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The Untold Truth Of Sasuke

When "Naruto" ninja ran on television in the late '90s and early aughts, it cemented itself into the hearts and minds of countless anime fans. The tale of a child ninja, whose trademark orange attire is as loud as his boisterous catchphrase of "Dattebayo," spawned 700 anime episodes and 72 manga volumes during its era. We couldn't get enough of Naruto and his dream to become the Hokage of Konoha, but in the Shonen genre, a protagonist truly shines when dealing with their rival. Enter Sasuke Uchiha, the Konoha bad boy who helped Naruto grow throughout the series just as much as Naruto helped him.

In chapter three of the manga, Sasuke made his first appearance as an orphan with a tragic backstory much like Naruto. With natural talents, a strategic mind, and plenty of unchecked angst, Sasuke rises as the complete foil to Naruto while also playing the roles of teammate, friend, rival, antagonist, and even mentor. It's hard to picture the series without him since he's played such a pivotal part next to Naruto. While fans have unwrapped several mysterious layers to the character, there are still a few interesting tidbits about Sasuke that have flown under the radar. With that being said, this is the untold truth of Sasuke.

Drawing Sasuke was always a challenge for his creator

Sasuke is introduced in the series in his early teens, much like Naruto. However, the budding ninja has experienced enough tragedy to age him three times as much. With his clan and family annihilated by his older brother Itachi Uchiha, Sasuke has no choice but to mature past his peers. His tragic past produces the kind of stern broodiness that would catch Batman's attention and then have the caped crusader recruit the ninja orphan in his ever-expanding nest of Robins. Sasuke's serious looks aren't just the blueprint for a DC Comics and Shonen Jump crossover, but also a heck of an artistic challenge for his creator Masashi Kishimoto.

In volume three of the Naruto manga (via Viz Media), Kishimoto shared early concept artwork of Sasuke and a confession that the character was the most challenging for him to draw throughout the series. For the manga artist, it was tough to balance Sasuke's youthful appearance with his maturity without making him appear much older. Having Sasuke next to Naruto, who always seemed to bounce with childlike energy no matter his age, probably didn't help with that challenge.

Sasuke is the yang to Naruto's yin

Sasuke is, of course, his own person, but it's challenging to think of him without Naruto. Their relationship plays such a significant part in the series that everything else fades to the background when the two appear together. This is felt even more throughout "Shippuden." The second major part of the "Naruto" series primarily focuses on Sasuke's departure from Konoha, his dark path of vengeance, and the efforts of Naruto to save him. 

We see how both Sasuke and Naruto grow and progress on very different paths before coming to a shattering conclusion in the form of a fight that even made the head of "Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4" come to tears (via PlayStation Blog). The two characters are so well connected, and that's by design. According to an interview for Viz, Kishimoto noted that he doesn't think about Naruto without Sasuke, as the two are a pair.

"Sasuke is always in the corner of my mind," the author said to Viz. "Naruto and Sasuke progress as a pair. So when I write about Naruto, I always have to think about Sasuke. They are on opposite sides of the spectrum, like yin and yang."

Another Shonen Jump character inspired the creation of Sasuke

Sasuke Uchiha is an amalgamation of numerous inspirations. Starting with his name, Sasuke roughly means "help" or "assistant"(Baby Names), which points to the character's status as a teammate for Naruto and Sakura. Sasuke is also the name of Sarutobi Sasuke, a famous fictional ninja spoken about in early 20th century children's stories in Japan (via Way Of The Ninja). The inspiration doesn't just end with his name, as the character is also rooted in another major Shonen Jump character.

