|Anime||Naruto Episode #27|
|Novel||Naruto Jinraiden: The Day the Wolf Howled|
|Movie||Naruto Shippūden the Movie: Bonds|
|Game||Naruto: Ninja Council|
|OVA||Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival!|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Novel, Game, Movie|
|Academy Grad. Age||6|
Orochimaru (大蛇丸, Orochimaru) is a major antagonist of the series during Part I and a secondary antagonist during Part II. Recognised as one of the most powerful ninja Konohagakure ever produced and one of the "Three Legendary Shinobi" (伝説の三忍, Densetsu no Sannin), he operated as an ANBU shinobi within the Root faction prior to his defection from the village in pursuit of his own self-serving ambitions. Initially sealed away during the battle between Sasuke and Itachi Uchiha by the latter, he was later revived by the former using his own genetic material that was within his subordinate Kabuto Yakushi and the portion of consciousness he left within Anko Mitarashi's Cursed Seal of Heaven.
Orochimaru was an orphan who became a pupil of Hiruzen Sarutobi alongside Jiraiya and Tsunade. Compared to the more laid back Jiraiya, Orochimaru stood out as a prodigy — his talents, knowledge, and determination were considered by Hiruzen to be that of a prodigy seen once in a generation. According to Tsunade, Orochimaru had a twisted personality even as a child. His sadistic attitude was presumably due to the death of his parents. At some point after losing them, Orochimaru found a white snake near his parents' grave, with Hiruzen explaining that it represents fortune and rebirth inspiring Orochimaru to study kinjutsu and obtain knowledge of all techniques. Jiraiya theorised that Orochimaru went down this path in an attempt to forget his painful memories.
During the Second Shinobi World War, Orochimaru joined Jiraiya and Tsunade in fighting Hanzō, who gave them the title of Konoha's "Three Legendary Shinobi" (伝説の三忍, Densetsu no Sannin) as a reward for surviving their battle with him, while the rest of their group were easily slaughtered in the process. On their way back to Konoha, they encountered three Amegakure orphans, with Orochimaru proposing a mercy killing before Jiraiya chose to train them instead.
Some time after Team Hiruzen was disbanded, Orochimaru became an ANBU member and joined Root to work directly under Danzō Shimura, while also becoming a mentor to Anko Mitarashi. It was during that time that Orochimaru met Kabuto Yakushi while accompanying Danzō in forcing the boy's guardian Nonō into a mission. While Orochimaru's ambitions did include becoming the Fourth Hokage, he intended to use the title for his own agenda. Though Hiruzen knew the potential evil his former pupil had in him, he hoped to stir Orochimaru from the path before slowly realising that he was beyond anyone's help.
Orochimaru was later sent on a mission by Danzō to Iwagakure to ensure that both Kabuto and Nonō, the former having joined Root as a spy, killed each other as they had become major risks. Orochimaru, instead, spirited Kabuto to his hideout, what would become part of his personal hidden village, Otogakure, and revealed Root's intent for Kabuto's life and the role he was to play in it. Though Orochimaru revealed that he was also sent to kill the one who survived this ordeal, he told Kabuto that he saw a bit of himself in the boy and decided killing him would be a waste of great talent. Therefore, Orochimaru offered Kabuto a position as his right hand and spy with the promise of an identity.
With Kabuto's assistance, he performed various experiments on his prisoners, some being fellow Konoha shinobi he kidnapped. He uses them as human guinea pigs to develop techniques that would grant him immortality, the end result being Living Corpse Reincarnation. Some time later, Orochimaru was at the outskirts of Kirigakure as he found Kimimaro, the sole survivor of the Kaguya Clan. Soon after, thanks in part to Kimimaro, Orochimaru's research on the source of Jūgo's powers led to him to find the Ryūchi Cave and master senjutsu. Unable to enter Sage Mode because of the fragility of his host body, Orochimaru instead developed an alternate method of harnessing his senjutsu chakra through cursed seals, which he tested on Anko and several others before eventually using the finalised versions on Kimimaro and the Sound Four.
When Hiruzen finally retired and named Minato Namikaze his successor, Orochimaru saw no more reason to remain in Konoha and began to be less discreet with his actions. This led to his experimentation on the cultivation of Hashirama Senju's DNA with sixty children he kidnapped to recreate the First's Wood Release techniques, having already done so with Danzō, while also endowing the elder with multiple Sharingan. However, as his test subjects began to die off, Orochimaru was caught red-handed by Hiruzen, who knew it was his duty to kill him yet lacked the will to do so. Leaving Konoha and his emotionally broken mentor, with Jiraiya's pleas for him to reconsider falling on deaf ears, Orochimaru was unaware that only Yamato had survived his experiment.
