|Manga||Volume #15, Chapter #134|
|Anime||Naruto Episode #78|
|Movie||The Last: Naruto the Movie|
|Game||Naruto: Ultimate Ninja|
|OVA||Naruto x UT|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Game, Movie|
Shukaku (守鶴, Shukaku), more commonly known as the One-Tail (一尾, Ichibi), is one of the nine tailed beasts. It was last sealed within Gaara of Sunagakure, after being sealed in two other jinchūriki before him.
Shukaku and the tailed beasts first came into being in the waning days of Hagoromo Ōtsutsuki, who used his Creation of All Things Technique to divide the Ten-Tails' chakra into nine separate bodies and giving each a name. Some time after being created, the Sage explained to the young tailed beasts that a link existed between them despite their separation. He also foretold of a day when they would be brought together again - though not as they were - and that at that time someone would emerge to show them what true power is. After Hagoromo's death, the tailed beasts drifted apart, apparently due to Kurama's belief that their number of tails was an indication of their strength.
Shukaku would eventually be captured and kept by Sunagakure, to which the First Kazekage, who was invited along with other first Kage by Hashirama Senju into the first Five Kage Summit, attempted to use his possession of the tanuki as leverage to gain wealth for his nation, as opposed to gaining another tailed beast.
Shukaku's first jinchūriki was a Suna priest named Bunpuku, who was locked away in a dungeon with the giant tea kettle, and was kept under constant guard. Over time, the citizens of Sunagakure came to believe that Shukaku itself was a living ghost (生霊, ikiryō) of a corrupted priest sealed inside a tea kettle. Despite the animosity the village showed for Shukaku and its host, the elderly priest held no ill-will towards the tanuki nor the villagers, viewing it as an equal and was content as long as Shukaku hadn't forgotten his name. Shukaku eventually came to appreciate Bunpuku and would later remember the words he imparted to it: that someday someone would appear in the world to teach it about the heart and acceptance. Shukaku had another jinchūriki who inspired the Third Kazekage to create his Iron Sand fighting style. Shukaku was eventually removed from their bodies, resulting in their respective deaths.
When Karura became pregnant with Gaara, her husband, the Fourth Kazekage, had Chiyo seal Shukaku into Gaara while he was still in the womb because, out of his three children, Gaara was the only one compatible with the tailed beast. Before Karura died after giving birth, she passionately told her son that she would protect him, and, according to her husband, her love seeped into the sand and was noted to form his automatic defence. However, Gaara couldn't properly control Shukaku's powers, killing or injuring several of Suna's shinobi and citizens by accident. Shukaku would even cite its hatred toward humans, warning Gaara not to sleep too long if he didn't want to give Shukaku an opening. Deemed a failure, the Fourth Kazekage chose to test his son one last time, ordering Yashamaru to assassinate him and also tell him that his mother never loved him, and that she was used as a human sacrifice for the sealing process. Gaara failed the test, fully releasing the rampaging Shukaku, to which the Fourth eventually used his Gold Dust to subdue the tanuki.
Shukaku is characterised as a wild and short-tempered individual, and often speaks in a bombastic and incoherent manner, giving it the demeanour of a drunken madman. It also expresses pride as it uses "ore-sama" (オレ様, Literally meaning: my esteemed self) when referring to itself, and holds great confidence in its own abilities, especially its absolute defence. According to Gaara, prior to its introduction, Shukaku relishes the opportunity to kill anyone in sight, even more so during a full moon. Like all tailed beasts, Shukaku has shown a strong desire to preserve its own life, granting its jinchūriki the power to control sand as well as allowing them to transform into it in a state of need and blood-lust.
Shukaku harbours a bitter grudge towards Kurama due to the latter's beliefs that the tailed beasts' strength is measured by the number of tails, and thus Kurama views Shukaku as the weakest. Because of this, Shukaku will find any opportunity to surpass its arrogant rival. Stemming from this, Shukaku can be quite childish and boastful, often bragging such as how Madara would never get out of its sealing technique.
