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The Tale of Uchiha Itachi (from Naruto Anime): How He Was Born, Lived, and Died.
Uchiha Itachi's Life And Death
Important before you read this article: This article contains spoilers regarding Uchiha Itachi, one of the most popular characters in Naruto manga and anime. If you want to watch your Naruto Shippuuden episode weekly without being spoiled, do not read this article.
Uchiha Itachi was born in Uchiha clan, the legendary and arguably the strongest clan in Konoha. He was the hope of Uchiha. He graduated the Ninja Academy at the age of 7 at the top of his class, when kids his age still struggled in Ninja Academy. He mastered Sharingan, the one kekkei-genkai traditional ability of the Uchiha clan, at the age of 8, only a year after. At the age of 10, Uchiha Itachi became Chuunin after passing the Chuunin Exam rather easily, and he went on to be an ANBU Captain at only the age of 13. The rest of the clan thought so highly of him, kids in the clan looked up to him, especially his little brother, Uchiha Sasuke. Their father had high hopes for him. But there was something that everyone didn't seem to understand. Uchiha Itachi was like a closed book. There was something about him that wasn't at ease. However, through all this time, he still showed his affections and love for his little brother Uchiha Sasuke.
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Sure enough, not long after, he inititated a massacre against the rest of his clan; the Uchiha clan. Not a single person from the clan survived; he killed them all, including his own parents. The one person that he couldn't bring himself to kill was his little brother, Uchiha Sasuke. The night of the massacre, he created the image of a man his brother would be disgusted at. He purposely planted hatred in the heart of his brother, and flew off into the night leaving not a trace of his present. Uchiha Itachi was then a runaway criminal, a missing-nin. The next news they heard about him was that he was then a member of Akatsuki, a dengerous organization consisted of runaway criminal ninja's from all over the world.
Upon joining Akatsuki, Uchiha Itachi was labeled as a very dangerous criminal, and his present was feared. At the same time, down in Konoha, his birthplace and the place he grew up, his brother, Uchiha Sasuke, who survived the massacre, had changed from a sweet little kid to a gloomy and stiff one. Uchiha Sasuke had made himself an avenger. Avenging his clan was what he had set himself up to do, and killing his older brother was his one and only goal. At 12, Uchiha Sasuke left Konoha, becoming a missing-nin and a wanted criminal himself, to search and to kill his brother Uchiha Itachi.
Time flew by and by the time Uchiha Sasuke reached 16, he finally got his wish for a confrontation with his brother. Both of the brothers met at Uchiha's secret meeting place, and Uchiha Sasuke immidiately went for the man he had been wanting to kill all of his life. The clash started immidiately and ended with the death of Uchiha Itachi. Uchiha Sasuke was smiling when both of them collapsed onto the ground and the rain started to pour. Little that he knew it wasn't his true victory.
Uchiha Itachi had planned for his death. He had planned to die in the hand of his brother. His power and strength alone could have killed his little brother Uchiha Sasuke easily in the clash, but he didn't plan to kill his brother. What he had actually been doing all of this time was protecting his little brother.
Knowing how painful a world war was, having seen a world war at the age of 4, Uchiha Itachi was bitter when he knew that the Uchiha clan was planning a coup d'etat on Konoha. He knew very well this coup d'etat would surely lead to a world war. By that time, the Uchiha clan had a plan for themselves; they felt as a superior clan, it wasn't enough for them to just settle like any other second-rate clan in the village. Being a Konoha Military Police Force just wasn't enough. They wanted to take over Konoha. They long for the "true power". In fact, for each and every one of an Uchiha, there lies a desire for eternal power of Mangekyou Sharingan, a power which surpasses what normal Sharingan can achieve.
As Uchiha Itachi put it to his brother on their final clash, he said, "For decades, The Uchiha killed their friends to obtain the Mangekyou Sharingan. And killed their siblings to make the power permanent. Our clan was forever tainted because they couldn't stop flaunting their powers. Your fate has been drenched in blood since the day you were born an Uchiha".
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Uchiha Itachi knew the true colors of his clan, and how ugly they were. As an ANBU who worked closely with Konoha councils at the time, he accepted the order from Danzou, whose teachings were known to be radical, and the Konoha elders, to wipe out the entire clan in order to avoid world war from happening. Uchiha Itachi also agreed to this because of his encounter with Uchiha Madara before the massacre. Uchiha Madara, the man behind the Nine-Tails attack against Konoha years ago, had planned another attack on Konoha, but was stopped after he was satisfied enough with a deal he made with Uchiha Itachi. Uchiha Itachi's only wishes were these; he didn't want to see another war, he wanted Konoha to be forever in peace, and he wanted his brother to be safe.
So Uchiha Itachi played the role of a wanted criminal in the eyes of Konoha, his own brother, and the world. The only people that knew the truth were Danzou, the two elders, and Uchiha Madara. The rest of the world knew him as a dangerous criminal and a missing-nin. He provoked his brother Uchiha Sasuke to come at him so that Uchiha Sasuke would train himself to be strong and so that Uchiha Sasuke would be seen as a "hero" of Konoha when he gets to "kill" him.
After the clash of these two brothers, it was unknown as to what happened to the body of Uchiha Itachi, and where it is now in the series. It was assumed that Uchiha Madara had hid the body somewhere.
Uchiha Itachi might still be known as a dangerous criminal in the Naruto world, but he died a hero. A true hero.