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Hiruzen Sarutobi

(猿飛ヒルゼン, Sarutobi Hiruzen)

  • Third Hokage (三代目火影, Sandaime Hokage)
  • Monkey (サル, Saru)[3]
  • The Professor (プロフェッサー, Purofessā)[4]
  • God of Shinobi (忍の神, Shinobi no Kami; English TV "The Supreme Shinobi")[5]
Debut
Manga Chapter #1
Anime Naruto Episode #1
Movie Naruto Shippūden 3: Inheritors of the Will of Fire
Game Naruto: Ninja Council
OVA Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival!
Appears in Anime, Manga, Game and Movie
Voice Actors
Japanese
English
Personal
Birthdate Astrological Sign Aquarius February 8
Gender Gender Male Male
Age
  • Part I: 68-69
Status Deceased
Height
  • Part I: 163.1 cm1.631 m
    5.351 ft
    64.213 in
Weight
  • Part I: 50.6 kg111.554 lb
Blood type A
Occupation
Affiliation
Team
Clan
Rank
Ninja Rank
Ninja Registration 000261
Family

Nature Type
Jutsu

Tools

Hiruzen Sarutobi (猿飛ヒルゼン, Sarutobi Hiruzen) was the Third Hokage (三代目火影, Sandaime Hokage; Literally meaning "Third Fire Shadow") of Konohagakure. A disciple of the village previous Hokage, Hiruzen was a powerful ninja, hailed as a God of Shinobi (忍の神, Shinobi no Kami; English TV "The Supreme Shinobi"). Though he was only ever directly the teacher of the Sannin, generations of Konoha ninja benefited from his wisdom during his lifetime.

Background

Hiruzen New Hokage
A young Hiruzen being appointed as Hokage in front of his rival Danzō.

Born into the Sarutobi clan to Sasuke, Hiruzen was a prodigy who truly stood out with talent. He and his former team-mates, Homura Mitokado and Koharu Utatane, were students of Tobirama Senju, the Second Hokage. He was also trained by Hashirama Senju, the First Hokage. While once a close friend of Danzō Shimura during their early childhood, Danzō developed a one-sided rivalry with Hiruzen who always managed to be a step ahead of him. During the First Shinobi World War, Team Tobirama along with Danzō, Kagami Uchiha and Torifu Akimichi were pursued by enemy Kumogakure ninja. Knowing that one of them would need to be a sacrificial decoy so the others can escape, Hiruzen volunteered. However, Tobirama chose to be the decoy instead, naming Hiruzen his successor while driving a further wedge between his student and Danzō. Later in his life, he married Biwako and fathered at least two children, Asuma Sarutobi and another who has yet to be seen. His children would later make him a grandfather to at least two grandchildren: Konohamaru Sarutobi and another grandchild.

3sannin
A young Hiruzen with the future Sannin.

Prior to the Second Shinobi World War, Hiruzen became the teacher of Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and Tsunade.[6] As Jiraiya slack off in his training, Hiruzen attempted to motivate Jiraiya by showing of his signature skills in Summoning Technique, calling forth Enma. Amazed by Hiruzen's summoning, Jiraiya was indeed inspired to work harder, ultimately leading the young ninja to learn senjutsu.[7] Coming to appreciate Orochimaru's natural talent, Hiruzen saw him as a once in a lifetime genius.[8] He also saw the emotional pain Orochimaru went through after losing his parents. However, while explaining to Orochimaru the symbolic significance of a white snake the boy found near his parents' grave, Hiruzen unknowing caused his pupil to go down a dark road while attempting to steer him away from it.[9] After serving as Hokage for many years, Hiruzen started looking for a successor to the title. While he hoped to be able to give the position to Orochimaru, he saw that he only was interested in the power it offered[8][10] and initially he turned to Jiraiya.[11] In the anime, another one of his students was Kosuke Maruboshi, who he taught some of his signature techniques.[12] At the end of the Third Shinobi World War, Hiruzen sought to end the bloodshed and form a peace treaty with Iwagakure. Danzō was disgusted by this idea as so many Konoha shinobi died to win this war. Deciding to take responsibility personally for these losses, despite many in Konoha not liking the idea, Hiruzen decided to step down as Hokage.[13] Ultimately, Hiruzen named Jiraiya's student Minato Namikaze as his successor.[14]

Group Hiruzen vs Kurama
Hiruzen and a group of shinobi prepare to face the Nine-Tails.

In the aftermath of the Third Shinobi World War, knowing the danger if Kurama were to break loose during the childbirth of its current jinchūriki, Kushina Uzumaki, Hiruzen assigned Biwako and a few Anbu for security to oversee the birthing process in a secured location on the outskirts of the village. In the anime, he also suggested to Minato to have his student, Kakashi Hatake, act as Kushina's personal bodyguard during the pregnancy. However, also learning of Kushina's pregnancy, a masked man found the location and slaughtered the protection and maternity detail before releasing Kurama to destroy Konoha. Unaware of how Kurama got loose, Hiruzen nonetheless led the ninja in subduing the Nine-Tails before Minato arrived and transported himself, and the tailed beast away from the village. Hiruzen soon arrived at the scene when Minato decided to seal Kurama into his own son, realising that Minato intended to use the Dead Demon Consuming Seal to do so. Wishing to intervene, Hiruzen found himself unable to as Kushina erected a barrier.[15] Forced to stay outside the barrier, Hiruzen watched in horror as the Fourth Hokage and his wife sacrificed their lives to save their son from Kurama's final attack. With demon fox sealed inside the infant, Minato dead, and Kushina dying, the barrier dispersed and Hiruzen quickly rushed to his allies' side, carefully picking up the newborn infant. Kushina weakly told Hiruzen the baby's name as Naruto and begged Hiruzen to take care of him, to which Hiruzen firmly promised as Kushina finally died.[16]

