First Manga Appearance: Chapter 34
First Anime Appearance: Episode 20
Name Meaning: Sarutobi=Flying Monkey [Also a legendary ninja], Asuma=Normal Name
Character Study: Asuma's parentage is not confirmed until well into the series, but it provides background for the way he inspires his former students. His guidance helped drive Shikamaru to seek justice for his fallen master. It also helped motivate Shikamaru to look out for the next generation, including Asuma's child.
Chuunin Exam | DB 1
Pre-Timeskip | DB 2
At Death | DB 3
Age: 31 (Deceased)
Height: 190.8 cm
Weight: 81.6 kg
Registration ID: 010829
Hidden Village: Leaf
Team: 10 - Nara Shikamaru, Yamaka Ino, Akimichi Chouji
Academy Grad Age: 9
Chuunin Exam Age: 12
Jounin Age: ?
Jutsu: Haisekishou, Hien
Known Elements: Fuuton, Katon
Weapons: Chakra imbuing knives
Sarutobi Asuma was born into the Sarutobi clan to Sandaime Hokage. At the age of nine he graduated from the Ninja Academy and at 12 he passed the Chuunin Exam. Earlier in his life Asuma was apparently one of the Twelve Elite Guardians of the Fire Country Daimyou. He left Konoha behind to seek his own path but returned at some point before the series start. He still wears the "Fire" loincloth of this elite group. Asuma eventually became a Jounin and was assigned Team 10 (Nara Shikamaru, Yamanaka Ino, and Akimichi Chouji).
Asuma was apparently on testy terms with his father but came to understand his place in time. Asuma maintained a relatively relaxed demeanor, and was almost always seen smoking. When battle erupted though, Asuma could quickly dispatch his foes with his Wind Element enhanced knives. Asuma often tried to look out for the best interests of his Genin team. He pressed Chouji to train more and frequently played Shougi with Shikamaru. During this time he also spent a lot of his free time alongside Yuuhi Kurenai, hinting at some romantic connection.
Asuma was impressed with his Genin enough that he entered them into the Chuunin Exam. He watched on as they made it past the second test and took part in the third test prelims. When Hyuuga Neji went to strike Hinata fatally, the watching Jounins jumped in... except for Asuma who watched on from above. He then bore witness to both Ino and Chouji losing their respective matches while Shikamaru advanced on. During the third test he sat with Kurenai and explained Shikamaru's genius, but he was still surprised when the young man gave up his match. When Sand and Sound launched their invasion Asuma avoided the Genjutsu attack. When Shikamaru, Naruto and Sakura went after Sasuke, Asuma followed. Sound ninja had pursued them so Asuma followed as well to help. During their journey Shikamaru stayed behind to sacrifice himself, when the Sound ninja closed in Shikamaru accepted his fate, but thankfully instead of a Sound ninja appearing behind him to strike the fatal blow it was Asuma, much to the surprise of the Sound ninja. Asuma made quick work of the ninja and told Shikamaru his part was done. Shortly thereafter Asuma and the rest of Konoha mourned the passing of Sandaime Hokage, Asuma's father.
Asuma later assisted Kakashi alongside Kurenai when Uchiha Itachi and Hoshigaki Kisame came to Konoha looking for Naruto. Asuma squared off solo against Kisame, using his Hien to draw blood on the missing-nin. However Kisame revealed tricks of his own, shredding Asuma's arm with his sword Samehada. When Itachi moved to kill Kurenai, Asuma quickly jumped in to help. Before he and the other Leaf ninja could counter-attack, Itachi and Kisame fled.
In the following years he would proudly congratulate Ino and Chouji as they became Chuunin as well and he gave them earrings as a gift. He then wished them well as they would now start leading their own teams. During this time Asuma also began to evaluate his place in Konoha and decided he was merely a sacrificial pawn on the Shougi board of life. He explained his thoughts to Shikamaru saying he was a Pawn and Shikamaru was a Knight. He asked Shikamaru if he knew who the "King" was. The young man had no answer and Asuma said it would come to him in time.
When Naruto returned to Konoha after his training with Jiraiya, he came to Asuma seeking assistance developing his Wind Element jutsu. Asuma explained how he used the element in his own techniques and gave the young man pointers on getting started. This assistance helped Naruto quickly finish his own Wind element training.
