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Main Goal: Although some members joined Akatsuki to further their own goals, all are united in Akatsuki's ultimate goal of gaining domination over the Shinobi world.1 The leader, Pain, has created a three-step process to work their way towards this goal.2 First, they plan to obtain a large amount of money to support their organization.2 Second, they plan to set up a mercenary group loyal only to Akatsuki.3 To build their reputation, they plan to accept any mission below the usual cost and operate off of the excess funds earned in the first part of their plan.3 Because there haven't been any wars in some time, the established shinobi villages couldn't afford to charge such low prices, leading the smaller countries to hire Akatsuki over the more expensive shinobi villages.3 By using the tailed beasts, Akatsuki would start wars and then immediately quell them, solidifying their reputation and convincing every country to depend on them, thus cornering the market in shinobi labor.4 Without any business, the other shinobi villages would collapse due to a lack of funds.4 Finally, after Akatsuki is the only major force of shinobi in existence, they can easily conquer the other countries.4 Members do not automatically learn of the plan upon joining; Hidan did not find out about it until he had been a member for quite some time.2
The tailed beasts, nine gigantic demons of immense power, are the focus of much of Akatsuki's effort and screentime within the series. Each Akatsuki member is assigned to capture one of the nine beasts alive or, in most cases, the person that beast has been sealed into.5 Akatsuki has so far obtained seven of the nine:6 the first through the seventh tailed beasts.
However, this plan may just be a ruse as Akatsuki's three most prominent members have two separate goals in mind instead of controlling the world; one of which involves world peace.
Madara's Goal: Madara Uchiha plans on using Akatsuki to gain the Tailed Beasts for himself and use their power to strengthen his Mangekyo Sharingan. In the past he showed great interest in destroying Konoha.
Itachi's Goal: After the Uchiha Massacre and leaving Konoha, Itachi Uchiha continued to protect the village by joining the Akatsuki and keeping an eye on them from the inside. During his time in the group, Itachi would delay his own attempts to capture the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox, leaked various information about the organization to Konoha, and attempted to kill Madara through Sasuke. Before his death Itachi gave Naruto some of his "power", telling him to carry on his goal of protecting Konoha and Sasuke. The "power" that Itachi gave to Naruto remains unknown.
Pain's Goal: Pain later went into further detail on the tailed beasts' role in his plans. The beasts would be used to create a deadly kinjutsu technique that could wipe out one of the five great nations in an instant, so if countries go to war and do not have ninja villages to fight for them they would turn to the Akatsuki and their technique. Whichever side uses the technique first would wipe out the opposing country, which would scare them into never using their weapon again, and scare the other countries to never start a war or they would be wiped out too. Through the mutual fear, war would cease to exist, and the world would know everlasting peace.Wardrobe
Akatsuki members have a similar way of dress, which could give them away if a village is alerted of their presence. Members wear long, dark cloaks with red clouds, a red interior, and a chin-high collar. All members wear nail polish of varying colors on their finger and toenails, and may wear a conical straw hat with small spike-like balls hanging down to cover their faces. The hats may be used to move around in the general population unnoticed, or for when the weather requires one.7 Some members tend to wear their village headband with a scar through the middle to show their defection.
Colors of fingers and toenails are:
- Pain/Konan, Deidara; Black
- Itachi Uchiha/Kisame Hoshigaki; Dark purple
- Sasori; Teal
- Kakuzu/Hidan; Dark Green
- Zetsu; Light purple
What seems to be most important however are their rings. In total there are ten rings given to each of the ten main members of Akatsuki. The rings apparently signify one's membership, since when Orochimaru defects, he takes his ring with him8 and as such wasn't replaced.9 The ring's exact purpose have not been revealed.
The various rings are:10
- Right thumb: 零 (rei, "zero"); currently worn by Pain,
- Right index finger: 青 (sei, shō, "blue," "green"); formerly worn by Deidara. Seiryu's color is teal,
- Right middle finger: 白 (bya, "white"); currently worn by Konan. Byakko is presumed to be white, due to the ring's name,
- Right ring finger: 朱 (shu, "vermilion," "scarlet"); formerly worn by Itachi Uchiha. Suzaku's color is red,
- Right little finger: 亥 (gai, "sign of the boar"); currently worn by Zetsu,
- Left little finger: 空 (kū, "sky," "void"); formerly worn by Orochimaru. Kuchin's color is light blue/gray,
- Left ring finger: 南 (nan, "south"); currently worn by Kisame Hoshigaki. Nanju's color is yellow,
- Left middle finger: 北 (hoku, "north"); formerly worn by Kakuzu. Hokuto's color is green,
- Left index finger: 三 (san, "three"); formerly worn by Hidan. Santai's color is orange,
- Left thumb: 玉 (gyoku, "jewel," "ball", also the king in shogi); currently worn by Tobi (Madara Uchiha), formerly worn by Sasori. Gyokunyo's color is purple.
