Naruto Shippuden is a popular anime series that follows the adventures of Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja who dreams of becoming the Hokage, the leader of his village. Along the way, he faces many enemies and challenges, including the Akatsuki, a mysterious criminal organization that seeks to capture the nine tailed beasts that are sealed within different ninja.
One of the members of the Akatsuki is Kakuzu, a ruthless and greedy bounty hunter who has a unique ability to steal the hearts of his victims and use them to extend his own lifespan and power. In this article, we will explore the character of Kakuzu, his background, his abilities, his role in the story, and his fate.
All about Kakuzu
- Birthdate: August 15
- Sex: Male
- Age: Part II: 91
- Status: Deceased
- Height: Part II: 185 cm
- Weight: Part II: 63.2 kg
- Blood type: A
- Classification: S-rank/Missing-nin
- Occupation: Akatsuki Treasurer
- Affiliation: Takigakure/Akatsuki
- Partner: Kakuzu’s Partner/Hidan
Kakuzu was originally a ninja from Takigakure, the Village Hidden in the Waterfall. He was a highly skilled and respected shinobi who was assigned to assassinate Hashirama Senju, the First Hokage and the founder of Konohagakure, the Village Hidden in the Leaves.
However, Kakuzu failed in his mission and was severely wounded by Hashirama’s overwhelming power. He managed to escape and return to his village, but instead of being praised for his bravery, he was punished and imprisoned for his failure.
Kakuzu felt betrayed and enraged by his village, and he broke free from his confinement, killing the village elders and stealing their hearts in the process.
He also learned the secrets of their forbidden technique, the Earth Grudge Fear, which allowed him to manipulate his body and use multiple nature transformations.
He then left his village and became a rogue ninja, making a living by hunting down bounties and collecting hearts from powerful shinobi. He eventually joined the Akatsuki, where he was partnered with Hidan, a fanatical and immortal follower of the Jashin religion. The two formed a team known as the Zombie Combo, due to their ability to survive fatal injuries.
Kakuzu was a greedy and miserly individual. He would arrange goals in terms of the highest profit he could gain from them, and was often unwilling to involve himself in something if there was nothing to gain from it, as well as claiming that he tended to forget opponents who were not worth any money after he was done with them.
He even remarked that money is the only dependable thing in the world. Due to this end, he referred to himself as the “Treasurer of Akatsuki”. Given his friendly relationship with Zangei, his bounty officer, it would seem he collected bounties rather frequently to earn cash, and did so (or at least tried) during his missions on several occasions.
The frequent side-tasks and devotion to money were both major points of contention between Hidan and Kakuzu. He also seemed to respect an opponent who thinks well, as shown with his reaction to Kakashi’s counters to Kakuzu’s masks, and Shikamaru’s quick analysis of Hidan’s curse, even mentioning Shikamaru would have been a good bounty in the future.
Out of all the Akatsuki members, Hidan and Kakuzu displayed the most animosity towards each other, since neither of them were very fond of each other’s interests.
The two often traded barbs with one another, Kakuzu’s usually having better timing than Hidan’s. Hidan had shown great annoyance with Kakuzu’s greed and occasional habit of doing or saying blasphemous things, such as attacking a temple and killing the head monk for the bounty on the monk’s head.
Kakuzu, in turn, disliked Hidan’s religion, believing the rituals associated with it to be a waste of time. Kakuzu was also rather impatient with Hidan’s drawn-out speeches and battle style.
Despite their mutual dislike of each other, their teamwork was almost flawless, because they complemented each other’s abilities extremely well.
Also, Kakuzu seemed to care to an extent about Hidan, as he picked up and gave back his partner’s forehead protector after he lost it during his fight with Asuma, a feat that made Hidan admit that Kakuzu was not as hostile as he appeared to be, although Kakuzu did note that he only did so because he could not stand the sight of the scar on Hidan’s neck.
The only reason that Kakuzu put up with Hidan was because he couldn’t get rid of him. Due to his violent temper, Kakuzu often killed anyone close by when enraged, having killed his previous partners and even took their hearts to extend his own life.
Hidan, therefore, was the perfect partner for Kakuzu, because of Hidan’s inability to die. Kakuzu’s somewhat indiscriminate attack style also made Hidan an ideal partner, since Kakuzu didn’t need to worry about catching his partner in the crossfire.
