Nature Transformation (性質変化, Seishitsu Henka?) is an advanced form of chakra control. It entails the moulding and defining of one's chakra into an innate type of chakra nature, altering its properties and characteristics. Nature transformation is one of two necessary techniques for creating a technique, its counterpart being shape transformation. Few shinobi can use both shape manipulation and nature manipulation.

Basic Types Edit

There are five basic types into which the nature of chakra can be transformed, called the Five Elements Nature Transformations(五大性質変化, Godai Seishitsu Henka?). These five types are also called elements and are not only the origin of the names of the Five Great Shinobi Countries, but also the foundation of all elemental ninjutsu. The five basic natures are all connected to each other in a circle, each being weaker than one and stronger than another.

These elements allow for elemental ninjutsu to be performed:

  • Fire (, Hi?) natured chakra allows for Fire Release (火遁, Katon?), which is strong against Wind but weak against Water.
  • Wind (, Kaze?) natured chakra allows for Wind Release (風遁, Fūton?), which is strong against Lightning but weak against Fire.
  • Lightning (, Kaminari?) natured chakra allows for Lightning Release (雷遁, Raiton?), which is strong against Earth but weak against Wind.
  • Earth (, Tsuchi?) natured chakra allows for Earth Release (土遁, Doton?), which is strong against Water but weak against Lightning.
  • Water (, Mizu?) natured chakra allows for Water Release (水遁, Suiton?), which is strong against Fire but weak against Earth.

Basically, this means that if an elemental technique is put against another elemental technique of the same level, but of a stronger nature, then the technique with the superior nature will prevail. However, a technique with a weaker nature can overpower a technique with a stronger nature if the former is of a higher level, for example a technique that employs only Water Release cannot extinguish a wind-enhanced fire technique, as seen when Kakashi attempted to douse Kakuzu's combined fire and wind release technique with the Water Release: Water Encampment Wall to no avail, it was however countered with a combination of water and wind: Typhoon Water Vortex Technique.

Counterbalancing Edit

For relationships between chakra natures, there is a principle known as counterbalancing (相殺, Sōsai?). This principle states that two techniques of the same nature would cancel each other out if the same amount of chakra was put into them. For example, in Kakashi's fight with Kakuzu, he was able to cancel Kakuzu's Lightning Release: False Darkness by deflecting it with his own technique, the Lightning Cutter.

However, if one of the techniques had more chakra put into it, it would overcome the other technique. Not only that, but the stronger technique would absorb the weaker one, and the user of the weaker technique would receive more damage than the original amount, as he will have added to the technique. For example, in Sasuke's fight with Itachi, they both use the Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique against each other, and Sasuke's technique begins to overwhelm Itachi's as he activates his Cursed Seal of Heaven. Itachi would have been hit by both his own technique as well as Sasuke's. Itachi responds to this by using Amaterasu, the highest level Fire Release technique, which absorbs all the fire previously created by the two techniques, growing into a large mass of black flames.

Affinity Edit

In general, every person has chakra that has an affinity towards one of these types, a characteristic that seems to be genetic, since whole clans sometimes share the same affinity. Most members of the Uchiha clan, for example, had an affinity towards the Fire nature.

To find out what affinity someone has, pieces of paper made from a special type of tree (that are grown and fed with chakra) are used that react to even the slightest hint of chakra in any of a number of ways, depending on the nature latent in the chakra.

The chakra paper reactions are as follows:

  • Fire: the paper will ignite and turn to ash.
  • Wind: the paper will split in two.
  • Lightning: the paper will wrinkle.
  • Earth: the paper will turn to dirt and crumble away.
  • Water: the paper will become wet/damp.

This affinity makes it easier to learn how to create and control the nature in question, although even with an affinity this process will usually take any number of years. Shinobi are not limited to the nature they have an affinity to, though. By the time they reach the rank of jōnin, most shinobi have mastered two natures.

Because of the difficulty of mastering a nature and the time required to learn it, it is almost impossible for any one person to master all five natures through natural methods. However, those who possess the Rinnegan or Bashōsen can use all five elements, while Kakuzu got them by stealing other people's hearts. In the anime, Fūka got them by stealing other's chakra. In Naruto Shippūden 3: Inheritors of the Will of Fire, it was stated one who absorbs five kekkei genkai with the Chimera Technique would gain a mastery over all five elements.

Combining with Shape Transformation Edit

Main article: Shape Transformation

While nature transformation changes the actual nature of the chakra, shape transformation allows a ninja to change the actual shape and actions of the chakra, altering its abilities. Because of this, a technique like the Rasengan can be turned into the Wind Release: Rasengan or the Wind Release: Rasenshuriken, because of Wind Release being joined with the movement of chakra. The cutting nature of wind-natured chakra is used in conjunction with the form of millions of minuscule blades in a spiralling formation, resulting in a much more powerful technique, as seen when used against Kakuzu.

Yin and Yang Edit

Aside from the five basic types of nature transformation, there is also a sixth type: the Yin (, In?), the basis of imagination and spiritual energy, used to perform Yin Release (陰遁, Inton?); and the Yang (, ?), the basis of vitality and physical energy, used to perform Yang Release (陽遁, Yōton?). Together, they are used to perform Yin-Yang Release (陰陽遁, Onmyōton?). Yamato implied that the Yin and Yang are the source of non-elemental techniques such as the Shadow Imitation Technique, Multi-Size Technique, medical ninjutsu, genjutsu, etc.

The transformation of the Yin and Yang seemingly has to do with altering the amounts of and balance between spiritual and physical energy in chakra. As explained by Shikamaru Nara, Tayuya's spirit worms were forms of spiritual energy that have small amounts of physical energy, thus they require stability and feed upon the physical energy they lack. Shikamaru also mentioned that Tayuya was the same type of ninja as he is, being able to use such kinds of "special chakra" in battle, supporting the belief that the Nara clan's shadow-based techniques are also Yin and Yang-based.