KCM Naruto and Minato:
Spoiler:
Naruto surpassed Jiraiya slightly with SM and Minato slightly with KCM. Or he surpassed Bee slightly with KCM and is on Minato's level (who's also confirmed > Bee).

Naruto taking on and beating a dozen Kage levels simultaneously doesn't make sense, his best KBs were the ones against Madara, A3, Muu but he had help from fodders, other Kages and intel in every instance. In addition to BoS other KBs performing badly against Zetsu and Chiyo, we also see the original is weakened and is sometimes outperformed by Itachi.

With that said though KCM Naruto is probably still above people like Minato, Tobirama, MS Obito, Edo Itachi, Killer Bee, Pain


More numbers don't make a difference vs Jiraiya:
Spoiler:
I think the issue isn't Jiraiya beating Itachi and Kisame (and more) being unfeasible or outlandish, because we can say that the statement existing and us adhering to it makes it feasible and we just have to accept that Jiraiya might be that strong. The issue is that we have to be consistent with such scaling for characters on Jiraiya's level and characters on Kisame's level. The statement implies Itachi would draw with Jiraiya and the rest don't tip the scales in his favor, so logically it would also mean Jiraiya + Kisame + Deidara + etc would only manage to draw with Itachi.

This doesn't just apply to Itachi, any character one scales close to Jiraiya like Muu or SM Naruto for example would also be interpreted to be capable of defeating someone close to their level and multiple mid-Akatsuki simultaneously.

It's not unfair to suggest Jiraiya can do it, what is unfair is not giving the same benefit of the doubt to those on his level.

You could say it's a matter of match-up, but that doesn't really hold when the implication was about overall level not Jiraiya's jutsu specifically being a good match-up for several Akatsuki and Itachi simultaneously. Furthermore if we do say it's a match-up issue then we're admitting that those on the mid-Akatsuki level are strong enough to make a difference against Jiraiya, just not the ones being referred to specifically - which just makes it a very specific hype statement for Jiraiya in regards to certain characters and their abilities, magnitudes more specific than Kisame's match-up against V1/V2 Bee, which doesn't fit.

This also makes it narratively impossible for the 8-man squad sent by Konoha to have any chance of capturing Itachi; those 8 don't stand a chance against Jiraiya + Deidara + Sasori + Kisame while Itachi, according to his statement, can. It was said those 8 were picked specifically to counter Itachi which is rather ridiculous considering Itachi is supposedly at a level where he has a shot at having several mid-Akatsuki not being able to have a match-up advantage against so forget about a bunch of Jonin countering him.

The way I see it, either
1. Itachi was referring to underlings assisting them.
2. the statement was retconned/Kishi changed his mind.
3. Itachi was lying about the back-up part, the back-up and Kisame or the whole thing.

Number 1 and partially number 3 are more digestible for the Jiraiya side because it still leaves Itachi = Jiraiya there.


Gengetsu/Muu performance and high-kage mid-kage gap:
Spoiler:
How I see it now is a mid-kage on average mid-diffs a low-Kage, like Hebi Sasuke high-diffing Deidara while holding back so he mid-diffs on average. The question is whether 2x mid-diff equals a draw or not. So can Hebi Sasuke or a mid-kage defeat two Deidaras or two low-Kage when he can't low diff one of them?

Muu was defeated when Naruto assisted them but he did seem to have the upper hand against the two Kage. Even if Onoki did not regain his will by then he would still qualify as a mid-kage. The other thing is Gengetsu having the upper hand against them as well, and while he was defeated eventually not only was he seemingly holding back and was engaging with dozens of other shinobi other than the two Kage but his actual loss seems to have been attributed to a luck factor with the oil thing.

The only arguments I can come up with to lessen the gap is either Gaara and Onoki are weak mid-kage and the Edo Kage were average-strong high-kage or that somehow Gaara and Onoki would've at least drawn them in a prolonged fight and what was showcased on panel is a "glimpse of the battle" rather than the "flow of the battle". But admittedly I don't see those as strong arguments.

