If there’s one thing that makes Naruto stand above most other shonen anime and manga it’s the series’ fantastic and expansive pool of characters. While a lot of other shonen series tend to crumble under their own weight as they go on and introduce more and more characters, Naruto handles it’s growing cast perfectly. Every time a new character of note shows up they have a distinct design, their personality and motives are established right away, and then they get one or two cool moments before hanging around in the background as a supporting character or exiting the series. Even characters with similar abilities and motivations are given just enough distinction from one another that there isn’t too much overlap.
These subtitle but meaningful character distinctions are most notable when comparing Sasuke and Itachi Uchiha. The brothers share a lot of the same abilities, influence each other’s actions, and even have similar designs. While their general demeanors and roles in the story make them distinct from one another, their unique abilities and powers further establish the differences between these characters. As Sasuke is a bigger part of the series, there’s a lot that he can do that Itachi cannot.
However, the older brother also possesses quite a few techniques that his younger brother either doesn’t know or is unable to learn. These 25 abilities and feats that Itachi possess that Sasuke does not, really helps make the two characters feel distinct, despite how much they share and how much they influence each other.
Here are 25 Things Itachi Can Do (That Sasuke Can't).
25 The Izanami Technique
Itachi is able to use the strongest genjutsu in Naruto, thanks to his Mangekyō Sharingan. This technique traps a person in a never-ending illusion, so long as they are motivated by evil intentions. It’s implied that Sasuke might be able to utilize this technique, however, he never uses it as the cost of casting the jutsu is blindness in the eye that activates the technique.
Itachi uses this technique on Kabuto during the last arc of Naruto, both as a means to stop the ninja’s attacks and as a way to him remember his forgotten childhood and find a more productive purpose in his life.
24 Water Release Jutsu
Unlike Sasuke, Itachi is able to use water based techniques to their fullest potential. While all ninja in Naruto can use all of the elemental techniques, only those with an affinity for certain elements can use their full power.
Itachi’s affinity for water element attacks let him make techniques like the Water Dragon Bullet more powerful than if Sasuke performed the move. Itachi having a different repertoire of techniques goes a long way in making him feel distinct from his brother.
23 Control Crows
While Sasuke can summon hawks and snakes, Itachi sticks entirely with crows and frequently uses them in his techniques and schemes. His illusion techniques regularly feature him transforming into a murder of crows, he routinely controls the birds with his Sharingan, and he even manipulates the birds postmortem.
It’s a little odd that he’s so heavily tied to crows in the series since his name literally means weasel, but it’s still a cool motif for Itachi that Sasuke does not possess. Although, Sasuke is edgy enough as is and doesn’t need to transform into crows to be cool.
22 Wind Release Jutsu
Itachi is also highly proficient in wind release techniques. However, unlike water element attacks, Itachi is never seen using wide element jutsu during his appearances in the anime and manga. This differentiator is only brought up in ancillary Naruto material that lists facts about the characters.
Even if it’s not super consequential to the story, it’s a fact that Itachi can use the strongest version of wind-based techniques while Sasuke cannot. Hopefully, as various iterations of Naruto continue emerging, fans will see Itachi use a broader range of his abilities and some wind techniques.
21 The Ephemeral Technique
The Ephemeral technique is a genjutsu unique to Itachi that is as damaging as it is scary. Initiated through physical contact, this technique sent shuriken at Naruto and made him experience half of his body transforming into Sasuke. As the Sasuke illusion takes over more of Naruto’s body, he begins to berate Naruto and expose his insecurities.
This technique is nothing short of scary and, thankfully, Itachi is the only person in the series ever seen utilizing it. Sasuke doesn’t use a ton of genjutsu over the course of Naruto, and that’s one of the biggest differences between his and Itachi’s fighting style.
20 Graduate Early
Unlike Sasuke, Itachi graduated from the Hidden Leaf Village’s Ninja Academy when he was seven, which is a full five years earlier than the usual graduation age. Both Itachi and Sasuke are incredibly gifted ninja that showed amazing promise when they were young, but only Itachi had the skill and ability to become a ninja at an atypically young age.
Of course, this enhanced ability also led him to taking on some of the most morally reprehensible missions in Naruto, so maybe Sasuke didn’t miss out on all that much after all.
19 Go Without An Eye Transplant
The abilities tied to the Mangekyō Sharingan are some of the strongest in all of Naruto. However, they come with a price and overusing the Mangekyō Sharingan will leave a person completely blind. To compensate for this disadvantage, Sasuke replaced his eyes with Itachi which negated the loss of vision associated with the techniques. Itachi, however, never got an eye transplant and was instead able to ration out his usage of the Mangekyō Sharingan to stave off complete blindness.
