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Warning: this article is full of spoilers and some of the content might be too sensitive. Proceed with caution, a pack of tissues and your favorite comfort food/stuff. Or you can always pick another article instead 🙂
It is about time that we visit the Konoha Village again, as it is always nice to remember where do our favorite characters come from and the tribulations they had to pass. Although sometimes, the road is extremely difficult and can be very sad, like in the case of a popular Ninja called Sasuke Uchiha. Sasuke is Naruto’s best friend and rival, and we can notice he is something, as he has his own novel (The day the wolf howled), and appears in the various movies and videogames of the franchise.
Sasuke’s apparently cool demeanour masks a problematic childhood. It also provides foreshadowing for a tragic destiny which is strongly linked to his older brother, Itachi. We could say that family ancestry, politics and the brothers’ personalities conspired to make their lives revolve around each other. Without further ado, let’s go back to remember why the lives of Itachi x Sasuke share such a strong bond, shall we?
Why Itachi and Sasuke's lives revolve around each other
1. Because Itachi is a prodigy
We know the entire Konoha village overflows with Ninja talent. Its citizens are highly competitive and we humble mortals can’t stop gaping at all those techniques and attacks that frequently are unique to each of Naruto´s characters. Well, among such Ninja talents, the Uchiha clan has a particularly privileged spot. They were among the founders of Konoha village and also provided some of its most powerful warriors.
It is not surprising that, with such a background, Itachi Uchiha was born gifted. Yet, one of the things that marked Itachi’s childhood and therefore the rest of his life, was the Third Shinobi War. His father thought it was a good idea to show Itachi the bodies of the conflict’s victims. Traumatized by the conflict, Itachi decided to dedicate himself to achieving peace, and thus was more interested in training than in having a normal childhood. So kids, remember: we don’t need to show such gruesome images to make a point against war. War is ugly.
Going back to Itachi, he poured all of his efforts into training. He had top grades at the Ninja Academy and taught himself advanced techniques. Itachi woke his Sharingan at the young age of 8, during one of his first missions as a graduated Ninja. Next, he became a Chuunin at 10, entering the Nanbu by 11 and becoming their leader. Talk about being precociously talented here.
The Uchihas also have a family… treat. They have a curse called “Curse of hatred”. This means that the members of the clan have powerful emotions that become a strong love for another person, but they tend to hide those emotions. When their beloved is lost, they can be pretty harsh achieving their goals regardless of the consequences. So, we can see that, if there was something that was notable throughout Itachi’s progress it was that Itachi always protected his younger brother Sasuke. Itachi is the older brother, right? The Curse of the Hatred also had sad effects on their relationship, as Itachi was very focused on Sasuke’s safety without showing it openly.
2. Because Sasuke admired Itachi
Once a long, long time ago, Sasuke was a bundle of tears and joy, an innocent brand-new baby on the Ninja world. This bundle only calmed down when his brother Itachi held him, so, we can see that this was not a one sided love story. As Sasuke grew up, he joined his big brother’s adventures in the forest and was pretty much a happy normal child. Sasuke admired Itachi, so he observed intently as his brother trained by himself. It was always happy when it was just Sasuke and Itachi.
Something curious about Itachi is that he sometimes ignored Sasuke and didn’t make attempts to train him. Even when his little brother started the Ninja school, Itachi prefered to train with his friend Shisui, not with Sasuke. Even with such an uncool attitude, Sasuke followed Itachi everywhere. Perhaps he instinctively knew that his big brother would always protect him, as he did when Nine tails attacked the village.
3. Because the comparison between them was unavoidable
As people with siblings well know, parents usually have their favorites, although they won’t state it in the open. Guess who was the special for the Uchihas? Of course it was Itachi, who received all the attention from his father, Fugaku Uchiha. Itachi was even trained by Fugaku and received his recognition when Itachi mastered the Great Fireball technique after seeing it once, as shown in Shippuden episode 452.
