|Skillful Monkey Jump (猿飛巧い, Sarutobi Takumi)
|Appears in||Anime, Manga|
|Occupation||The Best or Nothing|
|Academy Grad. Age||6|
|Chūnin Prom. Age||7|
Takumi Sarutobi (猿飛倆, Sarutobi Takumi) is an exceptionally powerful ninja hailing from Konohagakure. The son of Mirai and a jōnin formerly of Kumo, he is holds immense power and potential, both from his own efforts and from the legacies left by his ancestors. He is the inheritor of the Sarutobi mantle, and aims to leave an even greater mark on the village then his forebears. As a well documented study of the ninja arts and the KGs, KTs, and KMs that it houses, he has become known as The Young Professor in a similar mold to his great-grandfather. He is also the leader of a promising genin team known as Team 5 or Team Jukuren, and plans to bring their abilities to full bloom for the betterment of the village and the shinobi world, for he is a practitioner of the Will of Fire.
High standards was the word for the details surrounding Takumi's birth. As the inheritor of a legacy that included several noteworthy Jonin, a Hokage, as well as a Twelve Guardian Ninja, the stakes couldn't be higher. When his Kumo father and his Sarutobi mother welcomed him into the world, the stage was already set for the race to excellence. To say it started from birth was to hit the mark exactly. For his parents raised with the expectation that he would do great things like his forefathers and foremothers. As such, training with his parents began at the age of 4, a time when most toddlers are crawling, walking and exploring. In his case, it meant learning about the basics of ninjutsu, the fundamental properties of chakra, and how to use them in both a practical and combative manner. Neither his extended family nor his parents knew if he had inherited the Sarutobi's natural prowess or his father's KG. Thus they were reduced to sitting and waiting as they watched Takumi absorb the information thrown at him like a sponge. He was true to his name, as he showed exceptional diligence and focus in his studies, or at least as much as a 4-5 year old could show with such things. Then the dreaded enrollment day came, as Jukuren, at the tender age of 5, was sent to the Academy. It was unknown how he would handle the curriculum, but his grandmother and cousin assured his parents that he had the ability to keep up with the older students.
They needn't have worried. Takumi thrived, much to the chagrin and jealously of older students. Among his favorite topics in Konoha's Academy was ninjutsu, which he felt held endless promise for all sorts of tasks and situations. While other students gossiped and socialized, he spent his time divided between the library and studying with academy instructors. He knew the legacy that he had been handed, and felt that if he was going to do it any justice, he better study up. So off he went, starting first with elemental ninjutsu, an ability that was relatively prevalent among Konoha-nin and the shinobi world as a whole. While recognizing the limits placed on him by the academy and his age, he continued to store away knowledge, knowing that it could serve him well later. When it came time to take the genin exams, it did, as thanks to his intellectual prowess, he easily wiped away the competition and graduated first in his class at the age of 6, spending exactly one year in the Academy. His success and familial legacy served to further alienate him from his fellow classmates who graduated, as they believed he was being a try-hard, and acting as if he was better than them. However, Takumi had long stopped caring about what others thought, with his only goal coming in the form of matching his ancestor's prowess. When he was assigned to a genin team, he immediately stood out from his comrades as the prodigal one of the bunch, and immediately caught the attention of his jonin instructor. Thus he began one on one lessons with his sensei, as he continued to add on to his already sizable pile of ninjutsu knowledge. While having special attention is normally a recipe for disaster in genin teams, it served as a motivator for his two teammates. As a generally observant person, Takumi noted the level of effort that they put into their training and studies, and they began to earn his respect. Thus Takumi began a friendship with the two driven genin, as they formed rivalries and pushed each other to new levels. With effort and dedication, they became the top genin team in Konoha, showing a level of promise that could match the Sannin. As a collective unit, it was their goal to top that team in power and respect, and they were well on their way.
