|“||"If I had been open with you from the start… and looked you straight in the eyes and told you the truth, then I wouldn't have had to stand before you, from above, as a failure, telling you all of this. So this time, I want to impart this truth to you… You don't even have to forgive me. And no matter what you do from here on out, know this… I will love you always."||„|
|~ ~Itachi's final words to his brother|
Itachi Uchiha (うちはイタチ|Uchiha Itachi) was one of the supporting characters and an anti-villain in the Naruto franchise. He was an ANBU Captain and a prodigy from Konohagakure's famed Uchiha clan. He had joined the criminal organization Akatsuki to serve as a double-spy, to later become an S-rank missing-nin as he participated in murder of his entire clan on orders from higher-ups, in what would become known as the Uchiha clan massacre, defecting from the village subsequently.
He was also the son of Fugaku Uchiha and Mikoto Uchiha, and the older brother of Sasuke Uchiha.
He is voiced by Hideo Ishikawa in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Crispin Freeman in the English version of the anime.
Since his childhood, Itachi was quiet and insightful. He lived at a distance, observing individuals and ideas without getting directly involved so he can fully understand them. Although this prevented him from becoming close to many people, it enabled him to think and act without prejudice or preconceptions, instead evaluating things strictly on their own merits. He would think about shinobi and origins of the village and its future. For this reason he never had the self-righteous loyalty to his clan that so common among the Uchiha: the Curse of Hatred. Although he loved his family and wanted the best for his clan, he knew there were more important things than the Uchiha's aspirations. Despite being a pacifist, Itachi felt his own needs were secondary to the greater goods; to that end he became a shinobi. He trained tirelessly to improve himself as quickly as he could and subjected himself to the shinobi life's inconveniences without complaint for the simple motivation to be useful to others. Being an accomplished ninja enabled Itachi to approach problems less violently than others would, satisfying his peace-loving nature. These two extremes of his personality came into conflict as events towards the Uchiha Clan Downfall; he did not want to harm his family and sought a peaceful resolution, but knew the path with the least bloodshed would be the clan's extermination. As the inevitability of the clan's massacre became apparent, Itachi's normally polite attitude to his clansmen became more violent, criticizing them openly and lashing out at them for the choices that sealed their fates and his own.
Despite the trauma he endured from killing his parents, Itachi did not blame those among Konoha's leadership who gave him the mission; though he did not trust Danzo on a personal level, he knew Danzo only had the village's best interest at heart. But Itachi - partly out of the necessity of his assignment to join Akatsuki - was greatly changed after the massacre, never showing any emotion. He became more prone to displays of force and permitted certain violent habits of Kisame under the pretence that it furthered Akatsuki's goals. Itachi could not and would not fully shake his pacifistic ways and would run from a confrontation or rein in Kisame in the likelihood of collateral damage became too high for themselves and others. While Kisame would sometimes protect, he considered Itachi a good friend and followed his instructions. Protecting Konoha was always the forefront in Itachi's mind, but it was his dedication to Sasuke that always his main priority. From the time Sasuke was born, Itachi tasked himself with looking after him. They'd spend whole days together in the woods having adventures and accomplishing self-appointed missions. When Itachi became an accomplished ninja and took much of their father's attention, he would make special time for Sasuke in order to make him happy. Sasuke, wishing to be like his older brother, would often ask Itachi to train him. Itachi almost never did so, poking him on the forehead and promising to train him next time, none of which were never kept. It was Sasuke's safety that ultimately convinced Itachi to go through with killing the rest of the Uchiha, believing his own damnation was worth it if it meant Sasuke's survival. Even though he did it for Sasuke, Itachi wanted to be punished his crimes and decided Sasuke would be the one to take vengeance against him. To push Sasuke towards this direction, Itachi lied about his reasons for the massacre and took on the persona of a man who never loved his brother. His actions in Akatsuki were meant to reinforce this persona and whenever he met Sasuke over the years, he would taunt his weakness and encourage him to get strong enough to kill him. His plan was that, once he had been killed, Sasuke would be hailed as a hero. Itachi never wanted Sasuke to learn the truth surrounding the Uchiha's demise, and if he did, Itachi hoped the memory of a hateful brother would cause Sasuke to not believe it.
