To begin with, let's take a look at the variations of the Mangekyou Sharingan.
As you can see, each of them has its own shape. But all of them share something. They all have a dot in the center. Notice also that there are two colors for the dots: red and black. The regular Sharingan has a black dot, but some of these have a red one. Let's also take a look at exactly who has which.
Red: Kakashi, Izuna and Itachi
Black: Madara and Sasuke
It is interesting that it's Madara and Sasuke who have the black one. Madara is considered an immortal and Sasuke has been the interest of Orochimaru, Madara and Itachi. They saw in him a lot of talent, but it's possible they also saw something else which I will explain further later. In any case, Madara and Sasuke are special somehow.
Part 1 - Eternal Light
We know that the MS causes blindness eventually
We also know that Madara cured this by taking his brother's eyes.
The question you have to ask yourself is: if the MS caused blindness, then how did taking another MS which causes blindness suddenly fix things? It doesn't really make much sense. And how did Madara know that taking his brother's eyes would fix things? At best he could have hoped that his brother's eyes would last for some time but eventually wear out as well. It's possible he realized something about the MS. Where Madara had the black dot, Izuna had the red one. They must have talked about their vision. And then they realized something: where one of them was near-sighted, the other was far-sighted. It didn't take a genius to connect this with the dots. Madara must have thought of the exchange at that point. Still, he didn't want to pluck his brother's eyes, so he tried everything he could think of, but ultimately there was no other choice.
This was a possible explanation for why the exchange fixed things. But it opens some new questions, which I will discuss in part 2.
Part 2 - Itachi's counter-plan
Let's start with Itachi's intentions for Sasuke
, as told by Madara.
I have good reason to believe Madara is lying here (wouldn't be the first time), or at least not speaking the entire truth. He knows a good deal about Itachi's plan, as I will demonstrate, but he thinks Itachi didn't know that. I will show proof that Itachi was well aware that Madara knew about his plan, just not all of it.
2) Mangekyou Sharingan - Recap
We know that Itachi had planned for Sasuke to get MS, so it's reasonable to assume he wanted him to get EMS as well. I believe it's all part of Itachi's plan to eliminate Madara, a plan that goes back to the Uchiha massacre.
We know that the EMS can only be created between clansmen. (thanks to Gottheim for this next part)
Naruto 386 page 09 | One Manga
(middle left panel)
But there's also this.
And simply gaining another's eyes didn't equate to gaining this power. Many sacrifices piled up over the course of our clan's history... now you know why.
According to the 3rd databook:
The tighter the blood ties are [between "donor" and] receiver, the better it is for compatibility. Siblings, for example.
We know that only a select few Uchiha get the Sharingan.
(middle right panel)
The MS is even more rare, only a few people ever achieved it.
By the way, I find it funny Sasuke didn't ask about the conditions. Such an obvious question. Oh well.
In any case, this is somewhat at odds with the above statement that many sacrifices piled up, but since it's a long time, I guess both could be true. There are only a few people with the MS at any given time, but over a long period of time it still amounts to "many".
As I said before, it is interesting that Sasuke and Madara had the black-dotted one, and that both Itachi and Madara were so bent on Sasuke. It's possible that the black one appeared less often than the red one. Probably only in Madara and Sasuke. The only reinforcement I can offer for this aside from the above is this.
Eyes with such power and chakra even more sinister than my own... not at all unlike what I once saw in a certain Uchiha Madara...
The way the Kyuubi put the above makes Sasuke sound special again.
I think Itachi wanted to stop Madara, but even with MS, he knew he would be no match for him. He needed an EMS. But how did he know that Sasuke would get the black dotted MS? I believe that the color is determined by the chakra. More specifically yin-yang. Here I am assuming that it works in a similar fashion to the nature elements. In this case then, Sasuke and Madara lean toward yin, and the rest yang. But how exactly did Itachi know which type Sasuke is, before he obtained it? Remember that the Sharingan can see chakra. So Itachi saw that Sasuke's chakra type leaned toward yin. So did Madara, and I think that the Kyuubi was referring to that as well. We know next to nothing about yin-yang currently, but I am sure it will play an important role. Let's go back to when it was mentioned for the first time
. Read the whole page. Note that the bottom panel is completely unnecessary. It could have been left out with no impact whatsoever. In fact, it looks more like it was tacked on intentionally.
Next, is it possible for the yin type to appear less often than yang? Yes, because the wind type is rare
. (bottom left)
To reinforce the yin/yang stuff. You mentioned in your theory that Kyuubi didn't refer to Izuna, he only talked about Madara.
1. Madara was the leader of the clan when him and Izuna were pretty much equals.
2. It's said that Kyuubi was Madara's pet, not Izuna's.
It's possible that Madara only started controlling Kyuubi after he gained PMS. Or...
