Itachi Holding Back Against Sasuke: How Much? - Tech With Tech

Itachi Holding Back Against Sasuke: How Much?

Here’s how much Itachi was holding back against Sasuke:

Itachi was clearly holding back against Sasuke in that it was never his goal to permanently harm Sasuke.

That said, Itachi exerted himself in the fight to a point where he arguably died of exhaustion.

So, Itachi was holding back strategically, but he didn’t really hold back in terms of physical effort.

So if you want to learn all about how much Itachi restrained himself against Sasuke, then this article is for you.

Keep reading!

Itachi Holding Back Against Sasuke: How Much? (All the Info)

Who Is Itachi?

In order to talk about a fight between Itachi and Sasuke, we have to set the stage.

That means I have to talk about key moments in the Naruto manga (and consequently the Naruto anime that was based on the manga).

My point is that there are spoilers ahead.

That’s your fair warning.

That said, let’s talk about Itachi.

In the Naruto storyline, Itachi is one of the most influential characters with the least amount of “screen time.”

Itachi’s decisions shape events around him, but we don’t get a large number of panels with Itachi’s presence.

Itachi is a member of the Uchiha clan, and he’s Sasuke’s brother.

He’s known as one of the strongest ninjas of all time, and for a long time in the series, he’s portrayed as an extreme villain.

We find out later that he was only assuming the role of villain in order to protect his village from the shadows, but that’s the gist of who Itachi is.

He’s a ninja so strong that maybe only a handful of other ninjas in the world would even have the courage to fight him.

Arguably, none of them would win (depending on the conditions of the fight).

Who Is Sasuke?

Sasuke is one of the primary characters in Naruto.

He is Naruto’s rival and best friend, and by the end of the series, he is one of the two strongest ninjas in the world.

He’s also a part of Team Seven and one of the saviors of the whole world.

His story is long and winding, and a lot of it revolves around his older brother, Itachi.

Why Did Itachi and Sasuke Fight? (2 Reasons)

When Itachi was a teenager and Sasuke was still very young, a major event happened.

Their clan (the Uchiha clan) secretly planned a coup against the Leaf Village.

Itachi was aware of this and tried to talk the clan out of this course of action.

It’s worth noting that Itachi’s father was the mastermind behind the coup.

When Itachi realized that he couldn’t talk them down, he had to choose between his village and his clan.

He chose the village.

So, Itachi, in a preemptive strike, annihilated the entire Uchiha clan in a single night.

He spared only one person: Sasuke.

What we eventually learned is that Itachi only agreed to this plan if the leaders of the village guaranteed Sasuke’s safety.

Sasuke was clearly the most important person in the world to Itachi.

But, since Itachi mass murdered his own clan, he chose the route of the martyr, and he left the village.

He explained absolutely none of this to Sasuke, and instead he chose to antagonize Sasuke.

His hope is that Sasuke’s hatred would drive him to become strong enough to protect himself.

#1 Sasuke’s Hate

Itachi’s plan more or less worked, and Sasuke grew up hating his brother with every fiber of his being.

Early in his life, Sasuke committed to the goal of killing Itachi.

Only after that would he consider restoring the Uchiha clan.

It’s dark stuff, but Sasuke’s hatred drove him to train hard, and he quickly became a very accomplished ninja.

When Sasuke was convinced that he had become strong enough, he set out to find and kill Itachi.

Sasuke actually instigated their final confrontation, and he was very much ready to kill or be killed.

#2 Itachi’s Plan

Meanwhile, Itachi absolutely was not going to kill his brother under any circumstances.

Basically everything he ever did was for Sasuke’s sake, including their final battle.

At the time of the confrontation, Itachi was strong and smart enough to avoid the fight if he wanted to, but there was more going on.

You see, Itachi had a terminal illness, and he knew that his time was short.

In fact, he was barely alive and only still standing with the help of powerful medications.

Itachi knew that he couldn’t protect Sasuke once he was dead, so he used the confrontation as a means to drive and strengthen Sasuke.

There were two specific goals that Itachi had in mind, and both required an intense fight with Sasuke.

First, Itachi knew that Orochimaru had a seal placed on Sasuke.

I’m skipping a ton of backstory here, but Orochimaru was a villain who wanted to take over Sasuke’s body.

Itachi knew this, so he used the fight with Sasuke as a means to get rid of Orichamaru’s seal once and for all.

With that done, Sasuke was permanently safe from Orichimaru (I’ll touch up on all of this more a little later).

