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One of many nameless orphans recruited into Konoha's secret branch of the ANBU, Root, Sai was raised and conditioned to have no personality or personal connections. The name "Sai" is given to him for the purposes of joining Team 7. His actual name is currently unknown, possibly even to himself. Sai was recruited as the newest member of Team Kakashi by Danzo, the commander of Root, to join Naruto Uzumaki and Sakura Haruno as a replacement for Sasuke Uchiha after his defection.

During his time among Root, Sai met an older member of the same organization who took a liking to Sai's drawing ability, and Sai came to think of him as a older brother and looked up to him. Eventually, his "brother" died of an unnamed illness, and Sai's Root training suppressed most of the memories he had for his brother. Before the death of his brother, he was making a book that would show the feelings they shared for each other and all the opponents they faced. Their pictures would start at opposite ends of the book and in the middle both him and his brother would be holding hands, but his brother died before he could give it to him. 


Sai is a talented artist, and claims to have drawn thousands of pictures. Despite the magnitude of things he has drawn, he has never given one of his works a name, his lack of emotion making it impossible for him to form a significant attachment to his work to give it a title. Sai's drawing ability is also the source of his jutsu, known as Super Beasts Imitation Picture. By drawing objects with a brush on his scroll he is able to bring his creations to life by animating the ink directly off the page. This increases their size and allows them to move and attack opponents at a distance. Of his seen creations he uses giant birds for long range transport, lion-like monsters for attack, small rats for scouting and numerous small serpents to capture a target. Likewise, by creating an Ink Clone of himself, he can perform a reconnaissance of an area without actually endangering himself. Sai can also transform words he writes on his scroll into small animals that seek out their target and revert back to words upon arrival, giving Sai a way to communicate easily over long distances. Also, as seen when he fought Naruto, he appears to be able to transport himself across short distances by surrounding himself in ink and maikng the same hand seal that he uses in his Super Beast Imitaion Picture.

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