Orochimaru soon joined the elite criminal organisation Akatsuki, his role in which was unclear, although he was partnered with Sasori, whom he did much good for the Akatsuki with. However, when Itachi Uchiha joined Akatsuki after conducting the Uchiha clan massacre, Orochimaru saw his opportunity to steal his body to gain possession of the Sharingan. Itachi used his Sharingan to stop him from doing so, while also cutting Orchimaru's left hand off to prevent him from breaking the genjutsu he was under, which lead to him leaving Akatsuki to acquire a new body. For Orochimaru's defection, Sasori developed a grudge against him and used Kabuto, whom Orochimaru had sent to serve as his spy within Akatsuki, to counter spy as his sleeper agent. However, Orochimaru discovered and undid the technique Sasori had used on him. Orochimaru had also been on a life-long search for the Totsuka Sword, an ethereal sword, but was unaware that it was in the possession of Itachi's Susanoo.
Orochimaru was often described as twisted by a large number of people, including Tsunade. Jiraiya speculated that this was due to the fact that both of his parents died when he was at a very young age, along with his horror for Tsunade losing Nawaki and later shedding tears when she lost Dan, imply that Orochimaru grew to disdain the fragility of human life and how it affected those still living, which lead him to desire immortality. To that end, the primary purpose of Orochimaru's human experimentation is to test what modifications the human body can endure and harness a subject's unique abilities for himself. Once accomplishing this goal, Orochimaru had hoped to be worthy of the title of "ultimate being", unable to die and able to achieve his secondary goal to learn every ninja technique in the world, which would normally take many lifetimes to obtain.
According to Sasuke, becoming cruel with any good he had as a member of Team Hiruzen gone, Orochimaru's agenda made him develop a god complex and valued himself while delighting in striking terror in his first impressions. Though causing conflict to ease his boredom, Orochimaru seems to have no interest in wars started by others. His charisma also attracts a number of followers, many of which he would not hesitate to send on potential suicide missions if for his own personal benefit, expressing some remorse if they're unable to properly complete a task, having no sentimental attachments to any of them despite their values. However, as shown in the anime, Orochimaru can callously discard those whom he becomes bored with despite having commissioned for them personally, such as the underwater ninja project and Guren's Crystal Release.
Taking Sasuke as an apprentice, seeing him as a prodigy like himself, Orochimaru intended to take the youth's body to obtain the Sharingan to reach another step in his goal of immortality and learning every technique in the world. This goal has developed to the point of obsession. However, despite knowing that Sasuke was willing to do anything for revenge, including sacrificing his own body, Orochimaru did anticipate treachery from his disciple and showed only a small level of surprise when it actually occurred. Orochimaru also had an initial disdain toward Naruto Uzumaki, believing him to be a poor excuse for a ninja until he defeated Kabuto with the Rasengan. Despite attempting to kill Naruto at the time after coming to the realisation that he would become a threat to him in the future, Orochimaru became interested in Naruto's development, provoking Naruto during their battle to see his full abilities at the time. Though coming to hate his home village, orchestrating a few attempts to destroy it, Orochimaru despised his former Akatsuki colleagues more. Throughout Part II, if Orochimaru was not busy with Sasuke's development, he would try to cripple the Akatsuki's operations, seen in the "Sai and Sasuke Arc" as well as the "Three-Tails Arc". He expresses delight over the death of Sasori and later convinced Sasuke from killing Team Kakashi so they would thin out the Akatsuki membership.
An aspect of Orochimaru's personality is also his greatest weakness: his arrogance. He truly believed he is an invincible immortal at times, attacking recklessly against powerful opponents such as his former teacher and Itachi Uchiha. Both times he was left crippled in some way since he either wanted to make his opponent suffer, like against Hiruzen, or because he was too uninformed to face his opponent, like against Itachi.
Originally, Orochimaru appeared as an extremely pale-skinned human with waist-length black hair. He had amber eyes with slits in his pupils and purple markings around his eyes — a reference to his snake-like nature. Although he has taken on new bodies repeatedly, he has modified them each to resemble his original form, minus the height differences. Though he seems to be able to change at least his face back and forth between his own and the host's — such as when he battled the Third Hokage.
Orochimaru is sometimes seen sporting different attires. He usually wears plain grey garbs with black pants and a thick purple rope belt tied in a large knot behind his back and blue tomoe-shaped earrings. He is seen wearing a black polo neck under it. As a young child, he wore long white robes with purple lining embroidered with black or yellow tomoe markings, tied with a purple ribbon forming a bow in the front, as well as white leggings and black open-toed shoes, and mesh top with a purple lining under it. In various flashbacks, he is also seen wearing the Oto ninja uniform and forhead protector, as well as the Konoha ninja uniform. During his time in Konoha, his casual wear usually consisted of a dark kimono shirt with violet lining over a mesh shirt, bandages that he uses as a sash, dark pants, and armour around his hips. On his left hand, he has an intricate tattoo that he uses to summon snakes.
