The blue-eyed blond with spikes similar to that of Naruto was always a shinobi of speculation, and one can argue repute. Minato’s heroic feats left much to the imagination and it wasn’t until the reanimation of the Hokages did his real power come to the fore. One thing that has always eluded the fans is his sage mode. Why wouldn’t he use it more often? How good was he? Read on as we answer.
Well, there is enough detail in the episode itself when he takes Obito on, to answer in brief I can say, it simply wasn’t his strength.
His battles were instantaneous :
Minato’s quick rasengan
So it was just a matter of speed. In Minato’s words “whoever strikes first wins”.
We have many such clues :
Minato Vs Obito
In Minato’s words “he wouldn’t want the fight to drag on”. We can get some very useful insights by looking into his instantaneous fight with Obito. There was a reason the fight was so short.
As dangerous as his space-time was – something Minato mentions himself; Obito did not have the raw power to overthrow buildings and topple the village as a whole and thus he summoned the nine tails. This was precisely the reason why he used Pain later on in the series and didn’t go forth himself to destroy Konoha.
It was also against the nature of Konoha’s yellow flash to drag a battle as is evident from his battle fourth Raikage and Killer Bee.
We can see that he acted with remarkable celerity and his battles lasted a short while, because :
- He was very fast, most probably faster than 2nd Hokage Tobirama himself.
- He was a genius at devising strategies. The fact that he countered Obito in such a short while is a testament to his strategic prowess.
- His jutsu Flying Raijin was compatible with rapidly thought out strategies and pinpoint attacks.
- In spite of having remarkable chakra reserves, he wasn’t as blessed as Naruto, Hashirama or even Tobirama for that matter :
Minato Chakra Reserves
You can see above that he had trouble teleporting a tailed beast bomb and a tailed beast back to back. He had remarkable reserves but not sufficient for the uppermost tier of ninjas like Hashirama and Naruto.
With these reasons, I guess you understand that Minato isn’t really the war machine Hashirama is. He cannot fight days for days and fortunately, he doesn’t need to, thanks to his speed.
He can use sage mode but it is against his very nature to take so much time to gain some energy alone. He can defeat the toughest of enemies in just a short while.
For this reason Minato never really honed his sage technique to perfection, it was against his nature. He admits that sage technique isn’t exactly his forte and truthfully it isn’t.
The sage technique that Minato used and that Naruto used against Pain (at that time) is actually a far cry from Hashirama’s :
The amount of chakra that Minato drew was pitiable compared to that of Hashirama and rightfully so, as he never honed it and he hardly ever used it. I am bringing this up to clear your misconception (if any) that sage mode would have been remarkably useful.
To the type of ninja that Minato was, it isn’t.
Flying Raijin was better, faster and more efficient than his sage mode and thus found more usage.
His sage technique takes a lot of time and is hard to maintain for long, so he never used it. In fact, it was only out of compulsion that we ever got to see him in sage mode because only the sage technique worked against Madara. By the time one would gain natural energy, the enemy would be done for if Minato takes charge.
For all these reasons it wasn’t useful for him to use sage mode.
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