[[quoteright:321:[[Franchise/{{Naruto}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/naruto-ram_4693.png]]]]

Hand Seals, aka [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuji-in kuji-in]] (literally means "nine syllables seal") are hand gestures that are commonly used as a "[[FormulaicMagic mantra]]" ([[MagicAIsMagicA magic formula]]). This has roots in Taoism, or possibly Buddhism (as the kuji is said to come to China from Tibet).[[note]]Technically, mystic Hand Signs are Mudras, not Mantras, which are spoken. Of course, ninjas, and others who use them often also Call their Attacks, so fall into Mantras as well.[[/note]]

This trope is popular in Japan (and China), as they're the source of the trope. However, you can expect some works from other countries feature this as well, often parodied. One of the {{ninja}} cliches (along with [[SmokeOut smoke bombs]], kabuki stagehand costumes, and shurikens), but sometimes monks also do this as well, especially when meditating.

The mostly used hand gesture in works is the index and middle finger of both hands pointed up, while the ring and little finger wrap the other hand, as shown above. Another variant is the clap palms, more commonly used by monks. Sometimes a one-hand variant is also used.

Subtrope of MagicalGesture. Compare PstandardPsychicPstance, AsianRuneChant.
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!!Examples

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[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

* Commonly used to do jutsus in ''Franchise/{{Naruto}}'', with the hand gestures represent the 12 EasternZodiac motifs (the picture above, in particular, represents "sheep/ram"), but other variants also exist, such as Naruto's crossed index and middle fingers when he use the [[MesACrowd Shadow Clone Jutsu.]]
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' characters sometimes (but not always) do this when using kido spells. Some examples: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8k65LVlz91Y Hacchi using Bakudo #99]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuZ3Dp6DTPc Rukia using Bakudo #9]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxMHE_Jpwyw Shuhei Hisagi using Bakudo #62]].
* Sometimes used in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' with alchemy.
* In ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' Hino Rei/Sailor Mars uses these combined with a paper charm to perform ''Akuryo Taisan'', which paralyses enemies. She can use it as either Sailor Mars or Rei Hino as it has to to with her being a {{Miko}}.
* Averted in ''Manga/GhostHunt'', where the Nine Syllables are used for exorcism, but not with the appellated seals. (A more generic two-fingered gesture is used instead)
* ''Manga/GaRei'': Kagura uses a certain hand gesture to release Byakuei's seal. As shown in ''Anime/GaReiZero'', she can release Byakuei without making the seal, but only when she's extremely distressed.
* Marron and Carrot from ''SorcererHunters'' explicitly notes that the Eastern-style magic Marron uses requires two hands to perform the necessary seals in order to cast magic, contrast to the Western-style magic utilized by Sorcerers.

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* ''Comicbook/{{Empowered}}'': Ninjette uses hand seals to stave off a hangover, of all things.
* In the ''GIJoe'' comics Storm Shadow would lead the Joe Ninja team through a series of hand seals as part of an exercise to clear the mind before heading into battle.

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[[folder: Film ]]

* In ''NinjaAssassin'', the main character makes use of these in order to close up some gaping wounds. They DidTheResearch, too, using the full set of kuji-in hand seals in the proper sequence.
* In ''ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld'', Gideon does this to summon his uber-katana.

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Of course it reigns supreme in the ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' and ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' series with a ninja theme or ninja-themed bad guys (mainly ''Series/NinpuuSentaiHurricaneger''/''Series/PowerRangersNinjaStorm''). Bonus points for a smaller robot using hand seals to make the bigger robots combine, and a ButtMonkey comedic villain stealing from a ninja BigBad by imitating the ninja gesture to make a door open.
** In ''Series/KousokuSentaiTurboranger'', Zimba does this sometimes when enlarging a monster.
** And in the earlier ''Series/HikariSentaiMaskman'', the heroes use HandSeals to charge their Aura Power and transform.
* Spoofed in ''Series/KamenRiderFourze'' at the opening: Fourze turns invisible with the Stealth Switch, but he really didn't ''need'' to do a hand seal to do it.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Hanzo Hattori and Kotaro Fuuma from SamuraiWarriors both use this kind of spell, ususally in order to lock/unlock a gate.
* Phantom, the [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot ghost ninja robot]] from ''MegaManZero'' uses this to do the DoppelgangerSpin.
** Cubit Foxtar of ''Zero 3'' uses a one-hand variant to summon his 9 {{Attack Drone}}s.
* Guy, of ''FinalFight'' and ''StreetFighter'' fame, is sometimes seen performing one-handed seals (like [[{{Naruto}} Haku]], but he predates him by about a margin of a decade) when performing moves such as his [[HurricaneKick Bushin Senpuukyaku]] or [[LimitBreak Bushin Musou Renge]]. Two of Guy's {{Victory Pose}}s in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha'' consist of 'em ([[BadassBack one them with his back to the player]]). In ''[[CapcomSequelStagnation Super]] VideoGame/StreetFighterIV'', [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvMaF1YTtds two of his personal actions]], his Focus Attack, and his end of match win pose also involve hand seals, in addition to the above.
** [[VideoGame/StreetFighterIII Ibuki]] also does this when performing a SmokeOut in her VictoryPose, as well as before a few of her supers.
* One of Raven's win poses in ''{{Tekken}}'' is reciting the lot. Humorously, if playing Yoshimitsu's story mode in ''5'' and lose to him on purpose, you can watch Raven--a ''[[McNinja Canadian]]'' shinobi--try to teach him the kuji-en. Yoshimitsu ''cannot get them right''. Is Yoshimitsu ''sure'' what he's practicing is ninjutsu?
* Greninja, the {{ninja}} [[FrogsAndToads frog]] Pokémon introduced in ''[[VideoGame/PokemonXAndY X and Y]]'', performs a hand seal whenever it uses a special move.

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[[folder: Web Animation ]]

* ''DeadFantasy 2''. Ayane does this when she jumps to the top of the tower and starts casting a spell. Watch it [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKtG-wsH2VM here, starting at 2:15]].

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'': Kyodai Ken frequently uses this.
* [[{{WesternAnimation/AdventureTime}} Fridjitzu]] requires this.