Minato Not Using Sage Mode: Why? - Tech With Tech

Minato Not Using Sage Mode: Why?

Here’s why Minato didn’t use his sage mode:

For the most part, Minato never used sage mode because he didn’t need to.

As far as we know, he won every single fight and battle in his entire life without once using sage mode.

The only time he actually needed it was after he was dead, when he was reanimated, in the fight against Madara, where he used sage mode.

So if you want to learn all about why Minato never wielded his sage mode, then this article is for you.

Let’s jump right into it!

Minato Not Using Sage Mode: Why? (Everything to Know)

Who Is Minato?

What are we even talking about?

If you don’t recognize the keywords in the title, then here are a few quick tidbits for you.

First off, Minato is a character from Naruto.

He appears several times in the original manga (like a Japanese comic book), and since the anime series (both Naruto and Shippuden) are based on the manga, he shows up there too.

I’ll explain more about who he is in a second, but we need to talk about something else first.

Spoiler warning

In order to discuss sage mode and Minato, I have to cover some super important plot points in the original Naruto storyline.

If you don’t know the whole story, then I suggest you stop here or risk seeing major spoilers.

With that covered, let’s talk a bit more about Minato.

Minato is the Fourth Hokage.

That means he is the fourth person to hold the title of the leader of Konoha (the Leaf Village).

At the beginning of Naruto, Minato is dead, and he’s a bit of a legend.

We find out later that he was actually Naruto’s dad, and he’s one of the most accomplished ninjas of all time.

What Is Sage Mode?

Minato made waves even from a young age by setting records on ninja tests.

He also pretty much won the Third Great Ninja War by himself, and that’s a big part of why he was chosen to be the Fourth Hokage.

He was also known for mastering extremely difficult ninja techniques with remarkable speed and ease.

One such technique is sage mode (also called senjutsu).

Sage mode is a special technique that allows a ninja to absorb natural energy that just exists all around.

In order to do this, the ninja has to stay perfectly still, and it requires incredible internal mastery to absorb the natural energy while still controlling it.

If you absorb such energy and can’t control it, you turn into a frog, and in the worst case, you turn into a statue.

So, it comes with a risk.

But, a ninja who can control sage mode gets massive power increases from it.

They become many times stronger and tougher, and they can mold natural energy in order to ninja techniques with huge power boosts.

We only see a handful of accomplished sages throughout the Naruto universe, and it’s a bit of a surprise when we learn that Minato is one of them.

A few other prominent sages include Naruto, Jiraiya, and the First Hokage, Hashirama.

When Didn’t Minato Use Sage Mode?

Now, we’re ready to address the original question.

Why didn’t Minto use sage mode?

Well, that question is a little strange.

There is at least one point in the story when Minato clearly does use sage mode (which we’ll discuss next).

So, the first question is, which time are we talking about?

Well, I can actually summarize virtually every time that Minato didn’t use sage mode.

In the original Naruto manga, we never see Minato use sage mode a single time while he is alive.

So, that’s what I’m going to go with.

Why didn’t Minato use sage mode while he was alive?

There’s a specific scenario during Minato’s life that merits additional discussion, and I’ll definitely cover it too.

Why didn’t Minato use sage mode the day that he died?

When Did Minato Use Sage Mode?

You’ll see answers to both of those questions next.

First, I want to explain the one time that Minato clearly did use sage mode.

It helps inform the times that he didn’t.

This event happened during the Fourth Great Ninja War.

This war starts long after Minato died, but some special techniques are able to bring him back from the dead.

That’s a long story, so just go with it.

A resurrected Minato fights alongside his son, Naruto, against Madara and a bunch of Madara’s minions.

I’m going to skip a lot of details to keep this explanation short, but basically, only physical attacks and sage mode attacks can hurt Madara and his minions at this point.

That’s when Minato tells us that he was never very good at sage mode.

He then instantly enters into sage mode as a perfect sage and uses the technique to good effect fighting against Madara.

It’s a bit of a weird moment.

Minato is clearly more than adept at using sage mode.

He’s even better at it than Jiraiya is.

In fact, Minato appears to be better at sage mode than Naruto is, meaning Minato is probably one of the two best sages in the history of the series at that point.

To say he isn’t very good at it is weird.

He also says that he never really liked sage mode because of how slow it is.

I’ll delve into that more as we go, but this complaint actually seems reasonable—at least coming from Minato it does.

That summarizes the one time we ever actually see Minato use sage mode.

It’s reasonable to assume that he used it at some point during his life—at least enough to learn how it works—but we never actually see that happen.

So, Why Didn’t Minato Use Sage Mode? (3 Reasons)

That is finally enough explanation.

We can get into the reasons why he didn’t use sage mode throughout his life.

I’m going to focus on the general answers here.

In a later section, I’ll specifically address why he didn’t use sage mode on the last day of his life.

To clarify, Minato died when Obito attacked the village and unleashed the nine-tailed fox.

I’ll get into more of those details as we go too, but now I can talk about Minato’s death, Obito’s death, and the attack by the nine-tailed fox interchangeably.

They’re all the same event.

All of that said, Minato mostly didn’t use sage mode because he didn’t want to.

I’ll elaborate on some more specific points, but that really is the leading reason.

#1 Knowledge

This is the most reasonable explanation, and it applies to a lot.

We don’t actually know when Minato learned how to use sage mode.

That isn’t explained.

So, it’s possible that for most of his life, Minato didn’t use sage mode because he didn’t know how.

We don’t know that for sure, but it can at least apply to some moments in his life.

