Who is Pain in Naruto?

  • Nagato (長門, Nagato) was a shinobi of Amegakure and descendant of the Uzumaki clan. Forming the Akatsuki alongside his friends (and fellow war orphans) Yahiko and Konan, Nagato dreamed of bringing peace to the violent shinobi world. However, following Yahiko’s death, Nagato adopted the alias of Pain (ペイン, Pein) and, along with Konan, began leading a new Akatsuki; one that would force the world into peace using any means necessary.


    Nagato lived with his parents:
    Fusō and Ise on the outskirts of Amegakure. When he was very young, Madara Uchiha secretly transplanted his Rinnegan into Nagato without his or his parents’ knowledge.[8] Sometime later, during the Second Shinobi World War, Nagato and his parents took shelter in their home to avoid the fighting going on around them. One day, two Konoha shinobi broke into their home looking for food and Nagato and his parents tried to sneak out unnoticed. When they were discovered, his parents attacked the shinobi so that Nagato could escape. The Konoha ninja killed his parents in self-defence and, upon realising they were only civilians, tried apologising to Nagato. Overcome with grief, Nagato used Madara’s Rinnegan for the first time to kill them and avenge his parents.[9]

    The orphans ask the Sannin to teach them ninjutsu.

    After burying his parents, Nagato, now an orphan, was forced to leave home and begin wandering in search of food and shelter. With resources scare due to the ongoing war, no one he met would help him until Nagato, who had collapsed from hunger, was found by

    Konan and Yahiko, orphans like himself. They banded together, acquired food to survive through any means, and shared dreams of a future where they were in charge and could use their power to eliminate war. Yahiko was particularly passionate about this point, which inspired Nagato to adopt the same goal.[10] In order to accomplish this, the three would need to become ninja. With few options to choose from, they approached Konoha’s Legendary Sannin and asked to be taught ninjutsu. Orochimaru offered to kill them in order to end their suffering, but Jiraiya, guilty over his participation in the war, offered to teach them how to look out for themselves.[11]

    Jiraiya found a place for them to live and taught them how to fish, but he would not teach them ninjutsu. While the orphans were out one day, they were found and assaulted by an
    Iwagakure chūnin. Fearing for his friends’ lives, Nagato used his Rinnegan to kill the Iwa-nin. When Jiraiya arrived on the scene to help them, he noticed Nagato’s eyes for the first time and was reminded of the legends of the Sage of the Six Paths, the original possessor of the Rinnegan. Because of this, Jiraiya changed his mind and began teaching them ninjutsu.[12] Nagato was remorseful for killing the Iwa-nin, but Jiraiya convinced him that sometimes violence and personal pain was necessary to protect others. In time he even shared his belief that Nagato was the Sage of the Six Paths’ reincarnation and that, like the original Sage, Nagato would use his Rinnegan to usher in a world of peace.

    Nagato summons the Statue for the first time.

    Jiraiya trained the orphans for three years. Because of his Rinnegan, Nagato easily mastered everything he was taught.

    [13] Once they were able to defeat one of his shadow clones in a fight, Jiraiya decided they were ready to forge out on their own and he returned to Konoha, confident they would bring reform to the country.[14] The three formed an organisation they called Akatsuki, with Yahiko as its leader, and began advocating an end to war. Their message proved popular and they gathered many followers;[15] even Jiraiya would sometimes hear news of their exploits.[16] During the Third Shinobi World War, they were approached by a disguised Obito Uchiha. Introducing himself as Madara Uchiha, he offered to help them in their pursuits and show Nagato how to unlock the full potential of his Rinnegan. Yahiko refused the offer, suspecting Tobi only meant to use them.[17]

    Nagato wounded following his fight with Hanzō.

