Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto is full of wonderful concepts, ideas, and characters. The Six Paths of Pain are certainly among them. These are six distinct powers that Nagato used through bodies that he controlled remotely using chakra receivers. These six bodies were, therefore, extensions of Nagato and each possessed one of the powers of the Rinnegan. In this article, we are going to explain the Six Paths in Naruto and give you all the details you need to know about them.
The Six Paths of Pain was a jutsu used by Nagato. It allowed Nagato to control six different bodies as if they were his own. Each of these bodies was a reanimated corpse, which made use of Nagato’s chakra. While he controlled them, Nagato used the alias “Pain”, and regarded them as something separate from himself. All the Paths were destroyed by Naruto during Pain’s invasion of Konohagakure.
In this article, we are going to explain how the Six Paths of Pain actually function within the world of Naruto. We’re going to give you all the details about the jutsu itself, the individual Paths and their powers, as well as some other in-universe details that will give you a full and complete understanding of the Six Paths of Pain.
What are the Six Paths of Pain in Naruto?
The Outer Path is the most prominent among the seven abilities the Rinnegan grants its users. It gives the Rinnegan user the ability to control six bodies separate from their own. Each of these possesses a pair of Rinnegan in their own eyes and is capable of using one of the abilities of the Jutsu: the Six Paths.
Each “path” shares visual information with each other and with the original body, as well as with the creatures summoned by the Animal Path and the King of Hell possessing the Rinnegan. For the control of the bodies, each of them is pierced with chakra receptors, which allow the original body to transmit chakra directly to them more effectively by transmitting from a high place or staying close to the bodies.
A more powerful link can also be used to subdue bodies, using chains of chakra, which form from the receptors and the user’s hand to control them, being powerful enough to easily overpower a Tailed Beast. This ability goes beyond the limits of life and death; Nagato could use the Outer Path — Saṃsāra Heavenly Life Jutsu to revive those who recently passed away.
The souls of these people would be released from the mouth of the King of Hell and return to their bodies, removing any injuries they received in the process. During the Fourth Shinobi World War, Kabuto Yakushi mentioned that Nagato could kill a Jinchūriki temporarily by storing their souls in the King of Hell and then reviving them at a later time.
Likewise, when Hagoromo manifested during the Fourth War to bring Naruto and Sasuke back from their mother’s dimension, he demonstrated through this jutsu the ability to summon the souls of people from the Pure World without the need for a body or vessel for a time, showing themselves as chakra entities with memories and personalities intact.
When the user wants to, he can undo the summoning and send the summoned souls back. It should be noted that Hagoromo, by utilizing this path, is able to release the souls of those resurrected by Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation. Obito Uchiha took the Six Paths of Pain to another level with the revived Jinchūriki using chains of chakra to maintain control of the Tailed Beasts they possess. These chains bind everything they touch and have a power far greater than that wielded by Nagato with his Outer Path.
What are the Six Paths’ abilities?
As the name suggests, there are six individual Paths of this technique, and they are:
- 壱 (1) – Deva Path.
- 弐 (2) – Asura Path.
- 参 (3) – Human Path.
- 四 (4) – Animal Path.
- 五 (5) – Preta Path.
- 六 (6) – Naraka Path.
In this section, we are going to explain each of them to you in separate sections.
The Deva Path (Tendō) grants the user the ability to manipulate attractive and repulsive forces, allowing them to move objects and people, as well as fly. These gravity manipulation techniques, however, cannot be performed in rapid succession, the amount of time required to recharge after use varies depending on the scale of the technique used, with five seconds being the baseline minimum. The Deva Path also grants another ability: Chibaku Tensei, which allows the user to create a natural satellite, through a gravitational core, such as a black sphere or even a person.
Although he used the Deva Path’s powers before he was crippled, Nagato spent the rest of his life channeling the energy through the corpse of his late friend Yahiko, using it as the face of his alias Pain. In the anime, through Pain, Nagato demonstrated the ability to levitate in midair before leveling Konoha and during his battle with Naruto, in his six-tailed state.
Through the Asura Path (Shuradō), the user is able to form up to four additional arms and two additional faces, as well as a hinged serrated blade band around the waist. These complementary appendages, as well as the user’s body as a whole, are augmented with a variety of mechanical weaponry, which they can access at will.
The user can fire their forearms as long-range projectiles or pull them out to reveal and fire an array of targeted missiles. They are also capable of projecting a set of flexible blades and drills or a series of mechanical tentacles from their arms, as well as rapidly propelling themselves forward, emitting a blast of chakra from holes in their feet.
The user can also unleash a powerful chakra blast, which is capable of destroying numerous buildings at once, either by turning one of their hands into a cannon or by opening the crown of their head.
