JapaneseHōchū ŌtsukaTōru Nara (as a child)EnglishDavid LodgeBrad MacDonald (as a child)Richard Cansino (Naruto: Ultimate Ninja)
Movies and TV shows
Naruto Shippūden, Naruto Shippuden the Movie, Road to Ninja: Naruto th, Naruto, Naruto Shippuden the Movie
Jiraiya (自来也) is a fictional character in the Naruto anime and Manga series created by Masashi Kishimoto. Introduced in the first half of the series, he was a student of Hiruzen Sarutobi and one of the "Legendary Sannin"; along with Orochimaru and Lady Tsunade. Jiraiya appears as a perverted old man who occasionally returns to the village, reporting the activities of Orochimaru and Akatsuki. Referred to as the "Toad Sage" and "Pervy Sage", he mentored Minato Namikaze, the Fourth Hokage, and later became a godfather to Minato's son Naruto.
Jiraiya is a playable character in most of the video games from the series and various merchandises have been released based on him. The character received positive reception and is considered to be one of the strongest in the series; critics praised Jiraiya's introduction in the series as well as his relation with Naruto as his mentor. Of all the student-teacher relationships in Naruto, Jiraiya and Naruto's is the one Kishimoto likes the most.
Jiraiya grew up in the village of Konohagakure under the tutelage of the Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third Hokage. As a child, bragging about his exploits, Jiraiya made many attempts to either woo women or spy on them while they bathe in the hot springs. While during a trip, he reverse summons himself to Mount Myōboku, where he learned Senjutsu from the Great Toad Sage who told him a prophecy he would someday have a student who can save the world or destroy it. During his time he became known as the "Toad Sage" as the result of his training under the Great Toad Sage to obtain Senjutsu, enabling him to summon toads as allies during battle.
As he grew older, Jiraiya and his two teammates, Orochimaru and Tsunade, collectively became known as the "Legendary Sannin" owing to their exemplary ninja abilities allowing them to endure a fight against Hanzo during the Second Shinobi War. In the aftermath of the Second Shinobi War, Jiraiya meets an orphan named Nagato from Amegakure, taking him and his friends Konan and Yahiko who later form the liberal organization Akatsuki, under his wing. He grew close to the three children while teaching them, and even wrote an autobiographical book that was inspired by Nagato; The Tale of the Gutsy Ninja. He eventually learned that Nagato possessed the coveted dōjutsu, Rinnegan, which according to legend was possessed by only one other person, the Sage of the Six Paths, who was regarded as the father of all ninja, thus he initially believed that Nagato is the child of the Great Toad Sage's prophecy. However, after a few years, Jiraiya left them to let them pursue their own goals. He later believed that all of them had died in the following war, although only Yahiko actually perished during a trap by Ame's dictator, Hanzo, while Nagato and Konan went on to reform Akatsuki as a criminal organization.
Sometime later, Jiraiya became a mentor to Minato Namikaze after becoming a jōnin and told his student of the Great Toad Sage's prophecy. While The Tale of the Gutsy Ninja suffered from poor sales, Minato liked the book and asked Jiraiya to become the godfather of his soon-to-be-born son, as well as deciding to name his son after the book's protagonist, Naruto, in the hopes that the child would grow up to be like Jiraiya. Minato's prowess and wisdom, combined with his eventual election as the Fourth Hokage, made Jiraiya believe that Minato is the child of the prophecy. However, his student eventually gave his life to protect Konoha from the Nine Tails' attack, making his prediction once again false. When Orochimaru betrayed Konoha, Jiraiya pursued and tried to convince him to return, but the latter refused and attacked Jiraiya, making the latter's attempt a failure.