Gengetsu also seems to have performed slightly better.

Orochimaru vs Itachi gap:
Spoiler:
As for Itachi and Orochimaru, that's exactly why I have Itachi as my strongest high-kage and always contemplate whether Orochimaru is a mid or high-kage. Orochimaru can be scaled above almost all mid-kage but it's very reasonable to have him one tier below sick Itachi.

Itachi beating Yamata is argued to benefit Orochimaru in the sense that he was handicapped with no arms, was sick and Itachi fell soon after due to the very thing he used to beat Orochimaru, and is argued to benefit Itachi in the sense that Susano'o overwhelmed Yamata pretty quickly and even thematically it seems to have been showcased in a "casual, non-effort" manner with Orochimaru being stabbed mid-sentence and Itachi saying "anything else?" - which is the reason for the contrast of why some will say Itachi extreme-diffed Orochimaru there whereas others will say Itachi low-diffed Orochimaru.

I rationalize it as their handicap makes up for each other's, making it irrelevant. And that the casual nature of the defeat implies low-diff while the use of Itachi's strongest technique implies high-diff - so it averages to a mid-diff fight.

A mid-diff gap in my estimations is equal to around one tier difference, so if Itachi is to be on the same tier as Orochimaru he has to be at the top while Orochimaru is at/close to the bottom. Of course we can also be cheeky and say Itachi has a slight advantage due to Totsuka matching up well against Orochimaru but then we get into Orochimaru matching up well against Amaterasu (in addition to the heat sensing potentially countering genjutsu) so perhaps that's neither here nor there.


Kisame's retcon and sourceless Suiton:
Spoiler:

Casting suitons without a water source seems to me to be a retcon for the sake of convenience, rather than a drastic change in power level. It's not like PI Kisame was meant to be below nameless SA alliance fodder in suiton proficiency just because he couldn't use sourceless suiton.

As for his loss being exaggerated, the problem is the same scaling argument could be said for Jiraiya; did Kishimoto think of all of Jiraiya's jutsu at that time? Jiraiya didn't show a lot of techniques until his Pain fight. Why not just run with it and say "Jiraiya was retconned in PII with SM, Ma and Pa" etc?

The way I see it if the fight were to be remade by "PII scaling" Jiraiya would overwhelm Kisame just as easily even if more flashy jutsu were used on both sides.

Reputation is part of someone's portrayal. You don't need to see or play against Lebron to know he's better than you at basketball, if you know his reputation of "being one the best players in the NBA". This doesn't mean that everyone with a lower reputation than Jiraiya is automatically weaker, because certain shinobi's reputation doesn't fully convey their actual portrayed power like Itachi, Obito and Pain (to those outside of Ame) who have their true power hidden from most.

This is why Kakashi rethinks fighting Orochimaru but doesn't show as much hesitation against Itachi despite the Uchiha being portrayed stronger than Orochimaru; because Orochimaru's reputation > Itachi's reputation.


Gai ranking:
Spoiler:

Surviving against Obito in CQC for a little bit is impressive but Gai is literally a Taijutsu expert, in fact any shinobi he is comparable to he has to compensate with his Taijutsu skill for lack of ninjutsu. We've seen Gai's skill in CQC before, first against Shoten Kisame where he managed to disarm him and was unlucky that Samehada could return to Kisame, he got overwhelmed thereafter. The same would happen against Obito, he'll survive initially but eventually will be warped. Another thing is that Gai's knowledge of Kamui makes a difference in performance; Fuu and Torune with some knowledge managed not to get warped immediately. Konan as well. When Minato had no knowledge he almost got warped and needed Hiraishin, when he gained knowledge he beat Obito in CQC with Hiraishin.

As for Hirudora being held back against Kisame and Gai lacking KI, Gai is using his strongest attack in the 7G, states it's a one-hit kill and it's his biggest Hirudora on-panel. Hirudora being weakened by Daikodan to any great extent is unlikely as the damage is done through the explosion of the tiger and not the tiger (the tiger exploded on Kisame). Hirudora's mechanics also don't seem to suggest it's firepower is highly adjustable if at all as it's an explosion of condensed air pressure.

