Gaara & Naruto: Feelings for Each Other?

Here’s how Gaara really feels for Naruto and vice versa:

It’s fair to say that Gaara has love for Naruto, although it seems to be the love of a friend and trusted comrade.

Naruto has mutual feelings of respect and trust in Gaara, but the two are definitely not romantically involved.

Of course, this is only after they fight, so their feelings definitely change over time.

So if you want to learn all about the kind of feelings Gaara and Naruto have for each other, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s get started!

Gaara & Naruto: Feelings for Each Other? (All the Info)

Spoiler Warning

I’ll get into all of it, but I have to issue a spoiler warning.

The story of Gaara and Naruto spans many pages of manga and many episodes of anime.

There’s no way to explain this without revealing major spoilers in the plot.

You have been warned.

Who Is Gaara?

Let’s get into this by talking about Gaara first.

He’s a significant character throughout the Naruto series, and his most impactful moment probably comes early on.

The second major arc in Naruto takes place during the Chunin exams.

This is a series of exams where young ninjas are tested to see if they are ready for a promotion.

It’s common practice for multiple ninja villages to hold the exams together.

In this case, the Leaf Village, Sound Village, and Sand Village all participate together.

So, Gaara, an exceptional young ninja from the Sand Village, takes his first Chunin exam the same year as Naruto.

The Leaf Village hosts the exams this time around, and that’s where we meet Gaara.

Even though he holds the lowest rank of ninja at the time, he’s already considered exceptional.

He passes the preliminary tests with absolute ease.

The later stages of the exams are really just a series of one-on-one battles among the young ninjas, and Gaara quickly becomes the heavy favorite and the person to beat.

This is where we learn a lot more about Gaara.

For starters, he’s a jinchuriki, like Naruto.

This means that one of the legendary tailed beasts is sealed inside of him, and Gaara actually has the chakra of the 1 tails inside of him.

On top of that, we are introduced to Gaara’s backstory, which is tragic beyond words.

The beast inside of him is able to control sand (it also involves his mother and is very complicated).

The sand, outside of Gaara’s control, protects him from harm and even kills people who try to hurt him.

In order to make Gaara stronger, his father (the leader of the Sand Village at the time) frequently sends assassins to try to kill him.

Gaara’s sand always protects him and consistently kills the attackers.

As you might imagine, all of this scars Gaara pretty deeply, and by the time he takes the Chunin exams, he’s a warped individual.

He has an insatiable bloodlust and kills people for pleasure.

Also, Gaara is at the exams specifically because the tailed beast inside of him is a powerful weapon that the Sand plans to use to wage war against the Leaf.

The plot lines are a bit complicated, but here’s what you need to know.

When we first meet Gaara, he’s a bit of a crazy dude.

Eventually, he calms down, and he even leads the Sand into an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity.

This should be enough of an introduction for now.

I’ll let you know a little bit about Naruto, and then we’ll discuss their feelings for each other.

Who Is Naruto?

Most of you reading this probably have at least some idea of who Naruto is.

For those who don’t, here’s the breakdown.

Naruto is a young ninja in the Leaf Village.

He is also a jinchuriki and has the 9 tails sealed inside of him.

Naruto also has a tragic backstory, but instead of it scarring him, it only drives him to be the best he can be.

Naruto and Gaara are set up as opposites from the start, and their stories and outcomes are an intentional dichotomy. 

When the two meet during the Chunin exams, Naruto knows that he has the 9 tails inside of him, but it’s not something he can control.

One of the main themes of Naruto’s story is learning to cope with the 9 tails that is sealed inside of him.

Gaara has a mirrored story, and that sets the stage for the two characters.

What Are Gaara’s Feelings for Naruto? (4 Situations)

The truth is that Gaara’s feelings for Naruto change over time.

They do not start off as friends, not by any stretch.

But, it’s safe to say that Gaara changes completely as a person, and he largely credits Naruto as his inspiration to change.

So, by the end of the story, they have a very positive relationship.

It’s probably fair to say that in at least some sense, Gaara does love Naruto by the end.

There is definitely a strong bond of mutual respect, and as I already said, Gaara kind of sees Naruto as the person who saved him from a very dark path.

