|(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.
As genin, the three were the students of Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third Hokage. When the team was first formed, 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 perform with their left hands. 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 a "three-way deadlock". Once they became skilled ninja able to look after themselves, Hiruzen's team was disbanded.
Despite the official dissolution of their team, the three continued to work together during the Second Shinobi World War. During one battle with Hanzō of the Salamander, they were the only Konoha ninja to survive Hanzō's attacks. As a reward for this, Hanzō dubbed them "Konoha's Legendary Sannin", a title that would follow them for the rest of their lives and which they themselves would use with pride. However, that same battle was the last one they fought together; happening upon a group of war orphans demanding training, Orochimaru proposed to kill them in order to end their suffering. Jiraiya however, chose to remain in Ame with them. By the time he had returned to Konoha, Tsunade had abandoned the life of a ninja and departed Konoha. Orochimaru, having been caught performing unethical experiments on his fellow shinobi, deserted the village. Jiraiya failed to stop Orochimaru from leaving and later left the village himself to track his and the Akatsuki's movements.
Because of their legendary skills and prowess, each of the Sannin have been considered for the position of Hokage at one time or another. Jiraiya was Hiruzen's preference for the position of Fourth Hokage, but he wasn't interested in the responsibilities. Orochimaru applied for the position, but Hiruzen did not believe Orochimaru had the village's best interests at heart and was passed over in favour of Jiraiya's student, Minato Namikaze. Hiruzen again wanted Jiraiya to become Hokage after the Fourth's death, but Jiraiya once again refused. After Hiruzen's death, the Konoha Council asked Jiraiya to assume the position once more. Jiraiya declines once again, feeling unworthy of the title for failing to save the Third or Fourth, and feeling that the Hokage's duties would cut into his "research" time. However, Jiraiya offered to bring Tsunade back to the village, where she became the Fifth Hokage.
The three were never on good terms again following 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 rumours of Orochimaru's death reach Konoha, Jiraiya and Tsunade are saddened by the news, although relieved that he was no longer a threat. When Jiraiya once again ventured to Amegakure to investigate Pain, Tsunade bet that he would die, so that her legendary terrible luck would ensure his survival. Upon learning that Jiraiya was killed by Pain, Tsunade privately mourned for his loss.
During the Fourth Shinobi World War, Tsunade and Orochimaru, along with a reincarnated Hiruzen, worked together once again, with Tsunade claiming that had Orochimaru changed sooner, Jiraiya might still be alive. Orochimaru replied that Jiraiya died just the way he was, which was better than him changing.
- 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.