Akatsuki Organization
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Akatsuki Organization

Akatsuki is a fictional criminal organization in the anime and manga series Naruto. It is first
introduced midway into the first part of the series, and its members gain significance as the main antagonists during the second part. The organization is composed of some of the most powerful criminals in existence.
Despite being composed of only ten (currently eight) members, Akatsuki is arguably the most powerful organization in the Naruto universe. Each member of Akatsuki is an S-class criminal, feared for their tremendous powers and ruthless nature. The exact criteria for admission into the group are unknown, but extraordinary fighting ability and ruthlessness seem to be prerequisites. Unique traits (genetic or otherwise) also seem to be a common factor among its members. Two of the more prominent members so far, Itachi and Sasori, both undertook some sort of challenging task at the time of their entering the group. Sasori
mentions during his fight with Chiyo and Sakura that "[he] hadn't had this much difficulty since joining Akatsuki." Itachi was responsible for murdering his whole clan (save for his little brother, Sasuke) around the time he is believed to have entered, but it can't be said for certain that the two events were linked.


Organization:
Akatsuki doesn't seem to have any strict organizational structure, though its members do maintain several unique practices. They rarely seem to meet in person, instead communicating through telepathy and astral projection when necessary. When their entire group is introduced at the end of the first part of the series, one member notes that it had been seven years since they had all been together in such a fashion. Their meetings are much more frequent in the second part of the series due to their increased activity. The members of Akatsuki seem to have little consistency in their individual goals. They only group together because Akatsuki's overall goal in some way benefits the individual goals of its members. Akatsuki members don't particularly value the lives of their comrades, either; a member's death in itself will not bother the other members, but rather the fact that someone was able to kill that member.


Goal:
Akatsuki's overall goal is world domination. To achieve that goal, the leader has set up a three-step process to work their way to it. First, they plan to obtain a large amount of money to support their organization. Second, they plan to set up a mercenary group loyal to no village. To build their reputation, they plan to accept any mission below the usual cost, which is covered by the excess amount of funds earned in the first part of their plan. Because there haven't been any wars in some time, the established shinobi villages can't afford to charge such low prices, leading the smaller countries to hire Akatsuki over the more expensive shinobi villages. By using the tailed beasts, Akatsuki can start wars and then immediately quell them, solidifying their reputation and convincing every country to depend on them, thus cornering the market in shinobi labor. Without any business, the other shinobi villages will collapse due to a lack of funds. Finally, after Akatsuki is the only major force of shinobi in existence, they can easily conquer the other countries.
As a large part of their plan, they actively hunt the tailed beasts and their hosts. Once a tailed beast or its host is captured, they seal them in a large statue for use at a later time. Akatsuki possesses six tailed beasts: the one-tailed Shukaku, the two-tailed demon cat, the three-tailed demon, and three other unknown demons.


Teams:
Akatsuki members usually work in teams of two. Teams are built to complement each other's abilities and talents to create a formidable duo. For example, Hidan and Kakuzu both use their immortality to their advantage by using attacks that indiscriminately destroy everything in their path. Due to Orochimaru's defection, their numbers are now uneven, so one or more members appear to be working alone. Currently, Zetsu, the leader, and the unnamed member are not known to be on any team. Each member thus far has shown at least a working loyalty to each other and their mysterious leader, and they have excellent working relationships. On a personal level, however, many of the team members exhibit outright animosity towards one another, though they do not let it get in the way of their missions.


