The Itachi Pursuit Arc is from Part II of the series, and spans from chapters 343 to 402 of the manga. In the Naruto: Shippūden anime, it began with episode 113 to 118, and then spanned episodes 121 to 143 with the two episode adaptation of Kakashi Gaiden shown in the interim. In the third databook, this arc is called the "Itachi Pursuit" (イタチ追跡, Itachi Tsuiseki) while the anime DVDs call it the "Master's Prophecy and Vengeance" chapter. Portions of this arc are sometimes considered separate arcs. Collectively, this arc details Konoha's Eight Man Squad's and Sasuke's task of finding Itachi Uchiha, as well as Jiraiya's confrontation with the S-rank organisation Akatsuki's leader Pain. This arc is preceded by the Hidan and Kakuzu Arc in the manga and the Three-Tails Arc in the anime and followed by the Invasion of Pain Arc in the manga and the Tsuchigumo Kinjutsu Arc in the anime.
Sasuke vs. Orochimaru
At Orochimaru's lair, a sick Orochimaru was confined to his bed. As Kabuto exited to get more medicine, a blade made of lightning chakra shot towards Orochimaru through the door. Orochimaru quickly blocked it with his arms, and thought to himself that he did not recognise the shape manipulation, although the chakra itself seemed familiar. The blade belonged to Sasuke, who had stopped by to finish Orochimaru off before he left to take on Itachi. He claimed that he had nothing more to learn from Orochimaru and then continued by mocking him for wasting his power and time, which angered Orochimaru.
After pinning Orochimaru's arms to the wall, Sasuke attempted to deliver a finishing blow, forcing Orochimaru to abandon his body and reveal his true form, a composite serpent-like entity made up of small white snakes. Sasuke activated his cursed seal level 2, and began to fight Orochimaru. He compared Orochimaru's ambitions to how a snake dreams of flying, and told him that he would only get that chance in the talons of a hawk, as he sprouted his Cursed Seal wings.
After he severed Orochimaru's head from his body, Sasuke believed he had won. However, Orochimaru's poison paralysed Sasuke, and the former then lunged at him, swallowing him whole. Sasuke found himself inside Orochimaru: the place where the body-transfer technique took place. Orochimaru relived a flashback of when he confronted Itachi while in Akatsuki. He found Sasuke's eyes to be similar to those of Itachi's on that day, and anticipated taking possession of those eyes. However, Sasuke took over the dimension with his Sharingan and cursed seal, and proceeded to turn the technique against Orochimaru. After the fight, Kabuto returned with the medicines, but viewed a scene consisting of Sasuke standing over Orochimaru. Kabuto asked Sasuke which one he was, to which Sasuke replied by showing Kabuto what had happened. Sasuke stated that he had merely taken over.
After defeating his mentor, Sasuke freed Suigetsu, whom Orochimaru had imprisoned in a glass tank filled with water. Sasuke led Suigetsu to the Land of Waves, to retrieve Zabuza Momochi's sword from his grave. Upon their arrival, Sasuke noticed the bridge that was being built during his time there as a Konoha genin, which was now named the Great Naruto Bridge. Upon retrieving the sword, Suigetsu explained that he had trained under the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist (which his senior, Zabuza, had belonged to). With the sword, he claimed, he might even be able to beat Sasuke. After picking it up, they headed for their next target.
In the anime, it turned out that the sword was not beside Zabuza's grave, and that a man named Tenzen had claimed it for himself. Sasuke and Suigetsu asked the residents of the village where they could find him. Eventually, they discovered that he resided in a castle south-east of the village. Overnight, Sasuke intruded the castle, and threatened Tenzen to prepare an army of over a thousand men. The next day, Sasuke and Suigetsu prepared to invade the castle. Sasuke offered a wager with Suigetsu, to whoever could retrieve the sword first. Suigetsu later suggested that this had merely been a chance for Sasuke to witness Suigetsu's abilities, which Sasuke neither confirmed nor denied. After a successful attempt of retrieving the sword, they both departed for their next target — Karin.
