With both the anime and manga for Boruto currently on hiatus Masashi Kishimoto has been working with other creators on various Naruto-related content projects. Several new mangas have been published, covering a wide variety of characters in the Naruto Universe at different points in the timeline. Over the weekend we a special one-shot starring fan-favorite Minato Namikaze, the Fourth Hokage and Naruto’s father, titled Naruto: The Whorl Within the Spiral, also known as Naruto Gaiden: Whirlwind in the Vortex. Written and drawn by Kishimoto himself, the special one-shot took place during the time period in Minato and Kushina’s relationship when they were dating. In the process, Kishimoto expanded on the origins of the Rasengan, the move that’s become synonymous with the Naruto franchise like the Kamehameha is to Dragon Ball.
Naruto: The Whorl Within the Spiral takes place during the Third Shinobi World War when Minato was still part of Jiraya’s Team Six and building his name as the Konoha’s Yellow Flash, a name that made other nations create a flee on sight order during the war. During this period Minato and Kushina were still only dating, with a special barrier placed around the Konoha to both protect and keep Kushina from leaving a specific area within the village due to her status as the Nine-Tails’ Jinchuriki. Because of this Minato took the initiative to create what would be known as the Rasengan.
As has been spoken about before, Minato spent three years to create a jutsu inspired by the Tailed Beast Ball he has seen other Jinchuriki use. That idea was expanded on by Kishimoto in Naruto: The Whorl Within the Spiral as Minato revealed that he created the Rasengan with the intention to teach it to Kushina and battle other Tailed-Beasts and Jinchuriki by her side. Exemplifying how the Rasengan was created to combat the power of the Tailed-Beasts and Jinchuriki the first time Minato uses it in combat was in Kushina’s inner world to help her defeat Kurama when he was just known as the Nine-Tails Demon Fox.
The origin of the Rasengan doesn’t end with the creation of the move itself. The name Rasengan is also given a deeper meaning that closely ties it to the Uzumaki Clan. Originally Minato came up with the name of “Ice Pop-Inspired Nimbus Jiraya Twin Whorl Sphere” or “Halo Hair Whole of Jiraiya Inspired by Frozen Dessert Twin Style Sphere.” This name was inspired by Jiraya’s comments about Minato’s hair and when Jiraya offered to split a popsicle with his protégé that gave Minato an epiphany to complete what we know as the Rasengan. While Minato is known as one of the most powerful ninja’s in history his habit of creating long names for new moves was a quirk those closest to him knew him for as well.
Shortening Minato’s original name for his new jutsu to Rasengan turns out to come from Kushina. As spoken by Mito Uzumaki, wife of the First Hokage Hashirama Senju and Kushina’s predecessor as the Nine-Tails Jinchuriki, the spiral that is the crest of the Uzumaki Clan is something that if Kushina has the will to climb she’ll find love represented by a helix called Rasen. While spending time with Minato on the roof of the Uzumaki Clan building hat faces Hokage Rock, remembering Mito’s words about a spiral leading finding love that turns the spiral into a helix, Kushina chooses the name Rasengan.
This all gives the Rasengan a deeper meaning as we see how it represents the love Minato and Kushina have. The ties to the Uzumaki Clan also provides Naruto and those who utilize the move a connection to the ninja clan that, as Mito spoke to Kushina about, has its few remaining members scattered across the world. So while Naruto didn’t grow up knowing much about them, every time he uses the Rasengan he is representing his parents love and the Uzumaki Clan.