Sasuke Uchiha by Masashi Kishimoto as seen in Part I
|First appearance||Naruto manga chapter 3|
|Notable relatives||Itachi Uchiha (brother, deceased)
Sakura Haruno (wife)
Sarada Uchiha (daughter)
|Ninja rank||Genin in Part I
Rogue ninja in Part II
|Ninja team||Team 7 (Part I)
Sasuke Uchiha (うちは サスケ Uchiha Sasuke?) is a fictional character from the Naruto manga and anime series created by Masashi Kishimoto. Sasuke is one of the several surviving members of the Uchiha clan, an infamous and powerful extended family of ninjas who were allied to the village of Konohagakure, before being massacred by Sasuke's older brother, Itachi Uchiha, before the series' start. At the series' beginning, Sasuke's entire purpose for living is to avenge the destruction of his clan by killing his brother, causing him to become cold and uncaring towards human connection. As the series progresses, Sasuke becomes more empathetic towards his teammates, notably Naruto Uzumaki, whom he comes to consider a rival. Sasuke has appeared in several of the series' featured movies, as well as other media, including several video games and OVAs.
Sasuke was conceived as a rival and foil to the series' titular character, Naruto Uzumaki. Sasuke's design caused difficulties for Kishimoto as he drew the manga scenes, but he has grown to enjoy drawing him. In the animated adaptations from the manga Sasuke has been voiced by Noriaki Sugiyama in Japanese and Yuri Lowenthal in the English dub.
Several anime and manga publications have provided acclaim and criticism of Sasuke's character. While many reviewers have noted his cold and detached attitude and abilities, he has been viewed as a stereotypical "rival" in the mold of several similar characters in other shōnen manga. The character's development has been praised with reviewers praising his rivalry with other appearing characters and the impact he makes in the plot overall. Moreover, Sasuke has been highly popular with the Naruto reader base, placing high in several popularity polls. Merchandise based on Sasuke has also been released, including action figures and plush dolls.
Sasuke is the prodigious sole survivor of the once powerful Uchiha clan of Konoha. He witnessed the massacre of his entire clan at the hands of his brother, Itachi Uchiha, when he was six years old, his life only being spared because his brother deemed him unworthy to kill. When first assigned to Team 7, Sasuke is portrayed as antisocial and superior and is initially unwilling to cooperate with team members Naruto Uzumaki and Sakura Haruno, but eventually concedes they are useful. Sasuke awakens his Sharingan, the genetic ability of the Uchiha clan, which allows him to see imperceptible movements and learn via imitation at a super-human rate. As time passes, Sasuke begins to seek stronger and stronger opponents in order to convince himself he is growing stronger.
During the Chunin exams, Team 7 encounters Konoha deserter Orochimaru, who infects Sasuke with a curse mark. When active, mark increases Sasuke's physical abilities but makes him cruel and sadistic, as the mark contains a fragment of Orochimaru's consciousness. Soon after, Kakashi teaches Sasuke his powerful Chidori technique to appease his desire for power.
Sasuke is beaten by Gaara during the siege of Konoha, and is rescued by Naruto. Not long after, Itachi returns to the area and Sasuke attempts to kill him, only to be beaten and tortured. Sasuke decides he needs to leave Team 7 in order to become stronger. Believing Orochimaru's tutelage will make him more powerful, Sasuke defects from Konoha and becomes an outlaw. Naruto follows him and the two fight atop the monuments of their famous relatives, Madara Uchiha, and Hashirama Senju at the Valley of the End. Sasuke wins, but leaves Naruto to live, and continues on to Orochimaru's hideout.
After two-and-a-half years of training, Sasuke attempts to kill a weakened Orochimaru before Orochimaru can possess Sasuke's body. Orochimaru attempts to force the body switch, but Sasuke is able to reverse the process, absorbing Orochimaru. Believing he is strong enough to kill Itachi, Sasuke forms team "Hebi", and tracks Itachi down. They fight, and Itachi appears to be win but dies before he can deal the final blow, ostensibly from a preexisting illness. After the battle, Sasuke passes out and is collected by Tobi, who reveals that Itachi killed the Uchiha under the orders of Konohagakure command, and spared Sasuke out of love. Responding to Sasuke's emotional turmoil, his Sharingan evolves into a Mangekyo Sharingan, giving Sasuke all of Itachi's borderline invincible techniques.
Sasuke reunites with the members of Hebi, renaming them "Taka," and declares his intention to destroy the Hidden Leaf in retribution, agreeing to temporarily work for Akatsuki. On Tobi's orders, he attempts to capture the Eight-Tails Jinchuriki, Killer Bee, who manages to escape. Sasuke and Taka then set out to kill one of the masterminds behind the Uchiha Massacre, Danzo Shimura, who is currently serving as acting Hokage at the meeting of 5 Kages. Sasuke fights all five Kages at once and is rescued by Tobi. After being revitalized, Sasuke confronts Danzo and kills him in combat. He is then found Sakura, Kakashi, and Naruto, and Naruto challenges him to a final fight sometime in the future. In order to grow more powerful and cure his encroaching blindness, Sasuke has Tobi transplant Itachi's eyes, giving him his own Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan.
