Orochimaru (大蛇丸, Orochimaru) is one of Konohagakure's legendary Sannin. With a life-ambition to learn all of the world's secrets, Orochimaru seeks immortality so that he might live all of the lives necessary to accomplish his task. He defected from Konoha rather than be persecuted for his ambitions, and for many years sought the village's destruction in order to take revenge and demonstrate what he has learned. After several apparent deaths in the pursuit of his goals, Orochimaru realises his approach is flawed through Kabuto Yakushi and begins monitoring the choices and actions of his former associate, Sasuke Uchiha.
- 1 Background
- 2 Personality
- 3 Appearance
- 4 Abilities
- 5 Part I
- 6 Part II
- 7 Influence
- 8 Trivia
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 genius — 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's explanation of it representing 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. In the anime, Orochimaru orchestrated the last known rampage of the Eight-Tails in Kumogakure by infiltrating the village while disguised as a Kumo-nin and posing as Fukai's doctor in order to trick him into taking special genjutsu inducing pills, allowing him to extract the tailed beast. After its rampage, Orochimaru obtained the severed horn of the Eight-Tails and harvested Fukai's DNA from it.
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. When Hiruzen finally 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 Hashirama Senju's DNA with sixty children he kidnapped to recreate the First's Wood Release, having help from Danzō. Believing it to be a failure, Orochimaru was unaware that one child had survived his Wood Release experiment. He later refined the process enough to inject Hashirama's cells into Danzō's arm, while also endowing the elder with multiple Sharingan.
Orochimaru performed various experiments on his prisoners, some being fellow Konoha shinobi he kidnapped. He used 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 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. In the anime, Orochimaru found the Iburi Clan living underground near Kohoha. Taking an interest in their ability to become smoke, Orochimaru took advantage of the clan's fear of their imperfect and potentially fatal transformation by partially stabilising it with his cursed seals. Telling them that he needed more research to perfect the process, the clan willingly gave Orochimaru test subjects. In the anime, Orochimaru witnessed Itachi Uchiha performing a training run normally meant for older and more experienced users due to the danger of it. After the young Uchiha flawlessly completed it, Orochimaru instantly became amazed and excited at Itachi's advanced growth rate.
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 liabilities. Orochimaru instead spirited Kabuto to his hideout, which 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.
As his test subjects began to die off, Orochimaru was caught red-handed by Hiruzen. Though he knew it was his duty, Hiruzen lacked the will to kill his student, allowing him to escape. In the anime, during his escape, Orochimaru was found by Kakashi Hatake. Despite the young prodigy's best efforts, Orochimaru swiftly defeated him. Letting his guard down at the approach of a snake, Orochimaru was greatly injured by an explosive tag concealed in the snake's mouth. Cursing Hiruzen for ruining his plans, though greatly injured, Orochimaru quickly regained his composure. He then resumed his retreat from the country, leaving a terrified Kakashi frozen in place from his malicious glare alone. Seriously wounded, Orochimaru visited the cave where the Iburi clan lived and killed them all, trying to restore his power. Upon the arrival of the youngest member, Yukimi, Orochimaru pursued her while being chased by Kakashi Hatake and Kinoe. Eventually, he managed to take a sample of Yukimi's blood, intending to inject it into himself to temporarily gain her ability and slip across the border, but he was attacked before he could do so and quickly escaped. Orochimaru managed to destroy most of his research facilities and booby-trap the rest.
Orochimaru ultimately escaped Konoha, leaving his emotionally broken mentor, with Jiraiya's plea for him to reconsider falling on deaf ears. Orochimaru soon joined the elite criminal organisation Akatsuki, his role in which was unclear, although he was partnered with Sasori, with whom he did much good for the organisation. 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 Orochimaru'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 possesses a complex personality, however more often than not he was 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 led 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. Despite this, Orochimaru has genuine interest in the development of his underlings and experiments.
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. What truly surprised Orochimaru was Sasuke's decision to follow his own path and ultimately choosing defend the village he initially swore to destroy, one that Orochimaru openly approved and curious to see what the end result it.
He 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 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. Despite his distinct lack of morals, Orochimaru seems to be well-versed in psychological warfare and displays insightful wisdom when disparaging Tobirama for the actions resulting from his policies.