It's possible that only black-dotted Mangekyou's, or Uchiha with black/yin chakra can control Kyuubi. It's possible that even Itachi wouldn't have been able to do what Sasuke did, at Orochimaru's lair, to Kyuubi.
Also, Itachi knew that Sasuke hadn't yet obtained the MS
just before their fight. (credits go to Benzini again) He could see Sasuke didn't have MS, despite Sasuke not telling him first.
Again, not much to go on for this, but I decided not to ignore it.
Now I'll get to Itachi's counter-plan. There are a lot of theories concerning Madara, Sasuke and Itachi, all entirely possible. The story I am about to present may collide with them a little, but I think it can still fit in with them in the most important parts.
3) Itachi's childhood
Let's start from Itachi's childhood. Read this
. Itachi was shaped to want peace early on in his life. This is important, because it explains his character and the kind of actions he would take later on. It also goes well with the theory that Itachi didn't massacre his clan ("Itachi: Drenched in Blood or Tears?
The next important moment in Itachi's life was the Kyuubi's attack, resulting in the Uchiha plotting a coup d'etat. I have another idea here, for which I have no proof whatsoever. It doesn't affect the theory, but it could serve as a nice explanation of some events later on. We know that Madara was behind the Kyuubi's attack and we also know that Minato saw him, but since he was masked, he didn't know who it was. It's possible Itachi saw him as well. And since Madara was using the MS, it's also possible that Itachi saw the eye. He could also have seen it on Kyuubi. We have seen that when Sasuke used genjutsu on Manda, its eye had a Sharingan print
. At the time he didn't know it was Madara, and he was afraid that if he told anyone, the Uchiha would be blamed and he didn't want that, because it would create tensions.
Unfortunately, it happened anyway.
4) The coup and the massacre
The Uchiha started planning the coup. And soon Itachi was neck deep in it as we all know, serving as a spy
. But being a peaceful man, he turned his back on the Uchiha. I suspect that this would be the moment when he figured out what the eyes were and more importantly who they belonged to. He was in the clan's secret meeting place after all, and he later told Sasuke to go there to find out about MS. But why didn't he tell anyone? Honestly, who would believe him that Madara is alive? "Everyone" knew that Shodaime killed him in VotE. Even if he convinced the Uchiha, the Elders wouldn't believe him and that would have jeopardized his position. If Madara and Danzo were connected, there was also that problem, so he couldn't tell the Elders. Regardless, he was hoping that things could be solved peacefully with the Sandaime in charge.
And then something else happened. Shisui was killed. But Itachi denied it
It is not me who has killed Shisui... but for the words I have spoken I am deeply sorry.
Taking into account his personality, it could very well be true. But look at the sentence again. The way it is formed, sounds like Shisui was killed (as opposed to a suicide), but not by Itachi. Then who? Maybe it was Madara. He may have found out about the coup, either because Itachi sought him
out after finding out he was still alive or through Danzo or some other means. Then Madara blackmailed Itachi. He wanted revenge on the Uchiha and if Itachi wouldn't agree to it, Madara would start killing off those closest to him. And Itachi would get the blame, because he was a double agent. The Uchiha already didn't trust him
and the Elders were probably careful of a trap as well. After all, Itachi may just be pretending to work for them, but is actually working for the Uchiha. Such is the life of a double-agent.
Now he was truly in hell. He may not have known the extent of Madara's power so he refused at first. And Shisui died because of it. So because of the blackmail and the elders pressing on, he and the 3rd were eventually forced to let it go through.
But I'll just highlight a couple points just so you know
1- Shisui may have been killed a reason other than just to get at Itachi. Remember, Shisui was supposed to be tailing Itachi. Madara may have killed Shisui because he discovered that he was alive. Madara may have also killed Shisui so that Itachi could gain his Mangekyou. Both cases, Itachi was against.
2- The reasons Itachi didn't tell anyone about Madara could be many. It could be that Itachi was happy being trained by Madara for some time. It could be that Madara threatened to destroy Konoha if Itachi exposed him. It could be that no one would believe him, as you said.
By now Itachi had to have realized how dangerous Madara really was. He needed to eliminate him. But he wasn't strong enough, not even with the MS. But Sasuke was the yin type and that meant they could create the EMS. So he was spared. It's possible Itachi decided to spare him. Or if he didn't kill anyone (according to the "Itachi: Drenched in Blood or Tears" theory), he planned it so that Sasuke would be in school when it happened. And on top of that Sasuke was late
The bottom line is, Sasuke had to live. At the same time, he ensured that Sasuke had a goal that would eventually push him to getting the MS.
I also doubt there was any real debate as to who would be using the EMS - him or Sasuke. Again I have two possible answers, not even mutually exclusive:
1) Peaceful as he was, he didn't have the heart to take Sasuke's eyes, so instead he decided to let Sasuke have them.
