In the anime, the Sound Four were originally prisoners of Orochimaru, forced to fight other prisoners to the death in battle royales. By surviving their respective matches, they proved themselves to be the strongest of Orochimaru's prisoners and as such were made his bodyguards. The Sound Four were at some point forced to accept Kimimaro as their leader, who easily defeated them all in battle and, because of his Shikotsumyaku abilities, was slated to be Orochimaru's next host body. Under Kimimaro their group was known as the Sound Five (音隠れの忍五人衆, Otogakure no Shinobi Gonin Shū, literally meaning: Hidden Sound Shinobi Five People).
In the anime, the Sound Five assisted Orochimaru with assassinating the Fourth Kazekage and killing Shiore's team during the Chūnin Exams in Konohagakure. Kimimaro fell terminally ill after this, forcing him to withdraw from the group; he became ill at some unspecified time in the manga.
While occasionally very quiet, Tayuya was an overbearing and abrasive, sharp-tongued individual. She was very blunt and foul-mouthed towards most people, even towards her teammates, though they were apparently used to her behavior and usually responded with nothing more than slight irritation when insulted. Tayuya often bickered with Jirōbō as he always scolded her for being "unladylike" in her speech. She typically cut him off by calling him "fatso" in return. Due to her being belligerent and tough, Orochimaru commented that Tayuya had a "doesn't-want-to-lose" mentality, which could slow down the team. Tayuya was noted to have a very masculine attitude, emphasized by her mannerisms, speech, and way of dressing.
Like the rest of the Sound Five, Tayuya constantly referred to her enemies as "trash" and was arrogant enough that she thought she could kill Kakashi. However, she demonstrated fear towards Kimimaro, knowing he could easily kill her as he'd beaten her and the rest of her team once before. During her fight against Shikamaru, Tayuya also developed a begrudging level of respect for her opponent and complimented him in her own backhanded way. Like some of her teammates, Tayuya had her own perception of morality as she criticized Shikamaru for sacrificing members of his team to bring back one person who left with them voluntarily. When Sakon commented about Jirōbō and Kidōmaru's delay in re-joining their group (not knowing they were dead), Tayuya was more concerned about their leader Orochimaru.
Tayuya was a fair-skinned girl with a slender build and is the shortest member of the Sound Four. She had brown eyes that were accentuated by her eyelashes extending into the corners of her eyes and was usually sporting an impassive expression on her face. Tayuya's most distinctive feature was her long, untamed, dark pink hair (depicted as red in the anime) that falls past her shoulders with long parted bangs framing either side of her face and one between her eyes. Her cursed seal is applied on the back of her neck, where it is in a circular pattern of three hooks, similar to a triskelion, concealed by her hair.
Tayuya's attire was a black shirt under a tan tunic with elbow-length sleeves and bore the symbol of the Sound Four on the hem, and black skin-tight shorts. She wore black arm-warmers, traditional black shinobi sandals with calf-length leg warmers covered by bandages, and a purple, rope-like belt tied in an inverted bow around her waist. To keep her wild hair out of the way, Tayuya also wore a black hat with pipe-like stripes and bandaged sides, keeping her bangs in place while the rest is pushed back behind her ears to trail down her back.
After being reincarnated, she looked like she did while alive with the exception of the grey sclerae common in all the other ninja Kabuto Yakushi brought back.
As one of the Sound Four, an elite group who served under Orochimaru's direct orders, Tayuya was a strong kunoichi. She claimed to be the second strongest member of the Sound Four, subsequent only to Sakon. In the anime, another testament to her skills was her being chosen for reincarnation by Kabuto Yakushi. Furthermore, Shikamaru stated that Tayuya's prowess was of jōnin-level.
Tayuya was very fast, nimble, and evasive, able to gracefully perform leaps and flips while simultaneously playing her flute during her fight with Shikamaru Nara. Although she was a long-distance fighter, Tayuya possessed above-average strength and seems to have some competence in taijutsu, able to intercept and land a well-timed punch on Naruto Uzumaki in mid-air that sent him flying back. She was also very intelligent and could think of excellent strategies, though not quite parallel with those of Shikamaru.
As one of Orochimaru's closest and most powerful warriors, Tayuya was branded with a cursed seal. When active in Level 1, it spread across her entire body in straight lines spreading out in a jagged, zigzag pattern. When in her Level 2 form, her skin became a dark shade of brown, gains yellow eye irises with dark black eye sclerae, and two black vertical markings appear under her eyes. Tayuya's hair becomes longer, growing to her thighs (in the anime, her hair is red and turns light pink in Level 2) and several horns appear on the top of her head, which grows when she exerts herself. In this state, she gained an immense boost in strength, stamina, and endurance, which allowed her to surpass even Shikamaru's various shadow techniques.
