The Ten-Tailed Beast is a gigantic monstrous deity of unfathomable power from the Naruto franchise, who laid ruin over the world in the beginning of time. Long ago it was originally the God-Tree known as the Shinju (神樹, English: Divine Tree), but after a woman named Kaguya Otsutsuki possessed it, her corrupted mind transformed the divine tree into the Ten-Tailed Beast.
The God-TreeIn the beginning, humanity was constantly at war with each other. There was no ninjutsu and therefore no ninja, due to the fact that all the mystical energy in the world resided in a divine tree. Once every thousand years, the tree would bear fruit. A woman named Kaguya Otsutsuki consumed this fruit, gaining the powers of a goddess and putting an end to the conflict, albeit through forceful methods. Kaguya later gave birth to a pair of sons who inherited all of her powers. One of these sons would grow up to become the Sage of the Six Paths. Jealous that her sons had inherited powers similar to herself, Kaguya became one with the God-Tree and her body and mind formed the Ten-Tailed Beast.
The Sage of the Six PathsThe legend of the Sage of the Six Paths, the man who became the foundation to the fundamentals of ninjutsu, played a vital role in the series storyline. The Sage's mother finally lost control of her powers and mutated into the Ten-Tailed Beast, wreaking havoc in an attempt to reclaim the power of Kaguya's sons. The combined might of the Sage and his brother was enough to counter the threat of the beast, successfully overpowering it. When the Ten Tails was defeated by the Sage, he sealed the monster within his body. However, as the seal he placed would fade upon his death, the Sage used his power to prevent the Beast's return by dividing its immense chakra into the nine Tailed Beasts with the monster's semi-lifeless body sealed away within the moon where it rotted over time. Though separate with names of their own, the Tailed Beasts were all linked to each other. But in time, the Tailed Beasts parted ways and became legends in their own right. It was only by the actions of Hashirama Senju, a descendant of the Sage of the Six Paths, that the Tailed Beasts were all placed with captivity of various Ninja villages: Kurama the Nine Tails ended up with the Hidden Leaf Village, Matatabi the Two Tails and Gyuki the Eight Tails with the Kumogakure, Isobu the Three Tails and Saiken the Six Tails with the Village Hidden in Mist before the former escaped into the wild, Son Goku the Four-Tails and Kokuō the Five Tails with Iwakagure, Chomei the Seven Tails in Taigakure, and Shukaku the One-Tail in the Village Hidden in Sand.
But Hashirama's rival Madara Uchiha, another descendant of the Sage, took his rival's blood and used it to become a near-genetic match to the Sage. By the time he gained the Rinnegan as an old man, Madara summoned the Ten-Tails's body, the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path back into world to enact his Eye of the Moon Plan to reform the Ten Tails and become it new host to alter reality itself to suit his ends. But as he is near death, Madara conditioned Tobi as his successor to carry out his will through the Akatsuki to capture the Tailed Beasts and then revive Madara through Nagato.
The Ten-Tailed Beast's appearance is fairly nebulous for the majority of the story. When Tobi first mentions its existence, the Tentais is seen in flashbacks as a humanoid silhouette with spikes erupting from its back and ten fox-like tails. Kurama's description of the Ten-Tails shows the creature as looking slightly more bestial than what Tobi described, with a more jagged outline and an upper body that looks like a mountain with spiky protrusions. The only constants in all of the Ten-Tailed Beast's appearances is that it has a single eye that resembles both the Sharingan and the Rinnegan, as well as dwarfing the other 9 Tailed Beasts in size.
The Gedo Statue, which is later revealed to be the husk of the Ten-Tails, resembles a withered humanoid with sawed-off branches growing from its upper body, cuffs on its wrists and ankles, a gag in its mouth and 9 eyes. The eyes are initially empty orbs until the statue consumes a Tailed Beast, at which point a pupil appears in one of the eyes. When all nine Tailed Beasts are sealed within the statue, its eyes start weeping blood before undergoing its metamorphosis.
