Akatsuki is one of the most iconic groups of villains not only in Naruto but in all of anime. They’re everything a typical group of villains should be; includes mysterious, scary, powerful and complex characters.
However, before the Akatsuki were a world-famous criminal group, they were an organization of righteous heroes. Despite their disgrace, a small part of Akatsuki’s original goal persists within their organization, making their downfall all the more tragic.
The reason why Akatsuki was founded
The ninja world has been plagued by war and conflict for most of its history. One of these wars produced 3 orphans from the Rain Village, children who were left to suffer and languish before the destruction of their home.
These orphans, Yahiko, Konan, and Nagato, were recruited by Jiraiya and trained to defend themselves against the dangers of the world.
Jiraiya shares his dream of peace with them, giving them hope that one day the war to destroy their country will end. This hope prompted Yahiko to form an organization with the noble goal of ending the war that ravaged their homeland: Akatsuki.
Akatsuki – From the hero organization to the villain
The original Akatsuki was not a military group. They do not use violence to eliminate their opponents but instead strive to create peace through peaceful means.
Under Yahiko’s leadership, Akatsuki gained more supporters and was recognized for their active work. If the group was allowed to continue without interference, they might have succeeded in ending the war and be considered heroes.
However, because of Obito’s manipulation and deception, Madara and Black Zetsu that original dream became rotten.
The leader of the Rain Village, Hanzo, sees Akatsuki as a threat to his power and works with Danzo to eliminate them in an ambush.
During that ambush, Yahiko committed suicide to protect Nagato and Konan. He hopes that the two of them will fulfill his dreams and Akatsuki’s goals.
After this event, Nagato’s worldview was shaken. He still wanted to live in a peaceful world, but he no longer believed that it could be done without violence.
Obito and Black Zetsu reinforce this idea and convince him that the world can never be at peace without the use of force. Those in power will always cause pain and suffering to the weaker ones unless they are forced to go through the same pain.
Nagato will achieve peace through war and violence, unifying the world through shared pain and hurt. With this new ideology, Nagato created the new Akatsuki, a group of villains dedicated to that goal.
Akatsuki will repeatedly be usurped and manipulated by outside forces. Obito, Madara and Black Zetsu will use the organization for their own purposes.
Yahiko’s dream of peace will continue to be diluted and distorted with each new manipulator. Akatsuki has been turned into a grotesque mockery of what the organization originally stood for.
Naruto and Akatsuki
However, Akatsuki’s tragic story ends with a happy ending. The entire organization was saved by Naruto Uzumaki. Before dying, Nagato and Konan both trusted Naruto to fulfill Yahiko’s dream of peace.
They believe that Naruto understands the importance of peace and can succeed where they have failed.
When Naruto unified the ninja world during the Fourth Shinobi War and forged a lasting alliance, he not only accomplished his goal, but that of the original Akatsuki created by Yahiko many years ago.
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