasion Arc" arc is considered one of the greatest parts of Naruto Shippuden. There are a few moments where the animation gets a little funky, but it contains some of the most important moments in series history.
This arc sees Pain and his lackeys invading Konoha, reveals the devastating tale of Kakashi's father's suicide, and shows Hinata confessing her love for Naruto and fighting on his behalf.
What's more, the titular protagonist really shines in this arc. Naruto is able to understand Pain's motivations and sympathize with him, even after all the damage he's done, but the hero still holds him accountable for his actions.
For the first time, the former outcast is hailed as a champion, making this one of the most emotionally satisfying arcs of all time.
The Tale Of Jiraiya The Gallant
Aside from having an amazing name, "The Tale Of Jiraiya The Gallant" is also one of the more touching arcs in the series. Prior to this arc, Jiraiya wasn't a very well-developed character. His primary attribute was being a pervert—a controversial trait that appeals to some viewers, but not others.
This arc turns him into a finely developed, memorable character by further developing his mentor relationship with Naruto and taking a deep dive into his past. It depicts the time he raised three orphans for months on end, training them to defend themselves in a war zone before returning home to Konoha.
The arc shows both his kindness and the consequences of not doing enough. Jiraiya eventually has to leave those orphans, and the subsequent suffering they incur turn them into enemies of Konoha in a later arc. Furthermore, this arc includes Jiraiya's death; not a happy moment by any means, but certainly one of the most emotionally wrenching ones.
The Fated Battle Between Brothers Arc
"The Fated Battle Between Brothers" arc will make even the toughest, most hardened anime fans shed a tear. This arc, which depicts the final battle between Sasuke and Itachi, is utterly devastating.
At first, it seems like Sasuke is finally getting the revenge against his older brother he's been seeking since the beginning of the series. However, while Sasuke is ultimately able to kill Itachi, the victory feels hollow—especially after he finds out the terrible truth Itachi's been hiding.
Itachi didn't slaughter every member of the Uchiha clan because he wanted to. He did it because a government official named Danzo offered him an opportunity. He could do the deed himself, saving his own life and the life of his beloved younger brother, or the whole clan would be killed by Root.
When Sasuke learns this, it's too late to reconcile with his once-beloved brother, as Itachi is already dead. All Sasuke can do is direct his fury onto the corrupt government that put them in this situation.
The Akatsuki Suppression Mission
"The Akatsuki Suppression Mission" arc focuses on two members of the Akatasuki, Hidan and Kakuzu, and the fight to defeat them.
When Team 10 attempts to take them out, Asuma ends up dying in the process. While this doesn't come as a total shock thanks to the episode's spoilerific title, "Asuma Dies," it still packs a punch.
In what follows, Asuma's loved one's mourn his death, and Team 10 fights to get revenge. Using a plan designed by Shikamaru, the three ninja track down Hidan and brutally murder him for what he did to their teacher. It's one of the most cathartic moments in the entire series.