Sasori ams genjutsu:
Spoiler:
In my opinion emphasis on special immunity to jutsu through a feat or statement is stronger evidence than jutsu mechanics (so I would say Sasori is not immune to genjutsu just like I'd say Byakūgo doesn't heal Sasori's poison), however in this case there is strong evidence that Sasori's mechanics are anti-genjutsu so I'm conflicted as it might override the supposed lack of emphasis or even count as emphasis.

Waterdome:
Spoiler:

The idea of the waterdome is that it's incredibly hard to escape Kisame's swimming speed if even V2 Bee couldn't. Anyone trying to swim upwards will just be caught easily by Kisame due to the massive speed gap. It also doesn't make sense to aim for the top rather then the sides as the top just leads you to the upper center of the dome and you're still in range of it from all angles just not surrounded by water while from the sides you are safe, so a person would need to have knowledge that the dome moves. Guess what Killer Bee did when he found out the dome moves? Well, he didn't try to swim upwards so there is no portrayal that it is an easy counter.

My understanding of the Bee fight is that there are two ways to counter the dome:
1. Beat Kisamehada
2. Escape the dome

And 1 is >> 2 in effectiveness from the way it was portrayed, Bee only escaped initially to save Sabu and Ponta but when he couldn't do that (Kisame was going to get to them) he switched to offense which was his original plan (help Sabu and Ponta escape and then kill/fight Kisame).

So this tells me escaping the dome is generally not a great counter at least not as good as beating Kisame directly since Kisame could just move the dome with his massive swimming speeds to re-catch the shinobi and/or the shinobi would still need to somehow kill the fused Kisame or destroy the waterdome.

Tl;dr I'd say the author was neutral on the vertical movement issue, he didn't explicitly deny the possibility but he didn't hype it as an advantage or as something that would really help Kisame either. Or you can say that he didn't explicitly confirm it but he also didn't paint it as something that is a weakness for Kisame.

Gai vs Kakashi:
Spoiler:

think Kakashi is supposed to be portrayed a bit stronger, in PI he had slightly better portrayal as he was called Konoha's top Jōnin and we know Gai is comparable to him based on the DB.

In PII Kakashi is confirmed to have gotten stronger through gaining the MS, while Gai becoming stronger in PII, at least to the extent Kakashi did, isn't supported by any strong evidence that I've seen.

To be consistent with my own logic, I would have said Gai's power hasn't changed since PI due to lack of direct evidence that he did just as I would Kisame, Jiraiya, etc. However Gai is paralleled with Kakashi throughout the WA and Kisame who was portrayed as above an individual PI Master lost to Gai, these two points point towards Gai increasing his level in PII (usually I'd say Kakashi got stronger and Kishi scaled up Gai to him) but there's not tangible evidence that he was stronger than Kakashi.

What I'm saying is, there's strong evidence that Kakashi has become much stronger in PII while there's (less stronger) evidence that Gai has. There are implications of parity between Gai and Kakashi in PII but there's not anything strong to suggest he caught up as his exact equal and even less evidence that he's stronger.

I'm interested to see if there's any argument supporting Gai having superior portrayal, but at the moment my stance is Kakashi is slightly stronger at best and Gai's equal at worst. Kakashi even said Gai surpassed him with the 8G, which could mean 7G is not stronger than Kakashi.

So imo Kakashi >= Gai.


Kakuzu vs KN4:
Spoiler:
Kakuzu is gonna have difficulty hurting KN4 and Bijūdama is something he can't overpower or defend against even with Domū. Close range won't work as his Jiongu tendrils won't overcome KN4's strength. KN4 also scales above Kakuzu imo as he's comparable to Jiraiya who's above Kakuzu.


Kisame vs Gaara:
Spoiler:

When it comes to Sand vs Water, it is true that water doesn't slow down sand like one would imagine in real life, however this is only in the case of a water medium. i.e Gaara can freely move his sand underwater through Kisame's lake or inside the waterdome but this doesn't mean that it will plow through offensive suitons that have momentum (shark missiles, etc) - it will clash with it and it will be a powerstruggle.

The sand has no special ability against water/suiton other than the fact that it doesn't get wet (i.e doesn't slow down), and the assumption that Gaara's sand is impervious to Suiton is false and can be countered anyway by claiming that since Mei's water dragon was "unaffected by the sand and wasn't slowed down" so will Kisame's.

Onto the battle itself, I think Gaara is more likely to win due to a bunch of factors. He is more strategic and can match Kisame's scale. Kisame has more stamina (I think? Not sure how much chakra Gaara has after losing Shukaku) so he might be able to spam his stuff for longer but Gaara has him beat in the 'quality' of spam because his sand has multiple uses from many different ranges. Gaara can still grind more sand as the battle goes on and most importantly he can fight efficiently in long range while he flies for a long time. Absorption could be useful to Kisame but I doubt Samehada will just neg the sand upon contact like that, at best it'd probably make some portions of it useless and Kisame putting himself in a position where he can get swarmed by huge amounts of sand to try and absorb its chakra could be very bad for him since Samehada can't reach every inch of Kisame's body and the parts it can't reach will be eventually swarmed and immobilized.

Kisame won't be able to easily get Gaara close to him due to all these factors, Daikodan could work but even if Gaara can't block it he should have sufficient time to dodge considering he'll be dictating the fight in a way that provides him the conditions to do so (long range fighter + flight = distance = time to react and dodge). Gaara probably has better portrayal too.


Sasuke breaking Amaterasu/Tsukiyomi:
Spoiler:



The Ama/Tsukiyomi reference was after Sasuke pointed out that Itachi was trying to kill him/being serious i.e Sasuke is challenging Tobi's claim that Itachi wasn't serious.

Obito responds to that in the next page:


Obito tells him he played his part, this part is ambiguous because Itachi predicting Sasuke countering him doesn't negate Sasuke having those counters. But this in a sense might still a rebuttal from Obito that Itachi indeed wasn't serious as he initially claimed.

However Obito then says Itachi had good reason to push Sasuke, I.e "yeah he did push you with Ama/Tsukiyomi but he did that to get Orochimaru out" so he is not saying "nah he wasn't serious with the two MS jutsu" but rather "yeah he was serious then but for other reasons".

Which could point towards Itachi using Ama/Tsukiyomi seriously.

Though this implies "Had Itachi been serious you would have been dead" only refers to Susano'o...

He's not agreeing, he's disagreeing and challenging Tobi's claim. The sequence is:

1. Tobi says Itachi was going easy.
2. Sasuke says "I came close to dying and yet you still..." i.e he's challenging Tobi's claim.
3. Then he recalls Ama/Tsukiyomi to enforce his point that Itachi was serious.

It's not like Tobi saying "realize Itachi wanted to get Orochimaru out" means "yeah you're right he did try to kill you with the MS".

I interpreted it as Tobi confirmed Sasukes concern of Itachi's trying to kill him/going all out with the MS by saying he had to do it because of Orochimaru, but it's more likely that Tobi is saying that just using MS in general was the "serious" part (that he needed to push Oro out with) not that he used the MS themselves to their full extent.

If you add Itachi's overall portrayal compared to Hebi Sasuke's and the DB saying Susano'o usage was planned it adds up that Itachi should not need Susano'o to defeat Hebi Sasuke.


Sakumo and the Sannin:
Spoiler:
I'm not sure if the exact wording clarifies whether it's one Sannin or all three, and I'm also not sure about the level of the Sannin in the timeline of that statement.

However it is a comparison of strength; Minato clearly refers to the reputation of these ninja rather than their status as shinobi. Hashirama didn't say Itachi's reputation puts his to shame, he said Itachi as a ninja put him to shame. A ninja's power is part of his reputation and saying "Sakumo's reputation puts the Sannin's to shame" is almost like saying "Sakumo's strength puts the Sannin's to shame". The only exception where this would be wrong is if the Sannin's reputation didn't fully represent their strength I.e similar to shinobi like Itachi, Obito, etc who kept their powers hidden - but the Sannin's reputation clearly doesn't under sell their power as we saw many times.

So essentially, Sakumo is either:

1. Much stronger than a Sannin (from that timeline)
2. Much stronger than all 3 Sannin (from that timeline)

He is "much" stronger because his reputation doesn't just exceed a/the Sannin's; it "puts it to shame".


MS Sasuke vs Kakashi:
Spoiler:
Sasuke w/o MS is a good match for Kakashi. Sasuke has comparable if not better Raitons, small possibility of subtle genjutsu distractions working (worked against Danzō who also has sharingan and has shown the skill to dispel MS genjutsu) to provide openings and a summon like Aoda with its size poses issues for Kamui. Its speed and strength forces Kakashi on the defensive and its addition puts Kakashi on the back foot as he has to deal with two Kage-levels simultaneously. Aoda is an issue for Kakashi who, in my opinion, lacks the feats or portrayal to enslave it and has Sasuke to counter that in case Kakashi could.

Even if Aoda is not considered in this match-up due to doubts about his age at the time of the Danzō fight, Sasuke's MS and base arsenal is more than enough for Kakashi as Susano'o arrows and Enton will pressure Kakashi badly and he won't have an easy time getting through Susano'o.

Low-diff with Aoda considered, low-mid diff without the snake boss summon.


Kisame vs Gai:
Spoiler:

Gai wins.

Kisame had advantages such as a 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 for Kisame and Hirudora matching up well against Daikodan.

Now you can say Gai takes little time to enter gates anyway, Kisame was weakened and chakra-deprived before he stole Bee's chakra, Samehada would have made no difference, Kisame can make his own water etc and I go back and forth between which outweighs the other but narratively Kisame is the recurring personal villain for Gai that he is supposed to have defeated in the end, so I think the more correct interpretation is that once conditions are equally fair (if they weren't already the last time) Gai is >= 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. When Kisame is shown healing from Lariat it was about using the 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.