With Minato dead, Hiruzen once more assumed the role of active Hokage while deciding to protect the orphaned child by giving him his mother's last name to conceal his relation to Konoha's Yellow Flash.[17] With this, Hiruzen also passed a law in the village that no one was to speak of the beast sealed within the young man and hoped that Minato's dying wish that his son be seen as a hero be honoured, but the people who had lived first-hand the devastation that the Nine-Tails could bring forth were unable do this. And though most obeyed Hiruzen's law — with those who didn't being severely punished — the children of the village, also came to fear and dislike Naruto, simply because their parents did.[18]

Some time after resuming his post, Hiruzen began investigating a number of disappearances within Konoha, from children to adult Anbu. One night, in the anime, Hiruzen caught Kakashi sneaking into the Hokage Residence to find the records of the First Hokage's Wood Release. Despite the intrusion, the Third Hokage presented Kakashi with the records, explaining that in the past it was attempted to recreate the Wood Release, but consistently ended with failure and death of the subject, ultimately ceasing the research and deeming it forbidden, expressing his regret in the failure as he believed it could have helped save many lives from the recent Nine-Tails' attack. Still trusting Kakashi, Hiruzen also informed of the investigation of the missing people, noting his suspicion that someone was resuming the Wood Release research. Kakashi, who had begun to resent Hiruzen for not letting him take part in battling the Nine-Tails and possibly save his late sensei Minato, regained his trust in Hiruzen and revealed that Danzō planned to assassinate the Third. The following day, Kakashi went in Hiruzen's place to lure out the assailants, while Hiruzen approached a shocked Danzō. While Danzō realised he was cornered, Hiruzen took mercy on his childhood friend, choosing to ignore the attempt on the promise that Danzō would dedicate his life to protecting the village. Later that night, Hiruzen requested for Kakashi working as Hiruzen's right-hand man as he did with Minato, which he agreed and revealed to Hiruzen that a boy in Root has the ability to use Wood Release, to which Hiruzen already had his suspicions on and promised to look into it.[19]

Later, it was learned that Orochimaru was behind the kidnappings, having used those that he kidnapped as test subjects in his quest for absolute power. When Hiruzen found Orochimaru in his secret lair, he allowed his former master a chance to kill him. Ultimately, Hiruzen could not bring himself to do it, allowing Orochimaru to escape.[20] In the anime, despite this, he planned for Orochimaru's escape with Kakashi. Having the young Anbu wait outside Orochimaru's lair, he quickly engaged Orochimaru, holding his own long enough for a snake to approach Orochimaru. Knowing of Orochimaru's love for snakes, Hiruzen planted an explosive tag inside its mouth, detonating it once the snake encircled the Sannin, greatly injuring Orochimaru. Afterwards, Hiruzen mobilised all Anbu members to hunt down Orochimaru in an attempt to capture him.[21] After Orochimaru escaped, not wanting the village to know his shame that one of Konoha's finest committed such horrific acts against it, Hiruzen worked very hard to bury this secret. Three years later, one of Orochimaru's abandoned labs was discovered, and he sent Kakashi to personally investigate it.[22] Upon Kakashi's return, the young Anbu reported to Hiruzen that the Wood Release boy saved Kakashi's life but also abandoned his mission, to which Danzō punish him for. Knowing how extreme Danzō could be, Hiruzen used Kakashi's involvement as a loophole to interfere with Root business, having Yūgao Uzuki deliver a summoning request to Danzō. When Yūgao returned to report that Danzō was seemingly nowhere to be found, Hiruzen went to the Root headquarters personally. He arrived in time to save Kakashi and the Wood Release boy, "Kinoe", from Danzō's attack under the grounds of trespassing and treason respectively. Telling Danzō that Kakashi was sent by him personally with a summoning request, Danzō faked ignorance of the letter and called off his men. Hiruzen then turned his attention to Kinoe, insisting to Danzō that the village needed the power of the Wood Release for more than just covert missions. Ultimately, Danzō granted Hiruzen's request for Kinoe to be transferred to the Hokage's direct command.[23]

A few years later, a potential alliance was established between Konoha and the Land of Wood. As a sign of trust, both countries were to trade secret scrolls. As Hiruzen begins making preparations for the exchange, Might Guy comes to the Hokage. Fearing that his dear friend was losing touch wit himself, Guy begged Hiruzen to place him on Kakashi's Anbu team. While acknowledging Guy's abilities as a ninja, Hiruzen flatly stated that Guy's nature was not suited to being in Anbu hence denied Guy's request. Later, Hiruzen assigned Guy along with Kosuke Maruboshi and two other ninja to meet the Prajñā Group to make the scroll exchange. With Danzō, Hiruzen also assigned Kakashi and the newest recruit to Team Ro, Itachi Uchiha, to observe the exchange from afar and eliminate any hostels in the event of a betrayal. After both teams returned with the alliance being proved a deception on the Wood's side, Guy approached Hiruzen again about his Anbu request. While agreeing that he was not suited for such duties after watching Kakashi and Itachi kill the Wood-nin, he also stressed that Kakashi was not suited as well.[24] Later, Kurenai Yūhi and Asuma came alongside Guy, suggesting to the Hokage that Kakashi instead be made a jōnin sensei in hopes of warming his heart again, something Hiruzen strongly considered to do.[25]

Itachi talks to Hiruzen
Itachi begs Hiruzen to protect Sasuke.

