Re: Tsunade= Orochimaru= Jiraiya [READ]
yup pretty much. naruto is rooted in mythology, itachi is orochimaru's mortal enemy in japanese mythology for instance (weasels kill snakes, susanoo killed yamata no orochi, the totsuka sword is the only counter to the sword of kusanagi etc).
anyway, the toad>slug>snake>toad dynamic is pretty simple. acid won't work on toads, while oil fuelled flames will obliterate a slug. acid will work on snakes while biting and constriction won't harm the slug. and flames and blunt/piercing damage won't kill a snake capable of shedding it's skin, while constriction and bites will kill the toad.
and even in the manga, the dynamic between the sannin was made quite clear. jiraiya never managed to beat oro, tsunade trashed orochimaru, and jiraiya confidently stated he would kill tsunade if she betrayed konoha, which was why tsunade drugged him.
imo these little hints paint a far clearer picture of what kishi intends than feats, which are purely circumstantial and can be interpreted subjectively.