Eight of the ten kanji of the rings are taken from a kuji-in (Nine Syllable Seals): a collection of nine hand postures used in meditation. These kuji-in have found their way into ninja folklore as a kind of magic spells. Pain's "rei" and Zetsu's "gai" are not from this kuji-in. However, the only unused kuji-in kanji, 玄 (gen, "mysterious"), bears a strong resemblance to Zetsu's "gai," suggesting an error. It would be a consistent error, however, since the "gai" kanji has been used in every instance the ring's kanji has been shown, both in the manga and the data books.
In Part II, Team Hawk allies themselves with Akatsuki. They wear the Akatsuki cloaks, but they seem to have their high collars folded down. None of them wears a headband, nail polishes, nor the rings.Teams
Akatsuki teams are put together in teams of two to exploit combined strengths for the organization's goals to be met.ActivePain/Konan
- Target: Nine-Tailed Demon Fox
A team that so far, functions very well with each other, evident in that Konan is the only member to refer to Pain by name. As the leader of Akatsuki, Pain directs the rest of the organization to their respective goals, his most direct interaction with the organization is using the Illusionary Dragon Nine Consuming Seals. Pain is the leader of Amegakure, and uses the village as a type of headquarters for Akatsuki.Team Hawk
- Target: Eight-Tails (Failed)
When Akatsuki's ranks are thinned by a loss of five members, Madara Uchiha enlists the aid of Team Hawk, whose mission is also the destruction of Konohagakure. To complete their goals, Madara ordered Hawk to hunt the eight-tailed beast while Akatsuki hunts the Nine-Tailed Fox. Technically, the members of Hawk are not full members of the Akatsuki, as they do not possess the rings worn by each of the full members.Zetsu
- Function: Spy
Not technically a team, but Zetsu has two personalities, effectively making it a team of two. Since each side has a level of individuality, they frequently argue with each other over which battles to watch, among other things.Orochimaru/Sasori
Sasori claimed that he and Orochimaru worked well together during their partnership. However, when Orochimaru defected from Akatsuki after his failed attempt on stealing Itachi's body, Sasori developed a grudge against his former partner.Itachi/Kisame
- Targets: Nine-Tailed Demon Fox (Itachi, Failed), Four-Tailed beast (Kisame, Sealed).
A team that functioned well together and was highly effective. The two completed almost every assignment Pain gave them with little trouble with the Nine-Tailed Fox being the only known exception. Although with Itachi working as a double agent they may have failed this purposely. Unlike most Akatsuki teams, Kisame and Itachi got along fairly well; Kisame did as Itachi asked unquestioningly and they would often converse casually when not in combat.Sasori/Deidara
- Target: One-Tailed Shukaku (Deidara, Sealed), Nine-Tailed Demon Fox (Failed).
Formed by the two artists of Akatsuki, Sasori and Deidara worked well for the most part but had conflicting ideas on art. Sasori thought all art was to be permanent, such as his puppets, while Deidara thought art was instantaneous and then gone forever, such as his Exploding Clay. Sasori was impatient and liked to finish things quickly while Deidara like to take his time. Sasori had a network of spies that he manipulated through a form of mind control.Kakuzu/Hidan
- Targets: Two-Tailed Demon Cat (Sealed), Nine-Tailed Demon Fox (Failed)
A very effective yet unruly team; usually doing unrelated jobs and always late. Pain decided to put these two together because of their unique abilities. Hidan, as a result of a "Jashin experiment" could not be killed, even by decapitation, and Kakuzu could easily go into a rage and kill anyone around him, including his partner. Therefore, with Hidan, Kakuzu can go into a rage and not worry about his partners' life afterwards.
They have shown the most hostility towards each other due to a conflict of interest; Kakuzu sees the rituals and beliefs of Hidan's religion to be a waste of time, and Hidan sees Kakuzu's willingness to do blasphemous things and his greediness to be unbearable, not to mention that Kakuzu's job as a bounty hunter usually gets on Hidan's nerve. Kisame referred to the two as the "Zombie Brothers" because of their own methods of avoiding death.Deidara/Tobi
- Target: Three-tailed beast (Tobi, Sealed)
Formed after the death of Sasori, Tobi was introduced as his easily found replacement. Despite Tobi's eagerness to please his "senpai", his childish attitude was seen as a annoyance to Deidara's expectations of the organization. Beyond this, the two worked well together, with Tobi planting much of Deidara's explosive clay underground during their fights. When Deidara was about to blow himself up to kill Sasuke Uchiha, he apologized to Tobi, saying that he too would be caught up in the blast.Similarities between members Immortality/Eternal Youth
- Orochimaru: uses Living Corpse Reincarnation to switch into healthier bodies indefinitely roughly once every 3 years.
