Here is the first design of Sarutobi, the 3rd Hokage (and it’s scary)

The illustrious Third Hokage, a major figure in the village of Konoha, did not always have the appearance of old man and venerable that we know him.

Naruto and the Hokage’s Dream

More than 20 years after its first publication, and 8 years after its momentous conclusion, naruto is still one of the most popular manga in Japanese comics history. The merit goes to Masashi Kishimotowho knew how to create a fascinating ninja universe, carried by endearing characters and a remarkable philosophy of life.

Let’s remember that the story follows the epic of Naruto, a young joking and turbulent teenager manhandled by the inhabitants of the village of Konoha because of his condition as a receptacle of Kyubi, the nine-tailed fox demon, which had ravaged the Hidden Village years before. The apprentice ninja cherishes a dream a priori inaccessible: that of becoming Hokage, namely the powerful and respected leader of his village.

At the beginning of the manga, the charge is occupied by Hiruzen Sarutobi, an elderly man filled with compassion and wisdom towards the citizens of the village, including Naruto. But, believe it or not, his initial appearance had absolutely nothing to do with the old man we know.

The Third Hokage was very different

In the world of Naruto, animals are never far from humans. Whether it’s Kakashi’s dogs, Tsunade’s slugs, Jiraiya’s frogs or Orochimaru’s snakes, certain ninja techniques make it possible to invoke representations of animals to watch the fight. The majority of them are gifted with speech, like the king Enmaa primate capable of being summoned by the Third Hokage himself.

What the story doesn’t say is that the Hiruzen Sarutobi we all know was originally… a dog. Masashi Kishimoto is having fun with this decision himself, revealing a detail that leaves us perplexed:

The Third Hokage was originally a dog. According to the origin story, he was the pet of the Second Hokage, he was such an exceptional dog that the ninjas made him Hokage. I thought it would be interesting to have a dog as a village chief… Then I changed because it was too weird.

The manga author was quite right, especially since the Monument erected in homage to the Hokagewith three human heads and a dog’s head carved in the rock, was likely to destabilize many readers.

What would Naruto have become without this change initiated by his mangaka? Difficult to answer. In the meantime, we let you admire this sketch of the Third Hokage… and the hilarious monument that results from it!

Masashi Kishimoto
Masashi Kishimoto