Gaara of Suna
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Gaara is the third and youngest child of the Fourth Kazekage and Karura, and the younger brother of Temari and Kankurō. Before Gaara\'s birth, his father ordered Chiyo to seal Shukaku within him, in hopes that Gaara would become the ultimate weapon for Sunagakure as he was the only one of the Kazekage\'s three children to be compatible with the beast. He was born premature and therefore, was an unusually small and frail infant. Before she died, Karura passionately held her son, vowing to always protect him. Gaara was trained in ninjutsu by his father, but mainly raised by his maternal uncle, Yashamaru.
Because of the power of Shukaku, the villagers of Suna hated and feared Gaara. Seeing him only for the monster sealed within him, for a time, Yashamaru seemed to be the only person who cared about Gaara. When Gaara would unintentionally harm others due to the subconscious abilities granted to him by Shukaku, Yashamaru was the only one who understood that Gaara hadn\'t intended to harm anyone. The village\'s council, however, did not see Gaara in the same light, and viewed Gaara\'s frequent attacks upon villagers as a result of a failed experiment that was a threat to the village, and Gaara\'s father did express disappointment at this lack of control.
Because of the danger Gaara imposed, his father decided to test him and told Yashamaru to corner Gaara psychologically, and lie to him about his mother to see if Gaara could retain control of Shukaku. As a result, Yashamaru told Gaara that his mother never loved him. He also tried to assassinate him, however he failed as Gaara dealt a lethal blow to him. But when Gaara realised who it was, he was horrified.
Gaara loses control and allows Shukaku to go wild.
Although Gaara tried to consider Yashamaru\'s attack as an order of the Kazekage, Yashamaru lied to him, by saying that he had willingly accepted the mission to kill Gaara. He also lied that he never truly loved Gaara, and told him that killing him would avenge the death of his sister, who had named him Gaara after the phrase "a self-loving carnage" (我を愛する修羅, Ware o aisuru shura), a sign of her intense hatred for Suna, not as love for her son. In the last ditch effort to kill Gaara, Yashamaru detonated a number of explosive tags covering his body, asking Gaara to "please die". Using his sand, Gaara survived the blast, and lost the only person he thought had cared for him, while not knowing the true reasons behind Yashamaru\'s actions. Gaara then used his sand to etch the kanji for love (愛, ai) onto his forehead. Right after this, he lost control and transformed into Shukaku, rampaging around the village before his father stopped him with Gold Dust. Since this incident, Gaara became an aloof and cruel person who would kill anyone to prove his existence and to obtain recognition from the village, all the while giving up his desire for friendship.
Seeing that Gaara was unable to cope with the loss of his mother\'s love, his father deemed him to be a failure. As a result, he began sending assassins to deal with the child, numbering to six times, which all ultimately failed. Each attempt made Gaara fear and hate his father more. In time, Gaara\'s new ideology allowed better control over Shukaku, and his father would come to appreciate this and the uses he could serve, and cancelled all assassination orders and revive the idea of having Gaara as the ultimate weapon of the village.
Gaara swearing that he will live only for himself.
Gaara was once kind and had initially tried to be friendly to others, despite their fear and hatred of him, but Yashamaru\'s actions and words changed him. Realising that nobody loved him, Gaara used his sand to create the kanji on his forehead "love" (愛, ai), as a symbol of a "demon loving only himself", and to live up to his name, as what he believed Karura intended and Yashamaru told him. Gaara became emotionally withdrawn, silent, and consumed with a bitter loathing for everyone but himself and "Mother": the voice of Shukaku in his head. He learned to find pleasure, and eventually a reason to live, in annihilating the numerous assassins sent to kill him – and, by extension, anyone who threatened his existence. This was only worsened by the occasional demand by Shukaku for blood to satisfy its blood lust, which resulted in Gaara being merciless, demonstrated when he murdered Baiu and Midare while ignoring their pleas. Gaara\'s insomnia, forced upon him by the fear that the demon inside him would eat away at him if he were to fall asleep, only furthered his instability and desire to kill. In fact, his hatred extends to his siblings, as he never saw them as such, and was fully willing to kill them were they to cross him.