On one occasion, in which he proposed the request for Tsunade to heal his arms, he was seen wearing long purple robes with a loose pink vest, as well as a off-grey kimono with a polo neck in Zaku's flashback. During his time with the Akatsuki, he wore the standard red and black Akatsuki robes. In his room, he is sometimes seen wearing a mahogany shirt with a design of two white snakes on the back of the sleeves to the back on both sides, as well as black pants.
After countless experiments with his body, his true form became a giant snake ("The Great White Serpent") made up of a multitude of smaller snakes, with long and spiky black hair, a scaled face with snake-like teeth and a long tongue, black eye markings, and a pointed chin.
Being one of the Sannin, as well as a former member of the S-rank criminal organisation Akatsuki, Orochimaru is an extraordinarily powerful ninja, being Kage-level in his own right. He was also considered as a child prodigy that appeared only once a generation. His skills were so great that during the time of his invasion of Konoha, the Third Hokage feared no one in the village would be able to defeat him or even fight on equal footing with him, even himself, and that Orochimaru was supposedly strong enough to take down a small nation on his own. Even Kakashi, one of Konoha's greatest shinobi, was filled with tremendous fear when he met him during the Chūnin Exams, and himself admitted that he wouldn't even stand a chance against his power. Sasuke Uchiha and Suigetsu Hōzuki also stated that the former's victory over Orochimaru was only because the latter was already severely weakened prior to their confrontation.
He was able to hold his own against a four-tailed Naruto in Part II while his body was in a weakened state, and despite the danger Naruto imposed, he found the battle highly entertaining, even playing with Naruto's initial three forms. Even then, when his body gave in, he expressed regret that he couldn't complete the battle. Even among the Sannin, he was the one who originally stood out for individual ability. Due to him rarely being shown fighting, he has only displayed a limited amount of techniques, although it stands to reason that in his efforts to learn all existing techniques, his array of abilities has probably become larger than any other single person and that he has vast knowledge on all forms of techniques. His fighting style is very fluid and he is nearly invulnerable to most conventional techniques, even being bisected was unable to slow him down. He even survived a direct punch from Tsunade's monstrous superhuman strength, which was only able to damage the skin that made up his face mask. He also has immense strength in the anime, as when he was walking to Tanzaku Quarters, he was immensely frustrated by the pain he was in and used only a kick to knock down a tree.
From his childhood days, Orochimaru was identified as a genius shinobi and a once-in-a-generation prodigy. During his lifetime, his associations with powerful shinobi and groups, such as his tutoring by the Third Hokage and his stints with both the Root and Akatsuki organisations, as well as his later solo exploits into gaining knowledge, allowed him to develop and gain access to vast amounts of information.
Orochimaru is a master planner and manipulator. For years, he evaded capture from both Konoha and the Akatsuki, all the while setting up a network of fully supplied hideouts throughout various countries. He was also able to manipulate the entire village of Sunagakure into invading Konoha, by posing as the Fourth Kazekage without anyone noticing, having killed the real one weeks before the invasion. He was capable of manipulating multiple people into becoming his willing pawns and guinea pigs for his experiments, using a combination of manipulation, insight into a victim's past and the promise of power to gain their loyalty. The greatest examples of this are Kabuto and Kimimaro, who idolised the Sannin and showed nothing but absolute loyalty and respect for him. He even developed a fail-safe in case he was ever killed or sealed in the form of his cursed seals. At some point in time, Orochimaru and Kabuto learned that Tobi was not the real Madara Uchiha, although it would ultimately be Kabuto who would use this knowledge to his full advantage.
Due to his desire to obtain all known ninja techniques, Orochimaru developed extensive research work throughout his years, performing experiments on multiple individuals and on himself to comprehend their abilities or develop new ones. Such examples include him discovering the workings of Jūgo's clan's abilities and his subsequent development of the cursed seal, the modifications done to his own body, the extensive research done to Hashirama Senju's Wood Release and infusing these powers on Danzō Shimura, among many others. This wealth of research has proven to have devastating effects long after Orochimaru's sealing, as seen through Kabuto's performances during the Fourth Shinobi World War. Due to this research, he is easily capable of deducing the workings of an enemy's techniques and fighting style. As a researcher, Orochimaru is also a very skilled teacher, being capable of recognising a person's potential and bring it out in relatively short amounts of time. The greatest example of this is his training of Sasuke, where in little more than two years he was able to develop the young Uchiha's abilities to the point where he was capable of going toe-to-toe against several high-level shinobi.