In its larval stage, the Ten-Tailed Beast has a bloated, veined body with a mouth like a cave opening filled with stalactites and stalagmites where its teeth and tongue should be. It has two arms and no legs, so it mainly moves around by dragging itself. The beast has a large spike on its back with smaller spikes growing from the main spike. Its tails are wrapped in several layers of carapace that unfurl as it undergoes its next metamorphosis. When Madara talks about the Ten-Tails, he always envisions it in this form.
In its second stage, the Ten-Tails has a skeletal body with two legs and one arm. Its tails now look like tubes ending in baby hands. The beast's head now has its eye on the left side of its head with its now smaller mouth on the right and an ear on the back. It also has horns on its head and under its eye.
In its third stage, the Ten-Tailed Beast gains a second arm, along with muscles and longer horns. It also possesses the ability to stretch its mouth open the length of its body and regurgitate a large flower that can shoot energy waves. If the beast was allowed to mature further, it would become bloated and grow spikes on the rest of its body, resembling the form it took when the Sage of Six Paths last encountered it. As it was being sealed away by Naruto and Sasuke, the Ten-Tailed Beast reverted to this form once more. Its tails also bore the heads of the nine Tailed Beasts, plus a tenth beast that resembled a rabbit.
After Obito becomes its Jinchuriki, he's able to turn the Ten-Tailed Beast into its Shinju form. As Shinju, the Ten-Tailed Beast transforms into a gigantic flower taller than any mountain with roots that resemble dragons. According to Madara, in the center of the flower is the beast's eye.
When Kaguya reclaims the power of the Ten-Tails and is bombarded with the minds of the nine Tailed-Beasts residing in Naruto, she transforms into something completely different; a Ten-Headed Beast which resembles a gigantic rabbit with a large fleshy mass growing from its back bearing the heads of the nine Tailed Beasts.
Powers and Abilities
The Ten-Tailed Beast is a terrifyingly powerful creature, close to omnipotence, with unrivalled destructive might and an aura that cannot be measured. Even though Kaguya, whose aura was described as even more intense, is more powerful than it is, it has displayed much more devastating and wide-scaled attacks overall.
Tobi describes the Ten-Tailed Beast as all the Tailed Beasts in one, which implies that it has their distinct powers. Shukaku the One-Tailed Racoon's control over sand; Matatabi the Two-Tailed Cat's control over blue fire; Isobu the Three-Tailed Turtle's control over coral and illusory mist; Son Goku the Four-Tailed Gorilla's control over magma; Kokuō the Five-Tailed Horse's control over heat and acidic mist; Saiken the Six-Tailed Slug's control over poison, venomous mist and slime; Chomei the Seven-Tailed Beetle's silky threads and cocoons; Gyuki the Eight-Tailed Ox's control over ink; and Kurama the Nine-Tailed Fox's control over chakra itself. Still, it is never seen using them.
What is sure is that like the others, it is able to use the Tailed Beast Bomb: a giant purple sphere mixing positive and negative chakra which can obliterate a village in a tremendous energy blast. The mightiest Tailed Beasts are able to concentrate them into either a much smaller but faster orb or a gigantic and extremely destructive Sphere of Destruction, or fire a devastating barrage of smaller ones.
The Ten-Tails’ Tailed Beast Bombs are red in colour and significantly mightier. Under its first form, it fires it as a gigantic, continuous beam. Under its second form, it fires smaller, pointed ones that can obliterate entire cities. It can strike any location in the world, no matter the distance, and fire many of them in rapid succession. It can even turn its head into a Rafflesia-like shape to concentrate a ginormous and unbelievably devastating one. The anime also depicts it firing a long-reaching red beam. The beast can cause waves of destructive power with its movements, levelling its surroundings and flattening mountains for miles around with a mere tail swipe.
The Ten-Tail was stated by Kurama, the Nine-Tailed Fox, as being able to split the land, carry mountains, swallow entire oceans, and shape countries. While it never displayed such abilities in the story, it displays unbelievable strength, befitting its titanic size, but also unbelievable speed and reflexes, being able to punch the mightiest Tailed Beasts before they can even blink, and to swat away their Tailed beast Bomb with a mere flick of its fingers.
