|This is the article on the character. For other uses, see Ao (disambiguation).|
|Manga||Volume #49, Naruto Chapter #454|
|Anime||Naruto Shippūden Episode #199|
|Novel||Sasuke Shinden: Book of Sunrise (Mentioned)|
|Game||Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Impact|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Novel, Game|
Ao (青, Ao) was a former Anbu of Kirigakure's Hunter-nin Corps, that served as the Fifth Mizukage's right hand. For his services, he was regarded as a hero of his village, before retiring and secretly working as an Outer for Kara.
- 1 Background
- 2 Personality
- 3 Appearance
- 4 Abilities
- 5 Part II
- 6 Blank Period
- 7 New Era
- 8 Legacy
- 9 In Other Media
- 10 Creation and Conception
- 11 Trivia
- 12 References
Ao fought on the battlefields ever since he was a young boy. During the Third Shinobi World War, he defeated a Hyūga clan member and took one of their Byakugan, which he implanted into his right eye socket. With it, he saw through the genjutsu placed on the Fourth Mizukage, who would lose his life to it after its dispel. Years after the war, he encountered Shisui Uchiha, which left enough of an impact on Ao for him to clearly remember Shisui's abilities and his chakra colour.
In the anime, shortly after Yagura's passing and Mei Terumī was made the Fifth Mizukage, Ao was present when the village received an invitation from Konohagakure and Sunagakure to join an impromptu Chūnin Exams they would be hosting collaboratively. Ao noted that as the village was still recovering from the Fourth's passing and thus shouldn't waste time on an event seemingly designed to showcase Gaara as the new Kazekage. After Mei threatened Ao's life after misinterpreting his words as an insult to her marital status, it was ultimately decided the Kiri-nin would not take part in this event.
Ao was calm, prideful, stern and was the epitome of a stereotypical masculine individual. He believed that men should be tough and decisive, constantly scolding Chōjūrō for his pessimistic and weak demeanour. This attitude seemed to be caused by his upbringing during the times when Kirigakure was known as the "Village of the Bloody Mist". He had a tendency of bringing up how things were done during those days, usually while fussing over Chōjūrō's behaviour. Despite his fussing, Ao did seem to have some type of friendship with Chōjūrō as he offered to treat him to a meal for luck in the upcoming war.
After surviving the Fourth Shinobi World War, while outwardly becoming mellow and at peace with his glory days behind him, grateful to even be alive, Ao had in reality grown bitter and disillusioned with the Shinobi world due to his belief of having no further purpose in life due to his disability and also due to the current peaceful era. Despite his previous loyalty to Kirigakure, he had not returned to the village since the war's end. Ao also seemed to possess a colder and battle-hungry outlook, seen when he looked forward to taking part in combat for the first time in sixteen years.
Openly saying he abandoned his identity as a shinobi long ago, he preferred to rely on the more modern combat methods using Scientific Ninja Tools, noting that they offered great power to those who could never achieve it naturally. At the same time, Boruto noted that Ao still retained some of his former shinobi outlook, particularly being critical of his Water Release usage as a former Kiri-nin. After his defeat at the hands of Boruto Uzumaki, the young genin's mercy and words of using the tools available properly, along with still seeing Ao as a living person with worth resonated with him. This apparently restored his former shinobi pride, as he saved Boruto from an attack meant to kill him and the Konoha-nin.
He was a middle aged man with blue hair which is styled in a moused-up manner. His left eye was blue and his right eye was covered with an eye-patch, under which he concealed the Byakugan that he obtained from a Hyūga clan member he defeated. He wore a talisman in each ear with the kanji for a humble form of "to hear" (承, shō) written on them twice on each side. These talismans reacted when his Byakugan is under threat and will protect it from anyone, even himself. He also wore the standard striped, grey suit, with a green haori that had white trimmings that stop halfway down, over them. With the outbreak of the Fourth Shinobi World War, he donned the standard outfit of the shinobi alliance with a Kirigakure flak jacket over it.
Sixteen years after the Fourth Great Shinobi War, Ao had aged noticeably, with wrinkles lining his face. He wore a dark suit jacket over a pinstripe turtleneck shirt and matching pinstripe pants. The attack from the Ten-Tails cost him his Byakugan. Also, his left arm and leg had been replaced with experimental cybernetic prosthetics. The right side of his face was heavily scarred, and a craniofacial prosthetic covered his right eye, cheek, and ear. The back of his right hand and right wrist were also heavily scarred.
