Anime Arsenal: The Ethereal Power of Naruto’s Sword of Totsuka

There are a considerable number of exceptional weapons used throughout Naruto, but none as unique as the Sword of Totsuka. This obscure blade has highly distinctive qualities, but it is also one of the most powerful weapons in the Naruto Universe. With that in mind, let's examine the Sword of Totsuka including its origin, powers and most notable uses.

The Sword of Totsuka's Power

The Sword of Totsuka, also referred to as the Sakegari Blade or the Sake Cutter Longsword, was a spirit blade wielded by Itachi Uchiha using the strongest ability of the Mangekyo Sharingan, the Susanoo. This sword of sealing has a liquified structure that is sheathed inside a jar of sake. The blade drags whomever it impales into the sake gourd where they are forever suspended in genjutsu in a drunken stupor.

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Itachi was incredibly skilled with the Totsuka Blade, sealing several people -- including Orochimaru's chakra from the Heavens Curse Mark he placed on Sasuke, as well as Nagato who was being controlled by Kabuto during the Fourth Great Ninja War. Itachi's proficiency with the sword, paired with the Yata Mirror that can negate any attack, made the elder Uchiha brother's Susanoo nearly invincible.

The Sword of Totsuka was said to be a variant of Orochimaru's Kusanagi Blade, which was based on the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi meaning "Grass Cutting Sword," one of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan. Sasuke also called his sword a Kusanagi though it was a different blade that lacked the abilities of Orochimaru's. Orochimaru was also known to have spent years searching for the Totsuka Blade, which would ironically be used to defeat him and seal away his power.

The Sword of Totsuka's Mythical Origin

The Sword of Totsuka was influenced by the Totsuka-no-Tsurugi, literally meaning "Sword of Ten Hand-Breaths." This type of sword was most notably used by the creator deity Izanagi to kill his newborn son Kagutsuchi. As the god of fire, Kagutsuchi burned his mother, Izanami, to death during childbirth. Grief-stricken, Izanagi killed Kagutsuchi and cut his body into eight pieces with the Sword of Totsuka creating eight new Shinto gods from the blood that dripped off of the blade.

Another legend the Sword of Totsuka was influenced by was that of Susanoo, a spirit god in Japanese mythology and brother to the sun goddess, Amaterasu. Susanoo has several contrasting features that range from being a capricious deity to a snake-slaying hero. The heroic tale featuring the Sword of Totsuka starts with Susanoo's banishment from heaven for killing one of Amaterasu's attendants.

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As Susanoo sought refuge in the Izumo Providence, he met an elderly man who asked him to save his last remaining daughter, Kushinada-hime. His other seven daughters had been consumed by the great snake Yamata no Orochi or the "Eight-Branched Serpent" who planned to return to finish the eighth. Susanoo agreed to assist the family in exchange for the remaining daughter's hand in marriage. Then he placed large amounts of sake at the gates of each of the gods. When the serpent came through the gates looking for Kushinada, it drank the sake and become intoxicated. Taking advantage of its inebriated state, Susanoo used the Sword of Totsuka to cut off each of the great snake's eight heads. In one of the serpents' heads was the Kusanagi Blade, which he offered to Amaterasu as a reconciliation present.

This legend also holds very similar details to Itachi's final battle with Sasuke in Naruto when he fought against Orochimaru's Eight Branches Technique. Just like the legend, Itachi is able to use the Totsuka Blade to sever the heads of each snake before Orochimaru himself finally emerges with the Kusanagi Blade. It was Itachi's entire goal to separate Sasuke from Orochimaru in the first place. Orochimaru thinks he has the upper hand but when Itachi pierces him with the Totsuka Blade, the snake Sannin quickly realizes that the blade he sought after for so long was being used to seal him away.

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