Some people have their favorite characters on every novel, manga, or anime that they favor, so do I. Naruto (and obviously Naruto Shippuuden) has been my favorite manga and anime for many years. The very first time I found myself addicted to it is when I was in secondary school. I watched it almost daily and bought the comics in every date release (remembering that comics' price was affordable that time). Now as I grow up and became a college student, I am still a fan of this Masashi Kishimoto's phenomenal work.
When some fellow Naruto fans ask me "who is your most favorite character?", I would say that it is Itachi Uchiha. Well, a genuine Naruto fan might have already know who he is. However, if you're not even a Naruto fan, it's still interesting to explore this character.
Who is Itachi Uchiha?
First of all, I introduce you my favorite character from the widely known manga as well as anime. He is renowned as Sasuke Uchiha’s brother who slaughtered all members of his clan overnight, became S-rank missing-nin, and joined a criminal organization namely Akatsuki. He is the phenomenal character, the one and only: Itachi Uchiha. The character’s first appearance in Naruto was when he and his Akatsuki partner, Kisame Hoshigaki, went to Konohagakure to chase Kyubi, the nine tailed-beast. He and his partner could pass the village’s security seal by using a secret technique so that their appearances couldn’t be noticed by ninjas who are in charge of monitoring the entrance-exit gate.
|Itachi Uchiha and Kisame Hoshigaki, the Akatsuki duo|
When he appeared in the village, the news about him were widely spread and heard by Hokage, the leader of Konohagakure. Hokage commanded some Konohagakure’s ninjas to immediately protect Naruto who is renowned as Kyuubi’s jinchuuriki, tried to avoid the tailed-beasts chasing plan which was being fussed about. On that moment, some shinobis: Asuma Sarutobi, Kurenai, and Kakashi Hatake appeared before him to prevent the further action of Akatsuki. There is also a scene where Sasuke Uchiha showed his utmost hatred towards him when he tried to use his genjutsu to Naruto. Sasuke attacked him by using chidori but could be easily overcome. Itachi told his little brother to instill a deep hatred on his heart to kill him as he said “You’re not even worth to kill” and “You’re still lack of hatred”. In addition, by strangling his brother he said “If you want to kill me, despise me, hate me, live in an unsightly way. Run and cling to life, then some day, when you have the same eyes as mine, come before me”
|Itachi Uchiha and Sasuke Uchiha first met years after the genocide of Uchiha clan|
Move to the second part of Naruto which is publicly known as Naruto Shippuuden, Akatsuki showed the aggression in chasing jinchuuriki. As a missing nin from Konohagakure, he was obviously in charge of chasing the jinchuuriki which origin is from his homeland. Together with his partner, he repeatedly pretend to chase Naruto in a fight using another body which was made by Pain’s technique, precisely in the part when the Konohagakure ninjas’ mission is to save Gaara who was chased by Akatsuki since he was Ichibi’s jinchuuriki.
The news about Sasuke and his increasing power after battles with Orochimaru, and Deidara, an Akatsuki member, who was overwhelmed to death and decided to suicide, are spread and heard by Akatsuki, which informed Itachi to take care of himself. Itachi actually knew that Sasuke has left Konoha to train with Orochimaru two-to-three years before in order to gain more power to fight him, and were prepared to meet his little brother again.
Itachi eventually had to deal with his brother’s vengeance. They fight each other by using genjutsu techniques. Itachi was forced to answer Sasuke’s questions under genjutsu, showed him the painful memory of the murder that night, and the past of their ancient members, Madara Uchiha, who are eligible gaining Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan by killing his little brother, Izuna Uchiha, as Itachi claimed. Strikes by strikes were shown during their battle.
Itachi looked usually vomiting blood in the remaining battle and eventually surrendered. Before his death, he tapped his brother’s forehead - his habit during his childhood - as if he wanted to take his brother’s eyes out and said his last words. After that, he fell of and Sasuke also fainted seconds later.
The Truth About Him
The revealing part started when Tobi (alias of Obito Uchiha, the masked man), told injured Sasuke about Itachi’s truth. Sasuke firstly forced himself not to believe what Tobi said, but eventually threw back to his past when he adored his big brother much. Tobi told Sasuke that Itachi was given a mission by Danzo, a Konoha elder, to murder all members of the Uchiha as an attempt to avoid a coup d'etat which had been planned by Uchiha to take over the Konoha leadership, in order to protect Konoha from a war which could be resulted if there was civil war which could be triggered by the coup. Itachi who was assigned to spy and to inform the activity of Uchiha, was offered by Hiruzen, the third Hokage, to take a diplomacy way in avoiding the further harming action. However Danzo secretly met and took advantage Itachi’s pacifist tendency so that he nonetheless had to choose one option which was offered: killing all the members of the clan and saving his little brother, Sasuke, or having all of them killed, including his little brother. He regretfully chose to accept the mission to murder all members of Uchiha, and spared his little brother. After the massacre, he went to meet Danzo and threatened him not to touch Sasuke a bit. He also met the Third Hokage asking to take care of Sasuke from Danzo and told his decision to join Akatsuki after leaving the village.