Wishing to obtain all of the techniques in the world, Orochimaru has a vast arsenal of techniques at his disposal, ranging from simple offensive ones, which nonetheless become deadly when performed by him, to higher ranking, more complicated ones. In the anime, of the few techniques he was seen using is the Earth Release Shadow Clone, which creates a copy of himself out of mud that can attack on his behalf. He is also able to use Wind Release: Great Breakthrough, through which he can level a wide area with a powerful gust of wind. In terms of defensive techniques, Orochimaru uses both Summoning: Rashōmon and Summoning: Triple Rashōmon, in which he summons a varying number of large demonic gates that are capable of enduring even the most intense forms of damage. If need be, he can also place a Five Elements Seal on an opponent, sealing off their access to chakra and thus, rendering them useless in battle. Orochimaru can also use a technique to merge with a surface to avoid damage, and another to temporarily paralyse an opponent.
Orochimaru is one of the three people capable of performing Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation, which allows him to reincarnate the dead. The technique was developed but left incomplete by the Second Hokage, and Orochimaru himself completed the technique. To perform the technique, Orochimaru must sacrifice a living human so that the soul of the deceased person can be tied to the living world. The sacrificed body is then surrounded with dirt and dust that compacts into the shape of the summoned soul's original body. Although the reincarnated retain their original memories and personalities, thus leaving them out of the control of Orochimaru. However, he can suppress their free wills with his own special seal to force them to do his bidding. The bodies of the resurrected are also able to regenerate any wound, meaning the only way to truly defeat them is to remove the soul within them.
Orochimaru is also very adept with transformation, as he was able to view Sasuke's battle with Yoroi Akadō during the Chūnin Exams without any suspicion. He was also able to pose as the Fourth Kazekage for weeks, fooling the entire village of Sunagakure, including its elite shinobi and the ones closest to the dead Kazekage.
In his quest to gain immortality, Orochimaru has made a number of modifications to his body, resulting in his natural form taking on the appearance of a giant, white snake composed of many smaller snakes. The snakes that compose Orochimaru's body can extend themselves to strike and bind targets, and if Orochimaru is sliced to pieces, the body simply can reform, making him very difficult to kill. Additionally, the blood that is released by killing the snakes is poisonous, evaporating into the air and paralysing anyone who has breathed it in, something that makes long lasting fights against him a bad choice.
The primary use of the form is with his Living Corpse Reincarnation, which allows him to transfer his soul to another body and extend his life indefinitely. To use this technique, Orochimaru leaves his former body, revealing his true form. Once he has done this, he swallows the new body and transports its current inhabitant to a dimension within himself where he absorbs them, thus allowing him to take over their body. Orochimaru can only perform this technique once every three years, which is also around the time that his new body begins to reject him and forces him to find a new host. Although he might leave their bodies behind, the souls of those whose bodies he has taken always remain within Orochimaru's subconscious. After taking over another body, Orochimaru modifies it to suit his theme of snakes, in order to increase his survival capabilities. These modifications include stretching and bending the body and reconnecting the body in case of bisection. Orochimaru is also able to shed his body and recreate himself, which can be used to heal injuries. Thus, even if Orochimaru is unable to transfer bodies, he can easily heal and evade attacks, rendering him virtually immortal. Orochimaru also alters the face of his host bodies to look like his original form.
Orochimaru's last method of immortality are the cursed seals he developed. In addition to his senjutsu chakra, each cursed seal contains a portion of Orochimaru's consciousness, which allows him to share the senses of those who bear his seals. In the event that he is killed or sealed, he can be revived through one of his cursed seals if an individual presses flesh containing his DNA up to the cursed seal and uses the Evil Releasing Method. Through this process, Orochimaru can be completely resurrected any number of times, as long as there are enough remaining cursed seals and pieces of his DNA.
Orochimaru's trademark trait is his affinity with snakes that, in addition to impacting the appearance and composition of his true form, and granting him the ability to extend his limbs to abnormal lengths and to take on snake-like traits in battle, caused him to learn a number of snake-related abilities, including learning Sage Mode. His snake-related techniques have been referred to as Power of the White Snake. One such ability is being able to summon giant snakes to fight alongside him in battle, made possible by the summoning contract tattooed on his arm. His signature summon was Manda, a colossal snake which was described as the largest in the world, with immense fighting capabilities. With Hidden Shadow Snake Hands, Orochimaru can instantly call forth snakes from his sleeves and mouth to attack opponents in large numbers with poisonous bites. A stronger variation of this technique was the Many Hidden Shadow Snake Hands, in which the summoned snakes grow noticeably in both numbers and size.
Another usage of snakes comes in the form of his signature weapon, the Sword of Kusanagi, the Kusanagi of Japanese legend. The sword, kept within the mouth of a snake within his own throat, is able to extend to great lengths to attack enemies that are very far away, can be controlled remotely by Orochimaru, and can return to him by turning in a snake. Although he is capable of wielding the sword normally with great proficiency, it's not uncommon for him to use it without ever removing it from his mouth. The sword is stated to be able to cut through almost anything, and despite failing to penetrate four-tailed Naruto's chakra shroud, did push him back an incredible length. In the anime, he is also capable of having numerous Kusanagi-like blades sprout from the mouths of the snakes he summons.