    Throughout their quest for peace, Akatsuki’s ranks swelled and became known throughout Amegakure, so much so that

    Hanzō of the Salamander, the village’s leader, began to feel Akatsuki threatened his rule. He approached Akatsuki, offering to work together with them to help negotiate with the other warring villages. The next day, at a meeting to finalise the arrangement, Yahiko and Nagato were ambushed by Hanzō and his men, with support from Konoha’s Danzō Shimura. Using Konan as a hostage, Hanzō threatened to kill her if Nagato did not kill Yahiko. Unwilling to let Nagato have that on his conscience, Yahiko impaled himself on Nagato’s kunai, using his dying breath to state his faith that Nagato would change the world.[18] Enraged by Yahiko’s death, Nagato took Konan back from Hanzō, though his legs were badly damaged in the process. He then summoned the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path and, upon linking with it, used it to slaughter Hanzō’s men, though Hanzō himself escaped.[19] Afterwards, Nagato severed his ties with Amegakure by slashing the village’s symbol on his forehead protector, no longer wishing to be affiliated with Hanzō’s village.

    Now crippled, Nagato turns Yahiko’s body into the Deva Path.

    Yahiko’s death ultimately convinced Nagato that his philosophies about achieving peace were foolish; the world would never willingly end the cycle of death and hatred it had operated on for so long. Only through direct experience of war and all the losses and agonies it brought could anyone truly desire peace. Intending to personally bring that level of despair to the world, Nagato took on the name of “Pain”. As the damage he’d received from Hanzō’s attack and the link with the Demonic Statue left him frail and immobile, Nagato created the

    Six Paths of Pain out of corpses that he controlled remotely. For the Deva Path he used Yahiko’s body — still wanting him to lead the organisation in spirit — and for the other five he used the corpses of other miscellaneous shinobi that, without his knowing it, had met Jiraiya when they were alive. Pain began leading Akatsuki in a new direction, secretly accepting Obito’s earlier offer of support. Akatsuki composed itself with S-rank missing-nin and started offering its services as a mercenary group to ninja villages, earning the money necessary to fund its long-term plans.

    Pain confronting Hanzō.

    Years later and still loyal to his own version of Amegakure, Pain and Konan began a civil war in the village to overthrow Hanzō.

    [20] Much of the village rallied behind Pain, believing him to be a god because of his immense power. The Six Paths of Pain eventually cornered Hanzō and killed him and all his guards, earning control of the village, but not before expressing his disgust with how Hanzō had fallen from the man he admired and the fact he can’t even understand how he lost to Nagato. In order to prevent anyone from challenging him, Pain proceeded to eliminate everyone even remotely connected to Hanzō, from members of his family to distant acquaintances.[21] Because of Amegakure’s already secretive nature, news of Hanzō’s death never made it outside of Amegakure and the village was believed to still be divided by the civil war. Pain embraced the villagers’ idea of him being God and single-handedly crushing remnants loyal to Hanzō whenever they surfaced. Every Sunday, Nagato would cease the constant rain in Ame as a tribute to Yahiko. Personality

    Nagato was a sensitive child, prone to crying over the sufferings of himself and others. When he met
    Yahiko he tried to break this habit by following Yahiko’s philosophy that crying wouldn’t change anything, but the attempt was unsuccessful. Jiraiya later pointed out to him that his sensitivity was actually a strength, as it allowed him to understand pain better and, in turn, be kinder to others. This resonated with Nagato and caused him to realise that he wanted to take on all of his friends’ pain so that they wouldn’t have to. It also finally succeeded in ending his crying; when Jiraiya left their group it was Yahiko who cried to see him go, while Nagato only thanked him for all the guidance he’d provided.

    In one form or another, Nagato spent his entire life placing the needs of others before his own: his main motivation for becoming a ninja in the first place was so that he could protect Yahiko and
    Konan; heed his role in the original Akatsuki as a powerful tool meant to help Yahiko bring peace to their country; as leader of his own version of Akatsuki, he felt it was his responsibility to save the world from itself, inflicting pains of such magnitude that nobody would ever harm anyone else ever again. While this indicates a growing self-importance Nagato regarded himself with, it was encouraged by the similarly growing esteem others regarded him with due to his Rinnegan: Jiraiya believed he was the reincarnation of the Sage of the Six Paths; Yahiko and the rest of Akatsuki believed he was the “Saviour of the World“; the villagers of Amegakure believed him “God”.

