The Akatsuki (暁; Literally meaning "Dawn" or "Daybreak") is a criminal organization of S-rank missing-nins. Their main goal is to collect all of the tailed beasts
for their plan of world domination. As such, the Akatsuki, despite
initially having a minor role during the first half of the series,
became major antagonists in the Naruto universe.
The Akatsuki, prior to the execution of their plans, at any given time had ten primary members, all of whom are or were
from their respective villages. The Akatsuki always work in teams of
two with the exception of Zetsu, who functions as the organization's
spy, and make use of their unique skills to the teams advantage. Team
members at the very least have to have functional team work with their
partner even if they don't like each other. Despite this, it appears
the organization hardly ever has a full meeting with them all together,
as when they first met at the end of Part I, one said it was the first
time in seven years they were all together.
The Akatsuki is widespread, spanning several countries with
many agents possibly in all the ninja villages at least once. When one
team finds a tailed beasts and has to begin the job of sealing the
demon, they have hidden hideouts with many traps ready, to begin the
sealing with the leader's
astral projection for a three day long jutsu.
Deidara (デイダラ, Deidara) is a former ninja of Iwagakure. He acted as a terrorist bomber for hire before being forced to join Akatsuki by Itachi Uchiha.
Though he came to embrace the organization, Deidara holds a grudge
against Itachi and all Uchiha throughout the series, as he feels they
look down on his abilities. Upon joining Akatsuki he is partnered with Sasori, who Deidara treats as his master due to his artistic expertise. Sasori is replaced by Tobi
after his death, and Deidara assumes the master-position as Sasori had
before him. By consuming clay with mouths in his hands, Deidara is able
to create his own form of art: sculptures that explode with varying
When he speaks, he near-constantly ends his sentences with an audible
"hmm?", although it has also been translated as "yeah" and other
similar syllables. Deidara's creations can take any form he so chooses,
and from the time of their creation to their detonation he can bring
them to life and control them remotely. He is very confident in his
art's ability, such that he believes it cannot be defeated. When Sasuke Uchiha,
Itachi's younger brother, is able to systematically nullify and gain
the advantage over his art, Deidara transforms himself into a living
bomb in an effort to kill Sasuke and prove his art is supreme, but
fails. He is voiced by Katsuhiko Kawamoto in the Japanese anime, and during a brief cameo in its English adaptation he is voiced by Quinton Flynn.
Hidan (飛段, Hidan) is the foul-mouthed partner of Kakuzu and a former ninja of a yet-to-be-identified village. He is a member of the Jashin (ジャシン, Jashin lit. "evil god")
religion, a religion that worships a deity of the same name and where
anything less than death and utter destruction is considered a sin. His
religion seems, to some extent, to extend to his unique abilities; by
consuming an opponent's blood and then drawing Jashin's
triangular-design on the ground, Hidan can create a voodoo doll-like
link with his opponent. Once this link is created, any damage done to
Hidan's body is reflected on his opponent, allowing him to kill them by
giving himself fatal injuries. Because he is immortal, Hidan is not
impaired while doing this, instead finding pleasure in the pain it
causes him. After Hidan uses this ability to kill Asuma Sarutobi, Shikamaru Nara
fights him to avenge his teacher. Their battle culminates in Hidan
being blown up, and Shikamaru buries his still-speaking remains in a
place Akatsuki will never be able to reach. As such, Hidan is no longer
considered a member by the rest of Akatsuki.
Itachi Uchiha (うちは イタチ, Uchiha Itachi) is a former ninja of Konohagakure and the partner of Kisame Hoshigaki. Though having spent his early youth as the kindly child prodigy of the Uchiha clan,
Itachi is treated as a villain for much of the series. He is initially
portrayed as being solely responsible for the slaughter of his entire
family, sparing only his brother, Sasuke Uchiha, with the explanation that he was testing his abilities. Around the time of his death his villainous role is downplayed; not only is he revealed to have had help from his master, Madara Uchiha, in killing the clan, but he performed the massacre under the orders of Konoha's leadership so as to prevent an Uchiha coup d'état.
