Naruto features a range of distinct jutsus and techniques, that vary in power and strength. However, not all techniques align with the concept of ninjutsu within the series, and while Masashi Kishimoto is undoubtedly a talented storyteller, even he seems to have made errors in his early days as a writer.


Many fans may have forgotten about it, but at the beginning of the series, there was a jutsu that was used repeatedly in any fight, the Substitution Jutsu. Although simple, this technique threatened to break the preset notion of ninjutsu and chakra. In fact, the technique was relegated to E-rank indicating that the easiest and most basic jutsu.

How Does The Substitution Jutsu Work?

Sakura Haruno
Sakura Haruno

The Substitution Jutsu allows a shinobi to dodge an attack by substituting themselves with a nearby object. As an academy-level technique, every single shinobi had access to the Substitution Jutsu, proving itself an issue and pushing the boundaries of the preexisting narrative.

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The Substitution Jutsu seems simple enough, but the workings behind it are complex. This E-rank technique can only be activated when the shinobi has been struck by an attack, allowing them to instantly substitute with an object from the surrounding area. It is necessary for the shinobi to be wounded for the technique to work, for simply being bound does not activate the technique.

The technique also requires five hand signs, although no character has ever been seen performing the hand signs so it can be assumed that it is usually done off-screen. Once the hand signs are performed, the next attack immediately triggers the substitution, with the intended object taking the shinobi’s place.

Why Did Masashi Kishimoto Get Rid Of The Substitution Jutsu?

Kakashi Hatake
Kakashi Hatake

From the very beginning of Naruto, Kakashi Hatake has been seen using the Substitution Jutsu repeatedly on several occasions. This Jutsu was also featured during the bell test while Sasuke explained how it worked. While it seems like a very useful Jutsu, it is also a very standard form of Jutsu, being only an E-ranked Jutsu. It is a basic jutsu that every student learns even before becoming a shinobi. However, the jutsu is too easy to use.

Over time, Masashi Kishimoto realized his mistake about how he ended up creating an overpowered attack. The Substitution Jutsu discredits the meaning of any fight as one could easily escape death or defeat their enemies using it. As such, it takes away the emotions behind the death of so many important characters in the series.

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This also raises another question as to why the characters did not use this technique to escape fatal attacks despite knowing how to use this jutsu. Moreover, it is evident from the fight between Sakura and the Sound Village Shinobi that the Jutsu can used repeatedly without exhausting one’s chakra. This means the technique does not require a lot of chakra.

Thus, it seems like Kishimoto had to slowly get rid of this overpowered jutsu so he could continue to orchestrate fights between characters. Without this intervention, the jutsu had the potential to break the Naruto universe.

You can read Naruto on VIZ Media and watch the anime on Crunchyroll.

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