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Recap / DEATH BATTLE! S05E15 - Roshi VS Jiraiya

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The finest warriors are never developed on their own; while some are molded by their enemies, the best usually seek the wisdom of a master... who, for some reason, is a weird old pervert.

Like Roshi, turtle hermit and teacher to Dragon Ball's greatest hero. And Jiraiya, the toad sage and instructor to the most famous ninja of all.

In the fifteenth episode of season five, two legendary anime franchises face one another for the first time, and to do battle, each calls upon their protagonists' signature mentors, whom despite facades of deviant whimsy, are hailed as powerful and experienced combatants. The hosts will measure the sheer power of ki against the versatility of chakra, centuries of experience against a talent for cunning, as Roshi and Jiraiya, though experts in matters martial and promiscuous, will be pit in a match focusing on the former and how they fare in a death battle.


The episode proper opens with the backstory of Master Roshi, the esteemed instructor of Son Goku. As a teenager, Roshi had his own teachers in the form of Master Mutaito and the sapient cat Korin, who bore the honor of being the first protectors of Earth. Roshi would refine his knowledge of martial arts under their tutelage, but his time with them would not last forever; when the Namekian alien King Piccolo invaded the planet, Roshi and his fellow pupil Shen were helpless to stop him. It would take Mutaito's usage of his signature Evil Containment Wave technique to seal the demon king inside of a rice cooker, but the effort put forth in the process cost him his life. Roshi ventured out on his own afterward, developing his own fighting style that he would later impart to the young Goku and the former monk Krillin, and over the decades, he would prove to be a stalwart advisor to the pair and the assortment of partners they recruited; even assisting them in their myriad adventures on occasion.


Life experience, having seen several invasions and conflicts unfold several times over, is something that Roshi has no shortage of, being well into his 300's by the time he ascended from student to master. The reason for this varies depending on the story, but is assumed to be either his ownership of a pet phoenix that he accidentally fed tainted birdseed to or the consumption of a mysterious herb that grants tremendous extension to one's life expectancy. Regardless, Roshi has had plenty of time to focus and hone his ki, the quasi-mystical substance that exists within all living things, and use it as the centerfold of his Kame Style of martial arts. Kame, or Turtle Style, is a school of martial arts centered around trickery, a mix of drunken boxing and exploitation of pressure points, supplemented with various ki-based abilities like the Kamehameha; though associated with several other characters, Roshi is in fact the progenitor of this special art. With it, the user channels the latent ki in their body before expelling it in a powerful beam, and Roshi has been shown to obliterate structures ranging from mountain ranges to moons with it. As for the Kame Style's other techniques, the tri-centenarian has been shown to utilize lethal blasts of electricity and mind-controlling hypnosis, but as impressive as his mastery of ki is, Roshi's own physical stats are equally formidable. The founder of Kame style is fast enough to catch a volley of gunfire from near point-blank range, as well as engage in and conclude a fight in a matter of milliseconds and he can even survive multiple Death Beams from Frost, the Universe 6 counterpart of Frieza, an intergalactic conqueror who can still destroy whole planets even at his weakest state.


Centuries of training and experience mean that Roshi is naturally able to hold his own in the world of Dragon Ball, even amidst the fantastical creatures and powers that have appeared since. He has proven multiple times over to be a keen strategist, able to react to enemy motion with the bare minimum of effort, and see through diversions and trickery alike. However, time has taken its toll on Roshi, and is not quite what he used to be, even with how he has shown several feats of strength and speed; his frail body can serve as a natural limitation to his true potential, and overusing ki-based attacks can ultimately prove fatal, as the case was with Mutaito. Even so, the very fact that he has survived most of the foes that his pupils and their allies have faced is a testament to the strength and experience he has accumulated, something that no amount of aging can overcome.

Roshi: (leaps upward and channels ki into his hands) Kamehameha! (fires the beam downward, knocking away several of Frieza's soldiers)

From Roshi, the hosts shift gears and move on to Jiraiya, the teacher of eventual Hokage, Naruto Uzumaki. Before he passed his knowledge onto the fledgling shinobi, and even well before he was renowned as one of the three legendary Sannin of the Hidden Leaf Village, Jiraiya was a student of Hiruzen Sarutobi, the third Hokage. Hiruzen was devoted to his pupils, and had a fondness for Jiraiya in particular due to their shared interest in voyeuristic activities. Like his fellow pupils, Orochimaru and Tsunade, Jiraiya showed great potential, and even after the Sannin had gone their separate ways, he sought students of his own to pass his training onto. Jiraiya would find such a group in the form of a team of shinobi he led in the Hidden Leaf, among them ninja prodigy Minato Namikaze. Their paths would cross one last time after Minato was appointed the position of Hokage, when an ancient multi-tailed beast unleashed havoc and destruction upon the village. Giving his life to seal the monster within his son Naruto, Minato posthumously gave Jiraiya the request to help his son tame this ancient power, putting the Sannin ninja and his closest pupil's progeny on the same path years later.