Nagato vs Itachi:
Spoiler:

Itachi is clearly liked by Kishimoto evidenced by portraying him as upstaging Nagato on three occasions, and having Kabuto, Nagato, Naruto and Bee all praise him and compliment him, however when we are talking clear power-relations and portrayal of strength those praises don't allude to a 1v1 between Itachi and Nagato.

So we look at the moments Itachi shined in the fight, when we take a closer look at these upstaging moments:

1. Itachi blinded the summons: this was impressive, however Itachi accomplished this while Nagato was fighting two others instead of him.

2. Itachi crushing Nagato's arm and saving Naruto and Bee: impressive but as was highlighted earlier it was thanks to Nagato's shared vision being made obtuse, which we already know was due to a distraction in and of itself.

3. Itachi figuring out CT weakness: shows Itachi's intellect, but the author had Itachi himself say they need to fire all of their strongest long range attacks at the epicenter, not one.

4. Totsuka stab: author only made it happen after having Itachi shine in three occasions specifically due to advantages of distraction and having teammates with massive firepower.

The most praise we can give Itachi is that the two Jins would have lost without him, but the author made it painfully clear Itachi alone wouldn't have sufficed when every single one of his good showings against Nagato was due to an advantage. In addition the author had Kabuto complain about Nagato's mobility, made controlled Nagato neg the surprise Amaterasu (that he sensed earlier) and (iirc) said something about forgetting about Itachi.

Itachi can be argued to have been holding back against literally everyone he's ever fought on panel; PI Jonin (Kakashi statement that he's not showing his true power, Kakashi implying Tsukiyomi could have been lethal, DB implying somewhat Itachi wasn't going all out), Shoten vs Team Kakashi (Itachi smiling at the end), Hebi Sasuke (planned to lose), Kabuto (no KI because he needed to stop Edo Tensei) - except his fight with Nagato...

I don't think the author's choices of how the battle between Nagato and Team Itachi was carried out shows Itachi as above Nagato's level, I think it explicitly shows the exact opposite.



Kisame vs Hachibi:
Spoiler:

Kisame could win if he manages to fuse and latch onto the Hachibi, however the waterdome may not be a good option as Hachibi would think to nuke it. Maybe fusing in a lake and flanking the tailed beast might work.

Kisame is a bad match-up due to his absorption, but A3 who's an entire tier (and a bit) above Kisame stalemated Hachibi so Hachibi has decently superior portrayal.

There's also Kisame being > V2 Bee, and although wild Hachibi might be > V2 Bee there's the perfect Jinchūriki factor that amplifies the beasts to narrow that gap. But then again, Kisame's match-up advantage over V2 Bee is more severe than his advantage over the Hachibi due to fighting style (CQC whereas Hachibi has more options and range).

Hachibi likely wins I think, Kisame could win if he didn't mess around and hachibi had zero knowledge.



Itachi vs Jiraiya:
Spoiler:

This is not everything I think on this match-up and moreso a long summary - maybe sometime later I will edit it and add the details. For now this is a rough draft.

There's no direct evidence or statement that Itachi's statement about Jiraiya was a lie, just one people extrapolate from Itachi's reveal as a good guy. More importantly there is seemingly contradicting portrayal in that Itachi is > Orochimaru.

You see you can also argue Jiraiya > Orochimaru based on portrayal but it just seems like Jiraiya has been consistently portrayed as "on the same level" as Orochimaru, even if slightly superior. Kind of like Naruto and Sasuke.

1. the DB says Jiraiya is "on par" with Orochimaru in strength, "on par" is not the word I would describe Itachi and Orochimaru's power relationship.

2. Itachi is able to tell Orochimaru that "all his jutsu are useless before him", Jiraiya never had such portrayal to factually talk down to Orochimaru like that.

Basically the biggest issue in Jiraiya vs Itachi is Orochimaru, leading to Itachi-fans hyping Orochimaru in relation to Jiraiya (Orochimaru is > or = Jiraiya) and overrating the gap between Itachi and Orochimaru ("Itachi one-paneled Orochimaru twice as a kid!") Wh
ereas the Jiraiya-fans de-hype Orochimaru in relation to Jiraiya (i.e claim Jiraiya >>> Orochimaru) and underrate the gap between Itachi and Orochimaru ("Itachi needed Susano'o and Totsuka to seal Orochimaru so the gap must be small!")

Jiraiya has paralells with Itachi but he also has parallels with Orochimaru.

For me personally Itachi's superiority over Orochimaru has more statements and feats supporting it, not saying Jiraiya and Itachi's equality has no evidence for it just that Itachi's superiority over Orochimaru is emphasized more and therefore when two seemingly conflicting evidences co-exist I'd favor the one emphaized and repeated more.

The gap between Itachi and Orochimaru while not big, you can definitely make an easier case for the gap between Itachi/Oro to be bigger than Jiraiya/Oro. Just imagine if Jiraiya could tell Oro "all your jutsu are useless before me" or Oro emerging and then getting beat by SM Jiraiya swiftly who then smiles and says "is that all?" - most people would think the gap between the two Sannin is huge.

However, the statement still exists so it's a matter of abundance of evidence rather than lack of evidence on Jiraiya's part. I'd say Sick Itachi is at worst Jiraiya's equal and averagely superior to Orochimaru, and at best averagely superior to Jiraiya and decently superior to Orochimaru.

So basically I respect both those who believe Jiraiya = Sick Itachi and those who have Itachi > Jiraiya, but I think both sides need to be understanding that there are good arguments for both.

Then we get into Edo Itachi.

Edo are not brought back stronger than they were, in fact the opposite is implied. Yes Itachi didn't have his sickness but it's not like he was born with it, in fact the fact that Itachi is brough back without it means there was a time he wasn't sick while alive.
The point I'm trying to make is that Itachi at some point in his life could replicate everything his Edo self did (except Edo regen). Not only that, but Zetsu outright says on-panel that Itachi should have been "much stronger" than we've seen. The author would have also highlighted that Edo Itachi was at a level Itachi never achieved before, yet there was zero implication he was this reborn MS-spamming beast - and we're just left with previous ET regen hype as an advantage.

People will say "but Itachi probably didn't master MS back when he was healthy since he became sick while still learning to master it" but that doesn't matter since in the end Itachi at 13-15 years old was still portrayed as outright superior to Orochimaru meaning they're indirectly suggesting Itachi with no MS experience still embarrassed Orochimaru.
In fact the whole implication from "we don't know if Itachi mastered MS back then" is to suggest that Healthy Itachi might not be much stronger than Sick Itachi or not stronger at all since he might have traded health for MS experience, the problem is the manga directly shuts this down by stating Itachi should have been "much stronger" than his sick self.

So healthy Itachi does exist and he does have feats in the form of Edo Itachi and just because not every feat is 100% transferable doesn't mean we get to ignore Itachi was once healthy and stronger than what we've seen.

In conclusion; Healthy Itachi is at worst averagely superior to Jiraiya and decently superior to Orochimaru and at best decently superior to Jiraiya and massively superior to Orochimaru.



Unpopular opinions:
Spoiler:


Deidara is a level below Hebi Sasuke
Jiraiya can't beat the three paths without Frog Song

Kakashi is much weaker than Itachi. 3T Itachi would mid-diff 3T Kakashi.

3T Itachi is on the same level as the mid-tier Akatsuki generally speaking, whereas Base Jiraiya is a level above them.

Shoten Itachi was jobbing against Naruto & co

All of Hebi Sasuke's feats/portrayal are by far the most undermined in the NBD.

Gai needs the 7th gate to beat Kisame.

Kisame is weaker than Base Jiraiya.

A Doton cannot overcome Daikodan.

A boss summon is decently smaller than the waterdome.

Kisame has a chance to beat A3 who's a tier above him due to match-up, if A3 is assumed to be like V2 Bee (but it's not concrete).

Jiraiya needs frog song and a favourable location to beat the Preta, Animal and Human Paths.

Jiraiya can step up to Muu and can beat him.

Jiraiya having Katas and sensing doesn't make him stronger than what he was already portrayed.

Jiraiya is stronger than Prime Hanzo.

Jiraiya is stronger than A3.

Base Jiraiya would beat WA Kakashi.

Gama the toad is somewhere in the low-Jonin level.

Katsuya's combat strength is at best on Manda and Gamabunta's level and may be weaker than them.

Ribcage-Susano'o Sasuke is easily stronger than Raikage 1v1 in a fair fight.



Gengetsu vs Mū:
Spoiler:

They probably started in CQC, Gengetsu with water gun and Muu with his blades. Gengetsu manages to get the upper hand and set up a water pistol, only for Muu to sense it and evade last minute. Taken aback by this, Gengetsu leaves himself open for a sword slash by Muu, which goes through his water body leaving him undamaged.

Both Kage fall back praising each other's defenses. Muu then taunts Gengetsu as he goes invisible, to which Gengetsu responds by summoning the clam, taunting back that Muu isn't the only one who can hide.

Muu, who's invisible, notices the appearance of several Gengetsu bodies on the battlefield. He contemplates whether they're bunshins or an illusion, but since he can't sense any disturbance in his chakra he presumes it's the former and proceeds to re-appear several feet in the air and charge Jinton which he concluded was the perfect way to deal with their numbers. Gengetsu realizes that Muu can't use Jinton while invisible. As the Kekkei Totai beam obliterates the battlefield and the dust clears, Muu sees the doubles are still there, much to his chagrin, before narrowly dodging another water pistol ambush.