Shukaku's hatred towards humans led it to spark fear in Gaara, reminding him that if he goes into a deep sleep, the tanuki would possess his body and murder all humans, resulting in Gaara's developing insomnia. Shukaku once had that similar attitude toward Bunpuku, but when its jinchūriki treated the tanuki as an equal, an impressed Shukaku complimented him by comparing him to the Sage of Six Paths. During the Fourth Shinobi World War, Shukaku eventually saw Gaara in a similar light, being reminded of Bunpuku.
Shukaku is a sandy-brown coloured tanuki, with black (dark blue in the anime) cursed seal markings all over its face, body, and tail. It has a jagged, concave mouth with no tongue, and the sclerae of its eyes are black, with yellow irides and pupils that each takes the shape of a black four-pointed star with four black dots around it. During the last days of the Sage of Six Paths, Shukaku in its youth looked the basically same as it does presently, only much smaller with shorter ears and more spaced out markings.
See also: Jinchūriki Forms
As a tailed beast, Shukaku possesses a large quantity of chakra and can perform the Tailed Beast Ball. As a precaution, if its jinchūriki lost control and fully transformed into Shukaku inside of Suna, the villagers were to either evacuate beforehand or seek shelter due to the risk of mass casualty from its rampage. Shukaku has the ability to control its jinchūriki whenever they sleep, leading to its host to develop insomnia. Shukaku has great physical strength while using its tail, as seen when overlapping it with the other tailed beasts to shatter and even obliterate a senjutsu-enhanced humanoid Susanoo.
Shukaku's most notable ability is its sand manipulation, using it as an effective weapon and shield. Since its whole body is completely made of sand, the tanuki can ignore most damage that would otherwise be detrimental, as shown when it had one of its arms chopped off by Gamabunta and was still able to keep on fighting. Taking pride in its motto of absolute defence, Shukaku's sand is durable enough to block a senjutsu-enhanced Susanoo sword with ease. It is capable of performing fūinjutsu by using its natural cursed seal markings across its own sand body, which gives off a magnetic field to bind its targets. One of its techniques, the Desert Layered Imperial Funeral Seal, is strong enough to temporarily restrain and withstand powerful techniques, like the Susanoo.
Shukaku can use Wind and Earth Release nature transformations. It can rapidly fire wind bullets with enough force to level entire forests. Likewise, it can combine its wind abilities with Gaara's sand in order to produce a mass of fast-moving sand bullets. Shukaku can combine wind and earth elements to use Magnet Release, and is the only tailed beast which can use cursed seals from its markings and infuse them into the Rasengan to create the Sage Art: Magnet Release Rasengan, which was powerful enough to restrain Madara Uchiha's shadow.
During the Chūnin Exams, Gaara partially transformed into Shukaku during his fight with Sasuke Uchiha, lashing out with the tailed beast's arm after being injured for the first time and terrifying Sasuke with a glimpse of its eye. During the Konoha Crush, Gaara later transformed into his full Shukaku form during his fight with Naruto Uzumaki, who summoned Gamabunta to counteract it.
When Gaara exposed himself on top of Shukaku's head and used the Feigning Sleep Technique, Shukaku took full control of its body and battled them. Shukaku's power was too much for Gamabunta to handle, resulting in both him and Naruto using the Combination Transformation to take the form of a giant fox (the Nine-Tails in the anime). Gamabunta used the form's claws and teeth to grab and restrain Shukaku, in order for Naruto to wake Gaara up with a punch, which suppressed Shukaku's power.
Sunagakure Support Mission
In the anime, when Gaara's student Matsuri got kidnapped by the Four Celestial Symbols Men, in a plot to take Shukaku's chakra, he rescued her and partially transformed into Shukaku to defeat the recently resurrected Seimei.
In Naruto's Footsteps: The Friends' Paths
About two years after the Chūnin Exams in Konoha, another exam was held between Konoha and Suna. During this event, Gaara, was attacked by Hōichi, who used the fūinjutsu of Bunpuku to subdue Gaara and begin transferring Shukaku's chakra into himself.
