| (桃地再不斬, Momochi Zabuza)
|Anime||Naruto Episode #6|
|Game||Naruto: Clash of Ninja|
|OVA||Naruto Shippūden: UNSG anime cutscenes|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga and Game|
|Academy Grad. Age||9|
Zabuza Momochi (桃地再不斬, Momochi Zabuza), given the moniker Demon of the Hidden Mist (霧隠れの鬼人, Kirigakure no Kijin), was a missing-nin from Kirigakure's Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist, and the first major antagonist of the series.
During the term of the Fourth Mizukage, Yagura, Kirigakure began the practice of pitting Academy graduates against each other in death matches as a final exam with the exceptionally skilled students named prime candidates for the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist. After Zabuza, not yet a student himself, killed over one hundred of his classmates, the practice was discontinued and he would thereafter be known as the "Demon of the Hidden Mist". His fame grew over the years as he became an ANBU, killing the Konohagakure ninja Kumade Toriichi at that time, before finally joining the Seven Swordsmen. At some point, he discovered Haku, a child with a special kekkei genkai and began training him to be the ultimate weapon. In time, after his assassination attempt on the Mizukage in a coup d'etat failed, Zabuza subsequently fled with Haku and some other followers, such as the Demon Brothers. In the anime, witnessed the Kaguya clan attacking Kirigakure yet choosing not to help his village. Soon after, he and Haku ran into Kimimaro, the soon-to-be-sole survivor of the Kaguya. Although Haku wanted to talk to the boy, Zabuza forced him to leave Kimimaro alone and keep moving.
Zabuza was initially portrayed as aggressive, arrogant, cruel, cold and ambitious, willing to become Gatō's thug to gain enough funds to start a second coup d'etat on the Mizukage, and kill anyone who stood in his path, including plotting to kill Gatō once he had received enough funds from him. His reputation for cruelty and ruthlessness began as a child where he killed every single candidate in Kirigakure's Academy, earning him the moniker of "Demon of the Hidden Mist" (霧隠れの鬼人, Kirigakure no Kijin). He willingly uses his own men and others as pawns to fulfil his ambitions, as he raised Haku to be an efficient tool to be discarded when he had no use to exploit; although unlike future antagonists, he was blunt about the purpose that his recruits were needed for, lacking the manipulation of pretending to be benevolent to inspire loyalty.
He is an observant adversary who is able to analyse his opponent's techniques after seeing it once, but becomes overconfident if he sees the technique as useless. In his last moments, it is revealed that he cared deeply for Haku, and after being convinced by Naruto Uzumaki, he sacrifices his life to kill Gatō, and dies wishing he could join Haku in the afterlife. However, he seems reluctant to speak or hear about it, telling whoever does so to shut up. Kakashi has also noted that Zabuza had hesitated for a moment before the thought of slashing through Haku to get to Kakashi during their battle on the bridge; the lack of hesitation during the Fourth Shinobi War made Kakashi know that the controlled Zabuza was completely different.
He has also shown a sense of honour, as seen after his reincarnation when he expressed disgust about the idea of working for anyone who would stoop down so low as to use the dead as their tools, in the meantime making the revived immortal. His sense of honour is extended even further when he pleads with Kakashi to stop him and Haku from causing damage.
Zabuza was a tall and noticeably muscular man with pale skin, short spiky black hair, brown eyes, and small eyebrows. He was normally seen wearing bandages like a mask over the bottom half of his face. Under his mask, he had a relatively narrow jawline and jagged-teeth, a trait he shared with his fellow Swordsmen. He wore his forehead protector sideways on his head, and prior to his defection from Kirigakure, donned the village's standard uniform and flak jacket. After his defection, and during his first appearance, he was seen shirtless, with his chest only covered by a belt to which he attached his Kubikiribōchō, wearing baggy pants with the striped pattern typical of Kirigakure and mimetic wrist-warmers extending up to his elbows, with matching leg-warmers.
During his second appearance, he wore a sleeveless black shirt and matching pants, complete with a waist-guard, and yet again, Kirigakure's striped wrist and leg-warmers. Other swordsmen of his generation wore attire identical to this, implying that they might be clothes related to the group. While donning this attire, much like his fellow Swordsmen, he had bandages loosely tied around his neck like a scarf.
As an ANBU, Zabuza was a powerful ninja. A very vicious fighter, his talent for combat was seen even as a child, who had yet to begin in the Academy, killed over a 100 trained students single-handedly. As an adult, without the aid of his arms and only a kunai in his mouth, Zabuza was able to strike down dozens of Gatō's specially hired men. True to his moniker, Zabuza possessed an incredibly strong chakra, which could be visibly seen when released, taking the image of a demon. Even while gravely injured, a single glare from Zabuza left the remainder of Gatō's thugs stiff in fear.
