Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Science of Manga - Part 2

The Science of Manga - Naruto
Written by: ClayDragon

If there are two things that interest me, they’re science and manga. It occurred to me that the two need not be mutually exclusive, so I’ve decided to do a series of articles dedicated to applying real-world science to the world of manga. I’m not simply going to explain how things work in relation to the laws of physics within the manga, I’m actually going to use the laws of physics that our world relies on to explain things. As such, if you have any questions about science in a manga series that you’d like me to explain, simply leave your question in the comments below. For my next article, I thought I’d tackle one of the main concepts of Naruto:

Not to be confused with sign language.

It is possible to replicate a jutsu?

In a similar manner to last week’s Zanpakuto question, the answer is entirely dependent on the jutsu. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll just look at the signature jutsu of each of the Konoha 11 (and Sasuke). In a similar manner to the previous article, each jutsu will be sorted into one of two categories – possible, or impossible. Unlike last time, they aren’t ranked by difficulty to replicate – a jutsu that would take a large amount of time and money to duplicate would be sorted into the same category as a really simple one.

Yeah, a jutsu like this probably won't be possible...


Perhaps surprisingly, most jutsu fall under this category. There are a few that are totally impossible, but for most of the jutsu we’ll look at we can find loopholes or other means of recreating their effects. Despite being fairly prominent characters, I’m not going to analyse Sakura, Rock Lee or Tenten here, mainly because their powers are simply being either proficient at using weapons, or being physically strong (and they’re pretty boring compared to some of the other jutsu we’ll look at).

Even in this article she barely gets a mention...

To start with, we’ll examine Sasuke’s jutsu. Whilst it’s impossible to replicate a Chidori, it is possible to create a sword with the same effects as the one Sasuke uses. To be honest, this is one of the easiest ones to do – all we need is to create a sword that will deliver an electric shock upon contact with an enemy. The normal electrical resistance of the human body is 100,000 ohms, which means we’d need a 30,000 volt power source wired into the sword to induce a large enough current in order to cause death. However, when wet, the resistance of the body falls to 1000 ohms, meaning we’d only need a 30 volt power supply, and that’s easy enough to find.

All you'd need is this sword and a water balloon, and you'd be set.

Whilst we’re on the subject of Sasuke (and Uchihas in general), we might as well look at their most-used technique – the Fire style jutsu. In the real world, the closest we can get to this is the art of fire breathing. Fire breathing is done by blowing flammable chemicals over a small flame, thus creating a wave of fire that can be loosely controlled. I should probably point out that trying this without proper practice and knowledge can be extremely dangerous, so only try it if you’re a trained professional or are looking to obtain a Darwin Award.

This isn't an award you really want to win.

Next, let’s move on to another ninja clan, and look at how the Hyuga clan’s Gentle Fist technique works. Basically, there are pressure points all over the human body that may produce pain when hit or pushed. Whilst we can’t see the chakra network of an opponent, we can manipulate these pressure points to cause a good deal of pain. For example, if you strike a certain tendon at the back of the elbow, the tendon is immediately relaxed, making it a lot easier to bend the elbow. If you were then to strike the elbow joint, it becomes a lot easier to break the elbow. Alternatively, if you were to strike someone in the back of the head at the right angle in the right direction, you could give your opponent a concussion. But that would be wrong.

It's actually really easy to hurt someone when you know what you're doing.

In terms of Kiba’s main jutsu (that is, fighting with his dog Akamaru), it’s a little more of a grey area. Whilst it’s not really possible to get the level of understanding that Kiba and Akamaru have, it’s easy to understand how animals feel. After all, you don’t have to be a genius to know the difference between a happy dog’s bark and that of an angry dog.

"Run, Akamaru! Show us the meaning of haste!"

Finally, the only other possible technique is that of Shino’s main jutsu. In a similar manner to Byukuya Kuchiki’s Senbonzakura, the easiest thing to do would be to use nanobots. Like I mentioned last week, nanobots are microscopically tiny robots that can be programmed to interact with objects on a molecular level. They could be programmed to inhabit your body and protect you from poisons, or you could send them into an opponent’s body in order to poison them. In short, nanobots could pretty much do anything.

Yeah, these guys are insanely overpowered.


Sadly, there are a number of techniques that are simply impossible to replicate. We can’t create a Rasengan, or give someone the abilities of a Byakugan. However, special note goes to Choji’s Super Expansion jutsu, as it’s impossible twice over.

Firstly, it’s impossible to grow to the size that Choji ends up as when he uses his main jutsu. But the main reason why Choji’s jutsu simply can’t work is down to something called the Square Cube Law. The Law states:

When an object undergoes a proportional increase in size, its new volume is proportional to the cube of the multiplier and its new surface area is proportional to the square of the multiplier.

To simplify, if you had a cube and doubled its size, the surface area is quadrupled, whilst the volume is increased by eight times. Essentially, strength is roughly a function of the area of a muscle, whilst weight is a function of volume. As a result, if Choji were to double his height whilst remaining the same shape, he would have four times the muscle, but it would be moving eight times the mass, so he would only be half as agile. In fact, when he increased in size to fight the Gedo Mazo statue, he should probably have collapsed under his own weight.

Damn it Choji, stop breaking physics!

So can it be done?

Well, compared to the Zanpakuto, the list of possible jutsu techniques is a lot smaller, but it is possible to recreate some of them. However, most of the possible ones are techniques that are already done in the real world, like fire breathing and utilising pressure points to bring pain to your enemies. So whilst some jutsu techniques are possible, your options are sadly a fair bit more limited.

Oh how I wish this was possible...

ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at The alternative is his Skype account at kyleroulston1993. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to understand quantum physics. He spends 70% of every day asleep.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, I have to ask. Why is it impossible to create a rasengan? And why is it impossible to create Byakugan? I would have thought Byakugan would have been the easiest of the three eyes of Naruto.

    Ideas for your next articles of science:
    Devil Fruit
    Dragon Slayer Magic
    Pokemon and their Pokeballs
    The Ki in Dragon Ball Z