Still, if we’re going to answer this question thoroughly, then we have to discuss the main points where Gaara’s feelings change.

#1 When They Meet

When Gaara first meets Naruto, he thinks absolutely nothing at all of the Leaf ninja.

Gaara is already warped, and he’s not looking to make friends.

He knows that when the time comes, it will be his job to completely destroy the Leaf Village.

Gaara and Naruto first meet during the Chunin exams, and Gaara barely notices.

As the exams continue, Naruto starts to distinguish himself.

Through this distinction, Gaara takes a minor notice and wonders if Naruto might be worth killing, but the whole time, Gaara is much more interested in Sasuke.

So, basically, Gaara doesn’t care about Naruto at all.

#2 After Their Fight

But, things were destined to change.

The Chunin exams are interrupted when the Sound and Sand ninjas formalize their alliance and perform a sneak attack on the Leaf.

It breaks out into literal war, and Gaara is a bit player.

He and the Sand ninjas with him are supposed to unleash the 1 tails inside of Naruto to wreak havoc on the village.

In order to do this, they first flee the battle so they can find a quiet place for Gaara to unleash the beast.

Naruto is the one who intercepts them, and he and Gaara have an epic fight.

In fact, it’s Naruto’s first major, epic fight in the series.

During this fight, Gaara is still a bloodlusted person, so when Naruto becomes a legitimate obstacle, Gaara wants to kill him very badly.

It would be more than fair to say that during the fight, Gaara absolutely hates Naruto with a fiery passion.

But, Naruto wins the fight, and this is a Shonen-style anime.

So, naturally, the two become friends as a product of fighting.

If you’re not familiar with the trope, it’s an anime thing.

Just go with it.

Basically, through the fight Naruto is able to break through Gaara’s bloodlust and show him the true value of friendship.

It sounds cheesy on paper, but it’s an important moment in the story.

Because of this, Gaara’s bloodlusted nature is completely broken by the end of the fight.

Gaara leaves before he and Naruto can really talk things out, but Gaara is a changed person as a result.

Later in the story, Gaara shows up to help Naruto.

Even though the two don’t get to talk, Gaara explains to Lee (another Leaf ninja) that Naruto saved him from himself.

At this point, Gaara deeply respects Naruto and arguably has love for him as a comrade.

#3 In Shippuden

There is a time skip in the manga where Naruto goes away to train for a few years.

In the anime, this time skip is where the original Naruto anime ends and Shippuden begins.

I’ll be using Shippuden to demark the timing, but this part of the story is the same in the anime and the manga.

Shippuden starts with bad guys attacking the Sand Village.

At this point, Gaara is already the Kazekage (leader of the village), and it’s a remarkable thing that he achieved that rank so young.

The bad guys ultimately defeat Gaara in battle, and they kidnap him in order to steal the tailed beast that is sealed inside of him.

This process is fatal to a jinchuriki.

Naruto is part of a Leaf Village team that is dispatched to help the Sand retrieve Gaara.

After some intense fighting, they do retrieve Gaara, but the beast has been extracted.

Gaara is on the verge of death (some would say that he fully died).

Fortunately, there is a ninja present who can save Gaara by transferring her life essence to him.

Unfortunately, she is old and has been poisoned and doesn’t have enough life left to save Gaara.

Naruto steps up and offers some of his own life to save Gaara.

Gaara finds out about all of this.

He already saw Naruto as the positive influence who saved him from a life of trauma.

But then, Naruto went and fought ridiculously dangerous enemies to save Gaara.

Then, he offered a portion of his own life to bring Gaara back.

It’s fair to say that Gaara’s feelings grow deeper as a result.

For the rest of the series, Gaara is arguably Naruto’s biggest fan, and he’s a trusted comrade who would gladly fight to the death for Naruto’s sake.

Now, this brings us to the end of the original manga, and there’s something worth pointing out.

There’s no real evidence of romantic love between the two characters.

But, I think it’s more than fair to say that Gaara does in fact love Naruto.

#4 In Boruto

Of course, the story continues in Boruto.

For a while in the Boruto storyline, the whole world is at peace.