Following his recovery, Sasuke aids the reanimated Itachi in capturing Kabuto Yakushi who is controlling the reanimated soldiers aiding Tobi. Disillusioned by his brother's resolve to protect the village, Sasuke decides to investigate more about his clan through the first four Hokages reanimated by the revived Orochimaru. After hearing the First Hokage's story of the past of Madara, himself, the foundation of Konoha and what it means to be a shinobi, Sasuke, not wanting his brother's sacrifice to be for nothing, makes his decision to protect his village and heads to the area of the battlefield. There, Team 7 reunites and fights both the Ten Tails and Obito Uchiha alongside Naruto and their allies. Upon suffering major wounds at the hands of Madara, Sasuke is saved by a reformed Kabuto. In his subconscious, Sasuke meets the Sage of the Six Paths, Hagoromo Otsutsuki. Sasuke inherits the Sage's Rinnegan fused with Ten-Tails' power so he and Naruto can defeat Madara together while undoing the Infinite Tsukiyomi, only to end up facing Kaguya. However, it was only after Kaguya's defeat that Sasuke explains his decision is to also start a revolution to destroy the status quo and create a new order from the chaos. After losing his left arm in their final battle, Sasuke eventually accepts defeat and reconciles with Naruto. After being healed by Sakura so he can help Naruto end the Infinite Tsukiyomi, Sasuke is pardoned for his crimes by Kakashi after he became the Sixth Hokage. However, Sasuke decides to travel the world to find his own redemption, telling Sakura not to follow him as he promises to return to her soon, parting ways with Naruto on amiable terms. Later, Sasuke returns to the village and marries Sakura, and they would go on to have a daughter together.
Appearances in other media
Sasuke has made several appearances outside of the Naruto anime and manga. He appears in all four of the original video animations produced for the series, helping Naruto and Konohamaru Sarutobi to find a four leaf clover in the first original video animation, joining his team in escorting a ninja named Shibuki to his village and helping him fight the missing-nin that stole the village's "Hero's Water" in the second, and participating in a tournament in the third and working with Team 7 in the fourth one. Sasuke also makes an appearance in the first two Naruto featured films, although he is only briefly present in a memory segment in the second. He also makes his first Part II appearance in a film in the second Naruto: Shippuden movie. In the sixth Naruto: Shippuden movie, an alternate reality version of Sasuke is introduced who is a flirting casanova. Sasuke is also set to debut as the protagonist of a Naruto spin-off manga named Sasuke Uchiha's Shuringan Legend by Kenji Taira.
Sasuke is a common playable character in Naruto video games, including the Clash of Ninja series and the Ultimate Ninja series. In some games, it is possible to unlock and play as a version of him with the cursed seal active. Due to his lack of appearances in early Naruto Shippūden chapters and episodes, he does not appear in any games based on Naruto Shippuden until Gekitou Ninja Taisen EX 2. In additional to games focusing on Naruto games exclusively, Sasuke has appeared in the crossover games such as Battle Stadium D.O.N and J-Stars Victory Vs.
Creation and conception
When developing the original Naruto manga, Masashi Kishimoto had not initially intended to create Sasuke. After speaking with his editor about the future of the series, he was advised to create a rival character for the series' protagonist, Naruto Uzumaki, resulting in Sasuke's creation. To learn more about creating an effective rivalry, Kishimoto read a variety of manga to gather ideas on what constituted such a rivalry, and he coalesced these ideal elements into one relationship. Because Sasuke is intended to be Naruto's opposite, Kishimoto is always careful to make sure Sasuke is never too emotional. With Sasuke's character being that of a "cool genius," Kishimoto feels he has created the ideal rivalry. By the time Sasuke suffered a drastic change in the plot which made him become one of the series' antagonists, Kishimoto compared Sasuke and Naruto to the yin and yang as a result of their notable differences. As a result, he mentions that whenever one of the two progresses, he makes sure the other does it too. In early 2014, he referred to Sasuke as a "very pure person" when asked whether he was good or evil, adding that while some of his actions such as following his clan's ideals are positive, he tends to bring problems to others due to his self-centered nature. Since the series started serialization, Kishimoto had decided the ending would feature a fight between these two characters.
When first introducing Sasuke, Kishimoto had made a chapter which was set before the creation of Team 7, and Naruto had just become a ninja. However, this idea was later cancelled and Sasuke was introduced alongside Team 7, yet keeping the same traits and his rivalry with Naruto. Sasuke's first name comes from the manga Sasuke by Sanpei Shirato, a series which Kishimoto likes, as well as from Sarutobi Sasuke, a fictional ninja featured in Japanese children's stories. Kishimoto remarks that Sasuke's character was influenced by Hiei from YuYu Hakusho, stating that he referenced Hiei when making his character and his Sharingan.