After he died and was reanimated, Itachi discovers that his plan largely failed; Sasuke is not a hero, he did find out the truth about what Itachi did, and now aims to destroy Konoha. Naruto points out the flaw in Itachi's plan: he had been trying to manipulate Sasuke rather than be honest with him and trust his own strength. Acknowledging this mistake, Itachi is free to be himself instead of the persona he fabricated, being openly kind to other and displaying a dry sense of humor, even in stressful situations. He is finally open with Sasuke when they meet again, admitting what he did and even sharing information Sasuke did not know about. He apologizes to Sasuke for failing in his responsibilities as an older brother, wondering if being honest with Sasuke from the beginning might have prevent the Uchiha's demise. In their final moment together, Itachi tells Sasuke that he does not need forgiveness and that he will always love him no matter what.
A child whose genius manifested at a young age, Itachi's teachers at the Academy noted that his progress hardly required any help, having been quickly promoted through the ninja ranks while still a child, further showing his remarkable capacities and ultimately gaining great prowess with all of the three main types of techniques. In his battles, Itachi was shown to be an immensely powerful ninja and gained praise from allies and foes alike. During his battle against Kakashi Hatake, Kurenai Yūhi, and Asuma Sarutobi, Kakashi commented that Itachi was not fighting with even half his strength despite clearly pressuring his enemies. Orochimaru, reputed as one of the three legendary Sannin, openly admitted Itachi was stronger than he was. Tobi has also stated that Itachi never ceased to amaze him. Despite his own impressive abilities, Itachi never underestimated his opponents, given his praise of Jiraiya, in which he noted to Kisame that, provided he had the latter's help, if he fought Jiraiya, they would either kill each other or Itachi himself would lose. Even on the verge of death, Itachi was still too strong for Sasuke to defeat in their final battle and though he was pressured by his brother repeatedly, he eventually turned the tides while still holding back and could have killed him had he actually wanted to.
Chakra and Physical Prowess
As an Uchiha, Itachi's chakra was naturally strong, but his actual reserves were greatly diminished due to his terminal illness. Under normal circumstances, just three uses of his Mangekyō Sharingan in a single day made him unable to use his Sharingan and he would require significant bed rest afterwards to regain his strength. This prevented him from participating in prolonged battles and limited his usage of powerful techniques a day before needing significant rest and it was over-exerting himself in his battle with Sasuke purposefully that led to his death. Itachi had very refined chakra control, however, which compensated for this, even able to perform his techniques with one-handed seals.
Although not his preferred method of combat, Itachi was extremely skilled with taijutsu – enough to easily defeat three members of the Konoha Military Police Force at the age of Eleven. He also effortlessly countered Sasuke's attacks and brutally beat him in their first fight despite Sasuke's taijutsu skills at the time rivaling Rock Lee and could still outmatch Sasuke in close combat unarmed even when Sasuke was using his sword and having greatly improved. He had exceptional speed and reflexes, rivalling Shisui's own renowned speed. His quickness was particularly noted with his hand movements, able to make hand seals too fast to be perceived normally; even skilled Sharingan-users had difficulty keeping track of him. His speed allowed him to immediately move great distances in an instant as if by displacing himself, giving his opponent little chance to react or initiate a counter-attack. His physical strength is also noteworthy, able to casually backhand Sasuke and make him badly bleed and knock him out with a few punches as well as crush his hand with ease and could even clash with Kisame wielding Samehada and Sasuke's sword evenly.
Itachi could summon crows, which he would typically call forth in flocks to swarm opponents and distract them. He even integrated crows into clones of himself that would draw opponents' attacks. He was likewise able to create shadow clones and from which could lure in opponents before exploding. Itachi was also well-versed in fūinjutsu, particularly those that would activate in the presence of a specific person's Sharingan. From his time in Anbu, Itachi became proficient in stealth, infiltration, and assassination.
As a fully-trained Konoha Anbu, Itachi was skilled with a sword, which was his primary weapon during the Uchiha Clan Downfall. He used Sasuke's sword rather adequately when fighting Kabuto, deflecting his attacks, before returning the weapon to Sasuke. Like many Uchiha, he specialised and was advanced in shurikenjutsu and to a different level. Even as a child, Itachi could perfectly hit an intricate set of eight targets, one of which was hidden in a blind spot, by accurately deflecting his projectile off another one to redirect both projectiles' path in mid-air. His throwing speed was imperceptible and superior to Sasuke and was able to keep up with even his brother's Summoning: Lightning Flash Blade Creation. He was equally comfortable with kunai, able to use them to spar with opponents wielding swords. In the anime, he learned advanced sleight-of-hand from Shisui to give his opponents even less time to react.
