The story of Tobi the central villain of the Naruto series.
Teenage yearsObito Uchiha was born in one of the major clans of Konohagakure, the Ninja Village of the Fire Country where the story takes place, but lost his parents during his first years of life. Obito always struggled to keep up with the highly skilled ninja apprentices of his generation, let alone the very high standards of his clan. Still, he nurtured the dream to become Hokage (lord of Konoha).
Obito was named Genin (apprentice ninja) during the Third Great Ninja War. He formed a team with Kakashi Hatake, a child-prodigy who became his rival, and Rin Nohara, a young girl he fell in love with; under the tutelage of the legendary Minato Namikaze, one of the most powerful ninjas to ever live. He became Chunin (normal ninja) the same day Kakashi became Jonin (master ninja).
One fated day, Minato's team was tasked to destroy a bridge in the enemy territory. During this mission, Obito and his teammates got separated from their teacher and Rin was captured by enemy shinobi. Disgusted by Kakashi's willingness to abandon Rin, Obito resolved to rescue her alone. However, they worked out their differences after Obito helped Kakashi to solve his personal issues, and went together to rescue their comrade. They found Rin after a short skirmish with enemy ninjas, during which Kakashi lost an eye and Obito awoke the Sharingan (his clan's eye-power).
However, one enemy caused a cave in and Obito got crushed under boulders while saving Kakashi, with the entire right side of his body being destroyed. Obito gave his remaining Sharingan to replace Kakashi's lost eye and made him promise to watch over Rin for him. Seconds later, the cave collapsed and Obito was presumed deceased and hailed as a hero.
Start of Darkness
By miracle, Obito survived long enough to be rescued by Madara Uchiha, whose underground lair was located near the collapsed cave. Madara rebuilt the destroyed half of Obito's body with a vegetal organism grown from the cells of the late First Hokage Hashirama Senju. Obito at first wanted nothing to do with Madara and trained very hard to regain his peak condition, striving to reunite with his friends, but he could not escape Madara's lair. During this time, he was watched over by Zetsu and his "brother" of sorts Tobi-Zetsu (nicknamed Spiral Face, Guruguru in Japanese, by Obito).
One day, Zetsu warned Obito that Rin and Kakashi were surrounded by ninjas from Kirigakure (the Village Hidden in the Mist). Helped by Tobi-Zetsu, attached to him like an armour, Obito broke free from the cave and rushed to his friends' rescue... Only to witness Rin dying by Kakashi's hand. Obito eventually learnt that she willingly chose to die, as she was made the jinchuriki (host) of Isobu, the Three Tailed Demon Turtle, so that the demon would be released upon returning to Konoha and destroy the village from the inside.
(It was later revealed that the entire situation had been staged by Madara, who wanted to break Obito's spirit to make him his successor. Madara also placed chakra receivers in the vegetal half of his body and a seal on his heart, to prevent him from stepping out of the plans he had for him and make him easier to control once he would outlive his usefulness.)
Broken with despair and left grief-stricken, Obito awoke the Mangekyo Sharingan (the second level of the Sharingan) and slaughtered the ninjas of the Mist. Obito later embraced Madara's nihilistic views and became his apprentice, taking the alias "Tobi" after Tobi-Zetsu. After Madara's death Tobi started using his name for himself, and set out to enact Madara's plan. However, he never intended to resurrect Madara as planned, wanting to do it for his own gain. The years he spent roaming the Ninja Countries would cement his belief that the world was beyond saving.
Madara's "Eye of the Moon Plan" consisted of gathering the nine demonic Tailed Beasts to resurrect the Ten-Tailed Beast from which they were born and become its jinchuriki. He would then be able to project the Infinite Tsukuyomi, a reality-warping hypnosis, from the moon to unite every mind under his control. By enacting this plan, Tobi seeks to replace reality with a dream-world in which his wishes would come true.