After arriving at the base, Sasuke and Suigetsu met Karin, who had sensed their arrival. Sasuke told Karin to join him, which surprised her. Sasuke replied that, since Orochimaru was now gone, there was no need for her to continue to keep watch over the prisoners she was currently guarding, and told an annoyed Suigetsu to free them. Karin relented, but still refused to go. Sasuke decided that he would just have to find someone else. However, Karin had a quick change of personality, and agreed to go if he really wanted her to. Suigetsu advised that they leave, since Karin clearly didn't want to go. When Sasuke said she had changed her mind, Karin put her glasses back on after attempting to flirt with Sasuke, and denied this in a rather embarrassed manner, saying that she was coincidentally going the same way they were, at least for the moment.
As the three made their way to the Northern Hideout, Karin explained that Sasuke's next target, Jūgo, was the means behind Orochimaru's development of the cursed seals. When the group got there, prisoners infected with the cursed seal surrounded Sasuke's group. When Karin informed them that Jūgo was not among the prisoners, Sasuke and Suigetsu disposed of them without killing them, as instructed by Sasuke. Having found the keys to Jūgo's cell, Karin used her tracking ability to find him, misleading Suigetsu to the wrong direction while she was at it. At Jūgo's cell, Karin unlocked the door, and Sasuke went in first.
Jūgo, who had decided that if the first person to open the door was a male, he would kill him, seemed delighted to see Sasuke, and rushed in for the kill. Sasuke failed in his attempts to reason with Jūgo. Jūgo and Sasuke had a quick cursed seal battle, before it was interrupted by the arrival of Suigetsu. Suigetsu then appeared to take over the fight, explaining that beating Jūgo to a pulp was the only way to calm him. Jūgo morphed his piston arm into a massive forearm blade to deal with Suigetsu. After they ignored Sasuke's requests to stop, Sasuke wrapped the two in summoned snakes and exuded an enormous amount of killing intent. Jūgo's transformation receded, and he suddenly rushed back to his cell, demanding they lock it. Karin explained that, while the rage-driven Jūgo might be violent and bloodthirsty, Jūgo himself had no desire to harm anyone.
Jūgo finally agreed to go with Sasuke after hearing that Kimimaro, who was consistently able to stop Jūgo's rage-driven rampages, had died to bring Sasuke to Orochimaru. With his team gathered and dubbed "Hebi" by Sasuke, Sasuke revealed their goal: to kill his brother, Itachi. Suigetsu, who wanted to take Kisame's sword for himself, was willing to participate, as Kisame was currently partnered with Itachi. Karin, being enamoured with Sasuke, also agreed to help, although she was unwilling to admit that her admiration was the reason. (Suigetsu teased her about it, saying that he knew about something Karin did to Sasuke a while before. However, Karin punched Suigetsu in the face before he could reveal her secret). Finally, Jūgo acquiesced to see how strong Sasuke was, believing he was Kimimaro's reincarnation.
Sakura arrived at Naruto's home to tell him to wash up and get ready. They met up with Tsunade and Jiraiya, and Tsunade informed them of Orochimaru's death at Sasuke's hands, which Jiraiya's most trusted sources had confirmed. Both Naruto and Sakura seemed very happy to hear the news, expecting that, now that Orochimaru was dead, Sasuke would finally return to Konoha. However, Jiraiya told them that that was not exactly the case.
In Konoha, Naruto and Sakura came to the same conclusion as Sasuke, reasoning that his desire for revenge would drive him to kill Itachi. Therefore, they decided the simplest path to Sasuke was to find Itachi. As both teams resolved to find Itachi, both he and Kisame waited for the leader to contact them after having captured Rōshi, the host of the Four-Tails. Once they got into contact with their leader, Akatsuki went over the recent deaths of Hidan, Kakuzu, and Orochimaru, and Sasuke's new team. Knowing that Sasuke could potentially disrupt their plans, the leader warned everyone to be careful, especially Itachi and Kisame.
In Konoha, Kakashi discussed the overall plan to find Itachi and Kisame. Since simply killing Itachi first would make finding Sasuke impossible, they needed to capture him. For that purpose, Team Kakashi was joined by Team 8. Meanwhile, Sasuke took his team to an old Uchiha outpost run by allies of the Uchiha clan in order to stock up on supplies. After Akatsuki finished sealing the Four-Tails, Deidara and Tobi decided to either track down Kakashi and Naruto or go after Sasuke.
