The Akatsuki is one of the most well-known villainous groups in the anime world. Comprised of ninja who abandoned their home villages and were scouted for their strength, it's an incredibly powerful group - but its members are not all created equal.
Who is the strongest Akatsuki member? One likely contender is Itachi Uchiha, whose mangekyo sharingan grants him access to some of the more amazing techniques in the Naruto world. It could also be Pain, who was so strong that he might have singlehandedly destroyed all of Konoha if not for Naruto's intervention.
With so many amazing contenders, it's hard to say for sure who is the absolute strongest - what do you think?
History: Pain - formerly known as Nagato - hails from Amegakure. He, Konan, and Yahiko survived a war with a little help from Jiraiya, then started the Akatsuki with the aim of creating peace. After Yahiko's violent demise, Pain decided that peaceful goals were foolish, and turned the Akatsuki into a villainous organization.
Jutsu: Because he has a Rinnegan, Pain is able to use a wide range of jutsu with relative ease. The most noteworthy is the Six Paths of Pain, which allows him to manipulate six different bodies simultaneously in battle. Each has its own incredible abilities - for example, the Naraka Path can force targets to tell the truth, as well as repair damage. He also possesses the Outer Path, which allows him to control life to the point where he can restore it.
Their Fate: After staging an attack on Konoha, Pain is eventually defeated by Naruto, who decides to spare his life based on the teachings of their master, Jiraiya. He persuades Pain that his attack will not lead to peace, and convinces him to see the error of his ways. Pain gives his life in order to restore those who he'd previously destroyed.3,040348One of the strongest?
History: Once a high-ranking Konoha ninja, Itachi left home after Danzo manipulated him into annihilating his own clan. His goal is to have Sasuke defeat him in order to awaken his mangekyo sharingan and ensure that he's strong enough to defeat any enemies he might face.
Jutsu: Itachi's mangekyo sharingan gives him a panoply of impressive abilities. The most noteworthy are Susano-o - a defensive ability that summons an impenetrable skeleton, Amaterasu - black fire that never goes out, and Tsukuyomi - a genjutsu ability that can create vivid hallucinations. He can even use the clan's most powerful jutsu, Izanami and Izanagi
Their Fate: Itachi meets his end just as he hoped to - at the hands of his younger brother Sasuke. Well, his mangekyo-induced illness also probably had something to do with it. Either way, he passes away after a dramatic battle, without revealing his true motives to Sasuke. Later, he's resurrected using Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation and is able to fight by his brother's side.3,701441One of the strongest?
History: Known as Tobi until his identity is revealed, Obito Uchiha has been acting under Madara's will. That's because when he was a child, his body was crushed by falling rocks, and his ancient ancestor nursed him back to health - and used the opportunity to persuade him that the only way towards a peaceful world was to brainwash the populace and steal their chakra.
Jutsu: Obito's signature ability is Kamui, which allows him to move from one dimension to another. Because he uses his mangekyo sharingan to do this, Kakashi possesses the same ability to a limited degree. When he becomes the Ten Tails Jinchuuriki, he gains even more abilities, such as the power to use Truth-Seeking Balls.
Their Fate: Like Pain, Obito realizes the error of his ways through Naruto's help. However, Obito's path to redemption won't be as easy, because Madara isn't repenting at all, and there's still Kaguya and Black Zetsu to deal with. However, he is able to heal several people before he passes away, and afterwards he's able to send his spirit to inhabit Kakashi and help him fight before he finally joins Rin in the afterlife.2,490274One of the strongest?
History: At first, Kisame Hoshigaki worked for the Cypher Division of Kirigakure. His commander, Fuguki Suikazan, was a member of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist. He once eliminated all of his fellow cyphers are Fuguki's direction in order to prevent information from leaking - but later he found out that Fuguki himself was selling info. He took Fuguki's life - and his sword - and was commended for doing so. Still, he felt disillusioned by a life of lies, which led him to defect and join the Akatsuki.
Jutsu: Kisame's primary abilities involve his sword, Samehada. He can not only use it as a blunt weapon, he can also fuse with it. He also uses a variety of nature release techniques, specializing in water-based ones like Water Prison and Water Release: A Thousand Feeding Sharks. He can also summon sharks to help him in battle.
Their Fate: Kisame's life ends in an unexpectedly honorable way. In order to prevent Aoba from reading his mind and acquiring Akatsuki secrets, he trapped himself using his water prison technique, then summoned a group of sharks that he allowed to consume him. In the end, he wanted to stand up for his principles.1,392595One of the strongest?