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The Orochimaru Scene In Naruto That Had To Be Censored In The Anime

In the early episodes and manga chapters of the original "Naruto," it wasn't clear if the series would ever have a main antagonist. Zabuza Momochi provided a satisfactory early villain for Naruto's first mission as a fully fledged shinobi. However, he was never main antagonist material. His ambitions were too small-scale to really be the big bad of a series that spans years. Thankfully, the first villain in the series to present themselves as something more devious came shortly after in Orochimaru.

Though he would inevitably be relegated to the role of a side villain, and later a reformed ally, Orochimaru was easily the most dangerous antagonist of early "Naruto." As a Sannin, he was easily more powerful than the lion's share of ninja introduced thus far, and his plan to take over Sasuke's body gave the characters an emotional reason to want to oppose him. It isn't until after Sasuke willingly goes with Orochimaru, and the timeskip leading into "Naruto: Shippuden" occurs, that Orochimaru becomes overshadowed by other villains.

Needless to say, Orochimaru was still a pretty bad guy in his heyday. He committed countless heinous acts of human experimentation and torture over the years ... only you might not have been able to see much of this if you watched the anime. Like many violent scenes in "Naruto," there are some Orochimaru scenes from the manga that had to be censored for the anime.

Orochimaru's labs are basically torture chambers

We actually get to see Orochimaru's lair fairly early on in the series. A panel in Chapter 121 shows Orochimaru standing in a room full of bodies that have been used in one of his experiments. They are strung up on walls, either dead or dying, and some bodies can even be spotted underneath white sheets. Severed legs stick up out of a jar in a corner, like a gruesome house plant. The series never explains the details of what Orochimaru does to these people in his quest for immortality, but it's clearly nothing nice.

For the same scene in Episode 72 of the anime, however, the bodies are removed and Orochimaru's lab is stripped down to bare, sterile walls. The most gruesome thing you can see is a shelf filled with mysterious jars and a chained hook dangling from the ceiling. The setting still bears a grim and frightening atmosphere, but it is considerably less gory. The tradeoff for this, of course, is that the scene is much more friendly towards younger audiences who make up a considerable portion of the "Naruto" fanbase.

This isn't the only instance where gore, violence, or other acts needed to be censored for the anime version of "Naruto." The "Naruto" Wiki has an entire page dedicated to these changes, which range from removing the cigarette from Shikimaru's mouth in one scene, to censoring a massive hole that is ripped through Neji's shoulder.