When it comes to the world of anime, few characters have left as lasting an impression as Tsunade from Naruto Shippuden. Known for her strength, wisdom, and intricate backstory, Tsunade is a character that has captivated audiences around the globe. In this article, we’ll delve into the multifaceted persona of Tsunade, exploring her origins, growth, pivotal moments, and impact on the Naruto universe.
All About Tsunade
- Birthdate: August 2
- Sex: Female
- Age: Part I: 51/Part II: 54–55
- Height: Part I: 163.1 cm/Part II: 163.1 cm
- Weight: Part I: 48.9 kg/Part II: 48.9 kg
- Blood type: B
- Classification: Medical-nin/Sannin
- Occupation: Hokage
- Affiliation: Konohagakure/Shikkotsu Forest/Allied Shinobi Forces
- Team: Team Hiruzen
- Clan: Senju Clan
- Ninja Rank: Part I/ Kage
Tsunade is the granddaughter of Hashirama Senju and Mito Uzumaki. Because Hashirama was the First Hokage of Konohagakure, Tsunade is called “Princess” (姫, Hime). Hashirama doted on Tsunade when she was very young because she was his first grandchild, and found her deviance and her adoption of his own gambling habits highly amusing.
Tsunade inherited his necklace when he died. After she graduated from Konoha’s Academy, Tsunade was teamed with Orochimaru and Jiraiya under the leadership of Hiruzen Sarutobi. When Jiraiya failed to acquire a bell during the team’s first bell test, Tsunade teased him, prompting him to criticise her flat chest.
Despite this remark, Jiraiya had a certain interest in Tsunade from their first meeting, which only increased after her breasts developed; when she nearly killed him for spying on her while she bathed, he was forced to be more discrete about both his attraction to her and his interest in peeping.
Tsunade’s younger brother, Nawaki dreamed of someday becoming Hokage so that he could protect Konoha, their grandfather’s legacy. On Nawaki’s twelfth birthday, Tsunade kissed his forehead and gave him Hashirama’s necklace in the hopes that it would help him achieve his dream.
He died the next day, a casualty of the ongoing Second Shinobi World War, thus returning the necklace to her. Tsunade began advocating for the inclusion of medical-nin on all four-man squads in order to avoid future deaths like Nawaki’s.
Hiruzen, the Third Hokage, agreed with her arguments, but could not dedicate resources to the necessary implementation due to the ongoing war. Dan Katō, on the other hand, shared her views, and as their relationship developed he confided with her his dreams of becoming Hokage so that he could bring change to Konoha and protect his loved one from death. Tsunade kissed his forehead and gave him Hashirama’s necklace in the hopes that it would help him achieve his dream.
Although their team under Hiruzen’s leadership had disbanded, Tsunade, Orochimaru, and Jiraiya continued fighting together during the Second Shinobi World War. During one such fight in Amegakure, they were the only three to survive an encounter with Hanzō, an accomplishment for which Hanzō dubbed them Konoha’s “Legendary Sannin”.
In the aftermath of the battle, Jiraiya opted not to return to Konoha so that he could train the Ame orphans. Tsunade would go on to make her own independent contributions to the war, frequently counteracting Chiyo of Sunagakure’s poisons.
Although Tsunade’s actions are said to have won the war for Konoha, Tsunade was unable to prevent Dan’s death, and her failure to stop his severe blood loss caused her to develop haemophobia. With Dan’s death, Hashirama’s necklace returned to Tsunade once again, convincing some that the necklace was cursed to kill anyone who wore it other than Tsunade.
Tsunade herself became convinced that achieving one’s dreams was impossible and that to be Hokage was a “fool’s job”. She therefore left Konoha during the height of the Third Shinobi World War, taking Dan’s niece, Shizune, with her to train her as an apprentice. Due to her haemophobia, Tsunade retired from any direct involvement in healing or combat, instead relying on Shizune’s skills whenever a need for either came up.
At one point during their travels, Tsunade and Shizune encountered with the Fourth Raikage A, where the latter requested her help in removing the Exploding Insect implanted in his subordinate. However, Tsunade was completely drunk and ended up falling asleep, completely forgetting about her conversation with A.
After A insisted, Tsunade challenged him to an arm wrestling contest, promising to help should she lose. A managed to defeat Tsunade by using his speed rather than strength, and Tsunade complied and followed him to his subordinate’s location.