As Deidara and Tobi searched for either of their two targets, the two teams split up. The Konoha ninja split into groups of three: one ninja and two of Kakashi's ninken. Naruto was accompanied by Hinata and Yamato, due to Akatsuki's pursuit of him. Meanwhile, Sasuke's group split up to gather information on Akatsuki. As they searched, the Ninken accompanying Sakura caught Sasuke's scent. Her search led her into a city, but she was unable to find Sasuke. As she walked through a crowd, the ninken commented how the scent was "moving away", just as Karin was walking past her.
Kabuto revealed himself to Naruto's group, and gave them a book that detailed everything they had learned about Akatsuki. He thanked Naruto for inspiring him to find his own purpose in life, and revealed that he had absorbed Orochimaru's remains into himself: about one-third of his body was now Orochimaru's. With it, he planned to become stronger than Orochimaru. After evading Naruto and Yamato, he explained that he needed to control Orochimaru's power, which was slowly taking over his body, after which he would come after Sasuke for killing Orochimaru.
Sasuke vs. Deidara
Elsewhere, Deidara and Tobi attacked Sasuke. Deidara attempted to attack from above using a bomb, but Sasuke used Hidden Shadow Snake Hands to wrap himself with a snake as a shield. Tobi also attempted an attack, but he was scared of Sasuke, and fled from him. Deidara told Tobi he was to handle Sasuke, and tested him with small C1 spiders. Sasuke used the Chidori Senbon to stop the bombs. He then jumped behind Deidara, who used a bomb to distance himself. But Sasuke managed to avoid the bomb. Realising Sasuke's abilities were great; Deidara used C2 next, and summoned a clay dragon as a battle partner. The dragon then regurgitated a cluster of land mines to which Tobi said they were going with "that". Sasuke attacked with Chidori Sharp Spear, but Deidara was out of range. While Sasuke was busy with Deidara, Tobi planted the latter's mines around the field.
Deidara sent a new C2 bomb after Sasuke, and he activated his Cursed Seal level 2 to block the blast (at the cost of one of his wings). He shot two giant shuriken at Deidara. Deidara avoided them, but Sasuke attached wires to them. They impaled Deidara's arms against the dragon, and Sasuke flew up with his Chidori sword and severed one of the dragon's wings off. Deidara fell to the ground toward his land mines which subsequently destroyed the dragon. Tobi cried out for Deidara, but Deidara (who earlier had dislodged the shuriken and was now safely atop one of his clay birds) told him to be quiet. He looked into Sasuke's Sharingan and remembered when he had first saw them in Itachi.
He was once approached by Itachi, Kisame, and Sasori for a proposal. Deidara was chosen to be in Akatsuki, but had refused, loving his position as a terrorist bomber, claiming his works as art and as invincible, and how their beauty came when they exploded. Sasori was interested in Deidara for being an artist and having guts, but claimed he was arrogant and could get himself killed quickly. Itachi decided to fight Deidara, claiming that, if Itachi won, Deidara would join Akatsuki, but if he lost, Deidara was free to go. Itachi shielded himself from Deidara's bombs with shadow clones, and, after a short fight, finished him off with a Sharingan genjutsu, making it seem like Itachi had gained control of Deidara's bombs, and was about to finish Deidara with one. He stopped the genjutsu and freed Deidara, but Deidara was still forced to join for his loss. Deidara was angered at Itachi and the Sharingan, refusing to accept it as an art.
In his fight with Sasuke, Deidara used C4, his most powerful bomb. It exploded, and appeared to have killed Sasuke, but it was simply a Sharingan genjutsu from Sasuke, the same one Itachi had used. Sasuke then appeared to have constricted him with one of his bombs, but the genjutsu was dispelled by Deidara, as he revealed his left eye could dispel genjutsu, and since Sasuke had held back when using the technique, unlike Itachi, Deidara was able to dispel it. Deidara tried another C4 on Sasuke using his last bit of chakra, and went to a safe distance, but Sasuke shielded it one last time with his Chidori Current. He then jumped right next to Deidara and gave him a powerful punch to the face.
