After last weeks episode saw Itachi slaughter his clan and join the Akatsuki this episode was always going to be a transitional one for the story. Moving from Bright Light and into his Dark Night as it were. As such it could be quite boring or very interesting and it was certainly the later this episode a whole bunch of things for Naruto fans to chew on including a Kage/Jinchuriki battle we never really knew existed. Anyways lets move on to Itachi Shinden Episode 6 “The Darkness of the Akatsuki”.
As the episode opens Itachi along with his partner Jūzō Biwa discuss their history and tactics. As a former member of the Hidden Mist’s Seven Swordsmen and wielder of the Kubikiribōchō - The Executioners Blade Jūzō explains his history. During the Second Great Ninja War his team ran across Might Dai the father of Guy who used the 8th Gate Release Technique and killed half of the Seven Swords. Jūzō managed to survive and likely from the shame left the employ the Hidden Mist and joined the Akatsuki.
Jūzō then tries to gather knowledge of Itachi’s skills so as to best make formations, showing he seems to be more into team work then other members of Akatsuki have been shown to in the past. Itachi explains his skills are Genjutsu, Fire Style Jutsu, and Shuriken Jutsu - to which Jūzō calls him modest as his reputation is very much well known by this point. Following this the two complete a simple assassination job with little issue and move on.
Returning to the lair of the Akatuski a meeting is held as Pain the leader of the Akatsuki explains the end goal of the organization - the capture of the Tailed Beast, which will then be used for world domination. However first they must build up the organizations reputation by doing many jobs for leaders across the ninja world.
Itachi and Jūzō then move onto a main mission in the Hidden Mist. However Jūzō is very wary of returning home as the Mist kills any missing Ninja on sight as both a punishment for deserting and an endeavor to keep their jutsu out of the hands of other Villages. As such Jūzō requests that Itachi kill him if he should fall in battle as well.
As the two are extracting themselves from the Mist they are ambushed by the Mizukage the Jinchuriki of the Three Tails and a squad of elite ninja. Despite only being a child the Mizukage shows he actually has total control over his Tailed Beast and is able to use his Tailed Beast transformation, which proves to be a formidable challenge to both Itachi and Jūzō.
During the battle Jūzō is mortally wounded by his own blade and encourages Itachi to retreat. As the Mizukage in his three tail transformation powers up a Tailed Beast Bomb Itachi’s Mangekyō Sharingan activates and he uses his Amaterasu for the first time. Resulting in the Mizukage’s tailed beast state being literally burned from his body. Itachi watches in horror as the young boy burns before his eyes.
Following the fight Itachi leaves Jūzō asking if he has any last words to which the proud ninja merely calls him an idiot. This action also explains how the Kubikiribōchō returns to the possession of the Mist as it would later be used by future members of the Seven Blades. Namely Zabuza who would later also go on to abandon the village and become the first enemy of Team Seven including Itachi’s own brother in a few years time.
Following the mission Akatsuki has a meeting regarding teammates. As their has been accusations of team killings as well as partners just not getting along. This is mostly the case with Sasori and Orochimaru being quite opposed to continue working together. Orochimaru in particular is very insistent on working with Itachi now that he is without a partner of his own. Pain says no to the switch as he has a new partner for Itachi already in mind.
Taking matters into his own hands Orochimaru attacks Itachi attempting to take his body to become immortal. However Itachi is far too skilled and easily subdues Orochimaru who he calls a fundamentally greedy individual. Itachi taunts the helpless Orochimaru by saying “try all the Jutsu you want, my eyes can see right through them” after slicing off Orochimaru’s arm.
In the end Itachi lets Orochimaru live how abandons the Akatsuki. Knowing he can never have Itachi’s body Orochimaru then switches to trying to find other special individuals a journey which will eventually lead him to Itachi’s younger brother Sasuke. Who ironically will also defy and defeat him.
As the episode comes to a close Itachi is looking out on a pier alone. However a new Akatsuki member joins him and introduces himself to his new partner. Kisame Hoshigaki another former Seven Sword of the Mist who this time is a powerful S-Rank missing-nin just like Itachi himself.
In many ways the episode wasn’t as much a set up as I thought it was going to be and jumped right into Itachi’s time with the Akatsuki. Unfortunately a lot of this time is already well known by fans but it’s interesting none the less as the writing is very good in setting up future events. No less then three seperate times are future events either directly set up and alluded too. While they can get cheap over time it works here as it does show the writers are at least trying to cap plot holes to a minimum.
I personally didn’t think I’d like his time in Akatsuki as much as I liked his childhood arc. However right now if things continue to go the way they are going this arc could land strong. With likely only a few episodes left we’ll see how dark Itachi’s Dark Night continues to become.