After being revived by Sasuke, his personality changed a bit. While he still wished that he could gain Sasuke's body, he acknowledged that he was too weak at the time. He also realised that copying someone completely was a mistake from his observation of Kabuto and displayed interest in Sasuke's "different path". Later, he felt sentimental over his failed candidacy for being Hokage, though this may be because he was in front of his master and the Fourth. Wanting to see Sasuke's path, he chose to fight alongside the Uchiha instead of ignoring Madara's war like he planned, and even made it a priority to heal Tsunade and the other Kage after their defeat before hurrying to the battlefield. Orochimaru also shows a sick sense of humour at the time, from using the memory of Sasuke stabbing him to convince Karin to aid the youth again to his comical method of threatening her and Suigetsu into cooperating to heal Tsunade. Orochimaru has also shown signs of regret, seemingly saddened by his childhood friend Jiraiya's death. Orochimaru does also seem to genuinely care about Sasuke's well being, as he originally thought it was best to take his time figuring out how to battle Guruguru but quickly decided against taking his time when Karin sensed Sasuke was on the verge of death.
Originally, Orochimaru was a tall man with extremely pale skin and waist-length black hair. He had a long face with pronounced cheekbones, golden 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. He apparently used his Vanishing Facial Copy Technique on his original body so he can wear it over his hosts' faces as a mask.
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 forehead 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. On few occasions, for instance in Kimimaro's childhood flashbacks, Orochimaru is also seen wearing a pale yellowish furisode-style kimono, with a black polo neck underneath tied with a dark brown sash, and flat dark-coloured zōri sandals.
During his time with the Akatsuki, he wore the standard red and black Akatsuki robes. Orochimaru wore his slate blue Akatsuki ring, which bears the kanji for "sky" or "void" (空, kū), on his left little finger. 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.
After being resurrected by Sasuke, Orochimaru has returned to his taller and seemingly original height before taking Gen'yūmaru's body. He also donned a black cloak and hood somewhere between his rebirth and arriving to Konoha.
Being one of the legendary 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. Even among the Sannin, he was the one who originally stood out for individual ability. He was 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 strong enough to take down an entire small nation on his own. Even Kakashi Hatake, 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 level of 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. Due to him rarely being shown fighting, he has only displayed a limited amount of techniques, though his fighting style is very fluid and 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.
During his battle against the Third Hokage, his arms were sealed by the latter, preventing Orochimaru from forming hand signs and effectively stripping him of most of his technique arsenal. Despite this, he remained a formidable opponent, still able to hold his own against both Jiraiya (albeit greatly weakened by poison) and Tsunade simultaneously. In Part II with his hands physically restored, he was able to toy with Naruto in his three-tailed form while his body was greatly weakened. Even with the danger Naruto later imposed in his four-tailed form, Orochimaru could still battle evenly against Naruto and found great entertainment from the transformed Naruto's considerable power, later even expressed regret that he couldn't complete the battle as his body finally began to give in. After acquiring the mask of the Shinigami, he was able to break the seal on his arms, regaining his former strength, which has later showed able to calmly fight back the Ten-Tails in its final form.
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. Even at a young age, he was able to utilise his former master's signature Shuriken Shadow Clone Technique. Orochimaru also exhibited mastery with the Transformation Technique, as he was able to view Sasuke's battle with Yoroi Akadō during the Chūnin Exams, undetected. 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. After Orochimaru took over a White Zetsu spore clone, Orochimaru gained access to the clone's ability to change its appearance. He is also capable of utilising medical ninjutsu and when conducting experiments, he would make use of the chakra scalpel.
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. Orochimaru can also use a technique to avoid damage, and another to temporarily paralyse an opponent.
Orochimaru, being skilled and diverse in elemental ninjutsu, has shown capable of utilising at least two nature transformations; both wind and earth. With the Wind Release: Great Breakthrough he could level an entire forest with a powerful gust of wind. In the anime, one of the other few elemental techniques he was seen using is the Earth Release Shadow Clone, which could create copy of himself out of mud that can attack on his behalf.
After taking possession of a Zetsu clone's body, Orochimaru acquired Hashirama Senju's cells along with the latter's Wood Release kekkei genkai and the other half of its composite natures, the Water Release nature transformation.
