I think it can be assumed that the AL has to be someone important to the plot past and present. I doubt Kishimoto is just gonna pull some nameless shinobi out of his ass and then try to piece him into the plot, though anything can happen (that's for sure). Now to the point, the AL seems more like a kid demanding attention than someone who is respected. Hidan defies him for a brief moment which shows that Hidan isn't outright bitched by AL, he more or less has ulterior motives and I think that can be said for the whole lot of them if we look back: -Orochimaru: He obviously joined Akatsuki to get close to Itachi, to acquire him.. so to speak. -Itachi: He has a more mysterious attitude and I'll save him for later. -Kakuzu: He's obviously after the bounties and the money that he collects from them. Yes, he values the goal that Akatsuki is striving for, but again money is in his interest. It's possible that he's being paid by the AL or he's being promised power, which would ultimately lead into an easier acquirement of bounties. Either way it looks like he's a money whore. -Tobi: He seems to be just a puppet, he seems like a one-trac mind. I mean, who goes around saying in third person, "Tobi's a good boy". Ultimately he strikes me as just a tool, not knowing what he's getting into or just blindly obedient. And if infact he was Obito, not saying he is at all, this would be a plaudible explanation for brain damage, although he should be dead by all means. -Zetsu: There's not enough knowledge on this character, but he sure loves eating corpses... -Sasori: We'll probably never know why Sasori joined Akatsuki, though there could be an infinite amount of reasons for this, which I'm really not going to delve in. -Blue hair girl: nothing is known of her. Now I'm not saying that the AL has no power or strength. The way this character acts just strikes me odd, At the end of the chapter he states that Hidan and Kakuzu always cause trouble in a joking matter. It's like the guy is just the source of the prizes that every member is promised, and thus he's truly not respected to the degree that these guys bow to his every whim out of sheer fear cause if that were the case Hidan wouldn't have defied his order s in the first place. Now some of you are saying ok thats great, but he still bitched Itachi, that could be the place (again I'm not trying to impose my beliefs on you), but I disagree. Now I doubt you remember what I said at the beginning of this thread so I'll reiterate: I doubt the AL is some random nin that had no impact on the past. And what I'm really trying to say is that he is Uchiha Madara. Before you start cursing me out, saying there's no proof.. blah blah, let me say that Kishimoto pretty much gave away that Madara would play some part in the future. Back when Kyuubi's chakra was supressed by Sasuke, Kyuubi brings up Madara or better yet, Kishimoto brings up Madara. To me this seems like Kishimoto is trying to link Madara to the AL without being totally random, in essense this encounter was just an introduction. Now you may be saying, where are you going with this? Well, if we assume that Madara is the AL, we can also identify why Itachi would join a random organization. Itachi states himself that only another Uchiha with the same eye could kill him and that there was one already floating about and another that could be (Sasuke). Knowing this, why would Itachi take orders from anybody... knowing that they cannot defeat him? It just doesn't make sense at all. To me it seems that Itachi is just after power, the power that the AL has... and the full power of the Uchiha bloodline limit. Hey, wait a second, you just said before that the AL has a kid-like behavior, and now you're saying that he's probably Madara, are you dissing arguably one of the most powerful characters in the Narutoverse? And aren't you contradicting yourself? No, I'm saying that the AL's position is more relaxed and he is indeed powerful. He doesn't assume absolute authority over the members and he leaves room for some disagreement, though he is quick to command. He's basically the father of the group, everyone knows if there good... they'll get something in return. ...Damn that's long. Agree or disagree?