|Sarutobi Hiruzen (Sandaime Hokage)
First Manga Appearance: Chapter 1
First Anime Appearance: Episode 1
Name Meaning: Sarutobi=Flying Monkey [Also a legendary ninja], Hiruzen=A name
Character Study: Sandaime Hokage was the respected leader of Konoha who gave his life for the village and its citizens. His sacrifice was the first large Leaf death in the series.
Chuunin Exam | DB 1
At Death | DB 2
Age: 69 (Deceased)
Height: 163.1 cm
Weight: 50.6 kg
Registration ID: 000261
Hidden Village: Leaf
Team (student): Mitokado Homura, Utatane Koharu, Nidaime Hokage
Team (sensei): Jiraiya, Orochimaru, Tsunade
Academy Grad Age: ?
Chuunin Exam Age: ?
Jounin Age: ?
Jutsu: Doryuudan, Doryuu Heki, Doryuu Taiga, Kage Bunshin, Karyuudan, Karyuu Endan, Toomegane, Shiki Fuujin, Shuriken Kage Bunshin, Monkey Kuchiyose
Known Elements: Doton, Katon
Sarutobi Hiruzen was the Third Hokage, father to Asuma and grandfather to Konohamaru. He was the successor to the first and second Hokage brothers, beating out Danzou for the position, and was the subject of much prestige. Hiruzen was taught the "will of fire" at an early age by the First and Second Hokage brothers, a tradition that was later passed on to his son Asuma. As a child, he was on a team under the Second Hokage with Homura and Koharu, who would later serve with him on the villageís administrative council.
Hiruzen would grow in power and skill, which would earn him the nickname of "The Professor" and "The god of shinobi", for his extensive knowledge of jutsu. He would eventually be selected as Hokage over Danzou, who was a war hawk. Hiruzen was also responsible for shaping the lives of three legendary ninja. These pupils would go on to become the fabled "Legendary Three Ninja": Jiraiya, Orochimaru and Tsunade. He would also go on to father two children, one of whom, Asuma, became an elite guardian of the countryís feudal lord. Few people could dispute the level of talent and skill surrounding him.
As old age approached, Hiruzen began to consider retirement and selected a successor of his own for the position of Fourth Hokage. His initial choice was his favored student, Orochimaru. In the end, Hiruzen selected Minato Namikaze, "Konohaís Yellow Flash". However, this would not last long. Sarutobi enjoyed a very brief retirement when Konoha was attacked by the Nine-Tailed Fox, which resulted in the sacrifice of the Fourth Hokage to seal the demon away inside a newborn baby.
Emerging from retirement with a heavy heart, Hiruzen resumed his duty as Hokage, only to later face an even more horrifying discovery. Following reports of several ninja disappearing without a trace, he stormed a booby-trapped laboratory hidden within Konoha with two ANBU members, to confirm a heartbreaking truth. Surrounded by corpses chained to walls and with a live experimentation on a slab, he found Orochimaru red-handed, dissecting a corpse.
As Orochimaru explained that his goal was omniscience and eternal life through jutsu experimentation, Hiruzen stood by and allowed him to finish. Out of his kind heart and a moment of weakness, he allowed Orochimaru to escape the lab, unable to kill him. Worst of all, it was him that set Orochimaru on his path by explaining a myth to the boy at the site of his parentsí graveside. When Orochimaru found a white snake skin, Hiruzen mentioned that among other things, it was a symbol of rebirth and that maybe his parents would one day rise again. Shortly after, he had to tie up a loose end of Orochimaruís. During his time as a shinobi, Orochimaru was appointed a pupil, Mitarashi Anko, who he had used as an experiment for a new technique with a 10% survival rate. Anko was the only survivor, but bore the cursed seal that Orochimaru had left her with. Sarutobi saw to it to seal it away, eventually forcing it to recede completely without Orochimaru present.
The departure of Orochimaru, alongside Jiraiya leaving to track and spy on Orochimaru and Tsunadeís cessation of service to her village left his legendary students now little more than storybook material. For a while, the village was relatively normal. However, an adolescent boy, Naruto, had begun to stir up trouble in the form of multiple pranks. Their relationship was made even more difficult due to the knowledge of Naruto being the receptacle for the Nine-Tailed fox, as well as fact that Naruto had made it his lifeís intention to take the position of Hokage one day. Naruto was also often irate with him for the missions he was assigned with, until he was finally given a C-rank escort mission that turned out to be more than initially expected. Shortly after Narutoís first mission, the latest holding of the Chuunin Exams fell to Konoha to host. For the largest part, Hiruzen held the position of master of ceremonies, announcing and explaining the events to the participants from the end of the second round.
