Sasuke Uchiha has always been a ninja with many talents. As a member of the Uchiha clan, he was born with the visual Kekkei Genkai known as the Sharingan. These eyes are incredibly powerful and allow the user to read the movements of others and copy their techniques as well. This physical adaptation has gone through a couple of phases, but once it was fully matured, it finally reached a level where it was capable of much more. Sasuke had a part of that gift taken from him in last week’s episode of Boruto, and it feels only suitable to review how Sasuke got to receive such a gift in the first place. However, if you haven’t watched episode 218 of Boruto, you might want to stop reading now because there will definitely be a few spoilers ahead.
In episode 218 of Boruto, Sasuke and Kawaki discuss the implications of the Nine Tails Baryon Mode that Naruto used against the Otsutsuki, Isshiki, during the last battle. With their opponent defeated and all three ninjas exhausted, everyone’s guard is down, giving a Momoshiki-possessed Boruto the perfect opportunity to stab a kunai into Sasuke’s left eye⏤the very same eye that holds the Uchiha’s most powerful visual Kekkei Genkai, the Rinnegan.
What is a Rinnegan?
The Rinnegan is a very rare Kekkei Genkai and is said to be more powerful than the other two Kekkei Genkai, the Byakugan and the Sharingan. The first person to ever possess it was one of the first Otsutsuki to land on Earth, Hagoromo Otsutuki, the being who also created the art of ninshu, which is the foundation for all the ninjutsu in the series. Because of his contributions to the ninja world, Hagoromo was called the Sage of Six Paths, and his Rinnegan had become somewhat of a sought-after myth for most of the Naruto Shippuden series.
What does the Rinnegan do?
The Rinnegan contains extraordinary chakra and has been shown to have numerous different abilities that depend on what the wielder decides to do with it. So far, it’s been demonstrated to allow a user the ability to wield six techniques at once, read minds, summon various creatures, extract souls, and even revive the dead. Each user has found a new and interesting way to use it. For example, Madara Uchiha used it to create corporeal shadows in the world of Limbo, Momoshiki Otsutsuki used it to absorb ninjutsu, and Nagato used it to control six inanimate bodies, which he called the Six Paths of Pain. Just like his predecessors, Sasuke found a way to make his own trademark after receiving the coveted Kekkei Genkai.
How did Sasuke come to get the Rinnegan?
Sometime after Sasuke had matured his Sharingan, he finally faced his brother Itachi for their long-awaited showdown. Sasuke emerged victorious, but the loss of his brother affected him. After finding out about Itachi’s true intentions and purpose from Obito, the grief finally triggers the next evolution of his Kekkei Genkai, the Mangekyo Sharingan.
Unfortunately, using the Mangekyo Sharingan for an extended period can be exhausting and cause the user to lose their sight if used too often. To counter the issue, it is said that an Uchiha can transplant the eyes of a blood relative into themselves and gain the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan. Just as the name implies, the new form allows the user to utilize the Mangekyo Sharingan for a much more extended period of time. It even increases the Sharingan’s power and allows it to be used on a much larger scale. After feeling the side effects from overusing the Kekkei Genkai himself, Sasuke decided that the best way to fix the problem and honor Itachi was to perform the transplant, allowing Sasuke to obtain the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan.
Madara Uchiha once said that the Rinnegan is the eventual evolution of the Sharingan. But even though Sasuke had been able to evolve his Sharingan for the most part, the Rinnegan was something he could never obtain, at least not on his own. All of his pain and hard work that led up to his Mangekyo Sharingan did help a bit.
During Naruto Shippuden, Sasuke was near death when the spirit of Hagoromo (the Sage of Six Paths) came to him in a vision. Hagoromo tells Sasuke that he believes that, together with Naruto, Sasuke can save the world. Then, he gives half of his Six Paths chakra to Sasuke and one half to Naruto, granting them both a level up in power.
Thanks to his evolution of his Sharingan to its highest form, Sasuke’s eyes were advanced enough to progress to the next stage, and with the help of powerful chakra from a being like Hagoromo, it was the last ingredient to evolve Sasuke’s Sharingan into a Rinnegan. With his newly gifted Rinnegan, Sasuke was able to control space and time, which allowed him to switch places with others over short distances and open portals to different dimensions, making the Rinnegan one of the most valuable tools in Sasuke’s arsenal.
The Rinnegan is now unfortunately gone, thanks to Boruto’s attack on Sasuke last week, and without another living Uchiha around to help replace the eye, Sasuke may have lost it forever. Then again, never say never. In these types of anime, not everything is set in stone.