Orochimaru was originally a student of Hiruzen Sarutobi as part of a three-man team, consisting of himself, Jiraiya and Tsunade. Even at a young age, Orochimaru stood out as a prodigy — his talents, knowledge, and determination were
considered by his sensei a prodigy only seen
once in a generation. During the Second Shinobi World War , Orochimaru and his former team-mates fought 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.  On their way back to Konoha, they encountered the Ame Orphans, who Orochimaru opted to kill to put them out of their misery but
Jiraiya chose to train them instead.
According to Tsunade, Orochimaru had always
been twisted, even back when he was a child.
His sadistic attitude was presumably due to the
death of his parents, which led him to study kinjutsu and eventually becoming obsessed with learning all ninjutsu. Jiraiya theorized that
Orochimaru went down this path in an attempt
to forget his painful memories. Sarutobi in
particular had very high hopes for Orochimaru,
often berating the clumsy Jiraiya and telling him
he should be more like his team-mate. After becoming the Third Hokage, Sarutobi hoped that one day Orochimaru would succeed him. He
eventually became Anko Mitarashi's mentor, teaching her ninjutsu and taking her, along with
nine others, as a subject for the Cursed Seal of Heaven.
While Orochimaru's ambitions did include
becoming the Fourth Hokage, his eyes were set upon goals quite alien to the ideals traditionally
associated with the title and emphatically
embraced by his teacher. Hiruzen knew that "a
shinobi's true strength will manifest when
protecting something important", and the
Hokage's role is to love and protect the people of the village as if they were a family. For
Orochimaru, however, Hokage was nothing
more than a potential conquest on the way to
what truly interested him: power. This mindset
influenced the image he had on people around
him, with a young Ibiki Morino seeing him as "something in human in human form".
Hiruzen had hoped
to make his student
see the error of his
ways, but as more
time passed, it
became evident that Orochimaru
was a lost cause.
finally retired years
later he chose a student of Jiraiya's, Minato Namikaze, over Orochimaru as his successor, thus making Minato the Fourth Hokage. Realising that
he had hit a dead end in his quest to become the
ultimate being and therefore had nothing to gain
from staying in Konoha, Orochimaru began to be less discreet with his actions.
Over the years, he had been kidnapping his
fellow Konoha shinobi and used them as human
guinea pigs. He experimented on them to develop
techniques that would grant him immortality, as
he had already decided that he would settle for
no less than to learn all of the techniques in the world (a task that would take much more than
one human lifetime). When the many
disappearances were finally traced to
Orochimaru, Hiruzen knew that it was his duty to kill him. At the time however, Hiruzen was unable to bring himself to kill his prized student for whom he had such high hopes.
Before Orochimaru defected, he kidnapped sixty
children and injected them with the First Hokage's DNA, hoping to recreate the First's Wood Release jutsu. Before he could finish his work he was forced to leave Konoha, but he
believed all the test subjects to be dead. Yamato was the only survivor of the experiments, and
had gained the use of the wood element.
Orochimaru conducted similar experiments on Danzō, endowing the elder with the Wood Release and multiple Sharingan.
Orochimaru defected from the village and joined
the elite criminal organisation of Akatsuki . His former team-mate, Jiraiya, tried to convince him
to reconsider, but to no avail. Although the role
Orochimaru played in Akatsuki is unclear, it is
known that he was partnered with Sasori prior to his defection (the two apparently had great
respect for each other when they were partners;
Sasori also claimed that he and Orochimaru did a
lot of good deeds when they were together in
It was around this time that Itachi Uchiha joined Akatsuki after conducting the Uchiha clan massacre. Orochimaru saw his opportunity to gain possession of the Sharingan, and soon
Orochimaru made his attempt to steal Itachi's
body. Orochimaru tried to use his Living Corpse Reincarnation, but Itachi used his Sharingan to reverse it and cut off Orochimaru's left hand to
prevent him from breaking the genjutsu, causing him to leave Akatsuki to acquire a new body.  For Orochimaru's defection, Sasori developed a
grudge, and sent a brainwashed Kabuto Yakushi to spy on him, however, Orochimaru undid the
brainwashing and Kabuto became the loyal right-
hand man of Orochimaru. He eventually founded
his own village, Otogakure, to perform various
experiments on his prisoners. Orochimaru had
also searched for the Totsuka Sword, an ethereal sword for all his life, unaware that it was in the
possession of Itachi's Susanoo.
At some point, when the Kaguya clan attempted to destroy Kirigakure and were themselves destroyed instead, Orochimaru was on the
outskirts of the village, watching and
commenting on their foolishness. It is there that
he met Kimimaro and, Kimimaro being the sole survivor, was taken in by Orochimaru, in the
hopes of becoming his new vessel.
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