Kazekage Rescue Mission
During Gaara's time as the Fifth Kazekage, Deidara and Sasori from the Akatsuki were assigned to capture Shukaku. During the battle between Gaara and Deidara, Gaara manifested Shukaku's arms several times to attack the Akatsuki member.
After Deidara defeated Gaara in combat and took him to Akatsuki's lair in the Land of Rivers, Shukaku was forcefully extracted from Gaara and placed within the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path. Though the extraction killed him, Gaara was resurrected through Chiyo's One's Own Life Reincarnation technique and has still retained the ability to control sand.
Birth of the Ten-Tails' Jinchūriki
Shukaku was the only tailed beast sealed within the Demonic Statue to have not been resealed into Obito Uchiha's Six Paths of Pain and as such, did not meet Naruto during his encounter with the other tailed beasts. When Naruto proceeded in his plan to pull all the beasts from Obito's body in order to halt the tree form of the Ten-Tails' flower from blooming and completing the Eye of the Moon Plan, its chakra rejected Naruto as he contained none of the tanuki's chakra. Gaara, having been bonded with Shukaku, instead took hold and began pulling the chakra himself. Through the efforts of the Kazekage, Shukaku was freed from its captivity alongside the other tailed beasts. Upon being freed, Shukaku started to recognise Naruto. Despite showing reluctance to Gaara's request for its help in sealing Madara Uchiha, Shukaku decided to comply only for the opportunity to surpass Kurama.
When Madara ran towards them and the other tailed beasts, both Shukaku and Gaara conjured numerous sand bullets and were able to restrain the Uchiha's movements. Using the opportunity to attack, the tailed beasts each took a swing at their opponent, giving sand-manipulating duo an opening to use their Desert Layered Imperial Funeral Seal, but Madara managed to escape the sand pyramid with his Susanoo. As Naruto in Tailed Beast Mode pinned Madara down with a tail, Shukaku and the other tailed beasts joined in and did the same to increase the damage, but the Uchiha survived their attacks and retreated to a safe distance. After he received his own right Rinnegan eye from a White Zetsu clone, Madara quickly summoned the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path from Obito's body, and used the Rinnegan to repel the tailed beasts.
With the tailed beasts stunned, Madara then proceeded to chain them up and prepared to seal them back into the statue. As Madara began the process on Shukaku, Gaara intervened, declaring his refusal to let Madara get his former tailed beast. Shocked at how determined Gaara was to protect Shukaku despite their negative past, the tanuki remembered Bunpuku's words of wisdom. From that, it also recalled Gaara explaining that he'd been grateful to Shukaku as it was thanks to the tanuki that Gaara had met his first friend, Naruto. As Madara launched an attack on Gaara, Shukaku quickly blocked the attack for its former jinchūriki. Despite their new-found team-work, Madara still rebuffed their efforts and all the tailed beasts were resealed within the Demonic Statue.
Later, after Madara succeeded in becoming the Ten-Tails' jinchūriki, a reformed Obito managed to steal some of Shukaku's chakra along with some of Gyūki's. Then Obito sealed the Yin half of Kurama into a dying Naruto to save his life, Obito also sealed Shukaku and Gyūki chakra portion into Naruto. Inside Naruto's subconscious, Shukaku, Gyūki, and Yin-Kurama found the young jinchūriki talking with the spirit of Hagoromo Ōtsutsuki. As the other six tailed beasts manifested to join in the meeting, they all voiced their shared belief to the Sage that Naruto was the child of prophecy. As Naruto fought Madara, Shukaku aided him by lending its Magnet Release chakra, allowing Naruto to use a juinjutsu technique against Madara.
