Orochimaru is a former antagonist from the anime series Naruto. He is one of Konohagakure's legendary Sannin who was trained by the Third Hokage along with Tsunade and the late Jiraiya. Orochimaru realizes his approach is flawed through Kabuto Yakushi, his former associate, and begins monitoring the choices and actions of his former apprentice, Sasuke Uchiha. He is father of Mitsuki.
He is voiced by Kujira in the Japanese version, and by Steve Blum in the English Version.
In Naruto Spin-Off: Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals, he is voiced by Vic Mignogna in the English Version.
Orochimaru was once 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 only 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 Blue B'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 Blue B'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 realizing 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 the Sharingan-infused right arm of Shin Uchiha, which he transplanted to Danzō.
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, 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 Konoha. 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 stabilizing 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. In the anime, he also allied himself with Amachi out of interest for creating a shinobi capable of underwater combat, kidnapping Land of the Sea villagers for their experiments, while introducing Anko to the project. Sometime after, Orochimaru lost interest in the project, and ordered Amachi to cancel it, while also seeing Anko as a lost cause for her refusal to use the cursed seal, and wiped her memories as she left him. 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 became affiliated with and joined the elite criminal organisation Akatsuki. Orochimaru was then partnered with Sasori, with whom he did much good for the organization. He later watched in amazement when Itachi Uchiha joined the organization. Later, when 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. In the anime, when tipped off by Kabuto that Sasori was on his trail, Orochimaru chose to use this as an opportunity to test his development of the Second Hokage's Summoning: Impure World Reincarnation. Against Sasori's Third Kazekage puppet, Orochimaru summoned the actual Third Kazekage through his technique. While proving his reincarnated ninja being stronger than the human puppet, the technique ultimately proved incomplete as the Third Kazekage was able to regain control and break the summoning contract. 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. In the anime, Orochimaru witnessed Mizuki killing a comrade during a mission. Under the pretense as a gift for Mizuki's bold actions, Orochimaru granted him a specialised cursed seal. In truth however, it was an incomplete experimental tool that would destroy whoever used it, to which Orochimaru was merely curious as to how the effects would happen on Mizuki.
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 the death of his parents while he was young, along with his horror for Tsunade losing Nawaki and later shedding tears when she lost Dan, implies 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 to defend the village he initially swore to destroy, one that Orochimaru openly approved and was curious to see what would be the end result of this decision.
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. During the war Naruto managed to gain some of Orochimaru's respect for not giving into despair. 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 Akatsuki's operations, as seen in the "Tenchi Bridge Reconnaissance Mission" arc and "Three-Tails' Appearance" arc. He expresses delight over the death of Sasori and later convinced Sasuke against killing Team Kakashi so they would thin out Akatsuki's membership.
An aspect of Orochimaru's personality is also his greatest weakness: his arrogance. He truly believed he was 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. He is also amusingly afraid of insects and bugs as seen during Naruto and Hinata's wedding.
After being revived by Sasuke, his personality changed a bit. While he still wished that he could gain Sasuke's body, he also realized that copying someone completely was a mistake from his observation of Kabuto and displayed interest in Sasuke's "different path". 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 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 Tobi but quickly decided against taking his time when Karin sensed Sasuke was on the verge of death. Orochimaru has also shown signs of regret, seemingly saddened by his childhood friend Jiraiya's death. In the anime, he was one of people who congratulated Naruto and Hinata on their wedding. Years later, he appears to be on amicable terms with Konoha by sending his son, Mitsuki, to the village. In the anime, he also feels indebted to Naruto as the Hokage for watching over Mitsuki. While his relationship with the rest of the world is still dubious at best, he has at least developed a relatively trusting relationship between the higher-ups of Konohagakure, willing aiding them in research on pressing matters and likewise feels responsible enough to make amends for past mistakes.
Orochimaru's experiences also resulted in him wishing Mitsuki to make his own decisions, admitting that he has high hopes for the boy's natural growth, though he at times used manipulation and deception to put him in a situation where important decisions must be made.
List of summoning of the Reanimation Jutsu
- Hashirama Senju (twice)
- Tobirama Senju (twice)
- Hiruzen Sarutobi
- Minato Namikaze
- The Third Kazekage
- His English Voice Actor, Steve Blum is best known voicing as Flamedramon, Magnamon, Raidramon, Pururumon, Poromon, BlackWarGreymon from Digimon Adventure 02, Guilmon, his digivolutions, Kenta Kitagawa from Digimon Tamers, J.P. Shibayama from Digimon Frontier and Falcomon, his digivolutions from Digimon Data Squad.
- His Second Voice Actor, Vic Mignogna is best known voicing as Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist series, Obito Uchiha as young, Nagato from Naruto Shippuden, Matt Ishida from Digimon Adventure tri., Eld Jinn from Attack on Titan, Christopher Aonuma from Digimon Fusion, Zero Kiryu from Vampire Knight series, Yoshimori Sumimura from Kekkaishi, Spirit Albarn from Soul Eater, Tamaki Suoh from Ouran High School Host Club and Fai D. Flowright from Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle and Ikkaku Madarame from Bleach.
- In Boruto Orochimaru is identified to be non-binary, referred to why Mitsuki calls him his "parent".
- Orochimaru is the only member of the Legendary Sannin to have children.