Despite his obsessive personality and violent rages, Kakuzu was much more cautious than his partner, and was not as arrogant, never mindlessly rushing into battle like Hidan.
Kakuzu frequently warned Hidan not to let his guard down, and then teased Hidan when he inevitably did. Kakuzu also seemed quite willing to follow orders.
When ordered to retreat by the Akatsuki leader, Kakuzu complied immediately (while Hidan attempted to argue), despite the rather large bounty he could have received by taking Asuma.
He seemed to forget the greater goals of the organisation when enraged, as he attempted to kill Naruto, in spite of Akatsuki’s need to capture all the jinchūriki alive.
Kakuzu held a violent hatred for his village, as despite his loyalty and willingness to risk life and limb on a dangerous mission, his failure was repaid with uncharacteristically harsh punishment.
He responded in kind by brutally betraying Takigakure — committing jailbreak, taking knowledge of their most valuable kinjutsu and killing all of the elders before departing.
Kakuzu was a very tall (easily standing as the second tallest member of Akatsuki), tan-skinned man with long dark-brown hair. His eyes had an unusual colouring: green irides, no pupils and red sclerae.
Noticeably, despite his advanced age, he still appeared as a man well within his prime, retaining a very muscular build. Before joining the Akatsuki, he let his hair hang loose, his sweatband covering his forehead, and a black-coloured mask covering his lower face (only revealing his eyes), where underneath it his mouth was stitched together at the edges (giving him a glasgow smile).
He wore: no shirt (revealing all the stitches on his torso), dark-green, ruffed up pants and black shinobi sandals. After joining the Akatsuki, he retained the black mask over his lower face but had several changes.
He donned a grey hood which covered his hair. His clothing included the traditional Akatsuki cloak, the Takigakure forehead protector with a scratch in the middle which symbolised that he was no longer loyal to it, and grey pants with matching shinobi sandals.
He also wore brown nail polish and a dark green Akatsuki ring with the kanji for “north” (北, hoku) was placed on his left middle finger. The various stitches on his body was the result of the unique technique that he possessed – the Earth Grudge Fear.
After being reincarnated by Kabuto Yakushi and restored by a talisman, Kakuzu gained dark grey sclerae, but retained his green, pupil-less irides.
He no longer wore his forehead protector, hood or mask, causing his hair to be visible as it had been at the time of his death. He also no longer wore his vest, instead wearing a dark-red cloak with white lining, but still wore four masks on his back. In the anime, during the Power arc, Kakuzu wore a black cloak with red lining in place of the cloak he would later wear.
Kakuzu’s main ability is the Earth Grudge Fear, which grants him several advantages. First, he can detach his limbs and use them as weapons, such as extending his arms to grab or strangle his opponents, or launching his fingers as explosive projectiles.
Second, he can sew up any wounds or injuries he sustains, making him very resilient and durable. Third, he can integrate up to four hearts into his body, each one corresponding to a different nature transformation: fire, wind, lightning, and water.
He can use these hearts to perform powerful elemental attacks, such as shooting fireballs, creating gusts of wind, generating electric shocks, or manipulating water.
He can also detach these hearts and store them in masked creatures that he can summon and control. These creatures can fight alongside him or fuse with him to enhance his abilities.
However, Kakuzu’s weakness is that he can only die if all of his hearts are destroyed, and each heart can only use one nature transformation at a time. Moreover, he is vulnerable to attacks that can bypass his defenses, such as Shikamaru Nara’s shadow manipulation or Naruto Uzumaki’s Rasenshuriken.
Chakra and Physical Prowess
Kakuzu was quite fast, able to cross great distances almost instantly and disappear from unfocused eyes. He could intercept Kakashi when he was attacking Hidan with his Lightning Cutter. His raw strength could catch one of Chōji’s enlarged punches with a single hand and easily overpower the latter, as well as lift two people up by their necks at once with relative ease.
Kakuzu was also adept in taijutsu, able to go toe-to-toe against a Sharingan-wielding Kakashi. From all the assimilations he had conducted over the decades of his defeated foes, he had amassed a vast amount of chakra.
Earth Grudge Fear
Kakuzu’s fighting style and unique abilities revolved around the special nature of his body structure, which was composed of hundreds of thick, grey tendrils woven throughout his flesh called Earth Grudge Fear, holding his body together like the stitches of a rag-doll.
