The Akatsuki were the main antagonists of Naruto: Shippuden in the first arcs of the series. Their intention as an organization was to announce massive destruction across the planet, in the hope of uniting all peoples through mutually shared suffering as envisioned by the group’s founder, Nagato.

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Unsurprisingly, they faced stiff resistance on these goals and would ultimately be unsuccessful. However, there were opportunities they ignored that could have reduced their casualties. By identifying the ways Akatsuki could have preserved himself and his members, we can better appreciate just how deadly the group could have been under more thoughtful leadership.

10 Kisame should have avoided fighting Might Guy repeatedly

Kisame was a member of the Akatsuki whose sword Samehada fed on the chakra of his enemies and was resistant against attacks from ninjutsu and genjutsu. This made him a deadly shinobi against virtually everyone in the series.

Despite these overwhelmingly useful utilities, many of his fights (including his final defeat) were against Might Guy, a taijutsu user whose arsenal perfectly countered him. If he deliberately avoided the Green Beast whenever possible and allowed other members to fight the man (like Deidara or Sasori), he would have been much more successful against Konoha.

9 They should have traveled in groups of three or more

The Akatsuki split into groups of two so that they could quickly capture all of the Jinchuriki and carry out Pain’s plan. Despite how powerful the members of the organization were, this method proved insufficient on several occasions, especially with the rogue ninja’s penchant for splitting up (such as Deidara getting ahead of Sasori while fighting Kankuro).

If they traveled in groups of three, they would have been better protected against the threats they faced without significantly sacrificing their usefulness in capturing Tailed Beasts.

8 Obito should have been helpful

Tobi Akatsuki Obito Uchiha

Perhaps the most powerful member of Akatsuki was also the most useless. Obito (then known as Tobi) did nothing to aid the group’s efforts to rally the Tailed Beasts or even weaken Konoha himself.

It was not due to a reluctance to show off his skills. His Kamui was seen during the first encounter with Naruto, where he used it to taunt the heroes rather than mount a sincere fight. If Obito had taken his responsibilities seriously, he might have been able to capture the Nine-Tails before they realized how his power worked.

7 They needed more members

The original Akatsuki had many more members than its current version. After Pain reorganized the movement, it included no more than ten members, and that number only decreased due to betrayals and casualties from the water.

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If they took the time to expand their ranks before becoming international fugitives, they would have had a better chance of capturing all the Tailed Beasts when they were finally forced to face the Five Nations. Although this was half-tried through Sasuke and his allies, his efforts against the Killer Bee would be unsuccessful.

6 Zetsu should have been used more efficiently

Zetsu was an extremely underutilized resource for Akatsuki. You could dive inside physical objects and report your findings to others in the blink of an eye. Although useless in battle, this ability would have allowed his teammates to find Jinchuriki and ambush them when they were vulnerable.

If their abilities had been employed during Kisame and Itachi’s visit to the Blade, they would not have attracted as much unwanted attention and they probably would have been able to capture Naruto without Jiraiya’s warning.

5 Konan should have attacked Mt. Myoboku

Naruto was only able to act as well as he did against Pain because he left three shadow clones in the bush. Myoboku to collect chakra sage. As he released each copy, he was imbued with its energy.

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If Zetsu had been spying on Jinchuriki, Akatsuki would have been aware of this plan. Since Konan was not worried at the time of Uzumaki’s battle against Nagato, she could have blown up the shadow clones and preemptively destroy them. Doing so would have deprived Naruto of the energy needed to take Pain down.

4 Kakuzu should have been more responsible for Hidan

During Kakuzu and Hidan’s battle against the Konoha shinobi, Shikamaru was able to lure the latter to an isolated forest as part of his plan. Considering that the Akatsuki came together based on how their talents complemented each other, Kakuzu should have been alarmed by this and instructed his restless ally not to fall for Nara’s obvious ploy.

If they had stayed together, they could have capitalized on one another’s durability and found victory. Furthermore, the paper bomb trap that Shikamaru assembled would be worthless.

3 Konan should have been smarter when facing Obito

After Naruto touched his heart, Konan was forced to return the Akatsuki to its noble roots. This resulted in a confrontation between her and Obito, one that, despite her preparations, resulted in her death.

Despite the power he wields, Obito could not survive being hit in the skull by a kunai. If Konan had simply feigned loyalty to him until he suspected her, she would have sent one of Konoha’s greatest living threats, even if it meant that Nagato’s body would be desecrated first.

two The pain should have saved the almighty push for Naruto

Pain about to destroy Konoha

A heartbreaking fact about Pain is that his defeat against Naruto was when he was already weakened. The Almighty Push tested his chakra and imposed brutal tension against his physical body.

Although he prevented other shinobi from helping Naruto in his battle, the Akatsuki leader never fought to defeat the Konoha warriors in any meaningful way (especially when one body could resurrect another). If he saved his deadliest tool for when Naruto was within range, he may have been able to defeat him before the hero took advantage of his sage jutsu.

one They should have made Jinchuriki with the tailed beasts they already had

Naruto Gaara

The Akatsuki had already gathered a formidable number of Tailed Beasts when their organization was taken seriously. Although they intended to use this power to destroy the world, they could have infused it into initiates who would carry out their orders in the meantime.

If they had, they would have effectively armed powerful and ancient monsters that could destroy villages with only moderately skilled ninja recruits. It would involve the initiates dying when they were ready to finalize their plan, but all the Akatsuki members were willing to make such a sacrifice.

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