When Akatsuki began moving through the Fire Country, Tsunade dispatched numerous teams to stop them. One such team was made up of Asuma, Shikamaru, Kotetsu and Izumo. Asuma made a quick stop to look at Kurenai in her apartment and then the team headed for the Fire Temple which Akatsuki had recently attacked. There they learned the duo had taken Chiriku the monk, a former Elite Guardian like Asuma to a bounty station to cash in. The Leaf ninja followed in pursuit and met Hidan and Kakuzu there. They quickly attacked Hidan but learned he apparently could not be killed, as he shrugged off anything they threw at him.
Hidan revealed he practiced a cult called Jashin which allowed him to take damage and transfer it back to the one who was attacking, just by ingesting their blood. Unfortunately Asuma fought Hidan and had some of his blood ingested. The Leaf did their best to stop Hidan, but they could not prevent him from striking a fatal blow to his own heart, which in turned was fatal to Asuma. Help soon arrived including Chouji and Ino and Akatsuki fled. Ino tried to use a medical jutsu but the wound was critical. Asuma accepted his fate and asked his former Genin to come close to hear his final words.
Asuma stated he finally understood why his father did the things he did and why he sacrificed himself. Asuma told Ino to look after Shikamaru and Chouji, and not lose to Sakura in Ninjutsu or love. He told Chouji to always believe in himself and try to diet. Finally he told Shikamaru he had the ability to become Hokage one day, even though he may consider it a pain. He then whispered to Shikamaru who the "King" was to Shikamaru's surprise. He took one final cigarette drag and we flashback to him telling his students to never forget they were Team 10. He then passed away. Shikamaru then picked up Asuma's lighter and smoked a cigarette in his honor.
Team 10 returned to Konoha with Asuma's body. Shikamaru told Kurenai the bad news and she broke down crying. Asuma was laid to rest with honor and Konohamaru mourned his fallen uncle. Shikamaru became focused on revenge and wanted to give some meaning to Asuma's death. He studied hard and learned how to imbue his shadow chakra into Asuma's knives and he discovered how Hidanís jutsu worked. Shikamaru then carried Asuma's cigarettes and lighter with him, as he would smoke until his revenge was complete. Soon Team 10 was finally ready to set out and get their revenge against Hidan. With the help of Kakashi, Team 10 tracked down Hidan and Kakuzu. Shikamaru led Hidan away from the others. There he carefully played out his trap, using all the knowledge he gained from Asuma's battle to ensure he didn't share the same fate.
Ignoring Hidan's boasts, Shikamaru managed to bind Hidan and cover him in explosive tags. Then using Asuma's lighter and cigarette's he lit one. Shikamaru then imagined the smoke coalescing into Asuma, who congratulated him and passed his Will of Fire on to the young man. Shikamaru coldly stated that Hidan dug his own grave when he killed his sensei. He then flicked the lit cigarette which struck the explosive tags, blowing Hidan to pieces. Shikamaru returned to Konoha and spoke with Kurenai, telling her how Asuma was always there for him, like he would be there for her baby. The pregnant Kurenai thanked him, revealing her wedding ring for the first time. Kurenai had lost her husband, but Shikamaru would make sure her baby was looked after like he was.
|Sarutobi Asuma Timeline
BSS: Before Series Start
ASS: After Series Start
(All dates approximate - There is no official comprehensive timeline)
27 Yrs. BSS - Asuma Born
18 Yrs. BSS - Graduates Academy
15 Yrs. BSS - Passes Chuunin Exam
14 - 2 Yrs. BSS - Becomes estranged with his father, Leaves village and joins Elite Guardians, Returns to Konoha.
0 - Series Start, Becomes Jounin Sensei of Team 10.
6 Mo. ASS - Enters his team in Chuunin Exam.
7 Mo. ASS - Saves Shikamaru from Sound ninja during Sand and Sound invasion.
8 Mo. ASS - Faces Itachi and Kisame.
10 Mo. ~ 3 Yrs. 3 Mo. ASS - Increases skills and strength, Congratulates Ino and Chouji on becoming Chuunin, Marries Kurenai
3 Yrs. 4 Mo. ASS - Dispatched to combat Akatsuki, Falls in battle against Hidan.