For a moment, picture a short, black-haired man who is as cynical as he is ruthless against his enemies. Now throw in a weird ocular ability. Yes, this is Sasuke, but it's also "Yu Yu Hakusho's" fighting demon Hiei. In a fan-translated interview (via HunterXHunter Fandom) between "Yu Yu Hakusho" author Yoshihiro Togashi and Kishimoto, the "Naruto" creator revealed that Hiei served as a source of inspiration for Sasuke, including his unique Sharingan ability. The similarities between the two characters are so strong. It's honestly easy to see the path from Hiei to Sasuke. We wonder what new Shonen Jump character Sasuke will inspire in the future as there are never enough edgy skilled fighters with special eye abilities in anime, at least not half as cool as these two.

Sasuke doesn't have his original eyes

Speaking of those remarkable eyes, the Sharingan, the unique Uchiha clan trait, is one of Naruto's most potent abilities. The Sharingan can copy other special ninja abilities, place others under intense mental illusions, and even summon powerful entities. Its powered-up form is the Mangekyou Sharingan, and that's hundreds of times more powerful than a standard Sharingan. But with such great power comes a horrible burden for the user. The Mangekyou Sharingan is capable of eventually making its user go blind.

In Episode 216 (via Crunchyroll) of "Shippuden," Sasuke begins to remedy this problem by transplanting his older brother, Itachi's eyes. By Episode 220, the procedure is complete, meaning that Sasuke no longer has the eyes he was born with. While this type of eye operation might seem weird, in the world of" Naruto," transplanting a Sharingan-equipped eye seems about as normal a procedure as appendectomy. In the series, Kakashi gains his Sharingan eye thanks to his comrade Obito, and Madara Uchiha acquires his brother's eyes. But then there's Danzo, who takes everything up to horror anime levels. He proves himself as the worst ocular offender during Episode 209, as his right arm sports several Sharingan eyes. That's just grody, and fortunately, Sasuke never got the idea to duplicate such an act.

Kishimoto's wife wasn't a fan of SasuSaka

While "Naruto" is a Shonen work geared more towards kinetic ninja action, the series presented a bit of romance among its characters. Perhaps the most robust romantic coupling from the series is Sasuke and Sakura, which fans have lovingly given the ship name of SasuSaka. Despite the hardships between the two characters and bouts of unrequited love, Sasuke and Sakura officially wind up together by the end of "Shippuden" and even have a daughter named Sarada, who is teammates with Naruto's son Boruto. The shinobi power couple might be popular among many fans, but not everyone loves the pairing, as some hoped that Naruto would have won Sakura's heart instead of Sasuke.

We can count Kishimoto's wife initially as one of the fans of NaruSaku (Naruto and Sakura's ship name). During an old interview with Anime News Network, Kishimoto described his wife's displeasure of the Sasuke and Sakura pairing, saying, "I almost caused a rift in my own household too, because my wife was very upset also that Naruto didn't get together with Sakura. In fact, she complained quite vehemently to me!" It's hilarious that Sasuke shipping even provided a personal headache for its creator.

Sasuke is the star of his own gag manga

Although, arguably, Sasuke shared top billing with Naruto given how central he is to the plot of the series, his rival is still regarded as the main star. However, during "Shippuden," Sasuke did manage to star in his own manga series, but it probably wasn't what anyone expected. Suppose the thought of a Sasuke spin-off series brings out images of brooding in the forest, looking cool, and manipulating former allies to meet personal goals. In that case, it's best to hit that idea in the face with a pie and have it sit on a noisy whoopie cushion.

With the title "Naruto: Chibi Sasuke's Sharingan Legend," it's probably easy to guess what to expect from this unique spin-off manga. Sasuke is the star, but his cold misanthropic personality and burning quest for revenge are tempered with slapstick hijinks and a much lighter mood thanks to the chibi-style artwork. Written and drawn by Kishimoto's assistant Kenji Taira, the manga produced three volumes (via Viz Media) but unsurprisingly didn't lead to an anime adaptation. However, this interesting version of Sasuke and his team did appear in the anime "Naruto Spin-Off: Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals." While the appearance did tickle funny bones, it was weird for a moment to think that those laughs stemmed from one of the series' most serious characters.