An Analysis of Kisame Hoshigaki
I posted this before on my blog Luxurien before I deleted it [and someone, not me, remade it like two days later]. I’m posting it again for jessi-mini so if you’ve read this before… It’s me who posted it.
To start this analysis we have to start with the canon material. What do we know about Kisame before he joined Akatsuki?
major point in his early missions was that he had to kill his comrades
and it made him wonder about his purpose. Quote : “I knew that from the
first time I had to kill my comrades – kill a Kiri ninja as a Kiri
ninja. What does that make me? Am I a friend or foe? What is my purpose
and my position? Where do I go? Where can I go? I’m well aware that my
entire life has been one giant lie.”
let’s talk about this first. By killing his own comrades Kisame was
forced to realize his own place. He was a Kiri ninja who was as
disposable as the ninja he disposed of. In other words, he was a tool,
an item that could be used and thrown away when it was deemed dangerous.
The ninja he had to kill were loyal ninja who cared about Kirigakure,
maybe not all of them, but at least some were. His reasons for killing
the cypher corps. Was that they were too weak and would leak
information. There was nothing else to it – it wasn’t like they were
selling secrets, spies or anything else. When the time comes, Kisame
could and would be disposed of – likely for knowing secrets such as the
very people he was asked to kill just like the case was for Kabuto. In
psychology, Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs, Safety is second most important
human need and he lacks this safety – he isn’t safe and neither is
anyone else in the godforsaken system that is Kirigakure and the ninja
world. Major point of this paragraph: Kisame learns he is a disposable
tool with no value to Kirigakure – answering “What does that make me?”
concept of friendship and allegiances. We see a Kiri nin be friendly
with Kisame and he tells her it’s pointless. Why? Because he knows he
will have to kill her. This means that he has no point in being friends
with any of his fellow ninjas because they are all in the same boat as
him they are all disposable. And soon, a ninja would likely come for his
head. Everyone is an enemy. Can you imagine the world of loneliness that Kisame lived in here? Even surrounded by people he was completely and utterly alone. I’m
sure all of you are well aware of the fact that a major theme of Naruto
is that being alone is the worst form of hell. Naruto and Sasuke lived
in this loneliness and it shaped their lives. Itachi’s sacrifice is so
meaningful because of the loneliness he was willing to live in for the
rest of his life for Sasuke’s sake. In psychology, again Maslow’s
Hierarchy of Needs, love and belonging are the third most important
thing and as a person who is lonely just like Sasuke, just like Naruto,
just like so many others in the Naruto world, Kisame lacks it. But the
strange thing is no one really stops to think that Kisame could also be
alone but he very much was. Imagine the pain of having to kill someone
who tries to connect with you – even if he doesn’t show it he must’ve
been in massive pain killing that unknown Kiri kunoichi. In the end he
is neither a friend nor a foe because he can’t be either – if he was a
foe he wouldn’t be following Kiri’s orders but he was. Major point of
this paragraph: Kisame is alone and suffering as much as the other
Naruto characters, he is surrounded by people and yet none can be his
friend nor his foe thus answering his second question.
do I go? Where can I go?” – As a ninja he literally can’t go anywhere
because he will be hunted. Any ninja who leaves the village is basically
killed for their knowledge, you can’t just change your profession or
retire as a ninja. You can’t seek refuge in another country because they
will use you and tear you apart. Not only is Kisame completely and
utterly alone, he has no refuge anywhere. He can’t go anywhere. Imagine
being in a blank room and being locked in there with no exit, and no one
to talk to. This was Kisame’s life.
aware that my entire life has been one giant lie.” – Okay this is very
important. Through having to kill all his comrades, through having to
watch as one lie after another is told to the Kiri ninjas and to himself
he realizes that nothing is real. What does that mean though? Think of
it like this: Kiri nin become friends as children, just imagine what a
typical friendship is like anywhere. Then as academy students they’re
slammed and forced to kill their friends – the first lie they lived was
the lie of friendship. Any second now the person you trusted with your
life would kill you. Now moving on, the case with the cypher corps,
those ninjas were all told, even if not explicitly, that they were
ninjas and important parts of the Kiri family. They have this implicit
trust in the other ninjas despite the events with the blood mist – they trusted
Kisame before he had to kill them – that trust means that they were
lied to in some way or form because they weren’t expecting that. Kisame
was lied to as well because with the realization of what he is – a
disposable tool – he knew that his trust in his superiors was already
unwarranted. In other words, since he cannot trust anyone with even
basic things like not killing him, how can he trust more complex things
about society or life? “I’m an important tool for this village” lie.
