Hiruzen Sarutobi was the Third Hokage of Konoha, the Leaf Village and a member of the Sarutobi Clan. Early in his life, he displayed great talent in the Shinobi arts and eventually earned the title “God of Shinobi.”
He is one of the most influential figures in the entirety of the Naruto universe and was genuinely respected by all those residing in the Hidden Leaf Village. Sarutobi’s leadership, intellect, and kindness were always on display. These qualities alone made him worthy of the status of Lord Third or otherwise known as The Third Hokage.
Being part of the first generation of shinobi in Konoha, Hiruzen had participated in the First Shinobi War. Assigned to an escort unit, along with other numerous talented shinobi, under the direct command of the Second Hokage, who sacrificed himself after declaring Hiruzen as The Third Hokage due to his astounding leadership qualities as he volunteered to be a sacrificial decoy before the decision of Lord Second.
After his appointment of Hokage, Hiruzen began his rule with kindness and empathy while allowing his friend and rival, Danzo, to create the “Root” organization to handle some affairs with a more severe approach. The two shared a complicated relationship, but it also held a lofty level of respect.
Sarutobi would eventually have a son named Asuma with whom he shared a complicated relationship as the two lacked a strong father-son bond. You may wonder, “why was it so?”. It was because of Hiruzen’s dedication to being an exceptional Hokage that it hurt the development of a close relationship with his son.
Sarutobi was the Sensei of Team Hiruzen, which consisted of the three future Legendary Sannins, Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and Tsunade Senju. He shared a deep bond with all three of his apprentices, especially Orochimaru. Unfortunately, having taken part in kidnappings and human experiments, Orochimaru would jeopardize their relationship. Orochimaru’s deeds would lead to his banishment from the Hidden Leaf Village.
Hiruzen’s overall modesty, display of wisdom, and devotion in protecting his people by making sharp and calculated decisions prove him to be the rightful successor of The Will of Fire.
As one of Hidden Leaf’s first Shinobi, Hiruzen’s immense talent and rapid growth proved him to be a prodigy. He had an accord of being tremendously skilled in all five nature types, namely: Fire, Wind, Lightning, Earth, and Water, as well as Yin and Yang release. Despite being exceptionally talented in all the nature types, his preferred nature types were Fire and Earth throughout the series.
That is evident from his bold and unique fighting style with the use of Fire-style and Earth-style in various and unpredictable combos. He could fire away a large stream of fire or use a river of mud to knock his opponents off-balance, as well as craft the head of a dragon that could launch fireballs to deal maximum damage.
Another substantial aspect of Hiruzen’s unique fighting style was his smart use of the Shuriken Jutsu. Being one of the few people to be able to perform the Shadow Clone Jutsu, Hurizen elevated it by merging the two to create a devastating Shuriken Shadow Clone Technique.
Hiruzen is also one of the exclusive and elite Shinobis who were able to use the Forbidden Dead Demon Summoning Seal. A Ninjutsu that allowed him to seal the soul of others at the expense of sacrificing himself, but this would be the last resort option for him.
Having possessed one of the most exciting summonses, he had a blood contract with the Monkey King Enma, who could transform into an extendable staff and even manifest some of his body parts through it for a surprising blow to catch the opponent off guard.
As mentioned earlier, Hurizen’s sharpness, power, and quick decision making grant him the position of standing parallel with the strongest of the shinobis of his time. Having been forced to use the Dead Demon Summoning Seal, Sarutobi would still suffer defeat against Orochimaru.
Hiruzen Sarutobi was in a league of his own as he possessed the ability to use all-natural types in his ninjutsu effectively and efficiently. One of his main weaknesses were his weak Taijutsu abilities. Old age had caught up to him, which made his movements stiff at times, making him ineligible in fierce Taijutsu.
However, Hiruzen compensated for his weak Taijutsu by using Enma as an extendable staff, which granted him flexibility in both close combat and long-ranged combat. In his final fights against Orochimaru and The Nine-Tailed Fox, he used a shorter and taller version of Enma, respectively.
Hiruzen’s incredible knowledge and mastery of ninjutsu made him highly adaptable as an all-around team member, allowing him to engage in both short-ranged and long-ranged battles. So this raises the question, “Who is a worthy matchup for Hiruzen?”
Aside from the most potent and compelling characters who possess the powers of Sage of the Six Paths, someone like Might Guy may give Hiruzen one of the toughest challenges. A fast and agile Taijutsu user would require Hiruzen to heighten all of his senses as a single mistake against such an opponent would be costly. A battle between a proficient ninjutsu user versus a skillful taijutsu user would be a treat to see as both go toe to toe in a contest of speed, reflexes, and wits.
A well-rounded ninja consisting of wisdom, talent, leadership, and extraordinary power, like Hiruzen, would be able to fit in the majority of the existing teams. Hiruzen having served as part of Team Tobirama and the Escort Unit, where he showcased all of these attributes leading them to victory with his expertise on several occasions.
Hiruzen’s role on a team will be very beneficial as he can lead the team, as well as provide a unique and unparalleled set of jutsus to take down any opponent. He will be able to assist as an essential powerhouse and serve as a pillar in any team.
The most suitable shinobi on Hiruzen’s team has to be someone with the skills of a tracker so that the opponent will not be able to hide. A realistic option would be Kakashi Hatake as he is a complete package who will also be able to compensate Lord Third’s lack of Taijutsu as Kakashi himself is an astounding Taijutsu user.
Another option would be a Genjutsu user as Hiruzen never excelled at it. An extremely talented Genjutsu user, such as Itachi Uchiha, will be able to assist with the visual prowess that allows him to use an array of Genjutsu.
A team of Kakashi, Itachi, and Hiruzen would spark fear in the hearts of the enemies as all three combined would best complement each other.