Creation of Akatsuki
Since Madara had given the Rinnegan eyes to Nagato, Tobi, still "wearing" Tobi-Zetsu, approached Nagato and his friends Yahiko and Konan and, despite lukewarm first contacts, inspired them to create Akatsuki. After Yahiko's death, he manipulated Nagato's desire to change the world to gain him to his cause. Tobi remained in the shadows and made Nagato appear as Akatsuki's leader, while he was in fact its second-in-command. Under Tobi's impulse, Akatsuki became an evil organization gathering the worst renegade ninjas, bent on obtaining the Tailed Beasts at all costs.
After the Third Ninja War, the five great ninja countries started a process of disarmament, but without relinquishing their rivalry. Tobi used this to his advantage to increase Akatsuki's influence, making it appear as an elite mercenary team much less expensive and more efficient than the ninja villages, and turning it into a world power.
Puppeteer of the Mizukage
At some point in the past, Tobi came to Kirigagure and used his Sharingan to control Yagura, the fourth Mizukage (Lord of the village) and the jinchuriki of the Three-Tails, for a yet unknown purpose. Tobi made Yagura's reign nightmarish, causing Kirigakure to be nicknamed the "Village of the Bloody Mist". At some point, he revealed himself to Kisame Hoshigaki and gained his obedience.
The Uchiha Clan MassacreTobi waited for Kushina Uzumaki, the jinchuriki of Kurama the Nine-Tailed Fox, to give birth, when the seal weakens. He killed her bodyguards and took her new-born son Naruto hostage, threatening to kill him if she was not handed to him.
Minato Namikaze (now Naruto's father and fourth Hokage) rescued his son, but Tobi had filled the baby's blanket with explosives to drive him away. He released Kurama, enslaved him and unleashed him on Konoha. Minato caught up with him (identifying him as Madara Uchiha), fought him and forced him to flee. He was later forced to give up his life to seal Kurama within his own son (sealing part of the demon’s power in him in the process), hoping that Naruto could one day use the Fox's power to defeat Tobi.
Konoha escaped destruction but, since the Uchiha Clan wields the power to control Kurama, the entire village came to believe that they were responsible of the attack and shunned them. Then, the resentful Uchihas staged a coup d'état to take over the village. (Tobi was most likely responsible of that situation.) They chose Itachi Uchiha to infiltrate the village's spheres of influence. However, fearing that the coup would escalate into the Fourth Great Ninja War, Itachi accepted orders from the village's elders to slaughter his clan.
Itachi eventually realized that Tobi (whom he also believed to be Madara Uchiha) was behind Kurama's attack. He offered him to participate in the massacre, in exchange for a promise that he would do nothing against Konoha, and they slaughtered the clan. Yet, Itachi spared his brother Sasuke Uchiha, hoping to one day die by his hand.
Role in the Story
The rookie facade
Tobi is first introduced as a subordinate of Zetsu, who enters Akatsuki as a replacement for Sasori and gets partnered with Deidara. His goofy antics often get on Deidara's nerves, prompting him to retaliate with explosions. The two capture the Three Tailed Demon Turtle, before Tobi assists Deidara during his fight with Sasuke. After being thought dead in Deidara’s suicide explosion, Tobi is revealed to be the real leader of Akatsuki, who makes everyone (readers included) believe that he is Madara Uchiha. He then orders Nagato and Konan to capture Naruto in order to get his hands on Kurama.
|“||The Uchiha Clan is a clan destined for revenge.||„|
He toys with them with his goofy persona, phasing through all their attacks. Upon learning about Sasuke's victory, Tobi scornfully dismisses them while displaying his Sharingan. He then takes Sasuke away and treats his wounds. When Sasuke wakes up, Tobi introduces himself as Madara Uchiha and takes off his mask, only to be engulfed in Amaterasu’s black fire. Itachi planted a trap into Sasuke's eyes to save him from Tobi's influence, but he escapes it.Tobi then gains Sasuke's trust by telling him about the founding of Konohagakure and Itachi's decision to slaughter his kin for the sake of peace. While Tobi tells the truth, he subtly presents it from his point of view, depicting the Senjus as untrustworthy and abusive and denying involvement in Kurama's attack.
