The Six Paths of Pain (ペイン六道, Pein Rikudō) is a technique devised by Nagato after being crippled by Hanzō and rendered emaciated from the numerous chakra rods embedded in his back by the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path. However, by using chakra receivers on corpses, Nagato can manipulate the bodies as though they were his own.
As Pain, Nagato used mostly the Deva Path in presenting himself to the Akatsuki while using the it and the others in battle. Though using them as extensions, Nagato still sees his vessels as separate people from himself. Tobi would later adopt this fighting style and create his own Six Paths of Pain during the Fourth Shinobi World War with the reincarnated jinchūriki.
Nagato had several large chakra receivers protruding from his back to transmit chakra to the corpses. From there, his chakra was picked up by the numerous body piercings that each body possessed, which acted as chakra receivers. However, to control them, Nagato had to be ideally at the highest and closest point possible so that he could have the best range possible. Inoichi Yamanaka compared the ability to the Yamanaka clan's unique Mind Body Switch Technique, albeit on a greater scale.
Because of the fact that he was crippled, Nagato channelled the ability of the Six Paths into six different bodies (one ability per body). The only common feature shared by these bodies was their bright orange hair and Rinnegan. Each Path had a number of body and facial piercings of various shapes, sizes, and patterns. Also, each body seemed to serve a specific purpose in battle, such as summoning, repair, and defence, rendering them open in other areas. This did not hold true for the Deva Path, however, which was imbued with several capabilities. Each Path, with the possible exception of the second Animal Path, was in some way affiliated with Jiraiya when they were alive.
When the Paths were active together in battle, Nagato was able to see through their eyes, thus registering six separate fields of vision at the same time. Essentially working as shared vision for the Paths, this allowed Nagato to coordinate their attacks and to provide defence for them without a blind spot. All of the Paths demonstrated incredible speed, strength and the ability to create Chakra Disruption Blades which were used to incapacitate opponents. The Paths were strongest when together, using combination tactics and the element of surprise to defeat their enemies; both Jiraiya and Kakashi fell victim to this technique. In the anime, it was shown that the Paths do not feel pain and have cold skin. When the Paths were lined up in formation the Deva Path was always in the centre, while the Naraka Path stayed in the back. This was to protect it, so it could revive the others who had fallen. However, his technique, although powerful, had a flaw: each of the Paths had a primary function or ability. With prior knowledge about the technique and each Paths' abilities, one stood a better chance of defeating them, as witnessed in Pain's battle against Naruto.
When not in use, the bodies were stored in a hidden chamber within Amegakure's tallest tower. Within the room are six "pods" on which the bodies rest; each pod is connected to the wall via pipes or wires, and has a sliding cover that appears to feature the symbol of Amegakure, which conceals the faces of the inactive body. The pods are also numbered from one through six using daiji characters, and are ordered counter-clockwise around the room with a numbering scheme that corresponds with the ordering of the six Buddhist Paths of Reincarnation:
- 壱 (1) - Deva Path.
- 弐 (2) - Asura Path.
- 参 (3) - Human Path.
- 四 (4) - Animal Path.
- 五 (5) - Preta Path.
- 六 (6) - Naraka Path.
Main article: Deva PathThe Deva Path (天道, Tendō) grants the user the ability to manipulate attractive and repulsive forces with objects and people.
Main article: Asura PathThe Asura Path (修羅道, Shuradō) grants the user the ability to augment their own body to summon mechanised armour and various ballistic and mechanical weaponry.
Main article: Human PathThe Human Path (人間道, Ningendō) grants a Rinnegan user the ability to read the mind of any target by placing his hand on the target's head or chest and yanking the soul out of the body. Though it provides intel by getting well guarded secrets, the technique inevitably kills the target.
Main article: Animal PathThe Animal Path (畜生道, Chikushōdō) grants a Rinnegan user the ability of summoning various animals and creatures to aid it in battle.
Main article: Preta PathThe Preta Path (餓鬼道, Gakidō) grants the user the ability to absorb chakra in any form.
Main article: Naraka PathThe Naraka Path (地獄道, Jigokudō) grants the user two main abilities: interrogation and restoration, by using the King of Hell.
