When talking about the majorly successful anime series Naruto and its array of distinctive, complex and engaging antagonists, the name Pain (or Pein depending on your preference of spelling) is more often than not found to be quite high up on that list. And for good reason too.

But before we delve further into why exactly that’s the case, it’s worth taking a brief look at the ginger-head’s extensive background as a quick reminder – or even an initial summary for those who aren’t as familiar with the story of Naruto, since it’s good to be mindful of the fact that there’s always more than meets the eye.

Pain, as fans would know, came onto the scene many, many years after the tragic story is revealed of a set of three homeless struggling friends from the Rain Village Amegakure were mentored and taught the essentials of ninjutsu by Jiraiya for survival purposes who eventually went on to leave the trio once he felt no more guidance was necessary. These three close friends; Nagato, Yahiko and Konan were the survivors of a long-term war which left their home village ravaged, almost uninhabited and destroyed. They swore to return and change all that which was made possible once they’d been tutored enough by one of the three Legendary Sannin of the Village Hidden in the Leaves.

Nagato at some point ‘developed’ his Rinnegan – which as you may know, is widely debated to be the strongest of the three Eye Powers (Doujutsu) within the Ninja universe at that point in the series. This, however, is later to be shown as a ploy on Madara Uchiha’s end; implanting his awakened eyes into Nagato (an Uzumaki containing abnormally high levels of chakra) to be used as an investment of sorts for the future, once he’d successfully won the shinobi over to his side. A big part of this plan rested on Obito Uchiha, who’d spent much of the series under the alias of Tobi and then Madara. Turns out, Madara’s plan worked out impeccably well through Obito and they had managed to persuade Nagato Yahiko and Konan to initiate the Akatsuki movement.

Whilst Akatsuki’s conception was based on more noble causes in the trio’s eyes, this all changed once Yahiko was murdered in cold blood after being sabotaged by another leading shinobi amidst peace negotiation talks. Nagato wasn’t shown to be too strong emotionally since his debut. Yahiko was the pillar of support and the lifeline for the other two. His death resulted in a complete emotional breakdown and psychosis for the redhead, who had then turned his hatred on the whole bitter loss towards the shinobi world once more.

This all resulted in the birth of Pain as we know him. The Rinnegan-possessing cold and calculated leader of the Akatsuki. Behind the face of it all is actually Nagato Uzumaki with his vendetta against the corrupt Shinobi world.

Pain Yahiko was the product of Nagato’s Rinnegan powers and vengeful mindset put at work; rods of chakra-receiving nature planted strategically into the dead body of his dear friend in attempts to keep him and his memory alive. Konan appeared to be more of an accomplice in the matter as opposed to the chief schemer.

Looking more specifically at Pain, his design scheme is an interesting one; largely bearing Yahiko’s appearance with a few major alterations. Chakra-receiving piercings are imbedded all over his visage and body giving him a slight punk-type design. The most notable of all his accessories however is the chakra-harnessing necklace which is worn at all times.