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- How Orochimaru corrupted the Will of Fire
- How Madara Uchiha Corrupted the Will of Fire
One of the most popular tropes in anime is that villains hold beliefs ideologically opposed to those of the protagonist, and Naruto is no exception. Although Konohagakure is best known as the character’s hometown, the Hidden Leaf Village has spawned its share of villains who have done everything to distance themselves from their birthplace. This is how Orochimaru of the Legendary Sannin and Madara Uchiha warped the Hidden Leaf’s will of fire.
The Will of Fire is the closest thing to a religion for the people of Konoha. Rather than worshiping an invisible deity, she prescribes a code of life that prioritizes the survival of the village community over her own life. The shinobi understood that their first duty was to ordinary citizens and did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives – and abandon their ambitions – in service to the village or to protect the next generation of shinobi. The Will of Fire was not a concept they were taught, but a bond that developed naturally as the shinobi learned and took on missions with each other. So, not every villager in the Hidden Leaf had it.
How Orochimaru corrupted the Will of Fire
In his youth, Naruto’s Orochimaru was an exemplary shinobi who studied ninjutsu under the Third Hokage himself and quickly became one of the Leaf’s greatest assets. He made a name for himself during the Second Great Ninja War as one of the Legendary Sannin who faced Hanzo the Salamander in battle. Orochimaru was a favorite for the seat of Hokage, but his unbridled ambition drew reservations from the village elders. Once Orochimaru was denied the job, he quickly proved how well Leaf Village dodged the ball.
Orochimaru was obsessed with knowledge itself. As he struggled to understand his place in the world, his solution to this dilemma was to learn all the secrets the world had to offer, and in doing so, figure out who he was. Orochimaru’s quest for knowledge wasn’t inherently evil, but his methods of obtaining it certainly were. He did not hesitate to make cruel human experiments to achieve his ends, and soiled himself with forbidden Jutsu to prolong his stay on earth.
Collecting all the knowledge in the world couldn’t be done in a single lifetime, so he developed a jutsu that would allow him to steal the bodies of other ninjas once his own expired. Above all else, Orochimaru valued his continued existence and would be the last person in the Naruto franchise to sacrifice his life for anyone else, even his most trusted assistant, Yakushi Kabuto.
How Madara Uchiha Corrupted the Will of Fire
As one of the founders of the Hidden Leaf Village, Madara Uchiha must have had some iteration of the will of fire within him. His undying love for his brother Izuna proves that Madara was not the callous sociopath he is often attributed to, but it was this same love that fueled his vendetta against the Leaf after Izuna’s death. Like many other Uchiha before and after him, he was unable to resist the curse of his clan’s hatred.
Ironic as it may seem, Madara had wished for a ninja world free from the kind of warfare that had robbed him of his brothers and sisters. His attempts to achieve this through cooperation having failed, he spent his final years working on his Tsukuyomi Infinite plan. The scale of the plan to capture the entire world by genjutsu was too much for Madara in his weakened state, so he adopted another Uchiha outcast: Obito.
Madara never hid his intentions from Obito, but through lies of omission, genjutsu, and half-truths, he manipulated the young ninja into inheriting not only his dream, but also his name. and his legacy. Obito shed his old identity, believing it to be worthless compared to the idealized self he would be in the Infinite Tsukuyomi, and assumed the name Madara, perpetuating the myth that the Uchiha ghost still lived on.
Little did he realize that he was under the influence of a delayed activation genjutsu and that when the time came, he would be forced to sacrifice his life in order to revive Madara Uchiha. Obito single-handedly brought the ninja world to its knees after decades of plotting, but was never recognized for it. Everything he built in Naruto was credited to Madara.