The Chidori was created by Kakashi Hatake after he failed to apply his lightning-nature to the Rasengan. He intended for the Chidori to be a weapon used only to protect friends and loved ones. To perform, the user first gathers lightning to their hand; the high concentration of electricity produces a sound reminiscent of many birds chirping, hence the name. The lightning chakra has been shown on occasions to damage the user's hand, peeling the skin and causing it to smoulder slightly, but this does not appear to actually be debilitating. Once the chakra is gathered, users charge at their target and thrust the Chidori into them, piercing them and typically causing fatal damage. Despite the sound it makes, the rapid speed at which it's used makes it useful for assassinations.
The speed at which the Chidori is performed, despite being one of its greatest assets, also represents one of its biggest drawbacks: users move at their target so fast that its causes a tunnel vision-like effect for them. Because they charge in a straight line it is easy for opponents to attack them, and because of the tunnel vision it is difficult for the user to see these attacks, much less react to them. For this reason, most ninja cannot use the Chidori safely. However, a user of the Sharingan can overcome these drawbacks due to its heightened visual perception preventing the tunnel vision from occurring and its predictive capabilities making it easier for the user to avoid counterattacks. Kakashi's reaction time with the Chidori eventually became so good that he was able to split a bolt of lightning with it, earning his Chidori the name "Lightning Cutter".
The Chidori requires a large amount of chakra to be performed, placing a limit on how many times it can be used per day. In Part I, Kakashi can use it four times per day and Sasuke Uchiha can use it twice per day under his own power. Both increase their limits to an unspecified number in Part II. During Part II, Sasuke demonstrates several variations of the Chidori that have been given shape transformation, such as Chidori Senbon and Chidori Sharp Spear, both of which allow him to attack at a longer range than the Chidori is capable of.
Sasuke has been shown using the Chidori with different chakra sources to grant his Chidori additional properties:
|When drawing on the chakra of his Cursed Seal of Heaven, Sasuke uses a "Flapping Chidori" (羽撃く千鳥, Habataku Chidori, English TV: Black Chidori, literally meaning: Flapping One Thousand Birds), which is stronger, darker in colour, and sounds like flapping wings rather than chirping birds. Different video games have called it "Wailing Chidori" (慟哭の千鳥, Dōkoku no Chidori, literally meaning: Wailing One Thousand Birds, Game translation: Chidori Lament) and "Black Chidori" (黒い千鳥, Kuroi Chidori, literally meaning: Black One Thousand Birds). If accessed in his first state of the Cursed Seal, the Chidori is normally coloured purple instead in most forms of media.|
|When imbued with the Six Paths Power, Sasuke's Chidori can be used to damage the Ten-Tails' jinchūriki, whose body is otherwise impervious to standard ninjutsu. In Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, this is called "Dark Chidori" (黒き千鳥, Kuroki Chidori, literally meaning: Dark One Thousand Birds, Game translation: Onyx Chidori).|
|Sasuke is briefly shown combining Chidori with Blaze Release: Kagutsuchi. When it is clashed with Naruto Uzumaki's Rasengan, the resulting explosion destroys the statues at the Valley of the End and as well as both of their dominant arms.|
- "Chidori" (千鳥) can also be translated to "plover".
- The name Chidori comes from a story about famous samurai Tachibana Dōsetsu: Tachibana was in possession of a famous sword called Chidori (千鳥, literally meaning: A Thousand Birds). One day, while he was still a young man, he was taking shelter under a tree, as it was raining. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck him. However, Tachibana used his Chidori to cut the Thunder God inside the lightning bolt, allowing him to survive. After this incident, he renamed his Chidori to Raikiri (雷切, literally meaning: Lightning Cutter).
- In the original Naruto anime, Chidori looks like a white, sphere-shaped amount of electricity that surrounds the palm. This is corrected in the Naruto: Shippūden anime, where the Chidori is depicted as it is in the manga: a formless coverage of electricity all over the hand.
- However, in the video game J-Stars Victory Vs. and its + version, Sasuke's Chidori takes its incorrectly rendered sphere shape as aforementioned, but with the sphere contained within his hand (only during its startup animation and when Sasuke is running with the Chidori active).
- In both Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2 and 3, players can customise some characters to be able to use Chidori. In the former case, it is called "Young Lightning" in the English script when used by Anbu Kakashi.
- Also in some forms of media like the aforementioned games (along with Gekitō Ninja Taisen 4 and Clash of Ninja Revolution 2), Sasuke in his Cursed Seal of Heaven state (both level 1 and 2) often has the ability to perform both the normal version of his Chidori and its Cursed Seal version as separate techniques.
- However, in Jump Super Stars, despite using the Cursed Seal Chidori in his State 2 form for his Battle 7 Koma, Sasuke's Chidori is coloured purple akin to the State 1 version instead of dark-white.
- In the trailers for Boruto: Naruto the Movie, Lightning Release Bullet: Powerful Breath makes the unique sound that Chidori makes.
- In the anime, Indra was capable of using a similar technique.
- Drilling Hand of Sage Lightning
- Hell Stab
- Lightning Release: Purple Electricity
- Nadeshiko-Style Hardliner Gale Fist
- First Databook, page 209
- Naruto: Shippūden episode 417
- Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Volume 3's Sasuke's Profile
- Naruto episode 134
- Naruto episode 67
- Naruto chapter 321
- Naruto chapter 177, page 8
- Naruto chapter 113, page 15
- Naruto chapter 146, pages 13, 17
- Naruto chapter 240, page 14
- Naruto chapter 244, pages 4-6
- Naruto chapter 114, page 3
- Naruto chapter 128, page 11
- Naruto chapter 128, page 9
- Second Databook, page 51
- Naruto chapter 232, pages 11-13
- Naruto chapter 674
- Naruto chapter 698, page 3
- Naruto chapter 698, page 6
- Naruto: Shippūden episode 465