The body through which Nagato channeled the Asura Path displayed enough raw physical power to rip open Jiraiya’s arm and crush his throat with basic taijutsu, as well as cast the Animal Path all the way to Konohagakure from the village’s outskirts. Additionally, the Asura Path was able to survive otherwise fatal damage due to its mechanized innards. All of these abilities befit the “demon warrior” name the Asura Path had, while also giving it a considerable degree of versatility.
The Human Path (Ningendō) grants a Rinnegan user the ability to read any target’s mind by placing their hand on the target’s head or chest and ripping the soul out of the body. Although she provides information when obtaining closely guarded secrets, the technique inevitably kills the target.
In life, Nagato channeled the powers of the Human Path through the corpse of a Takigakure shinobi.
The Animal Path (Chikushōdō) grants a Rinnegan user the ability to summon various animals and creatures to aid him in battle. These creatures appear to be immortal, as they were killed and later summoned again. Of note, summoning creatures through the Animal Path does not require blood sacrifice or hand seals.
The Animal Path can also summon other bodies, which requires hand seals, as in the case of the Paths of Nagato and Konan. In wise tactics, the Animal Path’s primary role in battle seems to consist of overwhelming multiple opponents with a barrage of summons.
In Nagato’s case, having originally channeled the Animal Path through the corpse of a shinobi of the Fūma clan and then the corpse of a young woman in life, the summoned creatures appeared to undergo the same modifications as their Paths of Pain, with receptors of chakra embedded in their bodies.
As they also display the Rinnegan, the creatures serve as Nagato’s extensions. During the Fourth Shinobi World War, Nagato used his summon for transport before being rejuvenated to move on his own power.
The Preta Path (Gakidō) grants the user the ability to absorb any form of chakra with the Block Seal Absorption Technique. Pain channeled the Preta Path through the corpse of a Kusagakure shinobi. This ability was essentially defensive in nature, as it is capable of absorbing Ninjutsu-based techniques, thus nullifying their effect. This technique can also take the form of a barrier around the user’s entire body, allowing them to absorb attacks from all directions.
In addition to this, the Preta Path is capable of absorbing an individual’s chakra through physical contact. Though user is vulnerable to the effects of turning into a stone statue after absorbing too much senjutsu chakra. Momoshiki’s use of this technique allowed him to absorb all types of ninjutsu through the Rinnegan in his right hand and redirect them through the Rinnegan in his left hand, even more powerful than before.
The Naraka Path (Jigokudō) grants the user two main abilities: interrogation and restoration, using the King of Hell. Pain channeled the power of the Naraka Path through a priest’s body. The Naraka Path skill makes heavy use of the King of Hell.
The King of Hell is a large head that sprouts from the ground surrounded by purple flames. He also possesses the Rinnegan, as well as the shared field of vision along with the other summons. The King of Hell could fulfill two purposes: interrogation and restoration.
Why do the Six Paths of Pain have piercings?
If you’ve seen the Six Paths of Pain, Nagato’s at least, you’ll have noticed that their bodies are filled with specific piercings. Now, the exact reason behind this design (in-universe, at least) was never revealed, so it might just be Kishimoto’s wish to make these characters look cooler.
There have been speculations that they might be some visual aids that made them look more threatening, but we assume that they are simply the rods that pierced into the chakra systems of the revived corpses, allowing Nagato to control them. Their design is specific, but we don’t think that there is anything more than that behind the story.
What is the 7th Path of Pain?
The Outer Path, also known as the 7th Path of Pain or Gedō, grants the ability to control life and death, that is, the ability to revive the dead. With this path, its user can also transmit chakra to its receptors to control other people or dead bodies. The Outer Path is the most prominent among the seven abilities the Rinnegan grants its users, it gives the Rinnegan user the ability to control six bodies separate from their own.
Although it technically is the 7th Path of Pain, it is never grouped among the Six Paths and is considered to be a separate technique.
What is the difference between Nagato’s and Obito’s Six Paths?
You might remember that there were two groups of Paths in the Naruto franchise. One of them was the original group, created by Nagato (Pain), while the other one was formed later by Obito Uchiha (Tobi). In this section, we are just going to explain the differences between the groups in a couple of short paragraphs.
After the death of his friend Yahiko, Nagato connected to the Gedō Mazō via metal stakes that stuck into his back and rendered him incapacitated for combat. To overcome this handicap, he created the Six Bodies of Pain from corpses and assigned each of them a different Rinnegan power. Nagato manipulates them from a distance thanks to the chakra waves he emits and the receivers of which the six bodies are stuck.
Tobi obtained his own Pain bodies from the six resurrected jinchūriki via Kabuto Yakushi’s Reincarnation of Souls. The six hosts all had a Sharingan in their right eye and a Rinnegan in their left like Tobi. The Sharingan was used to analyze and counter opposing techniques and the Rinnegan to manage their position thanks to the shared vision.
However, with perfect control of hosts being extremely chakra-intensive (especially when they transform into tailed beasts), Tobi couldn’t use Rinnegan spells.