- Sasori: changed his own body into a Human Puppet, thus maintaining his youthful looks.
- Madara Uchiha/Tobi: obtained the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan and achieved immortality, as seen from his advanced age and ability to survive fatal strikes.
- Kakuzu: uses Earth Grudge Fear to pluck out the hearts of his opponents and integrate them into his own body to maintain his long lifespan.
- Hidan: became the "successful experiment of the Jashin religion's secret jutsu", and can survive even decapitation.
- Orochimaru: rejected for the Hokage position and hates the village because of the loss of his parents.
- Sasori: loss of his parents.
- Deidara: village restricts his artistic capabilities.
- Madara Uchiha: rejected for the Hokage position, betrayed by his clan.
- Kakuzu: unfairly harsh punishment for his failed attempt to kill the First Hokage.
- Hidan: peaceful ways of his village that clashed with the Jashin ways.
- Sasuke Uchiha: extreme disdain towards the village elders for ordering the murder of his clan, using Itachi Uchiha (brother) as a puppet.
Each member of Akatsuki is known to be (or have been) affiliated with another group, except for Zetsu. Some fans believe that Zetsu comes from Kusagakure village because of his plant-like appearance. However, Zetsu's profile's "village of origin" section the data book is left blank and furthermore he doesn't wear a Grass headband.
- Orochimaru: Konohagakure village (former), Legendary Sannin, Akatsuki (former), Otogakure village (founder, leader).
- Itachi Uchiha: Uchiha Clan (former), Konohagakure village (secret).
- Kisame Hoshigaki: Kirigakure village (former), Seven Swordsmen of the Mist (former).
- Sasori: Sunagakure village (former).
- Deidara: Iwagakure village (former), Terrorist for hire.
- Madara Uchiha: Uchiha clan (leader, former), Konohagakure village (founder), Kirigakure village (Mizukage, former).
- Kakuzu: Takigakure village (elite ninja, former), Bounty hunter.
- Hidan: Yugakure village (former), Jashin religion.
- Pain: Amegakure village (leader, "God").
- Konan: Amegakure village (second-in-command, "Angel").
- Team Hawk
- Sasuke Uchiha: Uchiha clan, Konohagakure village (former), Team 7 (former), Otogakure village (former), Team Snake/Hawk (founder, leader).
- Suigetsu Hozuki: Kirigakure village (status unknown), Seven Swordsman of the Mist (trainee), Otogakure village (experiment, former), Team Snake/Hawk.
- Karin: Otogakure village (guard, former), Team Snake/Hawk.
- Jugo: Otogakure village (experiment, former), Team Snake/Hawk.
- (from Konohagakure): caught practicing inhuman forbidden techniques, abducting villagers for experiments.
- (from Akatsuki): failed attempt to steal Itachi Uchiha's body.
- Itachi Uchiha: murdered the entire Uchiha clan. (under the secret orders of the Konoha elders)
- Kisame Hoshigaki: a Daimyo killer, espionage.
- Sasori: practicing on the inhumane desecration of corpses, and the murder of the third Kazekage (village unaware of this act)
- Deidara: became a terrorist bomber for hire.
- Madara Uchiha: attack against his village.
- Kakuzu: stealing the Earth Grudge Fear technique, along with the hearts of every elder of his village.
- Hidan: murdered his neighbors for their ways of peace.
- Sasuke Uchiha
- (from Konohagakure): left for seeking Orochimaru for power.
- (from Otogakure): left after absorbing Orochimaru.
- Madara Uchiha/Tobi (Akatsuki Founder/Benefactor/Leader)
- Pain (Proxy Leader)
- Kisame Hoshigaki
- Orochimaru (Defected, Replaced by Deidara, Presumed Deceased, Sealed within Kabuto)
- Sasori (Deceased, Replaced by Tobi)
- Hidan (Incapacitated, Presumed Deceased, Unreplaced)
- Kakuzu (Deceased, Unreplaced)
- Deidara (Deceased, Unreplaced)
- Itachi Uchiha (Deceased, Unreplaced)