For most of his adult life, though loyal to Konoha, Jiraiya periodically leaves his hometown to explore the world. Jiraiya makes only sporadic appearances, returning to Konoha after long absences to report on information he has learned during his travels. Initially this information concerns Orochimaru's continued efforts to destroy Konoha, though eventually he also begins reporting on Akatsuki. While traveling, Jiraiya wrote his experiences in love, particularly those with Tsunade, in his Make Out series of novels which have become a best seller and earned him vast wealth. During some of his returns Jiraiya takes the time to train Naruto, teaching him his own signature abilities, and how to control Kurama. When his teacher, Hiruzen, who had resumed his duty as the Third Hokage since Minato's death, dies during an invasion by Orochimaru, Jiraiya is offered the position of Hokage, but Jiraiya thinks his inability to keep Orochimaru from becoming a criminal made him feel unworthy of the responsibility and instead offers to search for Tsunade so she could take the position, which he eventually succeeds on. After Naruto's flawed attempt to retrieve Sasuke, Jiraiya decides to take the boy for a few years of training to make him strong enough to bring Sasuke back and to protect himself from the Akatsuki.
In Part II, Jiraiya released Kurama's seal using a key entrusted to him by Minato, not expecting Naruto to lose control as a result. He would soon return to inform Kakashi and Yamato about the threat Naruto could be when under the Nine Tails's influence by telling him of his near-death experiences when the youth used four ninths of Kurama's power. To keep Naruto from participating in Team 7's new Sasuke-related mission, Jiraiya offered to train him again, and took Naruto to Yugakure, the Village Hidden in Boiling Water. After entrusting Naruto with the key to Kurama's seal, Jiraiya begins investigating the Akatsuki's leader Pain. In the course of his investigation leads him to battle Pain, recognizing him to be Nagato as he tries to kill his student to prevent the world's destruction before being overwhelmed by the Six Paths. At the battle's conclusion, thinking back throughout his life, Jiraiya realizes that Naruto was actually the boy foretold in the prophecy. Due to this, and remembering that it was his first novel that inspired Minato to name his son after the book's protagonist, Jiraiya mustered the strength to get up and write one last message. Before succumbing to his fatal wounds, Jiraiya sends the secret behind Nagato's Paths of Pain, along with a disabled Animal Path, to Naruto and the rest of Konoha to give them an edge. He then dies without regret as he sinks into the sea; knowing that he did all he could for the future hero of the world.
In other media
Jiraiya makes an appearance so far in only two Naruto films, Naruto Shippūden 2: Bonds and Naruto Shippūden 3: Inheritors of the Will of Fire. He is a playable character in most Naruto video games, including the Clash of Ninja series and the Ultimate Ninja series, as well as Path of the Ninja series. In the first game of the Ultimate Ninja, he only appears as a support to Naruto during his special techniques. In the Path of the Ninja RPG series he is a character who can be spoken to, for information and support. Since Ultimate Ninja 2, he is an available character and has been given variations of the Rasengan, fire techniques, and toads summoning techniques; in Path of the Ninja 2 he is not only a character in the storyline, but a "secret" acquirable character, that can be added to the team as a fully active member.
Jiraiya has appeared in several of the main Shōnen Jump popularity polls. In the second and third he ranked in the top ten. In the fourth poll he ranked at 11th. In the last poll conducted in 2011, Jiraiya was placed 16th. Merchandise based on Jiraiya has also been released, including key chains, action figures, and his headband. Masashi Kishimoto commented that out of all the student-teacher relationships he has created in the Naruto series, the bond between Naruto and Jiraiya is his favorite, noting that it makes drawing them "worthwhile".
Several reviewers for manga, anime, video games, and other related media have provided praise on Jiraiya's character. Davey Jones from ActiveAnime remarked Jiraiya’s training with Naruto as good comic relief and noted how similar both of these characters are. AnimeonDVD's Justin Rich also praises Jiraiya’s introduction in the series noting him to be a funny character. Jason Van Horn of IGN commented on his relationships with Naruto Uzumaki that "they share so much in common". Matt Shingleton of DVD Times noted Jiraiya to be "the greatest character Masashi Kishimoto has ever created in this series" and further commented that "besides the fact he fills the comical pervert archetype he's one of the strongest characters in the series and just about everything about him is rough and unpredictable". Jason Thompson praised his Sage Mode, commenting it would make a good cosplay. He also expressed shock by the character's death while fighting Pain, seeing him as a sympathetic person.