Jiraiya is a character in Mishashi Kishimoto’s manga and TV series Naruto Shippuden. He is one of the most powerful and important genin and senseis in the whole series.
He is Naruto Uzumaki’s sensei and mentor throughout the series until his death. There isn’t much known about Jiraiya’s upbringing in the manga or series.
He is known for his affiliation with the other Sannin Tsunade and Orochimaru, the most powerful ninjas in Hidden Leaf Village’s history, and respectively the meteors of Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke.
Jiraiya is one of the few characters to actually die in the series and many critics famed this choice as viewers could empathise with the trauma that Naruto feels after Jiraiya’s death at the hands of the Ataksuki.
Who Is Jiraiya?
In the show, Jiraiya is perhaps remembered most for his eccentric and bombastic style, syndicated as a hermit and sexual deviant who made money from his writings, both of adult fiction and autobiographical writings about his life.
Jiraiya often thought his writings would leave a great legacy behind him, they did, but ultimately Jiraiya’s biggest legacy was teaching Naurto Uzumaki who eventually became the child of the prophecy who would save the world from destruction.
Jiraiya’s writings ranged from his own autobiographical story, The Tale of Jiraiya the Gallant, to the sullied writings of Icha Icha which became his most popular novel and resulted in him becoming rich.
Icha Icha mainly recounts Jiraiya’s failed attempts to entrap Tsunade and make her fall in love with him, which ultimately failed as Tsunade loved her deceased boyfriend Dan. The story of Icha Icha retells these events with an ironic tone.
Jiraiya is one of the Sannin, who are the three most powerful and important ninjas in the Hidden Leaf Village. They were granted this title in the aftermath of the Second Shinobi World War.
The other two Sannin are Tsunade, whom Jiraiya declared his love for and was rejected, and Orochimaru, whom Jiraiya was best friends with but eventually turned to the Ataksuki and trains Sasuke in the evil ways of the clan.
Jiraiya was actually selected to be the fourth Hokage, but Minato, Naruto’s father, took the role upon Jiraiya’s refusal.
At some point in his youth Jiraiya came across the legendary sage region of Mount Myoboku known as the land of the toads.
Mount Myoboku is impossible to find physically unless you know the secret path, Jiraiya was summoned there using the Reverse Summoning Technique and had a special relationship with the toad who trained him in senjutsu, making Jiraiya a limitlessly powerful shinobi.
During his time in the Land of the Toads, the Great Toad Sage, who rules over the land, made a prophecy to Jiraiya that would form the main plotline of Naruto Shippuden.
The Great Toad Sage predicted that Jiraiya would travel the world and during that time meet the Child of the Prophecy, a ninja who would either save the world or destroy it based upon his teaching.
Once Jiraiya was made a Jonin and eventually led a Genin team of his own, he suspected that one of his students, Minato Namikaze might be the child of the prophecy.
After the Second Shinobi World War, when Jiraiya was made Sannin, he undertook three now orphans to be taught the ways of the shinobi. One of the orphans, Nagato, possessed the power of the Rinnegan, and thus Jiraiya decided he was the child of the prophecy.
Jiraiya eventually returned to the Hidden Leaf Village feeling his students had now completed their training. It was Nagto who eventually used his Sage of the Six Paths to turn into Pain and eventually attack Konoha and kill Jiraiya.
It is not until Jiraiya’s death that he realises Naruto is the true child of the prophecy.
When Does Jiraiya Die?
Firstly, some fans may remember that Naruto nearly kills Jiraiya by accident during the first act of the series. As Jiraiya attempts to hone the natural power of the Nine Tailed Fox that lives inside Naruto as he is the Jinchuriki, he gives Naruto more access to this power.
Unbeknownst to Naruto he enters the second form of the Nine Tails Fox with four tails and, while not in control of his body, attacks Jiraiya and critically wounds him until Jiraiya defeats this weakened form of the Nine Tailed Fox.
Jiraiya decides not to tell Naruto and works on Naruto’s temper so this won’t happen twice. Although this isn’t what causes Jiraiya to die.