Orochimaru's trademark trait is his affinity with snakes, 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. This allows him to summon snakes within his vicinity, as opposed to having to place his hand on a surface. If need be, Orochimaru can morph into a giant snake, despite being slightly smaller in size to his larger summonings. 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 his opponents in large numbers with venomous 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".
Although downplayed for much of the series, Orochimaru is also very skilled in the use of fūinjutsu, even in the midst of battle. Most notably, he has been seen using the Five Elements Seal, to seal off another's access to chakra and thus, rendering them useless. Using this technique, Orochimaru was not only able land a seal on an enraged Naruto, but also completely subdue the Nine-Tails' chakra. In the anime, he was shown capable of using its counterpart, the Five Elements Unseal. His prowess with it was great enough to release the seal and extract a tailed beast from its jinchūriki. He can also apply his seals on targets to temporarily immobilise them.
Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation
Orochimaru is one of the three people capable of performing Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation, further perfecting the technique developed by the Second Hokage, Tobirama Senju. In his first shown use, he reincarnated both the technique's creator and Hashirama Senju to fight against his teacher, Hiruzen Sarutobi. Though Hiruzen sealed the part of his soul that represented his arms to bare him from using Impure World Reincarnation, Orochimaru used the Shinigami Mask during the Fourth Shinobi World War to spiritually restore himself and summoned all four Hokage at once. His prowess with this technique seems to have increased, seemingly from acquiring Kabuto's new knowledge of it, as Tobirama noted that the reincarnated Hokage were now nearly to their full power as opposed to his previous attempt.
Using Hashirama's cells, Orochimaru can strengthen his control over the reincarnated Hokage, as seen when he was able to completely immobilise Tobirama who was resisting control for a brief time, though he stated that Hashirama was still able to easily break Orochimaru's restraint.
Through the use of his "true form" is with his Living Corpse Reincarnation, Orochimaru can transfer his soul to another body and extend his life indefinitely. To use this technique, Orochimaru must leave his former body. 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. He can also alter the face and body of his host to take on his own original form.
Orochimaru's other 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.
During his research on Jūgo's clan, Orochimaru eventually tracked down the source of their power when he discovered the Ryūchi Cave and senjutsu. Here, he attempted to learn senjutsu as well as 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 an 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.
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 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.
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.
Over the years, Orochimaru has conducted various experiments on his own body, thus modifying it greatly. This in turn has granted him an exponential increase in his bodies physical durability, speed, strength, and survival capabilities. It is also because of these experiments, Orochimaru is completely invulnerable to conventional techniques. He has endured a flurry of punches from Tsunade's monstrous superhuman strength, a direct attack from Naruto's three-tailed state, and a direct hit from Sasuke's Dragon Fire Technique, all of which were able to only damage his face mask. Even being bisected by a four-tailed Naruto was unable to slow him down, as he simply reconnected himself. Other modifications include manipulating the shape of his body and shedding himself of it, to completely recreate and heal injuries. Thus, even if Orochimaru is unable to transfer bodies, he can easily heal and evade attacks, rendering him virtually immortal in battle. These abilities are otherwise known as, The Power of the White Snake.
In his quest to gain immortality, Orochimaru has made even more gruesome 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 can instantly 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.
In his quest to decipher all of the world's secrets, Orochimaru has preformed extensive research work throughout his years, conducting countless experiments on himself, other individuals, and has studied various relics, to further comprehend their abilities and develop new ones from them. 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 cells as well as integrating them into Danzō Shimura, amongst many other test subjects. Most notably, Orochimaru was able to rewrite Yamato's DNA to that of Hashirama's in the attempt to recreate his considerable powers. Although Yamato survived the procedure, he was a success among many failures. Kabuto once noted, that Orochimaru could even protect the cellular structure of his experiments, preventing anyone from gaining knowledge from them. In the anime it was revealed that even from a very small sample, Orochimaru could cultivate cells to recreate the origin, as shown with what he did with the horn of Gyūki. The horn itself not only grew to its original size, but also produced vast amounts of chakra, identical to the latter. Although later put into use by Kabuto, the extracted chakra was potent enough to create a pseudo-jinchūriki, with power equal to that of a true jinchūriki.