Gaara\'s childhood was, in many ways, similar to Naruto Uzumaki\'s, though more unfortunate due to his lack of anyone to call a friend. Both were lonely and desired to be liked, loved, and acknowledged as an individual, free of others\' prejudices — they were themselves, not the demons they were forced to "contain" — and both were driven into a desperate state. While Naruto consequently developed the misconception that pranks and mischief would bring him the attention he sought, Gaara came to the conclusion that he could preserve and confirm his own existence by killing any and all who challenged it, securing an extreme form of existentialism as his key personality trait. In the absence of others\' acknowledgement, he could compensate by valuing only himself to the exclusion of everyone else. Furthermore, while Naruto eventually had Iruka Umino and Team Kakashi to acknowledge him, Gaara never had anyone to bond with, not even his father or siblings, as they all despised and feared Shukaku that dwells within him. The person who was closest to being friendly with Gaara was Yashamaru, who was ordered to betray him, which turned Gaara into a lonely sociopath. As such, Gaara did not understand the concept of fighting for anything other than himself until his confrontation with Naruto.
After being defeated by Naruto, Gaara was shocked to find that Naruto knew very well the pain that Gaara had endured all his life. He was even more surprised that Naruto never gave up hope on being acknowledged as a person and ultimately found friends who truly cared for him. Seeing the determination that Naruto had to protect his friends made Gaara question his own path in life. Realising that he gave up too easily, Gaara decided to follow Naruto\'s path, wishing to become Kazekage of Sunagakure so he could be connected to his people, and hopefully have them finally acknowledge his existence as a person, not the tailed beast inside him. Over the next few years, Gaara\'s determination to find happiness became apparent from his decision to rely on his own power rather than his inner demon\'s. Gaara eventually formed a close friendship with Naruto.
Gaara crying after learning the truth about his mother.
Since Gaara has become a close companion to Naruto, he has been able to change people\'s personalities towards him, such as Matsuri overpowering her fear of weapons, Ōnoki in the Kage Summit, persuaded practically the whole shinobi nation as a team before the war, and even Naruto himself when reflecting upon what he will choose to do as Sasuke\'s friend. This seems to be a similar trait to Naruto\'s, a way of showing how he has changed from before. Not only that, but because of his close bond with Naruto, he has also been shown to throw away any such grudge or hatred against anyone, including his father, who was responsible for making Gaara\'s childhood miserable. He admits to having forgiven his father for his actions a long time ago, but openly weeps after learning that his mother truly loved him very much and instead of cursing his existence, vowed to protect him forever, infusing this will into his sand.
Gaara cares deeply for Naruto and his well-being and goals, and despite Sasuke\'s actions during his assault at the Kage Summit and his status as an international criminal, he went so far as to attempt to convince Sasuke to come out of the darkness one more time on behalf of Naruto, and when unconvinced, even shed a tear for the failure Sasuke has become, and the disappointment Naruto will face. Despite respecting Naruto\'s goals, his care for him does not block his personal beliefs, and he believes his friend\'s well-being is more important, most prominent is his support to keep Naruto out of the war saying to Tsunade that Naruto took too many risks when it comes to protecting his friends. Gaara also bluntly tells Naruto that chasing after Sasuke is foolish, as he sees him as no longer being able to return from the path of coruption. Though he defies Naruto\'s goal to bring Sasuke back, he only says this for Naruto\'s well-being because they are "friends".
Although he remained ruthless against his opponents, Gaara is extremely protective of his allies and innocent people, as seen when he protected his village from Deidara; and his siblings, Darui and even the Raikage against Sasuke. He also deeply understands those who have suffered from loneliness and hatred in the past by the look in their eyes, such as Naruto, Kimimaro, and even Sasuke.
As a Kage, Gaara believes that the ideals of previous generations, that each village must mind their own business and solve their own problems without having to ask for the aid of others in order to keep appearance and honour, is a "ridiculous old-fashioned thinking", and that cooperation between the villages is fundamental in order to defeat Akatsuki.
Like Naruto, Gaara is a little shorter than the average males of his age, which is due to the fact that he was born prematurely. He has fair skin and short, spiky, auburn hair which was sometimes depicted as red in the earlier parts of the series. He has green eyes, however; this colour has alternated somewhat during the series. In a flashback of his youth his eyes are depicted as light blue but for the majority of the series they are depicted as being green the pupils of which, are mostly invisible. Gaara has no distinctive eyebrows either. He has two very notable traits in his appearance: firstly, he has tanuki-like black eye rings, having them since his birth. Secondly, he carved the kanji "love" (愛, ai) on the left side of his forehead, having it since Yashamaru\'s betrayal. Gaara\'s forelocks are parted from the left side, making the kanji more visible. Matsuri and Sari who both seem to have a crush on Gaara, have described him as the strong silent type, elite and very handsome.
In Part I, Gaara has been seen in two different outfits. When he was seen for the first time, he wore black full body suit with t-shirt-like sleeves, ¾-length legs, and an open neck. With this, he wore a white cloth over his right shoulder and the left side of his hips, and a wide leather band system over the left shoulder and right side of his hips. With this leather band, he carried around his gourd that contains his sand. He also wrapped his black forehead protector over the band. In his childhood flashbacks, he was seen wearing a beige poncho-like shawl over a short-sleeved black T-shirt, a white obi around his waist, knee-length blue pants with beige legwarmers, and black sandals.
