| (猿飛ヒルゼン, Sarutobi Hiruzen)
|Anime||Naruto Episode #1|
|Movie||Naruto Shippūden the Movie: The Will of Fire|
|Game||Naruto: Ninja Council|
|OVA||Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival!|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Game, Movie|
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's 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.
Born into the Sarutobi clan to Sasuke, Hiruzen was a prodigy who truly stood out because of his talent. He and his former team-mates, Homura Mitokado and Koharu Utatane, were students of Tobirama Senju, the Second Hokage, and Hiruzen was also trained by Hashirama Senju, the First Hokage directly. 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. Shortly after the foundation of the village, Hiruzen and Danzō spar, with some of their friends watching. 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 and Mirai. At some point, Hiruzen, well-aware of his weaknesses and having too soft, authorised Danzō to have his own Anbu faction, Root, to compensate for his weakness, knowing full-well Danzō is much more ruthless than he is. In the anime, he even gave authorisation for Danzō to forcefully take young children into Root.
Prior to the Second Shinobi World War, Hiruzen became the teacher of Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and Tsunade. In the anime, another one of his students was Kosuke Maruboshi, whom he taught some of his signature techniques. As Jiraiya began slacking off in his training, Hiruzen attempted to motivate Jiraiya by showing off his signature skills in the 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. Coming to appreciate Orochimaru's natural talent, Hiruzen saw him as a once in a lifetime genius. 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 unknowingly caused his pupil to go down a dark road while attempting to steer him away from it. 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 and initially he turned to Jiraiya. 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. Ultimately, Hiruzen named Jiraiya's student, Minato Namikaze, as his successor.
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. Quickly preparing to defend his village, Hiruzen was approached by Danzō, who insisted that the Uchiha and their Sharingan power not be allowed to engage the demon fox in the chance another like Madara Uchiha would try to take control of the fox's power for their own gain. Reluctantly, Hiruzen agreed, telling Danzō to make sure the Uchiha would act purely in defending the villagers. 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. 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.
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 the Yellow Flash. Feeling similar pain to the rest of the village from recent loss of lives, Hiruzen would often give council to those he saw who needed it, including a young Iruka Umino, who he found crying at his parents graves. At the same time, 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.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
Two years later, Hiruzen and the council decided to promote Itachi to Anbu captain despite being only 13. 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. 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 Council and ordered for his Root-division to be disbanded. 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. 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. He would often watch Kakashi test new potential students for his genin team, watching in disappointment as Kakashi's darkness had yet to disappear. Later at some point in the anime, Hiruzen assigned Yakumo of the Kurama clan to hone her genjutsu under Kurenai Yūhi's guidance. 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.
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. 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, and granted him too much free rein as a result, though eventually he lost his trust for him after he spearheaded the Uchiha Clan Downfall. 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.
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, 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.
Hiruzen is also shown to have a sense of humour even during deadly situations. When Orochimaru told him to stop fooling around since it wasn't the Academy, Hiruzen replied depending on how good Orochimaru's technique is he might send him back to the Academy.
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.
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 green 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. 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). 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.
Hiruzen was one of the most powerful shinobi in history, being admired as a God of Shinobi (忍の神, Shinobi no Kami). Even in old age, he was hailed as not only the strongest Hokage in Konoha's history, but also the strongest of all the Kage at the time of his death. During his retirement, he proved strong enough to take the Nine-Tails head on and force it out of Konoha during its attack on the village. When resuming his reign years later, he could hold his own against his former student, Orochimaru, and the reincarnated First and Second Hokage without losing his composure. Orochimaru even noted he would have been killed if Hiruzen was ten years younger. Hiruzen's power was also the only force great enough to fight Tobi, countering his Wood Release: Several Thousand Hands all on his own during the Fourth Shinobi World War.
In the anime, Hiruzen's chakra was noted to be very strong even in old age, causing a dense effect on the atmosphere when released, cracking the building he and Orochimaru were battling on. Furthermore, he was known for having immense reserves of chakra in his youth. Despite having diminished reserves, he made up for it by having great chakra control, needing only the minimum amount of chakra to use each technique to their full potency.