Its overwhelming chakra is described as immeasurable. The Ninja Alliance's monitoring device figured it as a sphere way bigger than the combined chakra of everyone and everything else on the battlefield, including the ludicrously powerful protagonists and villains. Not even the mightiest, most destructive attacks that the Ninja Alliance can dish out, or even its own Tailed Beast Bomb sent right back into its mouth, will even phase it.
It can completely alter its shape and mass, to expand its limbs and bloat its body like a sunfish, or to sprout additional limbs anywhere on its skin. It proves this ability by sending its tails underground and having them sprout from the ground and joint together to form a cage-like array around its foes. It is even able to separate itself from wounded body parts to cast them away and regrow new ones.
The Ten-Tails can spawn hundreds, if not thousands of smaller clones of itself of variable shape and size, each bearing some likeness to it, bearing sharp teeth and bodies covered in spikes. Some of them are of human shape and size, others have animal shape, and others are ogre-like giant humanoids ranging from very tall to humongous. They are all immensely fast, strong and powerful, some having weapon-shaped appendages, other fighting with fists, tails or lesser versions of the titan's powers.
The Ten-Tails masters the natural energy flows in all creation. However, natural energy is also the only thing that can deal lasting harm to it and its hosts. It is able to cause untold disasters, (in a similar fashion to Kaguya's ability to unleash thunderstorms). It was seen unleashing immense hurricanes, thunderbolts, earthquakes and floods all around itself, before a cataclysmic explosion potent enough to form a mushroom cloud.
Kaguya's Rabbit Demon form mostly attacks by sprouting its tentacle-like tails and grabbing her foes with it. The tentacles are extremely fast and hard to dodge and absorb anything they grab within seconds. In the video game, the Rabbit Demon can infuse its claws with red chakra and cause waves of pressure with its roars. It attacks with Tailed Beast Bombs and a huge, golden beam from its mouth; waves of five, huge homing spikes from its tails; long lasting purple beams or waves of eight homing golden beams from the Tailed Beasts’ heads. It can also use Yomotsu Hirasaka (Kaguya's divine power to open rifts in space that warp things and people from different points) to warp its tails through rifts in space and attack from all sides.
Even at its weakest, the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path can conjure chains of ethereal energy, and can create Chakra Rods that infuse anything they strike with chakra. Madara survived beyond his time by continuously infusing himself with its chakra, and can bind people to it to drain their powers. It can also conjure many dragon-like spirits that rip out the soul of anyone they touch and absorb it, killing the victim. At its most powerful, the Statue can unleash devastating, blasting shockwaves or huge bolts of energy that rain down on its targets.
Though the actions of Naruto Uzumaki hampered much of the original plan, Madara was revived through Kabuto Yakushi during the Fourth Great Ninja War while Obito used the trace chakra of Gyuki and Kurama to begin the Gedo Statue's painful regeneration into an incomplete Ten Tails despite Naruto and Killer Bee's attempt to destroy it. Obito and Madara then jump onto the Ten-Tails and interface with the monster as they have it overwhelm the two Jinchuriki and Kakashi. Just as the Ten Tails is about to destroy them, the remainder of the Shinobi Alliance appears to help fight Madara and Obito. Naruto announces that their combined powers will end this war once and for all.
The various ninja all use their signature-jutsu to encase the Ten Tails, while Naruto and several others blind the monster before directing their assault on Obito and Madara. At that moment, the Ten Tails begins to transform into an even more bizarre form. Revealed to be its adult stage, the Ten-Tails begins firing Tailed Beast Balls from its mouth with a recoil from not adjusting to its form, destroying far-away villages and the allied ninja forces' base of operations. By that time, the Ten Tails begins to resist its masters' control before their ties are severed.