Tailed beast extraction:

Whenever an Akatsuki member captures a tailed beast or its host, it is taken to their lair. Once there, the Akatsuki leader summons a giant statue of a humanoid monster. The leader doesn't need to be present to summon the statue, nor do Akatsuki members need to be physically present for the statue to activate. Any Akatsuki members unable to reach the statue can use astral projection to appear at the statue. The statue itself seems to symbolize restriction or sealing. The creature's hands are handcuffed, its eyes are blindfolded, and a bit is in its mouth, which falls out when the Akatsuki members are sealing a tailed beast. On the creature's blindfold are nine closed eyes (eight eyes in two rows of four with the larger ninth eye in the center), each corresponding to one of the nine tailed beasts. The eyes don't appear to be in any specific order, as the eye representing the one-tailed Shukaku is the second on the upper row while the eye representing the three-tailed beast is the third on the lower row.
After the summoning, the host or tailed beast (depending on if it is sealed in a person or not) is placed in front of the statue while each Akatsuki member stands on the finger that corresponds to their specific ring. The members then perform Sealing Technique: Illusionary Dragon Nine Consuming Seals to draw the spirit of the beast (or the beast itself) into the statue. Once the beast is sealed, all the eyes open, and the pupil of the eye that corresponds to the beast appears, indicating that it has been successfully sealed. It's unknown if the statue serves any other purpose than to contain the captured tailed beasts.


Rings:

Each Akatsuki member wears a single, unique ring, and no two members wear a ring on the same finger. Each member wears their ring on the same finger as the spot they occupy on the giant statue. In total, there are ten rings, but Akatsuki only possesses nine; Orochimaru kept the tenth after he defected from the organization. It still rests on the little finger of the severed left hand from his original body. The rings seem to have some special significance; Tobi believed that he could become a member after finding Sasori's ring, and although Zetsu claims it's not as easy as that, Tobi does indeed become a member. Deidara reinforces the significance of the rings after losing both his arms by expressing more concern for finding the arm with his ring, rather than finding the arm itself. Each ring bears a unique symbol, the first kanji of its name..


Clothing and appearance:

Akatsuki members dress in similar clothing: a long, dark cloak bearing red clouds and a red interior with a chin-high collar. All members also wear purple nail polish on their fingernails and toenails (see ring image above). Large conical straw hats with small spike-like bells hanging from them also seem to be part of their outfit, but they discard them after being discovered. This seems to be an optional piece of the Akatsuki outfit, likely to further disguise their identities.


Forehead protectors:

The members of Akatsuki continue to wear forehead protectors from their former home villages, but scratch a line across the symbol of their village. This is done to indicate that their ties to the village have been severed and they no longer give any allegiance to their former homes. Currently, the Akatsuki leader, Tobi, and the one unnamed Akatsuki member have not been shown wearing forehead protectors, so it is unknown where they are originally from. Additionally, Hidan's forehead protector, while clearly visible, features a symbol not corresponding with any known village, so his place of origin is a mystery, as well.


Akatsuki Members:
Below are the members of Akatsuki that we have some data on.


Pein:

Membership status: Active leader
Ring: ("nothing")
Ring position: Right thumb
Partner: None or not yet introduced
First cameo: Chapter 238; Naruto Episode 135
First appearance: Chapter 363
Defining characteristics: Spiked, auburn hair, unusual eyes, several bridge piercings and ear piercings.
Pein is leader of Akatsuki and a missing-nin from Amegakure. None of the other Akatsuki members aside from the unnamed female member refer to him by name, instead simply calling him "leader," and his face is rarely shown. He has the respect of most of his subordinates (Hidan is an exception) and is the one directing their actions. He is also the one to initiate and supervise the jutsu that forcibly brings a tailed beast out of its host. He can also use the Shapeshifting Technique to clone his subordinates using human sacrifices, allowing them to engage the enemy without risking themselves. The clones formed are a perfect copy of the target, even possessing the kekkei genkai and unique weapons of the original. Their abilities are proportionate to the amount of chakra given to the clone (in its debut, the leader requested thirty percent). When it becomes necessary to gather his subordinates, he can communicate with them over long distances through some form of telepathy.
While Pein has remained mostly anonymous, the cover of chapter 317 depicts him with auburn hair. He is seen sitting on an odd statue with many tubes winding through it, commenting that Hidan and Kakuzu are always causing trouble. The statue is located in a city much more modern than is common for the series, and has tubes similar to those in the statue winding through its various buildings. Pein also has unusual eyes, with several increasingly lighter grey circles around the pupil and a pink outline on the corners of his eyes.
Pein has displayed at least a cursory knowledge of the various villages, as well as the underlying political and economic conditions in the country at large. When Hidan referred to the Konoha-nin as "godless heathens," the leader gave a short description of Konoha's "Will of Fire," then proceeded to note that all countries have some similar practice to justify their battles.