Hiruzen made a wise decision in taking Jiraiya under his wing. In addition to being an inherently clever recruit, he also possessed a large amount of chakra, a source of energy produced by living things, akin to the ki used by his upcoming opponent, and likewise, acts the fuel that powers several martial disciplines, otherwise known as jutsu. In the world of Naruto, jutsu can be divided into several categories, but Jiraiya has been shown to be proficient in four classes of jutsu: taijutsu, the art of hand-to-hand combat; ninjutsu, which manifests chakra in the form of classical elements; genjutsu, a field specializing in mental manipulation; and senjutsu, which taps into natural energy from one's surroundings. Although Jiraiya could utilize a large number of jutsu techniques, one of his trademarks being the Rasengan sphere, he also had a tendency to create new skills on his own accord, such as ninjutsu that grants total invisibility or total control over the actions of his hair. This constant experimentation has opened a great many pathways to new developments of Jirayia's nijutsu, such as how he once accidentally transported himself to Mount Myōboku, a secluded village inhabited by powerful, sapient toads. Thankfully, he was able to befriend the toads, developing new forms of fire ninjutsu based off their mannerisms and even being granted permission to summon them to his side when needed. Further, under the teachings of the toad elders Fukusaku and Shima, Jiraiya could use them to gather natural energy on his behalf to channel the Sage Mode, combining it with his chakra to amplify his jutsu and grant him access to new techniques.

The reputation Jiraiya has developed is quite well-founded, as the list of accomplishments to his name would attest. Jiraiya can indulge in fighting esteemed shinobi such as Kakashi Hatake and Itachi Uchiha; ninja who can move at speeds equivalent to the Mach 280 limit of thunderbolts, and his jutsu such as the Rasengan have been canonically stated as being capable of destroying mountains. As quick and as tough as he can be, there are ninja who prove to be his better in these fields, while his jutsu tend may not be used to their fullest potential, such as his invisibility jutsu, used primarily while conducting research for his Icha Icha series of erotic novels. Flaws such as these finally caught up him when Nagato, another of Jiraiya's pupils turned to evil, used his chakra to possess the bodies of six fallen ninjas. The Six Paths of Pain, as Nagato christened them, bested Jiraiya in a long and brutal fight, but his own cunning served him well, sending a message in secret to Naruto regarding Pain's machinations, knowing his final pupil would carry on his legacy.

Jiraiya: (holding an unconscious woman over his shoulder) As you can see, you've failed! Jiraiya the toad sage falls victim to no woman's charm; rare beauties fall for me! (cranes his neck and growls) When you've reached the stature I have, ladies worship all your awesomeness!

The two combatants have been given a wide pool of study and a fair share of research to their name. One advertisement for the Blue Apron cooking service later, and now, it's time for a death battle!

A bookstore nestled on the outskirts of the Hidden Leaf Village is experiencing a slow day of business, the only person within its halls being its owner; Jiraiya, the fabled Sannin member. That changes entirely once the subject of Jiraiya's attention welcomes himself in, none other than the turtle hermit, Master Roshi. Jiraiya's unamused reaction to Roshi's ramblings are cut short when the Kame Style founder expresses his disgust for the smut being peddled by the ninja; all words and no illustrations as Roshi puts it, a sentiment further expressed as he tosses the Icha Icha novel on the floor and repeatedly stomps on the erotica. The toad sage becomes infuriated by this display as he espouses the virtues of text on its own accord. In defense of his writing, Jiraiya vaults towards Roshi...