In the Sasuke Retrieval Arc, and in the final pre-Shippūden filler arc, he switched his previous black overalls to a reddish-brownish one with longer sleeves and an upright collar. He retained the white cloth, but had mesh armour on his wrists and ankles. He used this costume in Naruto the Movie 2: Legend of the Stone of Gelel as well.
In Part II, Gaara had a considerable growth spurt, not unlike Naruto. During his battling against Deidara and during the Kage summit, he wore full-length dark trousers, with a pair of laces on each leg, respectively a few inches below the waist and the knees, a long-sleeved crimson coat with flaring hemlines on the front and the back, a grey holster vest held in place by a single strap over his left shoulder and by two buckled belts which he uses to carry his gourd. He also wears another pair of casually worn belts around his waist. He is also seen wearing Kazekage robes, and a simple black pants suit, the latter one greatly resembling Kankurō\'s suit, and worn for the memorial of Elder Chiyo. All the time, he has been seen wearing Sunagakure\'s standard shinobi sandals. As the Regimental Commander of the Allied Shinobi Forces, he added his village\'s flak jacket to his standard outfit.
Gaara is an extremely powerful shinobi, so much that he was made Kazekage at the age of 15. His powers and status have now become well-respected and praised by everyone in the Allied Shinobi Forces, including other Kage, both the current and previous ones with the Second Mizukage going as far as to call him the "golden egg amongst the Kage", and his father who acknowledged that he had surpassed him in more ways than he could have hoped for. He was also praised by his enemies such as Deidara, who commented on his power after he captured him, losing an arm to Gaara\'s attack in the process. Even though he had lost his tailed beast Shukaku, he was still powerful enough to remain Kazekage. Gaara\'s fighting style is a stationary type, as he rarely needs to move his entire body to attack an opponent. Though he almost never uses taijutsu as a fighting element, Gaara has incredible reaction speed against regular users of taijutsu as he was able to instantly react at a moments notice to Rock Lee closing his eyes and completely escape from his high-level taijutsu attacks while having precision enough to position himself directly behind Lee. Gaara was shown to have great physical strength, even without transforming into Shukaku as he was able to easily repel Temari with a single punch, despite being wounded. In the anime, Gaara was strong enough pick himself up without aid after having his Armour of Sand soaked through with water which had made it as heavy as land.
He has also shown to be a skilled teacher in the anime, teaching Matsuri how to use the jōhyō when he learned she was afraid of weapons. Like many Suna shinobi, Gaara is skilled with the Sealing Tag, using his sand in place of cloth. He has shown the ability to use Wind Release nature transformation, though this was only seen during his Shukaku transformations. Whether he is able to use this nature transformation on his own or it stems from Shukaku, is currently unknown. In Part II, Gaara has also shown to be a highly analytical and very skilled tactician. This is proven when he was able to defeat the Second Mizukage by formulating a way to counter the Mizukage\'s exploding clone.
As the host of Shukaku, Gaara possesses the ability to manipulate sand, typically moving it through the air to serve various purposes. Being a jinchūriki, Gaara has a large amount of stamina and huge levels of chakra as noted by Kiba and thus is able to use many chakra-taxing sand-based techniques, sometimes in quick succession, before becoming exhausted. The amount of sand he can control at one time is immense: he could use a massive amount of sand to fully transform into Shukaku, as well as create a tsunami of sand to fight Kimimaro. In Part II he is able to gather enough sand to shield the entire village of Sunagakure from Deidara\'s C3, as well as assist in stopping a giant meteorite, albeit, at great physical exertion. If sand is lacking in abundance, Gaara can break down the earth minerals in the ground to create more sand. While he can control any dry sand, ordinary sand requires more chakra to manipulate, tiring him at a rapid rate. As a result, Gaara keeps his own chakra-infused sand with him at all times, in a calabash gourd also made out of sand on his back. Because this sand is already infused with his chakra, Gaara has a great deal more control over it, enabling stronger and faster attacks with it.
During battle, Gaara rarely moves, attacking with his sand from a single location, and rarely uses taijutsu. When first introduced, his basic means of attacks is to first use Sand Binding Coffin to capture, immobilise, and potentially suffocate an opponent with sand. Once the opponent is subdued, he uses Sand Waterfall Funeral to cause the sand to implode crush the opponent with varying intensities. Though he comes up with other means of attack throughout the series, the "catch and crush" tactic remains at the centre of his fighting style. Gaara attempted to use it four times on Kimimaro, but Kimimaro\'s sturdy bone structure made him a frustrating target.