It’s a testament to Itachi’s other skills and abilities that he was able to go years without overusing the Mangekyō Sharingan, while Sasuke needed a transplant shortly after unlocking the ocular abilities himself.
18 The Tsukuyomi Technique
The Tsukuyomi is a technique tied to Itachi’s Mangekyō Sharingan and is one of the most powerful and vicious genjutsu in the series. It places a victim in a state where seconds can drag on for hours, days, or even years. During this timespan, the subject suffers intense torture that their causes incomprehensible pain.
While a victim's physical body remains unharmed, the mental damage left by this jutsu can endure for an entire lifetime. Itachi is the only person in the series who possess this technique, and it almost guarantees him victory whenever he uses it.
17 Make Giant Energy Shuriken
Those who possess the Mangekyō Sharingan in both sets of eyes are able to create a giant avatar called the Susanoo. This means that both Sasuke and Itachi can summon a Susanoo, however, they have their own unique attacks associated with the avatar. Itachi is uniquely able to create giant shuriken made out of chakra using his Susanoo.
Known as Yasaka Magatama, this is Itachi’s strongest long-range attack and possess a devastating amount of power. While Sasuke is able to use a smaller version of this technique in some Naruto games, Itachi is the only canonical user of this technique.
16 Seal His Attacks In Other People
While most characters in Naruto can seal objects and techniques in scrolls, Itachi is uniquely able to seal his techniques in living creatures and program when they will activate.
For instance, he sealed his devastating Amaterasu technique inside of Sasuke’s eye, so that it would activate as soon as he saw the conniving Tobi, who Itachi knew would try to manipulate his younger brother. While Sasuke can seal and summon things like most ninja, he isn’t able to conditionally activate abilities as Itachi does at numerous points in the series.
15 Hide A Crow In Somebody’s Stomach
As a part of a plan to stop Sasuke from attacking the Hidden Leaf Village, Itachi had a crow crawl into Naruto’s mouth and wait inside of him for months. It’s not totally clear if this was an actually crow that Itachi summoned or manipulated with his Sharingan or if this crow is made out of Itachi’s chakra, but either way, this feat is as impressive as it is unsettling.
While Sasuke learned how to manipulate his own body to varying degrees from Orochimaru, he never does anything close to contorting a bird’s body so that it can live inside someone’s stomach.
14 Preserve A Human Eye For Years
That crow Itachi hid in Naruto’s stomach had the eye of his deceased friend Shisui, which held the unique ability to alter someone’s personality using genjutsu. However, Shisui gave his eye to Itachi meaning that he was able to preserve a human eye and keep it in a functioning condition for nearly a decade.
It’s unknown if Itachi kept this eye in exceptional condition solely through scientific means or if he was able to use his chakra to preserve it, but either way, it’s an impressive feat Sasuke doesn’t have the ability to replicate.
13 Maxed Out His Stats
In the official Naruto Data Books, Itachi is listed as having the highest overall stats along the various metrics used to measure ninja, with the legendary ninja Jiraiya tying his scores. While Sasuke has some pretty impressive marks himself, they fall short of Itachi’s near perfect rankings.
Although Sasuke beats his brother in the Stamina category Itachi beats him in every other category and scores a full four points higher than his younger brother across the eight metrics. Even if Sasuke might be stronger than Itachi by the end of the series, on paper Itachi reigns supreme.
12 Have The Ultimate Defense
Itachi’s Susanoo also possesses the Yata Mirror, which has some of the strongest defensives abilities in the entire series. He can change the Yata Mirror characteristics to negate any elemental attack and block any physical blow. Sasuke’s Susanoo doesn’t really have any overly defensive techniques, making Itachi’s a more versatile avatar.
Nothing pierces the Yata Mirror during its brief appearance in the series and it’s a shame that the ethereal weapon doesn’t have more opportunities as one of the greatest defenses in Naruto, or at least make a difference in more than a single fight.
11 Pull A Sword Out Of A Gourd
Itachi’s strongest means of attacking with his Susanoo is the Sword of Totsuka. This ethereal weapon only appears when his Susanoo pulls it out of a guard that it holds in a secondary arm. This blade doesn’t actually damage an opponent but instead seals them within the guard where they lose their sense of reason.
There’s really no way to guard against this blade and the only way to avoid losing a battle instantly is to dodge the massive attack. Although Sasuke’s Susanoo does have powerful offensive abilities, it doesn’t have anything nearly as overpowered as this mystical weapon.
10 Pass Through Barriers Undetected
Itachi is able to pass through the invisible barrier that’s usually around the Hidden Leaf Village due to his time in the village’s Anbu military organization. This makes Itachi an extremely useful member of the Akatsuki, as it lets him spy on his former home for the villainous organization more easily than any of the mostly combat focused ninja.