As a veteran of Kirigakure's hunter-nin, Ao was a highly capable tracker and has extensive knowledge of the human body. Ao had rather impressive speed and reaction, able to grab and redirect the kama back at the assailant before the latter could sneak attack him from behind. His prowess was such, that he could survive a fight with Shisui Uchiha, a feared shinobi who was regarded as a genius even amongst the Uchiha. Even in old age, Koji Kashin, an Inner of Kara, held Ao's abilities in high regard, viewing him mighty enough on his own to not need additional weapons. Ao is shown to be very fast, able to strike with blazing speed that can easily catch his foe off guard. He also has advanced taijutsu prowess and can perform one-handed hand seals.
Common among Kiri-nin, Ao could utilise Water Release, able to create a vortex of water. He could also use Yin Release to perform genjutsu, as he was capable of controlling an individual for a extended duration of time, and, as "Kusa", extract information from them.
After defeating a Hyūga, Ao transplanted one of his eyes with the latter's Byakugan. He wore talisman seals as earrings, which would protect the dōjutsu if anyone tried to take or attack it. Once activated, the seal could only be deactivated by a hunter-nin like himself. With the Byakugan, he could distinguish chakra colours of certain individuals and determine if an individual was under the influence of genjutsu. One of the many physical injuries Ao received during the Fourth Shinobi World War was the loss of his Byakugan.
After his body was modified with Shinobi-Ware and he completed his rehabilitation, Ao's body became capable of withstanding a cave collapsing on top of him. Further advances on his modified body was the usage a mechanism embedded in his chest to fire Fire Release Bullets, and is equipped with a double-sided sabre below his left arm, denoted a "Style Three Shinobi Gauntlet".
Ao is a highly skilled sensor-type shinobi, which allowed him to be appointed as the leader of the Sensor Division during the Fourth Shinobi World War. With his sensory skills, he could even pick out the reincarnated shinobi out of thousands of White Zetsu clones, a feat that his counterparts could not perform. Along with Inoichi Yamanaka, he was able to erect an immense Sensing Barrier, which allowed him to monitor the battle between the Allied Shinobi Forces and the White Zetsu Army. Ao also counts as one the few sensors that have shown the ability to sense natural energy.
Five Kage Summit
Main article: Five Kage Summit Ao sets off with Chōjūrō to escort the Fifth Mizukage to the Five Kage Summit, called for by the Fourth Raikage. There he scolds Chōjūrō for his indecisiveness. After travelling for some time, the small group stopped at an inn to eat and rest. After being told that the Fourth Mizukage's teachings are to be forgotten, by both the Fifth Mizukage and Chōjūrō, he yells at the latter for not being able to make up his mind as to what to order for dinner and sends him to get food.
After arriving at the summit in the Land of Iron, Ao sits behind the Kiri curtain listening as the Kage have their meeting. When the Fourth Raikage crushes the table in a fit of anger, Ao, along with the other attendants, move to protect their respective Kage. The commotion ends and the attendants return to their seats. Later while the Kage are discussing the possibility of making Danzō Shimura the head of the alliance, Ao notices his chakra with his Byakugan; he then points out that Danzō confiscated his Sharingan from Shisui Uchiha, someone he'd fought in the past. Before he can prove the accusation, Zetsu appears and Ao moves to defend the Mizukage. After the Raikage seemingly kills white Zetsu, he tells Ao to watch Danzō. When Danzō states that he cannot use the mind controlling technique that many times in one day, Ao says that he is unsure if he's lying and that he can no longer trust Danzō.
When Fū Yamanaka and Torune try to go and battle Sasuke, Ao tells them to stay right there as the Raikage told him to watch over them and when they get into battle position Danzō tells them to stop. He later demands that Danzō and Fū stop whispering, revealing that he's also a sensor and knows that they have been located. When Sasuke finally reaches the meeting room, Ao is the first to notice his presence. When Sasuke is attacked, Ao and Karin simultaneously notice that Danzō is attempting to escape. Ao asks permission to follow, and is told not to follow him too far. He begins his pursuit after telling the Mizukage he would leave the Akatsuki (Sasuke and his comrades) to her. Sasuke attempts to follow with Karin in tow, but is promptly stopped by the Mizukage.
