White Zetsu (白ゼツ, Shiro-Zetsu) is the original artificial human created by Madara Uchiha using Hashirama Senju's living clone and the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path. Together with Black Zetsu, he is one of Obito Uchiha's most loyal subordinates and a member of Akatsuki.
White Zetsu, along with his many clone siblings, were created by Madara Uchiha using Hashirama's living clone and the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path. Madara implied that Yin–Yang Release was involved in the creation of White Zetsu and his clone siblings. Because of his origin, his genetic material is nearly identical to that of Hashirama Senju's, as seen from Shizune and Sakura Haruno's autopsy of one of the White Zetsu clones. Like the rest of Madara's creations, White Zetsu was tasked with intelligence gathering before he and another spiral-patterned clone were entrusted with looking after the rehabilitating Obito Uchiha. Over time, the duo became friends with the young Uchiha.
At some point, when Obito's rehabilitation was near completion, White Zetsu returned to the base and alerted Obito that Kakashi Hatake and Rin were being attacked by Kirigakure shinobi. When the spiral-patterned Zetsu offered to help Obito by encased himself around the young Uchiha in order to enable him to leave the cave, White Zetsu served to guide Obito telepathically with the information he received from his clone brothers stationed outside. When they returned to Madara, White Zetsu assured him that no one had seen them and relayed information on what had happened after Konoha reinforcements had arrived, noting that Obito didn't kill Kakashi.
Later, after Black Zetsu's creation, both halves 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".
The original White Zetsu is carefree and playful, with a habit of teasing others, traits he shares with many of his clone siblings. In the Japanese version of the manga, White Zetsu uses kanji and kana regularly, as opposed to his black counterpart, who only uses katakana for okurigana and furigana. This is often conveyed in the anime through their different voice tones.
White Zetsu is seemingly very trustworthy, being entrusted by Madara to watch over Obito while he slept and also with Akatsuki's secrets, and the knowledge of Madara's Eye of the Moon Plan, which he believed to be beneficial to mankind. Because of his ties to Madara, White Zetsu has been working with Obito for some time, originally acting as Obito's superior prior to this induction into the Akatsuki. This is furthered by White Zetsu's long history with Obito when the boy was saved by Madara during the Third Shinobi World War. Though he annoyed Obito at first, White Zetsu eventually won the boy's friendship. Like his clone, White Zetsu believed Madara was a good man at heart and saw no harm in helping Obito without Madara's permission.
White 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 seemed to occupy the same role during his time with Madara as well. 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 him to act as a lookout while the sealing takes place. When an agent of Akatsuki, or possibly even a member, dies, both he and Black Zetsu, usually in their merged state, are sent to devour their bodies so as to not have their secrets revealed, which further adds to his nature as a half-plant creature. Both Zetsu are also the one sent to retrieve the rings of dead Akatsuki members. Most of the members reported directly to him, rather than the figurehead leader, Pain. Both Zetsu would, in turn, report directly to Pain along with Obito, who took full control over the organisation after Nagato's death.
When White Zetsu first appeared, while he was still merged to Black 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 White Zetsu has short green hair and yellow eyes. As his name would suggest, he is completely white. Under his Akatsuki cloak, White 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.
White Zetsu also has unusually rounded teeth. In the anime, his fingernails are painted pink and his toenails, as seen at his début, are blue. In the manga, however, White Zetsu is often depicted without fingernails. He also wears his Akatsuki ring on his right little finger.
When he was first created and also when he and Black Zetsu are split apart, the plant-like extensions split and hang from his waist. Like Black Zetsu, White 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. At times, White Zetsu has been depicted without his plant-like extensions.
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's own space–time travelling. This technique is ideal for White 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. Being an artificial human, White Zetsu is able to survive without food or water and does not need to carry out normal human bodily functions. He can also telepathically communicate with other clones, as long as they are within a certain range. When doing so with Black Zetsu, both are able to function as a single entity by communicating through their thoughts.
White Zetsu has not demonstrated any sensory ability, unlike Black Zetsu. In addition to functioning as a single entity with Black Zetsu, White Zetsu is able to split in two, allowing him to work again as a single entity. While separated, the two halves can extend roots underground to communicate with each other over long distances.
White Zetsu has mainly been seen using support abilities and Obito has referred to him as not being a "front line" fighter. With his Spore Technique, White Zetsu is able to plant spores on the bodies of others, which are undetectable even to sensors and Kage-level shinobi. Once activated, these spores grow into a mushy mass around the individuals they formed on by sucking out their chakra, which restricts their movements. The spores can also use this stolen chakra to replenish an ally's chakra supply by attaching themselves to him or her. In addition, White Zetsu is able to create and remotely control near-identical copies of himself, which can be used as a special substitute by taking on the appearance and unique chakra of anyone White Zetsu touches. The clones are much weaker than the original and are therefore mainly used as decoys.
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.
White Zetsu stayed with Taka in the Land of Iron, observing the meeting of the Five Kage and trying to figure out a way to successfully assassinate Danzō. After identifying Danzō, White Zetsu managed to slip away from Taka unnoticed. White Zetsu then emerged in the conference room, telling the five Kage that Sasuke was somewhere around. After revealing himself, the Fourth Raikage grabbed the White Zetsu's neck, asked him about the whereabouts of Sasuke, and threatened to use force. White Zetsu mockingly replied that he would give a hint, which prompted the Raikage, angered, to tighten his grip on White Zetsu's neck. With his neck snapped, White Zetsu collapsed on the floor and was presumed to be dead by everyone in the vicinity.
After Sasuke had been struck by the Fifth Mizukage's Boil Release: Skilled Mist Technique, White Zetsu's Spore Technique, which had secretly been implanted on everyone in the meeting hall before the Raikage's attack, activated. The spores leached some of the Mizukage's chakra while binding the samurai guards, Mifune, Ōnoki and everyone else. Black Zetsu commented on how foolish the five Kage were, as they had failed to detect his technique. One of the spores then jumped onto Sasuke and gave him the absorbed chakra, allowing him to use an arm of Susanoo to escape from the Mizukage. The spores were later successfully neutralised by everyone present at the time of their release.
After Naruto and Sasuke clash, the aftermath of which sends Sasuke hurtling towards a wall, a clone of White Zetsu appears and wraps himself around Sasuke to cushion the blow. Revealing that Tobi had told him to keep an eye on Sasuke, the clone contacts the real White Zetsu, who alerts Tobi. Upon Tobi's arrival, the White Zetsu clone, prepared to fight and capture Naruto, created several more copies of himself. Before he could engage in combat however, Tobi tells him not to as he wasn't a 'front line' fighter, and instead gives him the task of checking up on Kisame and rejoining with Black Zetsu.
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
Supervising Sasuke's recovery, White Zetsu tells him to be patient when asked if his bandages could be removed, remarking that when he does regain his sight it would be to a different world as things had got "amusing". As the Fourth Shinobi World War commences, Black Zetsu departs to enact Tobi's plan to capture the daimyō and hold them hostage to force the opposition to bring Naruto and Killer B to them. White Zetsu, on the other hand, is left behind to make sure Kabuto could not abduct Sasuke during the confusion of war. The fight continued throughout the night. During Black Zetsu's fight on the second day of the war, White Zetsu ends up being used as a test subject for Sasuke's new eyes, impaled by the youth's Susanoo before being incinerated by the flames of Amaterasu.
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 Black Zetsu about Obito joining Akatsuki) "It'll be all right, after all, Tobi is a good boy."
- (To Hidan) "Sorrow begets solitude…"