Sasuke's design gave Kishimoto a number of problems, making him the most difficult character he had to create. Because he lacked a proper idea of what Sasuke's face should look like, initial drafts of Sasuke appeared too old or mature for a character the same age as Naruto. Once settling on a proper face, Kishimoto worked on Sasuke's attire. Original designs of Sasuke had a number of necklaces and ties around his arms and legs, a result of Kishimoto's habit of giving characters as much ornamentation as possible. Realizing he could not draw such a complex character on a weekly basis, Kishimoto simplified the design to a basic contrast of Naruto's costume.
For Kishimoto, Sasuke remains the most difficult character for him to draw. While drawing, errors and mishaps commonly result in Sasuke's youthful appearance being lost, a result of Kishimoto's inexperience in drawing characters mature beyond their years. Sasuke's hair, originally kept short to save Kishimoto time, has slowly gotten longer as the series has progressed, increasing the amount of time needed to draw Sasuke. Midway through Part I of the series Kishimoto drew a new costume for Sasuke that featured a number of belts strapped around his arms and legs. Because of the time needed to draw a costume of this design, Kishimoto returned Sasuke to his original costume. Despite the time and energy Kishimoto spends drawing Sasuke, Sasuke has become his favorite character to draw.
When designing Sasuke in his Part II appearance, Kishimoto's main objective was to make him look cool. For this, he tried giving him several outfits such as Shimenawa around him to preserve Orochimaru's style of clothing as by the moment in the series he was his apprentice. He also tried other clothes such as a turtleneck and a military uniform to show "cleanliness". However, he ended up choosing Japanese-style clothes with a Chokutō-style sword.
In every official Weekly Shōnen Jump popularity poll of the series, Sasuke has ranked within the top five characters. Though Sasuke's rank initially alternated between the third and fourth spot, he has ranked first twice. Noriaki Sugiyama noted in the Behind the Scenes of Uchiha that he got emotional during sixth season of the Naruto Shippuden anime when Sasuke learned the truth about his brother's role. In an interview, Yuri Lowenthal, who does the voice acting for Sasuke in the English dub, states that he is honored to be playing that role due to the large retinue of voice actors auditioning for the role, and also noted the stress associated with his job due to fans being highly critical of any deviation or mistake made while dubbing. He has also commented that his first impression of the character was that of "a serious guy dedicated to his training", but he later appreciated the pain Sasuke suffered and where it came from. Several pieces of merchandise have been released in Sasuke's likeness, including plush of his Part I and Part II appearance, key chains, and numerous figurines. NTT customers voted him as their fifth favorite black haired male anime character.
Several publications for manga, anime, video games, and other related media have provided praise and criticism on Sasuke's character. GameSpot's Joe Donson extolled Sasuke's abilities as "badass," although echoing IGN's comments concerning his personality. T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews noted that Sasuke fell into the stereotypical "rival" mold of several other shōnen manga, and found him, along with several of the other characters, to not be likable. On the other hand, Mania Entertainment's Dani Moure praised the fact that Naruto and Sasuke are forced to work together despite their rivalry. The relation between both characters was liked by Moure due to the fact they always compete but the same time it was noted that "the group [Naruto and Sasuke] come together when they need to". Although Carl Kimlinger from Anime News Network found Sasuke's fight in the Chunin Exams were "pure action", he noted that Orochimaru's influence over him kept the tension high. In another review, although Kimlinger commented that Sasuke was in need of development when he was escaping from Konoha, he criticized that it was not necessary to have long flashbacks about his life before his fight against Naruto. The following fight between the two characters has been noted to be one of the most entertaining from the series not only because of the tactics the two used, but also as how it helped to show their rivalry's growth giving sentimental scenes to the fans. In the book New Media Literacies and Participatory Popular Culture Across Borders, Amy A. Zenger notes Sasuke and Sakura's relationship to be popular within fan of the series even though the former does not reciprocate to the latter's feelings.
Sasuke's appearances in Part II from the Naruto manga have received major praise. This included Manga Life's Park Cooper with the most remarked scenes from his review being Sasuke's new abilities and his fight against Orochimaru which was noted to "change the nature of things" suddenly. His re-introduction in the second story arc was found so important that the animated adaptation Naruto Shippuden started with a sneak peek to this scene. The character's personality, while found not entirely different from the original series, was found to make his scenes interesting thanks to his calmer and angrier attitude as well as his conversation with the nine-tailed demon fox which foreshadowed future events. Sasuke's final fight against Itachi was commented by Casey Brienza from Anime News Network to be "epic" as how the latter's death and revelations about his life made notable impact in the former's personality and point of view.
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