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The Naruto Ninja Who Broke The Rules When Joining The Anbu

As beloved as Masashi Kishimoto's "Naruto" is by fans, it's easy to forget that this is a series based on ninjas — who are supposed to be subtle. The titular hero of the series sports the loudest orange getup that screams against the entire notion of secrecy and concealment. And most of the battles depicted in "Naruto" aren't the stealthy assassinations we're used to seeing from silver screen shinobi in action thrillers. Instead, especially towards the end of the series, the fights in "Naruto" have more in common with the energy light show bonanza seen in "Dragon Ball Z." "Naruto" might be more mystical than it is ninja. Still, Konoha's elite Anbu group definitely pulls the series back into familiar shadows.

Short for Ansatsu Senjutsu Tokushu Butai, the Anbu are Konoha Village's covert operatives that often deal with some of the most critical missions. Throughout the series, we see these members hiding their faces behind animal masks and dealing with important tasks that range from escorting the Hokage like the Secret Service to efficiently assassinating the most dangerous enemy ninjas. The Anbu have featured some of the series' most standout characters among their ranks, including Kakashi Hatake and Yamato. Tasked with dealing with the most sensitive missions, joining Anbu requires following some strict rules. However, one "Naruto" ninja clearly broke the rules when joining Anbu.

Itachi Uchiha broke the age requirement

Itachi Uchiha is one of the series' most complex characters. At the beginning of "Naruto," he appears as a major villain for his younger brother Sasuke to overcome, only to later transform into an antihero whose most terrible deed of massacring his clan is much deeper than we're initially led to believe. From his introduction and various flashbacks in the series, we see that Itachi is a true ninja prodigy, even at a young age. His skills are far beyond many of his clan and arguably many of Konoha. It's no wonder that Anbu is more than eager to recruit him, even while breaking one of their rules.

Before Itachi, the youngest that Anbu usually allow anyone to join is the age of 13. But for Itachi, they allow the young Uchiha to join when he is only 11. Even at such a young age, his membership within Anbu proves to be fruitful, as it's only a few years before he rises to the rank of captain. He also plays a crucial role in spying on his clan while they are busy planning a coup d'etat on the village. Despite Danzo's manipulation, it's arguable that Itachi proves himself as the most loyal Anbu member when it comes to protecting Konoha. As revealed in the "Naruto" Manga Chapter 401 (via Viz), even after his outlaw status, Itachi only secretly joins Akatsuki to protect Konoha further.

Anbu has a legacy of notorious members

If Itachi's story in "Naruto" reveals anything about the Anbu group, it's that age requirement rules are the least of the organization's problems. Anbu is the darker heart of Konoha that eschews clear morals for the greater good of the village. Many of its members must have a type of murkiness that won't see them simply employing some "Talk No Jutsu" to get out of a problem. If commanded, Anbu members will do any horrible act to ensure their village's safety. The best example of this is "Shippuden" Episode 357, when Might Guy asks Danzo if he can join Anbu. Danzo refuses Guy, because he believes Guy lacks that certain darkness within to be a member of Anbu. Despite Guy's exceptional skills, members need to have a certain edge that other clear-cut heroes such as Naruto lack. Yet, some of Anbu's members have shown that this unique edge can lead to total villainy.

Orichimaru, who serves as one of the series' most prominent antagonists for much of "Naruto," was once an Anbu member. During a flashback in the manga chapter 583 (via Viz), he's seen escorting Danzo while meeting a young Kabuto. And speaking of Danzo, he's got to be regarded as the organization's most treacherous member. Not only is Danzo the leader of Root, an even more shady section of Anbu, but he's primarily responsible for the Uchiha massacre. He shows numerous times throughout the series that he's willing to use and betray anyone.