    As a child that grew up in the middle of other countries’ wars, Nagato did not like killing and was horrified by his early acts of violence against those who had harmed his friends and family. He supported Yahiko’s Akatsuki because it wanted to end the wars and deaths that he hated so much. After Yahiko’s death, Nagato compromised his aversion to killing to a large extent, believing the deaths of specific individuals or even hundreds at a time could be justified if it served a greater and/or long-term purpose. But Nagato remains very clear in this distinction, as he shows mercy to those willing to cooperate with him and discourages others from defying him because it will only force him to strike them down.
    Minato Namikaze believes that, at some point along the way, Nagato’s were corrupted and subsequently manipulated by Tobi.[22]

    Despite the number of personal changes Nagato went through during his life, he always remained fundamentally kind and respectful. With his fellow members of Akatsuki, he mourns those who die in the pursuit of Akatsuki’s goals
    [23] and disapproves of name-calling amongst peers.[24] He extends similar courtesies to his opponents, being honoured to meet one so strong as Kakashi Hatake,[25] despite also being determined to kill Kakashi because that very same strength would inevitably interfere with Akatsuki’s plans. For all his kindness, Nagato has a certain prejudice against Konoha because its ninja have played a role in a number of his life’s tragedies. He tried to change this opinion because of Jiraiya’s positive influence, but ultimately decided that Konoha’s successes were predicated on the misfortunes of others.

    Despite his conviction in Akatsuki’s goals, Nagato is re-convinced of his former pacifism by
    Naruto Uzumaki, who believes the struggle for peace is worth any personal cost. He is humbled by Naruto’s, and goes froming himself as a god toing himself as the failed middle volume of a trilogy started by Jiraiya and ended with Naruto. Appearance:

    Nagato as a child.

    Nagato’s full attire after being reincarnated.

    Nagato had pale white skin with straight red hair, a sign of his

    Uzumaki heritage. When he was very young, his hair covered his eyes, preventing his Rinnegan from being visible. When he started training to be a ninja he parted his hair so that only his right eye was covered. After he performs Samsara of Heavenly Life Technique his hair turns white as a side-effect of the jutsu, and it remains white after he is reincarnated. His hair becomes red again when he absorbs some of the Eight-Tailschakra. Linking with the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path left a number of black receivers embedded in his back and caused his body to become very emaciated, limiting his mobility. For this reason he spends most of his adult life in a mechanical walker from which he controls the Six Paths of Pain. He likewise does not personally wear any of the typical Akatsuki clothing, having his Paths wear it instead.


    Nagato using the Six Paths Technique to overwhelm Naruto and Killer B.

    Nagato’s position as the leader of Akatsuki was well-deserved, being its strongest member and, as Pain, being called unbeatable at different points by
    Konan,[26] Fukasaku,[27] Tobi,[28] and Zetsu.[29] Jiraiya was frightened by news that Pain killed Hanzō by himself, as not even the combined Sannin could defeat Hanzō.[21] Kabuto Yakushi also regarded Nagato (with hindered mobility) as his second strongest reincarnated shinobi, behind only Madara Uchiha.[30] Indeed, it took the combined efforts of Itachi Uchiha (an S-rank prodigy of the Uchiha clan), Killer B (a perfect jinchūriki), and Naruto Uzumaki (a nearly-perfect jinchūriki) to successfully defeat Nagato.

    Chakra and Physical Prowess

    Nagato exerts his chakra through the Deva Path.

    As a descendant of the
    Uzumaki clan, Nagato’s chakra was naturally resilient. His actual chakra reserves were unusually vast, enough that he could perform various, chakra-taxing techniques all in the same day. One of the Fifth Hokage‘s Anbu bodyguards attributed this chakra supply to his Rinnegan. Nagato could also constantly alter the nature of his chakra to prevent him from being located by sensors.