During this time he was alerted by Anko that Orochimaru had infiltrated the exam. Anko remained close to him during this time, as events began to take a turn for the worse. Anko commented that things would be better if the Fourth Hokage were still around. Hiruzen replied that he had already done his part for the village. As the finals of the Chuunin Exam rolled around, he met with the Fourth Kazekage. Despite being of rival shinobi countries, they shared pleasantries and took balcony seats to observe the matches. Things progressed smoothly until the last match, where Gaara began to go berserk. Suddenly, smoke bombs exploded and both he and his companion were shrouded. Hiruzenís bodyguards were taken down, while the Kazekage himself drew a kunai and took him hostage, pulling him to the roof. People dressed in Hidden Sound uniforms appeared and set up a magical barrier, trapping Hiruzen on the roof with his opponent.
At first, he tried to reason with the Kazekage, saying that misunderstandings could be cleared up. However, when Hiruzen was addressed by his real name as a teacher, he realized who his captor was. Tearing off his mask, Orochimaru revealed himself. Hiruzen acknowledged that one day, he expected Orochimaru to take revenge. Tears appeared in Orochimaruís eyes, which made Hiruzen ask him if it honestly made him that happy to kill his former tutor, or if the tears were of bitterness. Orochimaru shrugged the comment off after a rush of adrenaline by stabbing his own hand. Reprimanded for his lack of goals by Hiruzen, Orochimaru announced that his goal was the destruction of Konoha with the assistance of Hidden Sand. Preparing themselves in their battle costumes, the two began to fight.
Hiruzen launched a barrage of shuriken, but Orochimaru used Edo Tensei, a summoning technique which caused coffins to rise from the roof. Hiruzen recognized the coffins and he stopped the third from rising in desperation. Left with only two, the coffins creaked open and the animated corpses of the First and Second Hokage emerged. Greeting Hiruzen, they realized they had been brought back to fight for Orochimaru. As he grinned and taunted his mentor, Hiruzen chastised him for his actions. Orochimaru revitalized and brainwashed them with special charms, asking Hiruzen if he would enjoy hurting his former masters as much as he was enjoying hurting his own. A Hokage-level battle ensued as the highest level of jutsu were displayed, as Hiruzen spewed a huge wall of flame that was countered as the Second Hokage summoned a wall of water from nowhere. As he attacked with a dragon-shaped torrent of water, Hiruzen used the earth element to block it with a barricade of stone. The First Hokage then stepped in, using his own special Wood element to entangle the barricade and Hiruzen in a growing forest.
This forced Hiruzen to call on his familiar, the monkey king Enma. Enma was furious with seeing Orochimaru alive and Hiruzen in a pinch, saying he should have killed Orochimaru when he had the chance years ago. Hiruzen swore not to repeat his mistakes and had Enma become a diamond staff, freeing him. Orochimaru then drew his own weapon, a katana named Kusanagi. Hiruzen aimed a strike at him, which was blocked but Enma roared at him in rage, only to be retracted as the Hokage brothers attacked. It was apparent to everyone in the fight that old age had considerably reduced Hiruzenís abilities.
He was still fast enough though to plant explosive tags on the brothers, blowing their legs off. To his surprise, their legs simply regrew as the ashes and dirt that formed their bodies came back together. Realizing that he would have to deal with their spirits instead of their bodies, he rethought his strategy as Orochimaru continued to taunt him. Pledging to stop the pointless jutsu trading, he planned using the Fourth Hokageís jutsu.
Again, Orochimaru made fun of him, tearing off another rubbery mask. It seemed that Orochimaru was not who he claimed to be, as a woman hid behind his face, yet still claimed to be Orochimaru. Enma then realized that Orochimaru being a young lady meant that his special jutsu that he had performed serial killings and human experimentation for was complete. Hiruzenís mind flocked back to the day he caught Orochimaru, reminded of Orochimaruís speech about acquiring immortality so he would not lose his lifeís work because of his own death. Orochimaru explained that he parasitically replaced the mind of new host bodies, transferring from one to the next. The young girl was his first transfer, with his next being Sasuke. For Hiruzenís death, he resumed his old face to rub salt in the wounds.
Still distracted by the revelation, Enma had to protect him another time as he was almost caught by another Wood element attack. Enma finally talked him into finishing the job, so Hiruzen first cloned himself and then began to make a series of seals. With a look of surprise, Enma recognized the order they came in. Suddenly, a monstrous entity appeared behind Hiruzen, invisible to everyone else. With a frightfully ghoulish body, binding the spectral figure of a man in tendrils of hair and clutching a dagger between jagged teeth, Hiruzen drew the conclusion that it was Death itself, a Shinigami. Orochimaru promised to erase the last traces of the village, even the stone face monument. Defiantly, Hiruzen vowed to protect it with his all as the First Hokage surrounded him with illusionary darkness. Resistant even as he was beaten by unseen fists, Hiruzen reminded himself of the generations of shinobi, teachers and students, predecessors and successors, every person in the village that he considered his family and charges to protect.