In the anime, when experiencing strong feelings of hatred and rage, she could draw even more power from the seal. As a result, after her reincarnation, the power of her cursed seal was increased considerably. An example of this was the fact that the range of her sound-based genjutsu techniques was greatly increased.
Tayuya was the only member of the Sound Four to use sound as her primary fighting style, in the form of her Demonic Flute and was shown to have immense skill using it. In a fight with Shikamaru, she was able to dodge attacks and play her flute simultaneously. However, her flute, having been her only weapon, left her more vulnerable to close-range combat as she lacked preference for any other tools. In the anime, after her reincarnation, she corrected that mistake.
Nevertheless, Tayuya still used her flute for a variety of purposes; one such purpose was controlling her Doki: three massive, ogre-like creatures that can absorb an enemy's physical energy through spectral worms spawned by the creatures. Another one of her abilities was performing sound-based genjutsu, such as Demonic Flute: Phantom Sound Chains. Since it was transmitted through the sound of her flute, it had an extremely long range and power and could affect the opponent even if she didn't know their exact location. In the anime, after her reincarnation, it was noted Shikamaru that her range grew considerably.
Tayuya had access to a very unique summoning, three eerie-looking creatures called Doki that she controls through her flute and engaged the opposition in physical combat in her place. These Doki are very strong, durable, and their large size belies their equally amazing speed. Aside from acting as Tayuya's personal physical shield and warriors, the Doki are able to weaken enemies by releasing the materialized spirits stored inside of them and absorb their chakra.
Despite the volatile relationship between the members of the Sound Four, they were well-versed in a series of Cooperation Ninjutsu. They could use the Combination Transformation in order to pose as Orochimaru's bodyguards while also concealing their numbers. During the battle between the Third Hokage and Orochimaru, they could produce the Four Violet Flames Formation in order to avoid anyone from entering or leaving the confines of the barrier. When carrying Sasuke to Orochimaru, they used another technique, a barrier called the Four Black Fogs Formation which traps the target in a temporary death state in order to allow him to adapt to the Cursed Seal and make for easier transportation.
In the anime, they also displayed another technique, the Space-Time Technique Formula: Underworld Turnover, that sends the souls of both the user and the target into the confines of a special barrier. They could also use the Sound Four: Summoning: Four Beasts Encirclement Formation, which brought out their individual summons to trap their opponents from all sides.
In Konohagakure, Tayuya along with the Sound Four erected a barrier to keep others from interfering in Orochimaru's fight with the Third Hokage. Although Orochimaru succeeded in defeating Hiruzen, his arms were crippled with necrosis, he ordered the Sound Four to flee and escort him back to Otogakure.
Sasuke Recovery Mission
On Orochimaru's orders, Tayuya and the rest of the Sound Four returned to Konohagakure to convince Sasuke Uchiha to join sides with Orochimaru. She briefly attempts to join her teammates in testing Sasuke's abilities but chose to stand aside while they quickly defeated him in combat. Once they were done, Tayuya offered Sasuke the opportunity to join Orochimaru so that he can gain power like theirs, reminding Sasuke of his goal to defeat his brother Itachi Uchiha. They then leave Sasuke to consider their offer. Later that night, the Sound Four waited outside of the village for Sasuke's arrival and bowed to their new leader.
Once they were far enough away from Konoha, Tayuya and her teammates give Sasuke the Mind Awakening Pill that will mature his cursed seal to a second, stronger stage and performed Four Black Fogs Formation to put him in an unconscious state while his body adjusts to the drug. The group was soon confronted by Konoha ninja Genma Shiranui and Raidō Namiashi, who notice they were leaving in the direction of Konoha. A battle soon erupted and the Sound Four activate level two of their cursed seals to defeat Genma and Raidō, leaving Tayuya and the rest of the Sound Four completely exhausted. After hastily making some traps in the forest, the Sound Four stop to rest, much to their frustration as they were short on time. After the Sasuke Recovery Team found the Sound Four, they were all caught in Shikamaru Nara'sShadow Imitation Technique, but Sakon's brother, Ukon, secretly attacked him from the tree cover and broke his hold on the rest. AfterJirōbōtrapsto the recovery team, the rest of his group went ahead.
