(暁, Akatsuki; Literally meaning "Dawn")
|Anime||Naruto Episode #81|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga and Game|
Akatsuki (暁; Literally meaning "Dawn" or "Daybreak") is a criminal organization of S-Class missing-nin and is the most wanted group in all of the shinobi world. Their main goal is to collect all of the tailed beasts for their plan of world domination. As such, Akatsuki, despite initially having a minor role during Part I, have become the primary antagonists in Part II.
Akatsuki at any given time is composed of no more than ten primary members, all of whom were S-Class criminals of their own respective villages. Members always work in teams of two with the exception of Zetsu, who functions as the organization's spy, and make use of their unique skills to the team's advantage. Team members must function very well or at least to accomplish their task even though they have a mutual problems with each other. The organization is rarely fully assembled, as seen in the end of Part I, when one member said it was the first time in seven years when they were all together.
Akatsuki is widespread, spanning several countries with agents in various places. When one team finds a tailed beast and has to begin the job of sealing the beast, they have hidden hideouts with many traps ready, to do the three-day long jutsu.
Akatsuki was created for the purpose of collecting the nine tailed beasts. Both Madara Uchiha and Nagato have claimed to be the creators of the organization, the former after leaving Konohagakure, the latter some time after the Third Great Shinobi World War. Nagato is regarded as the "leader" by most of Akatsuki for as long as he is alive, though he takes orders from Madara, who replaced him as leader after his death. Regardless of who created Akatsuki, it is believed that Akatsuki was first formed in Kirigakure. Although there is no known evidence for this rumor (though Madara was apparently once a Mizukage), other villages blame Kirigakure for Akatsuki's actions.
In its early days, Akatsuki was a mercenary group for hire. In times of peace most of the ninja villages, rather than increase their own armaments, employed Akatsuki to fight in wars, spy on enemies, or carry out assassinations. The Fourth Raikage claims that only Kumogakure has never used Akatsuki's services. Eventually, Akatsuki would begin capturing the tailed beasts, in the process antagonizing many of its former clients.
Events relating to Akatsuki before the start of Part II have only been given in pieces. Sasori and Orochimaru were partners for a time and were apparently very effective. Kakuzu had a number of partners that he killed in fits of rage. For this reason he was partnered with Hidan shortly before the start of Part II, Hidan's immortality meaning there would not need to be constant replacements. Itachi Uchiha apparently joined before carrying out the Uchiha Clan Massacre for which he defected from Konoha, though his membership seems to have come with the stipulation that Akatsuki could make no direct movements against Konoha. When Itachi joined, Orochimaru attempted to steal his body in order to gain the Sharingan. This failed and he was forced to defect. Deidara was recruited to replace Orochimaru as Sasori's partner, but because Orochimaru took his Akatsuki ring with him he could not also replace Orochimaru's position. Akatsuki also captured two tailed beasts before Part II, which in the anime are indicated to have been the Five-Tails and the Seven-Tails.
Akatsuki becomes much more active in Part II. At its start they assault Sunagakure to capture the One-Tail, but Sasori is killed. Madara, disguised as "Tobi", replaces him. Next are the Two-Tails and Three-Tails, though Hidan and Kakuzu are lost during an unrelated scuffle with Konoha ninja. After obtaining the Four-Tails, Deidara dies during his fight with Sasuke Uchiha, who soon afterwards kills Itachi too. Sasuke then begins working with Akatsuki. Although Akatsuki has lost five members at this point, Madara claims it was worth it in order to gain Sasuke's loyalty. Despite this, their diminished numbers force Akatsuki to become more drastic in their efforts.
In the anime, Nagato goes to Kirigakure to capture the Six-Tails (the beast having been caught at some earlier point in the manga). He and Konan are then sent to Konoha to capture the Nine-Tails. Konoha is destroyed, but they fail in their assignment, Nagato dying and Konan leaving the organization. At the same time, Sasuke is tasked with capturing the Eight-Tails, but he fails too. Akatsuki's actions finally provoke a response from the ninja villages, who hold a Kage Summit to discuss Akatsuki. Madara, wishing to accelerate his plans, infiltrates the meeting and declares war against the great nations, promising to use the seven tailed beasts Akatsuki has already captured in battle. The villages and their associated countries form a Shinobi Alliance to combat Akatsuki, beginning the Fourth Great Shinobi World War.