... and hurls a series of kunai at the lecherous senior. With minimal effort does Roshi swerve around the daggers and the ensuing attempts from Jiraiya to engage in fisticuffs, but this changes once the pervy sage catches the turtle hermit with an uppercut. After following this by using his ivory coiffure to hurl Roshi against a bookshelf, Jiraiya becomes further appalled by Roshi's attempts to placate him, which in reality only serve to further demean his writing. Jiraiya continues to go on the offensive, using the Needle Hell jutsu to unleash a barrage of sharpened locks which Roshi barely leaps away from. Roshi takes this opportunity to grab a displaced and infuse it with ki before tossing it at the toad sage; Jiraiya, in turn, leaps towards Roshi at a blistering pace. The two martial artists bounce back and forth around the store until Goku's mentor strikes the ninja with a double palm strike that sends him to the opposite end. A moment's reprieve takes hold before Jiraiya puts his training with the toads of Mount Myōboku to good use once he slams a palm against the ground. The inside of the bookstore begins to change form until it resembles the fleshy inside of an esophageal wall. The mucus-lined walls keep Roshi rooted in place, slowly consuming him even as he prepares a Kamehameha. Jiraiya's confidence in the Toad Mouth Bind jutsu proves unearned as the surroundings within the esophagus darken; indeed, a second later the turtle hermit erupts from the lining, blasting the pervy sage with a ray of concentrated ki, which Jiraiya reacts to by shielding himself in hair.

Meanwhile, on the coast of the Training Island that neighbors Roshi's diminutive isle, a toad hops along before the forms of the two fighters burst out of it. Roshi struggles to upright himself, while Jiraiya uses the time to present his Summon Clone jutsu with lookalikes popping out of nothing. The Kame Style founder watches the Jiraiya clones swarm towards him, yet he refuses to be intimidated as he disperses the clones in the ensuing exchange of close-quarters melee. Another Jiraiya runs circles around Roshi, seeking to flank him while barely outrunning another Kamehameha ray. The Sannin ninja retaliates with the Toad Oil Bullet jutsu, spewing waves of viscous fluid that once again trap Roshi. The turtle hermit only breaks free at the last possible second as Jiraiya tosses fire pellets that set the oil field ablaze. Roshi darts out of the conflagration, but Jiraiya intercepts his escape and plants a sandaled foot dead into Roshi's face, knocking him back into the inferno. Leaping into the flames after the senior pervert, Jiraiya primes a Rasengan that makes contact against Roshi's midsection while the pair skid across the waters. With the Kame House in the distance, the toad mountain sage continues to dash over the sea before finally tossing the Rasengan, and Roshi with it, headlong into the walls of his home. Jiraiya pushes the attack, with another series of hand gestures and drawing of blood being all the necessities to summon the chief toad of Mount Myōboku, Gamabunta.

The colossal amphibian crashes into the Kame House and immediately starts berating Jiraiya for calling upon his assistance, but his tirade is cut short as he finds himself hoisted off the ground; beneath Gamabunta, Roshi has tapped into his full potential and now stands in his far more muscular Max Power form. Gamabunta refuses to accept this insult, hurling an enormous ball of water that annihilates only the rubble the Kame House has been reduced to; Roshi himself has phased out of view and right behind Gamabunta. The turtle hermit touches solid ground moments after the chief toad, now with a rice cooker in tow. Whatever confusion Gamabunta may have with regards to the mysterious object is made clear the moment Roshi kicks the container open and unleashes the Evil Containment Wave, trapping Gamabunta within the rice cooker and doing away with Jiraiya's reinforcement. Jiraiya himself can only stare, dumbstruck at the recent turn of events before Roshi closes the distance and knocks him into the air with a closed fist. In turn, Roshi is overcome with surprise when Jiraiya reveals that his foe has only been fighting the final shadow clone, with the real Jiraiya safely back on the Training Island coast. Having tapped into the chakra of Fukusama and Shima, now fused to his shoulders, Jiraiya's Sage Form has been controlling the clone from a distance. The two fighters tap into their life force before charging at one another in a final exchange of Kamehameha against Rasengan.

The Sannin shinobi effortlessly runs across the blue seas with the Rasengan shielding him from the ki based laser, stopping only when Roshi has disappeared. Turning around, Naruto's mentor can see the turtle hermit floating above him, ready to strike once more; Roshi charges towards the pervy sage, but the frogs emit a series of deafening ribbit, one with a frequency that disorients Roshi, now under the sway of the Toad Confrontation Chant. Now trapped inside of a pocket dimension, the demonic illusion has Roshi framed a barrier, motionless, surrounded by a quartet of toad samurai. The Sage Mode-empowered Jiraiya unsheathes a broadsword carved entirely out of stone, ready to extract the ultimate price from Roshi. However, though the harmonized noise of the toads' genjutsu has ensnared Roshi, it fails to halt the momentum from his prior charge. The outstretched fist of the senior martial artist makes contact with Jiraiya's abdomen, ripping the toad sage in half and finally freeing Roshi from the illusion. Though awash with confusion at first, seeing the ever-expanding haze of blood behind Roshi is met with approval, who eagerly flashes a peace sign to commemorate his victory.