Itachi Uchiha:

Membership status: Active
Ring: ("scarlet", "bloody")
Ring position: Right ring finger
Partner: Kisame Hoshigaki
First appearance: Chapter 139; Naruto Episode 80
Defining characteristics: Mastery of the Sharingan and Mangekyo Sharingan, Mastery of Uchiha fire-based jutsu
Itachi Uchiha is an S-class criminal and a Konohagakure missing-nin noted even within the Bingo Book (a list of powerful ninja who have been marked for assassination). He is currently partnered with Kisame to capture Naruto for the nine tailed fox. Unlike most other two-man teams of Akatsuki, Itachi gets along well with his partner. The name "Itachi" means "weasel". In Japanese folklore, weasels are an ill omen, signifying bad luck and death.


Kisame Hoshigaki:

Membership status: Active
Ring: ("south")
Ring position: Left ring finger
Partner: Itachi Uchiha
First appearance: Chapter 139; Naruto Episode 80
Defining characteristics: Shark-like appearance, expert in water-based jutsu, exceptionally large chakra supply, high physical strength and speed, Samehada (sentient, chakra-absorbing sword)
Kisame Hoshigaki is a missing-nin from Kirigakure and is partnered with Itachi Uchiha. Their first appearance was shortly after the attack on Konoha by Orochimaru, where they attempted to kidnap Naruto Uzumaki. They were thwarted by Jiraiya. Itachi later explained that it wasn't the proper time to kidnap Naruto yet, and that Naruto could be captured at any time given his skill level at the time. Unlike most other two-man teams of Akatsuki, Kisame gets along well with his partner.


Tobi:

Membership status: Active
Ring: ("jewel", "ball"; also the king in shogi)
Ring position: Left thumb
Partner: Formerly Deidara
First appearance: Chapter 280
Defining characteristics: Orange mask with single eye-hole covered in a swirl pattern concentrated towards the right eye
Tobi is a former subordinate of Zetsu. After Sasori's death, Tobi takes his ring, position, and partner (Deidara) in Akatsuki, thereby becoming a full member. Tobi's personality is at odds with the standard amongst Akatsuki members; while most are dedicated and serious, Tobi is more carefree and goofy. These personality traits tend to irritate Deidara, who often attacks Tobi in a comical fashion whenever Tobi unintentionally annoys him.[39] Kisame Hoshigaki, on the other hand, appreciates Tobi's ability to brighten up their "gloomy organization".
After Deidara's suicidal final attack against Sasuke, which Zetsu speculates might have also killed his partner, Tobi is shown to be alive and giving orders to Pain, until then the ostensible leader of Akatsuki. During their conversation, he refers to himself as Madara Uchiha. As Madara, Tobi's personality and speech become completely different, with much less formal diction and a more typically 'villainous' arrogance. It seems, however, that he still has some vested interest in maintaining the illusion of himself as the carefree Tobi, as he reverts to this personality upon encountering a group of Konoha ninja.
Tobi's actual appearance remains a complete mystery, except for a wild shock of black hair. He wears an odd mask that covers his entire face save for his right eye, which like other Uchiha has a Sharingan. He also has several bolts or pins present on the arms of his uniform, now obscured by his Akatsuki cloak. Furthermore, Tobi does not wear a visible headband, though Madara Uchiha is known to originate from Konohagakure. His fighting style is equally shrouded in mystery, as his only notable trait is the ability to let attacks pass through him and to withstand normally fatal blows.


