The ANBU (暗部, ANBU; Viz "Black Ops", English TV "ANBU Black Ops"; Literally meaning "Dark Side"; ) is actually short for ANsatsu Senjutsu Tokushu BUtai (暗殺戦術特殊部隊, Ansatsu Senjutsu Tokushu Butai; ; Literally meaning "Special Assassination and Tactical Squad"; ). The name is a form of contraction, similar to English acronyms like SWAT, where the two kanji used to abbreviate the group's full name constitute an actual word on their own.
The ANBU wear porcelain animal masks in order to distinguish themselves from normal shinobi and to conceal their identities. They also have standard uniforms consisting of black and gray armor, arm guards, and a signature spiral tattoo on their left shoulder (female ANBU members have the tattoo located on their right shoulder to determine gender between the ANBU members). Some ANBU wear black cloaks over their standard uniforms, and squad leaders may wear white cloaks. All ANBU carry Ninjato, which are usually strapped to their backs.
ANBU are under direct control of their Kage. They protect the village from exceptional threats, conduct high-risk missions into enemy countries, and deal with extremely strong ninja. They are also responsible for carrying out assassinations and missions requiring specially trained ninja. Some ANBU serve as interrogators that probe the minds of enemy ninja to learn information valuable to the village. If an ANBU dies during a mission they are required to destroy their bodies.
In Konohagakure there exists a special branch of the ANBU known as the Foundation ("Ne." or "root" in the original manga). The Foundation was created and led by Danzo, who sends its members on missions that he believes will benefit Konoha. Foundation members are trained to abandon all forms of emotion to follow Danzo's orders unquestioningly. During Pain's invasion of Konoha, Danzo instructs the Foundation not to assist in the defense of the village.
Known ANBU membersEdit
- Zabuza Momochi (former Kirigakure ANBU)
- Kakashi Hatake (former Konoha ANBU captain)
- Ibiki Morino (head of the Konoha's ANBU Torture and Interrogation Squad)
- Otomatsu, codename Radio (former Konoha ANBU squad leader)
- Yugao Uzuki (Konoha ANBU)
- Itachi Uchiha (former Konoha ANBU captain)
- Raiga Kurosuki (former Kirigakure ANBU)
- Danzo (leader of the Foundation)
- Sai (member of the Foundation)
- Tenzo codename Yamato (Konoha ANBU)
- Koga (Konoha ANBU)
- Hyō (member of Foundation)
- Towa (Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2)
- Komachi (Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2)
- Kagura (Naruto: Clash of Ninja Revolution 2)
- Kage (Konoha ANBU)
- Tora (Konoha ANBU)
- Ushi (Konoha ANBU)