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"Hanzō of the Salamander" (山椒魚の半蔵, Sanshōuo no Hanzō)
12th February (Acquarius)
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|English Voice Actor(s)|
Hanzō (半蔵, Hanzō), also known as Hanzō of the Salamander (山椒魚の半蔵, Sanshōuo no Hanzō), was a legendary shinobi, and the leader of Amegakure during his lifetime.
Hanzō was a rather muscular man of average height, with long blond hair reaching down to his back and a prominent scar on his right cheek. In the manga, he had unusual eyes that displayed dark sclerae and light coloured irides, similar to Kakuzu's. In the anime, his eyes were portrayed with a normal white sclerae and brown irides. On the left-side of his abdomen, he bore a distinctive cross-shaped scar received from implanting a salamander's venom sac within his body. He had a dark hat on his head and his lower face was mostly obscured by a helmet-like respirator, which he used to keep his own poison at bay and that differed from the ones worn by other Amegakure shinobi, as it was notably larger and featured two filter cartridges instead of the typical one. The upper portion of this mask bore the symbol of his village and was mirrored by four indentations on the part covering his mouth.
His typical attire consisted of a loose wetsuit-like outfit typical of his village, accented by bandages wrapped around his wrists and lower legs, a flak jacket with swirls on the chest-plate, standard shinobi sandals and a dark cloak that reached down below his waist. Underneath this wetsuit, he donned a dark, short-sleeved, midriff shirt which exposed just his lower abdomen.
In his youth, his hair was significantly shorter and he wore a respirator with only a single cartridge instead of two. During his fight with Mifune in the past, Hanzō was shown bare-chested, wearing only the lower section of his wetsuit-like clothing, complemented by a pair of dark gloves covering his hands.
Hanzō was a very security-conscious individual, trusting no one. He was guarded twenty-four hours a day, and did not allow anyone in his presence, even children, without being thoroughly searched. He cared greatly on his position as village leader, and dealt with threats harshly. This obsession with security deluded Hanzō into thinking of preserving the great skills he has amassed, when instead it caused his skills to deteriorate due to lack of practice.
Although he viewed the Five Great Countries as his enemies, he was still willing to ally with foreign nations, even those who had caused him great harm, in order to remain in power. He was also willing to betray people without remorse, leading the Ame Orphans and their team into a trap, then attempting to have them all mercilessly killed; this betrayal, ironically, led to his own demise.
A long time ago during his youth, Hanzō had once sought the ideals of "peace" and even attempted to achieve this belief through the unification of the Five Great Countries. However, after realising that such a method would only bring about perpetual war and thus, leave only death in its wake, he cast aside this conviction. Afterwards Hanzō became devoted solely to the preservation of the power he had previously amassed, growing arrogant of his own skills in the process and leaving him unaware that they had instead dulled considerably, due in part to the lack of refinement brought about through practice. Even by the time of his death, Hanzō still couldn't comprehend how someone he had once defeated, could have grown more powerful than himself.
A distinctive trait of Hanzō, however, was his belief in the faith of people. He believed that a strong faith would have survived the death of its owner, living on; faith, according to him, wasn't visible to the eyes, but could only be perceived through a fight. He had great respect for the ones with a strong faith, as seen when he spared the lives of many strong-willed opponents he defeated, demanding their names in order to call them heroes in spite of their defeat. He claimed his faith laid in his will to bring peace to the world, which, despite his harsh words and his attitude in later stages of his life, seemed to have lived on, as seen when, before releasing a poisonous cloud from his venom sac and losing his free will to Kabuto Yakushi's Impure World Reincarnation, he entrusted his faith to Mifune.
At some point during Hanzō's childhood, a black salamander died in his village. Following its death, its poison sac was implanted into him in the hopes of creating a venomous ninja who himself was immune to toxins. This required him to wear a mask constantly, in order to protect others from his venom-laced breath. Sometime in his past Hanzō fought Mifune, whom he defeated in battle but whose life he spared, due to the samurai's strength and faith. He went as far as giving him the antidote to his poison, and then left. Despite claiming to think he had killed him, in the back of his mind, Hanzō knew Mifune was still alive.
During the Second Shinobi World War, Hanzō fought some of Konoha's forces, with Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Orochimaru being the only ones to survive. As a reward to them for this accomplishment, he named them Konoha's Sannin and told them to refer to themselves as such in exchange for letting them live. He also engaged into battle with Chiyo numerous times, allowing her to create an antidote to his salamander's poison.
