Seals (印, in; English TV "Hand signs") are used to perform many Ninjutsu, Genjutsu, and other secret arts other than Taijutsu. The exact amount of chakra necessary to perform a technique is manipulated through hand seals. There are different sequences of hand seals for every technique, requiring memorization.
While techniques may require a number of hand seals to work, a skilled ninja can use less or even one to perform the same technique. An example of this is the Water Release: Water Dragon Bullet Technique, which requires a total of 44 hand seals to activate. Tobirama Senju, the Second Hokage, only needed to use one hand seal to complete the technique, a testament to his skill.
In fact, by Part II, Sasuke Uchiha has managed to master the Chidori to the point of not needing a single hand seal to invoke it.
Basic Hand Seals Edit
There are twelve basic seals, each one named after an animal of the Chinese zodiac.
Bird (酉, Tori)
Boar (亥, I)
Dog (戌, Inu)
Dragon (辰, Tatsu)
Ox (丑, Ushi)
Tiger (寅, Tora)
Snake (巳, Mi)
Rat (子, Ne)
Horse (午, Uma)
Monkey (申, Saru)
Hare (卯, U)
Ram (未, Hitsuji)
Other Hand Seals Edit
Besides the twelve basic hand seals, there are unique hand seals used for certain techniques. These hand seals are rarely seen, and can be considered unique to specific techniques.
This seal is most commonly associated with the creation of clones using techniques such as the Shadow Clone Jutsu, its derivative and the Multiple Wood Release Clones Jutsu, separate from the basic twelve seals, where index and middle fingers from both hands are crossed. This hand seal is also used in performing the Water Release: Water Shark Bullet Technique.
Clap Hands Edit
This is more of an initiation of a technique rather than a hand seal where the user simply claps their hands together as exemplified when Naruto Uzumaki for example summons chakra or is breaking genjutsu. The hand seal sequence for powerful summoning Kinjutsu like the Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation and the Dead Demon Consuming Seal end with this motion; similarly, Jiraiya prepares to enter Sage Mode (summoning Shima and Fukasaku) by performing this motion and sustaining it. It is also used to perform the Chibaku Tensei technique. Once the seal sequence completed, the user's hands are held in this position until the desired effect is achieved.
Used in techniques such as the Summoning Jutsu, this is also more of an initiation of a technique than a seal. The user presses their hand to the surface that is affected.
Haku's Seals Edit
The seals used for Haku's Thousand Flying Water Needles of Death, are quite different than the basic twelve seals, and are also performed with one hand.
Haku's ]]Demonic Mirroring Ice Crystals]] technique can be done with a special seal, which resembles Tiger with middle fingers crossed over the index fingers. Interestingly, Orochimaru also uses this seal when giving the Cursed Seal of Heaven to an individual.
Jin Seal Edit
This is another one of the seals that are used in normal techniques, yet isn't one of the basic twelve seals. The "Yang Water" (壬, Jin) seal is used in techniques such as the Water Release: Water Dragon Bullet Technique and the Shrine Seal. In the anime, this seal is formed similar to the Dog seal, but the left hand is under the right, and the left's palm is facing up.
Five Elements' SealEdit
The fūinjutsu Five Elements Seal used by Orochimaru uses a single special seal, which consists in both hands' thumbs and little fingers touching each other tips, with left index and middle fingers and right index finger raised, with the latter touching the left middle. The left ring finger is placed over the right ring finger, with both the latter and the right middle folded down (just like the Ox seal in the left hand).