“I’m a Kirigakure ninja” am I really, even after killing other
Kirigakure ninjas? “I’m doing this because I have to, it was for the
best of the village” but was it really, were their deaths really
necessary, wasn’t there another way, were those secrets of the cypher
corps more important than their lives? In a world where he can’t speak
to any other being, can’t believe in any other being, what is Kisame to
believe in? That’s right, nothing. The entire world is a lie. If
everyone was just honest with each other, would that be so hard? All
this drama could be avoided. Major point of this paragraph: Kisame can’t
believe in his village, he can’t see the truth, he is alienated and
confused about why the system has to be this way.
of the above points come together for an important question that Kabuto
voices – “Who am I?” That’s right, who is Kisame then? He needs to
figure that out, learn his own way and create his own ninja way (just
like Naruto). He rejects the idea of being a tool, just like Naruto.
When the straw on the camel’s back is broken by the fact his superior
was also a lying nincompoop, Kisame kills him, just tired of all this
drama. He takes Samehada and gets ready to leave when…
more freaking drama. Turns out just when the system couldn’t get any
more broken, the Mizukage himself is actually a rogue Uchiha. Yeap,
that’s right every single person in Kirigakure, every single ninja was
being lied to. Lie upon lie. At this point Kisame doesn’t even look
surprised he’s just like (he does look surprised when he realizes it’s
Madara, someone who should be dead, but not surprised that the Mizukage
is really controlled):
joined Akatsuki to create a better world, a world without lies. To him,
a world where everyone could speak to eachother honestly would be one
where people could feel safe because they would know who to trust and
who not to trust. It would be a world without loneliness because you
would know how the other person feels – you would know you could be
friends. A world of honesty would be the answer to the broken ninja
system, and being a tool of such a broken system was useless. In a way
his motives were no different from Sasuke or Naruto or Obito or even
Itachi’s. He went about his ideology and philosophy in a different way,
but then again Itachi, Naruto and Sasuke all had their own differing
ideologies for how to fix the broken system, just like Kisame. They all
had their own ways of achieving this goal.
his death Kisame believed the Konoha ninja were fighting for the wrong
side, he, at this point, didn’t care where they were from or what their
purpose was. All he knew was that they were fighting for this broken
system. I will come back to the importance of Kisame’s death and why it
is so beautiful after I go into his time in Akatsuki and his
relationship with Itachi – so let’s get to that.
said earlier that this would be all canon – well with Itachi some of
this is me filling in the blanks and not canon but I will be specific
about which parts are and aren’t so you can come to your own
conclusions. Kisame’s relationship with Itachi is very important because
it allows Kisame to fill his Hierarchy of Needs (Okay I realize I’m
referencing this a lot so I’m going to link every “Hierarchy of Needs”
to the wiki page so you can understand what it’s about if you don’t
know). By filling these needs, Kisame becomes content with life and
lives for once, as a human. But more on that later – first let’s get to
their relationship development.
first meeting, I’ll address everything they say in the order it comes
up – the first thing is that Itachi notes that Kisame is lost and unable
to find a place for himself. Why is it that Itachi can tell? It’s
because the story is the same no matter where you go. All ninjas are
suffering under this oppressive system, it doesn’t matter where you’re
from. All ninjas are unable to find their place. Itachi knows already
when Kisame says that there something to be said of those who kill their
own comrades – he knows already that Kisame was likely pushed to do it.