With his expertise in the medical field, Orochimaru was able to concoct a series of drugs with any desired effect, each designed to aid him in what ever he's doing. At one point in time, Orochimaru created genjutsu pills that were strong enough to subdue a jinchūriki and their tailed beast simultaneously. In another, Orochimaru created the Mind Awakening Pill, to help speed up the cursed seal's progression.
Orochimaru has been noted, on many occasions, to have extremely foul and powerful chakra. Upon releasing his chakra, it causes a dense effect on the atmosphere. When fighting his former sensei, Hiruzen Sarutobi, the sheer force of both individuals' releasing their chakra caused the building they were fighting upon to crack. Likewise, his chakra alone can incite fear into his foes, causing them to hallucinate or render them incapable of breathing. In addition, Orochimaru has shown considerable chakra control. During the three years his hands were sealed by Hiruzen, preventing Orochimaru from performing hand signs, the Sannin was still able to perform various less-complicated yet powerful techniques.
Orochimaru is skilled in taijutsu, able to effortlessly over-power Sasuke with his two-tomoe Sharingan. He also showed immense strength, 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. In another instance he was able to strike with enough force to destroy a large tree, despite being a distance away from it.He is also skilled in kenjutsu, able to use the Sword of Kusanagi to fend of the masterful staff-fighting skills of his former teacher in the Third Hokage. Much like Yoroi Akadō, he can quickly absorb chakra through hand contact, as shown when absorbed all of his chakra back from Kabuto instantly; using the chakra to strengthen himself. However, unlike Yoroi, Orochimaru is also able to absorb any information from the one whose chakra he's absorbing. He is also has adept skill in Space–Time Ninjutsu, having designed a technique to imprison a target's soul. He also possesses immense skills at subterfuge, escapism, espionage, and tracking, being able to track Kabuto Yakushi for years unnoticed by everyone all while he trained him to be a more powerful shinobi under his tutelage.
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. Prior to the commencement of 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. Using a snake summon to separates Naruto from Team 7, the disguised Orochimaru subjected Sasuke to his Killing Intent with the youth unable to fight due to the fear instilled into him. However, the fear subsided with Naruto's timely appearance and convincing Sasuke to muster his courage before Orochimaru interferes with the jinchūriki's seal while knocking him out for the duration of the fight. After being subjected to Sasuke's Dragon Fire Technique as it partially burned off his disguise, Orochimaru expresses pride in Sasuke's abilities before branding his target with his Cursed Seal of Heaven and taking his leave. 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 if they cancel it.
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 his new host. Though the act undid most of the damage caused by the Dead Demon Consuming Seal, it still left Orochimaru incapable of using techniques requiring hand seals.
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 in response to Kabuto's threat for not giving Orochimaru his respect.
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. In addition, 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 away. 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.
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
During his battle against Sasuke and Itachi, Kabuto creates a manifestation of Orochimaru in his true form. While the two brothers fend of the snake, Kabuto emerges from Orochimaru's mouth and bisects Itachi. Kabuto later creates the manifestation of Orochimaru again when attacking the brothers, but it is stopped by the Susanoo.
Ten-Tails Revival 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 modified 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. He lead them to the Uzumaki Clan's Mask Storage Temple to pick up a mask from the ruins, and then takes the group to the underground hall in the Naka Shrine. Orochimaru proceeded to don the mask which invoked the Shinigami to possess his body. Orochimaru then proceeded to cut open the Shinigami's stomach, a wound reflected on his own body, to release the trapped contents inside the Shinigami.
With his arms restored as well, Orochimaru performed the Impure World Reincarnation using four of the six White Zetsu clone spores that Jūgo activated from Sasuke's body. Ordering Suigetsu and Jūgo hold two of the Zetsu down, the remaining four Zetsu are used as the bodies for the reincarnation of the previous four Hokage. To escape death, Orochimaru transferred his being in the White Zetsu Suigetsu was holding down. Once the Hokage were reincarnated, revealing he researched the means to undo the Dead Demon Consuming Seal, Orochimaru explained that his reasons for bringing them back were for them to aid Sasuke by giving him the information he desired. When Orochimaru accused the Second Hokage of being the one to cause the coup d'etat to surface, he was rebuffed by the Hokage who later explained that he had tried to save the Uchiha from themselves. When Tobirama later declared that he was heading to the battlefield, Orochimaru's new vessel provided him with access to Hashirama's cells, allowing him to bind the Hokage. Noting that Hashirama had broke his control over him, Orochimaru is told by the First that he would first free Sasuke from the darkness which surrounded him. During this course of events, Sasuke had a flashback about a conversation he and Orochimaru had as they made their way to Konoha where Sasuke stated that he does not believe Orochimaru's reasons to destroy Konoha were on a whim.
