|King of Hell|
|冥府の王 Meifu no Ō|
|Manga||Volume #45, Naruto Chapter #422|
|Anime||Naruto Shippūden Episode #158|
|Game||Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2|
|OVA||Naruto Shippūden: UNSG anime cutscenes|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Game|
The King of Hell (冥府の王, Meifu no Ō) is a deity that rules over life and death. One who wields the Rinnegan is able to call upon this deity for various purposes, possessing authority over it through the power of the Six Paths. As it possesses Rinnegan in its own eyes, the user is able to see anything the King of Hell sees.
The King of Hell can be called upon by Rinnegan wielders through the power of the Naraka Path, with its head emerging from the ground amidst dark flames. When the user grabs their target and asks them a question, the person's soul emerges from their mouth in the form of an elongated tongue. The King of Hell then grabs the soul using its own tongue, which is split into a pair of arms, and proceeds to pass judgement on them. If the person answers the question dishonestly, the King of Hell will rip out their soul and devour it, but if they are truthful, it will instead release their soul and spare them. When used for this purpose, the King of Hell and the souls it grasps are only visible to the Rinnegan wielder and those who fall victim to the technique.
For the Naraka Path's second ability, the King of Hell can repair any damage done to the Six Paths of Pain, which it accomplishes by grabbing their damaged forms with its tongue and consuming them. When it did this to the remains of the Asura Path Pain, the body emerged from the King of Hell's mouth fully rejuvenated and even wearing a new Akatsuki cloak, which it had previously discarded. The Naraka Path can also be used to store a person's body and soul inside the King of Hell after removing their soul with the Human Path, allowing the user to transport the person elsewhere and revive them at a later time. When the King of Hell is used for these purposes, it seems that others are able to see it, as demonstrated by both Naruto Uzumaki and Itachi Uchiha, the latter even managing to blind it by striking its eyes with kunai.
The King of Hell is also used as part of the Outer Path — Samsara of Heavenly Life Technique. When this technique is activated, the King of Hell appears from within a cloud of smoke and rises further from the ground, releasing the souls of the dead from its gaping mouth and returning them to their bodies.
The King of Hell is based on Yama, known in Japan as Enma (閻魔), the judge of the dead who rules over the Narakas ("Hells" or "Purgatories") in Buddhism. He is said to preside over the cycle of Saṃsāra, determining whether the dead will be revived into a positive realm or a negative realm upon their next reincarnation.
The King of Hell's method of killing, which yanks out the souls of those who lie in the form of tongues, is a reference to a Japanese superstition used to scare children into telling the truth: "If you lie, Lord Enma will pull out your tongue" (「嘘をつくと閻魔さまに舌を抜かれる」, "Uso o tsuku to Enma-sama ni shita o nukukareru").
- The kanji on the King of Hell's head means "king" (王, Ō).
- In the manga, the flames that surround the King of Hell when it is called by the Naraka Path resemble the black flames of Amaterasu. In the anime, they are purple in colour.
- In the Naruto Collectible Card Game, the King of Hell is called the Heretical Icon.