On his way, Ao is also trapped by Zetsu's Spore Technique, but he manages to get free from it; only to be suddenly trapped by Fū's Mind Puppet Switch Cursed Seal Technique. Fū, following Danzō's orders, tries to retrieve the Byakugan. However, Ao tells Fū that there is a special seal in his eyes, making it impossible for enemies to try to take his eye. As Fū decided to improvise by making Ao decapitate himself, Ao warned Fū to time it carefully as too soon would allow Ao to dodge and too late would take Fū down as well. Before the true outcome could happen, the Mizukage and Chōjūrō arrive and save Ao. Fū, still in control of Ao, tried to trick the Mizukage into removing the seal on his eye, but she saw through Fū's deception when he acted kindly to Chōjūrō's insult. The Mizukage then punches Ao in the face for calling her an old hag, unaware that Fū already ended the technique.
As they are arriving back in Kirigakure, the three are informed that the Water Daimyō had approved the alliance. Ao is later relieved that former Kirigakure shinobi Kisame Hoshigaki had fallen to the hands of Killer B, not having to worry about any future conflicts. As a sign of good luck, he insists that once they settle down that he treat Chōjūrō to a meal before the upcoming war. When he is rejected, he chides him for his dislike of oily foods and to keep it up if he wanted to "fail at the crucial moment". He is later seen ordering Kirigakure shinobi to gather all ninja tools currently available to them in preparation for the war.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Countdown
Main article: Fourth Shinobi World War: Countdown Ao later escorted Mei to a meeting of the leaders of the Allied Shinobi Forces. He was also seen at the alliance's headquarters making preparations along with the other shinobi.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation
Main article: Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation
Ao was appointed captain of the Sensor Division of the Allied Shinobi Forces. When he met with his division, he told a perturbed C who was participating in war for the first time in his life, that a great deal depended on how well they did their job as they were the eyes of the Alliance. Ao later assisted Inoichi in creating the barrier which the Sensor Division would be using. When the war officially breaks out, he notes that if it had not been for Muta Aburame's information they would have had no idea that the enemy were travelling underground. He then tells his division members to shift the barrier downwards to pick up on the enemy's exact location.
Upon hearing of the large amount of enemy forces heading towards the First Division, Ao uses his sensory abilities to hone in on the revived shinobi on the battlefield while the others maintaining the barrier focused on the large scale sensing. Ao discovered that they were many reincarnated shinobi amongst the troop all of which were infamously strong during their lifetimes. He then reports that there are two persons on the battlefield with immense chakra reserves tinged with the chakra of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox. They were later identified as Kumogakure's Gold and Silver Brothers.
Later after the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path is summoned to the battlefield, Ao senses it and identifies it as a "gargantuan mass of chakra". He wonders to himself what they were up against. As night falls and the Alliance is thrown into turmoil from the reports of spies who had entered their ranks and were murdering the shinobi forces, Shikaku surmises that the enemy might be using some sort of illusion on the shinobi to cause them to act this way, Ao states that Itachi Uchiha was the only person with the kind of prowess to even take control of someone outside the range of their sensors, but also states that even for him it'd be impossible to be controlling so many persons at once. He then looks to Shikaku for orders telling them that if they didn't come up with something they'd end up having their own shinobi killing each other.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Climax
Main article: Fourth Shinobi World War: Climax Though after hearing the progress of the battles from Inoichi leads to some celebration. Ao cuts it short after detecting a new presence on the battlefield near Gaara's division. After a tremor is felt at headquarters, Ao reports that a huge number of shinobi from the Fourth Division had been killed all at once.
Reporting on the battle between Tobi, Naruto Uzumaki and Killer B, Ao tells headquarters that B had seemingly transformed into his full Eight-Tails form but was still being pressured. As the Nine-Tails' chakra is released, Ao and the other sensors manning the barrier comment on the sheer power. Thinking to himself, he states that it felt somewhat different because there was something else that he could feel. He then reports to Shikaku the situation on the battlefield, telling him that the four men there were actually beating the "masked Madara". Later, when the Sensing Water Sphere in HQ became distorted, Ao hastily followed through with Shikaku's order to check out the situation.
In shock of the still-displaced Sensing Water Sphere, he alerts everyone in HQ to the fact that the Ten-Tails had changed its form another time, and then wondered why the beast was firing off Tailed Beast Balls in far-off directions. Realising the direction of the fourth attack, Ao confirmed Shikaku's suspicions that the attack was headed towards the HQ. With this, Ao and the others resolved to perform the duties they were assigned until the end, and were able to relay one last strategy before the attack reached HQ.
Ao managed to be the sole survivor the Ten-Tails' devastating attack on the Allied Shinobi Forces’ HQ though it left him severely wounded. In the anime, Ao was discovered buried under debris by the Logistical Support and Medical Division. Afterwards, he would be taken to the Konoha Hospital for treatment, where he would spend many years in a coma.