Beyond The Options
What do you think about him? For me personally, it’s surprising. I had read the revealing part when I was in secondary school, and now even still couldn’t get over the fact that I am amazed of what Masashi Kishimoto has brought to us: what’s beyond the cold-blooded Mangekyou Sharingan possessor. Now after the revealed truth, everyone argues that Itachi has to be credited as the hero of Konoha instead.
Emphasizing this character, Itachi Uchiha, both as a person and as a ninja, he had to decide a rational choice for the future of Konoha. In analyzing his decision to accept Danzo’s offer, firstly we had to look for the impact for both offers if each of them were to be chosen, or if were not to be.
In the fact, Itachi accepted the offer to slaughter all members of Uchiha as an option. This strategy is yet explained by Danzo as he wanted to maintain security in Konoha. Choosing this one is a way to avoid a great mass casualties from the war which could be broke out from the coup that already planned by the Uchihas, as Itachi knew since he also played role as Uchiha’s spy. Murdering all Uchihas in overnight would be difficult yet he had to do it otherwise. Furthermore, the peace in Konoha would be maintained as well as the safety of the people within. Itachi had his personal excuse to choose the option, since he was traumatized by the crime of war. He witnessed many people dead and suffered, so that he didn’t want it happen again. The perk of executing this offer is: he could save his innocent little brother, Sasuke Uchiha, alive. Itachi tended to put Sasuke as his priority as well. Despite of accepting the risk of being hated by his younger brother afterwards, he was already well-prepared of plotting his life later on.
Out of his decision, there is Danzo left as Naruto readers criticized him as the mastermind of the genocide of Uchiha, and the object to blame of the ongoing conflicts in shinobi world. During an assembly with Konoha elders discussing about Uchiha’s coup plan, he explained his idea and intention is to save Konoha. However, his tactic was ridiculously vicious. Otherwise, the Third Hokage had tell him not to use ‘violence’ in dealing with the Uchihas as he wanted to take diplomacy way instead. Danzo didn’t believe the idea of the Third Hokage, so that he took advantage of Itachi’s ideology and influenced him to take his strategy. In conclusion, Danzo played as he believes in the notion of ‘end justifies means’. All means and the strategy were used in the goal of saving the village, despite of killing a group of ethnicity within, involving an innocent young guy like Itachi.
Danzo is true in stating that the coup would broke a civil war and then would result another great war with great mass casualties. Yet, as he already had a deep distrust to the clan, I suppose that his offer to Itachi was impatient and unmeasurable. Danzo said that there wasn’t enough time to stop the coup, yet he wanted to wipe out the whole clan overnight instead. There wasn’t also any further clear movement from the Uchihas about the planned coup after the Uchihas meeting which chaired by Fugaku Uchiha, Itachi and Sasuke’s father who is also the chief cop. I had to say that Danzo’s idea was dominated by his full distrust as well as his irrational hate towards Uchiha clan, so that I might say the decision that Itachi took of wasn’t fully a right decision.
The other option is to support the Uchiha coup and contributed in civil war. Well, as Itachi didn’t want to involve in a war and didn’t want to see violence undermined the future of the innocent young shinobis afterwards, the option was crossed. If Itachi chose it, the great shinobi war would probably happen worse than the previous great shinobi war. Konoha would be wrecked as the other villages attacking, and that’s the foremost thing which Itachi actually prevented. Furthermore, he and his young brother wouldn’t be saved since the harmer impact would happen. Then, the great war would left uncertainty in the future of Uchiha as the clan would be known as the trigger of the war. Village officials would put an eye on the clan movements and there would be expulsion as well. In short, both Konoha and Uchiha clan would experience a great harm and disintegration.
Those two difficult options were offered as Itachi was left alone to decide the future of Konoha. His love for his village, Konoha, is profound. No wonder what further dragged his mind to take the decision to keep Konoha survive. He wanted to be a hero as one of his dreams is to become Hokage, yet he was okay that his name weren’t listed as the village safer, but worse as a betrayer. Thus, he was listed in the list of the most dangerous criminals who had to be killed in Konoha.
Moreover, what would happen if Masashi Kishimoto doesn’t put the idea of revealing the truth about Itachi Uchiha? There wouldn’t be a battle between Sasuke and Danzo, indeed. Furthermore, we would never find any fantastic plot of the great shinobi war afterwards. There wouldn’t be any partnership between Itachi and Sasuke to fight against Kabuto using izanami eyes technique in stopping the edo tensei technique. Instead, there would be Sasuke pairing with Obito and Madara in succeeding the eye of the moon plan. Then, there wouldn’t be Orochimaru reviving the four hokages to fight in the battlefield. So on and so forth… Could you imagine that? :)