Two years later, Hiruzen and the council decided to promote Itachi to Anbu captain despite being only 13.[26] Later, Hiruzen learned of the Uchiha clan's plot against the village and attempted to find a peaceful resolution for both sides. However, before reaching such an alternative, Danzō inveigled Itachi to slaughter his kin.[27] Quickly seeing through Danzō's actions, Hiruzen voiced his disdain at Danzō for instigating Itachi to take this path. No longer able to trust Danzō, he effectively relieved Danzō of his place on the Konoha Counil and ordered for his Root-division to be disbanded.[28] Prior to Itachi leaving the village as a missing-nin, the young man sought out the Third and begged him to protect his little brother and not tell him the truth, and Hiruzen obliged, thanking Itachi for helping the village avoid civil war despite hating the means it was was accomplished.[29] In gratitude for Itachi's selflessness, Hiruzen promised not to change the village barrier's formula, allowing Itachi to sneak in from time to time to watch his brother from afar. Later, realising that putting a kind heart like Itachi in Anbu was a mistake, Hiruzen decided to not make the same mistake again and removed Kakashi from Anbu and re-assign him as a jōnin sensei to save Kakashi from losing his own kindness.[30] He would often watch Kakashi test new potential students for his genin team, watching in disappointment as Kakashi's darkness had yet to disappear.[25] Later at some point in the anime, Hiruzen assigned Yakumo of the Kurama clan to hone her genjutsu under Kurenai Yūhi's guidance.[31] However, Kurenai learns of the evil persona within Yakumo and Hiruzen regretfully gives her permission to seal Yakumo's abilities to prevent the alter ego from killing Yakumo at the cost of ending the Kurama clan.[32]

Personality

Due to the long life he had lived, Hiruzen served as a source of wisdom for much of the series, passing on the things he had learned to the next generation. As Hokage, he had also acquired a habit of attempting to end things peacefully, and did what he could to avoid bloodshed amongst his allies and his enemies. At the series' start, Hiruzen was one of the few people who saw Naruto as more than the container of Kurama, and, as such, became someone that Naruto truly admired, even thinking of Hiruzen as a grandfather-figure.

According to Kakashi Hatake, Hiruzen loved his students deeply, including Orochimaru, no matter how far he had fallen.[33] This ideal stems from his belief that Konoha's next generation is a precious resource that must be protected. However, it was the same belief that forced Hiruzen to allow Orochimaru to escape after uncovering his experiments in replicating Hashirama's DNA at the cost of many lives, thus unknowingly allowing his former student to commit even more tragedies. By his own admission, Hiruzen noted that he was too compassionate and indulging of a person, leaving things such as the more underhanded, but necessary, tasks to Danzō, though eventually he lost his trust for him after he spearheaded the Uchiha Clan Massacre. To this end he admitted that he believed that he had failed to carry on the Second Hokage's mission of bringing stability to the village.[34]

Hiruzen was also bit lecherous as well, as he enjoyed spending much of his free time talking to young girls, which was his favourite pastime,[1] and when Jiraiya was still his student, he offered to help Jiraiya test the technique that would allow the user to spy on naked women unnoticed. Even Jiraiya, in this instance, noted his sensei's perverted qualities. He also fell victim to Naruto's Sexy Technique on more than one occasion, fainting after he saw it.

Appearance

Sarutobi Hiruzen
Hiruzen in his Hokage uniform.

Hiruzen was a light-skinned man of below-average stature with grey spiked hair. Since his time training the Sannin, he has had a small goatee. In his youth, he had dark brown hair and was tan-skinned. He also initially had a single line running vertically under outer corners of each eye, which stretched down into his face as he aged until they reached his cheeks. As an old man, age had not taken much of a toll on his overall appearance. His only changes were slight; he obtained more pronounced cheekbones, few wrinkles, a wart near his left nostril, and a few liver-spots.

Hiruzen full
Hiruzen's shinobi attire.

Prior to becoming Hokage, he wore a grey steel breastplate with shoulder guards, grey arm guards, faulds covering his upper legs, a pouch strapped to his lower back with bandages, a standard forehead protector, and a kunai holster on his upper right leg. Later, during his reign as Hokage, Hiruzen would commonly wear the official uniform — consisting of the customary hat and haori, along with a red, full-length kimono that was tied using a white sash. With age, had also taken to smoking a pipe. He also occasionally wore an orange shirt, with the kanji for fire (火, hi) on its back. His combat attire consisted of a black jumpsuit, which featured mesh segments over the lower portions of his limbs, and a grey gauntlet that covered his right wrist, forearm and elbow. He also wore an armoured hood with a bandanna-like Konoha forehead protector over this, which featured two long straps.[35] The kanji for "Third Hokage" was inscribed onto an additional piece of metal plating on the back of his outfit, although at the time of Kurama's attack when he retired the post, it merely had the kanji for "fire" (火, hi).[36] He also had two shuriken holsters strapped to either side of his back. As a child, Hiruzen was seen wearing a short light-blue kimono which was tied with an orange sash, with the Konoha symbol on its back.[37][38]

Abilities

Hiruzen was one of the most powerful shinobi in history, so much so that he was admired as the God of Shinobi (忍の神, Shinobi no Kami) in his prime, and was said to be the strongest Hokage that Konoha has ever had.[1][4][5] Even in his old age, he was also said to be the strongest of all the five Kage at the time of his death.[39] He was also the longest living and longest reigning Hokage. During his retirement, he proved strong enough to take Kurama head on and force it out of the village during the Nine-Tails' Attack on Konoha.[40] Although he concedes that in his current state, he might not be able to defeat his former student, Orochimaru, Hiruzen remains very confident of his abilities; when confronted with the reincarnated First and Second Hokage, Hiruzen simply told them to prepare to be defeated. During the said battle, Enma commented that Hiruzen's performance was "miserable" compared to his prime, even though he had clearly been able to hold his own against Orochimaru and two former Hokage without losing his composure. Orochimaru even insinuated that if Hiruzen been ten years younger, he would have been killed.[41]