With the match having concluded, the hosts move on to the post-fight analysis; to summarize the points made, Jiraiya was simply outclassed by his foe. The absolute zenith of Jiraiya's combat potential, that being the Sage Mode Rasengan, could prove capable of destroying a mountain, and while Roshi's Kamehameha wave is known to do the same, the fact that it also has moon-busting capabilities mean the ki-based projectile has three octillion tons of force behind it; at least thirty-five billion times more potent than the chakra sphere. Theoretically, Jiraiya could have possessed the advantage in speed, having fought shinobi that can move faster than lightning, a feat that far surpasses Roshi's brief showdown with Krillin, however, in the Universal Survival arc of Dragon Ball Super, Roshi was recruited to fight alongside several of his universe's champions against the elite warriors of other universes, several of whom are established galaxy-destroyers. In addition, Goku's own training with Korin saw him react to and dodge lightning, so between these feats, a solid assumption can be made that Roshi could match and potentially surpass Jiraiya's speed; given Roshi's Kamehameha beam can reach the moon in about fifteen seconds, this means it can travel at speeds that dwarf the lightning-fast Jiraiya. The hosts are generous enough to admit that the toad sage had a number of techniques that could have instantly netted him victory, such as turning Roshi into a frog; but each of these techniques require circumstances too specific to guarantee a win for Jiraiya. Even the concept that Jiraiya's ingenuity would give him an edge, Roshi has roughly six times the experience of the pentagenarian Jiraiya, and he is also well-versed in defusing traps and disabling abilities. In the end, Roshi was able to match anything Jiraiya could throw at him and surpass his foe with little effort.

Boomstick: And that's why Jiraiya croaked when Roshi beat him to the punch. (knocks Wiz out of frame with a straight jab)
Wiz: The winner is Master Roshi!
Roshi: (puts a mask on and off while making silly noises)

Next time on Death Battle: the season finale, a war of gods.

Roshi vs. Jiraiya contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Only Boomstick can butcher Mutaito's name into Potato, then Pistachio.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Gamabunta's last line in the fight involves him yelling at a pervert. Is he calling out Jiraiya for bringing him into this losing situation, or is it his parting shot at Roshi before being trapped inside a rice cooker? Who knows.
  • Aside Glance: Courtesy of Wiz, whom gives the audience a lengthy "see what I gotta work with" gesture to the camera after Boomstick's usual perversity.
  • Bookends: At the beginning of Jiraiya's profile, Boomstick questions how the ninja can justify being deemed gallant. It ends with him admitting that, after hearing everything the pervy sage has done, he has more than earned his title.
  • Breather Episode: A silly and lighthearted episode between two old perverts sandwiched after a fight between genocidal robot supremacists and just before the season finale between alien god conquerors capable of universal levels of destruction.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: While not as hideously one-sided as previous episodes this season, this matchup is not a pretty one for Jiraiya. The mountain-busting, lightning-fast ninja just stood no chance against the moon-destroying hermit with relativistic attacks.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Boomstick is jealous of how fast Roshi's hands can move, saying he wouldn't need to be married if his own hands could move at a similar speed; it even leads to the abovementioned Aside Glance.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Probably the pettiest excuse for the combatants to go at it since a fight to the death over a beach chair. The whole match gets started over Jiraiya being offended by Roshi's scathing critique of his erotic writing (the critique in question being there are no pictures).
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Roshi kills Jiraiya by punching him clean in half.
  • Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress: Jiraiya learns the hard way that things in motion tend to stay in motion until they hit something. Said thing in motion is a very tough old man and said thing that gets hit is himself, who is not as tough.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: To, of all episodes, Zitz vs. Leonardo. Both episodes feature combatants with thematic connections to toads and turtles, but here, it's the toad-centric character who has a ninja motif, while the turtle-themed fighter is the Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass that face intergalactic threats.
  • Tempting Fate: Jiraiya's bio opens with a lengthy tangent about his perverted antics, with Boomstick saying such things don't surprise him anymore. Cue Wiz tapping into the Sexy Technique...
  • Undignified Death: All things considered, Jiraiya getting punched clean in half by a lecherous old geezer he already hypnotized while fighting in defense of his skills as an erotic novelistnote  is a pretty big step down from how he went out in canon.

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