The Third Hokage of Konoha, Hiruzen Sarutobi, was a respected leader who served twice due to the untimely death of the Fourth Hokage, who fell during the Nine-Tails attack. However, his tragic end came at the hands of his own student, Orochimaru, during the Chunin Exam. Their one on one fight ended with Orochimaru’s victory, even though he lost both his arms. Meanwhile, Sarutobi lost his life. During their battle, Sarutobi expressed regret in allowing Orochimaru to escape in the past. Orochimaru is one of the three legendary Sannin who left the village and became a criminal. He was interested in the power of Hashirama’s cells, thus conducting forbidden and harmful research. One day, Sarutobi discovered Orochimaru’s activities, but he let Orochimaru get away. Afterward, Orochimaru established the ninja village of Otogakure and joined the Chunin exams. He succeeded in infiltrating and cursing Sasuke, convincing other villages to destroy Konoha, killing the Kazekage of Sunagakure, and ultimately killing the Third Hokage, Sarutobi. However, despite Sarutobi’s regret, his biggest mistake as Hokage was in letting his rival, Denzo, get away with his actions.
Denzo, the leader of the ANBU, was known to be rigid and anti-negotiation. Denzo had always been envious of Sarutobi’s brilliance and later became self-centered, which tended to harm many parties. He was even willing to create policies that would put his subordinates at risk, such as when he ordered his subordinates to disguise themselves as Iwagakure’s ANBU forces and attack Akatsuki at Amegakure, resulting in their deaths. Afterwards, he instigated a rift between the leaders of Amegakure and Akatsuki, causing Yahiko’s death and leading Nagato to choose the path of darkness. Furthermore, Denzo also wanted Kakashi killed. Before that, he ordered Itachi, who was a captain of ANBU, to massacre his own clan and then blamed him for being a criminal. Denzo later took several pairs of Sharingan eyes belonging to the Uchiha clan, including those of Uchiha Shisui. Sarutobi knew very well of Denzo’s crimes, but he seemed to turn a blind eye. It was also Denzo who supported Orochimaru’s research. Therefore, Sarutobi’s greatest mistake was that he allowed Denzo’s behavior to continue, causing him to continue to act out by seeking full power as Hokage.
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