is a fictional character from the Naruto universe created by Masashi Kishimoto and developed into a media franchise, which consists of a series of manga, anime, soundtrack, OVAs, movies, video game, and other collectible. He was created as one of the series' main antagonists, and intended to represent the opposite of the protagonists' morals and values.
In the anime and manga, Orochimaru is a former ninja of the village of Konohagakure, and leads his own ninja village, Otogakure, in hopes of destroying his former home. During his time in Konohagakure, Orochimaru distinguished himself as one of the village's most powerful ninja; however, his desire for power led him to obtain a means for immortality by transferring between different host bodies. This desire for a host is one of his driving motivations throughout the series, resulting in his desire to acquire Sasuke Uchiha due to his powerful genetic heritage. Orochimaru has appeared in media outside the Naruto anime and manga, including several video games.
Several anime and manga publications have praised and criticized Orochimaru's character. As one of the series' premier villains, he has been praised in this regard; IGN compared his character to Darth Vader of Star Wars fame. His lack of redeeming qualities and open malevolence was also praised by reviewers, with Mania.com calling him the "first real villain" of the series. Among the Naruto reader base, Orochimaru has been popular, ranking within the top twenty characters in several polls. Numerous pieces of merchandise in Orochimaru's likeness have also been released, including action figures and plush dolls.
As one of the villains in the story, Kishimoto created Orochimaru as an antithesis to the protagonists' values. His snake-like appearance and related features were intended to make it easier for the reader to recognize that he is a villain. In an interview, Kishimoto asserted that making the villains "flamboyant" was one of his "guiding principles," and attributed this to his desire to have the villains have a "powerful aura."
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