Sadly, this meant Sasuke was largely ignored by his own family. As for his time in the Ninja Academy, Sasuke had top grades and even achieved female attention. Yes, as we fans know, Sasuke was a girl magnet due to his good looks and composed manners. But what was really important for him was that he could not surpass Itachi’s achievements in school. Thus, he concentrated on the Ninja life, aspiring to surpass his brother one day. Itachi himself tried to make his father direct some of his attention towards Sasuke, so we can see that despite of being distant, Itachi cared for his little brother.
Sasuke would start being recognized by Fugaku when Itachi was suspected for the murder of his best friend Shisui. Then Sasuke was taught the Great Fireball technique and mastered it in less time than Itachi, surpassing his brother for the first time in his life. Sasuke was so happy, but his father demanded him not to become like Itachi. Here we can see that Fugaku probably finally noticed how wrong it was for Sasuke to be constantly in the shadow of his brother and trying to follow him, with Itachi being the most important person in Sasuke’s life. Sadly, it was too late, as we will see in the next reason.
4. Because of revenge.
Imagine being late for home after a long and busy day out, and finding the dead bodies of the members of your family on the floor. Worst part is that your beloved and admired brother shows you he was responsible of it all. You are so scared that you try to run, but your brother grabs you by the neck. He tells you in the coolest voice possible that, as you are right now, you are not worth for killing.
Unfortunately, this nightmarish moment was a turning point for Sasuke and Itachi. Sasuke was so shocked that he could not remember part of the incident, but one thought remained on his mind: to become as strong as possible to avenge his clan’s devastation. If he was somewhat of an introvert before, from this point on, Sasuke becomes a tragic figure obsessed with Itachi. Sasuke’s entire mindset becomes focused on Itachi with the goal of avenging the Uchiha clan.
5. Because they share a dark side.
Sasuke was comfortable working with Naruto and Sakura for a while in the Ninja academy and after graduation. Nevertheless, after the Uchiha clan’s slaughter, he grows distant from them and ultimately opts to leave Konoha. Sasuke even joins Orochimaru and, although hesitant to kill at first, he commits several crimes. We can see at what point Sasuke fell to the dark side in order to kill his brother.
Their confrontation, shown in Shippuden episode 138, was spectacular. They both were gifted with the Sharingan, which is related to the Curse of hatred we mentioned before. In short, their Sharingan expresses what they have in their hearts, being activated through feelings of loss, desire to protect, or love. Throughout the battle, Itachi tries to steal away the Sharingan powers from his brother, meaning that he was aiming to his eyes. Although Itachi was weak physically, his extraordinary ability was evident with the illusionary attacks and his infallible protection. It looked like Itachi was going to win, but instead of killing Sasuke, Itachi pokes his forehead with affection and apologizes, telling him there won’t be a next time.
It is later revealed that the Uchiha clan had a long history of conflicts with the government of Konoha, so, Itachi served as a double agent for his father and for the Hokage. His clan was actually planning to betray the government. In the end, Itachi had to make a choice: either let the full clan succumb, or slaughter the clan and spare Sasuke’s life, making Sasuke hate him. Just imagine how horrible it must be to kill your own parents and pretend you are the villain so that your beloved brother becomes strong! Although the way Itachi managed such difficult problems was not precisely the ideal. Naruto once bluntly said that all Itachi did was manipulate Sasuke, instead of giving him the freedom to decide his future path. So, we can see how both brothers had an inclination for dark and twisted ways of conflict… resolution.
Although the road to peace has never been easy in the Ninja world, the story of the Uchiha brothers show us how politics can destroy families. In the end, all that Itachi and Sasuke ever wanted as kids was love and understanding. As adults, they grew aspiring to achieve peace, although through questionable means. The result was a difficult and lonely adulthood, despite the fact that they were always thinking about each other. In the end, at least Itachi succeeded in help Sasuke survive, paving the way to one more transformation on him. Sasuke went back to Konoha and kept working to maintain peace, making Itachi’s ultimate wish come true. So, as we can see, their lives truly revolved around each other.
Which are your favorite Itachi and Sasuke moments? What’s your favorite part about Sasuke and Itachi? We are open to all your comments and suggestions. See you soon!