Orihime was born and lives by herself in Kirigakure , and is supported by a distantly related aunt living elsewhere. Previously, she lived with her older brother, Sora, who was fifteen years older than her. She and her brother were raised by a drunken father and a prostitute mother, who always argued and beat their children. Fearing that their parents would kill Orihime, in the March that Sora turned eighteen, he ran away with Orihime heading to Konohagakure, who was three years old, and raised her from then on.
For six years, Orihime and Sora lived in harmony together in Konohagakure despite the fact that Orihime was bullied in Konoha's ninja academy because of her unusual hair color. One day, Sora gave Orihime a pair of hairpins. However, Orihime refused to wear them because she said they were childish. On the same day, Sora was wounded in a battle between him and 2 other Konohagakure ninja and died in the Konohagakure clinic. Orihime has worn the hairpins ever since. After he died, Orihime prayed for him everyday. A year after Sora died, Orihime met Tatsuki and the amount of days she prayed for him diminished. After graduating from the ninja academy, she stopped praying for him and instead talked about Ichigo before she left and when she returned from school. She wanted to show Sora that she was happy and that he did not have to worry about her. Tatsuki defended her from the bullies. They became best friends.
She initially appears with Tatsuki walking through the academy corridor, discussing her odd tastes in food, which her best friend does not share. A distracted Ichigo Kurosaki collides with her and knocks her to the ground. After he apologizes, she acts strangely and begins to make excuses while fleeing the scene. Later, she is seen at her home being watched by one of the ninjas that killed her brother, Sora. The next day, Ichigo and Rukia Kuchiki come across Orihime as she is walking home from purchasing groceries for dinner. When they find her, it is evident she has been in some sort of accident although she appears unsure if she was attacked or not. Despite this, Rukia notices a strange bruise on her leg which she later reveals was made by the ninja. This is confirmed when that ninja attacks Ichigo, who identifies him as the killer of Orihime's brother.
Meanwhile, Orihime has Tatsuki over for dinner, revealing more of her crush when she becomes distracted by the thought of Ichigo's previous offer to walk her home. After dinner, both girls begin hearing loud noises after Orihime's teddy rips and falls from its shelf. It is then that ninja attacks Orihime and Tatsuki. Horrified, Orihime witnesses the ninja attack her best friend, who becomes scared and confused, even when Orihime touches her Ichigo soon arrives to attack the ninja but still hesitates in finishing him off, being flung from the building in the process. the ninja then reveals his true identity to Orihime. Again, Ichigo hesitates and loses his sword as a result. the ninja attacks Orihime and she aimlessly run around evading his attacks. Finally Ichigo retrieves his sword and sends a vertical blow to the ninja cutting him in half and killing him.
While both Tatsuki and Orihime's memories are shaky after the incident, this event enables them to start developing their own abilities. She once again encounters another Kirigakure ninja when Uryū lures a massive number to Konohagakure for his challenge to Ichigo. At this time she tries to get her friends to run quickly from the academy, in actuality, to run away from the ninja that was stalking them that they couldn't see. The ninja, Numb Chandelier, uses his genjutsu ability to control various students and forces them to attack Orihime, with a shocked Chizuru Honshō unable to prevent her left hand from clenching itself around Orihime's neck. The classmates begin surrounding Orihime and begin gripping her when Tatsuki arrives to defend her
from the onslaught, confused by the actions of her fellow students. When Tatsuki tries to fend off the assaults and protect Orihime, she is controlled as well with one of the ninja's seeds implanted within her. Seeing Tatsuki in tears brings back old memories of the days when Orihime was bullied for the color of her hair and when Tatsuki saved her, thus Orihime decides it is time for her to protect Tatsuki in return for their friendship. This desire forces a change in Orihime whose powers begin to manifest for the first time as she declares that the ninja made a mistake in hurting her friends. Orihime then moves at very fast speed as the ninja finds her vanished in the thin air and in a second the ninja dies by a Kunai at the back of his neck at utilized by Inoue, Kisuke Urahara takes her and Yasutora Sado to his Place, where he explains their powers to them and gets them through a training to control and master their abilities and the basics for ninjutsu and weapons, in which later Inoue decided to train her hardest to avenge her brother's death and kill the ninjas responsible for his death.