Shukaku is one of the nine tailed beasts that exist in the world of Naruto, a popular anime and manga series. Shukaku is also known as the One-Tail, the Monster Tanuki, or the Incarnation of Sand. It is a giant tanuki-like creature with sand-colored fur and black markings all over its body. It has a single eye and a mouth full of sharp teeth.
It can manipulate sand and use wind and earth-based attacks. It was originally sealed within a tea kettle by a temple in the Land of Wind, but later became the jinchuriki (tailed beast host) of Gaara, the son of the Fourth Kazekage of Sunagakure (the Hidden Sand Village).
In this article, we will explore the history, personality, appearance, and abilities of Shukaku in the anime Naruto Shippuden, as well as its role in the story and its relationship with Gaara and other characters. We will also look at some trivia and facts about Shukaku that you may not know.
All about Shukaku
- Species: Tanuki
- Kekkei Genkai: Magnet Release
- Classification: Tailed Beast
- Jinchūriki: Bunpuku/Gaara/Obito Uchiha/Naruto Uzumaki
- Affiliation: Sunagakure
The History of Shukaku
Shukaku was created by Hagoromo Otsutsuki, the legendary Sage of Six Paths, who divided the chakra of the Ten-Tails, the primordial beast that threatened to destroy the world, into nine separate entities.
He gave each of them a name and a number of tails, and told them that they would always be connected even when separated, and that one day they would reunite as one being with a different form and name. He also prophesied that someone would emerge to show them the true meaning of power.
Shukaku was the first of the nine tailed beasts to be created, and was given the name of One-Tail. It was sent to live in a temple in the desert region that would later become part of the Land of Wind. The temple was built to protect Shukaku from those who would misuse its power. However, over time, the people of Sunagakure came to believe that Shukaku was a living ghost of a corrupted priest, and feared and hated it.
Shukaku was captured by the disciples of the temple and kept in Sunagakure, where the First Kazekage tried to use it as a bargaining chip to gain wealth for his village. He also attempted to create a jinchuriki for Shukaku, but failed.
Shukaku had two other jinchuriki before Gaara, but they both died when the beast was extracted from them. One of them inspired the Third Kazekage to create the Iron Sand technique, which mimicked Shukaku’s sand manipulation.
When the Fourth Kazekage’s wife, Karura, became pregnant with Gaara, he decided to seal Shukaku into him while he was still in the womb, hoping to create a powerful weapon for his village. He also planned to test Gaara’s loyalty and control by ordering his uncle, Yashamaru, to assassinate him and tell him that his mother never loved him.
However, this backfired, as Gaara unleashed Shukaku’s power and killed Yashamaru, and developed a hatred for his father and his village. He also became emotionally unstable and prone to falling asleep, which allowed Shukaku to take over his body and cause destruction.
The Personality of Shukaku
Shukaku is a mischievous and cunning tailed beast, who enjoys playing tricks and causing trouble. It is also very arrogant and proud, and considers itself superior to other tailed beasts and humans. It likes to mock and taunt its enemies, and often speaks in a sarcastic and rude manner.
It is also very bloodthirsty and violent, and enjoys killing and destroying anything in its path. It has a strong hatred for humans, especially those who try to use or control it, and does not care about the lives of its jinchuriki or their allies. It also dislikes the other tailed beasts, and often fights with them.
However, Shukaku is not completely evil or heartless. It has a sense of honor and loyalty, and respects those who can match or surpass its power. It also has a soft spot for its creator, Hagoromo, and his teachings. It can also form bonds with its jinchuriki, if they treat it with respect and kindness.
It can also show compassion and empathy for others, especially those who suffer from loneliness and isolation, as it can relate to their pain. It can also be playful and friendly, and enjoy having fun and joking around.
The Appearance of Shukaku
Shukaku is a large tanuki-like creature, with sand-colored fur and black markings all over its body. It has a single eye and a mouth full of sharp teeth. It has a long tail that ends in a brush-like tip. It has four legs with claws, and two arms with hands that have four fingers each. It also has two large ears and a pair of horns on its head. It wears a necklace of prayer beads around its neck, and a ring with the kanji for “one” on its left index finger.
Shukaku can also change its size and shape, depending on the amount of chakra it has or the situation it is in. It can shrink to a small size, or grow to a gigantic size that can dwarf mountains. It can also transform into a humanoid form, with a more muscular and human-like body, but retaining its tanuki-like features. It can also create a partial transformation, where it manifests only parts of its body, such as its arms, legs, tail, or head.