After his reincarnation during the Fourth Shinobi World War, both Naruto and Sasuke, each becoming highly capable and recognised shinobi themselves, would go on to praise his sheer prowess soon after seeing him in action.[42] When the Allied Shinobi Forces were faced with Guruguru and his gigantic Wood Release statue, Hiruzen single-handedly repelled the attack, earning praise from all spectators. Shikamaru even stated that with the entire Shinobi Alliance and current Kage weakened at the battlefield, Hiruzen was the only one still able to contend with Guruguru.[43]

Chakra

In the anime, even in his old age, his chakra was noted to be very strong. Hiruzen's chakra causes a dense effect on the atmosphere when released, cracking the building he and Orochimaru were battling on.[44] Furthermore, he was known for having immense reserves of chakra in his youth.[45] Despite his diminished reserves of chakra in his old age, he made up for it somewhat by also showing great chakra control, needing only the minimum amount of chakra to use each technique.[46]

Taijutsu

Hiruzen has also displayed a masterful skill in taijutsu. He was able to counter the reincarnated Hashirama and Tobirama in close combat. He also showed quick-thinking during their confrontation, and in one instance he was able to place explosive tags on each of them, without them nor Orochimaru even knowing. With Enma, he was able to break through Wood Release branches with ease.[47] He was also able to save Naruto from Shinju's chakra-absorbing branches with a few strikes of Enma.[48]

Even when robbed of his sight, he could still defend himself from Hashirama's and Tobirama's assaults, blocking all their attacks to prepare for his Dead Demon Consuming Seal, showing keen senses in doing so.[49] After sealing both former Hokage, he faced Orochimaru in single combat. Despite his sealing parts of his soul away in the Shinigami, as well as fighting for a prolonged amount of time before he engaged Orochimaru one-on-one, he effortlessly disarmed him of his sword.

Ninjutsu

Reaper death seal
Hiruzen using the Dead Demon Consuming Seal.

During his lifetime Hiruzen had accumulated a vast knowledge of ninjutsu. Hiruzen was also called The Professor (プロフェッサー, Purofessā),[4] due to his mastery of all forms of shinobi combat, his own personal arsenal of original and ingenious techniques, as well as his vast knowledge and otherwise skill of thousands of techniques in general.[50] Likewise, he is reputed for knowing all the techniques to ever exist within Konoha.[51] In the anime, even Danzō, Hiruzen's life-long rival, openly acknowledged the Hokage's sheer prowess in utilising any technique as unsurpassed.[46] His knowledge could even immediately discern which technique a person intends to use after observing the hand seals.[52]

To watch over the village, he would use the Telescope Technique, allowing him to observe others through his crystal ball over long distances.[53] He was also an expert in fūinjutsu, being capable of using the Dead Demon Consuming Seal. Due to his old age and waning strength he was forced to get into close range of an enemy in order for it to take effect, though he was still capable of sealing the souls of the First and Second Hokage and part of Orochimaru's soul. He was also able to completely seal away the effects of Orochimaru's cursed seal on Anko Mitarashi.[54] In the anime, he was also stated to be capable of using the Five Elements Unseal technique.[55] He is also adept at using barrier ninjutsu, capable of erecting a Kage-calibre barrier powerful enough to trap the Ten-Tails.[56]

Shurikenjutsu

Out of his various specialties, Hiruzen was highly skilled in the use of shuriken based techniques, one of which was the Shuriken Shadow Clone Technique. With this technique, he could create a thousand clones of a single thrown shuriken in an instant to overwhelm the opponent. This method also meant that he didn't have to stock up on a lot of shuriken.[57] He could also use the technique with the larger version of shuriken, increasing the technique's range and penetration power.[58] Alternatively in the anime, Hiruzen could also use roof tiles in the area akin to shuriken, launching them clean from their base to give him the element of surprise to his enemies.[44]

Nature Transformation

Five Nature Attack
Hiruzen using all five elements simultaneously.

Hiruzen was highly skilled in elemental ninjutsu, being one of the few people capable of wielding all five nature transformations. He was able to use all five basic nature transformations simultaneously, via himself and four shadow clones, to counterbalance a similar attack from Guruguru's technique.[59]

The Fire Release: Fire Dragon Flame Bullet allowed him to exhale a powerful stream of fire from his mouth. Alternatively in the anime, he could also launch a barrage of smaller blasts. Hiruzen's Earth Release prowess could use the Earth Release: Earth-Style Wall to spit a stream of mud that solidifies into a large protective wall. In the anime the Earth Release: Earth Flow River created a river of mud beneath the opponent to throw them off balance. In the anime he had also been shown to be adept in combining elemental techniques, as he could use the river of mud with Earth Release: Earth Dragon Bullet, which creates a dragon's head that launches mud balls at an opponent and then ignite the mud ball projectiles with the Fire Release: Fire Dragon Bullet, creating a volley of hot mud that can melt nearly anything.

Summoning Technique

The 3rd And Enma
A young Hiruzen with Enma.

