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|“||Two brothers, whose abilities are identical. How could what your eyes perceive be so different? The truth about Itachi isn't important to you at all. Instead, you simply want to destroy everything with your hatred. All you're doing is making the sacrifice of the Uchiha clan meaningless.||„|
|~ Danzo Shimura|
Danzō Shimura is a member of the Hidden Leaf's council and a major antagonist in the manga and anime series Naruto. His unbridled jealousy of Hiruzen Sarutobi, caused Danzō to do despicable acts in pursuit of the position of Hokage, Danzō's militant and archaic views made him a danger to the village he professed to love and protect as he created the hatred in some of Konoha's greatest attackers and major villains - Kabuto Yakushi, Orochimaru, Nagato, and Sasuke Uchiha due to his harsh and cruel indifference to human suffering. Strangely, despite Danzō's views that ninja should always be ready to sacrifice their lives, he was afraid of death, much to his own shame. He is Sasuke Uchiha's arch-nemesis.
In the Japanese version, he was voiced by Hiroshi Ito, and Masayuki Katō as a young adult. In the English version, he was voiced by William Frederick Knight, and Peter Lurie as a young adult.
In his youth, Danzō was good friends with Hiruzen Sarutobi, having felt the need to upstart him. During the First Shinobi World War, Danzō and Hiruzen, along with the latter's team-mates Koharu Utatane and Homura Mitokado, were placed together in a squad under the Second Hokage Tobirama. When being late pursued by the Kinkaku Squad of the Village Hidden in the Clouds, Danzō attempted to volunteer in sacrificing himself as a decoy to ensure the others' safety. However, paralyzed with fear as Hiruzen volunteered for the task, Tobirama sacrificed himself instead while naming Hiruzen as his successor much to the shock of both Hiruzen and Danzō.
With Hiruzen as the Third Hokage, with him, Koharu, and Homura appointed roles as his advisors, a grudge filled Danzō resolved to become Hokage someday and formed the ANBU subsidiary named Root. Though the group was later officially disbanded, Root remained secretly active as Danzō executed shady dealing. The group became even more mindlessly devoted to Danzō, who started branding them with cursed seals, even attempting to assassinate Hiruzen on one occasion.
One such event was aiding Hanzo in his attempt to wipe out the but the men he sent to the Village Hidden in Rain were all wiped out by Nagato. Danzō also played a role in Kabuto Yakushi becoming a rogue ninja under his former subordinate Orochimaru, whom Danzō had implanting the DNA of Hashirama Senju to use his Wood Style.
In the aftermath of Kurama's attack on Konoha, Danzō suspected the Uchiha clan to have involvement and supported their relocation for better observation, which led to the Uchiha becoming more isolated and discontent, and thus eventually plotting to rebel. Years later, learning of the planned coup d’état by the Uchiha clan and playing on Itachi Uchiha's pacifist tendencies to provide him and the other elders with information of the clan's actions, Danzō secretly killed Shisui Uchiha, despite the fact that Shisui was actually already planning to use a genjutsu to prevent the Uchiha rebellion. He kills Shisui in order to obtain his Sharingan eyes. However, Danzo then secretly ordered Itachi to slaughter his clan in return that his younger brother Sasuke Uchiha would be spared death. Though Itachi committed the deed, he left Danzō with a warning to not harm Sasuke or he would expose the circumstances of the Uchiha Clan's demise to the other ninja villages. Hiruzen, however, guesses much of what had happened, although he had no proof, and becomes even more suspicious of Danzō, and demands that Root be disbanded.
When Team Kakashi decides to meet with the spy Sasori installed in Orochimaru's camp, Danzō took advantage of Kakashi's absence to assign Sai to the group as part of a plan to secretly assassinate Sasuke. To achieve that goal, Danzō had Sai trick Orochimaru into thinking he wants to join forces with him to destroy Konoha. Though Sai failed his mission, Danzō allowed him to remain with Team Kakashi, as Danzō had become worried about Naruto becoming a problem, and Sai would be in a perfect place to watch him.