After Tsunade diagnoses the situation and realises that one of the insects was also inside A, she decided to conduct the surgery. However, Tsunade instead enlisted Shizune to conduct it, and once blood was splattered in her face, Tsunade left to regain her composure while Shizune performed the surgery and explained the origins of Tsunade’s trauma to A and his team.
Tsunade was very willing to believe in the attainability of dreams while Nawaki and Dan were still alive, and that by supporting and encouraging those dreams she might be able to help achieve them.
When both died gruesomely shortly after receiving her support, Tsunade lost faith in the idea of dreaming for anything, believing that the mere pursuit of it would be doomed from the outset. She becomes especially critical of those wanting to be Hokage, as both Dan and Nawaki died trying to attain the title and the past Hokage have all died prematurely and, as Tsunade argues, pointlessly because they held the position; she concludes that to be Hokage is a fool’s job.
Tsunade is forced to reconsider her cynicism upon meeting Naruto Uzumaki, who demonstrates two things to her: just because a goal seems impossible does not mean it actually is, as Naruto is able to master the Rasengan unprecedentedly quickly despite seemingly lacking any natural talent and just because the dreamer dies does not mean the dream itself does, as Nawaki and Dan’s desire to become Hokage lives on in Naruto. Because Naruto is so very much an exception to how she thought the world worked, Tsunade puts her faith in dreams once again, a desire so strong that she overcomes her fear of blood.
She becomes Hokage herself, partly so that she can live Nawaki and Dan’s dream for them, but also so that she can pave the way for Naruto inevitably holding the title. Becoming close to Naruto, he became the only person she allowed to refer to her as “Grandma”, knowing it was out of affection.
As Hokage, Tsunade is committed to protecting Konoha and its villagers, willing to give her life for her village and allies if necessary. Just as she once did, Tsunade supports all other dreams that she can: when Rock Lee tells her he dreams of being a ninja despite knowing he may die trying, she does not argue his decision and, in the anime, does all that she can to ensure he survives.
She does this because Nawaki and Dan loved Konoha and so she keeps their dreams alive by doing so, but also because Konoha’s continued survival honours all those who gave their lives creating it and keeping it safe.
Although her reasons are somewhat different, the outcome is nevertheless consistent with the Will of Fire. Tsunade is similarly optimistic about the next generation of Konoha’s ninja, especially Naruto, convinced that the village’s future will be in good hands because of them.
She in fact becomes angry when others lack this same faith in Naruto and his peers, believing it is better to let them try and then fail than to assume their failure is inevitable and thus prevent them from trying.
Demonstrations of her own faith include but are not limited to: congratulating Shikamaru Nara for his failed mission because at least none of his teammates died and not labelling Sasuke Uchiha a missing-nin because she trusts that Naruto can someday convince him to return to Konoha.
Despite her many noble qualities, Tsunade is not without her faults and vices. She is blunt and short tempered, prone to striking Naruto for his immaturity or Jiraiya for his perversion; she is widely feared because of this tendency.
Her own behaviour isn’t much better than theirs, as she drinks constantly, sometimes sleeps on the job, and tries as much as she can to have other people do her work for her. One of her favourite vices is gambling, which she acquired from her grandfather, Hashirama Senju.
Despite how often and how irresponsibly she gambles, Tsunade has notoriously bad luck, causing those who have made huge profits off of her to mockingly call her “The Legendary Sucker” (伝説のカモ, Densetsu no Kamo).
Tsunade is fully aware of how unlucky she is, and so whenever she hits a winning streak she takes it as a bad omen and prepares for the worst she has at times tried using her bad luck to her advantage, betting on outcomes she doesn’t want so that her unluckiness will prevent them from happening.
Hashirama finds Tsunade’s many bad habits highly amusing on a personal level, but when he is told that Tsunade is Hokage he immediately worries about what misfortunes she’s brought upon Konoha.
Jiraiya assumed that there was a mutual attraction between him and Tsunade from their first meeting, a statement that only served to annoy and anger her. Despite his many advances over the years, Tsunade never reciprocated his feelings, only ever loving Dan, even decades after his death.
Jiraiya wasn’t discouraged by this and claimed that her repeated rejections had not only made him stronger, but they’ve provided excellent material for his Icha Icha series of books. Though he concluded that to be happy wasn’t his fate.