Hiruzen also had a personal summonMonkey King: Enma – who was capable of transforming into a diamond-hard staff, which could alter its length and width at will, or become a cage to protect the summoner. The staff was Hiruzen's weapon of choice as he showed great proficiency in wielding it; he successfully pushed back Kurama with it during the tailed beast's attack on Konoha.[60] Enma could also manifest parts of his body and attack an enemy with his claws and fangs, which added an element of surprise.[61]

Intelligence

Hiruzen showed a keen and perceptive mind in battle. Even while pressured by multiple opponents, he could quickly access the situation and use the proper counter-measure for it. He also had excellent analytical skills, being able to deduce Obito's mysterious substance only moments after witnessing it, stating that it was similar to the kekkei tōta but the attack's shape is dynamic, so it can be used offensively and defensively, and that it is even beyond kekkei tōta. He also was able to deduce that there is a limit to the duration of transformations the substance can hold for.

Stats

Databook Ninjutsu Taijutsu Genjutsu Intelligence Strength Speed Stamina Hand seals Total
First 5 5 5 5 3 3 3 5 34
Second 5 5 5 5 3 3 3 5 34

Part I

Introduction Arc

Telescope Technique
Hiruzen watching Naruto.

Hiruzen's first appearance in Part I was when two men reported to him that Naruto Uzumaki had vandalised the Hokage Monument. He was then seen standing next to Iruka Umino after the Academy graduation test, telling Iruka that they needed to talk and they were talking later about Naruto. In the manga when Naruto tried to steal the Scroll of Seals, Hiruzen found him and comically fell against his Sexy Technique. Later when Naruto succeeds in stealing the scroll, Hiruzen was seen instructing a large group of shinobi to stop and capture Naruto, observing the whole incident — including Mizuki revealing his intentions — from a crystal ball.

While criticising Naruto's ninja registration picture, in the anime he became the target of the boy's Sexy Technique, and fell prey to the mentioned. He was then unsuccessfully "assaulted" by Konohamaru Sarutobi who followed Naruto on the way out. He then watched the skirmish between Naruto and Ebisu, thinking that he would be heavily affected by the Harem Technique, blushing at the mere thought of it.

He was seen with the Konoha jōnin that would soon be assigned their genin cell. He told Kakashi Hatake that he would be leading Team 7. He and Kakashi then visited Naruto's apartment, pointing out few things like the expired milk that had caused Naruto much trouble after drinking it. He was then talking to Iruka about Kakashi's teaching methods, showing Iruka a book with the number of trainees that Kakashi failed. Iruka could only stare in shock upon realisation that no genin team assigned under Kakashi has ever got a passing mark.

Land of Waves Arc

After Team 7 completes their first D-rank mission, Hiruzen congratulates them on their success. Because the mission consisted only of finding a lost cat, Naruto complains that the mission was too easy and demands their next mission be more challenging, to Kakashi's embarrassment. Hiruzen tries to explain how missions are assigned by skill level and that, as genin, they cannot be expected to accomplish more difficult missions yet. Naruto does not relent, so Hiruzen agrees to assign them a C-rank mission: escorting Tazuna to the Land of Waves.

Chūnin Exam Arc

Episode 20
Hiruzen calls a meeting.

He first appeared in this arc consulting the jōnin about their decision to register their genin into the upcoming Chūnin Exams. Asuma Sarutobi, Kurenai Yūhi, and Kakashi Hatake all deemed their students worthy. Thereafter, a slight argument ensued between Iruka and Kakashi where the former claimed that Naruto and his team-mates were not ready for such a challenge. Kakashi silenced him by saying that they were no longer Iruka's students but Kakashi's soldiers. Hiruzen was then sent to the tower in the Forest of Death after Anko Mitarashi encountered and was defeated by Orochimaru. After hearing Orochimaru's message for him, he tried to ease Anko's pain from the Cursed Seal.

Chunin Examination Arena
Hiruzen addressing the genin that passed.

After the second portion of the exam, he is seen congratulating all the genin who passed, and explaining the next round. He then witnessed the preliminary rounds of the final matches, only to tell the advancing genin about the challenge and their training. From there, he was seen reporting to the council that Hayate Gekkō had been killed, and that Orochimaru may have been involved. He then decided to carry on the Chūnin Exams as normal. Later that day, he assured Anko, who visited him to apologise, that she did not need to feel guilty about returning alive in the Forest of Death, after her encounter with her former master. He then departed for some air some seconds later to head to the Hokage Monument, where he gave a speech to the Academy students about what it really means to be a shinobi. When the time of third portion of the exam comes, Hiruzen was present on a stadium as one of the judges. He welcomed Fourth Kazekage who really was impersonated by Orochimaru.

Invasion of Konoha Arc

Hiruzen tai Orochimaru
Hiruzen clashing with Orochimaru.

When the invasion began, Hiruzen was taken by Kazekage who revealed himself as Orochimaru and forced to battle him, as the Third's former student infiltrated the village and planned Konoha's destruction just so he could kill Hiruzen and kidnap Sasuke Uchiha. Soon after the battle began, Orochimaru reincarnates Hashirama and Tobirama, so that Hiruzen could feel the enjoyment of fighting his former masters.[44]

Hiruzen quickly resolved to kill his masters and used a very powerful fire technique that was easily countered by one of Tobirama's walls of water that was then turned into an attack that was stopped by Hiruzen's own earth wall. Hiruzen was then however caught by Hashirama's Wood Release. Even after summoning Enma to free himself from Hashirama's Wood Release, Hiruzen, in his old age was unable to defeat the two Hokage, as any damage that was done was simply regenerated. He was further inhibited by his desire to not hurt either.

Hiruzen Sealing Orochimaru
Hiruzen struggling to seal Orochimaru's soul.