Itachi's nature transformations included Fire, Water, Wind, Yin, and Yang Release. As an Uchiha, he had a natural affinity for Fire Release, mastering the clan's Great Fireball Technique at a very young age. He would often coat shuriken with fire to increase their offensive capacities. With Water Release, Itachi could perform the advanced Water Dragon Bullet Technique without an external water source, as well as shape existing water into tendrils to strike his opponents from behind.
Consistent with his pacifist nature, Itachi specialised in genjutsu, where the illusions would typically involve crows. Regarded as one of Konohagakure's best users, even without the aid of his Sharingan, his illusions have remarkable potency, able to seamlessly affect his targets without them realising it, while on guard, and also perform them by merely pointing at his target. He is noted by Ao to have such high prowess that he could use genjutsu to control other individuals outside the range of even the Sensor Division. Itachi could also use genjutsu to share information or psychologically disable opponents, letting him end the fight instantly.
Itachi awakened the Sharingan at age eight, after witnessing his team-mate Tenma Izumo's death, and soon after mastered it. From a young age, he demonstrated skill and power superior to most members of his clan. In the anime, his prowess and exploits with it earned him great fame as "Itachi of the Sharingan" (写輪眼のイタチ, Sharingan no Itachi). He tends to keep his Sharingan active near-constantly with minimal drain on his chakra levels. The Sharingan allows Itachi to see the flow of chakra, predict movements, as well as facilitate his use of genjutsu. Against other genjutsu users, he could turn their genjutsu against them. Also, with the Sharingan he could perform Izanami, a counterpart to the more dangerous Izanagi.
Itachi awakened the Mangekyō Sharingan after witnessing Shisui's suicide. Its design was three spiralling curves around the pupil. With both eyes, he could use Tsukuyomi, a genjutsu that trapped opponents' minds in an illusory world, altering their perception of time. With his right eye he could use Amaterasu, igniting whatever he looked at with black flames that would burn anything, including fire itself. He had the ability to extinguish Amaterasu.
Having awakened the Mangekyō in both his eyes, Itachi could also use Susanoo. With its simplest manifestations, he could produce extra arms or bones to improve his options in a fight. When used in full, Itachi was surrounded by a spectral warrior that would protect him from damage. In addition to the chakra swords and Yasaka Magatama common to all Susanoo, Itachi's Susanoo wielded the Sword of Totsuka – an ethereal sword with the ability to seal any person it pierced into its gourd—hilt – and the Yata Mirror – a shield that was said to reflect any attack by changing its chakra nature to counterbalance an attack. The simultaneous use of both weapons made Itachi's Susanoo essentially invincible.
Using any of these techniques required large amounts of chakra. If he used these techniques too often in a short span of time, Itachi would become so fatigued that he would deactivate his Sharingan altogether. Every time he used his Mangekyō Sharingan his eyesight deteriorated, a process that would progressively worsen on each occasion. Early uses of the Mangekyō would only cause his eyes to bleed, but by the end of his life he reached the point where he was nearly blind, most things looking to him like mere blurs. He does not suffer these shortcomings after his reincarnation and can use all his Mangekyō techniques without problems.
Itachi was a highly intelligent individual, having the second highest scores in the history of the Academy behind Minato Namikaze despite the differences in age at the academy, with Itachi graduating at age 7 and Minato at age 10. Composed and observant; he thought very quickly and remained calm in a fight, enabling him to respond with maximum efficiency and with the smallest likelihood of misjudging circumstances. Even at a young age, he was always calculating and methodical in his approach to the situation at hand, leaving little room for error. He took several precautions for Sasuke and against Tobi that he planned would activate after his death. Even Tobi admitted if he didn't keep some secrets from Itachi, he might have been killed by Itachi's trap.
- Despite the rare times they got to spend time together, Itachi was the one who taught Sasuke shurikenjutsu and Sasuke picked up Itachi's habit of pulling off tactical tricks in combat.
- Itachi had a girlfriend named Izumi Uchiha, whom he killed on the night of the massacre. This is mentioned once in the series by Tobi but more information on their relationship is revealed in the novel Itachi Shinden.
- In the anime Itachi did not kill Izumi, but it was Obito Uchiha who was the Masked Madara Uchiha.