The Abilities of Shukaku
As a tailed beast, Shukaku possesses a large quantity of chakra and can perform the Tailed Beast Ball. As a precaution, if its jinchūriki lost control and fully transformed into Shukaku inside of Suna, the villagers were to either evacuate beforehand or seek shelter due to the risk of mass casualty from its rampage.
Shukaku has the ability to control its jinchūriki whenever they sleep, leading its host to develop insomnia. Shukaku has great physical strength while using its tail, as seen when overlapping it with the other tailed beasts to shatter and even obliterate a senjutsu-enhanced humanoid Susanoo. Shukaku’s power is quite impressive to the likes of the Ōtsutsuki Clan, with Urashiki Ōtsutsuki expressing glee in taking it.
Shukaku’s most notable ability is its sand manipulation, using it as an effective weapon and shield. Since its whole body is completely made of sand, the tanuki can ignore most damage that would otherwise be detrimental, as shown when it had one of its arms chopped off by Gamabunta and was still able to keep on fighting.
Taking pride in its motto of absolute defence, Shukaku’s sand is durable enough to block a senjutsu-enhanced Susanoo sword with ease. It is capable of performing fūinjutsu by using its natural cursed seal markings across its own sand body, which gives off a magnetic field to bind its targets.
One of its techniques, the Desert Layered Imperial Funeral Seal, is strong enough to temporarily restrain and withstand powerful techniques, like the Susanoo.
Shukaku can use Wind and Earth Release nature transformations. It can rapidly fire wind bullets with enough force to level entire forests. Likewise, it can combine its wind abilities with Gaara’s sand in order to produce a mass of fast-moving sand bullets.
He could also charge these wind bullets to the point they could fire like a Tailed Beast Ball, and wipe out entire landscapes. Shukaku can combine wind and earth elements to use Magnet Release, and is the only tailed beast which can use cursed seals from its markings and infuse them into the Rasengan to create the Sage Art: Magnet Release Rasengan, which was powerful enough to restrain Madara Uchiha’s shadow when he was the Ten-Tails’ jinchūriki.
The Role of Shukaku in the Story
Shukaku plays an important role in the story of Naruto Shippuden, as it is involved in many major events and conflicts. It is also a key factor in the development and growth of Gaara, its jinchuriki, and his relationship with Naruto and other characters.
Some of the notable events and arcs that Shukaku is involved in are:
- The Konoha Crush Arc, where Shukaku is fully released by Gaara during his fight with Naruto, and rampages through Konoha, until Naruto defeats it with the help of Gamabunta and the Nine-Tails.
- The Sunagakure Support Mission, where Shukaku is briefly summoned by Gaara to help him fight Seimei, the leader of the Four Celestial Symbols Men, who uses a copy of Shukaku’s vessel.
- The Kazekage Rescue Arc, where Shukaku is extracted from Gaara by the Akatsuki, a criminal organization that seeks to capture all the tailed beasts, and is sealed into the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path. Gaara dies as a result, but is later revived by Chiyo, who sacrifices her own life.
- The Birth of the Ten-Tails’ Jinchuriki Arc, where Shukaku is freed from the Demonic Statue by Naruto and the Allied Shinobi Forces, who fight against the Akatsuki and their leader, Obito Uchiha, who plans to use the Ten-Tails to create a new world order. Shukaku joins forces with Gaara and the other tailed beasts and jinchuriki, and helps Naruto and his allies to stop Obito and his partner, Madara Uchiha, who later becomes the jinchuriki of the Ten-Tails.
- The Kaguya Otsutsuki Strikes Arc, where Shukaku and the other tailed beasts are absorbed by Kaguya Otsutsuki, the progenitor of chakra and the mother of Hagoromo and his brother, Hamura. Kaguya uses the tailed beasts to create a giant Truth-Seeking Ball, which she intends to use to destroy the world. Shukaku and the other tailed beasts are later freed by Naruto and Sasuke, who use the power of Hagoromo and the Six Paths to seal Kaguya away. Shukaku and the other tailed beasts then return to their respective homes, but remain in contact with Naruto and each other.
- The New Era, where Shukaku and the other tailed beasts live in peace and harmony, and occasionally help Naruto and his friends with various threats and challenges. Shukaku also forms a friendship with Boruto Uzumaki, Naruto’s son, and Himawari Uzumaki, Naruto’s daughter, who have the ability to communicate with the tailed beasts. Shukaku also helps Gaara and his village with their duties and problems, and becomes a respected and beloved guardian of Sunagakure.