While he preferred using direct attacks, Zabuza was also highly capable at misdirections and was also a master of stealth and assassination. He had extensive knowledge of the human body's pressure points and most vulnerable organs. He was most renowned throughout all countries for his high skill in killing opponents through zero visibility. Kakashi noted his Silent Killing prowess was second to none. This technique puts the victim under tremendous pressure before Zabuza even attacks, as it is noted that even the slightest movement of the eye can alert Zabuza of his victim's location.
Befitting his ANBU status, Zabuza was also knowledgeable in foreign techniques and kekkei genkai, having knowledge of the Sharingan and instantly recognising the Shadow Clone Technique. Zabuza was also implied to be good at teaching, as it was under his tutelage that Haku managed to become such a powerful shinobi despite his young age.
He was strong enough to effortlessly wield the large Kubikiribōchō for long periods of time, even with one hand, as well as fast enough to match Kakashi in both movements and hand seals. His strength and agility was further proven when he held up Kakashi with one hand and a fūma shuriken in the other and was able to jump high enough to dodge a second shuriken, which was at the level of his neck while the Kubikiribōchō was still strapped to his back. Zabuza also had remarkable levels of stamina and endurance; after fighting Kakashi and having both of his arms injured beyond use, he charged against Gatō's thugs, killing many of them and Gatō as well, despite having a large number of blades piercing him from the enemies. Another example of his endurance was seen when Zabuza took a direct hit from a high level technique and being slammed into a treetrunk seemingly without taking damage and being capable of moving relatively normally shortly afterwards.
During his time as a Kirigakure-nin, Zabuza was one of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist, a group composed of the village's top swordsmen. The generation of swordsmen he belonged to was noted as the strongest ever produced within Kirigakure, a further testament to Zabuza's impressive skills. Zabuza's signature weapon was the Kubikiribōchō, an over-sized broad sword, whose shape was thought to decapitate enemies. This large weapon has the unique ability to absorb and utilise the iron from all the blood it sheds, from whoever it cuts, in order to reform itself if damaged or broken. Zabuza was a master in its use, being capable of dispatching numerous enemies with a few slashes, and claiming that his sword "never cut a second time", implying to have killed a large number of people with a single attack.
The weapon's weight didn't seem to slow Zabuza down at all, as he could employ it in combat for extended periods of time with no visible strain on himself, something Suigetsu Hōzuki hasn't achieved. Apart from handling it very skilfully, Zabuza could also throw it spinning at several enemies with enough power to lodge itself into a hard tree trunk.
He also wielded a kunai with a sharp protrusion on one side (which in the anime is Kirigakure's variation of the standard kunai), designed for thrusting and stabbing instead of slicing, which fit his stealthy attributes perfectly.
Zabuza had great skill in Water Release techniques. He could perform several of them while keeping a separate one active, as seen when he kept Kakashi trapped in the Water Prison Technique while at the same time attacking the rest of Team 7 with a water clone; he could maintain several of these clones at the same time, often using them as diversions. He also showed proficiency in large-scale, highly destructive water-attacks from launching powerful torrents of water in the forms of dragon missiles and giant waterfalls at his opponents.
Zabuza was especially adept at the Hiding in Mist Technique, as it made his Silent Killing even easier to perform. By blanketing the area in a thick mist, Zabuza could blind his targets, making it even more difficult for them to defend against him. Though he would be blinded too, Zabuza could strike his opponents without the need of sight, instead focusing on any slight sounds made by the opponents. In this manner, Zabuza was capable of carrying out stealthy attacks even in completely open spaces, able to suddenly disappear from an enemy's sight and then strike unseen. His skill with this technique was such that he could create an impenetrable mist without the need of an immediate source of water nearby. Even Kabuto Yakushi kept Zabuza's use of the technique in high regard, as seen when he was willing to sacrifice other reincarnated shinobi to protect Zabuza and keep the Hiding in Mist Technique going.
Land of Waves Arc
In order to gain funds for a second coup d’état, Zabuza became a mercenary assassin for hire. As one of his jobs, he was hired by Gatō to kill a bridge builder named Tazuna who is a threat to his employer's business. When the Demon Brothers failed to eliminate Tazuna — intimidating a furious Gatō with his sword — Zabuza decided to take care of the bridge-builder personally. Upon tracking down his target, Zabuza found that Tazuna was being protected by Kakashi Hatake and his students. Wanting to test his ability, Zabuza challenged Kakashi to a battle, and Kakashi complied by revealing his Sharingan.
