Naruto: Lord Orochimaru’s D&D Alignment & How it Defines the Sannin

Naruto is a legendary shonen anime series with a dazzling cast of characters, many of whom would make excellent adventurer heroes or chilling villains in a game of Dungeons & Dragons. The classic moral alignment chart can be used to describe many of these characters, with one axis for good to evil and the other for lawful to chaotic, with nine total combinations.

A character like Uzumaki Naruto is Chaotic Good, while a law-abiding character like the Third Hokage is Lawful Good. Then there are the villains, such as Zabuza, the shark-like Kisame and certainly Lord Orochimaru, one of the three mighty Sannin. If he became a dungeon boss, he would be a Neutral Evil character, and his behavior in the original Naruto series proves it.

The Tenets Of A Neutral Evil Character

Orochimaru Enjoys The Fight In Naruto

A Neutral Evil character is a flexible and somewhat unpredictable villain, although they are not as erratic and whimsical as a true Chaotic Evil anime villain who makes up rules on the fly. Just like Neutral Good and True Neutral characters, a Neutral Evil character strikes a balance between the extremes of Lawful and Chaotic, viewing each side as a resource to draw upon without getting too dogmatic as a Lawful character or too sloppy as a Chaotic one. A Neutral Evil character may pride themselves on being practical and balanced that way, and that can make them all the more dangerous for the heroes and more compelling for viewers.

A Neutral Evil character is, above all else, selfish and wicked for its own sake, and committing acts of evil is its own reward. Unlike Chaotic characters, Neutral Evil characters don't aim to tear down society or break all the rules, and they don't act too impulsively, viewing such behavior as foolish and wasteful.

Then again, Neutral Evil characters like Orochimaru don't like how rigid and restrictive the Lawful side can be, and they might fear that being too dogmatic will make them predictable and allow the heroes to turn their personal code against them. So, Neutral Evil characters simply work with, support, betray, kill or deceive whomever they must as the situation calls for it. Neutral Evil characters prefer consistency and purpose in their actions, but they're not afraid to make radical changes or rewrite their plans if necessary.

In terms of society, laws and other people, Neutral Evil characters are pragmatic and self-serving. They see no need to destroy society just because, but they also freely break the law and are willing to lie, cheat and manipulate others to achieve their goals, and building bonds of trust means little to them. A Neutral Evil character is willing to follow local laws and cooperate with others, but only if it helps advance their own schemes, and they won't take risks or make sacrifices for the sake of others, not even their own minions. They have a "look out for number one" rule, and it's the only rule they will never break.

Orochimaru As A Neutral Evil Character In Naruto

Orochimaru Before He Leaves The Akatsuki

For many years, Orochimaru was a Neutral Evil character at heart, but in his younger years, he made an attempt to hide it, or at least make it palatable to others. He was once in a squad alongside Tsunade and Jiraiya, and he even met the young Yahiko, Nagato and Konan in the Land of Rain and casually offered to kill all three of them to put the youngsters out of their misery. However, he held back when his teammates objected.

Later, Orochimaru sought to gain immortality at all costs as a Neutral Evil character, and he started recruiting anyone who would loyally follow him and help him complete this goal. He even created his own village, the Hidden Sound Village, as a base of operations, and he had many genin on his side, such as the team he sent to take part in the chunin exam. He is Lawful enough to make a village and recruit followers, but chaotic enough to sacrifice or betray anyone he must to achieve his selfish goals. Orochimaru thought nothing of sacrificing the Sound genin, and he cared little if the Sound Four and Kimimaro died serving him.

Orochimaru showed his more Chaotic side when he tried to steal Uchiha Itachi's Sharingan eyes during their time together in the Akatsuki, and Itachi quickly defeated him, prompting Orochimaru to leave the villainous group and go it alone. He soon had minions such as Yakushi Kabuto and Kimimaro at his disposal, and he trusts Kabuto more than he trusts anyone else, showing his Lawful side for a change. Later, Orochimaru carefully planned the downfall of the Hidden Leaf Village and conspired with the Hidden Sand Village to launch his attacks during the chunin exam.

He even stated that a balanced, peaceful world is boring to him. He compared the world to a windmill, stating that to some, a stationary windmill is a work of art, but that this bores him -- he needs to see some chaos and destruction to help the world move forward. That's a very Chaotic thing to say, but the existence of his own carefully-managed village balances it out. He even tried to politely persuade Tsunade to heal him via diplomacy -- an impressively Lawful move for Orochimaru. However, in the end, the situation became a battle -- one that Orochimaru lost.

One Piece art by Dr. Stone artist Boichi
About The Author