Due to his injuries, Ao became a patient of Katasuke Tōno, who used Scientific Ninja Tools to rehabilitate him. While equipped with an advanced prosthetic left leg and arm, Katasuke credited Ao's speedy recovery to his own strong conviction, ultimately allowing Ao to resume living a normal life, though he chose not to return to Kirigakure, nor to keep up to date with its affairs. In the anime, feeling that his life no longer had meaning, Ao was approached by Victor who recruited him to Kara as an Outer, who would outfit his body with Scientific Ninja Tools and give the retired shinobi a new purpose. Ao would come to work directly under Victor after joining the organization.
Versus Momoshiki Arc
Main article: Versus Momoshiki Arc Around the time the five village co-sponsorship Chūnin Exams were being held, Ao used genjutsu to control Katasuke, and extracted information regarding Scientific Ninja Tools from him for Kara.
Main article: Ao Arc
In the anime, Ao came to Konoha, looking for Katasuke to aid in some maintenance for his replacement limbs. He met Mugino, who revealed that the doctor was attending the memorial service for the fallen people of the Fourth Shinobi World War. Ao joined the man to the event, only to arrive late as everyone was already leaving. There, Ao voiced his relief to finally pay his respect to his fallen allies. Upon leaving, he met Shikamaru Nara and Ino Yamanaka. Shikamaru asked the sole survivor of the Allied Shinobi Force's HQ about the true feelings of their fathers before their demise, having longstanding doubts about Shikaku's confidence in his abilities. Ao assured him that Shikaku and Inoichi never had any doubt about their kids' abilities and was proud of them to the end, leaving Shikamaru and Ino truly grateful.
While on board a Thunder Rail, Ao encountered Katasuke and his genin escorts. As Katasuke repaired Ao's prosthetic hand, he told the genin of his days as a shinobi. Questioning Boruto Uzumaki if he still disliked Scientific Ninja Weapons after seeing the good they did in his rehabilitation, Ao grabbed Katasuke's screwdriver to threaten Boruto, and informed him that the technology isn't good or evil, it's how you use it. When the train arrived at Ryūtan City, Ao remained on board while saying his farewells to Boruto. Afterwards, Koji Kashin approached Ao on the train. In the anime, he revealed to Koji that he went to Konoha recently to make sure Katasuke remembered nothing of his usage of genjutsu on the scientist, ready to kill Katasuke if he did as a liability. Koji informed Ao that the vessel has been lost. Tasking Ao with recovering the vessel, Koji left a crate containing intel and weapons for Ao to use on the mission before departing.
Later, Ao approached Team Konohamaru, Katasuke and Mugino on the border of the Land of Fire, to ask them about the whereabouts of the content of the box on the airship they encountered. Not receiving an answer, Ao aimed his gun at the group to kill them. Ao then unleashed a barrage of Fire Release Bullets from his gun. Konohamaru, with help from Katsuke, was able to destroy Ao's gun. As Konohamaru asked if this had anything to do with the organisation Kara, Ao unleashed a hidden weapon from his prosthetic shoulder, blasting Konohamaru. He then attacked Katsuke and stole one of his technique-absorbing gauntlets. After testing it himself on Boruto's Rasengan, Ao concluded that now they had to die to keep the organisation a secret. Mugino then held Ao down long enough to collapse the cave on him and Ao to save his allies. His sacrifice however turned futile as Ao quickly clawed his way out of the rubble, prompting Boruto and his team to retreat, while Ao was committed to making sure not a single one of them survived.
Along the way, he was confronted by Koji, who was displeased by Ao's recent sloppiness. As he questioned Ao's resolve at fighting fellow ninja again, Ao bluntly stated that any compassion he had died a long time ago. Content with the answer, Koji reminded him of his mission to retrieve the target and warned them about Team Konohamaru preparing an ambush on him and left. Once Ao found Team Konohamaru, he was attacked by Konohamaru, Mitsuki, and Sarada, who began cornering him with a relentless barrage of ninjutsu assaults. While calmly absorbing them all with the gauntlet, Ao deduced that Boruto was waiting for the right moment to strike at his blindside. Seeing through Boruto's sneak-attack, he blocked Boruto's chakra blade with his prosthetic arm, forcing the boy to drop it. Ao then quickly grabbed it and stabbed Boruto through the chest, gloating at Boruto's failure. Boruto however was revealed to be a shadow clone and grabbed onto Ao's blade-wielding hand, holding him in place long enough for Mitsuki to restrain Ao's same arm. Quickly, Ao realised that he was tricked as the prototype chakra-blade was quickly draining his chakra from extended usage. Ao managed to break free and was enraged at being played. He was then attacked by Boruto with his Rasengan. Ao attempted to absorb the attack, but Boruto used the other absorbing gauntlet to cancel the two out, leaving Ao open and hit by the Rasengan.