Konan:

Membership status: Active
Ring: ("white")
Ring position: Right middle finger
Partner: Pein
First cameo: Chapter 238, Naruto Episode 135
First appearance: Chapter 363
Defining characteristics: Flower-like accessory in hair
Konanis the only female ninja in Akatsuki and the only member to call her partner, Pein, by his name. When she was younger, Konan, Nagato, and Yahiko were left orphaned by one of Amegakure's many wars, forcing them to fend for themselves. The three eventually encountered Jiraiya, who looked after them and taught them ninjutsu. Jiraiya believed Konan to have died with Nagato and Yahiko some time later, and upon seeing her again years later he comments on how beautiful she has become.
Konan has a natural talent for origami, as seen with the paper flower she keeps in her hair. This talent extends to her type of jutsu, as she can divide her body into countless numbers of paper sheets. These sheets can be controlled individually and formed into various shapes for a number of purposes; butterflies for scouting, spears for attack, or darts with which to pummel opponents. Konan can even form wings from that allow her to fly. This has led to her title as "God's Angel" amongst the villagers of Amegakure, a reference to her doing Pein's bidding. Like all paper, Konan is unable to use her abilities while wet.


Zetsu:

Membership status: Active
Ring: ("boar")
Ring position: Right little finger
Partner: None or not yet introduced
First appearance: Chapter 234; Naruto Episode 134
Defining characteristics: Venus-flytrap like extensions around body, dual personality, skin color split into white and black halves, cannibal
Zetsu is a mysterious missing-nin from Kusagakure. Not much is known about him, other than his allegiance to Akatsuki and his function as a spy. His head appears to be enveloped in a large venus flytrap, which can also envelop the rest of his body. The right side of his face and body is black in color while his left side is white in color. He has pupil-less eyes similar in appearance to those of a Byakugan user and superior vision. He also has the ability to merge with the ground, trees, and other plants, allowing him to travel long distances fairly quickly. Akatsuki members have so far generally seemed to report to Zetsu as if he was a superior, though perhaps only because he is often acting directly on the instructions of the leader.


Former Akatsuki Members:
Members that have been killed, replaced or have quit Akatsuki.


Deidara:

Membership status: Deceased; unreplaced
Ring: ("blue", "green")
Ring position: Right index finger
Partner: Formerly Tobi, Sasori before that
First appearance: Chapter 247; Shippūden Episode 2
Defining characteristics: Specialist in explosive-based jutsu using clay, clay manipulation with mouths in palms of hands and chest, scope on left eye, left eye trained to counter Sharingan genjutsu
Deidara is a missing-nin from Iwagakure and the partner of Tobi. Deidara was originally teamed with Sasori, whom Deidara referred to as Master Sasori. This is probably because Deidara had a lot of respect for his fellow artist. He also admits that Sasori was a lot stronger. Despite that, Deidara still argued with Sasori about what art is and directly disobeyed his command in spite of a threat to be killed. Deidara held that art is transient, departing quickly. Sasori believed that fine art is something wonderful that's left long into the future. This reflects their individual natures (Deidara makes clay sculptures that explode, Sasori makes long-lasting puppets out of humans). Deidara outwardly seems to respect Sasori's beliefs, but couldn't resist getting a final jab in after Sasori's death: "Like anything that is left for the future as a thing of eternal beauty... He got killed straight off!"


Hidan:

Membership status: Incapacitated, unreplaced
Ring: ("three")
Ring position: Left index finger
Partner: Formerly Kakuzu
Defining characteristics: Immortal, wields large three-bladed scythe
Hidan is a missing-nin from an unknown village and is the second-newest member of Akatsuki, Tobi being the newest. Unlike the other members of Akatsuki, the Akatsuki leader does not seem to have Hidan's respect. He is the partner of Kakuzu, despite their obvious dislike of one another. Kakuzu has little patience for Hidan's battle style, rituals, and speeches, which he believes take far too long. Hidan, in turn, detests how Kakuzu fights solely for money. He was eventually dismembered and buried alive by Shikamaru Nara. The leader considers him to be effectively dead.


