Orihime is a teenager of average height. She has brown eyes and long, waist-length burnt orange hair. Her most noticeable physical trait is her surprisingly curvaceous figure for a teenager, especially in terms of her large breasts. She wears her hair in bangs tucked behind her ears with hairpins, which she only removes to sleep, as they are worn in the memory of her brother. Orihime initially wears her hair with a full but parted fringe before pulling most of her bangs behind her ears as she was ready to leave for Soul Society, a change noted by Tatsuki. Seventeen months after Aizen's defeat, Orihime doesn't wear her hair clips and her bangs frame her face without them. Instead, she keeps them clipped onto the left collar of her school uniform.
Orihime is friendly, humorous in her own way, sensitive, caring, and kind. She comes off as naive and rather clueless, which is at odds with her exceptionally high marks in school. She studies hard because when her grades drop, she receives less financial support from her relatives. She is a member of the Handicrafts Club and likes to invent very ridiculous sports to play with Tatsuki (such as "base-cer," a combination of baseball and soccer). She is not very good with technology; a member of the Handicrafts Club once remarked that she is not smart enough to use a cell phone, which is why she does not have one.
Orihime likes Asian flower print clothes and comedies. Orihime cooks and eats strange food at home, although she also likes some normal food. Aside from Rangiku Matsumoto and Tessai Tsukabishi, no one shares Orihime's tastes. Her favorite food is red bean paste, and she likes putting butter on sweet potatoes. She enjoys cheese and butter most of the time. She tends to zone out with her mouth open and loses track of what she was thinking or dreaming about. She also tends to have an over-active imagination and gets carried away thinking of implausible scenarios, such as portraying herself as a futuristic and highly destructive robot in an assignment asking a student "How do you see yourself in the future?".
Orihime has also demonstrated that she is perceptive when it comes to people's mental and emotional state, especially in regards to Ichigo Kurosaki, as she is able to tell what kind of driving force is pushing someone. She has a crush on Ichigo, and later falls in love with him. She has revealed these feelings to Rangiku Matsumoto and to Ichigo himself, though he was asleep at the time. She has exhibited traits that appear to have some connection with Ichigo, such as the uncanny ability to detect Ichigo by scent and sense his Spiritual Pressure even when masked by the Visored, and an awareness of what mood Ichigo is in, sensing his feelings of anguish, disappointment, or worry, even feeling pain herself when she sees Ichigo getting hurt.
Orihime lives by herself in Karakura Town, 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, who was three years old, and raised her from then on.
For six years, Orihime and Sora lived in harmony despite the fact that Orihime was bullied in school 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 car accident and died in the Kurosaki 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 entering Karakura High School, 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.
Shun Shun Rikka (盾舜六花, Six Flowers of the Hibiscus Shield; Viz: Six Princess Shielding Flowers): Orihime's spiritual power manifests itself as six fairy-like creatures. Only spiritualy aware beings can see them. They reside in her hair-clips which are shaped like six-pedaled flowers, each fairy is two points on a given clip when inactive. Through various combinations of the six fairies, Orihime has the power to reject fate by denying or undoing events in various forms. This power can be used for attack, defense, or healing (depending on the combination). Orihime's determinations directly influences the effectiveness of her powers. Feelings like doubt or worry make them weaker, while conviction makes them stronger.
The Visored Hachigen Ushōda comments that her hair pins, being the physical manifestation of her powers, is very much like the Zanpakutō of a Shinigami and that her powers resemble his own powers. The Arrancar, Tesra, when holding Orihime captive, warns her not to try to attack him as he can easily break the physical container of her Shun Shun Rikka, the hair pins themselves, stating that they are ridiculously weak. Sōsuke Aizen, in his explanation of the Hōgyoku, says that her powers were actually awakened from the Hōgyoku when she cursed her powerlessness with all her heart and the Hōgyoku answered her desire.
Orihime's techniques involve incantations manipulating the Shun Shun Rikka into three different groups. Though Orihime initially needed to recite their kotodama to use her techniques, further training has rendered this unnecessary. Her kotodama consists of voicing the names of the members involved, followed by the technique name and the phrase "I reject" (私は拒絶する, watashi wa kyozetsu suru), a reference to the nature of her powers.