Realising that Deidara was out of chakra and could not get up, Sasuke asked where Itachi was. Deidara did not answer, and became enraged due to Sasuke being indifferent and uncaring towards his art. He then turned himself into a bomb in a suicide attempt to kill Sasuke. However, Sasuke summoned the snake, Manda, as a shield, and teleported both of them with a technique, at the cost of Manda's life. His team found him after seeing the explosion, and he went with them to rest, explaining what had happened.
Meetings with Itachi
After seeing the explosion, Naruto's team headed to it, and Kiba tracked Sasuke's scent. Back with Hebi, Sasuke asked what everyone had found out about Itachi. Suigetsu and Karin had found nothing, but Jūgo had communicated with the birds, who were able to sense Akatsuki's chakra coming out of their hideouts, which he had marked on a map. They decided to go to the most recently used one to find Itachi. Meanwhile, Itachi headed to an Uchiha hideout, and sent two clones, one to find Naruto, and the other to find Sasuke.
As Naruto's team went to find Sasuke, Karin could sense that they were coming, and informed Sasuke. Hebi then left, and went to the Akatsuki hideout. Before that, Karin realised that the team possessed scent trackers, so she asked Jūgo to have the birds tear up one of Sasuke's shirts, which had a very strong amount of Sasuke's scent on it, and scatter the pieces to throw off Naruto's team. It succeeded, and Kiba could no longer track Sasuke's scent. Naruto realised that they needed to split up, and Naruto encountered Itachi's clone. Itachi claimed that he only wished to talk, but Naruto knew he needed to catch Itachi. Naruto created a shadow clone that attacked with a Big Ball Rasengan, but Itachi was a clone as well. The real Itachi caught Naruto in a Sharingan genjutsu. In the illusion, Itachi asked why Naruto cared for Sasuke so much, to which Naruto claimed that Sasuke was like a brother to him, and that he was more of a brother to Sasuke than Itachi was. When Itachi went on the offensive with his genjutsu, Naruto dispelled it. Itachi then dispelled the clone, having run out of time to talk.
The other clone encountered Sasuke at the Akatsuki hideout. After a short greeting, Sasuke attacked the clone with his Chidori Sharp Spear, but Itachi substituted himself with a shadow clone as a shield. Sasuke was then caught in the clone's Sharingan genjutsu, but he easily dispelled it. Itachi then destroyed the clone, telling Sasuke to go to the nearby Uchiha hideout so they could end their dispute. Sasuke and the rest of Hebi go to the hideout. Sasuke encounters two of Naruto's shadow clones, so he destroys them with Chidori Current punches, and the team continues on. Naruto figures out where Sasuke is, so Naruto's Team goes in pursuit of him. Unfortunately, Naruto's Team encounters Tobi. Naruto attempts two Big Ball Rasengan with shadow clones, but the attacks are absorbed by Tobi. Naruto's team then prepares to finish Tobi off. Meanwhile, Sasuke encounters Kisame, who asks Sasuke to continue on by himself, since Itachi doesn't want interferences. Sasuke had no argument, and left his team with Kisame. Suigetsu and Kisame then prepared to fight for the Samehada. Sasuke then went to the hideout, and prepared to battle Itachi.
Jiraiya vs. Pain
Jiraiya told Tsunade that he was going to personally gather information regarding the Akatsuki in the most probable place: Amegakure. Seconds after Jiraiya successfully entered the village; however, he was detected by a silent security set up by Pain. Konan was quickly dispatched to locate Jiraiya.
Jiraiya kidnapped two ninjas from the Amegakure, and learnt about the power of Pain. Before acting further, Jiraiya instructed Gerotora to leave him and store himself in Naruto should anything happen to him, speculating that Madara Uchiha was responsible for the Nine-Tails attack on Konoha in the past. Konan located Jiraiya, and informed Pain, who had changed bodies in a secret chamber. Konan then went ahead and attacked Jiraiya, who fought, evenly matched, with her for a short time. Jiraiya then spoke about his past with Konan, Yahiko, and Nagato. Pain then showed up, and attacked Jiraiya. Pain then told Jiraiya that he wanted all to suffer like he had done as a child, so they would stop fighting and would mature like he had done. After a little while, Jiraiya entered Sage Mode, and summoned the toads, Shima and Fukasaku. Pain then summoned two of his other bodies, and launched into an evenly matched, high level fight with Jiraiya.