During Pain’s Assault arc, Jiraiya is the one who originally locates Pain, or Nagato, and the other orphans as the instigators of the recent Akatsuki attacks on the shinobi.
While fighting the other, now rogue, orphans, he realises that the ninja recognised as ‘Pain’ is Nagato due to his rinnegan. Pain, under the illusion he is a God, informs Jiraiya of his plans to liberate the world through destruction.
A fight ensues where Jiraiya summons various toads to help him fight using his Sage art. Jiraiya eventually defeats three of the Pains assuming they, and Nagato, are dead until they return to life and continue attacking him through the various reanimations of Pain.
How Does Jiraiya Die?
Jiraiya is advised by the toads to return to Konoha to get more allies and inform the Shinobi of the power of Pain and Nagato. Jiraiya refuses under the assumption that this is his, and the village’s, best chance at defeating Pain.
As the five Pains surround Jiraiya he quickly realises they are all reanimated corpses of people he has met on his travels, including orphans he had trained, and that they are all under the control of Nagato who is not physically present.
Before he can report this to the toads he has summoned, the Pains slice his throat and mortally wound him with Pain’s black receivers which absorb chakra, in a foreshadowing of Naruto’s battle with Pain.
Jiraiya, near death, begins to reflect on his life. As Jiraiya’s personality and endeavours as a writer, documenting his life, is upset that he has failed to have a meaningful death, he reflects on his failings: his failure to win over Tsunade, to save Orichimaru, to save Nagato.
Then he thinks of Naruto, and how Naruto would never give up as it is Naruto’s ninja way. As his teacher, he realises that he must act in the same way.
Jiraiya, in his final moments, writes a secret code on the back of one of the toads. Jiraiya utilises all the remnants of his chakra and creates one last ninjutsu in an attempt to destroy Pain, declaring ‘You can’t try to make me give up!’
The shockwaves of Jiraiya’s move sends him, mortally wounded, into the sea where, as he floats down to his death, reflects on his life.
Jiraiya reflects on his life, his life as ‘the Gallant Jiraiya’, and how his legacy will forever be forgotten. He soon refuses to believe this and realises that his legacy lives on through his student Naruto Uzumaki, who he now realises is the real child of the prophecy.
Reflecting on his glorious tales and life, he declares that the sequel is The Tale of Naruto Uzumaki before he passes away with a smile upon his face.
Jiraiya’s Legacy After Death
In conclusion, it is Jiraiya’s secret message that holds the key to defeating Pain. It is only Naruto who can work out the code is based upon Jiraiya’s novel Icha Icha, and the numbered code relates to the words on the start of each page.
Naruto realises that the code reads: ‘the real one isn’t among them.’ It isn’t until naurto’s own battle with the six Pain’s that he realises that Nagato is controlling the Pain’s externally from a different place.
Naruto is originally upset about the death of his former teacher, Jiraiya. It soon occurs to naruto that he must learn from Jiraiya’s battle with Pain so that he can defeat Nagato and ultimately avenge Jiraiya’s death.
Naruto then learns senjutsu with the toads and ,along with their experience of fighting the Pain’s, learns the abilities which allow him to eventually defeat Nagato and his reanimated orphans.
Jiraiya’s death also encourages Tsunade to keep protecting the Hidden Leaf Village so that his sacrifice is not in vain. Tsunade uses up so much of her chakra to save the village, in the name of Jiraiya, that she enters a coma.
Had Jiraiya been alive, he would have replaced Tsunade as the Fifth Hokage after the Fourth Shinobi World War and fulfilled his master’s prophecies.
Hakashi assumes this role instead, with Jiraiya being dead, and this eventually leads to Naruto becoming Hokage when he meets the requirements.
Even after death, Jiraiya remains a recognisable character in the Naruto universe as we see many flashbacks and reanimations of him especially in Boruto and other short stories.
This is aptly because he was such a unique and interesting character in the series and also means a lot to the characters within the story too.