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Naruto Character Review: Orochimaru

Updated on May 14, 2012

Orochimaru was one of the Legendary Sanin of the Hidden Leaf. He is also one of the most evil people in the Naruto world, and the main villain throughout Part I of the series, and some of Part II. Orochimaru was one of the most powerful ninjas in the world, and it's a shame that we never really get to see him battle more throughout the series, because he really is incredible. He is a seeker of knowledge, he wants to know every jutsu. He pretty much starts creating his own army.

History

Orochimaru grew up in the Hidden Leaf village, and was lucky enough to land himself on a team that had Hiruzen Sarutobi as their mentor, at the young age of 6 years old. Hiruzen Sarutobi lead a team with Orochimaru, Tsunade, and Jiraiya. He used the "bell test" in order to see if they were ready to become genin, the same bell test that would later be used by Kakashi for Team 7. These three later became known as the Legendary Sanin, a title they earned from a fight with Hanzo. Even as a youth, Orochimaru was considered a genius, "a prodigy that comes along once in a generation" as Hiruzen called him.

During the Second Great Ninja War Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Orochimaru fought Hanzo, and as a reward for surviving the battle and giving them their names, Hanzo named them the Legendary Sanin of the Hidden Leaf. On their way home from the war, the three run into three children from the Hidden Rain who had been orphaned. Orochimaru offered to kill them to put them out of their misery. These three children were Konan, Yahiko, and Nagato who grew up to be the founding members, and leaders of the Akatsuki. Ironically an organization that Orochimaru ended up joining. There was never any mention to whether or not he, or they knew, of the connection.

After the Second Great Ninja World, and Team Hiruzen broken up, Orochimaru became a member ANBU in the Root Division, working directly under Danzo. As a member of Root he came across a young orphan named Kabuto, whom he said had incredible skill in medical ninjutsu. They later re-encountered each other, 5 years down the road. Orochimaru tells him about Roots plan to have Kabuto and Nono, whom he was working with to heal Hidden Leaf ninja, kill each other. Orochimaru brings Kabuto to his hide out, convinces Kabuto to join him, and gives him a new background story. From then on out, Kabuto worked with Orochimaru, helping him with experiments, and spying for him. Kabuto's medical ninjutsu provided handy for Orochimaru frequently during his transition periods later on.

Apparently, Orochimaru had been twisted since his parents death when he was younger. He was at their grave, one day, when he saw a white snake Hiruzen told him that they represented good luck and rebirth. It possessed him and he became obsessed with snakes. He started studying and learning all techniques, even the Forbidden Jutsus.

Forbidden Summoning: Impure World ReIncarnation
Forbidden Summoning: Impure World ReIncarnation

When Hiruzen became Third Hokage, he had hoped that Orochimaru would later follow in his legacy and become the Fourth Hokage. While Orochimaru did aspire to become the Fourth Hokage one day, he also aspired for other things. He his obsession with jutsu's and power soon corrupted him. Hiruzen said that being Hokage was about protecting the people you love, which as Hokage is supposed to be the whole village. Orochimaru's passion was power, and that's the only reason he wanted to become Hokage. Orochimaru ended up being a mentor to Anko, teaching her ninjutsu, when he left the Hidden Leaf he took her with him. Hiruzen hoped that over time Orochimaru would realize the error of my ways, and become a good person and Hokage. When, after time went by, Hiruzen realized that would never happen, he named Minato Namikaze as Fourth Hokage, and his replacement.