    Following his first fight with Hanzō, Nagato’s legs were badly damaged and his body was left frail. This limited his mobility for the rest of his life and rendered his original body largely defenceless. He regained some of his former mobility after being reincarnated and taking some of the
    Eight-Tails‘ chakra. When not handicapped, Nagato could rapidly move around a battlefield, closing the gap between himself and his opponents fast enough to force them to retreat.[19]


    During his training with Jiraiya, Nagato mastered every technique he was taught, covering numerous styles, all of the basic
    nature transformations, and Yang Release,[3] accomplishments extremely rare even for adults, let alone ten year-olds.[13] Many of the miscellaneous techniques he was seen performing were used to facilitate Akatsuki’s meetings, such as allowing members to meet astrally across great distances, protecting the site of their meetings, and distracting opposing forces. One of the more noteworthy exceptions to this was the Rain Tiger at Will Technique, which allowed him to use rainfall to monitor everyone moving within Amegakure.

    Nagato could also pinpoint the location of others across great distances, even penetrating beyond
    barriers erected for the express purpose of blocking detection.[31]


    Nagato’s Rinnegan.

    Nagato’s skill in so many types of ninjutsu was due in large part to his
    Rinnegan.[32] Though he was not the eyes’ original owner, being an Uzumaki allowed Nagato to wield both eyes without drawbacks; his skill was great enough to earn recognition as the “Third Six Paths” (三人目の六道, Sanninme no Rikudō).[7]

    The greatest advantage of the Rinnegan was the access it gave Nagato to all of the
    Six Paths Techniques: the gravitational powers of the Deva Path; the menagerie of summons available to the Animal Path; the limitless absorptive potential of the Preta Path; the control over others’ souls with the Human Path; the different options of mechanisation in the Asura Path; access to the King of Hell through the Naraka Path. Because of the limitations of his real body, Nagato had few chances to use any of these abilities directly. When the opportunity arose, though, he could shift between the different Paths seamlessly and instantly, performing the many abilities on a level he wasn’t capable of when using them through others.[33]

    The one branch of Six Paths Techniques that Nagato reserved for himself was that of the
    Outer Path. As the Outer Path, Nagato could summon and control the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path,[8] produce black receivers into which he can channel his chakra,[34] and use the Samsara of Heavenly Life Technique to revive the dead.

    Six Paths of Pain

    The Six Paths of Pain.

    With the Outer Path, Nagato could form what he calls his “
    Six Paths of Pain“. By embedding black receivers throughout the bodies of six corpses – arranged to resemble body piercings – Nagato was able to control all of them remotely as though they were his own. He could control the Paths across great distances, but for more chakra-demanding techniques, it was necessary for the Path to first be brought closer to his position. An alternative to this was cutting off control of five of the Paths and focusing all of his chakra into one. The Paths can be used to react to threats in mere seconds and, because they are corpses, the bodies are unfazed by all but the most debilitating types of damage.

    In theory, each of the Six Paths of Pain could be used to perform any technique that Nagato himself was capable of. In practice, however, he limited each body to one branch of the Six Paths Techniques, the exception being the Deva Path through which he performed a number of miscellaneous jutsu. Each Path served a specific purpose, be it offensive, defensive, reconnaissance or repair. None of the Paths specifically specialised in
    taijutsu, but all were able to keep pace during hand-to-hand combat with even the most practised opponent. Though he considered all six Paths to be part of the Pain identity he gave himself, Nagato still regarded them as separate entities from himself, referring to them by whichever Path they embody.[35]

    Nagato sacrificing one Path in order to save another.

    Although the Six Paths were individually strong, they were at their most formidable when used together, with the simultaneous use of all six being the primary reason for Pain’s infamous invincibility.
    [36] This was because the six Paths, as well as the Animal Path’s summons and the King of Hell, share the same vision,[37] allowing Nagato to coordinate their movements with maximum efficiency. They could attack from multiple angles and dodge attacks they couldn’t have seen but that occurred within another Path’s field of vision. Each of the Paths had its own importance in a fight – the Naraka Path’s ability to restore all the other Paths, making it the most valuable – and therefore, Nagato would sacrifice other Paths to protect those further up the hierarchy.

    Despite the advantages the six bodies granted him in a fight, Nagato tried to limit his usage to as few bodies as possible to reduce the likelihood of anyone discovering the secret of how the Six Paths of Pain work. When Konoha began to understand the idiosyncrasies of the ability, he destroyed the village in an effort to kill anyone who might know that none of the six Paths were the real him.

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