Muu starts to rethink things, whether the doubles are real or not, whether it's an illusion or a powerful ninjutsu that Gengetsu possesses. He decides to use Jinton again, and pay more attention to the doubles, as close range combat would leave him more open than being on the air.

After a bit, the battle reaches a stalemate, where neither seems to find the other. Muu concludes that whether this is an illusion or a ninjutsu, as his sensing powers can't break him out, the only way must be to find and destroy the clam. The invisible Muu goes to the ground, and walks between the doubles unhindered. He decides to re-appear and charge a big Jinton beam to destroy the ground, instead of the doubles, and hits the mark. The doubles disappear, and Muu attempts to sense Gengetsu's whereabouts, and he does so successfully. Although the Jinton and invisibility took a chunk of his chakra.

Gengetsu, hiding behind a distant rock pillar, congratulates Muu on figuring out his clam jutsu, and tells him he's got more under his sleeve. Gengetsu then summons Joki Boi. The imp quickly launches himself at Muu, who decides to not risk a Jinton to conserve chakra, and attempts to go invisible, barely making it in time due to Joki Boi's unexpected speed.

As an invisible Muu closes in on the imp, he senses an usual buildup of chakra inside the imp's now bigger body, and barely manages to dodge the range of its explosion with minor injuries.

The battle continues with Muu withholding his Jinton for a perfect moment, finally managing to outsmart the imp by throwing his blade and distracting the imp (similar to base Bee doing something similar to Kisame in a pincer attack with his thrown blades), reappearing outside of the imp's line of sight, and charging a huge Jinton to cover for the imp attempting to dodge as Muu has witnessed first hand how fast the imp was. The Jinton manages to tag the imp, destroying it.

Muu's chakra with that last Jinton was below half, so he couldn't use Jinton anymore, and was running low on reserves and getting fatigued. Gengetsu, despite barely engaging directly, is also drained from the passive usage of his clam and Joki Boi summons.

They engage in a last ditch effort CQC scuffle that, despite Gengetsu having a slight skill advantage, Muu being able to go invisible gains the upper hand. Although to no avail as Muu has no way of winning unless he can outlast Gengetsu's water body.

Eventually both Kage succumb to their death in CQC after running out of chakra, ending a glorious battle.



Kakashi vs Orochimaru:
Spoiler:

Orochimaru wins, probably low difficulty.

Kakashi can't do much to hurt Orochimaru as his offense is easily handled by Orochimaru's passive defenses ala WSP and Kamui will be needed to even survive a lot of Orochimaru's arsenal. Manda and Orochimaru attacking Kakashi together will overwhelm him pretty quickly and Yamata isn't needed.

Without Kamui, Kakashi was so far below Orochimaru he didn't even dare face him, and Orochimaru literally mocked Kabuto for being only as powerful as Kakashi. Kakashi improved his non-Kamui arsenal slightly throughout PII, but nothing to really make a difference as we saw he was praised for mastering his MS instead rather than his jutsu or physicals. So Orochimaru no-low diffs 3T Kakashi and low-mid diffs unrestricted Kakashi.



Kisame vs Mei:
Spoiler:

Kisame already defeated a Yoton user, and Mei's suitons can be countered by Kisame's suitons which are bigger and can be spammed more. Hidden mist isn't an issue for Kisame because he is a swordsmen of the mist (Kakashi stated Zabuza is making the other swordsmen "dangerous" in the mist, rather than restricting them or holding them back) and because Mei isn't a master at silent killing. The only reason she might opt for the mist is so she can cast acid mist in conjunction with it, but not only is the acid slow to take effect, Kisame can just dive underwater in his lake to avoid the effect and have his 1000 sharks swarm her (Asa Kujaku stalemated a bijuu's attack in aoe but failed to match 1000 shark's aoe). Worst for Mei she has no reliable answer for Daikodan and/or Waterdome.

Kisame losing in CQC to acid mist is unlikely for several reasons. It is not guaranteed that he wouldn't start with ninjutsu. He started with ninjutsu against team Gai and 6G Gai on turtle island, only starting with CQC against Bee and Asuma so it's a 50/50. Even then in both cases we could argue that either he was told not to use big jutsu by Itachi or that he was maximizing Samehada's effect on the Jinchuriki cloak. Furthermore Kisame doesn't have to start the battle offensively with suitons, summoning his lake and then engaging in CQC is still relatively safe for him as he can go underwater. This is assuming Mei will go for acid mist when he's charging her and that Kisame will not retaliate by using ninjutsu (Kisame used ninjutsu twice in the midst of CQC against Gai and Asuma, and his clone interrupted Neji and Lee's ambush with ninjutsu, yes they are not strong but they are fast and skilled in CQC). Kisame also should have knowledge on Mei's abilities, probably.

Based on portrayal, Mei doesn't have anything that definitively puts her above Kisame. She is a Kage, but Kisame was matched closely with Gai as his long-time rival and needing his trump card to be finished off by him; Gai is relative to Kakashi who an arc earlier was confirmed as Kage-level when he was considered for the hat. So Kisame is also Kage-level. Furthermore, she was portrayed as performing the worst against her Susano'o clones, a liability to Gaara, outperformed by Tsunade who has the title of the strongest kunoichi instead of Mei; so Kisame being weaker than Gaara/Onoki/Tsunade/A4 doesn't mean much, because Mei also is.

Kisame wins.



Kisame vs A3:
Spoiler:

Like I said first we need to look at their portrayal to determine a winner, A3 stalemated the Hachibi and gave numerous shinobi of the alliance trouble despite them having knowledge on him, Kisame would never give that much trouble to war arc Naruto clone or not. Kisame on the other hand already admitted inferiority to Jiraiya who is weaker than SM Naruto and his rival is someone said to get in SM Naruto's way against Pain (even if you disagree with that SM Naruto is still generally portrayed as above Gai). SM Naruto would never be forced to use danger sensing to beat Kisame. So from a portrayal aspect A3 > Kisame.

However when it comes to Kisame we have a direct on-panel fight clearly showing us Kisame can be a bad match-up to certain characters that are above him in strength like Killer Bee (yes Killer Bee even without BM is still superior to Kisame because he is more dangerous and can beat more shinobi than Kisame can).

Now the question is what is the profile of the shinobi that Kisame is the ultimate hard-counter for?
1. wears a chakra shroud
2. fights mainly in CQC
3. has a ton of chakra to supply Kisame for healing and to empower himself (ironically both A3 and Bee have biju-level chakra)

A3 fits this nicely, you could argue V2 Bee and A3 are very similar in how they fight and thus Kisame would be able to replicate his performance against Bee.

So one could argue Kisame keeps soaking the damage and getting stronger while A3 gets weaker, and we know Kisame almost drained Bee who has the reserves of the entire Hachibi clean so A3 won't take much longer. A3 also is very straightforward and doesn't have many options. Kisame has also absorbed Raiton in canon too so the lightning armor isn't a problem.

However there are still problems with this view, one is that the portrayal of Nukite's strength could be argued to be above V2 Bee's Lariat and that Kisame wouldn't survive it, another is that we're still only assuming that Bee and A3 are similar enough that it wouldn't make a difference against Kisame while in reality any difference in CQC skill, reflexes, and more importantly the strength of Nukite could make enough of a difference that Kisame doesn't actually win. Another problem is that A3 supposedly has "Black Lightning" that we have to account for...

Overall, I think the more logical and fair conclusion would be to say A3 can potentially be in trouble against Kisame due to how he fights, but is more likely to come out on top due to his superior portrayal, unseen black lightning and any minor advantages he might have over Bee in CQC skill/speed/reflexes/physicality.



Hebi Sasuke vs Kisame:
Spoiler:

Sasuke wins.

In CQC Sasuke is faster, has sharingan, CS and survivability. Kisame's strength likely won't be a bigger factor than Sasuke's CQC snake ninjutsu, 3T genjutsu and CS amp.

Kisame's Suitons can be dodged or blocked by snake meatshields, giant snake summons or Manda. Kisame will be hard pressed to deal with both Manda and Sasuke which could leave him very open to subtle genjutsu (like Deidara), sudden CS amp, and snakes. If Sasuke is severely wounded he can use Oral Rebirth, he could use it even as a surprise attack like he did against Itachi. Kisame could outlast but Sasuke can use Kirin with no chakra left, so even that route is not guaranteed for Kisame.

Kirin, Manda, 3T genjutsu and CS2 give Sasuke the win. Basically Sasuke can match him directly whereas Kisame will be hard pressed against Sasuke's indirect tricks (genjutsu, CS, Oral Rebirth).

Sasuke is generally stronger as he has a Kage-level boss summon, an S-rank finisher that while requires some prep can be used with no chakra left, a Senjutsu boost and the powers of the white snake. Mid-level Akatsuki like Deidara are below a restricted Hebi Sasuke and restricted high kages like Sick Itachi can be pushed by him.



Kisame vs Deidara:
Spoiler:

Kisame is much better in CQC but he isn't fast enough to completely prevent Deidara from reaching the air. Once in the air Deidara will pressure Kisame with C1/C2, Kisame can dive underwater to escape the explosions but Deidara can create Clay Fish which is big trouble for Kisame.

Kisame's offense will be shark missiles in order to reach Deidara but those can be dodged by his bird while Deidara counters with bombs. Daikodan could have enough aoe that Deidara can't dodge it but it isn't so fast that he can't match it with a C2 bomb that the shark can't absorb.

Deidara probably high-diffs, Kisame not being able to absorb the Clay screws him here. Although there is a chance Kisame could injure Deidara on the ground seeing as the distance is only 5 meters.



