Black Zetsu (黒ゼツ, Kuro-Zetsu) is an artificial human created when Madara Uchiha infused his will into the original White Zetsu. Together with White Zetsu, he is one of Obito Uchiha's most loyal subordinates and a member of Akatsuki.
When Madara was on the verge of death, he infused a part of his will into White Zetsu, which created the second personality, Black Zetsu. This in turn made the complete Zetsu partially a clone of Madara, albeit weaker. Both halves later accompanied Obito to Amegakure to locate Nagato, who had unknowingly been given Madara's Rinnegan as a child. Zetsu later watched on as Obito introduced himself to the young man as "Madara Uchiha".
Black Zetsu is more serious and knowledgeable than his white counterpart. In the Japanese version of the manga, Black Zetsu only uses katakana for okurigana and furigana, as opposed to White Zetsu, who uses kanji and kana regularly. This is often conveyed in the anime through their different voice tones.
Madara created Black Zetsu to be an extension of his will. Obito seems to trust him equally with his white counterpart, intrusting him with Akatsuki's secrets. Due to his connection with Madara, he has been working with Obito almost as long as White Zetsu had, being created by Madara specifically for helping Obito complete the former's Eye of the Moon Plan. Obito, in turn, seems to value Black Zetsu's counsel, and has met with him many times during the Fourth Shinobi World War to discuss the war.
Like White Zetsu, Black Zetsu's main role within Akatsuki is to function as a spy with other duties that were similar to those of a hunter-nin. He is also able to control his body and take part in the tailed beast sealing ritual simultaneously, which, in addition to being unique to him, allows he and his counterpart to act as a lookout while the sealing takes place. When an agent of Akatsuki, or possibly even a member, dies, Black Zetsu is sent with White Zetsu to devour their bodies so as to not have their secrets revealed, which further adds to his nature as a half-plant creature. Zetsu is also the one sent to retrieve the rings of dead Akatsuki members.
When Black Zetsu first appeared, while he was still merged to White Zetsu, he was easily distinguished by two large venus fly-trap like extensions that envelop his head and upper body, giving him a plant-like appearance. When his extensions are open and his head is visible, it is revealed that Black Zetsu also has short green hair and yellow eyes. As his name would suggest, he is completely black, however, unlike his white counterpart, Black Zetsu shows no visible orifices at all and only his iris is visible. Black Zetsu also has white dots along the edges of his body where the two halves meet; these are not flat markings, but rather protrude from his body, like little white bumps. The black colour does not cover his entire half of White Zetsu's body, as it only extends partially down his leg, which was originally his white half's right leg. Under his Akatsuki cloak, Black Zetsu wears blue pants and sandals. He also has both legs wrapped in bandages, which hide the area where his right leg's black colouring merges with his white foot in their merged form.
When he and White Zetsu are split apart the plant-like extensions split and hang from his waist. Like White Zetsu, Black Zetsu has also demonstrated the ability to grow appendages to substitute for his missing half. Sometime after splitting during the Fourth Shinobi World War, the two halves seemingly discarded their torn clothing.
The technique he has been shown using the most is Mayfly, with which he merges with the ground to quickly travel to a new location, though he isn't as fast as Obito Uchiha's own space–time travelling. This technique is ideal for Black Zetsu's function as a spy, as it erases his presence as well, and is an ability that both halves, as well as White Zetsu's clones, can use.
Black Zetsu has demonstrated the ability to "record" the things he sees, as he has stated that he recorded the battles between Sasuke and Itachi, and between Kisame and Killer B. He is also capable of showing these "recordings" to Obito through unknown means. Black Zetsu is also a very powerful sensor, as he was able to sense Naruto Uzumaki and Killer B as soon as they touched the ground upon leaving the Island Turtle, which was some distance away. In addition to functioning as a single entity, Black Zetsu is able to split from White Zetsu, which allows him to act independently. While separated, the two halves can extend roots underground to communicate with each other over long distances. He can also telepathically communicate with White Zetsu, as long as they are within a certain range.