Despite being in his strongest form, Jiraiya fought a losing battle, eventually ending up with his arm cut off by his former student. Jiraiya had a flash back to when he first met the Toad Sage, who had told him that he would be a pervert, would travel the world, would write a book, and would train the destined child who would either save or destroy the world. He believed this to be Pain. During the fight, Jiraiya learnt Pain's secret (although it wasn't revealed) and his throat was crushed, along with being stabbed by five of Pain's bodies. As he lay dying, with five swords in his back, he had a flashback of a conversation he had had with Minato and Kushina (Naruto's parents), about how they wanted to name their son after the character in his book, thereby making him Naruto's godfather. Remembering this, he forced himself back to life with his own willpower, and writes a message on Fukasaku's back. He said he now believed that Naruto was the destined child, and that it was up to him to decide his future. The Asura Path then shot his fist at Jiraiya and Fukasaku and destroyed the slab of concrete that Jiraiya was lying on. Jiraiya then drifted off into the water to his death while thinking about what he'd name his next book. He then decided to name it "The Tale of Naruto Uzumaki" and said it had a nice ring to it. Meanwhile, Pain deduced that Jiraiya was dead, but Fukasaku had got away.
Sasuke vs. Itachi
Sasuke arrived at the Uchiha Hideout, and confronted Itachi. The battle began with both of them seemingly using taijutsu, soon ending with Sasuke cornering Itachi and deciding to ask him one last question before killing him off. Sasuke asked, "Who is he?" Sasuke recalled when Itachi had said that three of the Uchiha clan would have the ability to use the Mangekyō Sharingan, including himself, if Sasuke would be able to awaken his. Itachi explained that the person who had assisted him when he murdered the entire clan was none other than Madara Uchiha, one of the founders of Konoha, and revealed that one of the purposes of the Mangekyō Sharingan was to control the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox which he had done 16 years ago when it attacked Konoha. He also revealed that, once the Mangekyō Sharingan was activated, it would progressively lead to blindness. Itachi referred to Madara is the founder of Akatsuki and his mentor. It then turned out that Sasuke and Itachi's battle so far had been pure genjutsu. Itachi then finally activated his Mangekyō Sharingan, and revealed that the only way to stop the blindness was to take the eyes of another Sharingan user; he stated that this was the reason he had left Sasuke alive, and why he had pushed him to become stronger. After a flashback of his childhood, Sasuke stated, "Finally… it all ends here." During their talk, Zetsu watched hidden from the ceiling, and his halves began to comment on the battle.
After securing him in place with a shadow clone, Itachi then proceeded to rip out Sasuke's eyes. It was revealed that the whole fight so far had been a genjutsu, namely Itachi's Tsukuyomi, which Sasuke had overcome.
Sasuke shortly lectured Itachi about the tools of the ninja, and how a tool was only as powerful as the ninja who used it. Itachi told Sasuke that he would make his dream, of ripping out his eyes, a reality, and readied the Amaterasu. Itachi and Sasuke both used the Great Fireball Technique, and Sasuke held a slight advantage until Itachi used Amaterasu, which burnt out Sasuke's fireball immediately, and melted through his remaining cursed seal level 2 wing, as well as scorching his body. Itachi prepared to rip the eyes out of the half-burned Sasuke, but the corpse was shown to be an empty shell left behind, and the real Sasuke had dropped into the floor below. He used a new ninjutsu, named Fire Release: Great Dragon Fire Technique, from down below. Itachi dodged, but it still burnt his arm. Soon it began to rain, and Sasuke said that this new technique was unavoidable. Zetsu continued watching the fight, narrating their movements and adding background to mysterious moves.
Sasuke charged his final technique, Kirin. A huge creature made of lightning appeared, fuelled by the Great Dragon Fire Technique which had dumped a huge amount of residual heat into the upper atmosphere, and Sasuke's chakra remained suspended in a usable form, changing with the atmosphere from simply fire chakra into a bolt of lightning characterised in the same form as the earlier Great Dragon Fire Technique, but cast instead from lightning. Sasuke hit Itachi, who appeared to be dead.