3T Itachi vs Kisame:
Spoiler:

Could go either way, with full knowledge Kisame will try to avoid CQC and focus on long range ninjutsu while Itachi will try to do the opposite.

Really the match depends on who succeeds in pressuring the other into their range, which is a toss up. Kisame would destroy 3T Itachi with long range ninjutsu while Itachi is skilled and fast enough to finesse Kisame with his powerful 3T genjutsu in CQC that Kisame likely won't be able to break in time.

In terms of portrayal 3T Itachi shouldn't be underestimated; he could startle Orochimaru with his power (compare that to Orochimaru disrespecting PI Kakashi's power) and he was overwhelming Kakashi in PI (who was said to not be a low-diff for Kisame). Additionally Itachi's clone without MS beat IA Naruto who was said to have surpassed IA Kakashi.



Orochimaru vs Kisame:
Spoiler:

There are three stages to Kisame's fights (although the first one might be skipped straight to the second like his Shoten did); first is on the ground (kinjutsu and occasional Suiton if water is available like against Asuma) on the lake/body of water (kinjutsu and more frequent Suiton like against team Gai and 7G Gai) and inside the waterdome (Bee).

If Kisame engages Orochimaru on the ground he will be overwhelmed quickly, Summons are a problem without ninjutsu, Orochimaru's sneak attacks are a problem (blindsiding KN4 post-TBB), bindingsnake glare is a problem (Hebi Sasuke subdued both partial-transformation Jugo and Suigetsu with it, while Orochimaru restrained a massive branch of the God Tree). On the lake he stands in a better position as Orochimaru's underground tactics and snakes will be tougher to land and he can dive underwater and try to dictate the battle from there.

Kisame is going to be constantly pressured from match start by snakes, Kusanagi, and poison (that he likely can't heal) while on land. If he finds room (likely unless he has no knowledge) to use his lake (or start with it like we've seen him do against team Gai) then he gets a breather. From there Orochimaru amps up the tempo with large summons that could likely swim (Manda 2 could swim) and Kisame gets overwhelmed; 1000 sharks is matched somewhat by 1000 snakes and Daikodan is blocked/meatshielded by Manda/Hydra/Rashomon, the rest of Orochimaru's jutsu (Kusanagi, Oral Rebirth, giant snakes, poison) trump Kisame's (shark bullet, water prison, feeding sharks (few in numbers) meaning Orochimaru is putting the pressure on Kisame on his own lake.

Kisame will likely die before he gets off Daikodan or waterdome, I would say his chances of surviving until he gets them are about as equal as his chances of being killed off neg-diff in initial CQC exchange I.e unlikely. If he did manage to get them off Orochimaru can probably Oral Rebirth out of being grappled and drained, from being ripped by the sharks and right before he drowns to get a new pair of lungs. Orochimaru can probably still fight from a distance using Manda or other snakes, and if Yamata comes out there's not much Kisame can do to something bigger and stronger than Manda has eight separate giant heads, regen (presumably) and has Orochimaru himself inside of it to also fight.

Overall a low/mid diff fight for Orochimaru, if Orochimaru used more jutsu that were absorbable, or wasn't as indirect in his fighting style Kisame would have stood a better chance. Orochimaru is also smarter, more knowledgeable, more experienced, has more unknown jutsu hype, knows more elements, has a perfect score in genjutsu, etc. Plus Kisame said Jiraiya was stronger than him, with the wording indicating the reason is because he's a Sannin, and was said to not be able to defeat PI Kakashi scot-free (something like mid-diff-ish, you can argue it's higher but definitely not a low diff) whereas Orochimaru was so far above PI Kakashi that they were almost incomparable as indicated by Kakashi's reluctance to even face him (neg/low-diff)



Jiraiya vs Kisame:
Spoiler:

Jiraiya is primarily a mid-long range fighter who relies on those ranges to deal damage and locations to set traps or activate jutsu and has large aoe techniques in combination with his summons that he can afford to use because of his stamina, he has SM on top which enhances all of the previously mentioned traits and the added bonus of also having short range as a much more steady option as well as a one-shot genjutsu.

Kisame is mainly a CQC fighter that can still operate in mid-range by using his suiton and long-range with his bigger guns/trump cards (Daikodan/1000 feeding sharks), his stamina coupled with his absorption and healing allow him to fight a prolonged battle however the absorption and healing are less reliable than his stamina since they depend on the opponent's fighting style to occur. He has no special defense, no extraordinary intelligence/knowledge and his basic ninjutsu is not versatile and he mainly depends on an anti-ninjutsu blast in the form of Daikodan and sometimes he fuses with his sword (most likely to capture but might use it to kill if need be?).

When we look at their portrayal, we know Kisame admitted inferiority and was almost killed by Toad Stomach, yes Jiraiya was advantaged because of the building for that specific jutsu but if Kisame was equal to or superior to Jiraiya at full power he wouldn't have struggled to survive even with that disadvantage against Jiraiya so easily. It’s a location advantage not a sharingan power up or something; it’s not like Jiraiya is a tier stronger when he’s in a building.

Kisame usually likes to engage in short range cqc first, or at best we can assume he'll use mid-range suitons after he supplies himself with the lake like against team Gai. Jiraiya on the other hand uses mid-range combat abilities. If Kisame decides to engage Jiraiya on land, he will either get killed or severely injured by Jiraiya's jutsu. Jiraiya's oil, Yomi Numa, Wild Lion's Mane etc are all a problem for Kisame who has nothing to rely on but his strength and cqc. Assuming Kisame starts with the lake he makes things easier for himself, but the problem is even Jiraiya's small toads have feats of sneaking up on shared vision (when Jiraiya got out of that small toad's mouth). Jiraiya's boss summons have large aoe that Kisame can't counter other than Daikodan and they can likely swim efficiently too, the toads can fight in CQC with their weapons or clear distances by jumping high or side-stepping like against Shukaku, a Biju-sized Gamayu Endan gets no answer from Kisame other than a well-timed Daikodan. 1000 sharks can be cleared by the toads aoe plus Jiraiya's attacks. Kisame is stronger than Gamabunta but he needs to focus on him to actually beat him and he’s still got Jiraiya to worry about.

The above is basically saying that Kisame is absolutely struggling against Base Jiraiya and one of his boss summons and needs his trump card to even survive realistically, this means that there is a chance the fight will end here before progressing into the “next stage” for Kisame (waterdome and fusion) by a blindside from Jiraiya; just like there was a chance before that Kisame would be defeated or injured on land before he decides to use his suitons.

This is an important point here because characters don’t start out with their stronger jutsu and instead pick up the pace, so there’s a chance that they will get defeated or injured before the fight escalates depending on the gap between the two characters or more specifically how strong their "casual" arsenal is.

Examples from the manga are when Orochimaru came out of Sasuke and used his Hydra, he was ready to engage Itachi with his Kusanagi (and presumably other snake powers he didn’t need his arms for) however he was stopped short before even engaging Itachi and sealed. If we’re being optimistic towards Itachi this implies a decent gap between him and Orochimaru in power, and if we’re being pessimistic this implies there’s a decent gap between their trump cards (Susano’o, Yamato), but the point is that there is a gap of strength that made one character die before he tried everything he had. Better yet look at Jiraiya vs Konan.

An example of injury would Asuma getting injured by Kisame before he really used Hien to its maximum effect nor used his Katons, and Asuma was going to be killed/incapacitated/injured further from Kisame’s water shark missile if not for Kakashi – Asuma’s cqc skill is high and he’s been praised for it so he could scratch Kisame with Hien but his other abilities pale in comparison and so does his portrayal which is why he was cast aside (or almost was) by Samehada shaving and shark missile respectively before he showed us everything he had.

Moving on, it's apparent that Kisame is outmatched and outgunned even in his lake both in direct combat and indirect combat (blindsides, numbers, distractions, traps) and all he has left is Samehada fusion which might help with surviving a few attacks but realistically Kisame can still be blindsided, dragged into an acid barrier, falls for a toad distraction, etc. The problem for him is Jiraiya’s attacks aren’t naturally easy to absorb and he’s still vulnerable even when fused, if he latches on to Jiraiya the latter might draw in NE and turn him to stone. The biggest problem is that Kisame might very well die before he fuses or more accurately before he decides to fuse; waterdome combo is more suited for shinobi like Killer Bee and Daikodan/1000 sharks are a more direct threat to shinobi than chasing and draining them.

There’s no need to get into SM Jiraiya vs Kisame because Kisame can’t realistically stop Jiraiya from reaching it if he wanted to since he isn’t nearly as versatile, smart or has what it takes to go through Jiraiya’s traps, and he can’t really last long against him. The feints SM Jiraiya against the 3 Pains in CQC would obliterate Kisame and so would COR and most of his attacks, worst of all Kisame can’t absorb any chakra since he’ll get turned to stone and Jiraiya being the more knowledgeable experienced shinobi might use that on Kisame.

To conclude, Jiraiya needing Gamabunta and a few other jutsu might make this a mid-diff fight for him, but the fact that he is still not fighting with his full moveset and ignoring the power up SM gives him entirely I’m inclined to say it goes back down to low diff. This fits with the portrayal of these characters and takes into account their movesets.

To summarise the above: Jiraiya wins low difficulty against Kisame because:
1. Kisame could die or carry an injury before his big guns are out.
2. Jiraiya doesn't need SM to win.
3. Kisame needs his big guns to survive against Jiraiya's normal arsenal.
4. Kisame can't pressure Jiraiya enough to raise the difficulty.
5. Kisame can't reliably absorb/heal due to how Jiraiya fights.



