Yamata no Orochi (八岐の大蛇?, lit. Big Snake Of Eight Branches) is an eight-headed serpent god or Yamata no Orochikaiju from Japanese mythology that made its first appearance in a Toho film in the 1959 film, The Birth of Japan.
In The Birth of Japan, Orochi looks like a giant snake with eight heads, with eight small tails extending from the main one.
In Yamato Takeru, Orochi looks significantly different from the Birth of Japan one. The puppet is now red, has legs, and has horns on each of it's heads. It is also has one large tail, with small spikes sticking out from the sides.
Orochi in the Showa era shares the same story as the Orochi from mythology, with his role in the movie being a description of that event. Every year he would arise from a lake to consume a child of the earthian deities. After consuming eight vats of sake set out for him, Susano was able to trap Orochi's heads in a tree, forcing the serpent to attack with his tails. After Susanoo stabbed his sword into Orochi's tail twice the monster died, allowing the storm god to retrieve the sword Murakumo.
Orochi was the god Tsukuyomi, lord of the underworld and God of the Moon, who transformed into this monstrous form ten thousand years ago and used it to attack the Earth. All of this was done in jealousy of his sister Amaterasu, goddess of heaven and the sun. He destroyed cities and mountains until he was stopped by his brother Susano, god of storms and the sea. His father then banished him from Earth in a prison of ice. Thousands of years later, Tsukuyomi returned to Earth and was revived thanks to his servant, a transformed sentient broken fang who died soon after. After breaking free on the moon, he raised his castle but was bested by Yamato Takeru and Oto, who held the 'spirits' of his two siblings. Angered, transformed into Orochi to kill the Yamato Takeru and Oto, but they were saved by Amano Shiratori, the servant of the Sun goddess. However, Orochi threw the two into space via a blast, but Takeru fused with Oto and two sacred treasure to become Utsuno Ikusagami. Utsuno Ikusagami fought Orochi, and won. Tsukuyomi was trapped on the moon and sealed into Takeru's pendant and cast into space on the orders of Susano who said that upon his return Tsukuyomi would be reformed.
Orochi was originally slain in ancient times by Susanoo, but countless years later, Orochi reemerged, placing in Susa, the son of Genkaku. Orochi also reincarnated Amaterasu in Amemiko, Genkaku's daughter. As a sign of the eight-headed dragon's power, both of Genkaku's children bore the mark of the Yamata No Orochi on their shoulder.
- Orochi can swim through space.
- Orochi can cause natural disasters.
- Orochi can spray fire from his mouths.
- Orochi can fire lightning lasers (覇帝紅雷撃) from his eyes in the Heisei series.
- Orochi can attack with all eight heads at the same time (覇帝紅嵐舞).
- Orochi can withstand a great deal of punishment and the severing of most of his heads. Despite being overpowered, Orochi lasted a fairly long time.
- In Onmyoji II, Orochi could enter the bodies of humans, which then bear the mark of Yamata No Orochi. Orochi can then thrust itself from the mark it creates.
Tsukuyomi is a god and presumably has various supernatural abilities stemmed to that fact. Before he was only defeated by his brother, a fellow god and by Takeru, who was given a power to counter his.
As a god, Tsukuyomi is immune to the withering effects of time. He also survived trapped in ice for millenia and both of his defeats.
The counterforce to Takeru's 'Wild Spirit', it manifests as beams from his eyes. It's power is unknown but Susanno said it was impossible to defeat him without the Wild Spirit to defeat his calm Spirit. Presumably only his siblings could match his power and only his father and older gods surpassed his.
Tsukuyomi manifested his armor and raised a castle of complex architecture from the Earth through nothing but his will. These creations were not illusion and real to the point they could survive his absence.
Tsukuyomi teleported from the Moon to Earth, he also teleported out of his armor when he transformed into Orochi.
Tsukuyomi can shapeshift, he used this power to become Orochi and given that his servants powers stemmed from him, he can presumably take on the appearance of others.
Godzilla: Rage Across Time
A variant of Orochi appears in the first issue of Godzilla: Rage Across Time as a creature in 13th century Japan and is awakened in an attempt to defeat the Mongol/Nebulan armies but is killed by Godzilla before an attempt to control him is even made.
- Main article: Orochi/Gallery.
- Although they have never met onscreen, Godzilla once battled Orochi in The Godzilla Comic Raids Again.
- Standing at 300 meters tall when upright, the Orochi who appeared in The Birth of Japan is one of the tallest monsters ever to appear in a film produced by Toho.
- HeiseiOrochi's suit was near 10 meter in length which makes it the largest suit ever made by Toho. It costed 30 million yens and 3 months to create.
- In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, King Ghidorah is stated to be an underdeveloped Orochi, awakened from hibernation before it could grow all eight of its heads.
- In the IDW Godzilla comic, Rage Across Time, Godzilla is first sighted in Japan, fighting an Orochi. However, due to copyrights, IDW could not secure a Toho designed Orochi.