When she was a genin, Anko was on a team led by Orochimaru. Their team took part in the Chūnin Exams; during the second round, they confronted a team consisting of Hayate Gekkō, Ibiki Morino, and Tokara. Orochimaru took a strong interest in Anko, teaching her several of his signature jutsu and, in the anime, what he'd learned about immortality. Orochimaru eventually used Anko as a test subject for his Cursed Seal of Heaven. Of the ten subjects, Anko was the only survivor.
In the anime, Anko refused to continue following Orochimaru after she received her cursed seal. Unwilling to kill her because she was so valuable as a research subject, Orochimaru altered Anko's memory so she would believe she'd been abandoned for lacking the ideal drive to fuel the cursed seal. She ever after held a grudge against Orochimaru for what he did and believed it was her responsibility, as his former student, to stop his criminal actions.
Anko is noted to be similar to Naruto Uzumaki, both being loud, stubborn, and prone to acting without thinking. Naruto himself is somewhat unsettled by her because, when he mocked her during their first meeting, her immediate response was to throw a kunai at him and lick the blood from his resulting wound. Despite her personality quirks, Anko has a strong commitment to her village and mission, often choosing to face threats alone in order to buy time for her allies to escape or for backup to arrive. This is particularly true in matters relating to Orochimaru: although she admired him when she was a child and aspired to be like him when she was older, she now believes it is her obligation to use the same jutsu he taught her to bring him to justice. The Third Hokage insists that Anko shouldn't blame herself for anything that Orochimaru does.
Anko has light brown, pupil-less eyes. Her hair - black with a blue tint in the manga and violet in the anime - is styled in a short, spiky, fanned-ponytail. She usually wears a fitted mesh body suit that covers her from her neck down to her thighs. Over this she typically wears a tan overcoat with a purple in-seam and a pocket on each side, a dark orange mini-skirt, a dark blue belt, and pale grey shin guards. In addition to the typical forehead protector, she also wears a small pendant that looks like a snake fang and a wrist watch.
As a child, Anko wore a sleeveless fishnet mesh shirt, fishnet armbands that reach to her elbows, dark shorts, and knee-length boots. Though during her time as a preteen when following Orochimaru in the anime, she instead wears a brown-red t-shirt with bracelets, white-shorts and fishnet leggings. Years after the Fourth Shinobi World War, she puts on weight and starts wearing red lipstick. Her mesh body suit is replaced with an orange blouse with a white coat cape over it.
Being a tokubetsu jōnin, Anko is indeed a highly skilled kunoichi. Even as a child, her talent gained the attention of Orochimaru who would take her up as his disciple. A decade after the Fourth Shinobi World War, she was considered a legendary kunoichi.
Under his wing, she would be taught many of his own abilities, such as how to summon snakes, as well as kinjutsu, such as the Twin Snakes Mutual Death Technique, a murder-suicide technique. In the anime, it was stated she built up an immunity to poisons with Orochimaru's help. She was also the first surviving recipient of his Cursed Seal of Heaven, which appears as three tomoe at the back of her neck. Though it flares up from time to time in its attempt to encourage her to use it, she refrains from doing so. It is eventually removed from her body.
Anko has rather impressive aim, able to make a perfect Konoha symbol out of dango sticks without even looking. She has excellent tracking skills, being placed in charge of a team tasked with finding Kabuto Yakushi. In the anime, she could also use Fire Release to perform the Fire Release: Dragon Fire Technique.
Ten years after the Fourth Shinobi World War ends, Anko becomes an instructor at Konoha's Academy. During the entrance ceremony, Anko and the other instructors were left mortified when Boruto Uzumaki crashes a train into the Hokage Rock. Two weeks later, when the students skipped Shino Aburame's class to watch a fight between Iwabee Yuino and Boruto, Anko gave the class a severe scolding afterwards. Later, Anko checked on Shino when he began pouting about how little respect his students seemed to have for him.
School Trip Arc
In the anime, to improve relationships with other villages and symbolically show the warring era was over, the Seventh Hokage set up an official class trip for the Academy to go to Kirigakure. Anko joined Shino to watch over the class. Upon arriving, they were met with [Karatachi|Kagura Karatachi], who was appointed by the Mizukage to act as the class' tour guide. The class was later taken to meet Chojuro, the Sixth Mizukage.
Later, Anko and Shino met with Mei to discuss the growing conflict between the Land of Water and neighbouring countries. As the Land of Water wishes to expand military power into the bordering seas, Mei feared that this could escalate into war again. Despite this, Mei assured them that Kirigakure was strongly against all this and that she with the Sixth Mizukage would work to prevent it all.
During the practical and final test of the graduation exam, the class was brought to the training field. There, the entire class was set up to face Anko, Shino, and Konohamaru for 24 hours. While the teachers would still evaluate the students' respective improvements, the students' true test was against Kakashi Hatake. The Sixth Hokage quickly explained that he would only pass the first student who is able to take the single bell attached to his hip. As the test began, Anko quickly caught many students in a genjutsu. She was then attacked by the [] trio. While questioning their willingness to work together as there could only be one winner in the test, they insisted that it was more practical to work team up for now. Anko smirked at their choice. As she began overwhelming the trio with her [Shadow Snake Hands|snake techniques], they were soon aided by more of their friends to face Anko. Ultimately, Anko defeated and subdued the group of students.
Later that night, following a plan from Boruto, the remaining students able to split up the proctors. Anko was then attacked by Lee and [Izuno|Wasabi Izuno]. While taking their attacks well, Anko then turned her attention to [Suzumeno|Namida Suzumeno], whose frightened nature was used to the advantage of Anko's intimidating battle nature, unleashing a scream powerful enough to emit a [Wave Technique|sonic blast] that incapacitated Anko. By the end of the test, despite no one getting the bell from Kakashi, the Sixth Hokage chose to pass everyone as they succeeded in the true goal of the test; team-work and loyalty.
- "Anko" (餡子) is derived from the sweet red bean paste used in popular Japanese sweets such as dango, while her family name comes from mitarashi syrup that is usually goes with dango.
- In an interview included with Naruto Anime Profiles, Vol. 1, Kishimoto states that Anko is his favourite female character, due to her "relationship with Orochimaru".
- Anko's highest ranking in the Naruto Character Popularity Polls was eleventh place in the first poll.
- Studio Pierrot's Settei sheets of Anko show that she was 141 cm at her Chūnin Exams when she was first part of Orochimaru's genin team, 143 cm a year or so later.
- (To Naruto) "Tough guys like you usually leave their blood all over this forest."
- (To Orochimaru, before engaging him) "This is no time to reminisce, you’re an S-class criminal, top of the most wanted list. You've got to be taken down, and it's only fitting that I'm the one to do it. 'Cause after all, you're the one that taught me everything, right, Sensei?"