The second goal was to awaken Sasuke’s powers.

As members of the Uchiha clan, both Itachi and Sasuke had access to the Sharingan.

This is a special ninja power (focused in the eyes) that is hereditary.

The Sharingan has different levels and incarnations, and the secret to the power is a little bit brutal.

Members of the Uchiha clan can advance their Sharingan powers in the face of extreme emotional distress.

Itachi wanted to use the fight to push Sasuke far enough to unlock what is known as the Mangekyou Sharingan (MS).

It’s a ridiculously powerful ability, but very few Uchihas ever unlock it.

Beyond that, because Sasuke and Itachi are brothers, Itachi knew that Sasuke would be able to implant Itachi’s own eyes after his death.

It’s a bit complicated, but if Sasuke took Itachi’s eyes, it would advance his Sharingan even farther and give him something known as the Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan (EMS).

The short version is that this is a huge powerup, and with the EMS, Sasuke would be able to take care of himself.

All of this is to say that Itachi planned to fight Sasuke. So, from both perspectives, the fight was inevitable.

Did Itachi Hold Back?

The short answer is a clear and resounding, yes.

During other points in the Naruto storyline, we see Itachi easily overwhelm ninjas who are much stronger than Sasuke was at this point.

A great example is when Itachi fights Nagato.

Nagato in that moment is clearly much stronger than the Sasuke who attacked Itachi.

Despite that, Itachi beats Nagato in a matter of seconds.

It’s not even close.

If Itachi had come into the fight with the goal of defeating or killing Sasuke, Itachi would have won, despite his illness.

So, Itachi clearly held back in the fight.

How Much Did Itachi Hold Back? (3 Instances)

The bigger question is how much?

That’s a hard thing to pin down.

First of all, we don’t have clear ways to quantify ninja skills and efforts.

Also, there were competing goals (even in Itachi’s own mind) that make it hard to say how much he actually could hold back.

The short version is that Itachi held back strategically, but in terms of raw effort and chakra output, he probably didn’t hold back at all.

This will make more sense when I explain everything involved.

#1 Itachi’s Illness

The first thing is Itachi’s illness.

By the time Itachi and Sasuke fight, Itachi is on death’s door.

The illness is terminal, and it drains Itachi’s strength and stamina.

So, even if Itachi wanted to fight as hard as possible, the illness alone held him back.

Sasuke definitely wasn’t fighting a full-power Itachi.

In fact, Itachi is so sick that it’s implied that Sasuke doesn’t kill him.

Instead, the exertion from the fight pushed Itachi over the edge, and he succumbs to his illness.

If nothing else, we know that this held Itachi back considerably.

#2 Sealing Orochimaru

On the other hand, there’s Itachi’s goal of sealing Orochimaru.

Itachi knows that if he pushes Sasuke far enough, Sasuke will run out of chakra, and that will spring Orochimaru’s trap.

So, that’s exactly what Itachi does.

He pushes Sasuke harder and harder.

Eventually, Sasuke runs out of chakra, and Orochimaru’s seal activates.

Itachi then instantly defeats Orichamaru’s chakra trap, and the fight with Sasuke resumes.

This tells us two things.

First, Itachi had to push Sasuke very far to get to this point, and Sasuke is a strong ninja by this time in the story.

So, Itachi can’t completely hold back.

Simultaneously, Itachi has to hold back enough to more or less toy with Sasuke and exhaust his chakra.

As I said before, this suggests that Itachi is holding back in a strategic sense, but in terms of physical exertion, he’s working very hard.

#3 Itachi’s Plan (Again)

Then there’s the matter of the Sharingan.

In order to awaken Sasuke’s MS, Itachi has to push him to his emotional limits.

This is not easily done, and Itachi is constantly provoking Sasuke to this end.

It means that Itachi is probably fighting far less efficiently than he normally would.

This is another example of holding back strategically, but it forces Itachi to exert fatal levels of effort, which shows the ways that Itachi is not holding back.

On top of this, Itachi wants to push Sasuke hard enough that he will be ready to take his older brother’s eyes after death.

If you stop and think about that, it’s quite extreme.

This reinforces the idea that Itachi is fighting with everything he has.

It’s just that his goal is neither Sasuke’s demise nor his defeat.

In pursuit of his goal, Itachi held absolutely nothing back.

He literally killed himself with exertion.

In terms of winning a fight, he clearly held back, and to a large degree.