Jiraiya vs Masters:
Spoiler:

Jiraiya (unrestricted Jiraiya starting in base) is a solid high kage for me, SM Jiraiya (unrestricted Jiraiya starting in SM) is an above-average/strong high kage and Base Jiraiya is an average mid-kage. Either master is an average low kage.

A high-kage on average should have no trouble low-diffing a low-Kage, so two of them being defeated with high difficulty isn't a stretch. The issue here is the teamwork Gai and Kakashi possess and how much difference it will make and even more importantly that Jiraiya momentarily becomes a weak mid-kage or even arguably a strong low-Kage while prepping for SM so depending on how the fight goes and how aggressive the masters are Jiraiya might carry an injury or lose a limb as the cost of reaching SM.

Overall I give the edge to Jiraiya with extreme difficulty as a high-kage, once he reaches SM if he has a boss summon out (he should) the masters are walled unless Gai can pressure Jiraiya enough for a successful Kamui which I doubt given Jiraiya's numbers (clones/summons occupy one master, Jiraiyaoccupoes the other), superior stamina (infinite Senjutsu vs taxing gates) and ability to keep Gai in long-range (Gamayu Endan, Water Gunshots, Leaping huge distances).



Oro w/ET vs MS Sasuke:
Spoiler:

I think Orochimaru is somewhere between MS Sasuke (strong high kage) and Hebi Sasuke (average mid-kage), Orochimaru is relative to another high-kage in SM Jiraiya (average high-kage), albeit slightly weaker - making Orochimaru a low high-kage.

MS Sasuke on average would defeat Orochimaru with somewhere between mid and high difficulty , it's not low because they're in the same tier, and it could be high because of match-up (Amaterasu resistance, etc).

Orochimaru then adds two Hokage levels to his power, the "Hokage" distinction implies they're not at the lowest levels of kage; so at worst they are not Entry-Kage level comparable to Chiyo, IA Kakashi/Naruto, but rather low-Kage comparable to Kisame, Mei and the Masters - at best they are mid-kage or higher.

Sasuke will need to bulldoze through Orochimaru's summons and defenses in order to win, while simultaneously watching out for Mokuton, Suiton, Bringer of darkness that can trap kages and seems to not be broken even by partner method, among their other jutsu.

Another issue is actually putting all three Kage-levels down, Amaterasu seems to be a counter for Edo regen, however Hashirama could likely push the flames with Mokuton and Orochimaru Oral Rebirths out as per canon. Genjutsu is not much of a threat here because of the presence of three Kage-levels who can use partner method which is a canonical good counter against 3T genjutsu, we also saw Onoki bring a Kage back into the fight after Madara's genjutsu seemingly incapacitated him. Tsukiyomi would have been great here if Sasuke had it as it has the power to mind-control high-kages which would be a decent counter to Edo Tensei.

With the Edos not toying around like they were with Hiruzen, they probably could use more jutsu and with Orochimaru joining the fight Sasuke is gonna be hard pressed to find an opening for a sealing tag on the Edos, and an opening for Kirin for Orochimaru.

Orochimaru wins mid-diff, high diff at worst, eventually Sasuke runs out of chakra due to needing Susano'o so much to survive, or they find a way around his Susano'o while pressuring him/distracting him. These two outcomes are much more realistic than Sasuke soloing a high-kage + two low-kage minimum where his best jutsus are unlikely to overcome the numbers and counters they have and is needed for defense to not be overwhelmed.



Orochimaru w/ET general:
Spoiler:


I think he only needs Edos for Danzō and the three paths. He clears the rest with varying difficulties without Edo Tensei.

Sasori

Manda should be able to fight for a bit even if he's scratched, and he has the option of going underground to avoid Sasori's attacks, meanwhile Manda can cause heavy casualties to Sasori's puppets due to its strength and size. In addition Orochimaru himself seems to be immune to poison, and his Hydra overpowers Sasori's arsenal.

Hebi Sasuke

Close fight, Sasuke is crafty and dangerous but I think Orochimaru overall has the more powerful arsenal. Orochimaru has better mastery of the white snake power and Sasuke only has Kirin as an option to deal with Yamata. Neutral knowledge Orochimaru in a tough fight.

Kisame

There are three stages to Kisame's fights; on the ground (kinjutsu and occasional Suiton if water is available like against Asuma) on the lake (kinjutsu and more frequent Suiton like against team Gai) and inside the waterdome (Bee).


Kisame on the ground will be overwhelmed quickly, Summons are a problem without ninjutsu, Orochimaru's sneak attacks are a problem, bindingsnake glare is a problem. On the lake he stands in a better position as Orochimaru's underground tactics and snakes will be tougher to land and he can dive underwater and try to dictate the battle from there.


Kisame is going to be constantly pressured from match start by snakes, Kusanagi, and poison while on land. If he finds room to use his lake (or start with it like we've seen him do against team Gai) then he gets a breather. From there Orochimaru amps up the tempo with large summons that could likely swim (Manda 2 could swim) and Kisame gets overwhelmed; 1000 sharks is matched somewhat by 1000 snakes and Daikodan is blocked/meatshielded by Manda/Hydra/Rashomon, the rest of Orochimaru's jutsu (Kusanagi, Oral Rebirth, giant snakes, poison) trump Kisame's (shark bullet, water prison, feeding sharks (few in numbers) meaning Orochimaru is putting the pressure on Kisame on his lake.


Orochimaru is also smarter, more knowledgeable, more experienced, has more unknown jutsu hype, knows more elements, has a perfect score in genjutsu, etc. Plus Kisame said Jiraiya was stronger than him, implying the reason is because he's a Sannin, and was compared to PI Kakashi favourably (something like mid-diff) whereas Orochimaru was so far above PI Kakashi that they were incomparable (neg/low-diff).


Overall a low/mid diff fight for Orochimaru, if Orochimaru used more jutsu that were absorbable, or wasn't as indirect in his fighting style Kisame would have stood a better chance.



3T Itachi vs Deidara:
Spoiler:

C1 can be dodged, C4 can be seen through and dodged as we've seen with Sasuke (he got caught due to being feinted which is unlikely to happen to Itachi).

C2 is 50/50 seeing as while it's faster and has larger aoe Deidara also had the advantage of the placed mines which were the main reason Sasuke struggled.

There's the possibility of Itachi closing the distance before Deidara takes to the air, and then there's 3T which Deidara has knowledge of and a supposed counter.

I would usually give the slight edge to Deidara due to C2 spam being more dangerous than Itachi's arsenal and Deidara having genjutsu resistance but with the distance here being 5 meters that's not guaranteed.



Itachi vs Minato:
Spoiler:

Itachi and Minato are similar in that they're both young geniuses who didn't live up to their potential, who both possess excellent reactions with instant/near-instant offense and defense (through MS and FTG). The issue for Itachi is that his MS in comparison to Minato costs much more chakra and has worse drawbacks which is the decider in this fight imo.

Minato's reactions and FTG mean Amaterasu and Totsuka are unlikely to land, they also mean Itachi can't corner him in CQC to land Tsukiyomi since Minato can keep teleporting.

With FTG-using KBs thrown in the mix and Minato's superior stamina it's a matter of time before Itachi is overwhelmed.

Minato also had very little panel time, at least in comparison to Itachi so he might have other stuff up his sleeve.

In terms of portrayal Minato beat Obito who Itachi couldn't beat in his lifetime when he had every reason to.



Yamato's statement:
Spoiler:

I heard there was another translation where it's said differently, but I don't know.

If not, you could and say that it wouldn't make sense that his power would be praised in relation to Itachi if the gap was significant, and that this piece of portrayal is more recent and should take precedence. Or you could say that the plethora of evidence showing Kisame being inferior to Itachi and Kishi not giving an explanation for this supposed sudden power-up of Kisame (the author could have had Kisame as someone who was hiding his true power or that he was playing weak or something like he made excuses for Hashirama like people didn't believe how strong he was, etc) points more towards Kisame being powerful just enough to be relevant to Itachi.

The issue is if Kisame did get retconned then all his past actions need to be explained (cucking to Jiraiya, saying Deidara was one of the stronger Akatsuki, etc), and since his introduction until his death he was built-up as Gai's rival, so did Gai get retconned too? Kisame being retconned to be much stronger than he was also can be argued to serve no purpose in the story as a side-villain and the author is unlikely to have an incentive to do that, and imp he probably didn't.



Kimimaro vs Asuma:
Spoiler:

Tough one, Asuma was portrayed as decently stronger than his individual students in the war arc and is stated to be 'close in power' to Part I Kakashi - which would put him as a skilled/high Jonin since Kakashi is one of the strongest Jonin. Kimimaro on ther other hand was kept up with by the kids, however he could still easily subdue Jugo (I rank Jugo as average Jonin or lower at his best) but then again the gaps between Jonin levels is massive anyway. Kimimaro has some sketchy portrayal due to the implications of him being relevant in a Kage battle, being compared to Hebi Sasuke and being sick (so some of his hype might be referring to his stronger self). But even then those can be explained somewhat (Orochimaru meant absorbing his body then fighting Hiruzen rather than Kimimaro himself being there, being >> Jugo is not impressive when even Suigetsu could do it and Hebi Sasuke subdued both Suigetsu and Juugo effortlessly while Kimimaro only subdued Jugo).

I have Asuma mid-high diff by an extending Hien or his Katons, and he could probably outlast sick Kimi. Though I think it can be argued otherwise



NLF; Daikōdan, Yata, Totsuka, Frog Song, Koto:
Spoiler:

We don't completely ignore them as that's unfair, however we work with the information available while making sure it doesn't contradict the character's and the jutsu's portrayed strength.

