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Villain Overview
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.
~ Orochimaru to a young Kimimaro.
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 color "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 colors, 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.
~ Orochimaru reveals his ultimate goal to Hiruzen.

Orochimaru (in Japanese: 大蛇丸, Orochimaru) is one of the main characters in the Naruto franchise. He started off as the main antagonist in Part I of the manga and anime series Naruto, then later as a major antagonist in Part II of Naruto Shippuden. He is one of the three legendary Sannin of Konoha that trained under Hiruzen Sarutobi, alongside his former friends, Jiraiya and Tsunade.

Ever since the Second Shinobi World War, Orochimaru became fascinated with the idea of learning all jutsu around the world. In order to accomplish this goal, he began to conduct illegal experiments that involved experimenting with the corpse of deceased people, as a mean of cheating death. When his secrets were discovered, Orochimaru abandoned Konoha and was branded as both a criminal and a traitor.

Orochimaru would eventually return to Konoha and plot revenge against the village. Since then, his influence still affected the events leading to the Fourth Shinobi World War. By the end of Part II, Orochimaru saw how flawed his goals were and gave up his previous villainous ambitions.

He was voiced by Kujira in the Japanese version, and by Steven Blum in the English dubbed version, who had also voiced Zabuza Momochi in the English dubbed version.

Personality

Orochimaru's various human experiments take place so as to serve two purposes, most prominent of which is his desire to learn every jutsu in existence. Jiraiya speculates that this is due to the fact that his parents died when he was at a very young age, and flashbacks shown during his battle with the Third Hokage speak to this effect. Perhaps because he wanted to see his parents or as a means of avenging their deaths, he experiments on others to see what kind of modifications the human body can endure and to otherwise harness a subject's unique abilities for himself.

Another reason might be that he witnessed firsthand the deaths of Tsunade's younger brother Nawaki and her lover Dan, as well as the pain that it caused her. It is implied that Orochimaru was especially fond of Tsunade and her brother as he found it endearing how enthusiastic Nawaki was and was deeply disturbed when he saw Nawaki killed. He showed regret when he referred to Nawaki's mutilated body, although in the first part, he seemed more bitter than actually sad, reprimanding Tsunade for not being there to heal him, and retrieved the necklace that Tsunade had given Nawaki and returned it to her. When he witnessed the death of Tsunade's lover Dan and how much pain it caused her, Orochimaru was clearly distraught to the point of crying. Even at his worst, Orochimaru showed some level of affection for them, noting that he sincerely would have resurrected them for Tsunade if she would heal his hands and giving Tsunade chances to let him kill Naruto. He seemed saddened by the frailty of human life and how it affects those still living. It was this that steadily tore down his initial personality, as he was known for having initially been loyal to Konoha, fearlessly engaging in wars for his village and although he had already began researching, his experiments did not include human life and he used it to benefit Konoha. Also, he did seem to hold value over life, as shown by how he was genuinely horrified and concerned when Itachi boldly tried a challenging training session and was about to stop him. Once accomplishing this goal, Orochimaru hopes to be worthy and unimpeachable of the title of "ultimate being". Because a human's lifespan does not allow enough time to learn every jutsu, Orochimaru also experiments on others, so as to achieve immortality. By living throughout the ages, Orochimaru never needs to worry about death and thus all of the knowledge he gains will never be lost.

Above all else, Orochimaru cares only for himself. He grows bored when there is no conflict or violence in the world, and immediately strikes fear into others when they first meet him. Though he has a number of followers who would do anything for him, Orochimaru treats them as mere pawns. A master manipulator, he does not hesitate to send them to their deaths for his own personal benefit, and only finds remorse in their loss if they are unable to properly complete a task. To win over these followers to their disposable status, Orochimaru approaches them with promises of making their dreams, such as obtaining power, revenge, or a purpose to their lives, come true. He applies a cursed seal to many of his stronger subordinates in order to corrode their body and mind, making them more susceptible to his influence and control.