During the events of Pain invading Konoha, Danzō was against Tsunade calling Naruto back to the village in fear that they would lose Kurama. To that end, Danzō not only killed the messenger toad Kōsuke but also ordered his subordinates not to come to the Hidden Leaf's aid with the expectation that Tsunade would be killed off not caring about the deaths of the other villages. Most of the villagers were killed in the attack. However, despite Danzō's action, Naruto arrived none the less with everyone Nagato killed revived while Tsunade ended up in a coma. Following the invasion, the Hidden Leaf are summoned before the Lord of Fire over what occurred, with Danzo convincing the feudal lord to name him the new acting Hokage. Danzō becomes the leader of the armed forces by influencing Mifune's mind but is caught.
Soon after, Danzō uses his power to mark Sasuke as a criminal to be killed before leaving for the Kage Summit in the Land of Iron to discuss dealing with the Akatsuki. Before leaving, seeing that he cannot confine Naruto due to his reputation as a hero, Danzō ordered Sai to spy on the boy while sending his men to track down Kabuto for his medical knowledge. With Torune and Fuu as his bodyguards, Danzō arrives at the Kage Summit and attempts to name himself the leader of the alliance that would fight the Akatsuki. However, the abrupt appearance of Taka and White Zetsu forces Danzō to flee.
However, Danzō and his men were halted by Tobi at the Samurai Bridge. By that time his men were defeated by Tobi and Sasuke, who then challenged Danzo to personal combat, Danzō unsealed his arm and revealed it to have been embedded with multiple Sharingan eye as he admits his role in the Uchiha Clan Massacre. Sasuke pretends to attack in anger with his Susanoo, Danzō uses Izanagi to evade the fatal attack, until it becomes evident that Sasuke was actually just making Danzō lose track of how many Sharingan he had in his arm, and in the end Sasuke is able to overcome Danzō by using a simple genjutsu making Danzō think he has one extra. With the powers of both Senju and Uchiha at his disposal, causing Tobi to realize that Danzō is targeting Naruto, Danzō clashes with Sasuke before being forced to sever his right arm as he was overwhelmed by the Senju DNA.
Refusing to accept defeat, Danzō takes Karin as a hostage so he can use Shisui's eye on Sasuke. However, Danzō was shocked that Sasuke had his attack pierce through Karin to kill him. On the verge of death, seeing that he can never surpass Hiruzen, Danzō decided to use the last of his life to take both Sasuke and Tobi down with him with the Reverse Four Symbols Seal. Though both were able to get out of range, Danzō destroyed Shisui's Sharingan to prevent Tobi from obtaining it.
When he was younger, Danzō was a hot-headed and eager ninja with a strong desire to prove himself. He, after a long internal struggle, decided to volunteer himself to buy time for his team-mates, though Hiruzen Sarutobi beat him to it. He often displayed jealousy towards Hiruzen, believing he was always one step ahead of him and feeling inferior to him. Danzō never used soft words like "friend", as he never wanted to lean on someone or be leaned on. As an adult, Danzō was a completely calm, cold and collected individual who did not allow his emotions to surface. Due to being raised in times of war, Danzō's beliefs differed from those of the Hokage as he felt that the interests of the village should be placed above all else, even ethics and morals. Danzō seemed to hate the previous Hokage's beliefs stating those beliefs have destroyed the village after Pain's assault on it, despite using the attack as an attempt to overthrow Tsunade and leaving its citizens in peril as well as being responsible for Nagato's negative perceptions of Konoha, which lead to its destruction. He was very ambitious, something even his fellow chancellors openly noted and in the anime, his desire to be a greater and stronger Hokage than Hiruzen made him even attempt to have Hiruzen assassinated in the belief that the Third Hokage had lost the capacity to effectively lead the village. An extremist, Danzō preferred to directly eliminate threats through assassination and execution rather than diplomacy and negotiation. However, he secretly worked closely with the international criminal Orochimaru in illegal experiments in order to increase his physical capabilities. Danzō possessed a fanatical and arbitrary adherence to the ideals of a shinobi, believing they must sacrifice absolutely everything for the village. However, Danzō hypocritically feared death, hiding this fear behind a belief that his survival was necessary for the sake of the shinobi world itself. He would only conquer this fear in the last moments of his life, boldly attempting to kill Sasuke and Tobi for the sake of his village and the entire shinobi world with his suicide, and destroying Shisui's eye with his dying breath.