From then on, Tobi has Sasuke trapped in his snare and though the latter claims to be using Akatsuki, Tobi uses him as a pawn and gradually turns him into a merciless criminal. Apparently he plans to sacrifice Sasuke to better use the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path.
Tobi offers Tailed Beasts to Sasuke’s team to help them in their goal, if they capture Killer Bee the jinchuriki of Gyuki the Eight Tailed Demon Ox for him. Sasuke's team seemingly succeeds and brings Killer Bee to Tobi, but it appears that they only captured a mere clone created from one of the demon's tentacles. Irked, Tobi intercepts Sasuke's team before Konoha, revealing that the village has been destroyed and that Danzo Shimura, a village elder and the replacement Hokage, is heading to the Land of Iron for a summit of the five Kage (the lords of the five most powerful ninja villages). This makes Sasuke plan to kill Danzo.
The Five Kage Summit
Upon Tobi's orders, Zetsu guides Sasuke's team to the five Kage's gathering. He then sneaks into the meeting and reveals Sasuke's presence. While Tobi pays Naruto a visit and tells him about Sasuke's spiraling descent, Sasuke battles the Kage and their powerful bodyguards using his Mangekyo Sharingan. However, they prove far too strong for him alone and Tobi enters the fray, absorbing Sasuke into his alternate dimension.
Tobi expected Sasuke to weaken the Kage for him to take hostages, but he admits this was too bold. He demands to be handed Killer Bee and Naruto, the last two jinchurikis, threatening to unleash the Tailed Beasts he controls if he is denied. Upon their refusal, Tobi declares war to the five great ninja countries, plus the samurais of the Land of Iron. The Kage assume that Tobi cannot use the Tailed Beasts so easily, and that he uses this threat to make them involve the jinchurikis in the upcoming war as major military assets, and easy targets for him to capture.
Tobi later confronts Danzo, capturing his two bodyguards, and makes him battle Sasuke, who wins while further falling into evil. As Sasuke, who has gone nearly blind due to his reckless overuse of the Mangekyo Sharingan, is confronted by his former master Kakashi Hatake and his former comrades Naruto and Sakura Haruno whom he plans to kill, Tobi reappears to take him away, stating that he stands no chance against them in his weakened state. Upon Sasuke’s request, Tobi transplants Itachi's eyes on him to grant him the Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan.Tobi then goes to the Land of Rain to confront Konan, planning to get Nagato's Rinnegan. He makes the mistake of underestimating his former subordinate, who uses her knowledge of his powers to drive him into a corner. She traps him in a chasm of exploding papers from which he cannot normally escape, forcing him to cast Izanagi to survive.
He then hypnotizes Konan to learn the location of Nagato's vault before killing her, and transplants a Rinnegan in his left eye-socket. (It was later revealed that even he could not wield both Rinnegans and that he hid the other away. Also, he hid no less than six White Zetsus to keep tab on Sasuke.)
The Fourth Great Ninja WarPreparing for the war, Tobi is forced into an uneasy alliance with Kabuto Yakushi, Orochimaru's successor, who blackmails him with the resurrected Madara Uchiha. Tobi is using a hundred-thousand clones of Zetsu as his military forces, to which Kabuto adds many immensely powerful ninjas that he resurrected.
Sometime later, Tobi receives a report from Kisame Hoshigaki, who upon his orders faked his death to infiltrate the giant Turtle-Island where Naruto and Killer Bee are hidden. He plans to attack it personally but Kabuto offers to go instead. Fortunately, the Tsuchikage (lord of the Hidden Village of the Rocks) forces Kabuto to retreat; but he abducts Yamato, one of Naruto's bodyguards who masters the Mokuton, whom Tobi uses to empower his army.
Tobi later forces Kabuto to reveal the secrets of his resurrection spell under threat of death; killing one of Danzo's bodyguards to use him as a demonstration. As Kabuto departs, Tobi orders Zetsu to keep an eye on him.