It was soon decided that the team would be entered into the Chūnin Exams, along with a few other Konoha teams. Part of the exam was to be hosted in Lightning Country by Kumo, while the other half of the exams was to take place in western part of the Land of Fire. As usual, the first test was a written one, meant to test the strength of each coalition. Similarly to Shikamaru's written test, the teammates of each squad were divided into separate rooms. As such, those with sensory abilities or ways of communication maintained a distinct advantage over other the genin teams. Fortunately, Takumi's team was one of them, and as such, it was easy for them to coordinate their answers and pass the written test, placing them in the second round. What they didn't realize about the second round was the expectation that they were to run from the western parts of the Land of Fire to the Land of Lightning. It was stated at the beginning of the race that they first 40 teams to make it to the Land of Lightning would move on to the next round. As soon as they said go, the race was on. Takumi's soon established their place as one of the front-running teams, making sure they maintained a spot in the top 10 in order to give themselves a cushion during the race. It was distinctly unpleasant, as the proctors did not forbid the use of techniques meant to slow down other teams, as such many teams made generous use of traps, and other low level slowing mechanisms in order to get ahead. Because they maintained as spot in the front, Takumi's team was largely able to avoid that, as the teams ahead of them were more focused on reaching the destination quickly than taking the time to set up traps that could cost them a spot in the next round. So onward they went, traveling several days and nights without resting, keeping pace with two other genin teams, in order to arrive at the Land of Lightning border in good time. They were successful in that regard, managing to arrive at the border in time to snatch 7th place, putting them in the next round while adding a small target to their back.
Because their team was the youngest of the bunch, they decided to stay separate from the rest of the remaining genin teams. Part of this stemmed from being the youngest team to attempt the Chūnin exams in Konoha's history, while the other part stemmed from them being physically smaller than the rest, leaving the possibility for bullying and sabotage by the other competitors. Choosing to remain apart did little for their popularity however, as the other teams jumped to the conclusion that Takumi's team thought they were too good for the rest. This resulted in the stink eye being given to them whenever they passed other squads, and constant whispering behind their back. While they managed to slowly develop a thick skin, it was a relief for them when the final part of the Chūnin Exams began to take place. Since the last part of the exams was to take place just outside of Kumo, the 40 remaining teams were summoned to the village by the Raikage. There, they were told the details of what was to take place, namely a survival/battle scenario to further test their resolve and ingenuity. The rules were simple, they were to spend 3 days and 3 nights fending for themselves in the nearby mountain ranges. While that was the starting place, they were welcome to go further in search of food and other materials, but they were not allowed to return Kumo before the end of the 3 day, 3 night period. Also, there were 20 lightning bolts spread throughout the mountain range and beyond. The 20 teams that successfully returned with these lightning bolts at the end of the 3 day period would achieve the rank of chūnin, while the remaining genin squads would be sent home. Thus the priority was to find a lightning bolt and stay alive, while not getting lost. One thing that stuck with Takumi's team however was the fact that it was not expressly forbidden to fight while using lethal force. Put simply, him and his teammates could very well die here, particularly with no allies to speak of. After that statement, the announcement to start was made, and off Takumi's team went, seeking shelter and food as well as keeping a wary eye out for any other teams. It was going to be a long 3 days.
At first, this last test went pretty smoothly, as with the help of the Byakugan and Takumi's budding sensory abilities, they were able to locate the basic necessities for shelter and food while remaining out of the way from other teams. The ebb and flow went like this for the first two days; get up, move, look for food, find shelter, and switch shifts in order to keep a fresh eye out for any other squads, while making sure they knew their location, and its relevance to Kumo's location. It was on the third day that things changed. For one, they were confronted by another a team, one who possessed the important lighting bolt. However, while glad to see that the other team had what they were looking for, Takumi and company noted the other genin squad's demeanor. They were their to hurt, maim, and maybe even kill Takumi and his teammates, so the options were limited. Taking out his sword from the scroll, Takumi did battle with the genin holding the bolt, exchanging several blows in rapid succession, while sustaining several cuts from the genin's own weapons. However, that day, their talent outshone the rival team's, as Takumi remembered the technique Konohamaru taught him. Separating from the genin he fought, Takumi blew fire into the area, creating a thick smoke that obscured both teams vision. However, Takumi had faith in his teammates knowing what to do, as his Hyūga teammate used his own activated Byakugan to pick up their third teammate and leave the area, while Takumi snatched the lightning bolt in the confusion and ran after the two. Knowing there was still a fair bit of time left, they stopped to make sure everyone was accounted for, and then continued on their way back to Kumo, walking through the night before reaching Kumo's boundaries on the morning of the Fourth Day. Showing their lightning bolt to the proctors as proof of accomplishing the mission, the three then collapsed onto the ground, thoroughly exhausted from the last task. It was on that day Takumi became an official chūnin.