Why? Because otherwise he wouldn’t have joined a group like Akatsuki,
he would’ve just killed it. He joined for some reason or another. He
knows already that under this oppressive system even if Kisame wasn’t
pushed to do it, he had reasons for it. But more than likely, he was
very much aware of the system the blood mist as it’s known had for
raising ninjas, it was no surprise that someone would be disillusioned
under such a world. Itachi, already, understands Kisame. This is like
Sasuke and Naruto understanding each other’s hearts right here.
second thing to note is that Itachi tells Kisame “No one who has killed
their own comrades can find true peace.” And Kisame assumes that Itachi
is there is no point then. Kisame: “Then I guess that means we are both
damned to hell.” And Itachi clarifies and gives Kisame hope. He
says “No… You never know what kind of person you are until you die…
Isn’t that what dying is?” In other words he’s saying to Kisame that he
isn’t judging Kisame for his past, he’s saying Kisame can redeem himself
and be someone who can find peace through his future actions.
third thing to note is Itachi saying “No, we are humans not fish.” You
know what Itachi is saying to the man who is known as the literal Monster of the Mist?
He’s saying “you’re human, I see you as a person.” You know what he’s
saying to the man who believes he’s disposable as a tool to Kirigakure? You’re a human. You know what he’s saying to the man who is denied feelings, security, friendship? You’re human. To the man who has to kill his own comrades and wonders what he is? You’re human. Just damn. This is the best statement possible, it just tugs at my heartstrings seriously.
now let’s go further into Itachi and Kisame’s relationship now that
their first meeting is out of the way. What are some things we
canonically see happening between them? Here’s a list:
1. Kisame is
concerned about Itachi’s health (and scolds Itachi on overuse of the
2. Itachi is concerned about Kisame’s health and
doesn’t let him fight battles he can’t win (Kisame got permission
from Itachi to fight Roshi, the four tails).
3. Kisame gets freaking permission from Itachi to do things, is this not big?
4. Kisame respects Itachi and acknowledges him as the stronger of the two (potential fight with Jiraiya).
5. Kisame is quick to agree with Itachi and admit fault.
He admits fault to Itachi even if he feels defensive at first, he’s
considering Itachi’s feelings. (After the fight with Roshi when
Itachi scolds Kisame on taking too long is when this happens).
frequently asks Itachi if he’s alright with things (one example is when
Deidara announces he’s going to kill Sasuke, Kisame asks if that’s
alright with Itachi. Yup he’s taking into account Itachi’s feelings for
everything he does and others do to make sure Itachi is happy.).
7. When Akatsuki announces that Sasuke is dead and Kisame thinks Itachi may be crying he apologizes and tries to comfort Itachi. Damn.
8. After Itachi dies, Zetsu wonders whether Kisame will leave Akatsuki as if Itachi was the only reason Kisame stayed so long.
It’s so serious that Madara has to personally come reveal himself to
get Kisame to do what he wants. Geez. 9. Okay this is non-canon it was
in the games. In brief sparring session before Itachi goes to fight
Sasuke, Kisame knows it’s his last time fighting Itachi and he actually
says he will miss Itachi after all they’ve been through together. This
is non canon but it can be assumed (headcanon) that Kisame knew that
Itachi’s fight with Sasuke would be his last because there is no way
Kisame was oblivious to Itachi’s illness and such.
we get it Kisame and Itachi have an amazing relationship, so what?
Okay, I’ll tell you so what. Itachi fulfils Kisame’s Hierarchy of Needs
is so what. Kisame feels secure enough to stay his partner so long, he
finds friendship in Itachi, and it’s because of that that Kisame learns
who he is and gains Esteem, respect for himself and for Itachi as humans
and not tools. This is the something many of us actually struggle with
but Kisame gains it because of Itachi. If you don’t understand
the importance of this please go read wiki on the Hierarchy. But to
expand a little, gaining esteem is one of the “higher” needs that is
less important than things like “love and belonging” and is rarer to
find. Many people in today’s world don’t even get to this level much
less in the ninja world.
death and self-actualization. This is just hands down the most
beautiful death in the Naruto world in my opinion. Self-actualization is
the highest need in the hierarchy, and is described as becoming
everything that a person can be and desires to be. In his death, Kisame
accomplished this because he became a man who stood for his beliefs and
died for them. He died to create the ideal world he believed would
benefit humanity. He died for his beliefs and sense of justice. He knew
in his time of dying just like Itachi told him, exactly what he was,
something he wasn’t so sure of before. What he was was an amazing man
who deserves every bit of credit that the major Naruto characters got.