Daikodan is said to get bigger the bigger its target is, we saw it lose to Hirudora but the stress there was on Hirudora not having chakra rather than being the more powerful technique. That tells me that techniques (that have chakra) and are on Hirudora's destructive level would not overpower Daikodan's absorption. If Hirudora was too strong to be absorbed, Kishi would have had Gai overpower it directly, and there'd be no point in the whole "it's not made of chakra".

This is not to be confused with Daikodan's own firepower, as the whole idea of the technique (and absorption in general) is that it ignores firepower entirely (up to a certain point). Now the question is since Daikodan is an offensive projectile jutsu what is its actual firepower and how much damage does it do?

We know Daikodan is a much bigger version of the normal shark bullet, so based on that we can conclude its firepower is much stronger, but obviously its firepower is weaker than Hirudora's because the latter overpowered it.The shark bullet seems to be targeted/it chases the enemy rather than a straight line so maybe that also applies to the bigger version (which would be interesting if a shinobi were to dodge it he wouldn't get rid of it).

Other than that there clues like Daikodan's hype/portrayal as an absorption technique is not on the level of things like Preta path for example because the latter could absorb Senjutsu without problems and has better hype so the same way those characters/techniques aren't invincible so would Daikodan not be. Preta seemingly couldn't absorb solid material like Gaara's sand, so that puts in the question of whether the shark bullet can be blocked by solid ninjutsu. Daikodan is an offensive projectile meaning the end goal is to harm the enemy, based on common sense an average shinobi getting hit cleanly by Daikodan and surviving wouldn't make sense if his smaller shark creations could rip apart human flesh.

Yata made Itachi "invincible" and was called an "ultimate defense" while he had V4 Susano'o up, so one can make the argument that Yata is above V4 Susano'o durability (what's the point of Susano'o carrying a shield thats weaker than its body, and why would a shield that's weaker than its wielder's body be hyped up as an ultimate defense instead of that supposedly weaker body?).

By scaling the Totsuka was Orochimaru's downfall and something he seeked but couldn't find, Yata by hype is placed in that same category, meaning Yata > Orochimaru's defenses. For example Yata should outperform Orochimaru's Rashomon against KN4 TBB, and likely by a decent bit too. When it comes to things like Jinton for example it depends on which you believe has higher portrayal or is more valuable between Yata and Jinton, and Itachi's own portrayal in comparison to Onoki and how much their respective techniques account for their overall power (debatable but there's information to infer).

Frog Song can likely be countered by partner method, the author goes out of his way to highlight specific counters to powerful techniques. Tsukiyomi is immune to partner method and Kishi made sure to show us that when two PJ said it would one-shot them if it landed, and Naruto said everything happens in an instant so you can't break out. That didn't happen with Frog Song. You could say Senjutsu makes it hard to overpower but then it's a matter of Biju chakra vs Sage chakra. You could say the mechanism by which it works implies it's a one-shot once it happens since "it seals the mind and body" or that the partner (biju) would also be caught - those arguments aren't baseless but imo:
1. there is no incentive to believe it will one-shot; SM Jiraiya is not cleanly portrayed above Killer Bee.
2. the arguments for it being broken I feel are more supported by evidence rather than giving the benefit of the doubt to the sages.

Koto is more straightforward, we saw it can work on people on Edo Itachi's level but the issue is Shisui's portrayal isn't defined in the manga and there is very little information for us to conclude how strong he actually was. So this makes it difficult to rate how practical or to where a logical limit should be drawn for Koto.

Overall I think it's important to remember the practicality of these techniques; they first have to land on the opponent for this discussion to be needed (from a practical "who's stronger" perspective), Jiraiya has to prep SM and then prep frog, Itachi has to establish eye contact, Daikodan has to hit the target, Koto has to be cast etc. When we take these things into consideration they make the conclusion more likely to be close to the truth.



Jiraiya vs A3:
Spoiler:


Portrayal wise, KCM Naruto struggled to defeat A3, but his SM incarnation (which is weaker) defeated A3 with some knowledge advantage but it was only a clone and it was a straightforward defeat. SM Naruto was portrayed as superior to Jiraiya but not to the extent he'd lose to his clone. Jiraiya defeated Kisame and Konan quickly and in base and is portrayed superior to Hiruzen who's stated to be the strongest of the five kages. One might disagree and say Jiraiya won't stalemate the Hachibi but we can't ignore that Deidara (who's portrayed as so much weaker than Orochimaru who's Jiraiya relative to the extent he wouldn't make Orochimaru struggle) literally knocked out the three tails and several fodder shinobi could restrain the wild Hachibi (wild is an important distinction so we don't get carried away and apply all the feats of Bee to the Hachibi). If we say "Deidara just had the firepower it doesn't mean Jiraiya can do it" this implies it is a match up issue rather than an overall level of strength issue which can be easily turned around and used against A3's accomplishments (he only stalemated the Hachibi because of his stamina not because he's a match for him). What's more is that we've already seen Base Jiraiya defeat KN4 while technically he shouldn't have the firepower to do so. Overall all of Jiraiya's praise and hype puts him above A3 even if slightly.

How the fight goes down: we look at how they fight; A3 is a straightforward cqc fighter who engages in close range and relies on his strength, speed and durability to win while Jiraiya is a mid to long range fighter who relies on large aoe, traps and taking advantage of locations. So basically they are the opposite of each other. The fight will mostly be A3 trying to close the distance and kill Jiraiya in cqc while Jiraiya falls back and uses traps to slow A3 down/provide openings or his large aoe that isn't easily dodgeable.

In a neutral fight Jiraiya will start in base and have manga knowledge, even if we don't think Jiraiya knows about the lightning shroud and the Raikage's strong body (Tsunade did iirc) then Jiraiya still has the advantage here because Jiraiya has more abilities A3 doesn't know about than A3 has abilities Jiraiya doesn't knows about; this matters because throughout the course of the fight A3 who's straightforward will be figured out quickly as opposed to Jiraiya who can do dozens of things and fight in many different ways. Jiraiya will likely figure out A3's abilities and his strong body during the initial exchanges by using his mid-range attacks like Yomi Numa, FCD, Shadow manipulation etc and he likely won't be in danger because he doesn't prefer CQC anyway, from this point on Jiriaya will know if his arsenal in base is a match for A3 or if he needs SM. You might argue that Jiraiya shouldn't get enough time to figure all this out but we've literally seen the opposite happen to A3 against the alliance who had enough time to mount defenses that failed and gave them that knowledge. Jiraiya might not have fodders to support him but those fodders are nothing to Jiraiya in the first place.

Contrary to popular belief, Jiraiya can buy time for SM other than just Gamaken. He can set up dozens of traps like shadow manipulation, KB distractions, smoke bomb/toad diversions, Boss Summons leaping/jumping out of range while his detection barrier is active all together to reach SM. If we believe Jiraiya can't move while his hands are clasped for the ritual then that means it takes him very little time to reach SM (against Pain he was only perfectly still from the time Gamaken was falling until Gamaken reached the ground) and if we believe it takes him longer (i.e from the moment he clasped his hands and activated his barrier) then that means despite him taking longer to reach SM he can still move around freely. A3's problem here is that he's strong and durable but if the distractions are slowing him down he can't do much about them since he's pretty straightforward and doesn't have many options.

Once Jiraiya reaches SM, Frog Song definitively defeats A3 and now Jiraiya can do everything he did before to slow down the Raikage but much better since he has Senjutsu to enhance his base jutsu, new Senjutsu techniques (Geomon) and Ma and Pa who can target him with Futon to blow away the shroud (the Futon is dodgeable to A3 but them already knowing that would only use it after a distraction/blindside and we've seen A3 hit by Futon in canon). Blowing away the shroud might not be enough to weaken A3's durability enough so that Jiraiya can directly kill him, but it would make it easier to slow the Raikage even more than before and allow Frog Song to be executed. We must remember that in SM Jiraiya could escape shared vision and snag a body, A3 might be faster than the paths but he isn't as tough to deal with overall.

As for A3's speed it's is not so astronomical that Jiraiya will be overwhelmed by it if Dodai and those fodders didn't, and that's not an outlier because we've seen in the manga that faster characters tend to overwhelm slower characters after a while rather than right from the get-go:

1. Kurenai dodged Itachi's strike and blocked his kick, but was eventually overwhelmed and blindsided by Itachi's shunshin speed (when he went behind her without her knowing what happened).
2. V1 A was praised on panel of having speed that is >= Minato's but was being kept up with by Suigetsu and Jugo who could not only intercept him (interception feats usually aren't reliable, but this one in particular was highlighted by Shi as impressive) but block him too (Jugo). However they still eventually got overwhelmed by the speed (Juugo commenting on Raikage's speed and Raikage dodging him point blank and blindsiding him with shunshin+elbow).

A4 and A3 are both fast and durable, but A3's emphasis has always been on his durability (strongest body, tanks FRS, etc) while A4's was on his speed (fastest man, Minato's rival, Shi's commentary). More importantly, when A3's speed was emphasized it was through his reflexes to dodge FRS from close range rather than overwhelm his opponents with his speed, just like the emphasis on A4's durability was minor (surviving Chidori, Sasuke's sword bouncing off) rather than being emphasized as someone really tough to damage.

For Kisame vs A3 I said that Black Lightning might make a difference, but here I don't think it will. The reason for that is because A3 never bothered to use it against SM Naruto/the alliance shinobi which implies to me that people who are close to SM Naruto wouldn't have this jutsu make a difference against them either. In Kisame's case he is just much weaker than Jiraiya and Naruto so it's optimistic to assume that for him.

So yeah, Jiraiya wins with high difficulty.