His strongest technique is the Eight Branches Technique, which allows him to transform into an eight-headed, eight-tailed giant serpent bigger than the already colossal Manda, another reference to the Japanese myth. This was described as the ultimate snake-related technique, which turned the user into an immensely powerful "Dragon God".
During his research on Jūgo's clan, Orochimaru eventually tracked down the source of their power when he discovered the Ryūchi Cave and senjutsu. It is assumed that here he was trained by the White Snake Sage in senjutsu and attempted to learn how to use Sage Mode. However he was unable to use this power to its full potential due to being unable to find a host body that could bear such ability, making it an unsuitable option for battle altogether. However he does have enough knowledge to both release another person's Sage Mode and absorb the senjutsu chakra inside them as seen with Kabuto.
To compensate for this flaw, Orochimaru developed other novel uses for his senjutsu chakra: the cursed seals. Combining this chakra with the enzyme produced by Jūgo, he was able to create these unique seals, which triggered a change near-identical to that of the Sage Transformation, but with different benefits and drawbacks. The senjutsu chakra locked in these seals is naturally quite powerful as Kabuto was amazed at a portion of Orochimaru's chakra he absorbed from Anko, even after he assimilated the collective DNA of team Taka, the Sound Five and of Orochimaru himself. These seals also carried the additional benefit of acting as anchors to Orochimaru's consciousness, allowing him to observe events through anyone branded by the seal and even revive him any number of times under the right circumstances.
Chūnin Exam Arc
For a while, since leaving Konoha, Orochimaru left his hometown alone until the chance to destroy it presented itself. The opportunity presented itself when he forms a partnership with the Fourth Kazekage of Sunagakure, who desired Konoha's destruction, planning their invasion during the Chūnin Exams. Orochimaru also used the invasion as an opportunity to test Sasuke Uchiha, Itachi's younger brother, if he can be of use as a vessel. During the second part of the Chūnin Exams, Orochimaru murdered a team of Kusagakure genin to impersonate its leader Shiore and infiltrate the Forest of Death. During a resulting confrontation with Team 7, expressing pride in Sasuke's abilities after he managed to partially burn off his disguise, Orochimaru sealed Naruto's Nine-Tailed Demon Fox chakra before branding his intended target with his Cursed Seal of Heaven. As he sends Team Dosu as sacrificial lambs to test Sasuke, having Kabuto accompany Team 7 to witness Sasuke use the curse seal's power, Orochimaru is confronted by Anko as he tells her that the Konoha will continue the exams under threat of his retaliation.
During the preliminary rounds of the Chūnin Exams, Orochimaru disguised himself as the leader of his genin team to watch Sasuke's performance against Yoroi Akadō and more obsessive upon seeing him suppress the Cursed Seal with sheer will. After Kakashi was able to seal away the mark on Sasuke, Orochimaru confronted him. He made no attempt to hide his envy of Kakashi's Sharingan, and noted before leaving that Sasuke will eventually come to him seeking power.
Invasion of Konoha Arc
Eventually, on the day of the final round matches, with all attack preparations complete, Orochimaru murdered the Fourth Kazekage and assumed his identity to sit next to Hiruzen to oversee the proceedings. However, the invasion of Konoha began, Orochimaru makes his move to kill his former master. Having the Sound Four discard the guises of the Kazekage's bodyguards, Orochimaru has them erect a barrier to hold the other Konoha ninja back to prevent any interference. Having regretting letting Orochimaru escape years earlier, Hiruzen agrees to battle his former pupil. Exhilarated that he could finally fight his former teacher, Orochimaru used Impure World Reincarnation to summon Hashirama Senju and his brother Tobirama to have the first two Hokage to attack their successor. During the fight, Orochimaru reveals to Hiruzen the fruits of his labour from mastering Living Corpse Reincarnation with the host body he took after his brush-in with Itachi and his intention to make Sasuke into his next host.
Horrified on how far Orochimaru has truly went, with both his age and the regenerative abilities of the two first Hokage placing him in a grand disadvantage, Hiruzen resolves to stop Orochimaru with the Dead Demon Consuming Seal, sealing away the souls of the two Hokage prior to going after Orochimaru himself. Not wishing to join the three Hokages' souls in being trapped within the Reaper's stomach, Orochimaru stabbed Hiruzen through the back of his chest with his Sword of Kusanagi before the weakened Hiruzen resolves to only seal the part of Orochimaru's soul within his arms. Cursing the dying Hiruzen for robbing him of his use of ninjutsu, Orochimaru is carried off by the Sound Four with the invasion halted. Afterwards, Sunagakure broke ties with Orochimaru upon discovering the corpse of the Fourth Kazekage.