Despite his reputation as a militarist, Danzō ultimately sought peace for the ninja world, one he would achieve by uniting all shinobi forces under his control. As such, he sought the title of Hokage, waiting patiently for decades before an opportunity arose. Danzō's pursuit of peace followed an end justifies the means. As such, he had no remorse taking any immoral actions as long as he believed it would benefit Konoha. To that end, he worked in the shadows to ensure that this future came to fruition. He used Root to eliminate potential threats to Konohagakure with or without the consent of the Hokage and to further him along the path to achieving the position, as he believed he was best prepared for the "necessary" transition. Because of the nature of his actions, Danzō could not allow the details of what he had done to become public knowledge, and thus he branded members of Root with cursed seals to prevent them from revealing his secrets. Danzō also believed Konoha was the strongest and most stable when the village had a target to focus its anger and hatred on. To this end, Danzō was key in stigmatizing the Uchiha clan to the rest of the village and was the one to secretly leak out the knowledge that Naruto Uzumaki was the container of the Nine-Tailed Fox, ensuring the villagers would loathe him as a result. Danzō also views the members of Root as expendables pawns and shows no remorse in having them perform duties that could result in permanent injury as shown in his ordering Fū to gouge out Ao's Byakugan, despite the fact it would result in Fū losing his eye as well. Danzō is also treacherous by nature, as shown in his betrayal of Hanzō despite their previous alliance. Likewise, should an "ally" prove too capable for his comfort, Danzō will see to their elimination, as he attempted to do with both Nonō and Kabuto Yakushi. Itachi also believed Danzō had no intention of honoring his promise of sparing Sasuke when he accepted the mission to kill his own clan and had to threaten to leak Konoha's secrets to enemy villages and risk his own safety by returning to Konoha after Hiruzen's death to ensure Sasuke's safety. He was willing to do anything to further his physical and political powers, as shown in allowing himself to be experimented on with Hashirama's cells by Orochimaru in order to gain the power to control a tailed beast and extend his use of Izanagi. He also broke international law by manipulating Mifune into making him supreme commander of the Allied Shinobi Forces. In his later years, Danzō had become somewhat delusional, believing that he would be able to change the Shinobi World, even though his actions at the Kage Summit lost him his credibility. Danzō also had no hesitation in stealing Shisui's right eye in order to gain access to Kotoamatsukami despite his unquestionable loyalty to Konoha over his own clan and the fact he was a descendant of someone who had once been Danzō's own comrade. Tobi deduced Danzō's intent to seize control of the Nine-Tails from Naruto by using his multiple Sharingan. Danzō is also shown to be extremely arrogant, as seen in his gloating during his final clash with Sasuke, believing he had won, and only he is capable of changing the entire world.
Despite his self-righteous, amoral, and draconian methods, Danzō nevertheless was not purely evil. His actions, be it as cruel and self-serving as it was, was all for what he genuinely believed for the greater good of Konoha. He was capable of respecting others even if they differed from him, as although he was at odds with Itachi, he acknowledged Itachi as a unsung hero whose selfless devotion to Konoha was worthy of his respect and openly reprimanded Sasuke for his hatred and violence against Konoha, as it had wasted both the sacrifice of the Uchiha and Itachi's own personal sacrifices. His devotion to Konoha far surpassed his fear of death, as he did not hesitate to use the final moments of his life helping Konoha by trying to take Sasuke and Tobi with him and used the last of his strength to destroy Shisui's eye. Despite his envy against the Third and their growing rivalry, in the end, he had not entirely lost his friendship with Hiruzen, reminiscing of his childhood memories with him and asking what he was to Hiruzen in his final moments. His fellow elders, Homura Mitokado and Koharu Utatane, held Danzō in high regard and often took his advice when dealing with the politics of the village and even though they preferred Hiruzen over him, they openly acknowledged Danzo always had Konoha's best interests in heart.