The one case this doesn’t apply to is Obito’s attack, but I’ll get to that later.

#2 Speed

Minato tells us that he doesn’t particularly like sage mode because of how long it takes.

In order to charge it, you have to stand perfectly still.

Minato is the fastest ninja of all time.

The way he fights, even a brief moment of standing still probably feels like a lifetime of slowness.

He constantly overwhelms enemies with unparalleled speed—teleporting all over the place with relentless blitz attacks.

It makes sense that stopping to charge sage mode doesn’t mesh well with his style.

That said, he gets into sage mode faster than anyone else, but compared to his normal fighting style, sage mode could be considered slow.

At the very least, that’s how it feels to Minato.

#3 Need

This is another big one.

There’s only one time in Minato’s entire life where sage mode would have potentially changed the outcome of a battle.

That’s the fight with the nine tails, and he ultimately won that exchange.

So, for the vast majority of cases, he really didn’t need sage mode.

He won all the same.

The one time he absolutely does need to use it, we see him embrace it without hesitation.

Considering that Minato is arguably the smartest ninja in history too, this makes a lot of sense.

His ability to instantaneously assess a battle means that every time he chose not to use sage mode, he was ultimately proven correct in his assessment.

Why Didn’t Minato Use Sage Mode With Obito and the Nine Tails? (3 Things)

That fairly covers most of Minato’s life, but there’s a huge exception to all of this.

Arguably, if Minato had used sage mode against the nine tails, he could have stopped it without dying.

That is arguable, as you’ll see, but it’s fair to at least speculate that sage mode would have made a huge difference here, but not necessarily in ways, you might assume.

#1 Miscalculation

Let’s quickly recap this whole event.

Kushina (Minato’s wife and Naruto’s mother) had the nine tails sealed inside of her.

She was the jinchuuriki of the time (a person with a tailed beast sealed inside of them).

It was known that when a jinchuuriki goes into labor, the seal that holds the beast can weaken.

Minato and Kushina were prepared for this, but it’s an important fact.

This is precisely why Obito attacked when Kushina went into labor.

The seal was weakened, and Obito exploited that to release the nine-tailed fox from within Kushina.

This is typically a fatal maneuver, so it’s very likely that Kushina’s fate was sealed as soon as this happened.

This attack by Obito is a complete surprise attack, so Minato had no chance to go into sage mode in order to prevent it.

Once Minato is aware of the attack, he quickly engages Obito.

He manages to save both Kushina (probably only temporarily) and Naruto from Obito.

They have a ninja battle that involves much teleporting, but ultimately, Minato takes Obito down very quickly.

Sage mode is definitely not needed.

From there, Minato needs to curtail the fox.

To do that, he teleports the entire fox and a giant attack away from the village.

He then sees that Kushina is dying, and he knows that the only way to stop the fox is to use a seal.

So, he chooses the most powerful seal of all, one that requires him to sacrifice his life.

He successfully seals the fox, and he saves Naruto.

He and Kushina both die.

So, sage mode wasn’t necessary to stop Obito.

Now, it might have made a difference with the fox.

Perhaps, if Minato had taken a moment to enter sage mode, he could have used a lesser seal on the fox and saved the day without dying.

That’s possible.

Assuming that’s the case, Minato made a miscalculation, but let’s remember one thing.

He was teleporting constantly throughout the exchange.

He never took more than the briefest of moments to assess the situation and make decisions.

The whole thing was extremely fast, so it appears that his choice of speed over power might have cost him his life.

Despite that, he still saved the village and his son, and he probably couldn’t have saved his wife regardless.

We can chalk that much up to a miscalculation on his part.

#2 Plot Hole

More than any of that, Minato’s master of sage mode is actually a plot hole.

In the sequence of events, Minato could have defeated Obito and then quickly entered sage mode to take on the fox.

Doing so would have made a whole lot of sense considering that fighting the fox was likely going to require tons of chakra.

It would have been the smartest choice on Minato’s part.

The problem with this is that if Minato charged sage mode, then he probably could have sealed the fox and saved Naruto, and he likely would have done it without turning Naruto into a jinchuuriki. 

That’s the real issue.

If Minato used sage mode in this moment, he would have been too powerful, and the events would not have set up the story as we know it.

Naruto’s whole path depends on having the nine-tailed fox inside of him and growing up without parents.

It’s tragic, but it’s essential to his character.

Minato didn’t use sage mode because of a writing mistake.

That’s really it.

#3 Mastery

There’s a final point to the whole thing.

Part of the reason why it seems like Minato should have used more sage mode is because of how Naruto used sage mode.

Naruto discovered that he could have clones charge up natural energy.

He could then release those clones to instantly absorb sage mode from them, giving him tons of flexibility in how he used the ability.

If Minato used a similar method in combination with his teleportation techniques, he would have been unstoppable.

He could have clones constantly charging natural energy.

Whenever he needed a refill, he could just teleport to a clone (or teleport the clone to him) and absorb the energy.

It would be incredibly powerful, and he wouldn’t have to worry about speed.

He could fight normally, with the sage mode boost, while the clones took care of staying still.

The thing to remember is that Naruto invented this method of using sage mode.

Nobody thought of it before Naruto, and that’s why it never occurred to Minato.

Because of that, Minato had to stay still to charge his own sage mode.

Even with the way things turned out, Minato might not have actually had enough time to charge sage mode between defeating Obito and stopping the fox.

The whole sequence is so fast that it’s hard to say.

So, it’s fair to say that Minato didn’t use sage mode that night because he didn’t know the one key to the technique that Naruto would eventually come up with.