Now acting on its own will, the Ten Tails terraformed the area with various storms and earthquakes before gathering strength upon seeing images of the Tailed Beasts and the Sage of Six Paths around Naruto. When the revived Hokage appear and imprison the beast, Naruto, along with Sasuke, Sakura and the remainder of the Ninja Alliance, launch an assault on the Ten Tails. The Ten Tails is able to hold them back by spawning an army of monsters, but Naruto and Sasuke manage to get through and cause it some damage. Just when it seems like the Ten Tails' defeat might be imminent, Obito appears on its head and manages to seal it inside himself, becoming its host.
Obito's AscentDespite outclassing every ninja who faces him, Obito is backed into a corner by the combined efforts of Naruto along with the Second and Fourth Hokages. Obito then unleashes the Ten-Tails, which undergoes one more metamorphosis, this time becoming the God-Tree. The God-Tree then sucks dry the chakra of several ninja as it grows to its full size. According to Madara, once the flower on the God-Tree blooms, humanity will be cast into a world of illusion with no end.
After a combining their efforts, Naruto, Sasuke, Kurama and their allies are able to strike Obito, which causes the Ten-Tails to split back into the 7 tailed beasts. Naruto and his allies then extract the beasts from Obito's soul. The God-Tree remains.
Madara's VictoryAfter Obito's defeat, Madara forces him to resurrect himself. Now fully alive, Madara extracts the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path from Obito and uses it to ensnare all nine Tailed Beasts. They're all dragged in and used to once again bring back the Ten-Tailed Beast. Madara then seals the beast inside himself and becomes the most powerful being on Earth.
When Naruto and Sasuke gain the powers of the Sage of Six Paths, they're able to overpower Madara. The God-Tree telepathically tells Madara to absorb it. After this, Madara eventually cornered reunited team 7, the only opponent left after he affected everybody with Infinite Tsukuyomi. However, Black Zetzu stabbed him, much to everyone's shock. Madara was shocked, because Black Zetsu reveals that he is not actually created by Madara's will, but rather Kaguya Otsutsuki's, whom eventually manifests inside him. Madara is eventually consumed by Black Zetsu who manifests as Kaguya Otsutsuki.
Eventually, Naruto and Sasuke are able to corner Kaguya and initiate the sealing jutsu that would trap her once again for all time. Her son Hagoromo used his abilities to separate the nine Tailed Beasts from her so that she would revert back to the Ten Tails and the Demonic Statue, unwittingly bringing back Madara. Naruto throws Zetsu into the prison as well to ensure that neither Kaguya nor the Ten-Tailed Beast can ever be brought back.
- 'Shinju' (神樹) literally means 'god tree', and its size and nature have connections to both the world tree and the tree of life, motifs that are present in several real-life religions and mythologies throughout the world.
- In addition, the story of the Shinju bearing the fruit that was deemed forbidden to consume is very similar to the story of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (commonly known as the Tree of Knowledge or Tree of Conception) in Abrahamic religions, in which Adam and Eve, the first humans, ate the forbidden fruit despite being told otherwise. Ultimately, while becoming wiser, it lead to their downfall by incurring the wrath of God. For disobeying Him, He forever cursed the two and their descendants. Adam's eldest son, Cain, would later murder his younger brother, Abel, in anger and jealousy following God's rejection of his offering while accepting Abel's, similar to the struggle between the two sons of the Sage of the Six Paths.
- The wooden dragon-like entities at the base of the Shinju may be a reference to Nidhogg, a dragon or serpent who eternally chews the roots of Yggdrasil in Norse mythology. Likewise with the appearance of the Shinju, it is said that should Nidhogg finally be free of its entrapment underneath Yggdrasil, its appearance into the world beyond its roots are said to herald the coming of Ragnarök, the end of the world and ultimate battle of the gods.
- When the Ten-Tails was recreated into a tree by Obito Uchiha in the Fourth Shinobi World War, it was initially referred to as the Shinju by Gyūki, but it was later confirmed to be a form of the Ten-Tails. Likewise, the Ten-Tails' tree form was referred to as the Shinju as well in the fourth databook, but it also showed the recreated tree to be another form of the Ten-Tails.
- When Kaguya was defeated by Naruto and Sasuke, the Shinju, being one with her, was sealed by the Six Paths — Chibaku Tensei within Kaguya's core dimension.