While he was greatly interested in Sasuke Uchiha as a prodigy, Orochimaru was contemptuous and disdainful towards Naruto Uzumaki, believing him to be a lost cause without any talent in ninjutsu arts. However, when Naruto injured Kabuto with his Rasengan (Improved with the use of Shadow Clones), Orochimaru thought Naruto would become a threat in the future and tried to kill him. After the time-skip, Orochimaru revealed he was now more interested in Naruto's development, despite the failed murder attempt against him, taunting and angering Naruto about Sasuke. He trained Sasuke so he could become stronger to kill his older brother, Itachi. But Orochimaru was actually planning to take over Sasuke's body, and as a result the Sharingan (in his possession) would skyrocket him towards his prime objective of learning all of the jutsu in the world. Because of that, he would help Sasuke in whatever he needed, with the knowledge he had to become his new vessel.

However, following his revival by Sasuke, Orochimaru lost interest in his previous goals and recognized how copying someone else was a mistake after his former assistant Kabuto had tried to copy him completely. He chose to observe Sasuke's participation in the Fourth Shinobi War, and as a result of his new change, Orochimaru made sure to heal Tsunade and the other Kage, and later assisted in healing Sasuke, after he was badly injured by Madara Uchiha. While he does not seem to feel regret for many of his actions still, he seems to feel a certain amount of remorse for what he did when it came to those who he cared for, showing sadness for the death of his childhood friend Jiraiya and also looking solemn as Naruto showed his memories of Jiraiya, which was what inspired him to join the Shinobi Alliance. Orochimaru also finally gained some respect for Naruto as he learned just how far he had come under Jiraiya and saw his indomitable will. He appeared to genuinely care for Sasuke, showing that with his previous single-minded belief of Sasuke as being merely his vessel eradicated, he had came to subconsciously be fond of his apprentice, as he looked solemn when Sasuke was near-death and appeared to be nearly proud of Sasuke's growth. Following the war, he is on amicable terms with Konoha and also sent his son Mitsuki there, despite the fact that they still keep him under observation due to his past misdeeds.

Powers and Abilities

OROCHIMARU

Orochimaru wielding the Sword of Kusanagi.

Being one of the Sannin, as well as a former member of Akatsuki, Orochimaru is an extraordinarily powerful and skilled ninja. Considered to hold easily Kage level abilities, Orochimaru is considered to have enough prowess to destroy an entire city of Ninja and Hiruzen admits that with his prowess deteriorated from old age, even he may not be able to stop him. Although Hiruzen ultimately managed to triumph, sealing away Orochimaru's ability to perform Ninjutsu and otherwise overpowering him in combat and even taking on him and the revived Hokages, it was only because of Hiruzen performing a suicidal jutsu and the forces of Konoha were left crippled by Orochimaru. Even while heavily weakened, he remained considerably powerful, able to take on Jiraiya while he too was handicapped and also battle Tsunade, although with Jiraiya he only bested him via surprise and Tsunade ultimately bested him. While mostly restored, he could go up against Naruto in his Fourth-Tail Form. Sasuke, despite his improved prowess, admits that had Orochimaru been at full power, he would have posed a difficult challenge and maybe even won when they fought.

Physical Prowess

Although he rarely uses Taijutsu, he has proven to be highly capable in hand-to-hand combat, able to easily take on and eventually pummel Sasuke despite his Sharingan. He overall prefers to wield his Sword of Kusanagi, with which he was able to battle Hiruzen wielding his Adamantine Staff but was inevitably beaten.

Ninjutsu

From his relentless pursuit of all techniques in the world, Orochimaru gained unprecedented knowledge and proficiency in Ninjutsu, with only the likes of his old mentor, Hashirama Senju and Madara Uchiha possibly being able to rival or even surpass him in the field. Wielding 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, Orochimaru's abilities ranged from using Medical Ninjutsu, creating Chakra Scalpels, 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 and Hiding in the Surface Technique, allowing him to quickly merge with a surface to avoid damage.

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 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.

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. 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. He also is able to summon the Sword of Kusanagi and it is capable of cutting through almost anything and he is also capable of having numerous Kusanagi-like blades sprout from the mouths of the snakes he summons.

Dragon God Orochimaru

Dragon God Orochimaru

Orochimaru's ultimate offensive technique was the Eight Branches Technique, an ability which allowed him to transform into a massive eight headed snake - causing him to transcend from a Snake to Dragon God, with him appearing inside the mouth of the primary snake head. Orochimaru's Dragon God form possessed the full power of reincarnation and its heads could unite to create his own variant of the Tailed Beast Ball; an extremely powerful beam which could break through the defenses of an armored Susanoo.