Hiruzen displayed a masterful skill in taijutsu, being able to to counter the reincarnated Hashirama and Tobirama in close combat. It was also shown during his battle with the First and Second Hokage that he had a great amount of strength despite his age, enough to lift and throw Tobirama across a significant distance. 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 could break through Wood Release branches with ease, and even save Naruto from the Ten-Tails's chakra-absorbing branches with a few strikes. 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. After sealing both former Hokage, he faced Orochimaru in single combat. Despite 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, Hiruzen effortlessly disarmed him of his sword.
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), due to his mastery of all forms of shinobi combat, his own personal arsenal of original and ingenious techniques, as well as having mastered thousands of techniques in general. Likewise, he is reputed for having advanced knowledge and skill in all techniques to ever exist within Konoha, including the many Hiden techniques that reside within it.
According to a member of the Anbu, his ninjutsu was on an entirely different level than what is seen in normal battle. Even Danzō, Hiruzen's life-long rival, openly acknowledged the Hokage's sheer prowess in utilising any technique, as unsurpassed. With his vast knowledge and experience, he could even immediately discern which technique a person intends to use after observing the hand seals.
To watch over the village, he would use the Telescope Technique, allowing him to observe others through his crystal ball over long distances. Likewise, Hiruzen was a capable sensor, being able to discern the location of another individual by sensing their chakra and from it track down the target. He is also adept at using barrier ninjutsu, capable of erecting a powerful barrier in unison with three other Kage-level shinobi strong enough to trap the Ten-Tails.
Hiruzen was an expert in fūinjutsu, and was capable of effectively using them in combat. He was even capable of using the Dead Demon Consuming Seal, utilising the technique to seal away the souls of the reincarnated Hashirama and Tobirama Senju. 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. When used in conjunction with the Shadow Clone Technique, Hiruzen was able to seal away multiple targets, and fight a length of time afterwards, even before sealing his own soul away. Though he was only capable of sealing a part of Orochimaru's soul, afterward. In the anime, he was also stated to be capable of using the Five Elements Unseal technique.
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. He could also use the technique with the larger version of shuriken, increasing the technique's range and penetration power. 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.
As a young man, Hiruzen was stated to have shown even greater potential in elemental ninjutsu than Tobirama, his teacher. Hiruzen would then become highly skilled in the art, being one of the few able to wield all five elemental nature transformations, as well as Yin and Yang Release. He was able to use all five elements simultaneously, via himself and four shadow clones, to counterbalance a similar attack from Tobi's gigantic Wood Release statue, protecting the weakened Allied Shinobi Forces.
Hiruzen's Fire Release prowess allowed him to exhale a powerful stream of fire from his mouth. Alternatively, he could also launch a barrage of smaller blasts. With Earth Release, he could spit a stream of mud that solidifies into a large protective wall and even create a river of mud beneath the opponent to throw them off balance in the anime. Additionally, he was adept in combining elemental techniques, as he could use the river of mud to create a dragon-like 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.
Hiruzen also had a personal summon – Monkey 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. Enma could also manifest parts of his body and attack an enemy with his claws and fangs, which added an element of surprise.
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.
Prologue — Land of Waves
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.
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.
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.
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.
When the invasion began, Hiruzen was taken by the 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 for his benefit. Soon after the battle began, Orochimaru reincarnates Hashirama and Tobirama with the forbidden reanimation, so that Hiruzen could feel the enjoyment of fighting his former masters just as Orochimaru does.
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'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. 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.
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 he desired 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.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Climax
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 Downfall was true.
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.
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.
Birth of the Ten-Tails' Jinchūriki
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.
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.
Later, as Obito manifests the Ten-Tails intent on continuing the Eye of the Moon Plan, the beast makes its transformation into its tree form . 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.
As more people fell to the holy tree, 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 branches of the Ten-Tails' tree form with his staff. Later, as Naruto — assisted by the Shinobi Alliance — began his tug-of-war against Obito, Hiruzen noticed the Ten-Tails' flower halted its blooming and commanded everyone to charge.
Though they are successful in stopping Obito, they are soon faced with the fact that Madara was able to revive himself. Later the shinobi alliance is assaulted by Tobi's Wood Release: 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.
Kaguya Ōtsutsuki Strikes
After the Zetsu clone Tobi ended their battle abruptly, he and Tsunade looked on mortified as they saw Madara's dōjutsu reflected on the moon. After those living around him fell prey to the Infinite Tsukuyomi, Hiruzen attempted to free his disciple from the tendrils of the Ten-Tails' tree form. After this fails, Hiruzen followed the powerful chakra signature. Cove being on the location with the other Hokage, they discussed the situation with the tree taking hold of all the living persons, as well as only finding Madara' lower half. Before they can make a decision about their next course of action, Hagoromo manifested before them.
