The sharingan is quite possibly one of the most badass Bloodline traits in the Naruto series. What started off as a cool gimmick to copy jutsus and play head games with your opponent quickly turned into the center stage for the rest of the Naruto Shippuden franchise. In part this is due to its evolution in the series. Without going into to much of the detailed history of the Uchiha Clan (another post for another day) we’ll take a look into what made the sharingan and it’s subsequent transformations quite possibly one of the most overpowered transformation in the anime world. (Looking at you Super Saiyan)
The Basic Sharingan
Before we start I want to clarify that being born an Uchiha doesn’t automatically grant you the sharingan later in life. It only manifest in certain individuals, and even then that individual must undergo an intense emotional experience. The experience can be negative such as when Madara lost his younger brother, or positive like when Obito felt the strong desire to protect Kakashi. The premature and fully matured sharingan definitely have their perks, but they come with plenty of weakness and drawbacks that can be exploited. The premature sharingan has all the same abilities a fully matured sharingan has just not the same proficiency. It’s two main abilities include the Eye of Insight and the Eye of Hypnotism.
The Eye of Insight grants the user incredible clarity, making them able to see people chakra, predict an opponent’s movements, and even copy their jutsu. This technique isn’t perfect however. The Eye of sight can’t see chakra to the degree the Byakugan can, and it doesn’t matter if you can predict where your enemy is going to hit you if you can’t react fast enough to block or dodge. And while you are able to copy most jutsus if you can’t perform another clan’s Kekkei Genkai, or use a change in chakra nature you don’t posses.
The Eye of Hypnotism allows the user to cast powerful genjutsu on its opponents, and even in some cases allows them to fully control them. Its with this eye that Madara and Sasuke among other were able to control the Tailed beast. In most cases however the user has to make eye contact with their opponent, with only a handful of users able to perform this genjutsu without making eye contact.
First Evolution: Mangekyo Sharingan
This is where the badassery begins. To awaken the Mangekyo Sharingan the ninja must go through an extremely traumatic event, almost always involving the loss of someone very precious to them. In fact this is where the Uchiha Curse of Hatred comes from. Many Uchiha killed the ones they loved most in order to obtain the power of the Mangekyo Sharingan. Each ninja’s Mangekyo Sharingan is unique in its appearance and varies in ability, and if a user is able to unlock the Mangekyo Sharingan in both eyes he is able to wield the Susanoo, a massive humanoid deity made from the user’s chakra.
The abilities themselves vary greatly from Itachi’s Tsukuyomi, a genjutsu so powerful it is capable of disrupting the victim’s perception of time, to Obito’s Kamui which alters space-time itself allowing him to teleport things into a different dimension. These great powers have an even great drawback however, using them more than a couple of times a day completely drains the user’s energy to the point that Kakashi would pass out if he used his Mangekyo Sharingan more than 3 times. Continued use also leads the user to blindness, no longer able to use the sharingan at all.
Second Evolution: Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan
Like its former variations it comes with a price. The ninja must receive a transplanted Mangekyo Sharingan from someone with close familial ties, ideally a sibling. This has lead to many among the Uchiha killing their own family members in order to obtain its powers. Achieving the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan not only cures any blindness caused by overuse it also negates most negative sides effects and makes the originals abilities stronger. Transplanting a Mangekyo merges the design of the transplanter and transplantee’s eye into the Eternal Mangekyo.
Final Evolution: Rinnegan
The Rinnegan is the final evolution of the sharingan, and can only be awakened by gaining the Sage of the Six Paths chakra. This is done by either the Sage giving it directly or reproducing it by combining the chakra of his two sons Indra and Asura. Given how much is required to achieve this final transformation only two Uchiha, Sasuke and Madara, have been able to unlock the Rinnegan. With it the user can use all the Sage of the Six Paths abilities and all five changes in chakra nature. Each individual user also gets access to his own individual Rinnegan abilites such as Sasuke’s ability to switch places with any object within his range or Madara’s ability to create invisible shadows.