Hiruzen's fight was also impeded by Orochimaru's presence, horrified at seeing just how monstrous his treasured student had become through mastering Living Corpse Reincarnation and his intentions to use it on Sasuke. Left with no other choice, Hiruzen creates two shadow clones while executing Dead Demon Consuming Seal on his former masters to stop them.[62] As he bid a heartfelt goodbye to his teachers, he turned his attention to Orochimaru and reveals the technique's double edge as he must sacrifice both his soul and those of his predecessors to the Shinigami. Intending to have Orochimaru join them in the spectre's stomach while throwing aside his former pupil's Kusanagi, Hiruzen attempts to seal Orochimaru's soul as well. Realising it as he starts to see the Shinigami, Orochimaru called his Kusanagi to him, stabbing Hiruzen in the back. Despite the fatal injury, Hiruzen continued to try to remove Orochimaru's soul as his death would come one way or the other.

Hiruzen last smile
Hiruzen dying with a smile.

After an hour of struggling, Hiruzen came to accept that his old age had left him too weak to completely seal Orochimaru away. Seeing that completely removing Orochimaru's soul was impossible, yet his desire to redeem himself for allowing his former student's escape, Hiruzen decided to instead have the Shinigami take Orochimaru's arms to rob him of using ninjutsu as his way of fittingly punishing Orochimaru for his obsession with power. As Orochimaru began to curse his former master for the act, Hiruzen bids his student farewell as he collapsed with the hope that they would meet again. Seeing Orochimaru as the boy he once was, Hiruzen died with a smile on his face with the knowledge that he saved Konoha and its next generation that would come.[63]

Part II

Ten-Tails Revival Arc

Hokage Reincarnated
Hiruzen is reincarnated alongside the other three Hokage.

In Sasuke Uchiha's quest for answers, Hiruzen's soul was freed from the Shinigami and subsequently reincarnated with the Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation technique alongside his predecessors Hashirama, Tobirama, and his successor Minato Namikaze by Orochimaru using Zetsu's spore clones as sacrifices. After he and Minato explained how they had been freed from the Dead Demon Consuming Seal and reincarnated again, Hiruzen is shocked to learn that Orochimaru did not bring him back to destroy Konoha before learning the reason was to give Sasuke answers. Seeing that Sasuke learned the truth, Hiruzen solemnly confirmed that everything related to the Uchiha clan massacre was true.

Hokage's set out
Hiruzen and the other reincarnated Hokage prepare to head out to the battlefield.

Shocked when his former sensei was about to take action against Sasuke for saying that Hashirama's words would decide whether or not he exacted revenge on the village, Hiruzen breathed a sigh of relief when the First was able to stop his brother, albeit almost destroying the Naka Shrine in the process. Questioning Orochimaru when the Sannin noted that they did not have time for a lengthy discussion, Hiruzen is shocked to hear that there was a war going on and even further that Madara was participating in it. Opting to head to the battlefield immediately and then have their discussion later, when they were bound by Orochimaru, Hiruzen had no choice but to abide by the First's wish to stay and free Sasuke from the impending darkness which surrounded him, threatening to corrupt him. With Hashirama's story over, Hiruzen echoed Tobirama's sentiments that there had been Uchiha who had transcended the limitations of their clan and had put the village first. He also noted that Shisui Uchiha, the son of Tobirama's subordinate Kagami and Itachi's best friend has also inherited Hashirama's will. On the outside of the Naka Shrine, Hiruzen took the opportunity to question Orochimaru's motives before resigning to his bust on the Hokage Monument alongside the other respective Hokage. Hiruzen noted that he had not been to war for so long, that he would give it his all.

Hokage arrive
Hiruzen and the other Hokage arrive on the battlefield.

Arriving with Hashirama and Tobirama, Hiruzen lauded his successor, noting that he still lived up to his moniker of Konoha's Yellow Flash. Answering the curious onlookers, Hiruzen noted that it was Orochimaru whom had reincarnated them and that they were there to put an end to the war. On Hashirama's command, the Hokage launch into action and Hiruzen asked Minato if he had already marked the locations before he is teleported to his designated location. Using the Four Red Yang Formation technique, the four Hokage are able to successfully trap the Ten-Tails.

Hiruzen and the other Hokage later watched as Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke all summoned their creatures to the battlefield. Remembering his own students, after seeing the summoned slug, snake, and toad, Hiruzen acknowledged that it was really the dawning of a new era. With this, he spurred them on to attack the Ten-Tails. Hiruzen was later sent reeling when Obito destroyed the Four Red Yang Formation after becoming the Ten-Tails' jinchūriki. He later relocated to confront Obito alongside Hashirama and Tobirama where he admitted that though it might be brazen, he had to agree with Hashirama that even he was now outclassed by Obito.

Hiruzen attacks Obito
Hiruzen attacks Obito.

Narrowly escaping Obito's assault Hiruzen looked on as Hashirama and Tobirama's bodies are destroyed by the new jinchūriki. Upon Tobirama's command to move away, Hiruzen jumped to safety and noted that Tobirama was going to use his Mutually Multiplying Explosive Tags technique. After the explosion, Hiruzen confronted Obito directly, launching a giant shuriken which he replicated. Using this, and the direct assault on him by Obito, The Professor deduced that the mysterious substance that was being used by Obito was similar somewhat to Dust Release but afforded both offensive and defensive capabilities. He also noted that the substance was more than likely made out of at least four nature transformations but at the same time, could not be maintained for extended periods of time. While still analysing the technique, Hiruzen got hit by it which his opponent used to quickly overwhelm him by annihilating the complete upper half of the Hokage's body.

Hiruzen saves Naruto
Hiruzen saves Naruto from the Ten-Tails.