Once Hiruzen named Minato as Fourth Hokage, Orochimaru realized saying in the Hidden Leaf was a waste of time, and there was nothing left to be gained by staying. While he had been in Konoha (The Hidden Leaf) he had been capturing some of his fellow Hidden Leaf ninja, and was using them in his experiments. He was trying to develop a technique that would grant him immortality. Becoming immortal was the only way that Orochimaru would be able to learn all the techniques in the world, because it would take more than one lifetime. Eventually, though, Hiruzen and Konoha were able to link the missing shinobi to Orochimaru. Hiruzen knew that it was his duty to kill Orochimaru, because he was the one who had helped him to become so strong, and mentored him. When it came down to it, though, he wasn't able to kill his former pupil. Before Orochimaru defected from Konoha, he kidnapped 60 children and injected them with the First Hokage's DNA. Orochimaru had hopes he could recreate the First Hokage's Wood Style. Orochimaru had to leave Konoha before he found out whether or not it worked in any of his test subjects. He assumed none of the subjects survived, but in fact one did, Yamato. Danzo had Orochimaru perform the same experiment on him so he could master Wood Style. Orochimaru also experimented on Danzo in order to put multiple Sharingan eyes on his arm.

Danzo's weird arm...freaks me out every time I see it
Danzo's weird arm...freaks me out every time I see it

When Orochimaru left Konoha he joined the rogue group of ninja, the Akatsuki. After joining the Akatsuki, Jiraiya pleaded with Orochimaru to reconsider his choice, but it was a lost cause. When in the Akatsuki, Orochimaru was paired up with Sasori. Sasori and Orochimaru had great respect for each other and worked extremely well together, doing many "good deeds" together. After Orochimaru defected from the Akatsuki, Sasori developed a grudge against his former teammate, so sent his brainwashed spy, Kabuto, to gather information from Orochimaru. Yup, that Kabuto, from earlier. Orochimaru ends up UNbrainwashing (I'm a writer it's a word!) Kabuto and he becomes Orochimaru's right hand man. Right around the time that Sasori and Orochimaru started working together, Itachi had just finished slaughtering the Uchiha

We wear masks because Orochimaru took off our faces in the last experiment...
We wear masks because Orochimaru took off our faces in the last experiment...

Orochimaru then did what anyone who defected from their village and the Akatsuki would do, started his own freakin' village! Man he's awesome....Orochimaru started the Hidden Sound Village under the guise that it was a place for ninja to find purpose outside of war between the Five Great Nations, which was really just a cover up for his experiments on ninja. In fact, the Hideouts that Orochimaru used didn't stay inside the Land of the Sound, they span all over the world. Sound ninja are a pretty diverse group, using a wide range of techniques, which usually focus on strengths from the experiments Orochimaru performed on them. Later, Orochimaru would use Sound Ninja in his plans to obtain Sasuke Uchiha. He was also searching the world for the Sword of Totsuka around the same time he founded the Hidden Sound village, unaware that it was in possession of Itachi's Susanoo. Zetsu made the remark that Orochimaru searched for it, but could never find it. Ironically, it's what ended up killing him in the end, but we'll get to that.


Orochimaru in Part I

We first meet Orochimaru in Part I, during the Chunin Exams. Orochimaru's plan was to destroy the Hidden Leaf, and also to convince Sasuke to join him so that he could later possess his Sharingan eyes. He comes up with the plan to invade Konoha during the Chunin Exams, but has to enlist the help of the Hidden Sand Village, too. Orochimaru would later kill the Fourth Kazekage and impersonate him, in order to make his plans go much smoother. In the second round of the Chunin Exams, Orochimaru kills a team of Hidden Grass ninja and impersonates one of the members of the team in order to enter the Forest of Death. He ends up getting into confrontation with Sakura, Sasuke and Naruto. During the fight he seals Naruto Nine-Tails chakra, and brands Sasuke with the Curse Seal of Heaven. Later he sends a team of Genin, Team Dosu, to kill Sasuke, which secretly was just his way of testing Sasuke's abilities, knowing Team Dosu would fail. Orochimaru poses as their leader in the preliminary rounds of the Chunin Exams, to see how Yoroi Akado, does against Sasuke in the first rounds. Orochimaru hopes that Yoroi's chakra absorbing technique, mixed with Sasuke's emotional state witll release the curse mark. Instead, Sasuke is able to suppress the seal and still win his match using a Taijutsu combination he had just learned from watching Rock Lee's match. This shocked Orochimaru and only poured fuel on the fire of desire he had to steal Sasuke. Kakashi took Sasuke off to seal the curse mark on Sasuke, when Orochimaru confronted Kakashi. Orochimaru made no attempts to hide the fact that he was jealous of Kakashi's Sharingan, and told Kakashi that despite his best efforts Sasuke will end up coming to him to seek power.