Due to possession of Hashirama Senju's cells, Black Zetsu is capable of using the former's Wood Release, albeit on a much weaker scale. He has been the most prominently of the two to have used this ability. He has been depicted transforming parts of his body into roots to converse with White Zetsu for near instantaneous communication, as well as freely manipulating them for offensive purposes during battle.
Sasuke Retrieval Arc
After Sasuke and Naruto's fight at the Valley of the End, Kakashi and Pakkun appear to bring Naruto back home. As the three begin the journey back home to Konoha, White Zetsu, in his merged form with Black Zetsu, appears from the ground, having witnessed the whole battle. Later their silhouette appeared with the rest of the Akatsuki members where they discussed Orochimaru taking Sasuke Uchiha, the capturing of the Nine-Tails and the furthering of their plans.
White Zetsu, along with his black counterpart, appears frequently throughout the series. In addition to serving his various Akatsuki duties, he watches battles of interest and then reports the outcome to the other members and eats the bodies of dead associates.
Kazekage Rescue Arc
During the extraction of the One-Tailed Shukaku, Both Zetsu are seen also spying on Team Guy and Team Kakashi and alerting Akatsuki. Later, he is sent to dispose the corpses of Mukade and Yura, finding Mukade a delicious meal.
After Sasori and Deidara are defeated, White Zetsu is sent, along with Tobi to retrieve their rings and eat their corpses. However, he is unable to eat Sasori due to him being a puppet, but is amazed to finally see what Sasori looks like. Tobi finds Sasori's ring, wishing to take his place. Black Zetsu thinks this is a bad idea, but White Zetsu thinks it will be a good one. They later find Deidara's severed right arm and believe him dead until he arrives and proves them wrong. Black Zetsu wonders why Deidara hasn't captured Naruto Uzumaki, but Deidara tells him that he fulfilled his quota.
Hidan and Kakuzu Arc
After Hidan and Kakuzu defeated Yugito Nii, both Zetsu appear to retrieve Yugito to start the extraction. When Hidan claimed that Akatsuki was just after money like Kakuzu, Black Zetsu told him that when he's sad and alone, all you can count on is yourself. Both Zetsu are later seen sealing the Two-Tails.
Itachi Pursuit Arc
Both Zetsu were seen to reveal themselves right after Pain's fight with Jiraiya. During the fight between Sasuke and Itachi, Black Zetsu watched and recorded the entire battle. When Itachi died Black Zetsu noted that there was something different in Itachi's fighting style during the battle. He later appeared to inform Tobi of the result of the fight and was called "aloe vera" by Naruto. White Zetsu took some offence to the name while Black Zetsu told him to ignore him. He then led Tobi to where Itachi and Sasuke were.
Tsuchigumo Kinjutsu Arc
Invasion of Pain Arc
After the battle between the Uchiha brothers, Tobi met with Black and White Zetsu on a bridge where they discussed the fact that Itachi — who had been hampering their plans — was dead and White Zetsu enquired what Tobi's next move would be.
Five Kage Summit Arc
After Itachi's defeat and Sasuke's recruitment, Black and White Zetsu took a more active role in Tobi's ongoing plans as now there were only three Akatsuki members left, marvelling at the effort that went into getting Sasuke to work with Akatsuki. They was later revealed to have watched the entire fight between Pain and Naruto Uzumaki, and appeared next to Tobi as he argued with Sasuke about what his next objective was. There they revealed that Konoha had already been destroyed. When asked by Tobi, they revealed that Danzō had been named the acting Sixth Hokage. They then proceeded to explain the outcome of the battle between Pain and Naruto. When Taka agreed to go to the Kage Summit, White and Black Zetsu revealed their ability to split in half, and White Zetsu proceeded to lead Sasuke and his team to the Kage Summit while Black Zetsu remained behind and discussed with Tobi the fact that they might lose control over Sasuke and would therefore lose their last chance to have someone sync with the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path. Tobi declared that he was tired of hiding, and explained that they needed to speed up the "Eye of the Moon Plan".