To Mt. Myōboku
From there, him and his teammates began to drift apart. Sure, they coordinated for missions and remained in touch when not on assignment, but they spent very little of their free time together. Part of it had to do with Takumi's drive to acquire knowledge that would benefit him in his quest for his own legacy and mark, while the other stemmed from his two teammates become closer. Despite their young age they were very much infatuated with each other, and as a result Takumi came to feel like a third wheel, as such he preferred to leave them alone to enjoy other rather than impose himself upon them. So he turned to books and libraries, as well both of his accomplished parents, looking to pick their brains for knowledge that he was now gaining the ability to perceive properly. As such, his studying and his dedication to his missions took on an almost fervent tone, as he threw everything he had into his work. As such, when he attained the level of jōnin at the age of 10, he didn't slow down and say "I've done enough", rather, he worked harder, looking for ways that he could improve and expand his repertoire and shinobi abilities. Because he learned that none of the relatives he knew had aimed to understand and internalize natural energy, he saw it as an opportunity to do something that no one else in his family or ancestry had. As such he put all the effort he could into uncovering the inner workings and style of natural energy. What he found did little for improving his understanding, though he did find information about a place that could teach him natural energy; Mt. Myōboku. So he decided to go to this place in order to learn the art of the sages. With a hasty good-bye to his family and his teammates, he prepared to undertake a journey to this location, fully expecting to see little to no shinobi on his way. This was a result of the route he was taking, as he had learned of a secret route that few were privy to besides the Seventh Hokage. When Takumi went to ask the Seventh about the location of this route, Naruto refused to disclose any information, citing the routes secrecy. It was only after fighting Naruto and being defeated in an exhausting and grind out manner that the Seventh relented. For he saw a little bit of himself in Takumi, namely a person that was looking for acknowledgement among his peers and his family. It wasn't enough that Takumi was a prodigy, for he came from a family that was full of them. Instead, he had to forge his own path and leave his own mark on Konoha society. This desire to be recognized for his achievements and his own successes rather than his family's struck a cord with Naruto, and as a result, he gave the coordinates to Takumi.
So off Takumi went on this path, promising to himself to come back a stronger and more complete shinobi. One thing he did not anticipate was the sheer length of the path he chose, as what was supposed to take a couple of weeks turned into several months of navigating difficult terrain, and dealing with hostile forces that were unlike those he had encountered. Here his natural ability to learn and adapt proved to be a strong advantage, as through these encounters he learned how to use Earth and Water, the former from several earth wielding creatures that threatened to bury him alive. It was only through his fire abilities that he managed to evade and eventually defeat these things, before demanding to learn how they did that with the earth. The process of learning this new element took a few weeks, and as such, it delayed his travels. The ability to use water came from an encounter with relative peaceful water bearing creatures, who were more than happy to show this curious kid a thing or two about the water release. By the time he reached the mountain, he arrived as a lean, slightly built 11-12 year old. The fact that he had survived his travels on his own served as a very influential point for the toads, as the road he traveled was a dangerous and largely isolated one. However, he still had to prove himself to them, and as such, showed off his abilities, while explaining his reasoning for coming to the mountain. After hearing and seeing all of this, the Great Toad Sage gave him his approval, allowing him to begin the training process, which primarily focused on balancing his own chakra reserves against the accumulated natural energy.
Driven. That's how both Jukuren and those who encounter him would describe him. Part of this drive to succeed and carve out his own legacy and fame stems from the large shadow that is his immediate family. He knows that they all did great things and left their mark on Konoha, and he hopes to do the same. It has been stated by him the one thing he is afraid of is failing to successfully honor the efforts made by his family. This has resulted in a slight inferiority complex when he is constantly compared to his forebears, as he feels he is not powerful enough and not knowledgeable enough to be able to stand side by side with his ancestors. The end result has been a healthy respect for studying and other knowledge gathering activities. This stems from Jukuren not liking to leave anything to chance, even if he does possess the Sarutobi's natural prowess for learning and employing ninjutsu along with the other ninja arts. As such, Jukuren does not have much of a social life, nor does he have the time or patience for people into such trivial matters like partying. As such, many consider him to be a snob and arrogant, despite him being neither. Put simply, many don't understand the pressure he feels (most of which is self-applied) to live up to the billing he was given. Thus, he is very much a loner in typical Konoha society.