Pain is by far one of the best written antagonists anime has to offer.
His hit is really interesting, his design is just straight-up badass, and his philosophy makes a lot more sense than Naruto would like to admit.
But how would he stack against anime characters outside of Naruto?
That’s what we’ll look into in this ranking: characters that could likely defeat the Six Paths of Pain.
Anime: Assassination Classroom
I want to start things off with Koro-Sensei, as I think it would be the most hilarious fight of them all.
We don’t know how much Koro is packing when it comes to raw destructive power. But we do know that he’s fast as all hell.
So why is this important?
Well for one, Pain could never land a hit on him.
But even more importantly, Koro could literally fly over to one of the Paths and simply carry them a few dozen miles away before the other Paths could react.
The Paths are remotely controlled – and we do know that the range is not infinite.
Therefore, Koro could theoretically just carry the Paths far enough so that Nagato lost all control, and they reverted back into heavily pierced corpses.
Anime: One Punch Man
The Deva Path is by far the scariest of the bunch in an all-out fight, as its powers over gravity can cause some serious damage and wipe out entire villages.
Tatsumaki does the exact same thing, but on a much larger scale.
While Pain can use Chibaku Tensei to form a meteor-sized rock over the course of a few minutes, Tatsumaki can just yeet an actual meteor out of orbit and send it crashing down onto Earth.
She can also fly, so all of those soul-sucking abilities are going straight out of a window.
The Paths could perhaps defend themselves from the first meteor strike – but since it doesn’t take much energy for Tatsumaki to do this feat, she could just keep spamming this technique until everything was dead.
13. Seiya Ryuuguuin
Anime: Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious
An important part of Pain’s strength is the fact that his powers are hard to figure out, leading most enemies to die before they had put all the pieces together.
Pain even states how he’s significantly weaker once enemies know what to expect.
That’s where Seiya comes in.
This dude will never fight a losing battle, and would deploy a series of tactics to force Pain’s hand into revealing his abilities.
Seiya is extremely strong in terms of raw power levels, casually blowing up villages and the like.
But it would be his sharp wit and cautious mentality that would probably grant him the W in the end.
Anime: The Seven Deadly Sins
The thing with Chibaku Tensei is that it gets dramatically more effective when the enemy is the size of a building.
You can’t really crush someone under rock if they’re the size of the rock itself.
The Preta Path would also be completely useless, as Diane relies on physical attacks and earth manipulation, meaning that there’s nothing to be sucked up.
Even the Human Path would be somewhat useless, as it needs contact with the opponent’s head or heart to activate – and those are not easy to reach on Diane.
Plus, she can just coat herself in metal.
All these things considered, I think Diane could absolutely destroy all the Paths with a few full-powered swings, as their defense against physical damage is not at all impressive.
11. Aoi Toudou
Anime: Jujutsu Kaisen
This victory is far from certain, but man would it be an interesting fight.
There are two important facts that make me think Toudou could clutch this one.
Number 1 is his extreme intelligence when it comes to combat. My dude can calculate your coffin size in the middle of dodging an attack.
Number 2 is his ability to switch places with whatever he chooses.
This power comes in handy in two major ways:
If the Human Path ever goes for an extraction, he’s suddenly killing his allies. And if the Diva Path releases a huge Shinra Tensei, he’s suddenly on the receiving end of it while Toudou is chilling in the middle.
The Path’s shared vision would definitely be a major issue – but I do think Toudou’s impeccable taste in women would give him the leg up.
Anime: Hunter x Hunter (2011)
This is just a huge case of “stat diff”.
Meruem is fast as all hell, can one shot almost any enemy, and can tank almost any attack.
All of his damage is physical, too. So no chakra absorption card.
And his super speed guarantees that no one will be able to grab him.
Plus, the dude is an absolute genius.
Considering how quickly he can learn during a battle, it would not take long for him to realize how to defeat Pain with minimum effort.
And since there’s no way in hell the Diva Path is one-shotting him, Meruem will have all the time he needs to put this plan into action.
9. All Might
Anime: My Hero Academia
Although this fight would not be as cut and dry as the last one, I do think Pain would take the L.
The reasoning is pretty similar, though, as All Might can simply tank long enough to figure stuff out and/or land a lucky punch.
In his fight against All for One, we saw All Might tanking several pressure blasts that seem to be on a comparable level to Shinra Tensei in terms of destructive power.
Plus, this is an extremely weakened All Might.
Prime All Might should win with no difficulties whatsoever. But even weakened All Might would stand a really good chance, as none of the Paths are surviving a full-power punch from the dude.
