Just wanted to clear up some misconceptions that I find are pretty common whenever discussions about Jiraiya pop up. He's my absolute favorite character in Naruto due to his versatility and well rounded character design.
There's a small detail that people seem to miss. Had some confusion on it myself the first time I saw his fight with pain- the cinematography is partially to blame, even though overall I think this is a beautiful fight. Also due to sage mode being revealed without us being told the pre-requisites. But Jiraiya isn't actually able to gather natural energy while moving. He hid himself away and gathered nature energy while having his shadow clones lead Nagato on a wild goose hunt.
Now we as the viewer become confused upon learning that one must be still to enter sage mode- " but Jiraiya was clearly hopping all around and even using jutsu while supposedly gathering nature energy" some argue. But this is actually a two-fold ploy, a testament to Jiraiya's skill as a strategist. The shadow clones direct Nagato and the summons away from the real Jiraiya, and he also has them take the nature energy gathering pose to take advantage of Nagato's ignorance of how sage mode works. For all nagato knows, Jiraiya IS simultaneously fighting and entering sage mode.
We see the real Jiraiya reveal himself, standing perfectly still atop Gamaken as he bashes the Rhino. He then activates sage mode as the Ox charges him. I think Kishi realized he could have done more to explain what was going on here, leading to his admittedly painstaking recap ( through fukasaku) of naruto's rasenshuriken transformation decoy during his fight with pain. Wanted to make sure everyone was crystal clear about what was happening this time.
Well, the problem with this is that in the manga Jiraiya didn't do any of that. We never saw the full battle between the summons in the manga, or how jiraiya dealt with them. All we see is toad fighting off the dogs the best he could and being tackled by the bird. Then All we see is the rhino charging him as he awakens sage mode at the last second.
This has never been confirmed and as such is basically a theory. A perfectly valid one, but a theory nonetheless. Unless Kishi himself comes out and says Jiraiya used clones, then we haven't seen him either use them or mention them, then he didn't use them.
Also, I seem to remember Fukasaku mentioning the clone thing was Naruto's own idea.
Yeah haha, I was talking about the anime. I admit I hadn't read the Manga fight up until now. Notice how i talked about the cinematography being confusing? I do greatly prefer the anime version, that showcasing seems to fall more in line with what we know the requirements of sage mode are.
That's because the animators take liberties all the time. They often make changes to the source material to make it seem more coherent. You have to remeber that the anime is behind the manga. That means they saw naruto using shadow clones to prep sage mode, and then assumed jiraiya would have done the same thing when they added filler to the jiraiya vs pain fight. But anime only scenes aren't canon, because it isn't what the author depicted.