The next time we see Orochimaru is during the final round of the Chunin Exams. He has disguised himself as the Fourth Kazekage so that he can sit next to the Third Hokage (he really wanted an autograph). When the invasion of the Hidden Leaf began it gave Orochimaru the perfect opportunity to put up a barrier in order to trap his former mentor, Hiruzen, and keep out other Konoha ninja. In his old age, Hiruzen was no match for Orochimaru. Especially due to the fact that Orochimaru used his Impure World Reincarnation jutsu to summon the First and Second Hokage to battle The Third. Hiruzen decided the only way to win the battle was to take Orochimaru down with him. He used the Dead Demon Consuming Seal, which would seal away both The Third Hokage and Orochimaru's souls together in death. Unfortunately, Hiruzen wasn't strong enough to completely seal Orochimaru and had to settle for just sealing his arms. Sealing his arms meant that Orochimaru could no longer perform jutsu (seems like Orochimaru has this problem a lot....) and Hiruzen considered this victory enough. With his plans foiled, Orochimaru was forced to retreat from the Hidden Leaf Village. After this, the Hidden Sand broke ties with Orochimaru, finding out that he had killed the Fourth Kazekage.

After his battle with Hiruzen, Orochimaru's arms begin to rot and wither away, which caused him extreme pain. Even as powerful as he was, he knew he wouldn't be able to endure the pain for very long. He knew he'd have to turn to the worlds best medical-ninja, who also happened to be his former teammate, and Legendary Sanin, Tsunade. When Orochimaru tracked Tsunade down he offered her a deal, in exchange for healing his arms he would use his forbidden jutsu to bring back her dead brother, Nawaki, and her dead lover, Dan Kato. He gave her time to think about it, and when they met again it seemed as though Tsunade was going to go through with it. As it turns out, though, she had actually planned on killing Orochimaru instead of healing him. A slip that Kabuto caught at the last moment, stepping in to save his Lord. Orochimaru told Tsunade he was disappointed in her, saying he would have gone through with his part of the bargain. Kabuto then attacked Tsunade in an attempt to capture her, so they could force her to save Orochimaru's arms. Fortunately for Tsunade, Jiraiya and Naruto arrived to help make the save. Jiraiya and Orochimaru face off, but Jiraiya had been drugged by Tsunade earlier, and Orochimaru couldn't use his arms to perform seals. It wasn't as epic a battle as it could have been, but it was still pretty great. While those two were battling, Kabuto faced off against Naruto and Tsunade. Naruto managed to defeat Kabuto, and Orochimaru seeing this decided to step in and tried to kill Naruto, worrying that his Nine-Tailed Fox might become a problem in the future. Tsunade, having made the decision to become The Fifth Hokage, stepped in to save Naruto. With this Tsunade and Jiraiya faced off together against Orochimaru. The battle was intense, with Tsunade and Jiraiya mostly in control. The three Legendary Sanin all summoned their most powerful summons, Orochimaru's being Manda, a giant purple snake (Orochimaru had Kabuto do his summon for him). With the inability to use any jutsu's Orochimaru ended up losing the battle, but was able to make his retreat. Orochimaru knew he couldn't put it off any longer, he needed a new host body.

