Itachi Uchiha was a child prodigy, turned rogue ninja, turned villain, turned hero. Although his abilities were unmatched, his numerous titles summed him up all but what he really was, a man who loved his brother more than anything. Born into the infamous Uchiha clan, Itachi was surrounded by violent and corrupt minds. Like his best friend Shisui Uchiha, Itachi was a pacifist and wished to avoid war if possible.
When the Uchiha clan planned a coup to take over the Leaf Village, Itachi sided with the Leaf Village and executed his entire clan except his little brother Sasuke. The Third Hokage and the village elders not only knew of Itachi’s devastating plan, they supported it. However, they decided that it would be better if they act as if they had no knowledge of the event and branded Itachi as a murderer. Itachi spent the rest of his life protecting his brother to the best of his ability, keeping him at arm’s length and providing him with the motivation he needed to grow. Although Itachi’s methods may have been unfavorable, he worked tirelessly to do what he felt was right.
10 “It is better not to be optimistic and think that it is an illusion. Pain Is Not An Illusion. This Pain Is Not Absolutely Different From Reality. How Long Will His Spirit Stand?”
Itachi and Kisame got into a heated battle upon their arrival in Konoha. Kakashi, Asuma, Kurenai, and Guy confronted the two Akatsuki members in an attempt to subdue them. Kakashi fought Itachi alone by underestimating his genjutsu. Kakashi believed that his Sharingan made him less vulnerable to Itachi’s attacks. He was wrong.
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Kakashi was subjected to gruesome torture while trapped within Itachi’s genjutsu. After being stabbed repeatedly while he was tied to a cross, Kakashi tried to convince himself that none of his pain was real. Itachi immediately interrupted his thoughts, telling him that his efforts were useless. Not only was his pain real, but only one second of his 72-hour sentence had elapsed. This moment showed the extent of Itachi’s incredible power.
9 “Forgive me Sasuke, some other time, okay?”
Sasuke constantly wanted to spend time with his older brother when he was younger. Itachi was a child prodigy and Sasuke wanted nothing more than to be trained by the brother he loved and respected. Unfortunately for Sasuke, Itachi was always too busy. Every time Sasuke asked him to spend time with him, he responded by slapping him on the forehead and telling him “another time”.
Although Itachi didn’t seem to mind spending time with Sasuke, fans later learned that Itachi distanced himself from Sasuke to protect him. To get his brother away from the burden he carried, Itachi sacrificed precious time with the person he loved the most.
8 “You don’t have enough… No, you totally lack… The greed, for human life.”
Even when Orochimaru was a member of the Akatsuki, his sinister goals were the same. Orochimaru wanted a powerful body that he could inhabit. One day he naively tried to attack Itachi and quickly got caught up in his genjutsu. Itachi informed Orochimaru that his attacks were useless and that he could see through any jutsu he used.
Itachi went on to say that he didn’t know what to do with him, but he could see that he had little regard for human life. As Itachi continued to berate Orochimaru, he moved to launch a deadly attack. If it wasn’t for Kabuto, Itachi would have added another impressive feat to his resume: killing a Legendary Sannin.
7 “You’re weak. And you’re weak because you don’t have enough hate.”
Sasuke and Itachi first clashed after the Uchiha massacre, when Sasuke discovered that his older brother was after Naruto. Sasuke launched several attacks filled with rage, but in the end he was soundly defeated by Itachi. Itachi not only beat his younger brother mercilessly, but also subjected him to a genjutsu that forced him to relive the murder of his clan.
Once Itachi put Sasuke in a devastated state, he told him that he didn’t have enough hate to defeat him. Although this seemed like an evil deal to Naruto, Kisame and Jiraiya who witnessed this happening, in reality Itachi was trying to motivate his brother the only way he could.
6 “Why do you care so much about my little brother?”
After spending some time away training with Jiraiya, Naruto was prepared to fight Itachi when he saw him again. To his surprise, Itachi just wanted to talk. He wanted to know how much Naruto cared about Sasuke, and how far he would go to stop him.
In one of Itachi’s rare good-natured moments, he smiled when Naruto declared that he considered Sasuke like a brother, and that he would get him home safe and sound.
5 “I’ve given you some of my powers. Though I hope the day never comes when you have to use them.”
During their conversation within Itachi’s genjutsu, Itachi forces one of his ravens down Naruto’s throat. He tells her that he’s giving her some of his power, but hopes he doesn’t have to use it. This strange act makes no sense until the beginning of the Fourth Shinobi War.
After Kabuto used the Reanimation Jutsu, Itachi, along with other powerful deceased ninjas, was forced to fight his comrades. The raven inside Naruto contained Shisui’s eye. Itachi summoned the crow and used Shisui’s mind control dojutsu, Kotoamatsukami, to break free of Kabuto’s control. Itachi intended for Naruto to use this technique if he couldn’t convince Sasuke to give up seeking revenge on him.
4 “In order to survive, we cling to everything we know and understand.”
When the long-awaited battle between Itachi and Sasuke finally began, Itachi harassed Sasuke with unwanted conversation. Sasuke was eager to dispatch all the powerful jutsu he had learned, as he finally felt powerful enough to kill the man he had hated for most of his life. At first, Sasuke’s attacks had no effect, Itachi used his genjutsu to create various illusions. As the tension between them grew, Sasuke asked Itachi about another person who possessed the Sharingan.
As Itachi sat in his chair unaffected by the sword Sasuke plunged into his chest, he told him that he was Madara Uchiha. Sasuke was furious believing that his brother was making fun of him, to his understanding Madara Uchiha was dead. Itachi responded by summarizing the pain Sasuke held for years. Sasuke survived by holding on to what he had been told was true.
3 “No matter how powerful you are, don’t try to carry everything alone. If you do, you will surely fail.”
Before leaving Naruto to find Kabuto and break his Reanimation Jutsu, Itachi wanted to warn Naruto. Naruto was used to carrying the load by himself. As he grew older and gained power that surpassed that of his father Minato and his sensei Jiraiya, he instinctively faced threats from villains alone, such as his fight with Pain.
When Naruto rushed into the battlefield during the Fourth Shinobi War, he held to his belief that he would be the one to end it. Recognizing this, Itachi explained to Naruto that putting more pressure on himself would result in him becoming like Madara Uchiha.
2 “Becoming Hokage Doesn’t Mean People Recognize You. But When People Recognize You, You Become Hokage. Never Forget Your Friends.”
As Naruto rejected Sasuke’s claim that he would become the next Hokage, he reflected on the words Itachi shared earlier that day. One is not recognized after reaching a position of power, he reaches that position after having earned the respect of the people around him.
Naruto was quick to pass on the wisdom Itachi shared, letting Sasuke know that his brother understood that one can only lead if the people around him trust him to do so.
1 “I Will Always Love You.”
Once Itachi forced Kabuto to release the Reanimation Jutsu, he only had a few moments with his younger brother before his soul disappeared. Itachi wanted Sasuke to know the truth. Although he admitted to doing everything Madara and Obito described, he regretted drifting away from Sasuke.
Itachi told Sasuke that he felt remorse for keeping the truth from him, and that he now believed that things would have been different if he had been honest with him from the beginning. Despite his mistakes, there was one unchanging truth: Itachi always loved and will love Sasuke.