When the war begins, Tobi sends his army underground to avoid detection, but the Ninja Coalition intercepts them and holds its own, sealing away many of the resurrected ninjas. He also sends Black Zetsu to capture the Lords of the ninja nations, in order to keep their powerful bodyguards away from the battlefield.
When Naruto learns about the war, he breaks away with Killer Bee and Zetsu informs Tobi of their move. Tobi then enters the fray and summons the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path to deal with the coalition, while he steals two magic gourds in which two undead ninjas wielding Kurama's chakra have been sealed.It appears that the clash between the two armies was only the first step of Tobi's strategy. Indeed, during the night, the remaining Zetsu clones use the chakra they absorbed from their opponents to transform into perfect doubles of them, going undetected and decimating the forces of the coalition from the inside, starting with the medic ninjas.
Knowing from Kisame’s report that Naruto can now sense evil intent (the only way to unmask a transformed Zetsu) he counts on this to bring him out of hiding. Even worse, he created his own version of Nagato’s Six Paths of Pain; using the reanimated corpses of six former jinchurikis and granting them their Path's respective Rinnegan power and the Sharingan, and sealing their Tailed Beasts back within them.
The following day, the real Madara Uchiha is revealed to be part of Akatsuki's undead warriors. As Madara engages a battle against the five Kage, Sasuke joins forces with an undead but independant Itachi to defeat Kabuto and lift his resurrection spell. Meanwhile, Naruto and Killer Bee challenge Tobi t.
The War's Climax
Tobi uses his Six Paths of Pain’s Tailed Beasts’ powers, combined vision and ability to anticipate their foes’ movements to gain the upper-hand. Killer Bee turns into Gyuki and levels the forest to knock out the jinchurikis and seal them, but Tobi counters him by transforming the jinchurikis into their Tailed Beasts. He then hides underground and nearly captures Naruto, only to be driven away by Kakashi Hatake and his fellow master ninja Might Guy.
Tobi has Son Goku, the Four-Tailed Demon Gorilla, swallow Naruto but the boy manages to get in contact with the demon and escapes. Naruto attempts to remove the stake used to control the Four-Tails but Tobi had rigged it with energy chains to bind him. Still, Naruto left one clone inside the demon's mouth to remove the stake from the inside, but Tobi merely seals back the freed demon into the Statue of the Outer Path. Tobi then unleashes the five other Tailed Beasts, but Naruto defeats them thanks to Kurama's power, forcing Tobi to seal them back.
After Kabuto's resurrection spell is lifted, Tobi makes the Statue swallow Gyuki's tentacle and the jar containing Kurama's chakra, to revive the Ten-Tailed Beast. He seals the Statue behind a force-field and holds his own against his four enemies without trouble. However, Kakashi discovers that he and Tobi both master the Sharingan-based spell Kamui, hinting his true identity. As Tobi attempts to talk them down, playing on Kakashi's regrets, Naruto attacks him replete with Kurama's power and forces him to warp himself into his dimensional void, where a clone of Naruto (warped there by Kakashi) manages to shatter his mask.
Right after Kakashi and Guy recognize Tobi as Obito Uchiha, Madara (who just trounced the Kage) barges in. Tobi attacks Kakashi, who is too guilt-ridden to even react, while refusing to explain his reasons and harshly insulting him. Disgusted, Naruto sends one of his clone protect his teacher, renewing Kakashi's resolve. Naruto and Killer Bee then attempt to obliterate the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path but too late, the Ten-Tailed Beast is reborn.