Orochimaru's rotted arms
Orochimaru's rotted arms

Orochimaru had hoped he could wait longer, until Sasuke was older and had developed more as a ninja, but with his arms in the condition they were in he had no choice. He sent his Sound Four to retrieve Sasuke from Konoha. Orochimaru waited as long as he could, but there were too many delays in Sasuke's arrival. Orochimaru was forced to use another body, the body of Gen'yumaru, one of Orochimaru's prisoners who had won a fight to the death against a group of other prisoners. Orochimaru and Kabuto had briefly discussed Kimimaro as a host, how if he had not been terminally ill he would have made the perfect host. However, after Kimimaru died in battle against Rock Lee and Gaara, Orochimaru stated that he didn't care about him and was now fixated on Sasuke Uchiha.

When Sasuke arrived, Orochimaru had already taken his new host. Orochimaru decided to start training Sasuke right away, in order to make him as strong as possible. Orochimaru wanted to turn Sasuke into the perfect host for himself. Orochimaru was excited by the power and amount of chakra displayed by Sasuke when he arrived. He would spend the next few years training Sasuke, turning him into an incredibly powerful ninja.

Orochimaru in Part II

Two and a half years later, Orochimaru had turned Sasuke into one nightmare of a ninja. Konoha had gotten a tip from Sasori about when and where they could meet with a spy in Orochimaru's organization. When they arrive at the meeting, they find out the spy Sasori had working for Orochimaru was actually Orochimaru's right hand man, Kabuto. Kabuto meets with Yamato, who was in disguise as Sasori, when Orochimaru interrupts their meeting. Orochimaru informers who he thought was Sasori that he was able to undo Kabuto's brainwashing, and Kabuto was his ally of his own free will. Kabuto then attacks, breaking open the Sasori shell that Yamato was in. Orochimaru was a bit surprised, I think partly to see that his Wood Style experiments had been successful, he was more interest in Naruto. He told Naruto he was interesting in seeing if Naruto was as strong as "his Sasuke". This really set Naruto off; Naruto's rage was so intense that he immediately transformed into his Three-Tailed form. Even still, though, Orochimaru was able to allude Naruto, smiling, enjoying the battle, and generally basking in Naruto's rage. However, Naruto's rage soon grew, and he was taken to the next level, Four Tailed Kyuubi. Orochimaru could sense the difference in power and immediately took the battle more seriously. Naruto shot the Tailed Beast Ball of chakra at Orochimaru who was barely able to avoid the attack by summoning his Three Roshomon Gates to block the attack. Orochimaru then used his Kusanagi sword to push Naruto far away from himself, because his body was starting to break down and fail him.

Pin the tail on the snake
Pin the tail on the snake
True form
True form

With Naruto far enough away Orochimaru took the brief moment to recover himself, and in that time Sai approached him with an offer from Danzo. Sai, Kabuto, and Orochimaru retreated to the closest hideout. Eventually Naruto, Sakura and Yamato tracked down Sai to the hideout. Orochimaru confronted Sai and Naruto and questioned Sai's loyalties, but then fled before another fight could start. During the battle between Sasuke and Team Yamato, Orochimaru stopped Sasuke from killing them because he thought they could be useful and kill another Akatsuki member like Sasori.

With his body practically broken down, Orochimaru knew it was time to take Sasuke's body. He had to formulate a plan in which he could take Sasuke's body without him resisting and putting up a fight. However, before Orochimaru could come up with a plan, Sasuke attacked him. He said that after reconsidering, Orochimaru was unworthy of an Uchiha body. Sasuke attempts to kill him using his Chidori Spear, but only is able to stab him through the arm. Orochimaru reveals his true form, a large white snake, made up of a large number of smaller white snakes. He shows his true form so that he can start the body switch process. Before Orochimaru can get it underway, though, Sasuke cuts him in half. Sasuke quickly realizes that the blood that's vaporizing in the air is a poison. Orochimaru successfully begins the body-switching. Sasuke manages to not only stop the process like his brother Itachi did years before, he manged to reverse it's powers. Sasuke absorbed Orochimaru and with it, some of his abilities and strength. Unfortunately, Sasuke had to use a portion of his chakra at all times to suppress Orochimaru from gaining control of him.