His sacrifice is as beautiful as theirs.
this is already way too long I’ll go into headcanons and more on his
character and personality later, I barely got started here and it’s like
10 pages on word.
Okay as promised in my analysis I’ll go into Kisame’s personality and headcanons.
The first thing to note is that Kisame shares many shark-like characteristics not only physically but mentally as well. He also has a human side which is overwhelmingly dominant, but that doesn’t mean he is immune to the shark side either. A list of canonically shark like traits he has:
1. Gills & ability to breathe underwater
2. The fin, webbed hands in shark mode
3. Blue-gray shark like skin
4. A muscular body - just as we imagine sharks to be muscular/large/predatory
5. Fish eyes
6. In shark mode he loses the hair on his head. Fish don’t have hair.
7. Sharks don’t hesitate to attack and rip apart their prey and neither does Kisams. He is sadistic (though in all fairness, any good shinobi should be like this and it could be a product of his upbringing. He is said to be the best in Akatsuki at bringing his prey back alive but no one said anything about his prey being in one piece, considering his attitude towards just cutting off Naruto’s legs when Itachi and Kisame first visited Konoha, it’s unlikely his enemies were in one piece).
8. Kisame likes seafood, Sharks eat smaller fish.
Based on the canon statements above I have the following headcanons about Kisame:
1. Kisame doesn’t have hair on his body except on his head, like how fish don’t.
2. His skin not only looks like a fish’s but feels like one. He isn’t warm but rather cold and clammy. In addition, his skin is made of denticles just like sharks, meaning unlike fish scales, it’s hard and rough and useful for protecting himself. His skin is tougher than a normal humans.
3. Like Kimimaro, he would have a hard time getting medical treatment because his body is slightly different from an average humans.
4. Like Kimimaro, Kisame inherited his traits, therefore the Hoshigaki’s are all shark like in nature.
5. Kisame likes the smell of blood and can smell it from afar, if an enemy is bleeding he can use his sense of smell alone to figure out where they are.
6. Like sharks, Kisame can regrow his teeth.
7. Kisame doesn’t need to cook his meat, but can if he wants to. He has no preference one way or another.
8. Kisame is possessive and territorial.
In his more human side, Kisame is incredibly intelligent and able to act quickly. Kisame’s intelligence in the databooks is 3.5 which is the same as Sakura’s in part 1, and intelligence is her defining characteristic. In future databooks, Sakura’s intelligence is 4. Still, it’s a testament to Kisame’s clearly above average intelligence.
Kisame doesn’t feel the need to rip apart every person he sees even if he enjoys fighting and ripping apart opponents. This is proven by the fact that he can and does restrain himself when Itachi asks him to. In addition, he has incredible self restraint and control as he is the best person in Akatsuki at bringing people back alive. This means he knows exactly how much energy or strength to use and he can actually put out the exact amount needed.
As obvious by his attachment to Itachi, Kisame is incredibly loyal. However, that doesn’t mean he needs to be obvious, affectionate or anything like that.
He is cold, quiet and reserved until he gets to know someone, as shown by his standoffish nature in Kirigakure, but his more open attitude with Akatsuki members.
Kisame is an optimist. He believes a better world is possible. He sees the good side in people, such as Tobi’s silliness.
He isn’t a frilly, kind person. Except maybe for Itachi but even then there are limits, mostly due to the fact that they are Shinobi. In an AU with different upbringings, this concept can be discarded.
Random personality stuff, all headcanons:
1. Kisame is rarely late. He tends to do things on time, and he does his work correctly and thoroughly.
2. Kisame has his own biases, he is not an objective person, but he is as honest as he possibly can be and tries to remain unbiased. His biases appear the most with things he cares a lot about (lies, importance of imformation, Itachi…).
