Lightning Release (雷遁, Raiton, English TV: Lightning Style) is one of the five basic nature transformations.
In order to perform most Lightning Release jutsu, users must convert their chakra into electricity. One of the simpler ways to use this electricity is to channel it into ninja tools, increasing the weapon's cutting power by making it vibrate or causing a numbing effect to those the weapons contact. For the Chidori (and the Lightning Cutter), Kakashi Hatake simply gathers the lightning chakra to his hand, causing severe piercing damage to anything or anyone his hand touches. Sasuke Uchiha sometimes makes broader use of the Chidori's chakra, such as giving it shape so he can attack from greater distances or emitting it around himself to attack those nearby. Less commonly, users can instead take control of natural lightning, as Sasuke does with Kirin; because natural lightning can be difficult to come across, he uses Fire Release in order to produce ideal weather conditions for lightning.
Lightning Release is common among ninja of Kumogakure, who make varied applications of it: C uses lightning as a medium for genjutsu, making it easier to entrance opponents; Darui generates a unique Black Lightning, which he learned from the Third Raikage; the Fourth Raikage uses Lightning Release Chakra Mode by coating his body with electricity, which shields him from harm, increases his speed, and enhances the strength of his physical attacks. The Third Raikage's Hell Stab, usable with his own Chakra Mode, is so powerful as to referred to as the "strongest spear". In Naruto Shinden: Parent and Child Day, Chōji Akimichi says it's a bad idea for Lightning Release users to wear metallic accessories, such as earrings.
Lightning Release is naturally strong against Earth Release and weak against Wind Release; in Kakashi Retsuden, this strength against earth is explained to be because impurities in the earth naturally conduct electricity. If Lightning Release is used with Water Release, the water can increase the range of the lightning, or the lightning can give the water a numbing quality. Individuals who make heavy use of Water Release, such as members of the Hōzuki clan, are similarly very vulnerable to Lightning Release. When Lightning Release is combined with other natures, certain kekkei genkai are produced: lightning and water make Storm Release; lightning and earth are suggested to make Explosion Release.
- According to Jin no Sho, it is because of Kumogakure's experience using lightning that it has been able to pioneer so much technology that runs on electricity.
- When enhanced with Six Paths Chakra, Lightning Release techniques change in colour, from blue to black, as seen with Kamui Lightning Cutter.
- In the anime, Limelight is said to be the most powerful and destructive of all Lightning Release techniques.