Orochimaru re-emerges from Sasuke during his battle with Itachi. When Itachi fought Sasuke he made sure that his little brother had to use all of his chakra during the battle, so that Orochimaru would be able to free himself. Orochimaru appeared from the mouth of the large snake from his Eight Branches technique. He was thrilled that he was finally going to be able to take control of Sasuke's body. Right as he admits his excitement he is stabbed through his body by Itachi's Susanoo. Orochimaru still overjoyed to be free states that it will take more than that to kill him. However, after saying that he notices something is wrong, he had been stabbed by the Totsuka sword that he had spent many years looking for. The sword sealed Orochimaru away forever, and removed the curse mark from Sasuke's shoulder.

The End
The End

My Opinion of Orochimaru

I have, or had, a good deal of respect for Orochimaru. He is an interesting character because he is that "pure evil" type of villain. The type of villain that is so evil he doesn't even think what he's doing is that evil, because he's just twisted. I actually really like that word a lot for Orochimaru, twisted. It's so appropriate that they made him a snake, and gave him such a strong bond with snakes, because they really match his personality. I actually wish we had gotten to see Orochimaru fight a bit more, because he was SO gifted. There was an incredible amount of hype around Orochimaru. We never really get to see him battle when he is at his peak, which as a fan saddens me. We really only see him fight when he didn't have arms, or when his host body was about to fail. The one fight against Hiruzen that we seem Orochimaru fight was amazing, and I wish it had been longer, but that's just me being selfish. He was a great villain, but as I heard someone say, there is a reason he's not THE villain of the Naruto series. He was great, but I never saw him as the one true "bad guy" of the saga. I see it more in Kabuto, which I never thought I'd say, and Tobi. I think the reason I say that is, because we didn't see him fight as his peak, and because there was that air of mystery to him, when he would arrive on the seen I wouldn't think to myself "oh s***, you guys need to run!" In reality they should because he'll kill you with zero hesitation. That said when say, Pein, would arrive on seen I would have that "Run away!" feeling. That said I do love Orochimaru and felt he was a brilliant villain for Part I and the beginning of Part II. I would normally list abilities after a character summary/review but that would be an entire article in itself, the list goes on for days. A lot. Lets just say that. Orochimaru Abilities: A lot.

Who would you like me to review next?

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    • profile image

      Mello 3 years ago

      Cool... Kisame FTW I want to know more about him. Also because of he's history with Zabuza holy shit those two together would've been a hell of a fight tbh. C

    • profile image

      Mello 3 years ago

      Cool... Kisame FTW I want to know more about him. Also because of he's history with Zabuza holy shit those two together would've been a hell of a fight tbh. C

    • profile image

      popoy 4 years ago

      This is an awesome information man! now we get to know orochimaru even better..I'd like to suggest the hokages background :) 1st, 2nd and 4th hokages.

      thanks

    • Radikum profile image

      Radikum 5 years ago from Maryland

      I totally agree with you on Orochimaru being a fascinating character; but, I will say that early on in the series, after learning about his family being killed, I kind of sympathized with his wanting to resurrect and/or immortalize people theme. The more the series went on, the more that theme or motivation became more sinister and lacking in heart. Anyway, he was an amazing character whose actions have made the series very interesting and my personal favorite.

    • Nightmarephantom profile image
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      Nightmarephantom 5 years ago from Columbia, MD

      Thanks Eric! I want to save Kakashi for at least one more hub, I don't like doing two "big" characters back to back. Always feel free to suggest characters you see and I'll try to bump them up on the "to-do" list =)

    • eric-carter profile image

      eric-carter 5 years ago from Fulham, UK

      I voted Kisame but it was not an easy pick between him and Sasori, and another thing didn't see Hatake Kakashi's name anywhere :( Great hubs mate, I'm hooked