Tsunade doubted he believed his own words and she commented that he did not need to put on a brave front when he returned from Amegakure. When Jiraiya ended up dying during that same mission, Tsunade privately mourned for the loss of her dear friend and team mate.
Her greatest desire was to be with her lost loved ones, while supporting Dan as he lived out his dream of being Hokage. Despite this, she chose not to have Dan and Nawaki reincarnated when given the chance as she realised it would go against everything they stood for.
Despite Orochimaru’s contribution in their victory in the Fourth Shinobi World War, Tsunade remains guarded against him due to a long history of betrayal and distrust. This influenced her thoughts of anyone related to him, and she was furious at Naruto, in his capacity as the Seventh Hokage, for allowing Orochimaru’s child, Mitsuki, to immigrate into Konohagakure. Mitsuki’s heritage alone led Tsunade to develop a prejudiced view that he is as dangerous as his parent.
Tsunade’s appearance in the anime and manga series “Naruto” is notable for its distinct features that reflect her personality and role. Here’s an overview of Tsunade’s appearance:
- Blonde Hair: Tsunade has long, straight blonde hair that falls past her shoulders. Her hair is often pulled back into a ponytail, held together by a green ribbon, giving her a practical and no-nonsense look.
- Slender Build: Despite her position as Hokage and her powerful abilities, Tsunade has a relatively slender build. Her physical appearance might not immediately give away her strength, which adds an element of surprise to her combat prowess.
- Brown Eyes: Tsunade’s eyes are a warm shade of brown, conveying a sense of depth and emotion. They reflect her experiences and the challenges she’s faced throughout her life.
- Trademark Red Diamond on Forehead: Tsunade has a distinctive red diamond-shaped mark on her forehead. This mark is a legacy of her affiliation with the Senju clan and is a symbol of her status as a medical ninja and a descendant of the First Hokage.
- Clothing Style: Tsunade’s typical attire includes a purple sleeveless kimono-style dress with a high collar and a white, diamond-patterned hem. She wears a mesh undershirt beneath her dress. Tsunade also sports a red forehead protector, signifying her allegiance to the Hidden Leaf Village. Additionally, she often wears fingerless gloves, which are practical for her medical and combat skills.
- Accessories: Tsunade is often seen wearing a pendant around her neck, which holds a small version of the First Hokage’s necklace. This pendant holds sentimental value and serves as a reminder of her loved ones and her responsibilities as a leader.
- Hairstyle Change: In “Naruto: Shippuden,” there is a two-and-a-half-year time skip, during which Tsunade changes her hairstyle. She now wears her hair tied back in two pigtails, and her bangs are slightly longer.
Tsunade’s appearance is a blend of traditional and practical elements, reflecting her role as both a leader and a skilled ninja. Her attire and physical features contribute to her unique character design, making her easily recognizable among the cast of “Naruto” characters.
Like other students of the Third Hokage, Tsunade is an exceptionally talented shinobi. Her skills became well-known following the Second Shinobi World War when dubbed by Hanzō as a Sannin, alongside Jiraiya and Orochimaru.
Tsunade’s skills are popularly held as the reason for Konoha’s victory during that war, and in the years following, became known as the world’s strongest kunoichi. Despite being rusty, Tsunade’s skills easily outclassed Kabuto Yakushi’s when they battled, with him having to rely on using a Military Rations Pill to continue battling, and use her fear of blood against her to gain the upperhand.
Following the Third Hokage’s death, she was unanimously recognised to become the Fifth Hokage, proving her worth by saving countless villagers when Pain decimated. Even the likes of Madara Uchiha admits that Tsunade was worthy of being a Kage.
Physical and Chakra Prowess
While Tsunade believes it is vital for a medical-nin to avoid injury, as they cannot perform their duties if anything happens to them, she is equally famous for her immense prowess in taijutsu, said to wield the highest level of efficiency. This is mainly done as a deterrent to keep enemies from getting too close to her while she performs her medical-nin duties.
Even more, belying her slender form, Tsunade wields inhuman raw strength. She can easily split the ground with a finger strike, lift and hurl Gamabunta’s sword with deadly accuracy, even break through Susanoo, an “absolute defence”, with only a few hits.