However the biggest issue with Hirudora is that even if we assume it was weakened to support it breaking Madara's Susano'o, it just goes completely against the narrative. Usually when an attack/ninjutsu is greatly weakened/nerfed than normal it is mentioned. We see this with drugged Jiraiya's Yomi Numa for example. When you add this to the fact the supposed gap in strength between the two Hirudoras is so massive, as in literally the difference between Kisame's durability and Madara's V3 Susano'o durability, it would make zero sense not to mention that it was massively weakened.

So you're telling me the first time Kishi introduce
d Hirudora to us, it was dozens of times weaker than it's full potential, yet instead of telling us that it was dozens of times weaker than it's full potential he had Yamato and Yamato praise its aoe and hype it as the reason Gai had his title along with his 7G?

From DB4:
OrganicDinosaur said:
p. 287 - Daytime Tiger

昼虎 // Hirudora

[sp]

Taijutsu.

User: Might Guy

A Rank Jutsu

Attack: Close or Mid-Range

Splash Text: 吠えろ青春! 碧き炎を纒いつつ放つ一撃!!

Howling youth! A single hit while donning a blue flame!!

Main Body:

その一撃は、猛虎の咆哮の如し!相手へと向かい一点に集中していく空圧正拳。さらに、炸裂後は一気に拡散して森を吹き 飛ばし、大地を抉り取る。 その二次衝撃からは誰も逃れられない。後に残るのは立ち上がることすらままならぬ標的と、霧と化した青き汗のみだ...!!

That single blow is like the roar of a ferocious tiger! A true fist of air pressure that is concentrated into a single point faces towards the enemy. Furthermore, instantly after the explosion, scattered forests are blown away while the earth is gouged out. Nobody can escape this secondary shock. The remnants that are standing are even beyond control. Same as for the target, only the blue perspiration that is transformed into mist remains…!!

Upper Caption:

”八門遁甲” のうち、第七驚門を開いて放つ必殺の正拳!

Among the “Hachimon Tonkou”, one opens the Seventh “Kyoumon” (/Wonder) Gate and unleashes a true fist that’s a deadly blow!

Lower Caption:

チャクラを利用しない、純粋な体術なので、チャクラを吸収する能力を持つ相手に対しても有効。

(The technique) does not use chakra, because it is pure taijutsu. It is effective against enemies who have the ability to absorb chakra.

[/sp]
Click to expand...
So when the Databook profile of the technique brings up its use against Kisame, it mentions what has been highlighted in the manga already which is how it countered the absorption properties of Daikodan well, instead of mentioning the supposedly important detail of Hirudora being held back and weakened dozens of times its normal strength.

Gaara calling 7G Gai's movements inhumane is in reference to his taijutsu skill.


If Gai busted Susano'o:
Spoiler:
Susano'o has its own durability but it can defend better when its bracing for an attack and even better than that when it's using its shield, furthermore there is the user that needs to be defeated inside it. The scene shows Hirudora blindsiding the Susano'o, intercepting its attack. If the answer was yes, it would mean Hirudora is strong enough to destroy an unsuspecting V3 Susano'o but not get Madara, if the Susano'o braced and shielded it would do better. In terms of scaling this allows Hirudora to probably kill a boss toad (durable enough to tank a biju wind attack) + a boss shield (Gamaken shield, which should be comparable if not better than Gamaken I think). V3 Susano'o should be more durable than a boss summon, but I reckon if Gamaken braces and shields himself, it would cover for that gap and Jiraiya would probably survive, if he doesn't brace Hirudora obliterates Gamaken, his shield and Jiraiya.

In terms of ranking Gai, I see his weaknesses as:
1. Base is very limited in tactics and jutsu, zero ranged options - can be killed or injured before gates by shinobi with much superior initial arsenals.
2. Gates time limit and strain, which is an issue against those who can stall, or have good long-ranged options as that will force Gai to waste Hirudora on defending himself.