Kaguya Ōtsutsuki Strikes
After Madara's ambitions were cut short by Black Zetsu, who revealed to be the silent manipulator of shinobi history since it was first created by Kaguya Ōtsutsuki, the black entity used Madara's body as a medium to resurrect its creator. During the battle against the tyrannical princess, Shukaku and the other tailed beasts continued to support Naruto by giving him their combined power to overwhelm her. Ultimately, Kaguya was defeated by Naruto and Sasuke, who used the Six Paths — Chibaku Tensei to eject all the tailed beasts from her and seal her away inside a newly-created moon within her own dimension.
After the spirits of Hagoromo and the past Kage summoned both the tailed beasts and Team 7 back to the real world, the tailed beasts began to discuss their plans for the future since they were finally free. Sasuke, however, made his own intentions known: removing as many people as possible who could get in the way of his plans of leading the world through a revolution to do away with current shinobi systems, including killing all the current Kage and tailed beasts. Just as Sasuke swiftly subdued the tailed beasts with his Rinnegan and sealed them within his Chibaku Tensei, Naruto reassured the tailed beasts that he would save them once again. After Naruto was able to defeat and reform Sasuke, the two dispelled the Infinite Tsukuyomi and Sasuke released Shukaku, along with the other tailed beasts, from their prisons.
In Other Media
Shukaku appears as a boss in Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm and Naruto: Rise of a Ninja, and a false replication of it is a boss in Naruto Shippūden: Kizuna Drive. Shukaku is playable in Gaara's awakening mode in both its miniature and full forms in the Ultimate Ninja series, and only its full form in Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution and Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, respectively.
- 'Shukaku' (守鶴) literally means 'protector crane'.
- A tanuki (狸, raccoon dog) is a popular animal yōkai in Japanese folklore and is famous for its mischievous nature and abilities to shape-shift. They are also said to be rivals to the kitsune, which created an old Japanese proverb: "A fox and a tanuki matching their cleverness" (狐と狸の化かし合い, kitsune to tanuki no bakashi ai), meaning two sly characters trying to outsmart one another. Shukaku being sealed inside a tea kettle is a reference to one Japanese tale called Bunbuku Chagama. In addition, Shukaku being claimed to be a corrupted Suna priest earlier in the series, has ties to a legend in the Kenchō-ji temple of a tanuki disguised as the shrine's priest.
- Shukaku is the first tailed beast to have its name revealed in the series. In addition, Shukaku is the only tailed beast that hasn't been shown giving its jinchūriki the characteristic red chakra-shrouds (Version 1 or Version 2 forms). This is presumably because Shukaku appeared early in the story when Kishimoto have not yet defined the specific abilities that all the tailed beasts share.
- When chapter 629 was first released, Shukaku's image was seen among the tailed beasts, despite not having the chance to give Naruto its chakra like the others, suggesting an error. In the tankōbon version, it was removed.
- (To Naruto and Gamabunta) "I'm finally out!! And here's someone that I want to kill right now!!"
- (To Gaara) "If a fox can transform seven times, a tanuki can do it eight times!" (「狐七化け狸八化けってな」, "Kitsune nana hake tanuki hachi hake tte na!")
- "My motto is absolute defence… That is what I, Shukaku, pride myself on!"
- ↑ Second Databook, page 91
- ↑ Third Databook, pages 198-199
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Fourth Databook, pages 148-151
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Chapter 97, page 8
- ↑ Chapter 134, page 16
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Chapter 261, page 7
- ↑ Chapter 467, pages 15-16
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Chapter 572, pages 10-11
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Chapter 567, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 648, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 660, pages 5-9
- ↑ Chapter 268, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 261, page 8
- ↑ Chapter 97, pages 9-10
- ↑ Chapter 547, page 3
- ↑ Chapter 547, pages 16-17
- ↑ Chapter 548, pages 10-13
- ↑ Chapter 546, page 10
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 Chapter 656, page 7
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Chapter 660, page 15
- ↑ Chapter 91, page 19
- ↑ Chapter 519, page 15
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 388
- ↑ Chapter 135, page 9
- ↑ Chapter 658, pages 13-15
- ↑ Naruto episodes 219-220
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 411
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 412
- ↑ Chapter 629, page 5
- ↑ Chapter 135, page 10