Itachi was then shown to be alive somehow, and revealed a third Mangekyō technique: Susanoo, which pulled out the legendary Sword of Totsuka. Giant snakes suddenly appeared out of Sasuke. One of them revealed Orochimaru inside its mouth. Sasuke, having used up nearly all of his chakra fighting Itachi, could no longer suppress Orochimaru, who had been inside of Sasuke since his failed attempt at taking over his body. The snakes were all killed, and Orochimaru was stabbed by the Sword of Totsuka, sealing him in an eternal dream state, and the remains were subsequently sucked into the Sake jar that the Sword of Totsuka was sheathed in.
Itachi then asked Sasuke if that was all he had. Sasuke then proceeded to attack Itachi, again ending in a futile attempt as all his attacks were reflected by another effect of Susanoo, the Yata Mirror, which reflected all attacks directed at Itachi. Sasuke was knocked back by his own attacks, and laid on the ground. Itachi seemed to be invincible, when Susanoo began to fade. Itachi walked towards his brother, seeking his eyes. When Itachi reached Sasuke, he poked Sasuke's forehead, saying, "I'm sorry, Sasuke. There won't be a next time", a reference to his constant unfulfilled promises to train with Sasuke in their youth. Itachi then died of exhaustion. Zetsu figured that Itachi must have been injured before the battle started, also noting that Itachi was unable to dodge attacks he would normally be able to. Sasuke then smiled and closed his eyes before collapsing himself, as Itachi's Amaterasu continued to burn around them.
Meanwhile, Naruto and the other members of the Eight Man Squad continued to fight Tobi. Shino attacked with his bugs, and even managed to completely swarm Tobi with them. Tobi escaped from the swarm unharmed, however. Zetsu arrived to tell him that Sasuke had won the battle, and that Itachi was dead. This was no surprise to Tobi. Zetsu also said that Sasuke was probably dying as well. Just before Tobi and Zetsu left, Kakashi noticed Tobi's Sharingan. Kakashi commented on this while Tobi and Zetsu fled to the battle-site. Hinata saw storm-clouds and the flames of Amaterasu with her Byakugan. Naruto and the group pursued them. Meanwhile, Tobi and Zetsu reached Sasuke. Tobi told Zetsu to take Itachi's corpse. Naruto's team reached the flames, and Yamato used Earth Release: Earth Flow Divide to create a path through it. Naruto became angry when he realised that they were too late.
The Truth About the Uchiha Clan
Sasuke woke up in a large room. Tobi appeared from the shadows, and said that he would tell Sasuke "the truth" about Itachi. He then began to take off his mask. As Tobi's, whose true identity is none other than Madara, Sharingan was shown, Sasuke's Sharingan was turned into Mangekyō Sharingan. His eyes bled, and Amaterasu appeared around Tobi. Tobi said that Itachi had implanted his abilities into Sasuke, and that they would activate as soon as Tobi's Sharingan was shown. Tobi then said that Itachi had done this to kill Tobi, and to protect Sasuke. Sasuke didn't believe him, and yelled at Tobi to go away. Tobi then began to tell Sasuke the secret, about how Itachi had tried to protect the village as well as Sasuke, but for things to make sense, he would have to go back before the founding of Konoha.
At the time, there were many clans that existed, and the Uchiha clan was one of the strongest, only to be rivalled with the Senju clan whom they constantly battled. Madara was noticed as the leader of the Uchiha clan because of his powerful chakra, but as Itachi said before, Madara plucked out his brother, Izuna's eyes so he can gain an Eternal Mangekyō Sharingan. In order to end their fighting, Hashirama Senju, the leader of the Senju clan, decided to make a peace offering with the Uchiha, which had formed the village of Konoha. Madara became infuriated when Hashirama became the First Hokage because he feared that the Uchiha clan would be put down, but the Uchiha did not believe their leader's warning, so Madara decided to abandon his own clan and defect from Konoha. Madara used the power of his Eternal Mangekyō Sharingan to take control of the Nine-tails to take his revenge and battled Hashirama which tore up the landscape and this land would eventually be called the Valley of the End, the same place where Sasuke battled Naruto before he left Konoha. At the end of the battle, Madara lost control of the Nine-tails and everyone, even the Uchiha and Hashirama believed Madara had died. Afterwards, little by little, the Uchiha clan began losing their power as the village recognised the Senju clan more, and everything Madara had warned his clan about was beginning to come true, when the final straw occurred. 16 years ago, the Nine-Tails attacked Konoha, and due to the Uchiha's reputation back when Madara controlled the Nine-Tails against his fight against Hashirama, the leaders of Konoha believed the Uchiha were responsible. In punishment, the Uchiha were forced to live in one area.