Gaara using his Successive Shots: Sand Drizzle.
As the second element of his combat style, Gaara has a number of sand-based defences to be used in case an opponent gets too close. His primary defence is his Shield of Sand, an automatic sand shield that surrounds and protects him from damage whether he wants it to or not. Gaara can control the shield to some degree, strengthening it to steel-like quality or calling upon it to completely encase himself. While an effective defence, the shield can be overcome with high-speed attacks, or simply be broken through with incredibly forceful strikes. Should this happen, Gaara has a layer of sand covering his body called the Armour of Sand. Although it\'s a useful secondary defence, the armour requires large amounts of chakra to remain active, and also has the side-effect of weighting Gaara down. Despite this, the defences offered by his sand are so powerful, they have been named the "Absolute Defence" (絶対防御, Zettai Bōgyo). During the Fourth Shinobi World War, Gaara\'s Absolute Defence was so great, Naruto expressed belief that Gaara retain the best defence of anyone. Furthermore, Gaara can crush the hardest minerals in the ground together to create a shield in shape of Shukaku\'s body or, in the anime, a spear in the shape of its arm for combat.
In addition to these basic methods of offence and defence, Gaara also has a number of miscellaneous techniques that, while capable of being used as attacks or defences of sorts, are not limited to such purposes. By making a sand clone of himself, Gaara can have an ally to be used in battle, or as a mere distraction to be used to buy him time. Unlike most other clone techniques in the series, the Sand Clone can retain its shape after more than one attack, and can even reform itself or capture an opponent upon being dispersed. With Desert Suspension, Gaara can use sand as a platform, to allow himself and others to float in the air. His Third Eye also allows him to create a floating eyeball of sand in any location, which he can see through as a means of spying, or to guide his attacks while completely enclosed by his defences. He also claimed that he can ride his sand to reach the Island Turtle, and would have been faster than if Ōnoki went there. His sand can also be used as sensing device: Gaara can detect when others come into contact with it, even from far away. The sensing of his sand is so great, it was able to find Mū on several occasions, as well as the Giant Clam.
Despite the removal of Shukaku, Gaara can still use his sand like before. According to Sasuke at the Kage Summit, Gaara\'s Absolute Defence is still alive and well. Not only that, but the sand has also massively improved in speed, defence, and offence since the last time they met as it was not only able to protect him and others from a cave-in, but also block A, block Amaterasu several times without being burned through or into — a feat that impressed Sasuke Uchiha, as well as block Madara Uchiha\'s complete Susanoo\'s sword and still protect him even when it was barraged by four others right afterwards. During the Fourth Shinobi World War, Gaara\'s sand powers were so strong that his father believed he had fully transformed into Shukaku and was later surprised to see that was not the case. Gaara was able to quickly manoeuvre his sand above his father\'s Gold Dust, despite its superior weight. Gaara was also able to use sand to stop an enormous meteorite. He is able to manipulate the sand even when it\'s saturated with water. He can even block powerful explosions the instant they explode despite the enormous power these techniques held, protecting his village and the division respectively. He was able to integrate gold dust into his sand so that he can use the former - noting that gold was approximately twenty times heavier than water- in order to counter the Steaming Danger Tyranny clone.
It was unknown at first whether or not Gaara\'s sand defence was still automatic as it was believed that Shukaku was the source of the defence. However, the Fourth Kazekage states that Gaara\'s mother, Karura, was the true source of the defence, as she truly did love him and vowed to always protect him.
In desperate situations, Gaara was able to take on the form of Shukaku by layering sand on his body, making him many times more powerful than he already is. Shukaku\'s personality grew more dominant during this transformation, increasing Gaara\'s homicidal tendencies. Once finished, Gaara assumed a human-sized version of Shukaku, wherein he relied on his brute strength to destroy everything around him.
If need be, Gaara could almost instantly create a life-sized version of Shukaku, should the human-sized form fail. In this form, he remained deep within the copy of Shukaku, safe from harm, though unable to move. When in need of Shukaku\'s full power, Gaara would use his Feigning Sleep Technique, which forced him to sleep, and allowed Shukaku to take full control. To do so, however, Gaara must emerge from within the copy, leaving him open to attack for the duration of the technique.
Over time, he began gaining better control over Shukaku, such that he could suppress its personality by himself towards the end of the anime\'s pre-Shippūden filler arcs. By the time Part II began, Gaara was even capable of using Shukaku\'s arms to attack numerous times, without losing control of himself. However, this could have merely been his improved control over sand in action.
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