Because of the stolen Sharingan eyes and the cells from the First Hokage (which Tobi suspects that he implanted them all with Orochimaru's aid), Danzō was an immensely powerful and skilled ninja. He could fight on even terms with Sasuke Uchiha.
Danzō was highly skilled with Wind Style chakra nature, able to utilize various, very powerful techniques with instant ready ease, them being strong enough to equal the strength of Sasuke's Susanoo in any of its stages. He had access to the unique summoning contract for the Baku, a giant, tapir-like creature that dwarfed Sasuke's Susanoo, and that was capable of complimenting Danzō's Wind Style with its extreme suction ability to the point that Danzō was able to rip open Sasuke's armored Susanoo with one attack. Despite his old age, Danzō was very strong, fast, and agile, able to repel Karin with a single kick, catch Sasuke off-guard (placing a paralyzing curse mark as he did), and easily dodge Sasuke's Susanoo's attack with one high leap, despite noting its capabilities, also showing great reflexes. Along with paralysis curse marks, Danzō was skilled at using marks that could silence a member of Root if they tried to speak about him and set a creative booby trap with his Reverse Four Symbols Sealing Technique to activate at death. Sasuke counted on Danzō being overconfident because of this technique. Danzō's pride is possibly his biggest weakness.
Danzō's most fearsome and formidable abilities were the various bodily implants he received from Orochimaru. Before the latter's being sealed, Danzō took Shisui Uchiha's right eye, capable of using the Mangekyo Sharingan and the strongest genjutsu, and replaced his right eye with it, and took his right arm after his death and replaced his with it, and after the Uchiha clan massacre, Danzō took up to ten Sharingan eyes and implanted them into that arm. From Orochimaru, Danzō had the cells of the First Hokage implanted in his right arm as well. Doing this allowed him to use the forbidden dojutsu Izanagi through all his Sharingan, but only doing so with the ones in his arm. To conserve his chakra, as all his eyes were active, Danzō placed a seal on his right arm and bandaged his eye to conceal these implants. Using Izanagi allowed Danzō to control reality and illusion about himself, transferring any disadvantages, like fatal wounds, into a dream and making his own desire for successful attacks a reality. With the advantage of the First's cells, Danzō could use Izanagi for one minute an eye, at the cost of losing its use afterward to blindness. Using this to the full effect, Danzō was able to exhaust Sasuke and mortally wound him at the cost of the same. Danzō was very skilled at using Shisui's eye, able to easily locate a squad of assassins and use his Kotoamatsukami technique very effectively, able to control others with ease without direct sight of them. Along with the with the enhancements to his body and chakra reserves(which were very large) they gave, having the First's cells in him also allowed Danzō access to his Wood Style kekkei genkai, which he could use without hand signs, but only from his right arm, and its power was pale compared to the original. Aside from Sharingan, Danzō was very skilled at using and dispelling genjutsu, even Sasuke's inept Tsukuyomi, although this led to his death.
- Danzō's death is very similar to that of Deidara, both use a last ditch effort to kill Sasuke but failed. Unlike Deidara however, the jutsu Danzō used to kill Sasuke can only be used if the person is dying, so Sasuke technically killed Danzō.
- Danzō was not the Sixth Hokage, but rather a candidate. Though some people still think he is, he is obviously not, as he was not chosen by Tsunade as a successor and was not voted in by the villagers of Konoha. Additionally, after it was discovered that Danzō has the power of mind control, his title of Hokage is unrecognized. Kakashi Hatake ultimately became the official Sixth Hokage after the Fourth Shinobi World War at the end of the series.
- In omake titled Photo Album, when Tsunade and Shizune decided to take a peek on what Danzō look like in his early days, they immediately closed the latter's photo due to getting more than they bargained for. This omake foreshadows the revelation of Danzō's young appearance to be handsome.