|(伝説の三忍, Densetsu no Sannin, Literally meaning: Legendary Three Ninja)|
|Anime||Naruto Episode #83|
|Movie||Naruto Shippūden the Movie: The Will of Fire|
|Game||Naruto: Gekitō Ninja Taisen! 4|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Game, Movie|
The Sannin (伝説の三忍, Densetsu no Sannin, Literally meaning: Legendary Three Ninja) are renowned ninja from Konohagakure, hailed as three of the greatest shinobi of their time.
Before they were the Sannin, the three were students of Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third Hokage. When the team was first formed and they were fresh genin, Hiruzen gave them a bell test to test their skills; Jiraiya failed to get a bell, and was tied to a stump as punishment. During their time under Hiruzen's tutelage they all learned to use the Summoning Technique, which they performed with their left hand. Despite being a team and having accomplished great things together, the three members were always in constant disagreement with one another, which Tsunade referred to as, "the three-way deadlock." Once they became skilled ninja able to look after themselves, Hiruzen's team disbanded.
Despite the official dissolution of their team, the three continued to work together during the Second Shinobi World War. During one battle with Amegakure's Hanzō, they were the only Konoha ninja to survive Hanzō's attacks. As a reward for this, Hanzō named them the "Sannin" of Konohagakure, a title that would follow them for the rest of their lives and which they themselves would use with pride. However, the same battle that they received the name was the last one they fought together; Jiraiya chose to remain in Ame afterwards and, by the time he returned to Konoha, Tsunade had abandoned the life of a ninja and departed Konoha. Orochimaru would later defect from the village and Jiraiya left Konoha to try and bring him back.
Because of their skills, each of the Sannin have been considered for the position of Hokage at one time or another. Jiriaya was Hiruzen's preference for the position of Fourth Hokage, but he wasn't interested in the responsibilities. Orochimaru applied for the position of Fourth Hokage, but Hiruzen did not believe Orochimaru had the village's best interests at heart. Hiruzen again wanted Jiraiya to become Hokage after the Fourth Hokage's death, but by then Jiriaya spent too much time away from the village. After Hiruzen's death, the Konoha Council once more asks Jiraiya to take on the title of Hokage, but he instead suggests Tsunade for the position, who ultimately accepts.
Even though they never worked together again after the Second Shinobi World War, and even though Jiraiya and Tsunade were frequently at odds with Orochimaru when they did meet, the three ever-remained deeply attached to each other. When rumors of Orochimaru's death reach Konoha, Jiraiya and Tsunade are saddened by the news. By the time the rumors are found to be wrong, Jiraiya has died, and Orochimaru is moved by the dedication Jiraiya displayed his whole life.
- Tsunade - granddaughter of the First Hokage; addicted to gambling but chronically unlucky; revolutionised the medical-ninja system and the entire system of rules that medical ninja abide by; trained Shizune and Sakura Haruno, among others, in the art of medical ninjutsu; eventually becomes Fifth Hokage.
- Orochimaru - called the prodigy of his generation; endeavoured to gain immortality via means of kinjutsu in order to learn every technique in existence; defected from Konoha, joined Akatsuki, and founded Otogakure; taught Anko Mitarashi (and the other members of Team Orochimaru), Kabuto Yakushi, and Sasuke Uchiha.
- Jiraiya - wandered the world and trained under the toads; author of The Tale of the Utterly Gutsy Shinobi and the Icha Icha series of novels; became the teacher of the Ame Orphans, Minato Namikaze (and the other members of Team Jiraiya), and Naruto Uzumaki; died while investigating Pain, but not before gaining intel that contributed to Pain's ultimate defeat.
- Rank: Unknown
- Status: Failure
Jiraiya, Tsunade and Orochimaru were assigned by the Third Hokage, Hiruzen, to locate Hiruko and assassinate him for conducting illegal experiments. This failed, as Hiruko escaped with his research from the village by the time the Sannin reached his lab.
- Each of the Sannin has trained one member of Team Kakashi: Jiraiya has trained Naruto, Tsunade has trained Sakura, and Orochimaru has trained Sasuke.
- The Sannin are named after the characters in the Japanese folktale Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari.
- The world wide game "scissors, paper, stone" originated from China during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), invented by the warlords of that period. Except instead of paper, they used the open palm symbol to represent cloth, so it's "Scissors, Stone, Cloth". The game reached Japan in the early 1640s and one variation of the game was the "Slug, Snake, Frog" variation. In this variation, the Frog is afraid of the Snake, the Snake is afraid of the Slug, and the Slug is afraid of the Frog. This is influenced by the Sansukumi way of thinking where it keeps the three objects in a deadlock. The fact that the Sannin use these three animals as summons may be the author hinting that there is no stronger one among them, and that their strength is more or less equal.