Although some members joined Akatsuki to further their own goals, all are united in Akatsuki's ultimate goal of gaining world domination. Nagato has mentioned a three-step process to work their way towards this goal. First, they plan to obtain a large amount of money to support their organization. Second, they plan to set up a mercenary group loyal only to Akatsuki. To build their reputation, they plan to accept any mission below the usual cost and operate off of the excess funds earned in the first part of their plan. Because there haven't been any wars in some time, the established shinobi villages couldn't afford to charge such low prices, leading the smaller countries to hire Akatsuki over the more expensive shinobi villages. By using the tailed beasts, Akatsuki would start wars and then immediately quell them, solidifying their reputation and convincing every country to depend on them, thus cornering the market in shinobi labor. Without any business, the other shinobi villages would collapse due to the lack of funds. Finally, after Akatsuki is the only major force of shinobi in existence, they can easily conquer the other countries. Members do not automatically learn of the plan upon joining; Hidan didn't find out about it until he had been a member for quite some time.
The tailed beasts, nine gigantic demons of immense power, are the main focus of much of Akatsuki's efforts and screen time within the series. Each member is assigned to capture one of the nine beasts alive or, in most cases, the person that beast has been sealed into. Akatsuki has sealed seven of the nine beasts before the start of the Fourth Great Shinobi World War.
Main article: Moon's Eye Plan Since the early years of Konoha, Madara has shown great interest in destroying it for the betrayal of his own Uchiha clan and the defeat by Hashirama Senju. He has also stated that he wants people to acknowledge the Uchiha clan and plans to use Sasuke to do so. Another one of Madara's goals is to become "complete" by collecting the tailed beasts. All of this seem to be part of his "Moon's Eye Plan" (月の眼計画, Tsuki no Me Keikaku). His plan is to gather all of the tailed beasts so he can fuse them and bring forth the Ten-Tailed Beast and become its Jinchūriki, then cast an Infinite Tsukuyomi on the moon to control the world. Currently the body of the Ten-Tailed Beast is sealed in the moon due to Sage of the Six Paths using Chibaku Tensei. To this end, Madara declared a world war to succeed in his goal.
Pain later goes into further detail on the tailed beasts' role in his plans. The beasts would be used to create a deadly Kinjutsu technique that could wipe out one of the five great nations in an instant, so if countries go to war and do not have ninja villages to fight for them, they would turn to Akatsuki and their "weapons". Whichever side makes Pain use the technique first would wipe out the opposing country, which would scare them into never using their weapon again, and scare the other countries to never start a war or they would be wiped out too. Through the mutual fear, war would cease to exist and the world would know peace, until the people forget that fear and use the weapon again. Thus the cycle would repeat, creating small periods of peace in an endless chain of hatred.
Apparently, Pain and Konan were the only Akatsuki members aware of this. After Pain's death and Konan's defection, this goal has been ceased.
After the Uchiha Massacre and leaving Konoha, Itachi, instead of using the tailed beasts for his own self-interest, continued to protect the village by joining Akatsuki and keeping an eye on them, especially Sasuke, from the outside. During his time in the group, Itachi would delay his own attempts to capture the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox, indirectly leaked information about the organization to Konoha, and attempted to kill Madara through Sasuke. Before his death, Itachi gave Naruto some of his "power", telling him to continue protecting Konoha and Sasuke, should the event occur that Sasuke would plan for their village's destruction. The "power" that Itachi gave to Naruto remains unknown.
Akatsuki members have a similar way of dress, which could give them away if a village is alerted of their presence. Members wear long, dark cloaks with red clouds, a red interior, and a chin-high collar (although at one point, Madara wears one with a hood and no sleeves). All members wear nail polish of varying colors on their fingers and toenails, and may wear a conical straw hat with small spike-like balls hanging down to cover their faces. The hats may be used to move around in the general population unnoticed, or for when the weather requires one. Some members tend to wear their village headband with a slash across to symbolize the broken ties with their former villages, while others cease wearing them for several reasons. Everyone also wears a ring with a kanji on different fingers depending on who the member is.
Akatsuki Rings and Ring Positions
What seems to be most important, however, are their rings. In total, there are ten rings given to each of the ten main members of Akatsuki. The rings apparently signify one's membership and ring position, since when Orochimaru defected, he took his ring with him and as such wasn't replaced. The rings' exact purpose have not been revealed.
The various rings are:
- Right thumb: 零 (rei, "zero"); worn by Pain. Its color is dark gray
- Right index finger: 青 (Aoi, shō, "blue," "green"); worn by Deidara. Its color teal.
- Right middle finger: 白 (bya, "white"); worn by Konan. Its color is white.
- Right ring finger: 朱 (shu, "vermilion," "scarlet"); worn by Itachi Uchiha. Its color is red.
- Right little finger: 亥 (gai, "sign of the boar"); worn by Zetsu. Its color is green.
- Left little finger: 空 (kū, "sky," "void"); worn by Orochimaru. Its color is slate blue.
- Left ring finger: 南 (nan, "south"); worn by Kisame Hoshigaki. Its color is yellow.
