There are many great anime characters, but Itachi has long been at the top of the standings in terms of the most popular Naruto characters of all time, not only because he is cool and powerful but also because he made one of the biggest sacrifices in all of the entire story. Of course, considering that he had to sacrifice himself, Itachi did indeed die in Naruto: Shippuden. So, how did Itachi die, and why did he die with a smile on his face?
Itachi died due to the exhaustion of the battle against Sasuke and because he was suffering from a mysterious illness that limited his stamina and physical capabilities. As such, after exerting himself in the battle against Sasuke, Itachi died and smiled because he was able to protect his brother at the very end.
The story of Itachi is one that is both tragic and heartwarming because this is a tale of an older brother’s love for his younger sibling. Nevertheless, that wasn’t the case at the beginning because we were made to look at him as an antagonist, only to find out that he made one of the biggest sacrifices in the entire story. Now, let’s get to know more about Itachi and how he died.
Who Is Itachi In Naruto?
The entire Naruto storyline is one that’s full of different characters that were able to play important roles in the manga and anime. In that regard, one of the characters that played a huge part in the formation of Sasuke’s character arc is Itachi. But who exactly is Itachi in Naruto?
When he was introduced as one of the main characters, Sasuke’s goal was to become strong enough so that he could one day kill Itachi, who is actually his older brother. The story is that Itachi massacred his entire Uchiha clan for some reason and ended up joining a group of powerful rogue ninjas called the Akatsuki. Sasuke’s entire life was geared towards killing his brother ever since that fateful day.
Itachi was born a talented ninja who was able to break almost all of the records in terms of how he progressed with age. He was quite arguably the most talented Uchiha in recent memory and was able to earn himself high ranks within the Hidden Leaf ninja hierarchy in no time at all. And that was the reason why he was strong enough to massacre his entire clan.
But as the entire anime progressed, it was revealed that Itachi was never the bad guy. The politics behind the entire Hidden Leaf Village forced Itachi to choose between his clan and the village. It was discovered that the Uchiha clan, which had been forced to live on the outskirts of the village for decades, had planned a coup against the Hokage. Itachi, who was a special forces ninja in the Anbu, was told to kill his own clan.
Itachi, in making his choice, asked the leader of his village if he could spare his younger brother if he chose to massacre his clan. The Hidden Leaf elders allowed him to do so. And the reason why Itachi wanted his brother to stay alive was the fact that he always loved Sasuke and because he wanted his brother to be the one to kill him so that he could atone for killing the entire clan.
This entire plot was never made public because only the leaders of the Hidden Leaf were aware of the reason why Itachi needed to kill the Uchiha clan and why Sasuke had to be the one to survive. And because Sasuke didn’t know why his brother killed the entire clan, he grew up hating Itachi until his older brother’s final breath.
How Did Itachi Die In Naruto: Shippuden?
As mentioned, Sasuke trained and developed his skills so that he could one day avenge his entire clan by killing Itachi. After years of training under Orochimaru and absorbing him into his body, Sasuke now believed that he was ready to face his talented brother in a battle to the death.
Sasuke showcased his improved talents and skills by being able to outmaneuver Itachi for a while. He was also able to show how improved his talents had become when he used strategies that even surprised Itachi. But what Sasuke didn’t account for was that his brother was still a lot stronger than him.
Even after Sasuke had developed a technique called the Kirin, which was his most powerful lightning-based attack, he couldn’t pierce through the impenetrable defense of Itachi’s Susanoo, which is the ultimate technique of an Uchiha who had awakened his Mangekyou Sharingan.
However, after Sasuke unleashed that technique and was surprised to see that his brother was still alive, he unleashed his Cursed Seal out of desperation. As such, Orochimaru manifested out of him and was planning on taking over Sasuke’s body. That was when Itachi put his plan into motion by sealing Orochimaru.
Itachi, now weak but still protected by his Susanoo, approached Sasuke while keeping up with the veil that he was evil. He was telling an exhausted Sasuke that he was about to take his eyes so that he could awaken his Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan. But as Itachi had gotten close enough to Sasuke, he couldn’t keep up with the evil brother act and simply poked his younger brother on the forehead just like when they were still younger.
After that, Itachi simply died with a smile on his face as Sasuke was left wondering how his older brother died. But it was revealed that Itachi had been suffering from a rare and mysterious disease that left his body weak and limited his stamina. That explains why Itachi relied more on his genjutsu in battle instead of physically exerting himself against his opponents.
Itachi died because he exerted himself too much in that fight against Sasuke. He may have gotten injured because of Sasuke’s attacks, but it was ultimately the disease that took him as Itachi succumbed to his condition and died right then and there. Technically, Sasuke never defeated him but did enough to prolong the battle and make Itachi succumb to his illness.
Why Did Itachi Smile During His Death?
The reason why Itachi smiled at the very end when he was about to die was that he was happy that he was there to help his brother out. Helping Sasuke was always Itachi’s ultimate goal ever since he killed his entire clan years ago.
First off, Itachi agreed to fight Sasuke that day and waited until the last moment for Orochimaru to come out so that he could seal him. Itachi was already aware of Orochimaru’s plans, and it was best for him to push Sasuke to the very limits of his abilities so that he would be forced to use the Cursed Seal and force Orochimaru out. In doing so, Itachi was able to keep his brother away from Orochimaru, who planned on taking over Sasuke’s body.
Then there’s the fact that Itachi always wanted his brother to become strong enough to kill him. In all of the instances when Itachi appeared, he kept on telling Sasuke to train and work hard enough to become strong. And he knew that the only way for Sasuke to work hard to become powerful was for him to force his younger brother to hate him.
The fact that Itachi had realized that Sasuke was already strong enough to match him in a fight allowed him to die happy because he had done his part in making his brother strong. He always wanted Sasuke to be powerful because he wanted his younger brother to be the one to protect the Hidden Leaf Village in the future and make him atone for the sin that he committed when he massacred the entire clan.
And when Itachi saw that Sasuke had matured and was already quite strong, that was when he realized that he could now die happy, knowing that he could leave the future of the village in his brother’s hands.