8. Trafalgar D. Water Law
Anime: One Piece
We really have to do some head-cannon for this one to work – but I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch.
Law’s Devil Fruit, the Ope Ope no Mi, allows the user to create a space around themselves where they can basically control everything and everyone.
Conceptually, it’s the same as Nagato’s own power.
So if Law can get close to the Paths and take over control, he could render all the Paths incapable of fighting – or even figure out a way to bring them with him to take on Nagato, thus becoming the new Pain.
7. Yami Sukehiro
Anime: Black Clover
The difficulty of this fight would largely depend on how Pain’s abilities interacted with Yami’s Dimension Slash.
It has been stated to be capable of cutting through opponent’s spells, as well as dimensions themselves.
So could it cut through the power of Shinra Tensei as well as Preta’s absorption?
If yes, then it’s an easy victory for Yami.
If no, then it’s a difficult victory for Yami.
His black hole ability is basically a small Chibaku Tensei as well as a Narata path mixed into one. And his Mana field + Ki perception combo makes him as aware of the battlefield as the Path’s shared vision.
However, he does surpass all of them when it comes to raw speed, strength, and durability.
Anime: Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
I must admit that we do have to retcon one thing in order for Aladdin to win, that being his personality.
If Aladdin is being all PG about everything, Pain would kill him before he makes his first nakama speech.
However, if we give Aladdin the willingness to kill, the fight changes significantly.
Not only can Aladdin fly and thus stay out of range for most of Pain’s attacks, but he can even spam shields in order to protect himself from whatever does manage to reach him.
Furthermore, he can summon giant sand mounts that could dispatch his enemies for him, either through physical attacks or through giant AoE fire blasts.
Even the Preta Path has limits when it comes to how much energy can be absorbed – and I think a full powered blast from three giants would not only overload her, but burn the rest of the crew as well.
Anime: The Seven Deadly Sins
Counterstrike is a nightmare to deal with in general, as it literally punishes you for being strong.
It’s even more troublesome when your highest damage ability is also your best protection ability, and is on a five second cooldown.
In case you’re not keeping up with my logic here, if the Diva Path throws out a Shinra Tensei it’ll be bounced right back to him – and he won’t have the power to make another one to even things out.
And since Meliodas can make clones of himself, he could just send them to take care of the Preta and Naraka Path, in order to make sure there’s no coming back.
4. Satoru Gojou
Anime: Jujutsu Kaisen
The flow of this fight largely depends on one thing:
Whether we count Cursed energy and Chakra as the same thing.
If we do, Gojou will have to resort to physical attacks. But he could also potentially figure out the puppet thing and go after Nagato himself, following the cursed energy left behind.
And if we say that Chakra and Cursed energy are not the same thing, Pain is about to get blasted by mountain-level ranged attacks.
Regardless of what we choose, Pain won’t be able to damage Gojou because of his Limitless ability.
Meaning it’s only a matter of time before he stomps all the Paths out.
3. Shigeo Kageyama
Anime: Mob Psycho 100
Just like with Aladdin, we’ll have to write in some killer intent for Mob for this to work.
While at full power, Mob can just spam way too much damage for Pain to handle.
He can fire blast after blast, while also chucking entire buildings at him and maintaining a shield that would defend him from any attempt at a counterattack.
The Diva path is the only one that can really answer these types of attacks.
And considering it has a 5 second global cooldown, I don’t think it could last all that long against a full powered Mob.
It couldn’t defeat a partial Kurama – and Mob, as shown in his final fight, is objectively comparable to a Tailed Beast.
2. Rimuru Tempest
Anime: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
I already mentioned a few times how intelligence is a soft counter to Pain.
Well, Rimuru basically has a Siri on steroids inside of his head at all times.
Meaning Pain’s secret would be figured out in a minute, tops.
Plus, Rimuru has some absolutely disgusting AoE – and an ability that allows her to just consume her enemies.
I doubt even the Naraka path could bring someone back when their body is just completely gone.
On the other hand, Rimuru has so many defensive spells and buffs that I doubt Pain could ever even graze him.
1. Minato Namikaze
Anime: Naruto: Shippuden
I wanted to end with Minato just to show that even in-universe, Pain is not at the very top power-wise.
This fight would be far from a stomp, but still rather one-sided.
Minato is simply too slippery for Pain to ever get good damage on him.
He can teleport away from any Shinra Tensei, and he can speed blitz any attempt at a physical attack.
We already know that even a beginner rasengan can tear one of the Paths up. And Minato is kind of the master in that regard.
We also mustn’t forget that like father like son, Minato can spam some shadow clones in order to deal with all the pet summons, and/or some of the Paths themselves.