Gai busting Susano'o doesn't affect 1 but slightly helps in number 2, as it allows Gai the potential of overpowering the long-ranged opponent and possibly winning (originally I thought several shinobi could match or soften Hirudora's blow eith their own firepower).

Gai should benefit the most from close range Hirudora, but then again most shinobi's bodies in CQC would be incapacitated by Hirudora anyhow - guess he would beat A4 for sure now.

So yeah, he goes up like a tier at least, so he'd be like top mid-kage.


Frog Kata retcon for Jiraiya:
Spoiler:
Frog Kata wouldn't have made a difference against Pain, because Jiraiya's actual power-level hadn't been retconned, it was his abilities that were.

Basically the argument is that Kishi hadn't thought of sensing/frog kata during Jiraiya vs Pain yet, and only during the Pain invasion did he flesh out his thoughts on sage mode. But this doesn't mean Jiraiya would do better against Pain, the author didn't change Jiraiya's strength, he just showed more abilities. It's like how in PI Jiraiya didn't show SM or Gamaken, it doesn't mean the author retconned Jiraiya into being stronger in PII when he showed those things.

If the author wanted to retcon Jiraiya's strength with Frog kata and not just his abilities, he would have made some reference as to why Jiraiya didn't use it (any random excuse like "oh he thought Pain would absorb it" or any nonsense) like he did with Hiruzen and Hashirama's retcon (Hashirama's power-level was a "fairy tale").

Now if Jiraiya was some background fearless character with very few information on him I'd understand the author may not even bother to do the whole explanation thing but Jiraiya is very well-written, important to the plot, has solid assessable feats and hype in the manga.

So essentially Jiraiya was portrayed as needing Frog Song to beat the three paths, if he did have Frog kata and Kishi was to rewrite the fight it would either be Jiraiya not using it again or Jiraiya uses it but the results don't change I.e the author also makes up ways for the paths to counter frog kata. In the end Jiraiya will struggle just as much as he did before, just more feats for us to see. So neither the result nor the difficulty would change.


Hanzō:
Spoiler:

Jiraiya challenged Nagato after knowing he beat Hanzo, and only opted to use SM because of Nagato's Rinnegan - not because Nagato beat Hanzo. When he reached SM he said "I'll be home soon" or something to that effect. All this implies to me that Jiraiya - who faced prime Hanzo - believed he was stronger than him now (i.e he thought he might be able to beat the man who defeated Hanzo).

1. Itachi
2. Jiraiya
3. Hanzo

or

1. Itachi/Jiraiya
2. Hanzo

It's a "disbelief" in the sense that "damn! Hanzo was strong how could he lose!" Rather than "Danzo could not have lost"

I think the point of that exchange was to hype Nagato in front of Jiraiya, which goes against Jiraiya dismissing that hype.


WA Kakashi vs Kisame:
Spoiler:

I used to have this at 50/50 but now I lean towards Kakashi.

He's >= Gai who's >= Kisame, they're all close and comparable but Kakashi has slight portrayal advantage imo in addition to way more knowledge and experience.

Kakashi was Konoha's top Jonin in PI and Gai was close to him, up until the WA he made some improvements and added Kamui to his arsenal. Gai surely kept up but I don't see evidence nor any hints that he has surpassed or is >= Kakashi, on the contrary Kakashi states Gai surpassed him only with the gate of death which could be interpreted as Kakashi being stronger than or equal to Gai (up to 7G), but not weaker. Furthermore it is Kakashi who is visibly seen and started to have improved, while Gai was either scaled up to Kakashi or got decently stronger through training that wasn't mentioned/highlighted; both things that are weaker evidence of improvement than Kakashi's stated one.

Gai is >= Kisame. Kisame had advantages like preexisting body of water, absorbed Bee's chakra and possible lack of KI from Gai while Gai had advantages like starting in gates, no Samehada, and Hirudora matching up well against Daikodan.