Despite his battered state, Ao summoned his Mirror Drones, which knocked out Konohamaru with a sneak attack energy blast. Boruto used his gauntlet to hold off the drones' assault while his team took Konohamaru to safety. As the assault built up a large dust cloud, Boruto attacked Ao with his shadow clones. Ao easily repelled their attacks and subdued the only foe still equipped with the advanced gauntlet, knowing that shadow clones cannot replicate tools of such complex nature. This however was a ruse by Boruto, who also knew that fact and gave the clone his gauntlet in the dust cloud, giving him the opening to strike Ao down with his chakra blade (in the anime, using a Rasengan). Defeated, Ao watched as Boruto loomed over him expecting him to finish the battle. Boruto however instead placed a screwdriver next to Ao, encouraging him to fix himself. Ao discouraged Boruto's blind mercy, saying it would kill him. Boruto however insisted that as a former hero of the Kirigakure, he had the potential to do good things with the tools at his disposal. Shocked at Boruto's words of encouragement, Ao noticed Koji approaching. Realising his associate's next move, Ao used his Water Release to push Boruto away from the impending doom of Koji's crushing summoning at the cost of his own life.
In the anime, after Koji's withdrawal from battle, Konohamaru reluctantly gave Ao a proper burial. He did this not to forgive Ao for killing Mugino, but in gratitude for saving Boruto, noting that he died as a hero and shinobi.
Ao's defeat helped Konoha gain a better understanding of the threat from Kara, seeing one of their Inners in action. The same battle also gave a better understanding of Boruto's Kāma.
In Other Media
In Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations, Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 and Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution, Ao is a support-only character.
Ao is a playable character in the following video games:
|Game name||Japanese release||English release|
|Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Blazing||14 July 2016||24 August 2016|
|Naruto: Shinobi Collection||2014|
|Naruto: Shinobi Collection Shippū Ranbu||27 July 2015|
|Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Online||14 April 2013||20 July 2016|
Creation and Conception
When designing Ao, Kishimoto wanted to create a character with an air of severity and masculinity while still seeming tranquil. His eye-patch is supposed to convey masculine trendiness, and his haori is to serve a dual purpose in that it should convey his quiet and mature personality while the sleeves were to signify that Ao was not a close-range fighter. Kishimoto also noted that he deliberately made Ao's attire similar to Haku's and was even going to go as far as to have him wear a mask, but ultimately decided against it.
- Ao (青) typically means "blue" but can also situationally mean "green," such as when referring to plants.
- His codename as a Kara Outer, Grass (草, Kusa), is a play on this double meaning, referring to his talent at camouflage and disguise.
- There seems to be a running gag of when Ao scolds Chōjūrō, Mei always mishears it as something offensive towards her love life, such as "arrangements" for "engagements", "manage" for "marriage", and "call you ambitious" for "called off", and threatens to kill Ao if he doesn't shut up, much to his confusion.
- It's unknown whether he killed a Main or branch house member of the Hyūga clan that he obtained his Byakugan from. It is however likely that he killed a member of the main house or he removed the eye of a Branch member while his opponent was still alive; whether the Hyūga seal prevents this is unknown.
- Before debuting in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Ao was noted to be deceased in Sasuke Shinden: Book of Sunrise.
- According to character trivia from Boruto: Naruto Next Generations:
- His attributes are: 40  in strength, 135 in intelligence, 55  in perception, 32  in dexterity, 77 in chakra, and 96 in negotiation.
- He was also given a skill rating in these particular areas:
- Marksmanship: ★★★★☆
- Espionage: ★★★★☆
- Fourth Databook, page 15
- Boruto chapter 19, page 39
- Boruto chapter 17, page 40
- Boruto chapter 17, page 32
- Naruto chapter 459, page 15
- Naruto chapter 459, page 14
- Naruto: Shippūden episode 394
- Naruto chapter 469, pages 3-4
- Boruto chapter 22, page 37
- Naruto chapter 471, page 6
- Naruto chapter 459, pages 14-15
- Boruto chapter 21, page 2
- Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Volume 6's Ao's Profile
- Naruto chapter 525, pages 6-7
- Naruto chapter 613, page 3
- Boruto episode 178