While Sasuke does return to the village after becoming a rogue ninja, at this point in the story the village is in disarray and likely cannot spend the manpower to generate the usual sensory barrier.
9 Work As A Spy
While Itachi does some spy work of the Akatsuki, he is, in fact, a double agent and relays information to the Hidden Leaf Village during his entire tenure for the organization. While Sasuke does go off on dangers solo-missions for the Village during the events of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, he hasn’t ever done any espionage work.
It’s also more than likely that the extremely idealistic and self-motivated Sasuke wouldn't be able to stay undercover for the years-long span Itachi was able to. Sasuke’s a great ninja, but Itachi is a great ninja and a great spy.
8 Be A Part Of The Akatsuki For More Than A Few Weeks
Both Itachi and Sasuke were affiliated with the Akatsuki for some length of time. While Itachi worked within the organization for nearly a decade, Sasuke only managed to ally himself with the villainous organization for a few weeks.
Granted, Sasuke really didn’t have much reason to stick around with the organization for very long, but his membership is never-the-less shorter than his brother’s. It’s not clear if the Akatsuki had any kind of benefits package, but if there is Itachi definitely got more out of it than Sasuke.
7 Become A Chunin
Despite his almost unparalleled skill as a ninja, Sasuke never formally advances beyond the level of a Genin, which is the lowest possible ranking for a ninja. Itachi, on the other hand, became a Chunin when he was ten, which is earlier than when most people graduate from the Ninja Academy.
Itachi’s ability to excel within the formal systems of the Hidden Leaf Village are second to none and, even if Sasuke had stuck around longer, it’s unlikely that he could have risen through the ranks as quickly as his brother.
6 Harm His Friends And Family
Sasuke does a lot of awful things to his friends during the course of the series. While he hurts them physically and emotionally, he never quite manages to do permanent physical harm to any of his friends or teammates. Itachi, however, is able to make himself destroy his entire clan to prevent an uprising that would have destroyed the entire Hidden Leaf Village.
The guilt of this action burdens Itachi heavily, and his only solace is knowing that he prevented an even greater massacre. Sasuke performs a lot of morally questionable act in Naruto, but not one quite as intense as Itachi betraying his clan.
5 Avoid Orochimaru’s Manipulations
During the first and much of the second half of the series, Orochimaru is obsessed with gaining control of the Sharingan. He indoctrinates Sasuke into his organization with the promise of making him strong enough to fight Itachi, when in reality Orochimaru just wants to have Sasuke under his thumb so that he can take control of the Uchiha’s body.
He tried to do the same thing years prior to Itachi, however, the older ninja was able to see through Orochimaru’s actions and cut his ties with the manipulator entirely.
4 Plan For His Own Revival
Itachi is one of the most thoughtful and future-minded characters in Naruto. This is clear when he takes steps during his life that lets him free himself from manipulation on the condition that he is brought back to life.
On the chance he was revived and controlled post-mortem, he programmed the crow hidden in Naruto’s stomach to appear upon seeing him and using the powerful eye to free himself from a summoner’s control. Sasuke is never given any reason to plan for such an eventuality and, even if he did need to, it’s unlikely that he could lay as complicated a plan as Itachi did.
3 Show Other People His Memories
When the jutsu that revived Itachi ends and he begins to return to the afterlife, he takes a moment to show Sasuke his memories and confirm the many suspicions the younger ninja had about his older brother.
It’s not clear if it’s a specific technique that allows Itachi to show Sasuke his memories, or if it’s an affordance of returning to the afterlife, but it is clear that Sasuke isn’t able to do it. This is a shame, as there are numerous points in the series where Sasuke having the ability would have benefited him and sped up the plot.
2 Become An Anbu Captain
Sasuke easily has the ability to lead a squad of even the most elite ninja, but he left the Hidden Leaf Village before having the chance to. Itachi, though, quickly ascended ninja ranks and became one of the youngest Anbu captains in the history of the Hidden Leaf Village.
Even if Sasuke is more than qualified for the position during the events of Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, his previous departure from the ninja community prevents him from holding such a high and formal role. Being a bit of a longer, he probably wouldn't want the position anyway.
1 Be A Consistently Loyal Ninja
Itachi never wavers in his loyalty to the Hidden Leaf Village and serves his home for basically his entire life. Sasuke, on the other hand, waffles between alliances for most of his teenage years. Sometimes he wants to fight for the village, other times he wants to destroy it, and for a while, he wanted to lead the ninja community.
The circumstances of Itachi’s life changed just as much as Sasuke’s, however, the older ninja always remained loyal and true to his ideals and home, no matter what the circumstances.
What do you think about Itachi's abilities in Naruto? Let us know in the comments!