Itachi was ordered by the elders of Konoha to annihilate the Uchiha because they were planning a coup d'état against Konoha, and Itachi had done this because he detested war, and wanted to maintain Konoha's stability. When Itachi was not even four years old, he had seen the bloodshed of the Third Shinobi World War which caused him to develop a pacifist nature. Coincidently, Tobi was attempting to destroy Konoha when he encountered Itachi, so Itachi made a deal; If he were to help Itachi wipe out their clan, "Madara" must leave Konoha alone, which Madara accepted. Sasuke began to believe Tobi was the real bad guy because Itachi said that Madara was controlling the Nine-Tails' every move, but "Madara "denies his involvement and Itachi only said that because he did not want Sasuke to trust Madara. This triggered a flashback to moments before Itachi's death; revealing that he was not seeking his brother's eyes, but, in his final stance with Sasuke, had poked him on the forehead (as he did in Sasuke's childhood) and smiled at him. After this, Sasuke was shown joining back up with Hebi with his new Mangekyō Sharingan. He told the group that they would be called Taka from now on, and that their goal was "the complete and utter destruction of Konoha".
|#||English title||Kanji title||Romaji title|
|344||The Snake and…||蛇と…||Hebi to…|
|346||The Secret of the New Technique!!||新術の秘密!!||Shinjutsu no Himitsu!!|
|348||The Next Person!!||次なる一人!!||Tsuginaru Hitori!!|
|349||At the Northern Hideout||北アジトにて||Kita Ajito nite|
|350||Shocking News…!!||衝撃の報せ…!!||Shōgeki no Shirase|
|351||A Conversation Between Men!!||男との対話!!||Otoko to no Taiwa|
|352||The Goal is…!!||目的は…!!||Mokuteki wa…!!|
|353||Akatsuki Gathers…!!||“暁”集合…!!||"Akatsuki" Shūgō…!!|
|354||The People Starting to Move||動き出す者たち||Ugokidasu Mono-Tachi|
|355||Where to…?!||どっちへ…!?||Dotchi e…!?|
|357||Deidara vs. Sasuke!!||デイダラVSサスケ!!||Deidara Bāsasu Sasuke!!|
|358||C2 Driving against the Wall!!||追いつめるC2!!||Oitsumeru Shī Tsū!!|
|359||Those Eyes…!!||その眼…!!||Sono Me…!!|
|360||C4 Garuda||C4カルラ||Shī Fō Karura|
|362||The Ultimate Art!!||究極芸術!!||Kyūkyoku Geijutsu!!|
|363||Sasuke's Death…!!||サスケの死…!!||Sasuke no Shi…!!|
|364||The Target is…!!||狙いは…!!||Nerai wa…!!|
|365||Pursue Itachi||イタチを追え||Itachi o oe|
|367||Itachi and Sasuke||イタチとサスケ||Itachi to Sasuke|
|#||Episode Title||Japanese Airdate||English Airdate|
|113||The Serpent's Pupil||11 June 2009||24 January 2012|
|114||Eye of a Hawk||18 June 2009||24 January 2012|
|115||Zabuza's Blade||25 June 2009||24 January 2012|
|116||Guardian of the Iron Wall||2 July 2009||24 January 2012|
|117||Jūgo of the Northern Hideout||9 July 2009||24 January 2012|
|118||Formation!||23 July 2009||24 January 2012|
|121||Assemble||6 August 2009||25 January 2012|
|122||The Hunt||13 August 2009||25 January 2012|
|123||Clash!||20 August 2009||25 January 2012|