True Orochi (「真ヤマタノオロチ」?; Shin Yamata no Orochi; True Yamata no Orochi) is the form of Orochi (Okami) at the peak of his power 100 years prior to the events of Ōkami, and is the form defeated by Nagi and Shiranui. He is responsible for setting the events of Ōkami in motion.
100 Years in the past
True Orochi presumably originated from the Ark of Yamato, which had a chamber for it aboard. More than 200 years prior to the events of Ōkami, it attacked the Celestial Plain (causing all the Celestials to flee in the Ark of Yamato with Waka, which would inadvertently lead to their demise during the Ark of Yamato genocide). Following the advice of Waka, Amaterasu dragged Orochi down to the mortal plain, waiting for a person of a legendary bloodline who could defeat Orochi. Orochi settled in the Moon Cave and terrorized the inhabitants of Kamiki Village, selecting a young maiden as a sacrifice every year. Amaterasu was wrongly believed to be Orochi's familiar and given the name Shiranui. Eventually the person of the legendary bloodline, Nagi, was born. Although he antagonized Amaterasu at first, he teamed up with her to defeat Orochi after his beloved, Nami, was chosen to be the sacrifice. Shiranui died during the battle, becoming the legend of Orochi.
True Orochi is quite similar to his weaker present-day counterpart Orochi, but has some alterations to mark his form at its peak of power. The demonic serpent still has eight heads, each bearing a unique element with its own kanji, going clockwise: Fire, Earth, Poison, Light, Lightning, Water, Wind and Darkness. At the base of the eight necks is a shrine on a stone pedestal, with surrounding lanterns and plants, resembling a zen garden. In the shrine hangs a gigantic bell, which generates an impenetrable barrier that shields True Orochi from any damage. The shrine and the bell is covered in gold plates, signifying the status and power of True Orochi. It is also covered in golden armor plating (instead of being bare with only the helmet like Orochi), and its helmet is also covered in gold.