Santen Kesshun (三天結盾, Three Sacred Links Shield): is Orihime's defensive technique. The incantation arranges Hinagiku, Lily and Baigon into a triangle that has the ability to repel the "outer shield." A 'shield' is raised between her and her enemy, and they repel the attack she receives. Because the barrier rejects negative events, it can also function as an airbag of sorts, allowing Orihime and anyone else nearby to survive a potentially lethal fall unharmed.
- Sōten Kisshun (双天帰盾, Twin Sacred Return Shield): is Orihime's "healing" technique. The incantation summons Ayame and Shun'ō to form a half-oval barrier around whatever or whomever Orihime wishes. Their ability is to repel the "inner shield." The shield placed inside means that they repel the damage within a limited area. In other words, they return a subject covered by the shield to the state that they were before taking damage. Orihime is capable of fully restoring Grimmjow's destroyed arm from nothing, to which Sōsuke Aizendeduces this as "The Rejection of Events". Her ability is to limit, reject, and negate any kind of event that has happened to her target. It is an ability that returns her target to its former state no matter what has happened to them. Yasochika Iemura comments that the technique's healing speed is potentially faster than Isane Kotetsu and his own. However, it is far more powerful than "Temporal Regression" or "Spatial Regression" as it easily tramples into the horizon of events that God has decided. It is a power that trespasses into God's territory. Originally Orihime wasn't able to restore a destroyed Tsubaki but Hachigen Ushōda states that her reiatsu she should have powers very close to his own, therefore she should be able to restore him to his original form even without a shattered fragment. Later, she is fully capable of resurrecting the dead. While Orihime can heal wounds quickly, it takes her longer to replenish the patient's Reiatsu. Large amounts of foreign spiritual pressure also make healing more difficult.
- Koten Zanshun (孤天斬盾, Solitary Sacred Cutting Shield): is Orihime's offensive technique. The incantation summons Tsubaki who has the ability to repel "both sides of the shield." He breaks through the enemy, puts up a shield inside, and repels the combined substance, thus splitting the enemy in two. While Tsubaki can cut through basically anything, Orihime's general dislike of combat and hesitance to use lethal force degrades the effectiveness of the technique, making him easy to counter and equally easy to injure.
- Shiten Kōshun (四天抗盾, Shield of Four Heavens' Resistance): is one of Orihime's techniques that combines both offensive and defensive properties. The incantation integrates Tsubaki into the center of herSanten Kesshun ability, creating a pyramidal shield that at the very instant of receiving an attack, disperses the resultant force as a concentrated explosion that is automatically returned along the attack's opposing trajectory.
Spiritual Awareness: Orihime has keen senses in detecting spiritual energy, as such that she can sense Hollows and ongoing battles at a significant distance. If she concentrates, she can sense Reiatsu of people even within protective barriers.
Spiritual Power: Orihime is also able to get close to several battles between powerful opponents without being overwhelmed, such as the battles between Ulquiorra and Grimmjow, as well as Ichigo and Ulquiorra. During her basic training in Kidō with Kūkaku Shiba, it was shown that Orihime has a natural talent for precise spiritual energy control as she quickly mastered the technique.
Durability: Orihime is at least strong enough to survive separate assaults by Loly and Menoly, which involved physical attacks and the use of Bala, and minor assaults by Nnoitra and Tesra.
Hand-to-Hand Combatant: While a pacifist by nature, Orihime has shown to have a natural talent for martial arts. She reveals that Tatsuki has trained her somewhat in karate. According to Tatsuki, Orihime has the fighting skill of a black belt. Orihime was at least strong enough to incapacitate two unseated Shinigami soldiers.
Memory Chikan Resistance: Orihime was able to recall the event of her brother fighting Ichigo Kurosaki, even though the memory chikan has been used on her by Rukia.
- According to her character profile by Tite Kubo, her theme song is T'en va pas by Elsa.
- She ranked 8th in the most recent Bleach popularity poll (she placed highly in previous polls placing 5th, 12th and 10th).
- Her Shun Shun Rikka came 33rd tying with 2 others in the Zanpakutō popularity poll.
- The color of Orihime's eyes vary from the manga to the anime. They are shown as brown in the manga while the anime depicts them as silver or gray.