The tension and complexity between Itachi and Sasuke Uchiha’s relationship is one of the best parts of Naruto.
Clan killer Itachi and his actions made Sasuke who he was: a vengeful broken man with a darkness that consumed him.
Itachi and Sasuke’s dynamic is saturated with feelings of hatred, anger, betrayal, sadness, and pain. But what about love? Did Itachi really care about Sasuke at all? Did he love him?
Itachi always loved his younger brother, Sasuke. If he did not care about Sasuke, he would have killed him with the rest of the Uchiha clan. Itachi planned everything right up to his death, letting Sasuke win. Itachi died so Sasuke could get Mangekyo Sharingan and Amaterasu.
1. Who did Itachi love more, Konoha or Sasuke?
Itachi loved Sasuke more than anyone or anything else in the world. His top priority had always been his brother, even though he was ready to massacre his whole extended family for the sake of Konoha.
Itachi had been training at the Academy from the age of 6 and became a Chunin at the age of 10. He was promoted to Anbu Captain under Danzo Shimura’s authority, leading a life strongly loyal to Danzo and the Konoha.
When Danzo conveyed that he felt the Uchiha clan had to be killed due to their imminent revolt, Itachi understood and proceeded to massacre his whole clan. This might lead a lot of fans to believe that Itachi only ever loved Danzo and Konoha but this is not true.
The only reason Itachi agreed to kill the Uchiha clan was because the alternative was that Sasuke would be killed. The conflict between Uchiha and the rest of the village would lead to the whole Uchiha clan being killed, including Sasuke.
Itachi’s only options were either to support Uchiha and fight against the Danzo and the Third Hokage or support Konoha by killing his people and saving his brother.
Itachi chose Sasuke even though it meant that he would become a mass murderer and become hated by his brother, the person he loved the most. He did threaten Danzo though, and told him that he would leak Konoha’s secrets if Sasuke was ever harmed.
He was willing to endanger everything he had fought and sacrificed for so his little brother could live.
Of course, Itachi’s way of showing his love was not exactly conventional: he took away everything his brother loved and wrecked his mind and sanity. He was willing to use Kotoamatsukami on Sasuke and brainwash him into protecting Konoha. But Kotoamatsukami was intended as a last resort in case Sasuke turned against Konoha.
But he clearly loved him enough to sacrifice himself and his own honor, turning into a villain knowing that it would make his brother hate him.
In Naruto, protection is the highest form of love, and Itachi proved that he loved Sasuke to the highest degree.
2. Why did Itachi love Sasuke so much? Why did Itachi spare Sasuke?
Itachi spared Sasuke from the Uchiha clan massacre because he was the person he loved more than anything else in the world. Itachi loved Sasuke not just as his younger brother, but as a son, companion, and best friend.
Itachi spent his life more as a father-figure to Sasuke, giving him the compassion their father never did, constantly motivating him to become stronger and better.
Itachi himself was a genius, born different and gifted. He was a complicated individual and a loner, who didn’t really get along with anyone except Shisui and Sasuke. Although he got a lot of praise and attention from other due to his accomplishments, nobody ever understood him like Sasuke.
In return, Sasuke respected and idolized his elder brother, seeking to become as powerful and amazing as him. They trained together, becoming thicker than ever.
When Itachi was forced to kill his family, he spared Sasuke physically but not emotionally. He had to do this because Sasuke was the only person who could suitably punish Itachi for what he had done.
This is why Itachi cast himself as the villain and encouraged Sasuke on the path of vengeance and hatred. He also broke his arm and inflicted pain on him to get Sasuke to hurt psychologically and wish him dead.
3. Did Itachi love Sasuke more than Sasuke loved Itachi?
Itachi and Sasuke loved each other equally in the end. Itachi sacrificed his parents and clan, honor and life, just to save Sasuke. Sasuke said, “Itachi’s life is worth more than the village” proving that their brotherly love, although hinging on toxicity, was equally strong.
Sasuke, who disliked killing, wouldn’t mind killing all of Konoha for Itachi. Itachi killed his clan to keep Sasuke safe.
Sasuke and Itachi both loved each other more than their clan, their village, and themselves.
Sasuke refused to move on once Itachi’s truth was revealed to him. He wished to avenge his brother, wanting to dwell on the past instead of caring about his present and future.
As for Itachi, Sasuke meant more to him than anything and was the center of all his motivations, actions, and life.
4. Did Sasuke regret killing Itachi?
Sasuke regrets killing Itachi the moment he finds out that his brother had put up an act of being the villain and had killed the entire Uchiha clan just to keep Sasuke safe. His pain is so strong that he awakens his own Mangekyo Sharingan.
He becomes eaten up by grief and vengeance, so much so that he conspires to destroy Konoha and kill all its villagers for taking away his brother. His rage is so massive that he almost kills Naruto, Sakura, and Karin.
Sasuke’s entire point of view of the world changes after he encounters Itachi from the Impure World Reincarnation.
His ideology becomes a mixture of the Curse of Hatred and the Will of Fire as he wants to make the world focus its hatred on him instead of each other, a total contrast to the pure hate and destruction he previously craved.
5. Did Sasuke get stronger because of Itachi?
Sasuke would never have gotten as strong as he is if it weren’t for Itachi.
From training him in their childhood, to looking after him from the shadows, Itachi’s very goal was to make sure Sasuke became stronger. Itachi became a criminal for his sake, and forced Sasuke to surpass his limits of power since he knew that he wouldn’t always be around to save him.
Itachi showed Sasuke various fighting techniques during their final fight to make sure that Sasuke learned them. This was when Sasuke learned about Sasanoo and Amaterasu, among the two most powerful attacks in Naruto.
Along with provoking Sasuke throughout his life just to make him stronger, Itachi got rid of Sasuke’s Cursed Mark and sealed Orochimaru, and then planted Amaterasu in his eye before he died.
After Sasuke’s excessive usage of the Mangekyo Sharingan that awakened after Itachi’s death, Sasuke also has Itachi’s eyes transplanted to him and gained the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan. Without Itachi, Sasuke would never be able to use Susanoo and Amaterasu.
Sasuke got stronger only because of Itachi, because of the trauma he put him through, and the eternal love he displays for him in the end.
6. About Naruto
Naruto is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. Its publication began on September 21, 1999, and continued till November 10, 2014, in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump. The manga has collected 72 volumes in tankōbon format.
Naruto Shippuden is Part II of the anime series, which follows an older Naruto as he attempts to save his friend Sasuke while at the same time – addressing the looming threat of the criminal organization – Akatsuki – who are targeting him for their grander scheme.