The beginning of Shippuden Sasuke, or better known as Hebi Sasuke, is one of the most creative and experimental renditions of Sasuke, and quite honestly, my favorite version of Sasuke, and in my opinion, Sasuke at his peak character-wise. To me, this was the pinnacle of character depth and expansion, and dare I say, revolutionary.
And to me, this is my favorite version of Sasuke in terms of character continuation, but also in physical appearance and ability-wise as well. We were first introduced to this version of Sasuke in Naruto Shippuden episode 48. I remember it like it was yesterday, Sasuke standing at the top of the hill that he destroyed in his confrontation with Sai.
And to this day, I wonder what jutsu Sasuke used to destroy a large portion of the hideout. Finally, after three years had passed in real time, not only with Naruto and Sakura but with us, the viewers, finally getting to lay eyes on a seemingly significantly stronger and more mature Sasuke. At last, we were going to witness the results of Sasuke’s training with Orochimaru, three years in the making.
Seeing Sasuke’s drastically changed clothing, rocking a traditional white kimono, exposing his open chest with purple undergarments, with Orochimaru’s signature purple rope tied around Sasuke’s waist. And it was this look that gave birth to the Sasuke “Sauce Gay” jokes and meme culture. But I personally had no issue with this version of Sasuke and what he was wearing, rocking a katana blade as well.
And to me, the overall aesthetic of this era of Sasuke seemed so cool. The look in his eyes were so different, they no longer looked angry, they looked self-assured, confident, prepared, and also uncaring to where you never really knew if it was Sasuke’s intent to kill Naruto and Sakura during this encounter.
Making quick work of the new Team Seven and easily subduing an Anbu-level ninja, Yamato, with ease. And to witness Sasuke surpass the limitations of the Chidori, conducted through his blade and even his entire body, even going as far as suppressing the Nine-Tails chakra within Naruto, and even receiving a compliment from Kurama, comparing Sasuke to the likes of Madara and even the murderous Orochimaru. Interfering and stopping Sasuke from possibly killing Naruto, Sakura, Sai, and Yamato.
This Sasuke reminded me of a perfected version of Kimimaro. Soon after that encounter, we transitioned to see Sasuke defeat Orochimaru and absorbing Orochimaru’s power and making it his own. To see the once frightened Sasuke struggling against Orochimaru in the Forest of Death, making quick work of the legendary Sannin, and doing what the Third Hokage couldn’t.
Sasuke then forging his own team comprising of Suigetsu, Karin, and Jugo, with Sasuke being the leader and displaying his authority, being able to subdue Jugo and Suigetsu in a matter of mere instances. And I’ll talk about Jugo, Suigetsu, and Karin in their own respective blogs with Team Hebi on a mission to find and defeat Itachi.
Sasuke going up against the Akatsuki, preferring not to fight in the first place. This era of Sasuke was cold and determined, but still level-headed and humane, ignoring Deidara’s insults and comparisons to Itachi. And for the first time, we got to see the extent of Hebi Sasuke’s true power with arguably one of the best fights in the Naruto franchise, sacrificing Manda in order to survive Deitoro’s kamikaze detonation.
Seeing Sasuke rely on the other members of Team Hebi reminded us, the viewers, of his time with Team Seven. And finally, the character-defining confrontation between Sasuke and Itachi, which I won’t get too much into here as this is a blog on its own. I will cover the sibling confrontation that was years in the making, leading up to Sasuke’s victory and Itachi’s defeat.
However, the outcome was all about Itachi’s design, and to me, this was the peak of Sasuke’s character development. Dare I say, this was probably the most important era of Sasuke to have for him to be where he is today. And that’s it for this blog. Let me know what you guys think about Hebi Sasuke in the comment section below and I will see you guys in the next blog. Bye.
That’s me, Andreea Blaga, author of the blog anime-everything.com. I work as a content creator in the US. I am also passionate about Japanese Anime.