Sasori, Itachi, and Kisame pay a visit to Deidara to recruit him on Pain's orders. Deidara is recruited into Akatsuki, partnered with Sasori, and the two are ordered to kill Orochimaru, who escaped into the Land of Wind. Itachi and Kisame are given a mission in Kusagakure. Kakuzu asks about a replacement partner, Pain tells him to wait. Sasori collects intel on Orochimaru left to him by Kabuto Yakushi. As they approach Orochimaru's hideout, Orochimaru's snakes detect them and inform Orochimaru. Sasori orders Deidara to keep an eye from the sky so Orochimaru can't get away. Sasori brings out his Third Kazekage puppet, while Orochimaru reveals a reincarnatedThird Kazekage in his possession. The two fight. One of the attacks from the reincarnated Third Kazekage damages Deidara's clay bird, causing him to retaliate. The Third Kazekage manages to free himself from Orochimaru's control, returning to the Pure Land. Sasori seizes the opportunity to attack, but Orochimaru retreats into his hideout. Deidara explodes it. On a gathering, Sasori informs Pain that Orochimaru is likely alive, as they were unable to find his corpse. Itachi fills them in about the Impure Reincarnation Technique. Akatsuki receives a mission from the Land of Hot Water, to kill an apparent immortal. Kakuzu, Itachi, and Konan are sent on the mission. Konan goes in as a decoy, and as Hidan prepares to attack her, Itachi and Kakuzu reveal themselves. Hidan and Kakuzu fight. Kakuzu is impressed by Hidan's immortality, and Hidan manages to destroy one of Kakuzu's hearts. Hidan is recruited into Akatsuki and partnered with Kakuzu. Akatsuki learns about the recently founded Otogakure, and plans to check it out, suspecting Orochimaru's involvement in it. They also learn of the joint effort with Sunagakure to destroy Konohagakure, and of the Third Hokage's death. Itachi volunteers to evaluate the situation, covertly wondering about Sasuke's safety.
In one scene, after Deidara joined Akatsuki, he was depicted with a half ponytail; however, in the next scene, he had a lower ponytail.
In the Ninja Escapades, Orochimaru was still a member of the group when they recruited Hidan, although, in this episode, he had already deserted the group.