Soon after the battle began, Zabuza managed to catch Kakashi off guard, and trapped him with his Water Prison Technique. Needing to stay with Kakashi to keep him imprisoned, Zabuza sent a water clone to kill Tazuna and the rest of Kakashi's team, believing it to be a simple matter. However, Naruto Uzumaki created a plan and with the help of Sasuke Uchiha, managed to sneak up on Zabuza, forcing him to release Kakashi. Kakashi and Zabuza resumed their battle, though Kakashi's Sharingan quickly gave him the upper hand. Copying Zabuza's Water Release: Great Waterfall Technique before he could use it, Kakashi managed to defeat Zabuza.
Before Zabuza could be killed by Kakashi, however, Haku appeared, disguised as a hunter-nin, and threw two needles into Zabuza's neck, apparently killing him. Taking Zabuza's body away, under the guise of needing to destroy it, Haku revived Zabuza, the needles having been used to paralyse him. Although Zabuza's life had been saved, he needed a week to recover, and he planned to kill Tazuna and Kakashi then.
A week later, Zabuza and Haku appeared before Team 7 for a rematch. As Haku dealt with Kakashi's students, Zabuza dealt with Kakashi. Having been told how the Sharingan worked by Haku, Zabuza blanketed the area in a thick mist, to avoid falling prey to the Sharingan's influence. In doing so, Zabuza was able to slash Kakashi with his sword, greatly damaging his opponent. Kakashi, however, allowed himself to be attacked, and summoned his ninken to sniff out the blood, now on Zabuza's sword, to track and pin him down.
With Zabuza unable to fight back, Kakashi prepared to kill Zabuza with his Lightning Cutter, and charged at Zabuza. Before the Lightning Cutter could meet its mark, however, Haku appeared as a human shield, and took the full force of the attack, fulfilling his promise of being a tool for his master. Freed as a result of Haku's intervention, and not willing to allow the opening Haku had created to go to waste, Zabuza tried to slash through Haku's body to kill Kakashi but Kakashi was able to avoid it and disable Zabuza.
With Zabuza no longer able to battle, Gatō arrived, and revoked their agreement so that he could have his own henchmen kill Tazuna instead. No longer having a reason to kill Tazuna, Zabuza ended his battle with Kakashi, although Naruto was not satisfied by this. Angered that Haku died for Zabuza, while Zabuza had shown no signs of remorse, Naruto lectured him on the feelings Haku had for him, and the loyalty he felt towards Zabuza.
Brought to tears by Naruto's words, Zabuza revealed that he really did care about Haku, and valued him higher than a simple tool. Wanting to repent for what he had done, Zabuza took one of Naruto's kunai, and charged through Gatō's men to get to Gatō, being stabbed multiple times along the way. Upon reaching Gatō, Zabuza killed him, and collapsed due to his injuries. As Gatō's men fled, Zabuza asked Kakashi if he could be brought to Haku, to which Kakashi complied. Being by Haku's side in death, as Haku was by his in life, Zabuza, as he passed out, wished that he could go to the same place as Haku. Kakashi believed that they would be able to go to that place together. After mourning his and Haku's deaths, Team 7 buried them next to each other, with the Kubikiribōchō stabbed into the ground.
Kakashi later stated that he hesitated before cutting Haku and that (though he didn't admit it) Haku's death had shaken him.
Shinobi World War Arc
In preparation for the Fourth Shinobi World War, Zabuza was reincarnated by Kabuto Yakushi to fight against the Allied Shinobi Forces, before being mobilised alongside Haku, Gari, Pakura and Toroi. Overhearing Zabuza as he told Haku that they were no longer in the afterlife, Gari informed them of their current situation, infuriating Zabuza who did not want to obey someone who would stoop so low as to use the dead.
When later ambushed by the Surprise Attack Division, Haku protected them both from the explosive tags carried by Sai's ink birds, though Zabuza indicated that it was unnecessary after he observed the others regenerating. This irritated him further, since not only were they brought back, but they were also made impossible to kill. Remarking that he was the only one amongst his group to not possess a kekkei genkai, Zabuza stormed the recently grounded opposition but was intercepted by Kakashi, whom he never expected to confront again. Greeting Sakura and noting her growth since they last met, Zabuza inquired about Naruto, learning from Kakashi how famous he had become since his death.
As Kabuto erased their consciousness, Zabuza pleaded with Kakashi to stop him no matter what it took, as his humanity was already dead. Enveloping the battlefield in a thick mist, Zabuza then assaulted the Third Division, until he was confronted by Kakashi. Amidst the battle, the previous generation of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist were summoned to the field in order for Akatsuki to retain the upper hand, with Zabuza soon joining them whilst wielding his broken Kubikiribōchō. During the ensuing battle, after surviving a futile bombardment of various techniques, Zabuza's blade began to reform using the iron collected from the blood of his victims.
Kakashi eventually moved in from behind to incapacitate him, but once again, Haku intercepted the blow. Slicing clean through Haku to attack, Zabuza bisected the former while only slightly injuring Kakashi. With his blade fully reformed, Zabuza charged towards him but as they clashed, Kakashi severed Zabuza's sword-holding arm and impaled him through his chest. This provided Ensui Nara with an opportunity to immobilise Zabuza, where he was then captured and sealed by Maki, causing the mist to clear.
