One glaring detail that stood out to me while reading the Boruto manga is the lack of genjutsu against the Otsutsuki.
Sasuke had multiple chances against both Momoshiki and Jigen to use genjutsu but didn’t use it instead, using Amenotejikara or Amaterasu till his chakra nearly ran out.
Of course, there are several things both he and Naruto could’ve done differently against Jigen or Isshiki, but that’s a whole other topic on its own.
Even in the original Naruto series, genjutsu has never been used against Otsutsuki. This begs the question of why and whether the shinobi thought it would be plain pointless.
And so, I spiraled down a rabbit hole on the internet, reading through decade-old forums, discussions, and some very heated, controversial debates.
1. Does Genjutsu Work On Otsutsuki?
Genjutsu does work on Otsutsuki. They are not immune to it by any means. The Rinnegan does not grant them immunity; however, their dojutsu allows them to see chakra flow and detect genjutsu.
They are, however, fast enough to evade it, and their otherworldly chakra control lets them break through genjutsu or even absorb it in some cases.
1.1 Does Genjutsu Work On The Rinnegan?
The Otsutsuki are progenitors of dojutsu and, as such, possess superior dojutsu. A majority of the Otsutsuki in the Naruto and Boruto series so far have possessed one if not multiple Rinnegan. Hence, it is essential to a
deal with the elephant in the room first, namely the Rinnegan’s supposed immunity to genjutsu.
Ever since Sasuke was able to resist Infinite Tsukuyomi, there has been speculation that the Rinnegan is immune to all genjutsu.
Since Infinite Tsukuyomi is the strongest genjutsu, the reasoning goes that the Rinnegan would be immune to other genjutsu as well.
However, the light of Madara’s Infinite Tsukuyomi was blocked by Susanoo–Sasuke’s Rinnegan wasn’t exposed to the light since he waited inside himself.
Although it was never explicitly explained, it’s fair to assume Susanoo was likely powered by the Rinnegan, which made it impervious to the light. Sasuke himself said in Chapter 677 that Susanoo’s protection had been ramped up.
Normal Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan Susanoo wouldn’t have sufficed. Besides, Black Zetsu said that Sasuke’s Rinnegan had deterred the jutsu– deterred it, not nullified it.
Genjutsu immunity on its own doesn’t exist. The word immunity implies a passive defense or not being affected by genjutsu naturally, without actively doing anything about it, which is simply not true.
Genjutsu can be detected and avoided, broken out of, or dispelled. So far, only the Sharingan has been shown to have an active defense against genjutsu.
Unlike the Sharingan, the Rinnegan cannot pierce or dispel genjutsu or use techniques like genjutsu reversal. Being a dojutsu, at most, the Rinnegan can help the user break free of genjutsu since it can see chakra.
The Rinnegan might be able to break free of visual genjutsu from inferior dojutsu more easily. However, it is still by no means immune, and the skill of the user would also be an important factor.
Most of the Rinnegan users in Naruto have simply been skilled enough that they would be able to detect genjutsu immediately. The Otsutsuki are certainly no exception.
However, just because the Rinnegan is powerful or the user is skilled doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be affected by genjutsu.
Throughout the Naruto series, genjutsu has hardly ever been used on a Rinnegan user, specially Otsutsuki, which makes it hard to draw inferences. However, Jiraya’s fight against Pain proves that the Rinnegan is susceptible to auditory genjutsu.
Jiraya’s senjutsu-enhanced genjutsu managed to trap three of the Paths of Pain simultaneously. During the fight between Kakashi and Obito, the two were able to fight each other using genjutsu. This wouldn’t be possible if Obito, who had a Rinnegan at the time, were immune to genjutsu.
A prime counter-argument that often comes up is the fight between Itachi against Nagato. Itachi’s Tsukuyomi could only be countered by another Uchiha with a Mangekyou Sharingan.
The only one to counter it, once again, was Sasuke– because he fits all the criteria, not because of a Rinnegan. The reason Itachi didn’t use Tsukuyomi against Nagato might have had more to do with his Edo Tensei and regeneration rather than the Rinnegan.
It doesn’t mean Tsukuyomi wouldn’t work just because Itachi didn’t use it. Moreover, Itachi didn’t need to use Tsukuyomi– the fight was already one-sided and ended quickly.
