If you’ve never heard of Naruto, you’ve been living under a rock. The story follows Naruto, a wannabe ninja student who strives to be the next Hokage. However, Naruto is shunned by many in his village because his body is the host of and incredible beast called the Nine-Tailed Fox.
If you’ve never read or watched Naruto, here’s a little bit of backstory of how the Nine-Tailed Fox came to be. Warning that there are spoilers ahead! I’ll try to keep it as vague as possible.
Twelve years before the original series takes place, the Nine Tailed Fox was sealed within Naruto’s mother. She acted as a host to seal away the demon because her love was so powerful that it could keep such a beast at bay. When she was giving birth to Naruto, someone managed to sneak in and unleash the Nine-Tailed Fox at one of her most vulnerable moments.
The third Hokage and the rest of the village did their best to escape or fight back, but this event left chaos and destruction all across the village. Naruto’s mother wished to return the demon to her body, but she was close to death. It was decided that Naruto would be the next suitable host for the Nine Tailed Fox, and it was then that Naruto, a new born baby, was connected to the Nine-Tailed Fox.
The Nine-Tailed Fox (also known simply as the fox spirit) came from stories and folklore in East Asia, and is a huge part of Chinese mythology. Depending on the origin, the Nine-Tailed Fox can be both a good or bad omen, but it’s more commonly described to be impish. A lot of folklore commonly refers to the beast’s ability to change its physical appearance and fool innocent people.
In Japan, the Nine-Tailed fox has a similar reputation. There, the fox spirit is knows as a “Kitsune” and transforms into pretty women, but only to marry human men. Maybe this is where Naruto’s “Sexy Jitsu” comes from!
In Pop Culture
Of course, being a mythological creature, the Nine-Tailed Fox appears in more than just Naruto.
- In Pokemon, the Pokemon Ninetales is literally a nine-tailed fox, based on the fox spirit. Not to mention its name is literally “Nine Tails.” By evolving from Vulpix to Ninetales, this Pokemon literally demonstrates how a kitsune grows more tails as it becomes wiser and more powerful.
- In League of Legends, you can play as Ahri, a Mage character who is literally labeled “The Nine-Tailed Fox.” In the game, she disguises herself as a beautiful woman (though she keeps her fox-like tails and ears) and uses it as a tactic to seduce and reap men of their souls, much like in folklore.
- Tails from the Sonic the Hedgehog series is loosely based on the Nine-Tailed Fox legend. Albeit, he only has two tails.