Soon after, the Sasuke Recovery Team found the Sound Four again, having Chōji Akimichi behind to deal with Jirōbō. This time Kidōmaru volunteered to handle their pursuers and toss the barrel Sasuke was into Tayuya to carry. By the next day, the recovery team caught up to them and was able to outmaneuver Tayuya and Sakon to take the barrel. While trying to take it back, Sakon and Ukon were separated from her, leaving her to retrieve it. While attempting to, Tayuya saw her former leader, Kimimaro, appearing behind Naruto Uzumaki and Shikamaru Nara and taking back the barrel himself. Angered at her team's failure, Kimimaro threatened to kill her, saying he only let her live because she had a duty to complete, and leaves the Konoha ninja for her to deal with. However, Naruto was able to get past Tayuya by tricking her and taunted her before chasing after Kimimaro, much to her embarrassment. Now face with Shikamaru, Tayuya criticizes the sacrifices he had to make to reclaim Sasuke, who came voluntarily and mocked the futility of his efforts.
Now ready to fight, Tayuya summoned her three demons, which she controlled with her flute and easily gained the upper hand against Shikamaru, while at the same time activating stage one of her cursed seal. Being unable to read her music, Shikamaru had to fall back and build a strategy involving his last remaining weapons. As he used them, Tayuya used her Doki to block them, while Shikamaru observed her finger positions and how her Doki reacted to them. He eventually took control of the three with his shadow, telling her how he found shōgi fun because he can take over his opponent's pieces. Shikamaru then attacked her with the three demons, prompting Tayuya to de-summon them. Believing she foiled Shikamaru's plan, Tayuya taunted him and prepare to attack again, but finds herself caught in Shikamaru's Shadow Imitation Technique. Silently acknowledging Shikamaru had outsmarted her, Tayuya, activates the second stage of her cursed seal, resisted Shikamaru's shadow, even when he used his Shadow–Neck Binding Techniqueattempting to choke her. After managing to lift her arms, Tayuya cast a genjutsu on Shikamaru to bind him and make him unable to move, much like what he did to her.
Picking up the kunai that had missed her, she tried to slit his throat but was suddenly punched in the gut and caught by Shikamaru's shadow again. Tayuya sees that he broke his finger in order to break out of the genjutsu, revealing that he only pretended to fall prey to her genjutsu. Shikamaru then explained his plan and how he missed with that kunai on purpose to get her to come closer while he then prepared his Shadow–Neck Binding Technique. He tries to strike her again, but with the brute strength awarded by the cursed seal, Tayuya was eventually able to overcome him enough to block him. For a while, they have locked a stalemate in trying to push each other back, with Tayuya pointing a kunai at Shikamaru as he attempts to move his shadow up to choke her. Eventually, Shikamaru ran out of chakra, releasing Tayuya from his shadow and allowing her to move freely again to kill Shikamaru.
Temari, however, arrived at the last second and blew her away with a strong gust of wind. She then tried to use her genjutsu, but Temari blew the sound waves away and damaged her flute. Tayuya then went into hiding, hoping to put some distance between them so she stays safe and out of Temari's range to cast a genjutsu on them, while Shikamaru and Temari discussed their situation. After Shikamaru suggested a retreat, Temari disregarded the suggestion and proceeded to use her Summoning: Quick Beheading Dance to destroy a large part of the forest. When the attack reached the tree Tayuya was hiding behind, it sliced it up, slashing her several times, causing her to scream in pain. Several sliced tree trunk parts then fell on Tayuya's body, crushing her lower half and killing her. Her body then reverted to its original form as she lay dead on the forest floor.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation
In the anime, Tayuya was reincarnated by Kabuto Yakushialong with her Sound Four teammates during the Fourth Shinobi World War. She was deployed with Jirōbō at the Land of Lightning's coast and fought Shikamaru again. Despite losing even when her body was enhanced by her summoner due to her opponent having become more skilled since their last battle, Tayuya quickly reconstructed herself and cast the Space-Time Technique Formula: Underworld Turnover to teleport herself and Shikamaru to another location where her comrades have brought their respective opponents to. Tayuya rejoins her comrades in the Underworld Turnover barrier and they continue their battles with their enemies, switching opponents while Shikamaru comes up with an analysis. To reward them for their attempted efforts, Tayuya reveals that even their defeats will not release the barrier. Their battles rage on as the Sound Four overwhelm the Konoha shinobi with the hatred they hold for them. Taking advantage of this, Shikamaru continues to bait their hate to lure Naruto to the barrier and break his comrades free. With the souls of their most hated enemies freed, Tayuya and her comrades decide to take out their hatred on Naruto, only to be easily defeated before their souls return to the afterlife.
Having used the DNA of the Sound Five in his experiments during his quest to find himself, Kabuto Yakushigained access to Sakon and Ukon's kekkei Genkai which allowed him to access the DNA of the other Sound Five members within his body by creating constructs of them which appeared from the base of his navel-snake. By using Kimimaro's Shikotsumyaku, he could create a bone flute and employ Tayuya's sound-based genjutsu.