The Six Paths of Pain in the Naruto: Shippūden universe is an Outer Path technique that can be used by a Rinnegan user. It allows them to control up to six bodies as if they were the user’s own. The paths were created by Nagato Uzumaki, the leader of the Akatsuki. The technique is used by embedding black receivers that resemble piercings into a particular body (or corpse). This enables their chakra to be harnessed into it from long distances. Once this is done, the user has control over all the bodies. They can physically manipulate them, see through them, decide on the use of jutsu and talk through them, making it one of the most unique abilities in the Naruto universe.
This technique serves best when used in a combination attack, due to the shared vision between the bodies, surprising presence, and extreme power. The technique does have a caveat. In the event that the user is interrupted while transferring chakra to the bodies, they will all cease to move and become very open and vulnerable to attack. After being left helpless in a battle with Hanzō, Nagato used the Six Paths technique to fight on behalf of his fragile state of him. He uses this to continue his aliases known as “Pain”, who wants to restore peace even with less than peaceful means. The first corpse he used was his deceased childhood friend Yahiko. As a tribute, all of Nagato’s Paths’ have the same hair color as Yahiko. The bodies are stored in a hidden chamber in Pain’s Tower in their own separate pods when they are not in use. So what does each Path do?
The user of the Path can control forces with objects and people. This does have a drawback, as there is a period of recharging necessary before using the technique again. Chibaku Tensei is an ability that this Path allows. The user can manifest a giant body from surrounding matter.
This path is executed via Yahiko’s corpse, since it was Nagato’s favorite. He uses this Path to deal with Akatsuki matters. It is the “face” of the Pain aliases.
This Path allows the user to manipulate the body by any means necessary to form weaponry. These include four arms, two faces, and a flexible serrated blade that folds around the waist. The torso and chest are also fitted with other armor.
The forearms can then be detached and fired as projectile weapons, and a variety of blades and drills can protrude from them. This Path can also release a Chakra blast. The corpse used in this Path is that of a ninja puppet master that Nagato’s master Jiraiya met while traveling the world.
The Human Path does not rely on any physical manipulation. This Path enables the user to read the mind of a person by placing their hand on the victim’s chest and pulling their soul out of their body from her. The technique allows the user to gain information from the target and ultimately kill them.
Nagato uses the corpse of a Takigakure shinobi as the Human Path. It is not a physically strong body and would not be useful in combat, which is why Nagato sacrifices it to protect the Animal Path in the final fight against Naruto.
This Path gives the user the power to summon a number of creatures to assist in battle without a blood sacrifice or hand seal. The creatures are presumably dead already and are re-summoned for the purpose of fighting, only. In a battle, the Animal Path will overwhelm opponents with the high number of creatures summoned.
The Animal Path is used in the corpse of a shinobi from the Fūma clan and then Ajisai. In battle, Nagato tends to send in the creatures summoned by the Animal Path to confuse opponents. He also used them as transport in the Fourth Shinobi World War.
This Path acts as a sponge, absorbing chakra energy in any form by physical contact. The chakra energy can be pure or chakra-based, the Preta Path will absorb it all by manifesting a barrier around the user. The drawback to this Path is that if it absorbs too much senjutsu energy, the user runs the risk of turning into stone.
The Preta Path is usually used in defensive tactics. Nagato used this Path in the Fourth Shinobi World War to absorb Killer B’s chakra energy while in his Version 2 form. His legs were subsequently restored, and his hair color changed back to red.
The Naraka Path has a dual function by granting the user two abilities: interrogation and repair. This is possible by the King of Hell, the god of life and death. By using the Six Paths of Pain, the King of Hell can be controlled. The corpse of a priest was used to house this Path.
The interrogation is done by the Path catching hold of a victim, paralyzing them. The King of Hell appears before them, begins questioning, and draws out the victim’s life force by extending tendril-like arms from her mouth. If the victim is untruthful during the questioning, the King consumes their tongue from him and kills them. On the other hand, if they told the truth, their lives would be spared.
To repair damages, the King consumes the body using the tendril-like arms. After a period, the newly repaired body reemerges through the King’s mouth. It has been used to repair the Asura Path after Chōji and Chōza Akimichi destroyed it.
Obito created his own Six Paths of Pain using reincarnated jinchūriki. The receivers of the Paths resemble creatures with tails. Obito controls these tailed beasts by sealing them in their bodies using the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path.
Since the beasts would be difficult to control all at the same time, Obito does not harness the Six Paths technique in his Six Paths of Pain. Instead, he makes use of the abilities they possessed when alive such as Rōshi’s Lava Release. Unlike Nagato, Obito cannot see through his Paths from him. He uses his Sharingan for this purpose.
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