Now you can say Gai takes little time to enter gates anyway, Kisame can make his own water, Samehada would have made no difference, Kisame was chakra-deprived before stealing Bee's chakra etc and I go back and forth between which outweighs the other but narratively Kisame
is the recurring personal villain that Gai is supposed to have defeated in the end. The best argument for Kisame is Samehada healing him from Hirudora, but the sword would need to have stolen chakra first to heal Kisame. You could make the argument that Samehada has set base reserves Kisame could use for healing from Hirudora but when I look at the narrative of Samehada's healing I find that unlikely because when Kisame is shown healing from Lariat it was about using the massive chakra quantities he stole from Bee fitting the whole "I get stronger in proportion to my opponent/tailed beast without a tail" hype that he ascribes to himself at that exact moment of highlighting Samehada's healing. If it was a minor injury I would be more open towards the argument but Hirudora was an incapacitating injury for Kisame. Basically I'm saying that narratively it's unlikely Kisame would be able to heal from his opponent's finishing move despite being unable to steal any chakra from them.


So I think the correct interpretation is that Gai is >= Kisame.

In a direct fight Kisame can handle Kakashi's Taijutsu in CQC as we saw he can handle Base Gai's, and Kakashi doesn't have genjutsu feats/hype to suggest he's threatening Kisame despite ample panel-time so I don't see that as a threat. However Kakashi is bound to feint Kisame before he gets overwhelmed by his strength and swordsmanship due to his ninjutsu skill, luckily for Kisame Samehada can absorb Raiton so Kakashi's efforts will likely be a waste.

The next stage of the fight is going to be ninjutsu-focused, Kakashi can copy some of Kisame's jutsu but he can't overpower him or outlast him. Kamui will win it for Kakashi, the issue is if he's forced to spend chakra on warping away jutsu like Daikodan or Senjikizame he might not be in a good position to warp Kisame, who depending on his knowledge and intelligence might decide to flank and attack from underwater. Under most circumstances however Kakashi should prevail as he's more knowledgeable, intelligent and experienced than Kisame in addition to possibly knowing more about Kisame than vice versa. Kakashi's self-warp as an offense is unsure, but defensively it still tilts things in his favour as a way to escape big trouble. So Kakashi will likely either use Kamui before he's badly pressured by Kisame's big guns, or manage to snipe him after wasting a ton of chakra.

Kakashi high difficulty.


Kisame vs Kakuzu
Spoiler:

Kisame wins in a tough fight or it could go either way. Kisame probably starts with his lake while Kakuzu (sooner or later) lets out his hearts. Kisame can dodge, dive or trade ninjutsu with Kakuzu provided it's a single elemental, but fighting on the surface of the water won't be enough to protect him from multiple ninjutsu from different angles.

Senjikizame has enough aoe to not be destroyed by one of Kakuzu's jutsu, and the sharks present underwater will do good flanking the hearts whenever they're not floating. Kisame might use Daikōdan as a counter to one of Kakuzu's blasts or more likely one of his combinations and whichever heart(s) is behind that assault will get killed.

However Kisame would still struggle to breach Domū with which Kakuzu tore down a steel gate and tanked explosive tags. This likely means Kisame needs to fuse with Samehada and engage Kakuzu in CQC since he can bypass Domū through contact-absorption. Kakuzu could attempt a hit with Domū and/or assaulting Kisamehada with his threads, but with Kisamehada's underwater ability even Bee failed to launch such an attack in the same situation and his tentacle manifestations only managed to temporarily stunned Kisamehada and I'm not sure if the strength of Kakuzu's threads and his utility of them is comparable to Killer Bee and his tentacles. Lastly I doubt Kakuzu's hardened fist hits harder than V2 Bee's Lariat which failed to kill Kisamehada.

It's close but I lean towards Kisame. Kakuzu's elementals were handled by Team 10 and IA Kakashi so their lethality isn't that high, they work by overwhelming the opponent through time/numbers. With healing and absorption Kisame won't be killed quickly and he'd have time to go and fight from under the water where the Fūton/Raiton hearts are more easily dealt with and the Katon heart is useless. Eventually Kisame will drain Kakuzu worst case.


My opinion thread