Years later during the Third Shinobi World War, when a group of ninja began a quest to end war through unorthodox means within his country, Hanzō viewed them as a threat to his power and sought to get rid of them. He teamed up with Konoha's Root organisation to kill the group's leader, Yahiko. He lured Yahiko to a meeting where he forced Nagato, Yahiko's team-mate, to kill Yahiko in exchange for Konan's life.
However, Yahiko committed suicide by impaling himself upon Nagato's kunai to spare his friend the anguish and burden of killing him himself. Nagato slaughtered Hanzō's forces in retribution along with the shinobi of Root who had come to aid Hanzō. After a brief skirmish with Nagato, Hanzō fled the scene realising that he could not deal with Nagato when he was so enraged and thus fled.
Nagato, under the alias of "Pain", would later begin a civil war within Amegakure. According to the stories, he single-handedly killed Hanzō, his family, and his retainers, and then conducted a systematic genocide of anybody even remotely associated with Hanzō, even to the extent of terminating the ambassadors of the villages Hanzō was associated with.
Shinobi World War Arc
In preparation for the Fourth Shinobi World War, Hanzō was reincarnated by Kabuto Yakushi to fight against the Allied Shinobi Forces on behalf of Akatsuki. After being mobilised, he became part of the group that Chūkichi from the Surprise Attack and Diversion Platoon requested assistance from, along with Chiyo and Kimimaro. Encountering the remnants of the Alliance's Surprise Attack Division with this improvised team, Hanzō chastised Deidara for being caught and remarked that he would have had no intention of freeing him, if it weren't for the accursed technique which governed his actions. As the opposition retreated, Hanzō concentrated on their pursuit and once they were within his range, he summoned his salamander and then commanded it to release a poisonous mist. Moving in for the fatal blow once the members of the Surprise Attack Division had been paralysed, Hanzō was however intercepted by Mifune, who expressed a desire to fight him.
Questioning his opponent's devotion, as the two engaged in a brief but fierce duel, Hanzō maintained his distance with his kusarigama. Ordering Ibuse to take refuge underground when Chiyo divulged the mechanisms behind the salamander's technique, Hanzō commended Mifune on avoiding his attacks, before recounting how he had cast aside his ideals of "peace" a long time ago. Mifune refutes Hanzō's beliefs, as he stopped him from forming hand seals through Iaidō, preventing Hanzō's use of ninjutsu. After recollecting his past, Hanzō attempted to counter-attack by commanding Ibuse to swallow the samurai whole, resulting in Mifune almost suffocating in its toxic mouth. Slashing through the salamander's head, the two men approached one another, each ready to deliver the decisive blow. In a complete reversal of their first encounter when both were young, Mifune cuts the blade of Hanzō's kusarigama in half and slashes through his opponent's body, breaking his respirator in the process. Mifune then told Hanzō that the loss of his conviction had dulled his skills.
After Hanzō reminisced about his past battle with Mifune, where he divulged the details surrounding his infamous reputation and eventually spared the defeated samurai due to his strong devotion towards his allies, he then explained that the weakness he described then still remained despite his immortality. In a tremendous demonstration of will, Hanzō places his faith in Mifune and — overcoming the talisman that governed his actions — he committed "seppuku" (切腹, stomach-cutting) with his broken kusarigama. Piercing the internal venom gland located within his body in the process, an enormous poisonous cloud was released that paralysed the entirety of Hanzō's movements, creating an opening for the Fifth Division to exploit in order to bind, and seal him away for the remainder of the war. With the later release of the Impure World Reincarnation, Hanzō's soul was returned to the afterlife.
Hanzō was easily recognised as one of the strongest ninja of his time, and an icon to the whole shinobi world, because of his skills. His power was such that Jiraiya expressed intense shock upon hearing that he had been defeated single-handedly by Pain, though this defeat came about due to his obsession with his own security and his consequent lack of training, which resulted in his skills dwindling considerably. Hanzō's speed was said to be unsurpassed in water.
Hanzō could use Fire Release, and, during his attempt to kill Nagato, he demonstrated impressive skill for combining these skills with trap-oriented techniques, as he not only anticipated Nagato attacking him but had also appropriately placed a series of explosive tags in preparation for such an eventuality.
As a child, Hanzō implanted the venom sac from a black salamander, which resided within his village, into his own body upon its death, leaving an identifiable scar on the left-side of his abdomen. This procedure conferred to him the poison-related abilities of the creature, amongst which were an enhanced resistance to poison and the alteration of his body chemistry so that he too became toxic, so much so that even his breath would intoxicate those in the immediate vicinity. This poison was deadly, causing victims to experience excruciating pain until they succumbed to numbness, where these effects would then progress to complete paralysis and ultimately death within a period of two days from inhalation. To preserve the safety of others, Hanzō always breathed using a respirator and carried a small vial of antidote about his person, although even immediate ingestion of this did not guarantee survival. The fear that this very implantation produced, earned him the epithet of "Hanzō of the Salamander".
