Seals (in; English TV "Hand signs") are used to perform many ninjutsu, genjutsu, and other secret arts other than taijutsu. The exact amount of chakra necessary to perform a technique is manipulated through hand seals. There are different sequences of hand seals for every technique, requiring memorisation.
While techniques may require a number of hand seals to work, a skilledninja can use less or even one to perform the same technique. An example of this is the Water Release: Water Dragon Bullet Technique, which requires a total of 44 hand seals to activate. Tobirama Senju, the Second Hokage, only needed to use one hand seal to complete the technique, a testament to his skill. In fact, by Part II, Sasuke Uchiha has managed to master the Chidori to the point of notneeding a single hand seal to invoke it.
Although rare, it is possible for a shinobi to be able to do hand seals with just one hand. The only shinobi seen so far capable of this are Haku and Guren.
Basic Hand Seals
There are twelve basic seals, each one named after an animal of the Chinese zodiac.
Dog (Inu): This hand seal is commonly affiliated with the movie onlyIce Release and with Danzō's Wind Release.
Tiger (Tora): This hand seal is commonly affiliated with Fire Release.
Snake (Mi): This hand seal is commonly affiliated with Earth Release and with Wood Release.
Rat (Ne): This hand seal is commonly affiliated with the special Shadow Techniques of the Nara clan.
This seal is most commonly associated with the creation of clones using techniques such as the Shadow Clone Technique, its derivative and the Multiple Wood Release Clones Technique, separate from the basic twelve seals, where index and middle fingers from both hands are crossed. This hand seal is also used in performing the Water Release: Water Shark Bullet Technique.Clap Hands
This is more of an initiation of a technique rather than a hand seal where the user simply claps their hands together as exemplified when Naruto Uzumaki for example summons chakra or is breaking genjutsu. The hand seal sequence for powerful summoning kinjutsu like the Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation and the Dead Demon Consuming Seal end with this motion; similarly, Jiraiyaprepares to enter Sage Mode (summoning Shima and Fukasaku) by performing this motion and sustaining it. It is also used to perform the Chibaku Tensei technique. Once the seal sequence completed, the user's hands are held in this position until the desired effect is achieved.
Used in techniques such as the Summoning Technique, this is also more of an initiation of a technique than aseal. The user presses their hand to the surface that is affected.
The seals used for Haku's Thousand Flying Water Needles of Death, are quite different than the basic twelve seals, and are also performed with one hand.
Haku's Demonic Mirroring Ice Crystals technique can be done with a special seal, which resembles Tiger with middle fingers crossed over theindex fingers. Interestingly, Orochimaru also uses this seal when giving the Cursed Seal of Heaven to an individual.
This is another one of the seals that are used in normal techniques, yet isn't one of the basic twelve seals. The "Yang Water" (Jin) seal is used in techniques such as the Water Release: Water Dragon Bullet Technique and the Shrine Seal. In the anime, this seal isformed similar to the Dog seal, but the left hand is under the right, and the left's palm is facing up.
The Akimichi clan use a certain seal in their Multi-Size Technique, which also resembles the Bird seal from frontal view. However, it is confirmed that this is a different seal, as the Bird seal has been seen in a side view in techniques such as Water Release: Water Dragon...