Kakuzu:

Membership status: Deceased, unreplaced
Ring: ("north")
Ring position: Left middle finger
Partner: Formerly Hidan
Definining characteristics: Able to extend life indefinitely through extraction and incorporation of foreign human hearts, can possess five human hearts at once, able to use all five chakra elements, body contains many threads for attack and body manipulation
Kakuzu is a missing-nin from Takigakure and Hidan's partner. He and Hidan display the most animosity towards each other out of all members of Akatsuki, neither being very fond of the other's interests. The two often trade barbs with one-another, Kakuzu's usually being better timed than Hidan's. Kakuzu is the longest-lived known character in the series, having lived at least since the time of the First Hokage, whom Kakuzu mentions having fought at one point. Kakuzu is defeated about thirty chapters after his introduction by Naruto Uzumaki and finished off by Kakashi Hatake. His partner, Hidan, is still alive, but in no condition to fight.


Orochimaru:

Membership status: Defected, unreplaced
Ring: ("sky")
Ring position: Left little finger
Partner: Formerly Sasori
Defining characteristics: Snake-like appearance, able to extend life via transferring soul into new bodies, mastery of snake-based jutsu, able to extend body parts to infinite lengths
Orochimaru is a missing-nin from Konohagakure. After he defects from Konoha he joins Akatsuki and is paired with Sasori.[63] Once Itachi Uchiha does the same, Orochimaru attempts to use one of his abilities to forcefully take control of Itachi's body. Itachi repels his effort and severs his hand as punishment, forcing Orochimaru to flee the organization in defeat. Upon leaving he takes his severed hand and the ring he wore on it with him. Because of this, as well as the fact that he had intimate knowledge of Akatsuki's secrets and plans, the members of Akatsuki began making every effort possible to find and eliminate him.


Sasori:

Membership status: Deceased
Ring: ("jewel", "ball", also the king in shogi)
Ring position: Left thumb
Partner: Formerly Deidara, Orochimaru before that
Defining characteristics: Puppet master, puppet body, human puppets, poison specialist
Sasori was Deidara's first partner in Akatsuki. A powerful ninja puppeteer, he was a missing-nin from Sunagakure. In the Rescue Gaara arc, he assisted Deidara in his mission to capture Gaara from Sunagakure. While there, he fought against Kankuro, nearly killing him and easily destroying Kankuro's puppets in the process. After Gaara was delivered to the Akatsuki lair, he acted as a rear-guard for the rest of Akatsuki, fighting Sakura and his grandmother Chiyo. This battle turned out to be his last, as he was eliminated by two puppets he designed himself, "Mother" and "Father" (his actual mother and father converted into puppets), which Chiyo had taken possession of after Sasori left the village.


Former Akatsuki Agents:


Kabuto Yakushi:

Status: Defected
Rank: Genin
Debut: Chapter 39, Naruto episode 23
Notable Features: Keeps Nin-Info cards on the ninja of the world
Kabuto Yakushi was a former spy for Sasori, forced into the position through a form of mind control. Kabuto was used by Sasori to infiltrate Orochimaru's group, but Orochimaru removed the mind control on Kabuto shortly after he joined. Kabuto then betrayed Sasori and Akatsuki in favor of Orochimaru.


Yura:

Status: Deceased
Rank: Jonin
Debut: Chapter 247, Shippūden episode 2
Seiyu: Hideo Watanabe
Yura, whose name means "beginning" in Japanese, served as a trusted member of the Kazekage advisory council of Sunagakure for four years. In reality, he was a sleeper agent for Akatsuki and a subordinate of Sasori. He was used in the Akatsuki leader's Shapeshifting Technique, which made him take on the shape of Itachi Uchiha and allowed Itachi to take control of his body. Naruto killed him with his Great Ball Spiraling Sphere while in this form.
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