Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto is full of interesting movies and techniques. The whole series is filled with a lot of fighting styles that draw inspiration from Oriental mythologies and folklore – two being Rasengan and the Chidori techniques. Both are extremely powerful and specific, but which one is stronger?
While the Chidori might be the better and more useful of the two techniques, the Rasengan is certainly more powerful. Chidori is a very powerful technique that can be extremely useful in a fight, and it has killed a lot of people, but Rasengan would win in a direct clash. It was implied that Naruto had to tone down his Rasengan so that he wouldn’t kill Sasuke one time.
The rest of the article is going to be divided into three sections. Namely, since the techniques are so vastly different in nature, we think it would be best to simply describe them and their variations first, and then to compare them in a separate section. This is why we have opted for such an approach, as we think it is going to be the most beneficial one.
Rasengan: An overview
The Rasengan is a powerful spinning ball of chakra, shaped and held in the user’s hand, known only to a handful of shinobi. The Rasengan was created by Minato Namikaze, based on the Tailed Beast Orb. He spent three years creating the Rasengan, which he considered to be the most successful in terms of shape modification.
Because it represents the most advanced form of shapeshifting, mastery of the Rasengan grants the user great command of it, even if they don’t quite master it. Like many of Minato’s jutsu, the Rasengan does not require the execution of mudra to use it. Once formed, it also does not require additional chakra to maintain, meaning there is no set time limit before it dissipates. However, the Rasengan will dissipate if it collides with something, even if it is a target not intentionally hit.
Although the shape of the Rasengan is consistent from user to user, its size varies somewhat, so that it is barely noticeable and its size is about the same as the hand of the user. The size of the Rasengan increases with experience. Jiraiya described the Rasengan as being more powerful than the Chidori, which Sasuke Uchiha concludes after comparing the damage caused by the two attacks.
Upon contact, the Rasengan smashes into its target, propelling it along the path of the target – either pushing it away from the user or sinking it into the ground beneath them – and at some point explodes, causing significant damage at the point of contact.
There are two main methods of increasing the offensive potential of the standard Rasengan: making the Rasengan larger (as with the Giant Swirling Orb) or using more than one Swirling Orb at a time (as with the ‘Orb Fury). After absorbing Konohamaru’s Rasengan, Momoshiki seamlessly merged it with his chakra to drastically increase its size.
Minato created the Rasengan with the intention of combining it with his own nature, a task that proved far too difficult for him before his death. Kakashi Hatake also failed to combine the Rasengan with his own Raiton nature, leading him to invent the Chidori instead. Naruto initially attempted to combine the Rasengan with his Futon nature, which he described as a desperate attempt to have to look both left and right.
He was eventually able to overcome this obstacle by using a shadow clone to provide nature transformation, while he and another shadow clone formed the Rasengan, creating the Futon – Rasengan. By further shaping the Futon – Rasengan, Naruto created the Futon – Orb Shuriken. Boruto Uzumaki unknowingly adds his lightning nature to his Rasengan, allowing him to launch it at targets.
The Rasengan requires extremely refined chakra control, which very few ninjas naturally possess. For this reason, there are a few Rasengan users that managed to master it. In order to help others gain the necessary chakra control, learning the Rasengan is divided into three stages. Completing the final stage is by far the most difficult.
This is why both Naruto Uzumaki and Konohamaru Sarutobi use shadow clones to help them form the Rasengan, with the clone’s hands being used to create the containment husk. This gives each of them a quick way to use the Rasengan without having to spend time fully mastering their chakra. Both eventually learn to use the Rasengan without the help of clones: Naruto during the Fourth Shinobi World War; Konohamaru during the post-war decade.
Chidori: An overview
The Chidori (literally: “Thousand Birds”) is a strong concentration of lightning chakra channeled around the user’s hand. The Chidori was created by Kakashi Hatake after he failed to apply his lightning nature to the Rasengan. He wanted the Chidori to be a weapon used only to protect his friends and loved ones. To perform it, the user must first gather lightning in their hand; the high concentration of electricity produces a sound reminiscent of the song of many birds, hence its name.
The lightning chakra has been shown to cause damage to the user’s hand at times, peeling the skin and making it slightly hot, but it doesn’t seem to be actually disabling. Once the chakra is gathered, the user charges their target and rams the Chidori into them, piercing them and usually causing fatal damage.
Despite the noise it makes, the speed with which it is used makes it useful for assassinations. As shown against Killer B, the Chidori technique can also be used to simply send an electric shock without impaling him. Kakashi claimed that he created this technique because he failed to combine the shape transformation of the Rasengan and the Raiton chakra nature.
Originally, when Kakashi invented the Chidori, the main drawback of this technique is that it is executed in a straight line, as pointed out by Minato Namikaze who advised him not to use it anymore, the risks being too great and the technique would become ineffective the moment the target could simply evade or easily counter it.
However, after acquiring the Sharingan from his friend, Obito Uchiha, Kakashi overcame this drawback as he could predict his opponents’ movements and target them more easily, making it harder for the enemy to evade the attack. Sometime after mastering the Chidori, Kakashi upgraded it to a more powerful version, the Lightning Slayer, which he uses more frequently than the Chidori.
The Lightning Bolt is powerful enough to leave a hole through the body of the person struck by this technique, as shown when Haku protected Zabuza from Kakashi. Kakashi taught Sasuke the Chidori as a means of persuading him not to use the Cursed Mark of Heaven, as well as giving up his desires for revenge. He also added that the Chidori was a weapon to protect his friends.
However, Sasuke twisted her into a blade to sever those bonds to pursue his desires for power and revenge. In Part II, Sasuke had mastered the principles of lightning manipulation and developed a number of Raiton techniques, most of them deriving from the Chidori.
Sasuke can also transmit his Chidori through his weapons as he did with his sword and his Fūma shuriken. His Susanô can also perform this technique. In his final blow against Naruto, he was able to transmit his Kagutsuchi through her.
However, this technique has one major flaw. The speed at which the attack must be carried out, combined with the fact that the user must run in a straight line, creates a tunnel effect of the user’s field of vision. This allows the enemy to easily counter the attack, making it a potentially deadly technique for the user.
Although these disadvantages seem to make learning this technique quite difficult, Sasuke and Kakashi are able to overcome these defects thanks to the Sharingan, which allows to perceive everything in fine detail, no matter how quickly the object moves.
Rasengan vs. Chidori: Which one is stronger?
It wasn’t easy comparing these two techniques, we have to admit that to you. Both the Rasengan and the Chidori are extremely powerful, but they are somewhat different and their natures aren’t identical. The Chidori is a far more practical technique than the Rasengan, as you could’ve seen. Whereas the Rasengan is almost purely an offensive technique, the Chidori can be much more versatile.
The Chidori has killed people. In that aspect, sadly or not, it can be quite effective, but when it comes to sheer power, the Rasengan is simply more powerful. On one occasion, it is known that Naruto had to tone down his Rasengan’s power so he wouldn’t kill Sasuke in direct combat, which is a sheer demonstration of the Rasengan’s powers and abilities.
So, the overall conclusion is that the Chidori is more useful in the general sense, but the Rasengan is the stronger one, as it is definitely the more powerful technique among the two.