White Zetsu and Black Zetsu meet up at the site of Killer B and Kisame's battle only to reveal that Kisame's decapitated body was actually one of White Zetsu's shape-shifting clones. It is then revealed that Kisame, by having the clone fake his death, was then able to infiltrate Kumogakure while inside Samehada which was being carried back to Kumogakure by Killer B who intended to use it as his own weapon. Black Zetsu then stated that it was their feeding time and that they should merge once again.
Confining the Jinchūriki Arc
Upon Tobi's return to the base, White and Black Zetsu, now rejoined into one, inform him that the scroll with information from Kisame Hoshigaki sent through his messenger shark had arrived. They also note that everything seemed to be going in their favour. Kabuto mentioned he could make White Zetsu stronger and that he was the key to fighting the shinobi forces.
Tobi promised to give him "one Zetsu" if Kabuto captured the Nine-Tails. Later, Tobi revealed his army comprised of one hundred thousand clones of White Zetsu to Kabuto, which he would use to fight the numbers of the Allied Shinobi Forces.
Shinobi World War Arc
Emerging from the ground near the daimyō's hideout, Black Zetsu infiltrates the structure, despite alerting the enemy to his presence. However, upon discovering the daimyō's absence, Black Zetsu retreats and declares that they shouldn't underestimate his capabilities, as he was a part of the very land itself. Later locating his desired targets, he is instead obstructed by Mei Terumī and her squad, but sensing the Eight and Nine-Tails' chakra while confronting the team, he immediately communicates this to Tobi via White Zetsu. Told that the daimyō were no longer necessary with their quarry now in the open, Black Zetsu was ordered to continue with his guerilla tactics against the Mizukage's team to keep them from regrouping with the rest of their forces. The fight continued throughout the night.
Continuing to battle with Mei and her squad, Black Zetsu observes the arrival of Naruto's shadow clone to their location, who soon proceeds to crash into a tree beside him. Growing roots from portions of his body whilst fighting, he uses them to trip Naruto and avoid his Rasenshuriken, only to be bisected from behind by the enlarged blade of Chōjūrō's Hiramekarei. Immobilised, Black Zetsu wondered how the sword grew to such a size in an instant, he is then pinned to the ground by Chōjūrō's blade as the Mizukage departed.
Creation and Conception
In Naruto Hiden: Sha no Sho Character Official Data Book, Kishimoto revealed that he had originally planned for Akatsuki to be a group of monsters, "with almost no human characteristics", and that Zetsu's design was modelled after an insectivorous plant. He also stated that he had decided to make Zetsu half black and half white to "better show his split personality".
- According to the databook(s):
- Zetsu's hobby is observing unique shinobi.
- Zetsu wishes to fight people who are likely to leave behind a corpse that will make a good meal.
- Zetsu's favourite food is "chewy" people, while his least favourites are konnyaku and jelly.
- Zetsu's favourite phrase is "Independence unbending" (独立不撓, Dokuritsu Futō), which roughly means "The only one you can count on is yourself".
- Wherever "Tobi" is, Zetsu is never far behind.
- Tobi made a deal with Kabuto, in that he would give him "one Zetsu", provided he were to capture the Nine-Tails.
- Zetsu and the White Zetsu Army clones are not dissimilar to the legends told of the mandrake plant used to create artificial men.
- Zetsu is the only member of Akatsuki that has yet to make a playable appearance in any game.
- (To Hidan) "…The only thing you can have faith in is yourself."
- (To White Zetsu) "An expert with a pebble can still beat a novice with a shuriken."
- (To Obito) "I can't believe no one noticed my Spore Technique… The Five Kage are a bunch of fools!"
- "They underestimate Black Zetsu's powers… I am the land itself!"