Seemingly through this, it had allowed Kakuzu to retain his youthful strength, health, and appearance despite his advanced age. This also let him separate his body parts at will, perform mid to long-range physical attacks, and sew up almost any injury he suffered.
The threads could also be used to repair the bodies of others, as seen when he reattached Deidara’s arms. Because of his unique body structure, Kakuzu was a highly enduring man, able to take a direct strike from Kakashi’s Lightning Cutter without it hindering his performance. His threads could even compact together to form a giant octopus-like form around his body, used for long-range battle.
Kakuzu’s threads granted him a degree of immortality (though he declined to think of it that way). The threads could pierce the flesh and bodies of others, allowing him to remove their organs and integrate them into his own body, thereby extending his life.
He commonly removed hearts in this fashion, keeping a total of five at any time, and requiring that he be killed at least five times in a battle before he truly died. The individual hearts could also be released from his body and wrapped in a vast blanket of threads, forcing a heart into a limb before being detached or forming a monstrous body with a mask as its face.
These masks could move and attack independently, unleashing powerful blasts of elemental chakra from their mouths. If Kakuzu was killed somehow, then one of his extra hearts could sacrifice itself by re-entering his body and resuscitate him.
Using the Earth Release: Earth Spear, he increased his durability to withstand otherwise normally fatal attacks, such as Chōji’s Spiked Human Bullet Tank. By collecting the hearts of other ninja, Kakuzu was granted their elemental affinities.
This was done by connecting his chakra circulatory system to his four extra hearts, one for each chakra nature, granting him the ability to utilise this nature in battle. His efficiency with these different elemental attacks were noted to be impossible without having an affinity to that particular element.
Whereas in the manga, Kakuzu’s own elemental affinity was implied to be Earth, in the anime, he was able to use water-based techniques that didn’t stem from his Earth Grudge Fear technique, performing such feats as hiding within water or creating defensive walls and clones.
Fire Mask: This heart had a fire affinity, and took on the shape of a demonic tiger. It could use Fire Release: Intelligent Hard Work. This mask could also unite with the Wind mask to launch a fire-wind dual strike that was near unstoppable.
Lightning Mask: This heart had a lightning affinity, and took on the shape of some sort of deformed biped. It could use Lightning Release: False Darkness.
Water Mask: This heart had a water affinity, and took on the shape of a demonic, beaked biped. It allowed Kakuzu to use Water Release techniques, although they were not seen in the manga as the mask was destroyed before Kakuzu could use any.
Wind Mask: This heart had a wind affinity, and took on a strange four-legged body with thin wings. It could use Wind Release: Pressure Damage. It could unite with the Fire mask to launch a fire-wind dual strike that was near unstoppable.
Kakuzu was shown to be a keen analyst and pragmatist, which was somewhat attributable to his advanced age. He was highly observant, easily noticing that Shikamaru was taking his time to formulate a plan to counter Hidan’s technique, after the former caught his partner in his Shadow Imitation Technique.
He was able to quickly discern the purpose of Shikamaru’s various shadow attacks, and devised ways to counter them almost instantaneously during the battle. An example is when Shikamaru trapped him and Hidan in his Shadow Imitation Shuriken Technique, only for Kakuzu to detach his right arm, hide it underground and with its help, remove the trench knife, thus successfully breaking free from the technique.
Role in the story
Kakuzu and Hidan first appeared in the anime Naruto Shippuden when they were sent to capture the Two-Tails, the tailed beast sealed within Yugito Nii, a ninja from Kumogakure, the Village Hidden in the Clouds.
They managed to defeat and capture her, and then proceeded to their next target, the Nine-Tails, the tailed beast sealed within Naruto Uzumaki. Along the way, they stopped by a temple and killed the head monk, Chiriku, who was a former bodyguard of the Fire Daimyo, the ruler of the Land of Fire.
They then took his body to a bounty station to collect the reward, but they were intercepted by a team of Konoha ninja, led by Asuma Sarutobi, the son of the Third Hokage and the leader of Team 10. A fierce battle ensued, in which Kakuzu and Hidan displayed their abilities and teamwork.
Hidan managed to draw Asuma’s blood and use it to perform his Jashin ritual, which linked their bodies and allowed him to inflict pain and damage on Asuma by harming himself. Kakuzu then used his fire and wind attacks to finish off Asuma, killing him in front of his teammates. However, before they could take his body, they were forced to retreat by the arrival of reinforcements, led by Kakashi Hatake, the leader of Team 7 and the son of the White Fang.
