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[[quoteright:350:[[Manga/{{Naruto}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/700e7b35f9c68f53108911207d989d9a.png]]]]

Hand Seals, aka [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuji-in kuji-in]] (literally means "nine syllables seal") are ritualistic hand gestures that are commonly used as part of a [[MagicAIsMagicA magic formula]], with roots in UsefulNotes/{{Taoism}}. They are similar to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudra Mudras]] originating from UsefulNotes/{{Hinduism}}, another type of symbolic hand-gestures (but can include other parts of the body). Also ninjas, and others who use them often also Call their Attacks, so they may be considered [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantra Mantras]] as well.

This trope is popular in UsefulNotes/{{Japan}} (and UsefulNotes/{{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 and AsianRuneChant.

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!!Examples

[[AC:AnimeAndManga]]
* 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 ''Manga/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.
* In ''Literature/RDGRedDataGirl'', Miyuki teaches Izumiko the ritual of ''kuji-kiri'', "cutting the nine seals," as a protective charm.

[[AC:ComicBooks]]
* ''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.

[[AC:{{Film}}]]
* In ''Film/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 ''Film/ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld'', Gideon does this to summon his uber-katana.

[[AC:LiveActionTV]]
* 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.

[[AC:VideoGames]]
* Hanzo Hattori and Kotaro Fuuma from ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors'' both use this kind of spell, ususally in order to lock/unlock a gate.
* Phantom, the [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot ghost ninja robot]] from ''VideoGame/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 ''VideoGame/FinalFight'' and ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' fame, is sometimes seen performing one-handed seals (like [[Manga/{{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. Her Critical Art in ''V'' has her perform several in sequence before summoning a big ball of energy.
* One of Raven's win poses in ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}}'' is reciting the lot. Humorously, if playing Yoshimitsu's story mode in ''5'' and lose to him, you can watch Raven try to teach him the kuji-in. Yoshimitsu ''cannot get them right''. Is Yoshimitsu ''sure'' what he's practicing is ninjutsu?
* Greninja, the {{ninja}} frog Pokémon introduced in ''[[VideoGame/PokemonXAndY X and Y]]'', performs a hand seal whenever it uses a special move.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'''s Ninja job uses hand seals called Mudras to invoke the majority of its abilities. Messing up the order of the signs will summon a rabbit onto your head for the sole purpose of announcing your failure to anyone around you.
* In ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'', the "Ninjitsu" powerset makes notional use of the Rin, Sha, and Retsu gestures for avoiding [[StandardStatusEffects status effects]], self-healing, and [[SuperMode temporary extreme performance]] respectively. However, given that the character models don't have animatable fingers, you can't tell the gestures apart except through their associated [[PowerGlows visual effects]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Dominions}}'', this is the basis for the "* sign" spells, available to the monks of [[{{Wutai}} Jomon]]
* ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters XIV'' newcomer Banderias Hattori uses several before executing his Climax Desperation Move.

[[AC:WebAnimation]]
* ''WebAnimation/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]].

[[AC:WesternAnimation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'': Kyodai Ken frequently uses this.
* [[{{WesternAnimation/AdventureTime}} Fridjitzu]] requires this.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2012'': In the Season 3 episode "The Deadly Venom", Master Splinter teaches Leonardo to chant and perform the handseals for a special HealingHands technique. This power becomes key in the following episodes.

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