For a long time, Orochimaru searched for a way to make himself immortal. Due to the numerous modifications to his body, Orochimaru become a giant white snake composed of many smaller snakes with instantaneous regenerative abilities and poisonous blood that dissolved and when released into the air would paralyze anyone who breathed it in. This form became ideal when Orochimaru devised the Transference Ritual, consuming an ideal host and taking it to a subspace to transfer his soul into the new body.

White Snake Orochimaru (2)

Orochimaru in his true Great White Serpent form

Since this is his true body and is stronger than his host bodies, Orochimaru is capable of taking on Sage Mode in this form - resulting in his facial appearance changing - his skin becoming pinker, his hair turning brown, and his eyes altering to their Sage Mode appearance. 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.

Orochimaru new body

One of Orochimaru's hosts; Gen'yūmaru.

Once in a new body, modifying it function like his previous host, Orochimaru uses the Vanishing Facial Copy Jutsu to wear the face of his original body as a mask. Orochimaru also use this Jutsu to assume take the identities of others one he kills them. A side effect of the Transference Ritual is that the souls of the bodies Orochimaru took became a part of his overall subconscious, causing some of their traits to slightly affect the choices he makes.

Orochimaru also mastered the forbidden Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation Jutsu that was developed by the Second Hokage Tobirama Senju. For this process, Orochimaru needs only a genetic sample of the ninja he wishes to bring back to life and the body of a living ninja to be sacrificed as the reanimated ninja's vessel. From there, Orochimaru can bend the near indestructible reanimated ninja to his will. In Part I, Orochimaru displayed the ability to summon Hashirama Senju and Tobirama Senju (though both were weakened so that he could control them), Osoi, and Yota, in Part II he is able to summon Hiruzen Sarutobi and Minato Namikaze after undoing the Reaper Seal on them. He could also reincarnate the Third Kazekage to fight for him if he wished. After using his Transference Ritual on a White Zetsu, obtaining Hashirama's DNA as a result, Orochimaru's influence on reanimated ninja intensified (though Hashirama himself is immune to his control), this allowed Orochimaru to revive and control anyone at near their full power (other than Hashirama, and presumably Madara). In the story of the video game Naruto: Ultimate Ninja 2, Orochimaru also reincarnates Zabuza and Haku.

Orochimaru is one of the few to ever master all 5 Nature Transformations. His skill in Wind Release can create a powerful gust of wind and he is powerful enough with Fire Release to burn Naruto while he was augmented by Kyuubi. With Earth Release, he is able to create a copy of himself out of mud to fight for his behalf.

Orochimaru is also proficient in Genjutsu, capable of binding the likes of Sasuke and Sakura at once with ease despite their own resistance to it.

Senjutsu

Orochimaru learned Snake Sage Art from the White Snake Sage in Ryuuchi Cave but was unable to use it. However, by combining Sage Chakra with the enzyme provided by Jugo, he was able to create the Cursed seals and the increased power it grants. Having branded his Curse Marks on Anko, Sasuke, Kimimaro, Sakon and Ukon, Tayuya, Jirobo, Kidomaru, Orochimaru essentially gave them each a piece of his consciousness that would be used to recreate his physical form if destroyed or disposed of. Despite the limitation, he does have enough knowledge to both release another person's Sage Mode and absorb the senjutsu chakra inside them as seen with Kabuto.

List of vessels

  • Original body
  • Unknown former hosts - seen in Orochimaru's mind space.
  • Unknown female - the host used to attack Konohagure.
  • Gen'yūmaru - host used during three year time gap.
  • Kabuto Yakushi - partially taken over after Kabuto integrated some of his cells.
  • Sasuke Uchiha - briefly taken over.
  • White Zetsu clone - host during the Fourth Shinobi World War.

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Canon
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Orochimaru | Kabuto Yakushi | Dosu Kinuta | Zaku Abumi | Kin Tsuchi | Jirobo | Kidomaru | Sakon & Ukon | Tayuya | Kimimaro

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Sasuke Uchiha | Suigetsu Hōzuki | Jūgo | Karin

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