Tale of Jiraiya the Gallant

Warning! This article contains spoilers. The tale of the beloved sensei of Uzumaki Naruto, Jiraiya the Gallant.

Every cult anime series had a sensei, a teacher or father figure that shapes the main protagonist. These figures appeared during the series, usually in a time of need, aiding the hero. Jiraiya the Gallant has all the necessary features a sensei needs; mysterious, powerful, and seems to be too old and perverted. Yet, Jiraiya is much more than a mere sensei figure in Naruto Series. In an alternative scenario, Jiraiya could be the main protagonist of the series. Although he is not the main hero, his influence throughout the series makes him just as prominent as the main characters.

Jiraiya first appeared in episode 52, during the time of Naruto's training period for the chunin exams' second part.  Although his appearance and actions are a bit misleading, make no mistake, Jiraiya was one of the greatest ninjas in history. Even his solo feats and titles are enough to make this man a legend beyond his time. What makes him even more legendary is how he affects other people, including the main protagonist Naruto, throughout the series. 

The Underachiever

Despite his reputation as one of the most feared shinobi of his time, Jiraiya's tale has a thorny beginning. After graduating from ninja academy at the age of six, Jiraiya was assigned to Third Hokage Sarutobi Hiruzen's team along with Tsunade and Orochimaru. Even at the age of six, Jiraiya's main goal is peeping at other girls rather than developing his ninja skills. His teammates were both prodigies; Tsunade comes from the Senju bloodline, which makes him connected to previous Hokage and Orochimaru is ranked the number one rookie in his generation, while Jiraya seems to be only working on his skills to impress Tsunade. Yet, love is an emotion that can not be underestimated. In order to gain Tsunade's attention, Jiraiya trained very hard, resulting in one day he found himself in Mount Myoboku. Mount Myoboku is a legendary household of toad sages where people can be with natural energy. He started learning sage jutsu from the toad sages while he continued his ninja training with the third Hokage as well. Jiraiya started to develop into an overachiever rather than an underachiever. While Jiraiya continued his training and missions, he was summoned by the Great Toad Sage about a prophecy that predict Jiraiya's fate. Sage predicted that Jiraiya will travel to the world, and during his travels, he will meet with the child of prophecy and take this child as his student. This child will either save the world or destroys it, depending on how well Jiraiya will teach him.

Jiraiya the Sensei

As the prophecy foretold, Jiraiya started to travel through the world as a writer during his free time. During that time, Jiraiya became a ninja and had a class of his own. He mastered senjutsu (sage jutsu), was trained by third Hokage, and achieved the rank of jonin, named the legendary Sannin of Konoha for his achievements during the Second Great Shinobi War. Hence, Jiraiya's greatest achievement, although he still evaluates himself as a failure, is his students. Jiraiya trained some of the greatest ninjas in Naruto verse. Fourth Hokage Namikaze Minato, Seventh Hokage Uzumaki Naruto, Hidden Rain Village trio Nagato, Konan, and Yahiko were S-ranked ninjas that were trained by Jiraiya.

The Gallant One

The most interesting thing about Jiraiya is how he evaluates himself. Although he is unrivaled as a ninja during his time, Jiraiya always sees himself as a failure. Constantly rejected by the women he loved, he cannot protect his master, and his village and gets killed by one of his own students in the end. Jiraiya defines himself as an overachieved, hard-working person that gets more credit than he deserves. He rejected the position of Hokage 3 times before his death, only because he believed that he was unworthy of the position. Hence, what he achieves during his lifetime, is conduct otherwise. Jiraiya's unbreakable will to never give up was passed down to his students, as well as his philosophy and vision of the world. Jiraiya's belief is that one-day people could understand each other instead of hatred. He successfully passed down this belief to the last student, Uzumaki Naruto, who turned out to be the child of prophecy. Honoring his sensei's beliefs, Naruto becomes the hero that saves the world, also fulfilling the prophecy one had been told to Jiraiya. Even Obito Uchiha, the main antagonist of the series for a long time, stated that ''It Jiraiya or Jiraiya's ideas about the world that has actually defeated me''. The tale of Jiraiya the Gallant has ended not knowing that the love of his life actually loves him, not seeing his student save the world and become a hero. Hence, his philosophy, determination, hard work, and belief in people actually changed the shinobi world.