As a descendant of both the Senju and Uzumaki Clans, Tsunade inherited their life-force and physical energy, allowing her to still fight at peak performance despite her naturally frail form and battle the likes of Madara Uchiha for over half a day without exhaustion.
She can even endure several mortal stabs to the chest and retain consciousness after being bisected long enough to heal others before being healed herself. Her reserves of chakra are immense, enough to heal several thousand shinobi during the final battle with Obito Uchiha.
She also has excellent control over her chakra, able to perform her various feats to the maximum efficiency with absolute minimum required chakra and build-up time. Her timing and precision for focusing her chakra is so advanced, by releasing it in parts of her body at the key point of contact, she can further her strength to decimate a target in a single blow. Likewise, she can inject chakra into an opponent, scrambling their body’s electric signals so that commands, like making one’s hand move when intending to move their leg.
Tsunade has advanced skill with fūinjutsu. With her Strength of a Hundred Seal, she can continuously store up additional chakra into it. When the seal is released, Tsunade has access to all the accumulated chakra, totaling a so-named hundred times her usual chakra levels.
While normally using this extra chakra to perform her techniques, she can also transfer the chakra to others, either to replenish or amplify their own. Tsunade can summon segments of Katsuyu, a slug from the Shikkotsu Forest.
In addition to fighting alongside Tsunade, Katsuyu can use her divisions as a form of long distance communication or to move and shield Tsunade’s injured allies. Should her allies be a distance away, she can send Katsuyu to their location. By linking with Katsuyu, Tsunade can monitor those that Katsuyu has attached to, remotely healing them and replenishing their chakra as needed.
Tsunade’s natures include Lightning, Fire, Water, and Earth, as well as Yang and in the anime Yin Release. In the anime, she can make shadow clones and also shows proficiency in space–time ninjutsu and barrier ninjutsu.
Despite being in her fifties, Tsunade constantly appears as if she were still in her twenties through her Transformation Technique. Tsunade’s usage of this technique is unique as she can maintain changed forms as she desires without exerting any effort, even while injured or asleep but dispels when she runs out of chakra, reverting her to her natural appearance. She readily alters what age she appears in order to avoid her gambling debts.
Tsunade is hailed as the world’s greatest medical-nin, able to identify any ailments at a glance and treat conditions that other medical-nin deem impossible to cure. Orochimaru believed only she could reverse the necrosis-like effects of the Dead Demon Consuming Seal.
Amongst other things, she healed the psychological damage of Tsukuyomi, fixed the damage to Rock Lee’s spine when he was deemed a helpless case, and counteracted the effects of the Three Coloured Pills with instructions from the Nara Clan Medical Encyclopaedia.
She also near-instantly healed Shikamaru’s severe chakra depletion after he came into contact with a root of the God Tree the chakra cloak surrounding him noticeably reacting to her treatment.
Undoubtedly, the pinnacle of Tsunade’s medical prowess is her Creation Rebirth, which draws on her vast chakra supplies to instantaneously heal any wounds she receives. Because it requires no hand seals to perform, she needs no conscious effort on her part once active, and can heal any damage no matter how severe (her chakra levels permitting) Orochimaru describes it as a form of immortality that even he is envious of.
Despite how useful it is in battle, Creation Rebirth is a double-edged sword: the body’s cells can only divide and be created a set amount of times, so whenever Tsunade uses the technique she shortens her lifespan. Because of this, she only uses it in very desperate situations.
Tsunade’s skills extend beyond the typical medical ninjutsu. She earned fame during the Second Shinobi World War for being the only person able to make antidotes for the poisons of Sunagakure’s Chiyo.
Similarly, she can make sleeping potions that are undetectable to even the most skilled ninja. She is knowledgeable enough to perform autopsies and examine damage on a cellular level. She is a skilled researcher.
In the anime, she figured out Kabuto Yakushi’s Yin Healing Wound Destruction and uses what she finds to raise the survival rate of Rock Lee’s medical procedure. Following the Fourth Shinobi World War, she studies the material that the White Zetsu Army is made of and learns to make moveable replacement limbs from it.
She has also consistently proven to be a highly skilled teacher in medical ninjutsu, as all her disciples, Shizune, Sakura, Ino, each became very respected medical-nin in their own respective rights. Due to her vast medical knowledge, Tsunade was primarily responsible for setting up the modern system of medical-nin, though she exempts herself from many of the laws that govern them due to her Creation Rebirth.