3. He doesn’t feel the need to follow the rules of he doesn’t agree with them. Using Kohlberg’s stages of moral development, by the end of his life, Kisame has reached the Post- conventional stage. Read about Kohlberg’s stages of moral development here. Note that it is incredibly rare for someone to reach the post- conventional stage.
4. Despite his trust problems and reserved attitude in Kiri, he is a social person and likes to talk. This means his upbringing affected him into being reserved, but he isn’t naturally that way.
5. Although he can understand others, he doesn’t have sympathy for them. It’s a good trait as a shinobi, but a negative in AUs.
6. Kisame is in the moment kind of person. He doesn’t zone out or get lost in a train of thought. Itachi may, and it’ll be Kisame who snaps him out of it.
7. He is vary of strangers and new people, all shinobi should be honestly, and so it takes a long time for him to open up to anyone. Keep in mind a lot of this has to do with trust issues and growing up in Kirigakure.
8. Kisame has a humorous side and does occasionally joke around.
9. Kisame would be muscular and fit in any AU as well as the Narutoverse, just like Gai would except maybe one where he’s malnourished and oppressed or something.
10. Kisame and Gai would be very good friends in an AU.
11. Kisame plays a game where he finds ways to break Itachi’s perfectly impassive and cold demeanor without offending or angering him.
Kisame was likely an orphan, but knew his parents, and they were killed during one of the many battles during the days of the Blood Mist.
If he had parents they could’ve guided him in the right direction but he lost his sense of self and the world around him, meaning they weren’t there to be a guide for him later in life.
However, it should be noted that even if he lost his sense of self he didn’t lose the ability to trust or respect others, because he has a lot of respect for Itachi. This to me states that if he did have parents, they were not abusive ones. His family may in fact have been the truth in his life before they were killed somehow, because otherwise Kisame wouldn’t be able to trust at all after his experiences in Kirigakure.
More notes :
Kisame ruthlessly killed his superior for being a traitor and a liar. Kisame viewed lies as a reason the world was the way it was, and sought to fix it.
However, Kisame’s partner Itachi was the biggest liar in the whole series, Akatsuki was one big lie after another, Madara was a lie, the Eye of the Moon was a lie, Black Zetsu was a lie, all around lies.
If Kisame found out about these things his response would differ per situation. For Itachi, he would see that Itachi was still loyal to his village, and see that he himself was the enemy. He would understand Itachi’s lie because it was a lie out of loyalty just like Kisame killing his comrades was out of loyalty (until he got sick of it). I think if he understood Itachi’s purpose he would let it go, unless Itachi continued to lie to Kisame afterwards. This is heavily due to the analysis part where it’s shown that Itachi is Kisame’s most important person because of the change he had on him. Also, even if Itachi’s reasons for Akatsuki were a lie, his relationship with Kisame wasn’t. Even when he came back from the dead Itachi thought about Kisame and in life he worried about Kisame as well. If Itachi’s relationship with Kisame was the lie, rather than his reasons for Akatsuki, Kisame would have killed Itachi upon learning the information.
With others in Akatsuki, Kisame would either kill them on learning the truth, or quit and wander in search of his own way to fix things.
If he hadn’t joined Akatsuki, Kisame would like have done the same thing Zabuza did to try to bring change- stage a coup de etat against the Mizukage and take charge.
Finally things Kisame is not:
1. Mindless brute.
2. Someone who uses pet names. Just no. He isn’t going to call you “angel” or use the ending “-chan” just no.
3. Violent without reason. This is just far too common a misunderstanding.
4. Kisame may curse but he won’t do it excessively or very often. Don’t overdo it with the cursing, he’s not Hidan.
5. Frilly. The most he will do is ask something like “are you okay?” He will be uncomfortable with asking more or getting more into it. When he comforts someone it will be awkward like his attempt to comfort Itachi after Sasuke’s “death.” He isn’t going to be overly kind about it. Seriously, he’s not frilly.