The tailed beasts (尾獣, bijū), sometimes referred to as "Chakra Monsters" (チャクラのバケモノ, Chakura no Bakemono), are the nine titanic living forms of chakra created by the Sage of the Six Paths. They are differentiated by the number of tails they have, ranging from one to nine.
Long before the founding of the hidden villages, the Sage of the Six Paths saved the world by sealing the Ten-Tails into his body, becoming its jinchūriki. Sometime later, the Sage was inspired by his youngest son, Asura, to use his Creation of All Things ability to divide the Ten-Tails' chakra into nine living entities, what would become the tailed beasts. The Sage named the nine and explained to them 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 the Sage's death, the tailed beasts drifted apart, apparently due to the Nine-Tails' belief that their number of tails was an indication of their strength.
Over the centuries, humanity failed to recognise the tailed beasts as sapient individuals, instead seeing them only as monsters worthy of fear and disdain. Because of the beasts' immense power they were sought out to be used as tools, controlled by humans in times of war. The beasts resented this treatment and came to hate humanity, at times willingly becoming the monsters they were viewed as. Shortly after the ninja villages were created, Hashirama Senju, who had captured several of the tailed beasts with his Wood Release, distributed the beasts amongst the new villages in order to stabilise the balance of power between them. In order to harness the beasts' power, the villages began sealing them into jinchūriki.
Decades later, after the Third Shinobi World War, an organization known as Akatsuki began capturing the villages' jinchūriki in order to extract their tailed beasts and seal them into the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path for the purposes of reviving the Ten-Tails. By the time of the Fourth Shinobi World War, Akatsuki has captured the first seven tailed beasts. In order to capture the last two, the Eight-Tails and Nine-Tails, Tobi seals the beasts back into their reincarnated jinchūriki and forces them to fight the Eight-Tails' and Nine-Tails' jinchūriki: Killer B and Naruto Uzumaki, respectively. From Naruto's determination to free them from Tobi and his desire to learn their names, the tailed beasts collectively decide that Naruto is the person the Sage of the Six Paths foretold of. They give him portions of their chakra, enabling him to release them from Tobi's control.
Tobi is able to reclaim the freed tailed beasts and, using fragments of the Eight-Tails' and Nine-Tails' chakra, prematurely revives the Ten-Tails. Tobi then becomes the Ten-Tails' jinchūriki, but he is defeated by the Allied Shinobi Forces and the tailed beasts are removed from his body. The nine tailed beasts join forces against Tobi's co-conspirator, Madara Uchiha, but he quickly defeats them all and seals them, including the Eight-Tails and Nine-Tails, into the Demonic Statue and reforms the Ten-Tails yet again.
Madara becomes the Ten-Tails' jinchūriki and attempts to use Infinite Tsukuyomi on the world. Naruto uses the tailed beasts' earlier donations of chakra to try and defeat him, but is unable to do so in time. Madara is afterwards unwittingly used to restore Kaguya Ōtsutsuki, who tries to take what portions of the tailed beasts' chakra Naruto still has. Naruto and Sasuke Uchiha seal Kaguya away and the tailed beasts are extracted from her body, ending the war. Sasuke, however, realizing that the struggle for the tailed beasts started the war in the first place, imprisons them with Chibaku Tensei and intends to kill them so the world can't fight over them any longer. Naruto convinces him not to in the end and the tailed beasts are finally released for good.
The tailed beasts spread out through the world, free to live as they want; the Eight-Tails and Nine-Tails opt to return to and stay with B and Naruto. However, though they are apart, their chakra fragments remain within Naruto, allowing his body to act as their "meeting ground".
Tailed beasts are widely believed to be bestial in nature, incapable of the intelligence needed to fully utilise their immense strength. It is thought that only when sealed within humans are they able to benefit from the knowledge of their hosts to use their powers effectively. This is not actually true.
While all the tailed beasts have unique attributes, powers, and chakra levels, there are some attributes they all share. Each has massive quantities of chakra - coloured red - far greater than what most shinobi have. The tailed beasts are also able to freely transfer their chakra to whomever they choose, a process that is less complicated for them than it is for humans. Offensively, only tailed beasts can use Tailed Beast Balls, which can vaporise entire mountains at its "standard" level. Because tailed beasts are pure chakra, they cannot actually be killed; if they or their jinchūriki die, their chakra will re-coalesce in time.