1.2 Can The Otsutsuki Dispel Genjutsu?
Nearly all the Otsutsuki so far possess a Byakugan, which allows them to detect chakra flow– it would be difficult to fool them to begin with.
Auditory genjutsu could possibly work. However, the only auditory genjutsu seen so far is the Toad Confrontation Chant, which takes time to set up, and Tayuya’s Phantom Sound Chains. We’ve yet to see any kage-level auditory genjutsu.
Considering the insane chakra control and raw power the Otsutsuki have, whether or not they possess a Rinnegan is nearly irrelevant.
The Otsutsuki can manipulate their extensive chakra reserves with ease. Dispelling a genjutsu if they happened to be caught by it would be child’s play.
Not to forget, casting a genjutsu on an Otsutsuki would be a feat in itself, considering their otherworldly speed, strength, and reflexes. A couple of Otsutsuki also can absorb chakra and could absorb any genjutsu.
Another interesting theory I came across online is that Otsutsuki could have different chakra flow networks. However, I don’t suppose this could affect how a genjutsu would affect them either way.
2. Would Kotoamatsukami Work On Kaguya?
If there’s a genjutsu that rivals Infinite Tsukuyomi, it has to be Kotoamatsukami. The ability granted to Shisui Uchiha by his Mangekyou Sharingan is unbreakable by any means stated in the manga.
No one has ever used genjutsu on Kaguya either, so this is merely speculation as to how it would go down if the legendary Kotoamatsukami were used on her.
Typically, Kotoamatsukami can be cast without the victim even noticing until the genjutsu has been broken.
However, not only would Kaguya’s Byakugan detect it, but considering how incredibly fast Kaguya is, it would be difficult to cast it in the first place since the victim needs to remain in Shisui’s line of sight for Kotoamatsukami to work.
Even so, Kaguya may be the progenitor of chakra, but she isn’t immune to any jutsu. If Kamui worked on her, so would Kotoamatsukami.
However, even If Shisui did manage to hit her, there’s no guarantee she would stay under the influence of the jutsu for very long.
Kotoamatsukami is a Mangekyou Sharingan ability, and by the dojutsu power hierarchy, the technique is inferior to Kaguya’s Rinnesharingan. Black Zetsu could also possibly snap her out of the genjutsu.
3. Can Genjutsu Work On Isshiki?
Genjutsu would work on Isshiki. However, he would likely detect it and evade it. If he did get caught in one, he would be able to dispel or absorb it.
Isshiki surprisingly doesn’t possess a Rinnegan, so it’s impossible to argue about genjutsu immunity at all.
However, Isshiki does possess a Byakugan and immense chakra, so just like any Otsutsuki, he would most likely be able to instantly see through and break out of a genjutsu.
Isshiki also has chakra absorption and could possibly absorb the genjutsu if he was fast enough to detect it.
3.1 Can Infinite Tsukuyomi Work On Isshiki?
Since Sasuke is the only one known to have resisted Infinite Tsukuyomi, Isshiki wouldn’t stand a chance with neither a Rinnegan nor Susanoo. He also wouldn’t be able to shrink or absorb a genjutsu of this magnitude.
As we all know, Infinite Tsukuyomi reflects the Rinnegan onto everyone’s eyes through the light of the moon.
Isshiki wouldn’t be able to absorb or shrink light itself that penetrated even shadows. If Isshiki had performed the Infinite Tsukuyomi before, he would likely already possess a Rinnegan.
4. About Naruto
Naruto is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. Its publication began on September 21, 1999, and continued till November 10, 2014, in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump. The manga has collected 72 volumes in tankōbon format.
Naruto Shippuden is Part II of the anime series, which follows an older Naruto as he attempts to save his friend Sasuke while at the same time – addressing the looming threat of the criminal organization – Akatsuki – who are targeting him for their grander scheme.
5. About Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is written and illustrated by Mikio Ikemoto, and supervised by Masashi Kishimoto. It came into serialization in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump in June 2016.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is the series that follows the exploits of Naruto’s son, Boruto, during his academy days and further on.
The series follows the character development of Boruto and the looming evil that challenges the fate of him and his loved ones.