Later, as Obito manifests the Ten-Tails intent on continuing the Eye of the Moon Plan, the beast makes its final transformation into Shinju, the God Tree. As the roots cover Naruto, fully regenerated, Hiruzen along with a transformed Enma destroys the branches. Apologising for being late, Hiruzen was able to extract the young man, and have Tobirama teleport them some distance away.

Hiruzen slices Shinju
Hiruzen destroys one of the Shinju's branches.

As more people fell to the Shinju, Hiruzen grimly analyses that nature of Obito's new attack method. Orochimaru suddenly arriving and states this attitude is not like his former sensei. Hiruzen asked his former student the status of the current Kage, to which Orochimaru noted that they had done all they could and they should be arriving soon. With the morale of the Allied Forces wavering, Hashirama had Ino Yamanaka telepathically link everyone on the battlefield via the Mind Body Transmission Technique to inform them of the new development with the Eye of the Moon Plan as well as to try and rally them to continue fighting. While Hashirama's words fail to inspire anyone, Naruto's senjutsu-enhanced Tailed Beast Mode combined with Ino's telepathy causes his emotions and memories to be conveyed to everyone as he watches on saddened when Naruto remembered his own funeral, Hiruzen is even more saddened upon learning that his son, Asuma had passed away as well.

Questioning Orochimaru of his intentions when the Alliance mobilised, the Sannin notes that he shows no interest in this war. He, however, noted that Obito's plan to conquer the world will interfere with his experiments, thus deciding to join the fray. With the tree stopped by his student's snakes, Hiruzen destroys one of the Shinju's branches with his staff. Later, as Naruto — assisted by the Shinobi Alliance — began his tug-of-war against Obito, Hiruzen noticed the Shinju's flower halted its blooming and commanded everyone to charge.

Return of Madara Arc

Hiruzen vs. Guruguru
Hiruzen battles against the statue.

Though they are successful in stopping Obito, they are soon faced with the fact that Madara was able to revive himself. Assaulted by Guruguru who uses a miniature version of Hashirama's Sage Art: Wood Release: True Several Thousand Hands technique. As five of the faces along the statue opened its mouth, preparing attacks of all five elements, Hiruzen counteracted the attack by creating five shadow clones each using one of the elements to counterbalance the attack.

Legacy

After Hiruzen died, seeing him as a great Hokage, Tsunade noted that the village has produced some very fine and determined shinobi under her mentor's leadership, as when she saw Rock Lee's determination to go through with a life-risking operation. Succeeding Hiruzen as the Fifth Hokage, Tsunade practices her mentor's principles during her term. Additionally, Asuma passes his father's ideals to his student Shikamaru Nara and the significance of protecting Konoha's next generation. Asuma is also the father of a child with Kurenai Yūhi which will be Hiruzen's second grandchild, posthumously. As the Fourth Shinobi World War begins, Kabuto Yakushi would reveal to Tobi that Hiruzen's use of the Dead Demon Consuming Seal during his fight with Orochimaru had left Kabuto unable to summon him, nor Hashirama and Tobirama via Impure World Reincarnation.

The Fourth Raikage insinuated Hiruzen's death may have been the result of a secret plot between Danzō Shimura and Akatsuki, though it was all Orochimaru's doing.[64]

While he promised Itachi that he would protect Sasuke, Hiruzen did not foresee the boy becoming an enemy to Konoha, due to his inability to look past the tragedies of his life, and developing a hatred-induced mindset. When Sasuke was confronted by Kakashi soon after he killed Danzō, hesitant at killing his former student at first, the latter remembers Hiruzen's resolution to kill Orochimaru and finally understood how the Third felt.[33]

Video Games

Hiruzen Sarutobi is a playable character in the following video games:

Game name Japanese release English release
Naruto Shippūden: Ninja Destiny 2 24 April 2008 15 September 2009
Naruto Shippūden: Ninja Destiny 3 28 April 2009
Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja 4 5 April 2007 24 March 2009
Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja 5 20 December 2007 27 November 2009
Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 18 April 2013 5 March 2013
Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations 23 February 2012 13 March 2012
Naruto: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! 3 20 November 2004
Naruto: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! 4 21 November 2005
Naruto: Ninja Council 2 29 April 2004 10 October 2006
Naruto: Ninja Council 3 27 April 2006 22 May 2007
Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 13 July 2006 14 October 2008
Naruto: Rise of a Ninja 30 October 2007
Naruto: The Broken Bond 18 November 2008
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2 30 September 2004 12 June 2007
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 3 22 December 2005 25 March 2008
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 2: The Phantom Fortress 30 March 2006 24 June 2008
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 15 January 2009 4 November 2008

Trivia

  • Hiruzen is one of only three known Kage to predominantly wear the position's official uniform — the others being the Fifth Kazekage, and the Fourth Raikage.
  • His father's and clan's name, inspired by Sarutobi Sasuke, means "jumping like a monkey", further supported by his Summoning Technique, which summons Enma. Tobirama also nicknamed him "Monkey" (サル, Saru).
  • Many aspects of his character were borrowed from the Chinese literature classic Journey to the West. Hiruzen's summon, Enma, bears a very strong resemblance to Sun Wukong (孫悟空, Monkey King), the protagonist of the novel, and Hiruzen's chosen weapon was identical to the Monkey King's magical staff.
  • Hiruzen's ghost could be briefly seen in Naruto: Shippūden episode 129.
  • During his battle with Orochimaru, maybe as a premonition to his death, Hiruzen's likeness on the Hokage Monument cracked across the face. While the crack was fairly prominent due to its size, it didn't always show up in the anime, due either to a bad angle or a mistake by the animators.
  • Hiruzen shared the same nickname as Hashirama Senju and the Sage of the Six Paths. They were each known as the "God of Shinobi" (忍の神, Shinobi no Kami).
  • Hiruzen is the only known character to wield all five basic elements without the aid of tools, techniques, or kekkei genkai.
  • Masashi Kishimoto originally planned for Hiruzen to be a dog, but eventually dumped the idea for being "too weird".
  • According to the databook(s):