Search for Tsunade Arc
After barely being able to stand the pain from his rotting arms, Orochimaru plans to have his condition healed by appealing Tsunade with the offer to reincarnate her Nawaki and Dan to win her cooperation. However, though she seemed to agreed, Tsunade had actually intended to kill him to ensure he never attacks Konoha again. Kabuto intervened before she could do so, intending to force her to help before Jiraiya, Shizune and Naruto soon arrived to her aid. While Orochimaru and Jiraiya (having earlier been drugged by Tsunade and thus unable to properly perform techniques) faced off, Kabuto battled Naruto before being defeated. Seeing this and seeing a potential threat, Orochimaru resolves to kill Naruto before Tsunade teams up with Jiraiya to face their former teammate. Despite summoning Manda, managing to hide his condition from the giant serpent as he fights Gamabunta, Orochimaru is forced to give up healing his arms and just take a new host body.
Sasuke Retrieval Arc
Even though he had hoped to wait for Sasuke to grow older, Orochimaru sent his Sound Four to retrieve and bring Sasuke to him. He held out for as long as he could, anticipating Sasuke's arrival, but the pain in his arms became too unbearable so he is given no choice but to take the body of Gen'yūmaru, whom Kabuto had prepared earlier. After agreeing to release Gen'yūmaru's clansmen in return for his sacrifice, Orochimaru proceeds to use Living Corpse Reincarnation on Gen'yūmaru.
While still waiting for Sasuke, bandaged up within his new host with Kabuto by his side, Orochimaru comments that either Jirōbō or Kidōmaru would be slowing down the group, but expressed doubts about Sakon's strength, which Kabuto brings up, stating Tayuya was just as strong, and Kimimaro, lamenting that the latter's illness made it impossible to have him as a perfect vessel as originally intended. But with Kimimaro's death, Orochimaru stated that he no longer cared about his previous protégé and instead commented his desire for Sasuke. As he is stuck in Gen'yūmaru's body for the next three years, Orochimaru decided to start training Sasuke once he finally arrived, hoping to shape him into the ideal host, while being highly impressed and excited by the chakra that Sasuke revealed to retaliate against Kabuto's warning for being rude.
Pre-Shippūden Filler Arcs
Orochimaru's background is expanded upon in the anime, delving into parts of his past not addressed in the manga.
In the Land of Rice Fields Arc, he was shown to have recruited some of the members of the Fūma clan to become Otogakure ninja, by promising to restore them to their former glory. Later, Arashi disguised himself as Orochimaru, killed his fellow clansmen to gain power before being killed himself.
In the Land of the Sea Arc, Orochimaru's time with Anko Mitarashi is expanded upon. It is also revealed during his time in Konoha, he secretly built many experiment facilities in many countries, including Land of the Sea and gather many human guineapigs over ten years. Orochimaru, Anko, and nine others came to the Land of the Sea, where he branded them with cursed seals. When Anko was the only one to survive, he arrived at the ten percent survival rate of the process. However, Anko lacked the personality to properly utilise its power, and as such proved to not be very useful to Orochimaru. Although she believed he had abandoned her, she remembered during the arc that she chose to leave him. During this arc, he is also shown to have previously had an interest in creating an army capable of breathing and operating underwater. Realising it would take too much time on his own, Orochimaru contracted with a rogue scientist named Amachi, and began experimenting on the country's citizens, notably Isaribi. He eventually lost interest in the program and demanded it be discontinued, but Amachi continued regardless.
Sasuke and Sai Arc
Two and a half years later, Yamato-led Team Kakashi, hoping to find Sasuke, learned of an opportunity from a dying Sasori that he was meeting with his spy, Kabuto. Posing as Sasori within his Hiruko puppet, the group's temporary leader Yamato meets with Kabuto while the others watch. However, Orochimaru arrives as Kabuto destroys the Hiruko, Orochimaru clarifying to a confused Kabuto that Sasori never came as the rest of Team Kakashi reveal themselves to fight the two ninja. Although he was surprised to see Yamato has survived his experiments involving Hashirama's DNA, Orochimaru was more interested to see if Naruto has become as strong as "his Sasuke". As Naruto assumes his three-tailed form in response, Orochimaru is able to elude Naruto, finding the battle extremely enjoyable while provoking Naruto further.
It was only after Naruto submitted to Kurama's influence and entered his mindless four-tailed form, Orochimaru took the fight more seriously due to both Naruto now able to kill him and his host body beginning to reject him after he used his Kusanagi to force Naruto. While he briefly recuperated, Orochimaru was approached by Sai, who made an offer on behalf of Danzō to work together in destroying Konoha. Intrigued, Orochimaru and Kabuto took him back to their base. Later, after the rest of Team Kakashi arrived at the lair and Sai teamed up with them, Orochimaru confronted Sai and Naruto to question Sai about his loyalties. He fled before he could be drawn into another fight, and later kept Sasuke from killing the team, noting that they might kill another Akatsuki member like they had done with Sasori.
