The Rinnegan (輪廻眼, Literally meaning: Saṃsāra Eye) is reputed as the most exalted eyes amongst the Three Great Dōjutsu (三大瞳術, San Daidōjutsu, Literally meaning: Three Great Eye Techniques). It is characterised by its ripple-like pattern, which spreads over the eyeballs, with light purple sclerae and irides.
The Rinnegan was admired as being able to bring forth all ninjutsu. It is said that in times when the world is in disorder, a person is sent down from the heavens to become either a "God of Creation", who will calm down the world, or a "Destroyer", who will reduce everything to nothingness. The Rinnegan allows the user to perform the Six Paths Technique.
The first person to possess the Rinnegan was the Sage of the Six Paths. As a result of the Sage's mythical status, many people believed the Rinnegan was only a legend or a mutation. Because the Rinnegan was originally wielded by the Sage of the Six Paths, re-merging the chakra of his two sons, Indra and Asura, in one's body can lead to that person awakening this dōjutsu. This was proven when Madara Uchiha, Indra's reincarnation at the time, later awakened the dōjutsu by infusing the DNA of Hashirama Senju, Asura's reincarnation at the time, into his body; however, it did not manifest until many years later when he was near death. At some point after this, Madara would implant his eyes into Nagato — a young boy of Senju lineage. Under the guise of Madara and inheriting the former's work, Obito Uchiha claimed that he was entitled to take the Rinnegan from Nagato's body after his death. He then implanted the left Rinnegan into himself, replacing the Sharingan he sacrificed.
When Madara was reincarnated by Kabuto Yakushi to fight the Allied Shinobi Forces, Madara once again gained access to the dōjutsu; he was able to transform his Eternal Mangekyō Sharingan into the Rinnegan at will. Based on data collected over the years, Orochimaru and Kabuto theorised that because the Sharingan originated from the Rinnegan, it was possible for the dōjutsu to change into the Rinnegan as part of a "natural evolution". However, upon Madara's true revival as a living being, he no longer possessed his eyes, as they were but a reflection of his former self due to him dying without his actual eyes. A White Zetsu clone managed to retrieve the right Rinnegan from where Obito had hidden it and returned it to Madara's previously empty right socket.
After receiving half of Hagoromo's power, Sasuke's left eye transformed into what Madara referred to as the Rinnegan. The dōjutsu has the typical concentric circles but also has tomoe reminiscent of the third eye Kaguya Ōtsutsuki possessed, and the Ten-Tails' singular eye.
One who gains the Rinnegan has access to a multitude of abilities. The holder of this dōjutsu has the potential to completely master all five basic nature transformations, and the capacity to use any technique. It can manipulate the direction of enemy techniques. Like other dōjutsu, the Rinnegan allows the user to see chakra, including otherwise hidden barriers, such as the one which surrounded Konohagakure. This dōjutsu can also see the chakra points in the body, and even invisible targets. However, the Rinnegan's field of vision can be blocked by such things as dust clouds and smoke bombs. It can also completely decipher the Sage of the Six Paths' tablet unlike the Sharingan and Mangekyō Sharingan. The Rinnegan can also teleport the user and anyone near him within a short distance. A noteworthy power of the Rinnegan also allows its user to summon and control the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path. However, the Demonic Statue cannot be summoned using a Rinnegan created through Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation.
One of the Rinnegan's trademark techniques is the Six Paths Technique, which grants the user multiple abilities known as Paths. The Deva Path can be used to attract and repel targets. The Asura Path can clad the user in mechanised armour and grant them various weapons. The Human Path can read minds, at the cost of ripping out the victim's soul. The Animal Path can summon several different creatures. The Preta Path can absorb any chakra-based ninjutsu. The Naraka Path can summon the King of Hell, which can be used for interrogation and restoration.
Finally, the user is granted the Outer Path, which gives them control over life and death. It also allows the user to manifest chakra chains, which can be used to bind and control tailed beasts in a similar fashion to the Sharingan and Wood Release. The Outer Path grants a shared field of vision between the Rinnegan wielder, the creatures summoned through the Animal Path, the King of Hell and reanimated corpses embedded with chakra receivers, which also have the user's Rinnegan reflected in their respective eyes.
When he was crippled by Hanzō, Nagato developed the Six Paths of Pain technique, a means of controlling six corpses as extensions of himself by embedding them with chakra receivers. Due to sharing his field of vision with the corpses, Nagato could coordinate them with extremely precise planning. He was also able to channel one of the abilities of the Six Paths Technique through each corpse. Obito also applied this technique, though he used reincarnated jinchūriki. Their eyes sported the Sharingan and Rinnegan, in identical fashion to Obito, and their former tailed beasts were temporarily resealed inside them using chakra receivers, though the Uchiha did not have them use the powers of the Six Paths Technique as his enemies were already aware of them.
The powers of the Rinnegan remain intact upon being transplanted into another individual, though only Madara has demonstrated the ability to revert his Rinnegan into the Eternal Mangekyō Sharingan. The Rinnegan does not appear to have any noticeable effect on one's chakra reserves, as Nagato wielded it for years unhindered, even in his emaciated state.
- In the anime, the Rinnegan was depicted as being multicoloured in its first few appearances. Once coloured manga illustrations of the Rinnegan were released, this was corrected. However, whereas the Rinnegan is depicted as a single shade of purple in the manga, the centre-most ring is depicted as a darker purple in the anime.
- In Naruto: Shippūden episode 203, a silhouette of the Sage of the Six Paths is shown. Here, the Sage's Rinnegan is shown to be red instead of the usual colour.
- Rinne (輪廻) is the Japanese term for Samsara, the cycle of reincarnation or rebirth in several Indian religions. This is reflected in the names of all Six Paths of Pain, which share the names with Samsaric realms of reincarnation.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Third Databook, page 313
- ↑ Naruto chapter 373, page 2
- ↑ Naruto chapter 425, page 9
- ↑ Naruto chapter 449, page 1
- ↑ Naruto chapter 462, page 11
- ↑ Naruto chapter 606, page 13
- ↑ Naruto chapter 606, pages 13-15
- ↑ Naruto chapter 509, page 4
- ↑ Naruto chapter 514, page 18
- ↑ Naruto chapter 560, pages 14-15
- ↑ Naruto chapter 673, pages 15-16
- ↑ Naruto chapter 375, page 11
- ↑ Naruto chapter 425, page 9
- ↑ Naruto chapter 673, page 2
- ↑ Naruto chapter 429, page 1
- ↑ Naruto chapter 668, page 3
- ↑ Naruto chapter 419, page 2
- ↑ Naruto chapter 672, page 1
- ↑ Naruto chapter 673, page 1
- ↑ Naruto chapter 674, page 3
- ↑ Naruto chapter 432, page 13
- ↑ Naruto chapter 443, page 13
- ↑ Naruto chapter 467, page 11
- ↑ Naruto chapter 674, page 2 and 8
- ↑ Naruto chapter 659, page 7
- ↑ Naruto chapter 659, page 7
- ↑ Naruto chapter 449, pages 1-2
- ↑ Naruto chapter 552, page 3
- ↑ Naruto chapter 556, pages 5-6
- ↑ Naruto chapter 569, page 10
- ↑ Naruto chapter 560, pages 13-14