Serious Naruto fans among us may be aware of this controversial plot point that drives some fans up the wall. To others, it will make sense. The plot point in question is Minato’s Sage Mode.
Be prepared for some spoilers about the ending to Naruto Part II. This will make no sense unless you’ve seen all of Naruto. You have been warned; this is one for the Naruto super fans.
We will be exploring why Minato has Sage Mode. This can alleviate some fan’s annoyance at this rather situational occurrence at the climax of Part II.
Is it worth exploring why some fans are so annoyed about this inclusion? Is the plot point a plot hole or just retroactive continuity? All will be explained in our guide to Minato’s Sage Mode – read on to find out.
What’s All The Fuss About?
Well, if you’ve seen the ending of Naruto you understand what’s in question here. Ten Tails is absorbed into Obito and he becomes the Ten Tails Jinchuuriki. The combatants realize that senjutsu, or Sage Techniques, are the only way to damage Obito as the Ten Tails Jinchuuriki.
Rather situationally, the reanimated Minato appears, and lo and behold he has Sage Mode. But, Minato’s Sage Mode has never been mentioned before this moment.
Some fans think that Kishimoto simply included this piece of retroactive continuity merely to bring Minato back for emotional currency. He can then help defeat Obito. Retroactive continuity is when a writer alters facts retroactively so that their continuity is upheld.
In simplicity, retroactive continuity is suggesting something was always the case even when it wasn’t mentioned. The facts are adjusted slightly, so that the new reality doesn’t breach continuity retroactively.
This is essentially what is happening with Minato’s Sage Mode. Minato is brought back from the dead, and by chance has the necessary senjutsu to help defeat Ten Tails.
There’s basically been no mention of Minato ever being able to use senjutsu up to this point. Kishimoto mildly adjusts the facts so that Minato has always had Sage Powers. He’s just never mentioned it, or used them before, as they don’t suit his fighting style.
A Case For Kishimoto
Many fans are convinced of some shady writing by Mashashi Kishimoto. There is certainly an argument for both sides.
Firstly, it’s totally probable that Minato could have perfected Sage Mode, as Naruto did. Minato was Jiraiya’s student; the same way Naruto was a student of Jiraiya.
Considering that Minato and Naruto have very similar chakra profiles. There’s no reason why Jiraiya couldn’t have, or wouldn’t have, sent Minato and Naruto to Mount Myoboku.
More pertinently, Minato himself could summon toads, like Jiraiya the sage and Naruto eventually. He must have had some relationship with toads in the first place. He has to be able to create the blood bond required for summoning.
Plus, the toad Minato can summon is Gambunta, the same toad that Naruto eventually can summon. Minato entrusts Gambunta and the Toads of Myoboku to keep the scroll that holds the key to the seal. Naruto’s stomach is marked with the seal that keeps the Nine Tails in him.
Surely, none of this could really happen without Minato being at least somewhat adept at using Sage Mode.
Theoretically, if Minato had fully mastered Sage Mode, in his reincarnated form, he now has unlimited chakra. This could explain why he was now able to use it. Minato, or Kishimoto suggested that he never used Sage Mode, because it couldn’t be activated for long time periods . At least not by him.
This is feasible, it’s also possible that Minato could use it in his reincarnated form with access to unlimited chakra.
There is also one piece of evidence that has been picked apart by the superfans, which could foreshadow Minato’s Sage Mode.
The piece of evidence is a panel in the manga where Gambunta says to Gramps Fugasaku. ‘Gramps… Doesn’t he remind you of the two?’, meaning Jiraiya and Minato. This clarifies there was definitely a point, where Minato was close with the toads, as was Jiraiya. It seems odd that while in Mount Myoboku that Minato wouldn’t train in Sage Mode.
The Case Against
Some people think that the whole thing was just a contrived plot twist. Minato was brought back in that moment to squeeze the last bits of emotional currency out of Reanimated characters.
To be honest, Kishimoto does have a history of using retroactive continuity often within Naruto. I’m sure the mega fans can name a few. There is an obvious one in this same arc.
In the same fight, Kakashi summons a perfect Susanoo. This move is reserved only for those who have Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan; something only Madara and Sasuke have ever achieved. Yet, Kakashi is able to summon a perfect Susanoo for some reason.
Kakashi does have Mangekyou Sharingan, it doesn’t really make sense as Kakashi’s biology isn’t even fit to use Sharingan. It’s hard to believe, he can become so adept in using his dojutsu to create a perfect Susanoo. We always found this more of a plot hole than Minato’s Sage Mode.
Kishimoto just made this a thing. Giving Kakashi more of a part to play in the final fight due to his relationship with Obito.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Kishimoto has used some retroactive continuity, or made the story a little holey.
The main issue is that the Sage Mode was never used before or even mentioned. It doesn’t make sense. He wasn’t very good at using senjutsu, but miraculously seems to have mastered it when he is fighting.
Many fans suggest that while he is mentioned by the toads and did have a relationship with them. This doesn’t mean that he had mastered Sage Mode to the extent that we see it in the final battle.
This is a sticky situation that Kishimoto is in. While only he knows the answers; fans will debate the topic till the sun comes up.
What’s worth remembering? Everything fans are accusing Kishimoto of, he had already done in the whole Reanimated Shinobi arc.
Many fans disliked the writing of the Fourth Shinobi World War. They found that the whole Edo Tensei (Reanimation Jutsu) arc was basically just bringing back dead characters for emotional reactions.
Regardless of your view on the writing of this arc, you can’t blame Kishimoto for bringing Minato back. It’s on par with resurrecting all the characters and forming them into an army of evil for emotional points.
Although, we would argue this is rather clever and self-reflexive for the genre rather than cheap writing.
Yet, the climax of Naruto, before Sasuke and Naruto have their battle, seems rather rushed forward.
They knew they had to find a way to defeat the Madara/Ten Tails/Kaguya fused being that is shockingly powerful. They were definitely going to have to pull some strings to figure out how to defeat this character. They had to do it all without breaking continuity.
Operation Tsukuyomi and defeat of the Madara may have felt rushed as Kishimoto chose to focus on the Naruto vs Sasuke fight. The epic battle was the climax of the whole narrative.
It depends if you think the plot was more about Operation Tsukuyomi or if it was about Naruto and Sasuke’s relationship.
Conclusively, we don’t think it’s that far fetched that Minato had Sage Mode. If Naruto could, then it makes sense that his father could as well. Minato already had a great relationship with the toads, more than enough to summon Gambunta. It’s totally feasible that he had tried to master Sage Mode at some point.
Even if he wasn’t great at it. The infinite chakra reserves endowed to him through reanimation would seriously help him. Ironing out any issue he did have with Sage Mode.
Unbelievable was Kakashi’s Perfect Susanoo. It goes completely against what all the data books have previously said about the Susanoo and the Mangekyou Sharingan. Kishimoto has done this. Perhaps Minato’s Sage Mode is his hat trick finale.
Minato’s Sage Mode was most likely something Kishimoto did throw in, in order to bring Minato into this arc. He would’ve been absent otherwise. We don’t think that the retroactive continuity breaches any plot points.
In other words, it’s likely Kishimoto did stretch to make Minato’s Sage Mode, but it’s not a particularly far jump to make. This is simply an issue of different writing preferences. We are sure some fans will love this arc and the inclusion of Minato.
Ultimately, there’s no real way to find out if this was a plot hole or a well though out plot twist.