Main article: Three-Tails Arc In the anime, sensing that the time was close approaching to change vessels, Orochimaru sent Kabuto to find Guren, so that she could help with preparations for the process. During this time, Orochimaru was also experimenting on a child named Yūkimaru, with unusual powers. Orochimaru eventually decided it was time to test Sasuke's abilities, and watched in awe as he defeated an army of ninja, without killing any, and without receiving a scratch. As Sasuke walked off, Orochimaru admitted that while he used to be recognised as a genius, Sasuke's powers far surpassed his own when he was Sasuke's age.
Noticing that Guren was watching, he offered her another chance to prove herself worthy as Orochimaru's next vessel, to which she was delighted. Orochimaru teamed her up with Yūkimaru, noting that their two abilities should work well together. Later, it was revealed that Orochimaru also chose Guren because he knew she would eventually grow attached to Yūkimaru, which he appeared to have a use for. He ordered Kabuto to be ready to eliminate her should she betray him.
Later, after receiving word that the Konoha shinobi were complicating things, Orochimaru decided he might have to intervene personally. Later, after Yūkimaru lost his abilities and Guren supposedly died, Kabuto reported back to his master about the failed operation. Orochimaru dismissed it as nothing more than a minor setback, saying once he had Sasuke's body, it wouldn't make any difference.
Itachi Pursuit Arc
On the verge of being rejected by his current body, Orochimaru contemplated how best to take Sasuke's body. Also, in the anime only, he and Kabuto recapped all the events that led to Sasuke defecting, and how much he had improved since. Before he could formulate his plan, Sasuke attacks him, having decided that Orochimaru was unworthy of having an Uchiha's body, and tries to kill him with Chidori Sharp Spear, but only succeeds in piercing his arm. Orochimaru proceeded to reveal his true body, a large white snake made of a multitude of smaller snakes, in order to initiate the body-switch process.
Sasuke however cuts up Orochimaru's large snake body, only to realise that the vaporising blood is turning into a poison and Orochimaru successfully starts the body-switch process. Sasuke however stops the process like Itachi had done years earlier, but took it a step further by turning the switch against Orochimaru, absorbing him into his own body. Sasuke gained access to some of Orochimaru's abilities, but at the same time had to dedicate some of his chakra to suppressing Orochimaru.
During his battle with Itachi, Sasuke ran out of chakra, and Orochimaru was able to emerge through his signature Eight Branches Technique. He marvelled at the fact that he would finally have the chance to take Sasuke's body, but was immediately pierced through by Itachi's Susanoo. At first Orochimaru boasted that it would take more than that to kill him, but he suddenly realised something was wrong and that he was pierced by the Totsuka Sword that he himself had been searching for. Orochimaru was then sealed away by Itachi's Susanoo, as well as removing the cursed seal from Sasuke. A single white snake escaped from Susanoo, but was later killed by Amaterasu's black flames.
Shinobi World War Arc
Following Kabuto's defeat, and his reunion with Suigetsu Hōzuki and Jūgo, Sasuke learns of the scroll they found at one of Orochimaru's hideouts and resolves to revive him for answers following what he learned from Itachi. Sasuke succeeds in reviving Orochimaru by pulling his consciousness out of Anko's cursed seal and transferring it into the physical form Jūgo provided by absorbing some of Kabuto's flesh. Despite Suigetsu's fears of his next action as he reclaims the rest of his chakra that Kabuto took from him, Orochimaru explains that he is neither interested in Tobi's war nor strong enough to even attempt to take Sasuke's body if he wanted to. However, Orochimaru, noting the change in his former student, does agree to take Sasuke to one who has the answers he wants.
Arriving in Konohagakure, Orochimaru and the others sense Naruto's chakra from a great distance away. Noting that Sasuke was annoyed by this, Orochimaru pressed on with the group at the young man's behest.
Orochimaru apparently kept tabs on the organisation as Kabuto was knowledgeable about Zetsu, and Tobi's plot to revive the Ten-Tails. Even while removed from reality by Itachi, being an extensive researcher, his notes left behind were still coveted as vast stores of knowledge to those who come across it, as seen when one of his hidden rooms is found by Suigetsu and Jūgo, the former of which finds information he believes can impact the war.
In his absence, Kabuto used Orochimaru's remains from his battle with Sasuke to integrate his master's DNA into himself to surpass him. Having also assimilated the DNA of Sakon and Ukon to acquire their abilities, Kabuto uses the twins' Attack of the Twin Demons to produce a construct of Orochimaru that transforms into his White Snake form and lunges at an opponent. However, Orochimaru lived on, in a sense of the word, through his former student Anko Mitarashi, one of the last living people to possess a cursed seal. Knowing the nature of the seal to contain parts of Orochimaru's consciousness, Sasuke revived Orochimaru by transferring a portion of Orochimaru's DNA which was retrieved from Kabuto's modified body into Anko's Cursed Seal of Heaven.
