The Nine Masked Beasts (九面獣, Kumenjū) are entities created by Menma through the use of the Black Nine-Tails' chakra. Five of these beasts are described as divine beasts (神獣, shinjū), while the other four are referred to as divine priests (神官, shinkan).
Menma summons them by forming a tiger seal, declaring "Nine Mask Svāhā" (「九面蘇婆訶」, "Kumen Sowaka") and chanting the kuji-in, which conjures a massive mandala featuring each kanji of the kuji-in encircled by nine rings, arrayed in the same cross pattern he wears on his cloak. Each of the masked beasts emerges from a specific ring.
- Seiryū (青龍, Literally meaning: Azure Dragon), a dragon that resembles a seahorse. Emerges from the ring bearing the kanji 青 (sei, "azure").
- Byakko (白虎, Literally meaning: White Tiger), a lean and slender tiger. Emerges from the ring bearing the kanji 白 (byaku, "white").
- Suzaku (朱雀, Literally meaning: Vermilion Bird), a bird with elegant and dramatic plumage. Emerges from the ring bearing the kanji 朱 (shu, "vermilion").
- Genbu (玄武, Literally meaning: Black Tortoise), a tortoise with a shell made of overlapping plates. Emerges from the ring bearing the kanji 玄 (gen, "black").
- Kinja (金蛇, Literally meaning: Golden Snake), a massive serpent with golden scales. It can bind opponents by wrapping its body around them. Emerges from the ring bearing the kanji 空 (kū, "sky").
- Tennyo (天女, Literally meaning: Celestial Maiden), an angelic priestess with flowing robes. It uses translucent ribbons to whip at opponents. Like the Kinja, it can also bind opponents. Emerges from the ring bearing the kanji 玉 (gyoku, "jewel").
- Shinigami (死神, Literally meaning: Death God), a priest that resembles a skeleton and carries a scythe. A swing of this scythe unleashes sickle-like energy waves which drain targets of their chakra once they have passed through them. The waves can bypass the barriers set up by Hokuto Sennin and Nanto Sennin. Emerges from the ring bearing the kanji 三 (san, "three").
- Hokuto Sennin (北斗仙人, Literally meaning: Northern Sage), a priest with a fox staff. In unison with the Nanto Sennin, it can trap opponents in purple cylindrical barriers. Emerges from the ring bearing the kanji 北 (hoku, "north").
- Nanto Sennin (南斗仙人, Literally meaning: Southern Sage), the matching counterpart of Hokuto Sennin. In unison with the Hokuto Sennin, it can trap opponents in purple cylindrical barriers. Emerges from the ring bearing the kanji 南 (nan, "south").
When defeated, they revert to their true forms, which are nine masked fox kits (子狐, kogitsune) that each possess a single tail. They can also convert back into chakra that will arc through the air from their present location back to Menma. Once they collide with Menma, they reform into the Black Nine-Tails.
- Among the Nine Masked Beasts, Seiryū, Byakko, Suzaku, and Genbu are based on the group of divine beasts known as the Four Symbols, and Kinja is based on the legendary Huang Long itself. Tennyo and Shinigami are based on the heavenly messengers and the death god of Japanese folklore, respectively. Hokuto Sennin and Nanto Sennin, which are named after the Northern and Southern Dippers, are original concepts designed to round out the group.
- The seahorse-like appearance of Seiryū is based on the Japanese legends that seahorses are children of dragons. The Japanese word for "seahorse" literally means "baby dragon" (竜の落し子, tatsu no otoshigo).
- While summoning the Nine Masked Beasts, Menma refers to svāhā (薩婆訶, sowaka), a Buddhist term roughly meaning "calling" which is used in mantras. He also chants the kuji-in, which are featured as kanji on the portals. The kanji also corresponds to the nine rings worn by the Akatsuki members.
- Interestingly, the orientation of the portals appears to be reverse that of the traditional. In Menma's mandala, north points south while south points north. In addition, the Four Symbols traditionally have Seiryū point east, Byakko point west, Suzaku point south, and Genbu point north; these are flipped for the Nine Masked Beasts. However, Kinja emerges from the central portal, which conforms to tradition as a parallel to the Huang Long.
- Menma uses the Nine Masked Beasts to overwhelm his opponents with numbers, similar to Naruto's use of the Shadow Clone Technique or Nagato's use of the Six Paths of Pain.
- Creation of All Things Technique
- Six Paths of Pain
- White Secret Technique: The Chikamatsu Collection of Ten Puppets
- ↑ Naruto Stealth Volume: Road to Ninja (ＮＡＲＵＴＯ―ナルト―巻ノ忍 ＲＯＡＤ ＴＯ ＮＩＮＪＡ, Naruto Maki no Shinobi: Road to Ninja) page 77