Kakuzu and Hidan then returned to their hideout, where they were confronted by Team 10, who had followed them with the help of Shikamaru’s strategy and intelligence. Shikamaru lured Hidan away from Kakuzu and trapped him in a forest, where he used his shadow manipulation and explosive tags to sever Hidan’s head and bury him in a deep pit. Meanwhile, Kakuzu faced the rest of Team 10, who were joined by Kakashi and Naruto.
Kakuzu unleashed his four hearts and his masked creatures, and fought them with his elemental attacks. He proved to be too much for them, until Naruto arrived with his new technique, the Rasenshuriken, a wind-based attack that could cut through anything.
Naruto threw the Rasenshuriken at Kakuzu, who tried to block it with his earth defense, but the attack broke through and hit him, destroying three of his hearts and severely damaging his body. Kakuzu survived by using his last heart, which was hidden in his chest, and tried to kill Naruto, but he was stopped by Kakashi, who stabbed him through the heart with his Lightning Cutter, a lightning-based attack that could pierce through anything. Kakuzu finally died, and his body was taken by Konoha for analysis.
Kakuzu’s death was not the end of his story, as he was later revived by Kabuto Yakushi, a former Akatsuki spy and a master of medical ninjutsu, who used a forbidden technique called the Impure World Reincarnation to bring back many deceased shinobi as his pawns.
Kakuzu was among the resurrected ninja who were summoned to fight in the Fourth Shinobi World War, a global conflict that pitted the Allied Shinobi Forces, an alliance of all the major ninja villages, against the Akatsuki, who were led by Tobi, a masked man who claimed to be Madara Uchiha, the legendary founder of the Uchiha clan and the co-founder of Konoha.
Kakuzu was assigned to the Surprise Attack and Diversion Platoon, along with other former Akatsuki members, such as Sasori, Deidara, and Nagato. He fought against several shinobi, such as Darui, the right-hand man of the Fourth Raikage, and Choji Akimichi, a member of Team 10 and Asuma’s student.
He also encountered Hidan, who was still alive but trapped in the forest, and mocked him for his predicament. However, Kakuzu was eventually defeated and sealed by the combined efforts of the Allied Shinobi Forces, who used various strategies and techniques to counter his abilities.
He was finally released from the Impure World Reincarnation when Kabuto was defeated by Itachi Uchiha, another former Akatsuki member who had been revived by the same technique, and Sasuke Uchiha, Itachi’s younger brother and Naruto’s rival. Kakuzu’s soul returned to the afterlife, where he presumably faced judgment for his sins.
Kakuzu was a formidable and fearsome villain in the anime Naruto Shippuden, who posed a great threat to the heroes and the world. He was a greedy and ruthless bounty hunter who had no loyalty or compassion for anyone, except for money and power.
He had a unique and powerful ability that allowed him to steal the hearts of his victims and use them to enhance his own strength and longevity. He was also a skilled and experienced fighter who could use multiple nature transformations and summon masked creatures to aid him in battle.
He was a member of the Akatsuki, a mysterious criminal organization that sought to capture the nine tailed beasts and achieve their ultimate goal. He was partnered with Hidan, a fanatical and immortal follower of the Jashin religion, and together they formed the Zombie Combo, a team that could not die easily.
He killed many people, including Asuma Sarutobi, the son of the Third Hokage and the leader of Team 10. He was eventually killed by Naruto Uzumaki, the hero of the story and the host of the Nine-Tails, and Kakashi Hatake, the leader of Team 7 and the son of the White Fang.
He was later revived by Kabuto Yakushi, a former Akatsuki spy and a master of medical ninjutsu, who used a forbidden technique to bring back many deceased shinobi as his pawns. He fought in the Fourth Shinobi World War, a global conflict that pitted the Allied Shinobi Forces, an alliance of all the major ninja villages, against the Akatsuki, who were led by Tobi, a masked man who claimed to be Madara Uchiha, the legendary founder of the Uchiha clan and the co-founder of Konoha.
He was eventually defeated and sealed by the combined efforts of the Allied Shinobi Forces, who used various strategies and techniques to counter his abilities. He was finally released from the Impure World Reincarnation when Kabuto was defeated by Itachi Uchiha, another former Akatsuki member who had been revived by the same technique, and Sasuke Uchiha, Itachi’s younger brother and Naruto’s rival.