2) He couldn't obtain the EMS himself. Again, Madara, Itachi and Kyuubi all imply Sasuke is special in some way, so I was thinking that the EMS may only work on black dotted users. Maybe if Itachi had gotten it, something else would have been created, either a different technique or a different kind of EMS. Or maybe the EMS simply wouldn't have happened.
This is the beginning of his plan. The only question that remained was would Sasuke obtain the MS by the time they fought? I think Itachi knew it wouldn't happen, because he knew Sasuke's character.
This is reinforced by the manga itself later on:
Naruto 343 page 02 | One Manga
Naruto 343 page 03 | One Manga
But even if Sasuke didn't get the MS Itachi already had a backup plan. Or perhaps it's better to say that it didn't really matter to him, because he would die by Sasuke's hand anyway, so he would get MS.
5) In Akatsuki - Itachi's plan against Madara's
Being exiled from the village, he joined Akatsuki to keep an eye on it and Madara. This gave him enough time to plan out exactly how he would get to Madara. He was also a no-brainer because of his MS. Most importantly, it made him the perfect choice to capture the Kyuubi, so his enlistment was ensured. We know that Itachi used this to warn Konoha about Akatsuki:
Naruto 401 page 06 | One Manga
Naruto 401 page 07 | One Manga
Death "prevented" him from going after Naruto, so Pain went instead. In fact, it's pretty obvious to me that Itachi was avoiding capturing Kyuubi, as evidenced here. (read pages 6 and 7 as well) He needed Naruto, as you'll find out later.
This brings us to the next question: what about Madara? I believe Madara also knew about Sasuke. It's possible he knew before the massacre, and it's also possible he heard soon after that and took interest in him then. In any case he ended up knowing what Itachi wanted to achieve. So why didn't he kill Sasuke and thus prevented something that is obviously very powerful? Well the truth is it's still not clear. But obviously, he wants Sasuke. Either because he thinks another EMS user on his side would be a great ally, or because there is something else, too.
But why did he let Itachi join Akatsuki? First of all he was good for capturing the Kyuubi, and secondly to keep an eye on him through Kisame. ("Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer" -- Sun-Tzu) This is taken from "The Uchiha Madara Story", not my own idea. At the same time the MS would cause Itachi's death eventually. It didn't even matter if Madara knew that Itachi wouldn't get Naruto, it was still a good excuse for Itachi to be in Akatsuki and for Madara to keep him under surveillance. As I said above, Madara wants Sasuke to get the EMS, so he needs Itachi alive until Sasuke gets his MS. Itachi dying in battle against Sasuke works out perfectly for him.
Itachi must have known that Madara is keeping him under check through Kisame, so he knew he had to plan out every detail carefully if he wanted to stop Madara. He also had to deceive Madara in order to mask his plan. And he had a lot of time to do it. I'll elaborate on how he achieved this further below. The point is that every part of Itachi's plan was well thought out, and some of it came together before his fight with Sasuke. Probably quite a bit before.
6) The moment draws near!
Fast forward to after the time-skip. Things are coming together. Akatsuki is starting to capture the Bijuu. Itachi's time is short, because as soon as the Bijuu are captured, it's game over. But Orochimaru's time is close, too. I believe Itachi knew Sasuke would eventually betray Orochimaru, so he knew the moment of his own death would happen soon.
Soon enough Orochimaru is dead, and Itachi finds out
with the rest of Akatsuki. Pain suggests
Sasuke is likely after Itachi and Kisame. Now it's time for Itachi to put the plan into motion. Deidara decides to go after Naruto or Sasuke (ended up being Sasuke). Serves as a nice delay for Itachi. He knew Sasuke would beat Deidara anyway.
Naturally, Deidara dies. Supposedly, so does Sasuke.
Naruto 363 page 07 | One Manga
Naruto 363 page 08 | One Manga
But Itachi knows Sasuke is alive.
How did Itachi know that Deidara would die? He knew that Sasuke was strong enough to beat him, sure. But don't forget who was with Deidara
. In the worst case, Madara would have done something, because he needed the EMS. It's not like anyone would know he killed Deidara. Except Zetsu, who didn't seem to know
that Tobi was Madara at that point. But I doubt Zetsu cared enough anyway. (and he found out before Sasuke's fight with Itachi anyway) Anyway, Itachi knew Madara was with Deidara, so he knew that Sasuke would survive, one way or another.
Let's get back to Madara. He had a chance to observe Sasuke in the battle against Deidara, and was satisfied with what he had seen. Then he reported to Pain and told him to capture the Kyuubi
, because he knew what was coming. This is later confirmed - Madara predicted that Itachi would die
. Madara had Zetsu following Sasuke (as shown above). Now there was just one more problem in his way. The Konoha squad following Sasuke. Madara goes to stall them.