Series creator Masashi Kishimoto developed the concept of jutsu to explain the supernatural feats ninja perform in the series, and also to provide an original image of ninja in manga. The incorporation of jutsu into the series has received both praise and criticism from several anime and manga publications. T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews asserted that jutsu were the primary focus of Naruto and the source of its "highest accolades", but criticized the overly repetitive use of certain jutsu in fight scenes. Anime News Network agreed with this sentiment, calling the fights "repetitive to a fault", but praised the visual presentation of jutsu in both the anime and manga.
Concept and Creation Edit
The concept of jutsu was developed by Masashi Kishimoto in order to explain the superhuman feats that ninja performed in the series. Kishimoto's design for the ninja in Naruto was intended to dispel preconceived notions about ninja popularized by other manga and bring an original take to the presentation of ninja in manga. The use of hand seals was a substitute for the incantations for magic found in other sources, and was based on the motions of ninja in various role-playing games. The hand seals are based upon the characters of the Chinese zodiac, which is a longstanding tradition in Japan, and Kishimoto used them specifically to draw upon that tradition.
Although the concept of chakra is found in Indian mythology, Buddhism and other belief systems, in an interview, Kishimoto claimed that none of these influences were the basis for his use of chakra in Naruto. He further asserted that it was a term to apply a concrete definition to ninjas' ability to use jutsu in Naruto, and was comparable to the Force in Star Wars or magic points in role-playing games.
Hand Seals Edit
Some techniques like Taijutsu do not require hand seals, however the ninja may use them to focus their chakra to certain areas of their body. Also some Ninjutsu like Rasengan and various weapon utilizations do not require any hand seal use.
By forming hand seals, the ninja is able to mold their chakra and manifest the desired Jutsu. Because of the extensive number of hand seals and different combinations, there are thousands of potential Jutsu to be discovered and used. The hand seals themselves come from the twelve signs of the Chinese Zodiac. The appearance of the seals stem from Hindu and Buddhist iconography, and are called "Mudra" meaning "seal" or "sign" in Sanskrit. These hand gestures helped identify the nature and function of the deity who used them. Over time the positions and traditions changed as they were adopted and moved from country to country.
In addition to these hand seals, certain Jutsu have their own unique hand and finger positions, such as the gestures used in Kage Bunshin no Jutsu, Shintenshin no Jutsu, etc. Every ninja in the series save for one has used both hands to form seals. Haku used one-handed seals in his Suiton Ninjutsu techniques. It is because of his Bloodline Limit Hyoton, he can use Suiton or Futon with one hand.
The Basic Hand Seals Edit
Ne - Rat Edit
Ne is the First sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Rat. It is associated with North and the month of November.
Ushi - Ox/Cow Edit
Ushi is the Second sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Ox. It is associated with North-Northeast and the month of December.
Tora - Tiger Edit
Tora is the Third sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Tiger. It is associated with East-Northeast and the month of January. Tiger is used to perform Fire-based Jutsus.
U - Rabbit/Hare Edit
U is the Fourth sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Rabbit. It is associated with East and the month of February.
Tatsu is the Fifth sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Dragon. It is associated with East-Southeast and the month of March.
Mi - Snake/Serpent Edit
Mi is the Sixth sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Snake. It is associated with South-Southeast and the month of April. Snake is used to perform Earth-based Jutsus.
Uma - Horse Edit
Uma is the Seventh sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Horse. It is associated with South and the month of May.
Hitsuji - Ram/Sheep Edit
Hitsuji is the Eigth sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Ram. It is associated with South-Southwest and the month of June. Hitsuji is used to gather chakra.
Note: Ram has been officially depicted in the manga as having either the right thumb or index finger extended upwards.
Saru - Monkey Edit
Saru is the Ninth sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Monkey. It is associated with West-Southwest and the month of July. Monkey is used to perform Lightning-based Jutsus.
Tori - Bird Edit
Tori is the Tenth sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Rooster. It is associated with West and the month of August. Bird is used to perform Water-based Jutsus.
Inu - Dog Edit
Inu is the Eleventh sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Dog. It is associated with West-Northwest and the month of September. Dog is used to perform Ice-based Jutsus.
I - Boar/Hog/Pig Edit
I is the Twelfth sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Pig. It is associated with North-Northwest and the month of October.
Chakra is the basic energy source necessary for ninja in Naruto to perform most jutsu. Ninja produce chakra through the combination of their two energies: the physical energy (stamina), drawn from the trillions of cells that make up the human body, and the mental energy (chakra), gained through experience and by training the body. Once created, chakra moves throughout the body in a manner similar to the circulatory system and is delivered to one of 361 chakra release points. By performing a sequence composed of any of twelve different hand seals, chakra can then be manipulated to create supernatural effects, such as walking on water.
Elements and Nature Manipulation Edit
During Part II of the series the concept of nature manipulation, altering the quality of chakra, is introduced. Nature manipulation allows ninja, following certain training, to convert their chakra into one of five elements: Dolton (earth), Suiton (water), Katon (fire), Fulton (wind), and Raiton (lightning). Each element is stronger and weaker than another element; for example, fire is weak against water, but can easily counter and even gets stronger when used against a wind-based jutsu. All ninja have a natural affinity for one of the five elements, allowing them to use jutsu of that type with greater ease. Ninja with an affinity for fire, for instance, will be able to breathe fire much sooner than they will be able to manipulate water.