Though he is ordered to kill Sasuke as well, Itachi could not bring
himself to do so, instead forcing Konoha to keep Sasuke safe or risk
Itachi going public with his mission. For his part, Itachi accepts his
role as a villain, never telling anyone of who else was involved and
even encouraging Sasuke to grow strong enough to kill him and avenge
Throughout the series Itachi attempts to avoid combat, seeking
nonviolent discussions instead. If he is forced to battle he usually
remains stationary, only acting in self-defense. From his idle position
he studies an opponent's movements with his Sharingan eyes, trapping them in illusions when opportune by merely pointing or looking at them. He is noted to be extremely fast with hand movements, allowing him to attack before an opponent has the chance to respond. Itachi at times uses one of the three abilities of his Mangekyo Sharingan, though he tries to avoid doing so as it is taxing on his body and damages his eyesight. The first, Tsukuyomi (月読, Tsukuyomi), allows him to torture opponents for what seems like days in a matter of moments. Amaterasu (天照, Amaterasu), the second, generates black flames at his focal point that will continue to burn until the target is reduced to ash. The final ability, Susanoo (須佐能乎, Susanoo),
creates a massive ethereal warrior that fights on Itachi's behalf and
shields him from all attacks. Before he dies during his battle with
Sasuke, Itachi implants his Amaterasu in Sasuke's eyes, hoping that
doing so will eventually kill Madara Uchiha. In the Japanese anime,
Itachi is voiced by Hideo Ishikawa. His first voice actor in the English anime was Skip Stellrecht, who voiced Itachi in episodes twenty-nine and thirty, but in all following appearances, he has been voiced by Crispin Freeman.
Kakuzu (角都, Kakuzu?) is a former ninja of Takigakure and the partner of Hidan. He has a deep love for money, and uses his membership in Akatsuki as a means to seek out valuable bounties.
Because money is the only thing he relies on, Kakuzu dislikes needing
to be partnered with someone in Akatsuki. He has killed all of his
previous partners in fits of rage, and thus was paired with the
immortal Hidan so he wouldn't need to keep finding a replacement.
Kakuzu's body is composed of large amounts of black threads, allowing
him to sew things (such as Hidan's dismembered body parts) back
together. The threads are also capable of piercing flesh, which Kakuzu
uses to remove the still-beating hearts of his opponents for his
personal use. By integrating these healthier organs into his body he
can escape death and extend his life indefinitely. He can store up to
four spare hearts in animal masks that are sewn to his back. The masks
can be detached during combat situations to shoot elemental blasts at
his opponents, and can quickly be recalled to his body if he needs
their heart. Kakuzu's masks are systematically destroyed soon after his
introduction by a group of Konohagakure ninja. After Naruto Uzumaki leaves his final heart on the brink of failure, Kakuzu is easily finished off by Kakashi Hatake.
Kisame Hoshigaki (干柿 鬼鮫, Hoshigaki Kisame?) is a former ninja of Kirigakure and the partner of Itachi Uchiha.
While most Akatsuki partners are hostile towards each other, Kisame and
Itachi get along considerably well; Kisame does as Itachi asks of him
unquestioningly and always looks out for Itachi's well-being. While he
was still loyal to Kirigakure, Kisame was one of the Seven Swordsmen of
the Mist, a group of ninja that use particularly large swords in
battle. His sword, Samehada (鮫肌, Samehada? lit. "shark skin"), is covered in scales, can absorb untold amounts of an opponent's chakra,
and only allows Kisame to wield it. Kisame has a unique appearance,
having pale blue skin, a gill-like facial structure, and sharp
triangular teeth. These shark-like characteristics extend to his choice
of attacks in battle, as he frequently shapes water into the forms of
sharks to damage opponents. If there is no water nearby, Kisame can
quickly produce his own lake to use at his leisure. His seiyū in the Japanese anime is Tomoyuki Dan, and his English voice actor is Kirk Thornton.