Tsunade vs Hebi Sasuke:
Spoiler:


Comparing their portrayal Hebi Sasuke and Tsunade are on the same general level/tier. The reason I think they are is that we know Jiraiya is portrayed above Tsunade because Shikaku said Sages are above anyone in the village, and Fukasaku said only Jiraiya could have done that much against Pain in front of Tsunade. Naruto had to surpass Jiraiya and not Tsunade to face Pain. This also fits with Naruto >= Sasuke > Sakura theme and takes into consideration that her support abilities and accomplishments are included in her portrayal (so if she's on the same level as Orochimaru/Jiraiya with support/medical ninjutsu logically she would be below them without it (i.e fighting ability only). My tiers are narrow but they still give a decent idea:

Tier/level 1:
SM Naruto
SM Jiraiya

Tier/level 2:
Tsunade

Next, we know Jiraiya is portrayed as decently superior to people like Kisame (and therefore people around Kisame's level), while it's true Jiraiya had a location advantage in the hotel Kisame still shouldn't have been helpless if he was close in power to him. However we also know that Kisame is still below Tsunade because he admitted inferiority to the Sannin collectively:

Tier/level 3:
Kisame

So now we have people solidly above Tsunade (Jiraiya, SM Naruto and people relative to them) and people solidly below Tsunade (mid-Akatsuki, Masters), the only question is who fits in and fills up Tsunade's tier? i.e which characters are portrayed as above mid-Akatsuki/Masters but still below SM Naruto/Jiraiya/MS Sasuke etc?

Hebi Sasuke already fought a mid-Akatsuki in Deidara, and had every disadvantage against him (no KI, match-up disadvantage (ironically people claim Sasuke had a match up advantage going against the author's words), Tobi laid the mines, genjutsu counter) yet Sasuke still won and the author literally had Sasuke say "even if Raiton didn't work I had a back up plan" as if to tell people "no you can't use Raiton as an excuse". Sasuke didn't use Kirin. Even from a story perspective this served as the "warm up" fight for Hebi Sasuke and for us to see a "glimpse" of his power before his actual real battle against Itachi. It's why Sasuke kept getting praised for his speed, sharingan, Raiton etc throughout the fight, Deidara was used to hype Sasuke.

Another way to look at it is that Sasuke had every disadvantage against Deidara and came out on top, meaning he's a level above him. Similar to how Itachi had every disadvantage against Hebi Sasuke (lack of KI, planned the fight, had to fight Orochimaru's hydra as well, etc), meaning Itachi was a level above him.

Deidara is also hinted by Karin to be inferior to Orochimaru and we know he's inferior to Sasori so he competes with Kisame/Kakuzu.

So now we have:
Level 1:
Sick Itachi
SM Naruto
SM Jiraiya


Level 2:
Tsunade (below Jiraiya)
Hebi Sasuke (below Itachi)

Level 3:
Kisame (below Tsunade, below Jiraiya)
Deidara (below Hebi Sasuke, below Orochimaru)
Kakuzu

Other people you can fit in in Tsunade's tier are people portrayed below level 1 but above mid-Akatsuki and masters level: Like A3, A4, Hiruzen, Sasori etc. They might not be equal but they're comparable.

Now there is the comment of Karin telling Sasuke "Someone who beat Orochimaru shouldn't have struggled with the likes of Deidara" and Sasuke told her it was because Orochimaru was weakened. The thing is, we know why Sasuke "struggled" with Deidara: the author went out of his way to highlight that Sasuke had no KI, we saw Sasuke take damage and lose the ability to fly because of Tobi's interruption, we were directly told that Deidara is a bad match up for Sasuke, we found out Sasuke didn't use his trump card and we were told Sasuke still had a back up plan anyway. So all of these are clear reasons the author dedicated panels to highlight which show us why Sasuke struggled against Deidara. If Kishi wanted to portray Deidara as close to Hebi Sasuke he could have simply wrote the fight without those things, but he didn't and we shouldn't ignore that. Sasuke was informing Karin that his BoS version was lucky Orochimaru was sick, not that his Hebi version struggled against people Orochimaru wouldn't struggle against.

The point here is that there's no way Deidara (or those on his level) are on the same tier as Hebi Sasuke.

Excluding her support role, against the Susano'o clones Tsunade was portrayed as below Onoki (at least post-will) and comparable to A4 (he implied she was getting sloppy and he had one arm which points to his superiority but he still got caught by genjutsu which puts her back up there with him) and above Mei (who was getting overwhelmed).

Generally speaking they should be on the same level and comparable, the question is who should have the edge? If I had to choose I'll give a slight edge to Tsunade because I think it's slightly optimistic to assume Sasuke surpassed and can defeat a Sannin because his next power up the Mangekyo Sharingan is supposed to be equal to SM Naruto who has just surpassed the Sannin. The idea of Hebi Sasuke for me is that it is a bridge between Wind Arc Naruto and SM Naruto. Wind Arc Naruto is comparable at best to BoS Sasuke albeit weaker while SM Naruto is comparable to MS Sasuke. Hebi is in between these two stages and he ended up losing his Hebi powers as they were a red herring to the story and his development (Orochimaru and his powers are evil). So basically it doesn't make sense that there is a power up of Sasuke where he can defeat one Sannin and lose to the other two, what makes more sense is that he reached the minimum of Sannin-level and can give a really good fight to Tsunade but ultimately lose. I also don't think he'd do as well as Tsunade did against Madara even if most of what she did was off-panel.

Now we move on to how they fight: Hebi Sasuke is a close to mid-range fighter who relies on his swordsmanship and Raiton variants to damage the enemy, his Katons and snake hands/meatshields are used in close to mid-range for offense/defense and has access to high-level offensive and defensive techniques in the form of Oral Rebirth, Kirin, and his CS that while are very powerful they exhaust his chakra or require some time to set up. He also has access to a boss summon in Manda.

Tsunade is mainly a CQC fighter that relies on her top notch Taijutsu, paralyzing through Rashinsho, resilience, top notch regeneration, adeptness at evasion and most importantly her strength, her Byakugo increases all her stats on top of automatic regeneration and she has access to Katsuyu who is useful both in battle and as support although she is inconsistent in summoning it for battle. She also seems to have high stamina and a gravitation towards attrition battles.

How the fight goes down: First off we agreed their portrayal is close to each other meaning regardless of who wins it won't be without effort or without big jutsu being involved, so right off the bat Tsunade one-shotting Sasuke in the first CQC exchange or Sasuke beheading her with Chidori Eiso are out of the question. Tsunade will likely engage in CQC and so will Sasuke who will be at a disadvantage. The reason Tsunade will have the upper hand in CQC despite Sasuke's sharingan, emphasis on speed, CS2 amp, Raiton, kinjutsu is because of her superior skill, much superior strength, Rashinsho, emphasis on evasion skill, resilience and durability which are overall a better and superior CQC toolkit than Sasuke's. Sasuke's skills will likely be relevant here for defensive purposes however, allowing him to survive her onslaught with his sharingan/speed/CS2 and gain some distance, at worst Sasuke wastes one Oral Rebirth but I doubt it. Her Byakugo is also a better enhancement than CS2 in CQC since not only does it boost her stats and make even much more dangerous due to her strength but it heals her from anything that doesn't kill her instantly from Sasuke in a swift fashion that barely slows her down. From there Sasuke will likely go for mid-range shurikens, Katons and using snakes which would be countered by Tsunade's strength/evasion and if not then by Byakugo which Tsunade would have activated by now due to knowing she'll need it to face someone with Orochimaru's powers and/or to handle Sasuke's Katon spam. At any rate like I said before their portrayal is close so Byakugo will definitely be activated before (if) she's killed.

At this point Sasuke would have realized that even if he were to go CS2 and attempt to kill Tsunade in CQC it likely won't work due to her strength/regen that he's seen before/is currently witnessing making his only remaining options genjutsu, Manda and Kirin.

When it comes to genjutsu and Tsunade, there are points in her favor and points that are in Sasuke's favor. In Sasuke's favor, we have seen him use genjutsu to land openings on Deidara and could (somewhat?) restrain Orochimaru. More importantly Sasuke has the ability to mind control summons and has a feat of doing just that to a Sannin boss summon no less. Some will say Sasuke only got Manda because he was distracted, Sasuke only controlled Manda for like a split second and only made him open his mouth which doesn't mean he can fully control his actions, controlling Manda cost Sasuke a lot of chakra, etc. But realistically speaking these are all excuses supported by zero evidence fro the manga or databooks, in fact the databook goes on to praise Sasuke for this skill and more importantly says that Sasuke displayed a glimpse of what Madara did when he controlled the Kyuubi i.e the reference for his feat was the feat of mind-controlling the Kyuubi (which obviously doesn't have any of those made up weaknesses).

In Tsunade's favor, we have to remember that Sasuke's genjutsu is not as strong as Itachi's and therefore less impactful, meaning Tsunade shouldn't struggle as much as Orochimaru to break it and risk losing a limb. Sasuke also doesn't tend to try and force eye contact in cqc as much as Itachi does and his genjutsu is mostly used for openings (likely because his genjutsu isn't as strong as Itachi's). Some optimistic assumptions for Tsunade would be her and Katsuyu sharing chakra/informing the other when genjutsu is used and then breaking it, but this is unlikely since I'm a firm believer in the idea that if the author highlights certain counters to a technique (like 3t) to hype it then we can't go and assume what other counters are just because the mechanism seems like it works, kind of like how Pain "constantly pumps chakra into the paths" but was never portrayed as immune to genjutsu. In Tsunade's defense however, we don't know how practical/successful would controlling Katusyu be, technically speaking if she's being occupied by Manda (which I'll get to next) then Sasuke might have an opening to genjutsu Katsuyu but the problem is Sasuke himself will be occupied with Tsunade and while this might mean the slug and her princess can't save each other from genjutsu (because each one is occupied fighting) it still likely isn't such a big factor since we established Sasuke's genjutsu isn't that dangerous looking at its portrayal and the fact that Sasuke may not have an opening to use it if Tsunade is charging him with Susano'o-busting, Magatama-tanking, Katon-swatting momentum. Another issue is that Sasuke doesn't have knowledge on any of Katsuyu's abilities so even if he's successful in controlling her it won't be that dangerous.