- Left middle finger: 北 (hoku, "north"); worn by Kakuzu. Its color is dark green.
- Left index finger: 三 (san, "three"); worn by Hidan. Its color is orange.
- Left thumb: 玉 (gyoku, "jewel," "ball," also the black king in shogi); worn by Sasori and later by Tobi. Its color is purple.
Eight of the ten kanji of the rings are taken from a kuji-in (Nine Syllable Seals): a collection of nine hand postures used in meditation. These kuji-in have found their way into ninja folklore as a kind of magic spells. Pain's "rei" and Zetsu's "gai" are not from this kuji-in. However, the only unused kuji-in kanji, 玄 (gen, "mysterious") bears a strong resemblance to Zetsu's "gai," suggesting an error. It would be a consistent error, however, since the "gai" kanji has been used in every instance the ring's kanji has been shown, both in the manga and the data books.
In Part II, Taka aligns themselves with Akatsuki. They wear Akatsuki cloaks, but they seem to have hoods instead of high collars. None of them wear headbands, nail polishes, nor the rings, which signify them being unofficial members. Their inter-group relationship is also fragile, as Sasuke claimed that he is only using Akatsuki, and once severed connections with them when they thought Killer Bee was captured. In turn, Madara threatens to kill them for any attempts of betrayal.
|Member||Status||Village of origin||Reason for joining|
- Amegakure (Village run by Pain, association ended following Pain's death and Konan's defection)
- Kabuto Yakushi (Sasori's underling, defected to Orochimaru, allied with Akatsuki)
- Yūra (Sasori's underling, deceased)
- Mukade (Sasori's underling, deceased)
- Ginji (Kakuzu's banker, status unknown)
- Zangei (Bounty collector, captured)
- Taka (Affiliated group, disbanded, only Sasuke still associated with Akatsuki)
Akatsuki teams are put together in teams of two to exploit combined strengths for the organization's goals to be met.
An unruly yet arguably the most effective team; a team that seemed unstoppable when together, something that Shikamaru commented on for the need to separate the duo. Pain decided to put these two together because of their unique abilities. Hidan could not be killed as a result of becoming the successful "Jashin experiment", even by decapitation, and Kakuzu could easily go into a rage and kill anyone around him, including his partner. Therefore, Kakuzu could go berserk and not worry about Hidan's well-being. They refer to themselves as the "Immortal Combo" (不死コンビ, Fushi Konbi), because of their own methods of avoiding death. Kisame jokingly referred to them as the "Zombie Combo" (ゾンビコンビ, Zonbi Konbi).
They have shown the most hostility towards each other due to a conflict of interest; Kakuzu saw the rituals and beliefs of Hidan's religion to be a waste of time, while Hidan saw Kakuzu's willingness to do blasphemous things and his greediness to be unbearable, not to mention that Kakuzu's job as a bounty hunter usually got on Hidan's nerves. As a result of their sideline in collecting bounties and conducting rituals, this team was usually late in the line of work.
A team that functioned very well with each other, as evidenced by Konan's loyalty towards Pain. Acting as the leader of Akatsuki, Pain directed the rest of the organization to their respective goals; his most direct interaction with the other members was using the Illusionary Dragon Nine Consuming Seals. In addition, Pain was the leader of Amegakure, and used the village as a type of headquarter for Akatsuki, while Konan served as the village's second-in-command.
Sasori claimed that he and Orochimaru worked well together during their partnership. However, when Orochimaru defected from Akatsuki after his failed attempt to steal Itachi's body, Sasori developed a grudge against his former partner.
- Senior: Sasori
- Target(s): One-Tailed Shukaku (Deidara, Sealed), Nine-Tailed Demon Fox (Deidara, Failed)
Formed by the two artists of Akatsuki, Sasori and Deidara worked well for the most part but had conflicting ideas on art. Sasori believed all art was to be kept permanent, such as his puppets, while Deidara thought art was to be instantaneous, then gone forever, such as his Exploding Clay. Ironically though, Sasori was impatient and liked to finish things quickly while Deidara liked to take his time. Sasori also had a network of spies that he manipulated (in the form of mind control) to aid Akatsuki in their affairs. Deidara was formerly a terrorist bomber for hire who was later recruited by Itachi.
- Senior: Deidara
- Target(s): Three-Tailed Giant Turtle (Tobi, Sealed)
Formed after Sasori's death, Tobi was introduced as his easily found replacement. Despite Tobi's eagerness to please his "senpai", his childish attitude was seen as an annoyance to Deidara's expectations of the organization. Despite the eminent irritation, the two worked well together, as evidenced by Tobi planting Deidara's explosive clays underground during Deidara's last stand against Sasuke. Deidara also tries to protect Tobi although the latter usually annoys him with his playful personality.