Skilled ninja can learn how to use other elements; ninja of the Jonin rank typically are able to manipulate at least two elements. Hatake Kakashi has been shown using three different elements in the Naruto manga and a fourth in the anime adaptation. Although these ninja can use their different elements separately with little effort, combining the two elements is impossible for ninja who do not have a genetic predisposition for it. Ninja with one of these genetic abilities can mix two specific elements to create an entirely new one. Haku, an antagonist introduced at the start of the series, can mix water and wind to create ice. Mokuton, a combination of earth and water unique to the First Hokage and Yamato, allows the user to produce wood.
Eight Gates Edit
The Eight Gates are eight specific points along the chakra circulatory system that limit the overall flow of chakra within a ninja's body. Although the gates make the ninja weaker in battle, they limit the body's functions to keep it from expiring too soon. Ninja that have learned to open these gates can surpass their own physical limits at the cost of various levels of damage to their own bodies. Each additional gate grants the user new levels of strength with additional injuries; by opening all eight gates the user will become invincible in battle, but their body will be so damaged in the process that they will die afterwards. Rock Lee is shown opening the first five gates during Part I of the series, and his teacher, Might Guy, is seen activating the sixth during Part II. In the movie Naruto Shippuuden 2: Bonds, the villain Shinnou mentions opening the 8 gates when gaining the "perfect body" from his dark chakra transformation.
Jutsu Types Edit
Ninjutsu is a vague term referring to almost any technique that uses chakra and allows the user to do something that they otherwise would be incapable of doing. Unlike genjutsu, which makes the opponent see illusions, the effects of ninjutsu are real. They vary greatly in purpose, with the simpler ninjutsu serving such tasks as transforming the user or allowing them to evade attacks. These techniques are often second-nature for experienced ninja, who can use them at will. More complex ninjutsu manipulate one's surroundings or utilize the elements, respectively serving such tasks as healing others or manipulating wind or water.
Genjutsu are techniques that use the chakra in the victim's nervous system to create illusions. The most commonly seen genjutsu in the series is the simple creation of phantasms, causing the targeted person(s) to hear, see, smell, taste or feel sensations that are not actually there in order to manipulate them. Most genjutsu affects the five senses, though other applications of genjutsu exist. Those under the influence of genjutsu either freeze in place or lose consciousness, depending on how capable they are in recognizing and defending against it. A genjutsu can be broken in one of three ways. The first is Genjutsu • Kai, a disruption of the victim's chakra flow either by themselves or their allies. Pain that is not a result of the genjutsu, such as stabbing oneself, is a second method of countering genjutsu. Finally, if the caster of the genjutsu loses focus for whatever reason, the jutsu will end and the victim is freed.
Taijutsu refers to any techniques involving the martial arts or the optimization of natural human abilities. Taijutsu is executed by directly accessing the user's physical and mental energies, relying on the stamina and strength gained through training. Because chakra does not need to be produced taijutsu can typically be performed much faster than ninjutsu or genjutsu techniques. Chakra can be used for taijutsu to serve secondary purposes, such as adding more force to physical attacks, but most taijutsu rarely use chakra.
Hijutsu or Kekkei Genkai are secret abilities passed down genetically in specific clans. Most of these clans have developed special techniques that rely on their genetic abilities, as it gives them an advantage in battle that cannot be taught to or copied by opponents. Kekkei Genkai such as Mokuton revolve around a simultaneous combination of two separate chakra elements to create an entirely new one.
Kekkei Genkai such as the Sharingan that work via the user's eyes are called Dojutsu.
Fuinjutsu are techniques that seal something inside objects or living beings. The most common application of this is sealing weapons or other objects within scrolls to efficiently carry a large number of items. Fuinjutsu are also utilized to restrict access to things, such as chakra or entry to a building. The sealing jutsu seen and mentioned most often in the series is the one sealing the nine-tailed demon fox within series protagonist Uzumaki Naruto.
Senjutsu is a form of jutsu introduced during Part II of the series. It is achieved by combining the user's chakra with "natural energy", a task that can only be completed by ninja with particularly large chakra reserves who learn to harmonize with nature, anyone else who tries is quickly overwhelmed by this natural energy, turning into a frog and petrifying. Once senjutsu has been mastered, the user can perform jutsu with much greater power and effectiveness. The user also has the ability to mold the natural energy around their opponents, allowing them to increase the range of physical attacks to the extent of not even having to touch the opponent directly to inflict damage. As a beneficial side effect, senjutsu makes the user stronger as time passes rather than tiring them. Senjutsu appears to be unique to the summoned toads in the series, as only they and their human students have been seen using it.
Kinjutsu are techniques that have been banned from being taught. This ban can have been put in place for any number of reasons, but kinjutsu can generally be put in either of two categories: Techniques that do extreme harm to oneself and Techniques that violate the laws of nature.