Naruto Shippūden 2: Bonds
Orochimaru made a small appearance along with Kabuto. Feeling that his time was running out before he had to transfer his soul again, but fearing that the repeated use of his techniques was starting to be too taxing, he ordered Sasuke to retrieve a man named Shinnō, who had developed his own immortality technique. In the end, Sasuke failed to get the man, but did retrieve the scroll containing the technique's information. Orochimaru noticed that Sasuke's demeanour seemed shaken from the mission.
Orochimaru is a playable character in the following video games:
Creation and Conception
As one of the villains in the story, Kishimoto created Orochimaru as an antithesis to the protagonists' values. His snake-like appearance and related features were intended to make it easier for the reader to recognise that he is a villain. In an interview, Kishimoto asserted that making the villains "flamboyant" was one of his "guiding principles", and attributed this to his desire to have the villains possess a "powerful aura".
Following this theme of distinguishing villains, Kishimoto attempted to make Orochimaru's face appear "pasty and sickly," which serves to emphasise the "scary looks" that Kishimoto frequently has Orochimaru performing in the manga. As these occurrences are his "trademark", Kishimoto modifies Orochimaru's appearance and the scene to focus on Orochimaru's face; for instance, highlights that are normally added to Orochimaru's hair are removed and the background is blanked out to create a "creepy atmosphere".
- Orochi means "Great Snake" and Maru is a common suffix in male names.
- Orochimaru borrows heavily from Japanese myth and literature:
- Literature — Orochimaru's name, as well as those of Jiraiya and Tsunade, come from the "The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya" (児雷也豪傑物語, Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari). The Orochimaru in that story was originally a student of Jiraiya's called Yashagorō, until he was corrupted by snake magic and took on the name Orochimaru.
- Myth — Yamata-no-Orochi (八岐大蛇, Eight-forked Giant Snake), a giant eight-tailed, eight-headed snake killed with the Totsuka Sword by the god Susanoo-no-Mikoto, who found the Kusanagi Sword in one of its tails. This mirrors almost exactly how Itachi Uchiha using Totsuka Sword wielding Susanoo sealed Orochimaru, while in his Yamata form, and wielding the Kusanagi Sword kept inside of him.
- In the English VIZ translation of chapter 49, Orochimaru introduces himself to Sasuke as "Orochimaru, the Giant Snake". This was not present in the original version.
- The symbolism of Orochimaru's snake affiliation can be also tied to how many cultures, Eastern and Western, perceived snakes as symbols of immortality and rebirth via the shedding of their skin.
- Orochimaru shares his blood type with his former team-mates, Jiraiya and Tsunade.
- After the preliminaries conclude, he is never shown again wearing an Otogakure headband.
- According to the databook(s):
- Orochimaru's hobby is creating techniques.
- Orochimaru wishes to fight those with techniques that can be used in the future.
- Orochimaru's favourite food are eggs, while his least favourites are anything cold.
- During his time as a Konoha-nin, Orochimaru has completed 1,468 official missions in total: 16 D-rank, 332 C-rank, 521 B-rank, 491 A-rank, 108 S-rank.
- Orochimaru's favourite words are "destroy" (破壊, hakkai) and "chaos" (混沌, konton).
- Orochimaru appears in the anime adaptation of Rock Lee no Seishun Full-Power Ninden as the comedic main antagonist. Like the main series, he plans to destroy Konoha, but after his début, he aims more at seeking revenge on Team Guy for foiling his plans.
- (To Kabuto) "You just don't have enough information to explain yourself yet. Your glasses, your name, being someone's child is not something that can show who really you are. But that is fine. If you're not happy on what you have now… you can just find new things to find up. …You see, I also want to find who I really am. That's why I'm collecting a bit of everything."
- (To Hiruzen) "I want to obtain all the techniques and gain a true understanding of everything in this world. The first one to mix blue and yellow called the new colour "green". I want to do something similar to that. If blue is the chakra, then yellow is the seal, and green is the technique… Just as there is no end to the variety of colours, there are so many thousands… tens of thousands of techniques in the world as well. But in order to obtain every possible technique and truth, it would require an eternity. Only one who understands everything after spending such time on this can be fittingly called the Ultimate Being."
- (To a young Kimimaro) "Maybe, just maybe, there is no purpose in life. But if you linger a while longer in this world, you might discover something of value in it, like how you discovered that flower. Or, how I discovered you one fateful night."
- (To Kabuto, talking about Tsunade) "The best medicines always taste bitter."
- (About Naruto) "This child… intrigues me to no end!"
- (About Sasuke) "When I watch this boy, I look back to the time I was called a genius, and think how ridiculous it was."
- (About Yūkimaru) "When there is a true desire in the heart and that desire is strong… That is when he finds real strength that even he did not know he had!"
- (Last words) "I refuse… to let this happen! I am Orochimaru! I am immortal! I will not die here! Destined to discover the true meaning behind everything! Destined to take control of everything in this world!!"