- Senior: Itachi
- Target(s): Nine-Tailed Demon Fox (Itachi, Failed), Four-Tailed Monkey (Kisame, Sealed), Eight-Tailed Giant Ox (Kisame, Failed)
A team that functioned very well together and was highly effective. The pair completed almost every assignment Pain gave them with little trouble with the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox being the only known exception. With Itachi working as a double agent, however, Itachi failed this mission purposely. Unlike most Akatsuki teams, Itachi and Kisame got along pretty well; Kisame did as Itachi had asked him unquestioningly and they would often converse casually when not in combat. In his battle against Killer Bee, Kisame failed in his mission to capture the Eight Tails. However, this was later shown to be a ploy designed by Madara to infiltrate the Land of Lightning. Before that, however, Kisame was able to capture the Four Tails.
- Function: Spy
Although not exactly a two-man team, Zetsu has two personalities, which effectively makes him a team of two. Since each side has a level of individuality, they frequently argue with each other over which battles to watch, among other things. The two sides can also split apart, allowing each personality to act individually. Both of his sides seem to have an awareness of what the other is doing or thinking, making them a very effective team, although the white half has been shown to have a tendency to ask the black half questions that would be unnecessary if they completely shared their thoughts.
- Senior: Sasuke Uchiha
- Members: Suigetsu Hōzuki, Karin, Jūgo
- Target(s): Eight-Tailed Giant Ox (Failed)
When Akatsuki's ranks are thinned to five members, Madara enlists the aid of Taka, who shares the desire for the destruction of Konoha. To complete their goals, Madara has ordered Taka to hunt down the Eight-Tailed Giant Ox while Akatsuki (particularly Pain) hunts for the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox. Technically, the members of Taka are not full members of Akatsuki, as they do not possess the rings worn by each of the primary members. However, they have been wearing Akatsuki cloaks, signifying their affiliation with the organization. After catching what appeared to be Killer Bee, Sasuke claimed that Taka was no longer affiliated with Akatsuki. Out of all the members, however, only Sasuke chooses to remain affiliated with Madara and Akatsuki after Taka's disbandment.
Creation and Conception
In the Naruto Hiden: Sha no Sho Character Official Data Book, Masashi Kishimoto stated that he had originally planned on making Akatsuki a group of monsters with almost no human characteristics, with Zetsu emphasizing that specifically. He also states that Akatsuki teams get two single rooms to sleep in.
- All members of Akatsuki who have died have either lost or removed their Akatsuki coat before dying. While Nagato is never seen wearing a cloak prior to his death, his Six Paths of Pain are.
- Itachi and Kisame were the first two members of Akatsuki that have been introduced in the series, unless Orochimaru, a former member, counts.
- Hidan and Kakuzu were the only Akatsuki two-man team to have both members eliminated simultaneously.
- In the manga, they seal the Three-Tailed Giant Turtle just before the Two-Tailed Monster Cat, while in the anime, due to the more detailed capture of the Three-Tails, they seal it just before the Four-Tailed Monkey.
- In the anime, after the sealing of the Two-Tailed Monster Cat, Pain stated there are four tailed beasts remaining. Later in the anime after the Three-Tailed Giant Turtle and Four-Tailed Monkey were sealed (making it two tailed beasts remaining) and Taka joins forces with Akatsuki, Kisame states there are three tailed beasts remaining. This retcon was put in place to allow a filler arc, featuring the Six-Tailed Slug.
- Kumogakure is the only one of the five great nations that doesn't have any missing ninja in Akatsuki.
- Konohagakure has the most missing-nin that are or were affiliated with the Akatsuki: Orochimaru, Kabuto Yakushi, Itachi Uchiha, Madara Uchiha and Sasuke Uchiha.
- The three remaining Uchiha after the Uchiha Clan Massacre eventually joined Akatsuki: Itachi, Madara and Sasuke Uchiha.
- Despite suggesting to kill him and his friends when he first met them, Nagato allowed Orochimaru to join Akatsuki.
- ↑ Naruto chapter 329, pages 16-17
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Naruto chapter 329, page 11
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Naruto chapter 329, page 12
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Naruto chapter 329, page 14
- ↑ Naruto chapter 264, page 06
- ↑ Naruto chapter 467, page 20
- ↑ Naruto chapter 436, pages 15-16
- ↑ Naruto chapter 141, page 03
- ↑ Naruto chapter 140, page 05
- ↑ Naruto chapter 353, page 14
- ↑ Hiden: Tō no Sho Character Official Data Book, pages 180-181
- ↑ Naruto chapter 329
- ↑ Naruto chapter 329, pages 08-09