Even as Orochimaru promised to kill him and crumble the village, he denied such a thing would be possible because the "will of fire" burned in everyone, guaranteeing that someone would always protect the village in his stead. Announcing that he would teach Orochimaru about another jutsu even he knew nothing of, he began the Shiki Fuujin - a ninja sealing spell that invoked the god of death itself. Beginning a ceremony with itself, the Shinigami enchanted one arm and reached through the ghostly effigy entangled in front of him, his clones grabbed onto the brothers. The arm of the Shinigami reached out and grabbed the very soul of the brothers, then clawed at each one until they were dragged from the bodies they inhabited.
As Orochimaruís brainwashing wore off, they apologized to Hiruzen for the trouble they caused, which he could only beg forgiveness for his own retaliation. Their souls were sealed inside his clones, causing the brothers to disintegrate into piles of waste. Upon looking closer, Hiruzen spotted the faces of two of Orochimaruís subordinates that were participating in the Chuunin Exam and representing Hidden Sound, disgusting him to the core at how Orochimaru contrasted the will of fire, sacrificing his own people where Hiruzen was dying for his as every Hokage before him would.
Charging directly at Orochimaru, Enma distracted him and left him open for Hiruzen to grip. Orochimaru realized too late that something was amiss. Using the Kusanagi, he directed it at Hiruzenís back as the Shinigami began to pluck out his soul. The sword hit, but Enma grabbed the blade itself to stop it going all the way in. Curious about why Hiruzen didnít release his grip to avoid the sword, he was informed that the Shinigami was already using his soul as a medium to extract the others, ensuring his death in the same fashion Fourth sealed the Nine Tailed fox. With his soul already half extracted, Orochimaru then stared Death in the face, seeing the hideous being as it gluttonously stuffed the souls of the sealed Hokage brothers down. Fear gripped Orochimaru as Hiruzen explained that those consumed by the Shinigami do not die but exist inside the belly of Death, forever bound to battle each other in hatred.
Orochimaruís sword, even though restrained by Enma, was still doing enough injury to Hiruzen for him not to be able to complete the sealing. However, it was not over for Orochimaru yet. Instead of pulling his entire soul out, the Shinigami shifted focus to tugging out the portion of his soul corresponding to his arms. As Orochimaru told him his actions were futile, Hiruzen reminded him that Konoha was not to be taken lightly, since a shinobiís true strength appeared when trying to protect something precious. As a final lesson to his pupil, Hiruzen announced a disciplinary action, to permanently confiscate all of Orochimaruís jutsu. Stretching out the arms of Orochimaruís soul, the Shinigami sliced off and sealed them. Before his eyes, Orochimaruís arms turned dead and useless. With the jutsu complete, Hiruzen tumbled to the ground, having paid his own soul to the Shinigami, but with a smile. For a moment, he saw Orochimaru screaming in outrage. As he blinked his eyes closed for the final time, he saw his favorite pupil as a child once more, the way he remembered him at his best.
A few days later, a funeral attended by everyone in the ninja village was held to mark his passing. Just as he said, even though he was no more, the will of fire still lived on in everyone he had died for. A short time thereafter a monument was erected to honor the fallen Hokages. Asuma would visit the monument to apologize to his father and reveal how much he changed him for the better.
BSS: Before Series Start
ASS: After Series Start
(All dates approximate - There is no official comprehensive timeline)
68 Yrs. BSS - Sarutobi Born.
60-40 Yrs. BSS - Sarutobi trains under the Second Hokage, First and Second Hokage pass on their will of fire to Sarutobi, Selected as Third Hokage over Danzou.
40-30 Yrs. BSS - Sarutobi trains the Sannin, Continues to lead village through wars
25-13 Yrs. BSS - Passes Hokage title on to Fourth Hokage, Learns Orochimaru is performing horrific experiments and chooses not to kill him.
12-0 Yrs. BSS - Becomes Hokage again after Fourth Hokage dies, Has falling out with his son Asuma, Begins watching after Konohamaru.
0 - Series Start, Impressed with Naruto's growth.
6 Mo. ASS - Watches over Chuunin Exam, Learns Orochimaru has returned.
7 Mo. ASS - Watches over third Chuunin test, Faces Orochimaru and removes his ability to use jutsu, Dies from using sealing jutsu and is honored by Konoha.