After hearing Sasuke's decision to protect the village, Orochimaru announces that he will also help in the war effort against Madara. When Hiruzen asks him after why he changed his mind after all these years, Orochimaru explains that he made an error in judgement from watching Kabuto act in his stead and is now interested to see the result of Sasuke's "different path" of not letting those who sacrificed themselves for the village go to waste.
Later, Orochimaru arrived to the place where Tsunade and the other Kage were left severely wounded, alongside Suigetsu and Karin, commenting that Tsunade was in a rather bad shape. He broke up the arguing Karin and Suigetsu, and ordered them to help Katsuyu heal Tsunade. Later, Orochimaru, along with the five Kage, Suigetsu, and Karin, arrive at the battlefield, where the entire Allied Shinobi Forces are struggling against Obito Uchiha, who recently became the jinchūriki of the Ten-Tails. As Obito began the final stages of his and Madara's grand plan: "Infinite Tsukuyomi", Hashirama had Ino Yamanaka telepathically link everyone via the Mind Body Transmission Technique to inform everyone about the plan as well as try and rally the shinobi to continue fighting. While Hashirama's words fail to inspire them, Naruto's memories are conveyed to them via Ino's telepathy. The Sannin looked on solemnly as Naruto remembered the memorial he erected for Jiraiya.
As Sasuke had Jūgo transfer some of his natural energy into the Uchiha, who immediately channelled it into his complete Susanoo, Orochimaru watched on, greatly impressed at how far Sasuke has come and notes that he still had much room to grow.
Later, while asserting that he had no interest in the war, Orochimaru noted that Obito's plan would interfere with his experiments, he then decided to heed his former sensei's urgings and participate in the war. With his assistance, Hiruzen was able to destroy the Shinju's branches into pieces. As Naruto began his great tug-of-war against Obito, Orochimaru alongside Hiruzen watched on as the Shinju's flower halted its blooming.
Infinite Tsukuyomi Arc
After a momentary lull in the battle after Obito is defeated, the Allied Forces was attacked by Guruguru, who created an enormous wooden statue to assault them. Orochimaru teamed up with his former subordinates to effectively subdue their attacker in order to make a break for Sasuke's location. He was then impressed by Karin's ability to use the chakra chains and he was reminded of Kushina Uzumaki. As they raced towards where Karin last senses Sasuke, Orochimaru noticed that the young woman was expending herself. Contemplating the situation, he wondered solemnly if this was really the end for Sasuke.
Upon reaching Sasuke, they found Kabuto merging with Sasuke, seemingly to assimilate the Uchiha. When asking his former right-hand man why he came, Kabuto simply explained that his experience under the effects of Izanami made him rediscover his true identity as simply Kabuto Yakushi and acknowledged what he always sought was back at the Konoha orphanage. Wanting to make up for his mistakes, starting with healing Sasuke through his medical ninjutsu and instructions from Tobirama. Eventually, Kabuto succeeded in healing Sasuke, who quickly returned to his feet and was ready to resume the battle. Orochimaru was later caught in Madara's Infinite Tsykuyomi.
Orochimaru apparently kept tabs on Akatsuki, as Kabuto was knowledgeable about Zetsu, and Tobi's machination to revive the Ten-Tails. Even when removed from reality by Itachi, being an extensive researcher, the notes he left behind were still coveted as vast stores of knowledge to those fortunate enough to come across them, 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 in order to surpass him. Having also assimilated the DNA of Sakon and Ukon to procure 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, through cursed seals and Kabuto after the latter integrated Orochimaru's DNA into himself. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Studio Pierrot's Settei sheets of Orochimaru show that he was 153 cm when he was part of Hiruzen's genin team.
- 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.