5 ways Sasuke followed Itachi's footsteps in Naruto (and 5 where he deflected)

As a child, Sasuke's idol was Itachi, his older brother (Image via Pierrot)
As a child, Sasuke's idol was Itachi, his older brother (Image via Pierrot)

Sasuke and his older brother are mirror images of one another in some ways (see above photo). Other facets of their characters are stark contrasts.

As a child, Sasuke's idol was his older brother. As a child prodigy, Itachi rarely spent time with his family, leaving Sasuke with a void in place of brotherly love and mentorship.

One night, the young Uchiha returned home to find his entire clan slaughtered by Itachi. Distraught after watching his parents die at the hands of his older brother, Sasuke was left with an ominous challenge: become strong enough to take revenge by awakening a Mangekyo Sharingan.

Sasuke followed Itachi's path in these five ways

1) Be recognized as a prodigy

Both children of Mikoto and Fugaku Uchiha were dedicated to developing their ninja skills. Itachi achieved the rank of chunin at the ripe age of 10. Although Sasuke did not grow at the same rate, he was also a standout in the ninja academy.

The younger brother's Sharingan developed on the night of the Uchiha massacre. By the end of the Chunin exams, Sasuke could use his Sharingan in battle as in tandem with flame-style and a lightning-style jutsu.

2) Leave the village

After slaying his clan, Itachi had no choice but to leave the village. Although the elders of Konohagakure sanctioned his actions, the mission was top secret. To maintain order in the village, Itachi had to pretend that he acted on his own accord.

The younger Uchiha brother gave in to his desire for power and willingly left the village with the Sound Four. The Sasuke Recovery Mission ended in failure. He shook off Naruto's desperate attempt to bring him home and went to learn from Orochimaru.

3) Awaken the Mangekyo Sharingan

For an Uchiha to awaken their Mangekyo Sharingan, they must first be able to use the Sharingan. The second step is much darker. The Sharingan user must suffer the trauma of witnessing the death of the person closest to them.

Before the slaughter of the Uchiha clan, Itachi's Mangekyo manifested when he bore witness to the suicide of his best friend, Shusui Uchiha.

Sasuke awakened his Mangekyo Sharingan following Itachi's death.

He realized that the most critical bond he had was with his older brother. In his despair, his Sharingan evolved.

4) Kill fellow Uchiha

Both brothers felt a deep love for their clan but ended up killing a fellow Uchiha. Itachi was forced to choose between losing the lives of his entire clan in a coup or killing everyone himself to spare his younger brother.

The situation came full circle later in the series when Itachi allowed his brother to kill him.

5) Take an unconventional approach to defend Konoha

Despite the controversy, Itachi chose his path to defend his home village. He continued his work for Konoha after joining the Akatsuki by isolating Naruto and relaying a cryptic message. Furthermore, Itachi built his traitorous persona in hopes of driving his brother to become strong and defeat him as a hero of Konoha.

Multiple times throughout Naruto, Sasuke changes his view on his home village. After Kaguya's defeat, he confesses that he would only help undo the Infinite Tsukuyomi only after trapping the tailed beasts and killing the current kage. Although it sounds malicious, this was his idea of helping the world achieve peace.

After recovering from his final showdown with Naruto, he decided to leave the village and travel the world. He is still following this path at the start of Boruto, protecting the village by snuffing out outside threats at their root.

Sasuke differed from Itachi in these five ways

1) Did not join the Anbu Black Ops

Thanks to his ninja genius, Itachi became a Black Ops member at eleven. This is unusual because it is exceedingly rare for a ninja to graduate from the academy before celebrating a double-digit birthday.

Sasuke graduated from the academy at age 12. Any opportunity for him to join the elite ranks of the Anbu went out the window when he left the village shortly after the Chunin Exams.

2) Did not bear witness to the death of his best friend

Itachi had to witness the death of his best friend, Shusui, to awaken his Mangekyo Sharingan. Sasuke's Mangekyo awakened following the death of his older brother.

Nobody can say that one trauma is worse than the other. Although acquired through the same method, he did not have to lose his best friend, Naruto, in the process.

3) Did not join the Akatsuki

Itachi became a member of the Akatsuki with the secret intent of protecting his brother and village. That being said, he still participated in the organization's criminal acts.

On the other hand, the younger Uchiha clashed with the Akatsuki searching for his brother. During a recon mission, he is attacked by Akatsuki members. He survived Deirara's last-resort suicide bombing, making him the victor in his first battle against a current organization member.

Team Hebi eventually formed an alliance with Tobi and the Akatsuki. Sasuke never officially became a member of the organization and shortly broke the pact when he felt their goals no longer aligned.

4) Returned to the village

At the end of Naruto, Team Hebi was welcomed to Konoha. In Boruto, he and his family live in the village.

Itachi only ever returned to Konoha while wearing an Akatsuki cloak.

5) Developed even more advanced ocular jutsu

Itachi managed to awaken the Mangekyo Sharingan in both eyes. His younger brother not only achieved that but then had Itachi's eyes implanted to gain the eternal Mangekyo.

Furthermore, the younger Uchiha obtained a Rinnegan, opening the door to an entirely new world of ocular jutsu.

Note: This article reflects the author's views.

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