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Gaara (我愛羅, Gaara) is a fictional character in the Naruto manga and anime series, created by Masashi Kishimoto. He was introduced a third of the way through the series, and serves as a foil to the series' titular character, Naruto Uzumaki: the two were born through similar circumstances, but develop vastly different personalities as they deal with their troubled upbringing. Initially introduced as an enemy and Naruto's rival, the two eventually develop a bond as kindred spirits and become close friends as the series progresses.
A ninja from a village called Sunagakure, Gaara is the son of Sunagakure's leader, Fourth Kazekage; his siblings are Kankuro and Temari. He is distinguished by his ability to control sand, a trait that has earned him the moniker "Gaara of the Desert" (砂瀑の我愛羅, Sabaku no Gaara?, literally "Gaara of the Sand Waterfall"). Gaara's backstory gives him a traumatic past, in which he is ostracised by fellow villagers because he is host to a tailed beast. As a result of this experience, he is a ruthless killer, slaying others without remorse. He is cold and distant even with his allies and siblings. But the character develops as the series progresses. His battle with Naruto changes his outlook on the world: Naturo's influence pushes him to aid others and and in Part II of the series, he becomes Sunagakure's Fifth Kazekage.
Gaara has appeared in several pieces of Naruto media, including the second featured film in the series, the third original video animation, and several video games. Numerous anime and manga publications have also commented on Gaara's character and initially sadistic mentality; IGN labeled the disparity between Naruto and Gaara as "emotional" and "a tad creepy." The battle between him and Naruto at the conclusion of the Invasion of Konoha arc was particularly celebrated by reviewers, with Anime News Network referring to it as the high point of the entire series. Amongst the Naruto reader base, Gaara has been popular, placing high in several popularity polls. Numerous pieces of merchandise have been released in Gaara's likeness, including plush dolls and key chains
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