Itachi isn’t the standard bad antagonist, evil genius or psycho. But he´s a genius, and the most good-looking guy in all of Naruto, imho. Well, it’s not just me, like all bad boys he’s got lots of fans. At least he doesn’t transform into a heap of snakes now and then, but stays his pretty self all the time. He do disappear into a cloud of crows sometimes, though. Well, not actually transform, he’s just very good at illusions. And his name means weasel, btw.
When he first is introduced he certainly seems like nothing but a psycho. A mass murderer and someone completely without empathy. I mean what’s up with killing your mother and father, not to mention your whole clan, except the little brother you presumably loved? In all those flashbacks when he genuinely seems to love and take care of Sasuke. And then he kills everyone, except little Sasuke. And when he shows up, standing over the bodies of his mother and father, sword in hand, he only explains himself by telling Sasuke that he’s to weak to kill right then. He also taunts Sasuke to get stronger to come after Itachi and kill him. It doesn’t sound like something a loving brother should do, right?
But was the big brother thing just an act? Is he completely insane? Or is there something else behind it all?
Aside from that grisly story the grand speech that Itachi makes to Sasuke is of course epic in its own way, and fairly often quoted or referenced to, not just in Naruto, but in other anime and manga as well. Here is the original:
[Itachi’s famous speech]
Since Sasuke is greatly traumatized by this event his greatest ambition becomes to kill his brother, and he will go to any lengths to accomplish his goal. It doesn’t sound like a very brotherly thing to do. When we finally meet Itachi outside flashbacks, he’s torturing Sasuke a little bit more by hypnotizing him to make him relive the murders, breaks his arm, and leaves. I think most of us believed that the story just couldn’t just be that simple. (Maybe it was “he’s so cute I can’t believe he’s evil”…) I think that Itachi is interesting every time he shows up and I won’t spoil anything here if you haven’t seen the whole thing.
Pre-murdering days, taking care of his little brother.
Itachi is too smart for his own good, finishing the ninja school only 7 years old (when most start their education) and becomes a part of the secret ninja force at 10. When he’s 13 he’s a captain in said secret force (probably doing assassinations, spying and other clandestine things) and already a double agent for both the village leaders and his own clan, respectively.
Strangely enough I haven’t been that keen on Itachi fanfic. Maybe because the only logical love I can picture for him is Sasuke, and in a fanficky BL way, that’s just not my thing. I’m more of a Narusasu girl, ok. Well, I have a ton of OTPs in Naruto, that’s for sure. But none seems to include Itachi when I think about it. He’s cute and fascinating and ambiguous, since you can’t really tell if he’s good or evil, in spite of what he does. He’s in the story a lot more in Shippuuden, the second part of Naruto, but it takes a long while for him to show his true colours. And yes. You get the answer to the Itachi quandary finally. And I can’t finish without mentioning the voice actor, Hideo Ishikawa. I love his voic. He also voices Ukitake in Bleach.
One tip: if you haven’t seen it and want to watch Naruto from the beginning: stop after episode 135, skip all the fillers and go directly to Shippuuden. That’s where the Naruto story really takes off, grows and becomes truly interesting. Except you probably have to see the first part or be completely lost. I started watching all the fillers while waiting for Shippuuden, but they are not necessary and I found the abundance of gags a bit boring and was mostly irritated.