Manda and Katsuyu: By portrayal, Manda and Katsuyu are in the same league along with Gamabunta. Therefore logically speaking if we apply the deadlock the difficulty at which Katsuyu kills Manda should be about the same as the difficulty of Manda killing Gamabunta - so the common suggestion that Katsuyu "can't be killed by Manda, he can't do anything to her!" isn't true when Gamabunta could hold his own against Manda for a while. Also, Katsuyu in canon couldn't achieve that much dominance over Manda and Tsunade delivered the finishing blow; if Katsuyu could get rid of Manda that easily Manda wouldn't have occupied both summons and needed to be defeated by Tsunade.

Tsunade didn't opt to summon Katsuyu against Madara to help her fight, she only summoned her for support reasons, so did Sakura in the war arc. From the way the Madara fight and Tsunade's feats and portrayal in that fight were drawn, it doesn't seem like the author wants us to think that Tsunade was not fighting at full power. One could say this fits with Katsuyu's support abilities being so important implying that's what she's mainly used for. Tsunade did opt to summon Katsuyu against her fellow Sannin Orochimaru, but Orochimaru relies on summons anyway and that could be due to the summon deadlock. Even when Katsuyu was summoned.

However, a simple counter to the above within the context of this fight is that even if Tsunade wouldn't summon Katsuyu, she definitely will when Sasuke summons Manda anyway, and if Tsunade finds an opening against Manda she will one-shot the snake with her Byakugo-enhanced strength while Sasuke is gonna have more difficulty handling Katsuyu.

Now that we're past genjutsu and summons, at this point the likely outcome is that Manda gets killed by Tsunade or Katsuyu's acid while Katsuyu is de-summoned or remains on the battlefield while Tsunade heals from the injuries and Sasuke is fatigued from all the fighting and likely due to possibly having survived a punch from Tsunade due to Oral Rebirth, Sasuke used Oral Rebirth in an offensive manner against Itachi but he had the momentum then and it was part of his plan due to his knowledge, here the only thing he'll benefit from it is the extra life.

At this point the battle is over one of two ways, either Sasuke dies before he gets to set up Kirin from an incessant onslaught from the never-tiring Tsunade giving her a high difficulty win, or he manages to prep it. If he manages to prep it it would be weaker than what we saw against Itachi but still relevant enough to kill Tsunade, at this point Tsunade's only answer would be to have the Katsuyu that was already there (Katsuyu didn't de-summon since Sasuke presumably immediately went for Kirin) engulf her and protect her, this could work if we consider how durable Katsuyu is and that Kirin will be weaker than the one we saw, all on top of Tsunade's Byakugo. Or it could not work and Tsunade dies. However the problem with this is that the portrayal of Kirin specifically highlighted it's striking speed which implies most characters wouldn't get the chance to mount a defense, on the other hand one could argue the emphasis on it's striking speed is telling us "you can't dodge the aoe because it hits fast enough and big enough" not "you can't try to mount any defense of any shape" but that is too optimistic for Tsunade. If Tsunade is conveniently atop Katsuyu than that's lucky for her too.

With all that said though, I think it's more likely Sasuke doesn't get to set it off in the first place due to the incessant pressure he'll be getting from Tsunade that he didn't get from Itachi. If Itachi wasn't coughing blood, injured and wanted to kill Sasuke he wouldn't have gave him enough time to set up the Katons, jump up into the big stone, etc.

What really makes me lean towards Tsunade is the fact that Hebi Sasuke had two full on-panel one on one fights to show everything he had, Tsunade never had a one on one fight, was rusty and hemophobic in one fight and had a team and lots of off-panel performance in her other fight. At most we can say Sasuke can use some more minor snake abilities from Orochimaru but he's had his chances to showcase everything to use and he doesn't really have any hype to suggest important parts of his arsenal were not shown. Tsunade on the other hand has taught Shizune and Sakura how to use poisons offensively, participated in an entire war as a fighter before she became a medic, has been implied to be able to use medical ninjutsu offensively (against Orochimaru) and could have some small elemental jutsu here and there.

Imagine if the Deidara and Itachi fights were replaced with fights where Sasuke was rusty/had no will to fight/scared of blood and the other one in a team with five others where most of his on-panel showings are snapshots of CS2 Chidori through the opponent.

To conclude, it's a close battle but I lean towards Tsunade with high difficulty.



Jiraiya vs MS Sasuke:
Spoiler:

MS Sasuke is portrayed stronger and has a stronger arsenal, he also matches up well against Jiraiya which is saying a lot since Jiraiya is so versatile and has so many options.

Snakes and genjutsu counter toads, Raiton counters Yomi Numa, Amaterasu counters any Katon, Susano'o blocks most Jiraiya's attacks, what's more is Jiraiya is dealing with someone who is trigger-happy with the MS, Jiraiya can only hope to sense and maybe do something about Amaterasu/Susano'o Arrows for so long before he's tagged or overwhelmed, MS genjutsu is still a problem and Jiraiya can't freely try to keep his distance with summons since Sasuke also has those in addition to flight.

Jiraiya loses even if he starts in SM, if he starts in base Sasuke wouldn't even need to resort to MS for a long portion of the fight since his base self is good enough a match-up against Jiraiya that he can afford to fight without MS for a while.



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 introduced 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.


Hebi Sasuke and IA Naruto vs A4:
Spoiler:

Naruto and Sasuke can keep up against Raikage before V2, we already saw Sasuke without CS keep up with RnY A4's speed and Naruto has his clones.

If/when V2 comes out Naruto and Sasuke are im trouble but Sasuke still has Oral Rebirth and Naruto could get lucky with a clone getting blitzed instead of him.

Raikage could run over them eventually, or they could tag him and injure him badly/incapacitate him before V2 - either way it's a close fight and no one's winning easily.

Hebi Sasuke dispatched Suigetsu and Jugo as easy or even easier than A4 did, and defeated Deidara despite several handicaps. Naruto surpassed Kakashi who was confirmed a kage-level at that point when her was nominated for the hat.[/quote]

My opinion thread


Kisame/Jiraiya fusion:
Spoiler:

SM durability + healing, Ma and Pa could keep gathering NE throughout the fight and transfer it to Samehada for any needed healing that wasn't absorbed from the opponent.

Fighting him on the lake would be suicide, as Jiraiya and his toads alone have feats of sneaking up on shared vision, imagine having to fight a sage physically stronger than Tsunade that has massive Senjutsu aoe while having to worry about being blindsided and dragged into a Toad Stomach acid all while dealing with boss summons with Frog Song being prepped.

It would be literally oceans of sharks, oil, Geomon etc.

Samehada sensing + sage sensing + Ma's detection tongue + Toad barrier detection inside waterdome...V2 Bee couldn't escape normal fused Kisame and now SM Kisamehada can likely outwrestle most and blitz most opponents, escaping waterdome or a blindside is near impossible and CQC is suicide.

Frog call into Frog Kata, Senjutsu Daikodan, sage shark summons...

And a lot more.

This is a great fusion because while Jiraiya is on a much higher level than Kisame due to versatility in jutsu and range, Kisame is the type with near-superlative qualities in specific areas Jiraiya doesn't necessarily shine in by comparison like chakra absorption, healing, ability to fight in hidden mist, top kinjutsu, superhuman strength, anti-ninjutsu Daikodan, etc - when you combine that with Jiraiya's knowledge and experience, his versatile direct and indirect combat jutsu, his ability to outnumber the opponent through summons all give us a composite with very few weaknesses and decently passive defense, and a strong and variegated offense.

Still think there's more that can be said but this is the gist of it.


Killer Bee vs Hebi Sasuke:
Spoiler:

Sasuke wins.

An injured 3T Sasuke dodged his V1 lariat, CS uninjured Sasuke has an easier time. CS2 overwhelms Bee and he has no answer for Kirin. Sasuke is going for the kill this time so he won't hesitate to use his ninjutsu instead of CQC (which he'll perform better now because of CS and being healthy) and will pierce him with Chidori instead of shocking him. Manda provides great assistance and worst case scenario Oral Rebirth if push comes to shove.


Itachi vs Tsunade:
Spoiler:

Itachi wins mid-diff unrestricted, loses high-diff when restricted from his MS and Tsunade lacks Katsuyu.

In the first scenario Itachi can't really put Tsunade down with his non-MS arsenal as Tsunade's regen is too good. She'll eventually tag him with her aoe and back him into a corner.

Unrestricted Itachi wins with any of his MS techniques. Tsunade successfully avoiding genjutsu because the Susano'o clones didn't put her in one isn't a sound argument when they didn't put any of the other 4 kage in genjutsu either (except distracted A4). The counters to Tsukiyomi have been made clear in the manga; Uchiha blood and dojutsu to break it or you avoid it. Healing the after effects/trauma of Tsukiyomi doesn't change that.

Amaterasu isn't a projectile so Tsunade can't punch it away.

Susano'o seals the deal as Totsuka bypasses all of Tsunade's defenses and Yata blocks all her offense if ever needed. Itachi also has superior portrayal.