Main article: Outer PathThe Outer Path (外道, Gedō) is an ability granted to wielders of the Rinnegan, which affords them the power to control life and death. With this power, the user is able to revive the dead, transmit their chakra into black receivers, and manifest chakra chains.
During the Fourth Shinobi World War, Tobi created his own version of this technique, utilising the six reincarnated jinchūriki. He customised them to fit his own taste, giving them each a Rinnegan and Sharingan in place of their left and right eyes respectively, mirroring those of his own. Unlike Nagato, Tobi controlled his Six Paths using just a single chakra receiver embedded into the left side of each of their chests, which were hidden from view.
Each of the reincarnated jinchūriki could use the abilities they had during their life, such as Rōshi's Lava Release and Utakata's Soap Bubble Ninjutsu. However, thanks to Tobi's augmentations, their skills were increased to beyond what they ordinarily were. With the Sharingan they could now see through the most minute details of enemy movements, allowing for more precise attacks, and using the shared field of vision granted by the Outer Path of the Rinnegan, the user could coordinate these enhanced attacks in the most effective way possible.
The jinchūriki also had their respective tailed beasts temporarily resealed within them using the chakra receivers, while the beasts' chakra still remained under Tobi's control through the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path. Although Tobi could force the jinchūriki to transform into their full tailed beasts, a large amount of chakra was required to fully control the beasts, significantly increasing the risk of them subverting his commands. As a consequence of this, coupled with the fact that the abilities and their weaknesses were already known to his opponents, Tobi did not have his Paths use the traditional abilities of the Six Paths of Pain.
In life, after being crippled with his body suffering atrophy from syncing with the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path, Nagato compensated by devising the Six Paths of Pain to act through them. However, Nagato could only use one sixth of his full power in each corpse medium. However, after being reincarnated and consuming a significant amount of chakra which both remedied his previous physical limitations, Nagato is able to utilise the the abilities of the Six Paths as originally intended.
During the fight with Nagato, Naruto cited that the strength and speed of his techniques surpassed that of his Six Paths of Pain. However, though more powerful than his Paths of Pain, Nagato lacked the increased field of vision and relative safety that his corpse mediums provided him.
Based upon the six Buddhist Paths of Reincarnation, each body was named after one of the different "Paths": Deva, Asura, Human, Animal, Preta, and Naraka. Each of these Paths, or realms, represents one of the realms a being is reborn into after death, determined by the accumulated karma of their past lives. While the two lower Paths, Preta and Naraka, are hellish, and the two higher Paths, Deva and Asura, are heavenly, all six are considered to be Paths of suffering because they perpetuate the cycle of Reincarnation; the only way to break it and ascend to a higher state of existence is to attain enlightenment.
- Despite Nagato being a sensor, none of Six Paths he created seem to share this ability, even the Deva Path which was the only one Path to have access to more than one type of techniques.
- All of Nagato's Six Paths of Pain have the same hair colour as Yahiko, except the Asura Path which is bald.
- Three of Nagato's Six Paths of Pain are playable in Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Heroes 3, while the other three will appear as support characters. All six are able to appear simultaneously in three-versus-one match-ups. The playable ones are Deva, Asura and Animal, the ones whose primary function is battle, rather than support.
- All of Nagato's Six Paths of Pain except the second Animal Path had interacted with Jiraiya during his journey, while they were still alive.
- As noted by Konan in the chapter 430, Nagato's technique output is considerably more powerful when he focuses on the Deva Path, however this is considerably risky as the other Pains are slow to recover.
- Though each of them had voices of their own in life, Nagato's original Six Paths all spoke in Yahiko's voice.
- ↑ Naruto chapter 443, page 3
- ↑ Naruto chapter 544, pages 16-17
- ↑ Naruto chapter 551, page 6
- ↑ Naruto chapter 544, pages 16-17
- ↑ Naruto chapter 565, page 9
- ↑ Naruto chapter 565, pages 5-6
- ↑ Naruto chapter 570, pages 2-4
- ↑ Naruto chapter 567, pages 7-9
- ↑ Naruto chapter 567, page 14
- ↑ Naruto chapter 447, pages 4-9
- ↑ Naruto chapter 551, page 10