- Sage Mode is a valuable skill that boosts power levels, enhances chakra reserves, stamina, and physical strength.
- Frog Kata taijutsu is a distinct style that allows users to attack without making physical contact, making it extremely powerful.
- Senjutsu provides sensory abilities, faster reaction times, chakra replenishment, and the ability to stack with other transformations for even greater power.
At a critical turning point in Part II of Masashi Kishimoto's Naruto, when the series' titular protagonist was reeling from the loss of his mentor and the threat of an adversary with god-like power, Sage Mode was an introduction that changed the game entirely. From a short-term standpoint, this empowered state permitted Naruto to blow past his limits and completely eclipse the strength of his peers, contributing heavily to his defeat of Pain.
However, its usefulness would not end there, as he continued to employ senjutsu in creative ways towards the end of Naruto, as a means of augmenting the power-ups and transformations he gained further down the line. In the Fourth Shinobi World War, Naruto, and later, Kurama, constantly relied on senjutsu to replenish their chakra reserves while fighting non-stop for two days. All this ties into why Sage Mode is such a valuable skill for a shinobi to have in their arsenal, as its purpose goes beyond the initial transformation.
Augmented Ninjutsu And Frog Kata Taijutsu
Some of the most powerful shinobi in history such as Kabuto Yakushi, Jiraiya, the Fourth Hokage Minato Namikaze, and the First Hokage Hashirama Senju, used Sage Mode when fighting against more powerful foes, which speaks volumes of its capacity to boost power levels. Although, it is important to note that Hashirama likely used a different version of Sage Mode than the one taught to Jiraiya, Minato, and Naruto on Mount Myoboku, even though many of the power ups granted by both forms were fairly similar.
When looking solely at the toads' variant of senjutsu, the advantages it offers to both perfect and imperfect sages are quite impressive. For starters, it vastly enhances the user's chakra reserves, stamina, durability, and raw physical strength, where they can perform taijutsu feats that would have otherwise been impossible, and use ninjutsu on a much larger scale than before. This difference is especially obvious when looking at jutsu such as Naruto's Sage Art: Many Ultra-Big Ball Spiralling Serial Spheres, or Hashirama's Sage Art Wood Release: True Several Thousand Hands, which were both powerful enough to take on a tailed beast.
Next, the toads of Mount Myoboku also developed a distinct style of taijutsu to complement their version of Sage Mode, known as Frog Kata. By surrounding their body in an aura created from the natural energy assimilated while entering Sage Mode, users can expand the range of their physical attacks to a degree where they do not even need to make contact with a target to inflict damage. This invisible aura cannot even be sensed by Rinnegan users, and only those trained in senjutsu can see or sense it. Hence, the boost in endurance as well as taijutsu and ninjutsu abilities, is more than enough to take on some of the most powerful shinobi in the series.
Chakra Replenishment, Sensory Abilities, And The Limitations Of Senjutsu
The aura surrounding a user and their capacity to sense natural energy also serve a secondary purpose, as they grant them the abilities of Sensor Types. With it, a Sage Mode user can perceive and react to attacks or incoming enemies much faster than their reflexes would otherwise allow, to deal with adversaries who rely on speed and stealth. Their ability to manipulate senjutsu chakra is also quite handy when dealing with opponents who can absorb chakra, as the Sage Mode user can simply supply nature energy to their opponent, which will incapacitate them if they are not trained in senjutsu. Finally, those who have mastered senjutsu can even use it to replenish their chakra reserves during a drawn out battle, by gathering natural energy.
While all these advantages make senjutsu an extremely helpful skill in a shinobi's tool set, there is a very strict barrier of entry for those who want to learn how to use Sage Mode. As it involves balancing one's own chakra with the natural energy from living organisms in their surroundings, those without sufficiently large innate chakra reserves cannot fully master the form and become perfect sages. Both Jiraiya and Orochimaru failed to do so for this very reason. Additionally, it may be difficult to re-enter Sage Mode in the heat of battle once the transformation fades, as the user must remain perfectly still for a time.
Fortunately, there are ways to bypass this issue, which Naruto was able to exploit due to his massive innate chakra reserves, with which he could create armies of shadow clones. By leaving clones behind in a safe space to gather natural energy for him, Naruto could re-enter Sage Mode as soon as his initial transformation faded. There was a drawback to this method, as he could only use a limited number of clones in combat, since creating more would disrupt his concentration on gathering natural energy. Later on, Naruto was able to circumvent even this limitation through constant training, to the point where he could enter Sage Mode in a matter of minutes or seconds.
How Naruto Broke The Rules Of Sage Mode
After Naruto attained Nine-Tails Chakra Mode just prior to the height of the Fourth Shinobi World War, he began stacking Sage Mode on top of it to bolster his attacks with senjutsu chakra, and deal with the chakra absorption abilities of the Ten-Tails' jinchuriki. The benefits of this combination became even more pronounced when he synced with Kurama and fully mastered the Nine-Tails' chakra, where he could distribute his power among the entire Allied Shinobi Forces.
In this state, Kurama assisted him in gathering natural energy constantly, even while he was fighting, to ensure that he did not run out of chakra. Naruto's jinchuriki partnership with Kurama was an added bonus to his use of Sage Mode, as he no longer needed to use Shadow Clones to amass natural energy. The versatility of Sage Mode is most apparent when looking at this exact application, where stacking it with other transformations allows the user to reach even greater heights of power.
Unlike the other forms in the series, senjutsu can be used in tandem with other transformations, as it is more a style of chakra manipulation than an actual transformation in and of itself. The potential rise in power from such combinations is almost immeasurable, as seen in how Naruto used it in tandem with Six Paths Sage Mode during his final battle against Sasuke. With it, he created a three-headed six-armed Kurama avatar, which resembled the Six Paths: Kunitsukami form used by Asura Otsutsuki. As such, Sage Mode is an ideal skill for shinobi with high chakra reserves, as it pushes their endurance beyond natural limits while also taking their combat ablities to an entirely new level when paired with other power ups.
Naruto is available to stream on Crunchyroll.