|Rōmaji||Kugutsu no Jutsu|
|Viz print media||Art of the Puppet Master|
|English anime||Puppet Master Jutsu|
|Manga||Volume #8, Naruto Chapter #70|
|Anime||Naruto Episode #41|
|Novel||The Last: Naruto the Movie|
|Movie||Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of Gelel|
|Game||Naruto: Ninja Council|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Novel, Game, Movie|
|Classification||Ninjutsu, Bukijutsu, Fighting Style|
|Class||Offensive, Defensive, Supplementary|
|Range||Short to Mid range|
The Puppet Technique is a unique ninjutsu fighting style. A user of this technique is known as a puppeteer (傀儡使い, kugutsutsukai).
This technique uses chakra threads to control puppets like marionettes. The threads basically move the puppets by their joints, but can also activate any traps and hidden weapons. Any number of chakra threads can be used to control a puppet, but users with more skill can use fewer strings per puppet. Both Chiyo and Sasori demonstrated the ability to control entire puppets perfectly using just one thread.
While most puppeteers would normally be able to control ten puppets at most (one per finger), Sasori's self-modification allowed him to control up to one hundred puppets at a time.
This technique has a few weaknesses:
According to Shino Aburame's observations during his fight against Kankurō, the Puppet Technique is a long range style, meaning that the puppeteers are weak against close range fighters. While controlling the puppet, the user is wide open if the opponent bypasses the puppet. For this reason, puppeteers avoid hand to hand battle, relying almost exclusively on their puppets instead.
Since most puppeteers use their hands to manipulate the puppets, if their hands are disabled, then the technique can be neutralised. And because the puppet's movements are based on the mechanisms that were installed inside, interfering with said mechanisms can stall the puppet entirely. This was demonstrated by Shino during his fight against Kankurō, where he used his bugs to infiltrate Karasu's joints, rendering the puppet immobile, and then again by Sasori, who used the Third Kazekage's Iron Sand to stall Chiyo's mechanical Chakra shields.
Another weakness is that a puppet's movement is dependent on the will of the user, and as such there will be a time lag between the user's commands and the puppet's response.
Should a puppeteer be using puppets created by another person, then they risk having said puppets' weaknesses to be exploited if their opponent is said creator. When Kankurō faced Sasori with the three puppets created by the latter, this was exactly what happened, as Sasori knew of all the possible combination techniques and weak spots of the three and countered them completely, leaving Kankurō to suffer a complete defeat.
As a puppeteer's main weapon are the puppets, if all puppets are destroyed or disabled, then the puppeteer in question is left vulnerable.
If a puppeteer loses all puppets, it does not mean they are rendered completely helpless, as they could utilise the technique with corpses strewn across the battlefield; performing this tactic with a live person requires great cooperation and coordination or weakening the resisting enemy beforehand.
Kankurō has managed to work around close-range combat by switching places with his puppets, preventing his enemies from closing in and also allowing him to potentially set a trap for them, as shown when he fought against Sakon and Ukon.
Sasori has managed to create innovative methods that can bypass such weaknesses, such as Hiruko, which is worn like a disguise, serving as armour and defending himself from attacks, and converting himself into a puppet, he can fight at close range without worrying about leaving himself wide open for a counter-attack. Being connected directly to his core, his puppets have no lag in time between command and movement.
In Other Media
In Naruto Shippūden the Movie: The Lost Tower, Mukade, a missing-nin of Suna, could use this technique to control an entire nation full of puppets at a very long range, which numbered in thousands; he achieved this by connecting his chakra strings to a large pillar and pipes specialised in flowing chakra throughout the entirety of Rōran, expanding the number of strings and distance he can cover.
- It was thought that the inventor of this technique is Monzaemon Chikamatsu, originally using it for entertainment purposes. He worked diligently with other shinobi to convert the theatrical art into a unique form of combat. However, the seventh guidebook claims that this technique originated from the Ōtsutsuki clan.
- In some media, the drawback of the technique's long-range usage is mitigated somehow if the user has a solid degree in taijutsu; however, this is mainly apparent for characters such as Kankurō in the Clash of Ninja series where he fights with haymakers and other forms of hand-to-hand combat mixed with puppet control.
- Chiyo, on the other hand, takes the brunt of the drawback due to her possessing no standard taijutsu attacks and relying on complete re-positioning of her puppets due to the combat system of the series.