Fighting without his mask granted Hanzō a great advantage over his enemies, but also bore a considerable risk for himself. If the venom sac were ever ruptured after receiving a direct wound, the resultant poisonous cloud released as the toxin vaporised would immobilise him for several seconds, presenting a significant opening for his foe in spite of the venom still remaining non-fatal to Hanzō. The mask completely alleviated this risk and so he resolved to remove it only when pitted against weaker enemies that he could defeat without consequence, while keeping it on when in the presence of stronger opponents who could have exploited such a weakness.
Since his youth, Hanzō has wielded a kusarigama with great skill, being able to match and even surpass various dangerous opponents seemingly through the use of just this weapon alone, including the likes of the now reputed Mifune. Unusually, he tended to deliver brutal strikes by swinging the sickle with the chain, rather than simply employing the weighted end, which is generally considered to be the most effective manner. The weapon's blade was coated in Hanzō's deadly poison, making a single blow enough to successfully dispatch enemies.
Due to Hanzō's growing preoccupation with the preservation of his own security, when he was nearing the latter stages of his life, his skills with the weapon had dulled considerably.
Hanzō was shown to be particularly skilled in the Summoning Technique and living up to his salamander theme, his signature creature was the massive salamander Ibuse, who was large enough for his master to ride on its head. Just like his master, Ibuse is a poisonous salamander and is thus capable, if given the right amount of time, of storing inside its body a large amount of poisonous gas, which can be subsequently exhaled from its mouth at Hanzō's command. This poison is strong enough to almost completely paralyse opponents just mere seconds after inhalation, leaving them entirely at its master's mercy. Ibuse was also proficient at tunnelling through the ground in order to travel underneath the earth, avoid attacks and then resurface right under an enemy to swallow them, letting them die due to the toxins stored within its body.
When battling alongside this trademark creature, Hanzō was strong enough to fight and eventually overpower all three Sannin in their youth.
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|Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3|
- According to the databook(s):
- His favourite phrase was: Unpreparedness is one's greatest enemy (油断大敵, Yudan Taiteki).
- Hanzō may have been named after a famous real-life samurai and widely believed ninja Hattori Hanzō (服部半蔵). This is further accentuated by his connections with samurai of the Naruto universe and his final act of suicide, typical of real-life samurai.
- Hanzō's nickname and his element affinity have significant meaning because in ancient mythology, although being amphibious, the salamander was considered the living symbol of fire and as such was completely fireproof and able to live in fire itself.
- In the anime Mifune reveals that Hanzō was rumoured to never have had a proper burial, but picks up a piece of his broken respirator and opts to give him one himself, wondering where would be most suitable.
- (To Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and Tsunade) "You three are powerful… only you have survived. I, Hanzō, hereby dub you the 'Sannin of the Leaf.' Refer to yourselves as such in return for having your lives spared."
- (To Mifune) "One last thing. People's lives don't end when they die. It ends when they lose their faith."
- (To Mifune) "Will it be death while still holding strong to faith, or a long life gained by renouncing it?"
- (To Mifune) "Once, I also sought 'peace'. I thought I could unite the Five Great Shinobi Countries' Ninja World into one. I quickly realised that couldn't happen."
- (Decrying the occupation of the samurai) "A lot of samurai changed jobs to ninja. Samurai schools also changed to teach the ninja arts. The role of the samurai has already ended. Without any convictions towards peace, financed and grown out of money, they use strong ninjutsu. Ninja have taken and changed your role. But if those ninja can be weeded out and were to die, then nothing would be left. Just like me."
- (To Mifune) "Mifune… I'm placing my faith in you!"
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Third Databook, page 143
- ↑ Naruto chapter 369, page 10
- ↑ Naruto chapter 531, pages 11-20
- ↑ Naruto chapter 532, pages 3-4
- ↑ Naruto chapter 531, page 13
- ↑ Naruto chapter 446, pages 10-13
- ↑ Naruto chapter 446, pages 13-17
- ↑ Naruto chapter 447, pages 1-13
- ↑ Naruto chapter 369, pages 9-14
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 272
- ↑ Naruto chapter 532, pages 4-5
- ↑ Naruto chapter 532, page 8
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Naruto chapter 531, page 12
- ↑ Naruto chapter 532, pages 9-10