Naruto is the Hokage (leader of the Leaf Village), and Gaara is still the Kazekage.

As leaders, they sometimes have to meet up to discuss important things, and they’re always happy to see each other.

It’s clear that Gaara still holds Naruto in the highest esteem possible, and that doesn’t change as they become adults.

They have a deep bond of trust and mutual respect.

It’s also worth noting that Gaara never married or had kids. So you can take that as you will.

What Are Naruto’s Feelings for Gaara? (4 Context)

That covers Gaara’s side of the story, but we haven’t discussed Naruto’s perspective yet.

There is definitely symmetry between the two characters, but Naruto’s feelings are not perfectly mutual.

And, just like Gaara, Naruto’s feelings change over time.

So, let’s go through the major events to see what happened.

#1 When They Meet

When Gaara first met Naruto, he barely noticed.

Gaara was the strongest of the young ninjas in the exams, and everyone knew it.

Meanwhile, Naruto was one of the weakest ninjas taking the exams when they began.

He was at a period in his life where he was just starting to experience rapid growth as a ninja.

Despite that, the first time they “meet” is when they pass each other in a hallway.

They had seen each other fight already at this point, but it’s a major moment.

Gaara is in a state where he wants blood, but he doesn’t really notice Naruto as acceptable prey.

At the same time, Naruto recognizes the bloodlust and is utterly terrified by it.

When they first meet, Naruto is afraid of Gaara.

There’s no better way to put it.

When the war breaks out, Naruto is tasked with stopping Gaara (or at least, it ends up working out that way).

Naruto is still afraid of Gaara at this point, but Naruto has already grown considerably over the course of the exams, and he has enough courage to at least fight with Gaara.

Ultimately, Naruto finds more courage for the sake of protecting his friends, and that’s when the fight turns epic.

It’s really one of Naruto’s first great successes as a ninja.

Over the course of the fight, Naruto’s fear actually turns into pity.

As a fellow jinchuriki, Naruto can imagine how he might have turned out just like Gaara if things had only been a little different.

So, he resolves to “wake Gaara up” rather than kill him in the course of the fight.

That’s what ultimately happens.

Naruto defeats Gaara and does wake him up (he had to pass out to summon the full power of the 1 tails).

By doing so, Naruto defeats the ultimate weapon that the Sand ninjas were counting on to win the battle, and so Naruto effectively stops the war by doing this.

#2 After They Fight

By the end of the fight, Naruto has absolutely no fear of Gaara.

He does feel some pity, but he’s also able to yell at Gaara and tell him off for being so dismissive of friendship and bonds.

Again, Gaara isn’t able to really express how much this changes him, but moving forward, Naruto thinks of Gaara as a fellow jinchuriki who just needs to find a better way.

Later, when Gaara shows up to help the Leaf ninjas, Naruto finds out about it and is pleased to learn that Gaara has changed for the better.

It wouldn’t be fair to say that Naruto loves Gaara at this point, but the seeds of their bond are planted.

#3 In Shippuden

When Naruto comes back from his years of training, he learns that Gaara is the Kazekage.

Naruto is impressed and a little jealous, but most of all, he’s happy for Gaara.

Naruto understands that this is only possible because Gaara has changed in the ways he needed to.

So, when the Sand is attacked, Naruto is eager to lend a helping hand.

He wants to see Gaara again, confident that they can be friends now.

Naruto fights hard to recover Gaara, and when the old lady ninja can’t successfully revive Gaara, Naruto jumps in to help without any hesitation.

At this point, he sees Gaara as a comrade and someone to be trusted and valued.

When Gaara comes to, the two are able to talk, and from this point on, it’s safe to call them friends.

Naruto never sees Gaara with the same sense of reverence that Gaara sees him, but Naruto does consider him a genuine, trusted friend.

#4 In Boruto

In Boruto, the trust between the two remains.

Naruto is always happy to see Gaara when they meet up for official business.

It really appears to be a mutual friendship at this point.

The one thing worth pointing out is that Naruto is happily married to Hinata at this point, and they have two kids together.

So, if we’re going to say that Naruto loves Gaara, it’s definitely as a friend.