Later, with the release of the Impure World Reincarnation technique, a light of sorts encased Zabuza's sealed body as the technique was dispelled and his soul was returned to the afterlife.
Following Zabuza's death, Kirigakure ninja began associating him with members of Team 7; Kisame Hoshigaki referenced Zabuza when he first met Kakashi, while the Fifth Mizukage and Chōjūrō believe Sasuke was the one who defeated him and Haku. However, Zabuza himself gave Naruto the credit for his defeat. Zabuza's sword is taken from his grave site in Part II by Suigetsu Hōzuki (in the anime it was Tenzen Daikoku from whom Suigetsu retrieved the sword). During his and Kakashi's exchange following Zabuza's reincarnation, Kakashi admits that it was because of him and Haku that Naruto strove to become the ninja and hero that he is.
Zabuza Momochi is a playable character in the following video games:
- Zabuza (再不斬) means "never cut twice", and Momochi (桃地) means "peach soil"; like all members of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen, his surname is derived from a type of produce.
- Zabuza's surname, "Momochi", may also be a reference to the famous ninja Momochi Sandayū, though his name is written in different kanji.
- Despite his short appearance in the series, Zabuza was still very popular in the character popularity polls.
- Zabuza made a cameo appearance in a omake Naruto Shippūden episode 129, appearing on a lantern.
- He also made a cameo in a crowd shot in Naruto Shippūden episode 183 alongside Haku, Hayate Gekkō, and several Ame ninja.
- According to the databook(s):
- Zabuza has been shown to emanate a shroud of chakra that takes the form of an oni-like creature, which might have been where his nickname Demon of the Hidden Mist (霧隠れの鬼人, Kirigakure no Kijin) originated from.
- In episode 265, in Zabuza's flashback he is shown with the dark grey eyes, as if he was already in the Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation. In another flashback, Zabuza walked over and laid down next to Haku, dying. However, in the actual scene Kakashi carries him to Haku as he asked for his final request.
- Contrary to the age that was given in a databook, his actual age may differ as in accordance to his academy graduation age and by statements given in the story, it had been 10 years prior to his introduction when students massacre had taken place by his hand, yet to have been a ninja himself. This in fact renders him a teen when he appeared.
- (To Team 7) "When you've hovered between life and death so many times that it doesn't faze you, you may be called a ninja. When you've become so deadly that your profile has been entered into my bingo book, then you may have earned the title ninja."
- (To Naruto) "When I was your age, my hands were already soaked in blood…"
- (To Naruto) "Shut up kid, Haku's already dead… As I was used by Gatō, I used Haku. That was all. I've said it already… in the world of shinobi, there are only those who use and those whom are used. We shinobi are simply tools… what I wanted was his blood, not him… I have no regrets."
- (To Naruto about Haku) "…You don't need to say any more… It pained him to have to fight you… Haku fought not only for me… he fought for you guys too. He was too kind. I'm glad I got to face you guys in the end. You may be right… a shinobi is still a human… we may not be able to become emotionless tools…"
- (To Gatō) "Uh uh… I won't be joining Haku. Where he's gone I cannot follow. We wouldn't be welcome where Haku's gone to. Hell's where we're going, Gatō!"
- (To Gatō) "Even the unremarkable Demon of the Hidden Mist can die and become a real Demon in hell! This will be fun!!! We'll have plenty of time to see if I'm a baby devil down in hell!!"
- (Last words to Haku) "You were always at my side, the least I can do is to be beside you at the end. I know it cannot be, but I wish I could go to where you have gone. How I wish I could join you there, Haku."
- (To Kakashi after being reincarnated) "I died as a human!" (「人間として死んだんだ!」, "Ningen toshite shindanda!")
- ↑ First Databook, pages 124-126
- ↑ Naruto chapter 10, page 19
- ↑ Naruto episode 126
- ↑ Naruto chapter 15, page 15
- ↑ Naruto chapter 524, page 7
- ↑ Naruto episode 82
- ↑ Naruto chapter 460, page 1
- ↑ Naruto chapter 466, page 1
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Naruto chapter 521, page 16
- ↑ Naruto chapter 347, page 14
- ↑ Naruto Shippūden episode 115
- ↑ Naruto chapter 32, page 15
- ↑ Naruto chapter 521, page 17
- ↑ Naruto chapter 13, pages 8-9
- ↑ Naruto chapter 14, page 5
- ↑ Naruto chapter 32, page 8
- ↑ Naruto chapter 32, page 13
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Naruto chapter 32, page 17
- ↑ Naruto chapter 33, page 13
- ↑ Naruto chapter 522, page 6