The Hokage all listened on as the Sage beseeched their help, and later along with the assistance of the other former Kage who the Sage had summoned from the Pure Land, they summon Team 7, the tailed beasts, and Madara from Kaguya's dimension. Hagoromo then dispelled the Impure World Reincarnation, allowing the reincarnated Hokage to return to the Pure Land, before which Hiruzen entrusted Team 7 to protect the world.
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. 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.
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.
In Other Media
Hiruzen Sarutobi is a playable character in the following video games:
Live Spectacle Naruto
Main article: Live Spectacle Naruto Kazuhiro Imagawa plays as Hiruzen in this stage play adaption.
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- Hiruzen is one of only seven known Kage to predominantly wear the position's official uniform — the others being the Fourth Kazekage, Fifth Kazekage, Fourth Raikage, First Tsuchikage, First Hokage, and Sixth Hokage.
- 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".
- Studio Pierrot's Settei sheets of Hiruzen show that he was 140cm when Konoha was founded, 145cm around the time the Valley of the End was created, and 166cm when Tobirama died.
- According to the databook(s):
- (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."
- (To Iruka) "I wonder… do you have it, young as you are… the Will of Fire?"
- (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!!"
- (To the Academy students) "You only get one life. There's no need to choose an impossible path. It's fine to live as long as you like and die. However… protecting a precious person… you must not forget this no matter what path you choose."
- (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."
- (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!"
- (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!"
- (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!"
- (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."
- (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."
- (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."
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 First Databook, page 162
- ↑ Second Databook, pages 143-145
- ↑ Third Databook, pages 170-171
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Fourth Databook, pages 170-171
- ↑ Chapter 118, page 3
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Chapter 94, page 12
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Chapter 121, page 3
- ↑ Chapter 139, pages 9-11
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Naruto: Shippūden episode 190
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 127
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Chapter 122, page 7
- ↑ Chapter 344, pages 16-17
- ↑ Chapter 121, page 7
- ↑ Chapter 366, page 12
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 349
- ↑ Chapter 116, page 3
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 358
- ↑ Chapters 500-504
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 350
- ↑ Chapter 440, page 5
- ↑ Chapter 2, pages 13-14
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 351
- ↑ Naruto episode 72
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 352
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 355
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 356
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 357
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 Naruto: Shippūden episode 360
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 29.2 Naruto: Shippūden episode 359
- ↑ Chapter 590, page 6-10
- ↑ Chapter 400, page 15
- ↑ Naruto episode 203
- ↑ Naruto episode 205
- ↑ 34.0 34.1 Chapter 483, page 17
- ↑ Chapter 627, page 5
- ↑ Chapter 117, page 12
- ↑ Chapter 502, page 9
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 211
- ↑ Chapter 481, page 12
- ↑ Chapter 140, page 3
- ↑ Chapter 503, page 7
- ↑ Chapter 126, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 662, pages 7-8
- ↑ 44.0 44.1 44.2 Naruto episode 69
- ↑ Naruto episode 71
- ↑ 46.0 46.1 Naruto: Shippūden episode 284
- ↑ Chapter 120
- ↑ Chapter 646, page 13
- ↑ Chapter 123, page 8
- ↑ Naruto episode 2
- ↑ Chapter 120, page 15
- ↑ Chapter 120, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 504
- ↑ Naruto episode 1
- ↑ Chapter 123, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 680, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 631, pages 9-11
- ↑ Chapter 123, pages 13-18
- ↑ Naruto episode 73
- ↑ Naruto episode 94
- ↑ Chapter 117
- ↑ Chapter 639, page 6
- ↑ Chapter 662, page 5
- ↑ Naruto Shippūden episode 249
- ↑ Chapters 120, 123
- ↑ Naruto episode 73
- ↑ Naruto episode 80
- ↑ Chapter 458, page 7
- ↑ Chapter 2, page 20
- ↑ Chapter 139, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 94, page 15
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 281
- ↑ Chapter 122, page 14
- ↑ Chapter 122, pages 15-18
- ↑ Chapter 122, pages 18-19
- ↑ Chapter 137, page 13
- ↑ Chapter 137, page 17
- ↑ Chapter 137, pages 17-19