Quotes

  • (About Naruto) "He has combined shadow clones with his own invention, the Sexy Technique. What a foolish ninja technique… and he could probably get me with it, too."[65]
  • (To Iruka) "I wonder… do you have it, young as you are… the Will of Fire?"[66]
  • (To Kosuke) "As long as I am alive, I will not let you go to your death on a mission! If you are a Konoha shinobi, find your Will of Fire!!"[12]
  • (To Konohamaru) "To those who possess the Will of Fire, everyone is family. The desire to protect one's family builds thicker and stronger bonds between each and everyone in the village. If the Will of Fire is embraced by everyone, the village will be alright no matter what happens."[67]
  • (To Orochimaru) "Konoha is my home! The Hokage is one who continues to act as the main pillar of the house, protecting it!! He's the one who carries the will of Konoha, entrusted with it… It won't be that easy for you!"[68]
  • (To Orochimaru) "To me, Konoha isn't just an organisation. Every year there are a lot of ninja born and raised in Konoha… They live, fight to protect this village and what is precious they would go to their death. Even if we are not related by blood, those of the village like these are, to me, my most precious, most important… family!"[69]
  • (To Orochimaru) "Even if you were to kill me, the pillar would not crumble. I'm the man who inherited the will of Konoha, the will of the First and Second. I am the Third Hokage!!! No matter how much you target Konoha, there'll be a new Hokage who'll inherit my will… and become the pillar to protect Konoha!"[70]
  • (To Orochimaru) "In this society, true power is not attained from mastering all the world's techniques. This is something I have already taught you. When there is something important to protect… that's when a shinobi's true power emerges."[71]
  • (To Orochimaru) "Your foolishness is unparalleled, Orochimaru. My one regret is that I couldn't take you with me. Farewell, disciple! May we meet again in the next world."[72]
  • (Last words) "When the tree leaves dance, one shall find flames. The fire's shadow will illuminate the village, and once again, tree leaves shall bud anew."[73]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 First Databook, pages 117-119
  2. Second Databook, pages 143-145
  3. Naruto chapter 118, page 3
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Naruto chapter 94, page 12
  5. 5.0 5.1 Naruto chapter 121, page 3
  6. Naruto chapter 139, pages 9-11
  7. Naruto: Shippūden episode 127
  8. 8.0 8.1 Naruto chapter 122, page 7
  9. Naruto chapter 344, pages 16-17
  10. Naruto chapter 121, page 7
  11. Naruto chapter 366, page 12
  12. 12.0 12.1 Naruto: Shippūden episode 190
  13. Naruto: Shippūden episode 349
  14. Naruto chapter 116, page 3
  15. Naruto chapters 500-504
  16. Naruto: Shippūden episode 350
  17. Naruto chapter 440, page 5
  18. Naruto chapter 2, pages 13-14
  19. Naruto: Shippūden episode 351
  20. Naruto episode 72
  21. Naruto: Shippūden episode 352
  22. Naruto: Shippūden episode 355
  23. Naruto: Shippūden episode 356
  24. Naruto: Shippūden episode 357
  25. 25.0 25.1 Naruto: Shippūden episode 360
  26. Naruto: Shippūden episode 359
  27. Naruto chapter 590, page 6-10
  28. Naruto: Shippūden episode 359
  29. Naruto chapter 400, page 15
  30. Naruto: Shippūden episode 359
  31. Naruto episode 203
  32. Naruto episode 205
  33. 33.0 33.1 Naruto chapter 483, page 17
  34. Naruto chapter 627, page 5
  35. Naruto chapter 117, page 12
  36. Naruto chapter 502, page 9
  37. Naruto: Shippūden episode 211
  38. Naruto chapter 481, page 12
  39. Naruto chapter 140, page 3
  40. Naruto chapter 503, page 7
  41. Naruto chapter 126, page 10
  42. Naruto chapter 632, page 2
  43. Naruto chapter 662, page 8
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 Naruto episode 69
  45. Naruto episode 71
  46. 46.0 46.1 Naruto: Shippūden episode 284
  47. Naruto chapter 120
  48. Naruto chapter 646, page 13
  49. Naruto chapter 123, page 8
  50. Naruto episode 2
  51. Naruto chapter 120, page 15
  52. Naruto chapter 504
  53. Naruto episode 1
  54. Naruto chapter 64, page 20
  55. Naruto episode 94
  56. Naruto chapter 631, pages 9-11
  57. Naruto chapter 117
  58. Naruto chapter 639, page 6
  59. Naruto chapter 662, page 5
  60. Naruto Shippūden episode 249
  61. Naruto chapters 120, 123
  62. Naruto episode 73
  63. Naruto episode 80
  64. Naruto chapter 458, page 7
  65. Naruto chapter 2, page 20
  66. Naruto chapter 139, page 10
  67. Naruto: Shippūden episode 281
  68. Naruto chapter 122, page 14
  69. Naruto chapter 122, pages 15-18
  70. Naruto chapter 122, pages 18-19
  71. Naruto chapter 137, page 13
  72. Naruto chapter 137, page 17
  73. Naruto chapter 137, pages 17-19

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