The Relationship of Shukaku with Gaara and Other Characters
Shukaku and Gaara have a complex and dynamic relationship, which evolves from hatred and fear to respect and friendship. Initially, Shukaku and Gaara despised each other, as Shukaku saw Gaara as a weak and pathetic vessel, and Gaara saw Shukaku as a curse and a burden.
Shukaku often tormented Gaara with nightmares and insults, and tried to take over his body and mind. Gaara also suffered from the rejection and hostility of his father and his village, who feared and hated him for having Shukaku inside him.
Gaara became a lonely and violent person, who only cared about himself and his own survival. He also developed a habit of carving the kanji for “love” on his forehead, as a symbol of his self-love and his desire to kill anyone who opposed him.
However, after Gaara met Naruto, who was also a jinchuriki and understood his pain, he began to change his outlook and attitude. He realized that he could find true happiness and meaning in life by protecting and caring for others, rather than killing them.
He also learned to accept and appreciate Shukaku, and to use its power for good, rather than evil. He became the Fifth Kazekage of Sunagakure, and earned the respect and love of his people and his siblings, Temari and Kankuro. He also became a close friend and ally of Naruto and the other Konoha shinobi, and helped them in many battles and missions.
Shukaku also changed its view of Gaara, and came to respect and trust him as a worthy jinchuriki and partner. It also developed a bond with him, and felt sad and angry when it was extracted from him by the Akatsuki.
It also felt guilty for causing him so much suffering and pain, and apologized to him for its past actions. It also helped him to fight against the Akatsuki and the Ten-Tails, and to protect his village and his friends. It also became more friendly and playful with Gaara, and often teased him or joked with him. It also called him by his name, rather than by his title or by “brat”.
Shukaku and Gaara also have a relationship with other characters, especially Naruto and the other tailed beasts and jinchuriki. Shukaku and Naruto have a rivalry and a friendship, as they often compete and argue with each other, but also respect and support each other.
Shukaku also recognizes Naruto as the person who fulfilled Hagoromo’s prophecy, and as the one who can bring peace and harmony to the world. Shukaku and the other tailed beasts also have a connection and a bond, as they share a common origin and destiny, and as they have experienced similar hardships and joys.
They also cooperate and communicate with each other, and help each other in times of need. They also consider Naruto as their friend and leader, and call him by his name, rather than by “jinchuriki”.
Some Trivia and Facts about Shukaku
Here are some trivia and facts about Shukaku that you may not know:
- Shukaku is based on the legend of the Shukaku-no-Kami, a sand spirit that possessed a monk named Bunpuku, who lived in a tea kettle.
- Shukaku’s name means “gathering crane”, which is a reference to its ability to gather sand.
- Shukaku’s voice actor in the Japanese version is Hiroshi Iwasaki, who also voices the Third Kazekage.
- Shukaku’s voice actor in the English version is Kirk Thornton, who also voices Kisame Hoshigaki, Tobi, and Saiken.
- Shukaku is the only tailed beast that has a single eye, and the only one that does not have a nose.
- Shukaku is the only tailed beast that has a humanoid form, and the only one that can use hand seals.
- Shukaku is the only tailed beast that has a ring on its finger, which is a symbol of its status as the One-Tail.
- Shukaku is the only tailed beast that has a necklace of prayer beads, which is a reference to its origin as a temple guardian.
- Shukaku is the only tailed beast that has a tanuki-like appearance, which is a reference to its nature as a trickster and a shapeshifter.
- Shukaku is the only tailed beast that has a sand-based ability, which is a reference to its habitat in the desert.
- Shukaku is the only tailed beast that has a wind-based ability, which is a reference to its affinity for the wind element.
- Shukaku is the only tailed beast that has a magnet-based ability, which is a reference to its ability to manipulate magnetic forces and substances.
Shukaku is a fascinating and complex character, who has a rich and diverse history, personality, appearance, and abilities. It is also a vital and influential part of the story of Naruto Shippuden, and of the lives of Gaara and other characters.
It is a tailed beast that can be feared and hated, but also respected and loved. It is a creature that can cause destruction and chaos, but also create peace and harmony. It is a being that can be a curse and a burden, but also a blessing and a gift. It is Shukaku, the One-Tail, the Monster Tanuki, the Incarnation of Sand.