The tailed beasts can communicate telepathically with each other and their jinchūriki, and possess several levels of consciousness. There is the initial level where the beast may appear in a habitat of sorts seemingly imprisoned in some way by whatever fūinjutsu that sealed them. The second level is where all the tailed beasts can convene, free of any restrictions and communicate with one another. The jinchūriki are also able to enter there, but in order to do so, they must be completely linked with their tailed beasts.
The Tailed Beasts
The nine tailed beasts, in order of their number of tails:
- In Naruto Shippūden the Movie: Bonds, the Zero-Tails, despite having a numerical tail name and being referred to as a tailed beast in the movie, it is not an actual tailed beast as it has characteristics that are quite different from them.
- In Naruto the Movie: Blood Prison, there is a yōkai called Satori that resides within the Box of Ultimate Bliss.
- In Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie, Kurama has a Genjutsu World counterpart called the Black Nine-Tails (黒九尾, Kuro Kyūbi), who is sealed within the body of Naruto's alternate self, Menma. Menma creates and controls living entities composed of its chakra known as the Nine Masked Beasts.
- In Naruto Shippūden: Ninja Destiny 3, there are three masked beasts (仮面獣, kamenjū) featured in the game (like Matatabi and Isobu that have been featured in the game) that can be fought via Beast Battle Mode.
- In Naruto Shippūden: Dragon Blade Chronicles, there are five dragons known as the Genryū, each possessing one of the five chakra natures. If all the Genryū are combined, they become the Light Dragon.
- In Naruto Shippūden: Kizuna Drive, there is the Three-Headed Guardian Beast, guardian of Yumegakure which, like the tailed beasts, is a living form of chakra.
- In Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution (and two anime only episodes), there is a Mecha-Kurama, a mechanised version of Kurama.
- Shukaku, Matatabi, Gyūki, and Kurama are based on popular animal yōkai from Japanese myth (tanuki, nekomata, ushi-oni, and kitsune respectively). The others are original creations by Masashi Kishimoto, mixing together various elements from certain species of animals.
- While most of the tailed beasts have conventional tails, Chōmei and Gyūki differ; Chōmei has one regular tail and six wings that make up its seven tails, while Gyūki has eight cephalopod limbs that serve as tails.
- Despite having names, the tailed beasts do no generally use them, either for themselves or for each other, instead referring to each other by how many tails they have. Son Gokū is the only consistent exception.
- Because the moon contains the Ten-Tails' body, tailed beasts and their jinchūriki are effected by it.
- According to Gaara, Shukaku's blood-lust is especially strong during the full moon.
- In the anime, Blue B, during his time as Gyūki's jinchūriki, noted that he would have trouble sleeping at night, especially during a full moon. He at one point was shown to have to suppress a partial manifestation of Gyūki's tail after he had been staring at the full moon. Blue B therefore took sleeping pills to help with this side-effect of being a jinchūriki.
- Several non-jinchūriki shinobi have been said to hold chakra levels or strength comparable to that of a tailed beast. Such individuals include Kisame Hoshigaki, Madara Uchiha, Hashirama Senju, the Third Raikage, and the Fourth Raikage.
- In the anime, the six tailed beasts that were used by Tobi shared a voice actor with one of each other's respective jinchūriki.
- How the tailed beasts speak has been depicted inconsistently throughout the series, where sometimes their mouths move with their words and sometimes they don't.
- ↑ Chapter 404, page 14
- ↑ Chapter 256, page 14
- ↑ Chapter 467, pages 14-17
- ↑ Chapter 670
- ↑ Chapter 510, pages 11-12
- ↑ Chapter 572, pages 12-13
- ↑ Chapter 567, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 568, page 13
- ↑ Chapter 648, pages 10-12
- ↑ Chapter 468, page 6
- ↑ Chapter 592, pages 10-11
- ↑ Chapter 609, pages 13-17
- ↑ Chapter 654, pages 14-15
- ↑ Chapter 660
- ↑ Chapter 699
- ↑ Chapter 692, pages 6-7
- ↑ Chapter 318, page 11
- ↑ Chapter 572, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 609, pages 13-14
- ↑ Chapter 503, pages 14, 17
- ↑ Chapter 496, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 568, page 10
- ↑ Chapter 572, pages 6-7
- ↑ Chapter 91, page 19
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 318
- ↑ Chapter 468, page 9
- ↑ Chapter 589, page 7