Resurrection of the Ten-Tails
|“||Feel your friends becoming cold and realize their death! Your feeble words and principles are going to be proven wrong. This is reality. This is what happens when you talk about hopes and ideals. [...] As long as you keep opposing, your friends will die one after the other. No one that acknowledges you will survive. And you always know what lies ahead of this... loneliness!||„|
|~ Tobi (after killing one of Naruto's close friends)|
As Tobi and Madara take control of the Ten-Tails, which brushes off the heroes’ attacks, the Ninja Coalition barges in and traps the demon into a pit to attack the rogue Uchihas… in vain. The Ten-Tails reaches its second stage of evolution and escapes the pit, before launching Spheres of Destruction to obliterate random locations across the world, including the Coalition's Headquarters and the Intelligence Squad within. Madara suggests ending it once and for all but Tobi silences him, reminding him that he needs his cooperation to accomplish his plan (while voicing his disgust at the fact that he must sacrifice himself to revive his mentor).
Having recognized his younger self in Naruto, Tobi becomes determined to prove his point and uses the Ten Tails' power to unleash an onslaught of wooden stakes on the Coalition, causing many casualties including Neji Hyuga, one of Naruto's close friends who sacrificed his life to protect him.
Tobi harshly lectures Naruto and succeeds in breaking his spirit for a while... until Neji's cousin Hinata and Kurama put the boy back in track, stating that his life is connected to those who bet their ones on his ideals. Naruto then uses Kurama's might to empower each ninja of the Coalition, and they land a collective blow on the Ten-Tails.
Tobi and Kakashi settle their score in the Kamui dimension. Kakashi cannot bring himself to kill his former best friend and keeps appealing to him, only for Tobi to reassert how much he hates this world that makes everything hollow, proving his point with illusions. Stabbed through the heart by Kakashi, Tobi flees back to the battlefield. (It is explained later that he let himself get stabbed to break a seal by Madara’s, barring him from absorbing the Ten-Tails.)
Madara uses chakra receivers he hid in Tobi's vegetal half to force him to resurrect him, but Tobi saw him coming and instead casts a spell to seal the Ten-Tails in him. The undead Hokage attempt to seal him but he effortlessly breaks through their barrier. As the experience nearly shattered Tobi’s mind, The protagonists attempt to defeat him before he can regain control, but his power proves too overwhelming and soon the metamorphosis is complete.
Working carefully with the undead Hokages, Sasuke and Naruto strike Tobi by combining their mightiest attacks, in vain. Naruto then discovers that natural energy can harm Tobi. The Second Hokage teleports Naruto near Tobi and the boy wounds his foe with a nature-powered Rasengan attack. Incensed, Tobi traps the entire Coalition in a force-field and prepares to obliterate them with giant Spheres of Destruction, but Naruto and Kurama reach the half of Kurama's power sealed within his father and uses it to reactivate the power boost he granted to the Coalition's ninjas tenfold; before using his father's power to teleport them out of the force-field.The four undead Hokage attempt to seal Tobi, but he effortlessly breaks through their barrier and blasts them apart. The protagonists do their best to defeat him before he can reach full control of the demon, but his power proves too overwhelming and soon the metamorphosis is complete.
Working carefully with the undead Hokages, Sasuke and Naruto strike Tobi by combining their mightiest attacks, in vain. Naruto then discovers that natural energy can harm Tobi. The Second Hokage teleports Naruto near Tobi and the boy wounds his foe with a nature-powered Ransengan attack.
Incensed, Tobi traps the entire Coalition in a force-field and prepares to obliterate them with giant Spheres of Destruction, but Naruto and Kurama reach the half of Kurama's power sealed within his father and uses it to reactivate the power boost he granted to the Coalition's ninjas tenfold; before using his father's power to teleport them out of the force-field. Unimpressed, Tobi returns the Ten-Tails to its original form: the divine God Tree from which the world was born. As soon as the God Tree's flower blooms, Tobi will be able to rewrite reality as he pleases, meaning that he must be defeated before it happens.The God Tree kills many ninjas by draining their chakra but the Coalition still attempts to destroy it, prompting Tobi to turn the tree's roots into dragons to fight them. Meanwhile, Naruto combines Kurama's power with natural energy while Sasuke combines his Susanoo technique with Jugo's natural energy to strike Tobi, who shrugs them off. He prepares to destroy them with a gigantic sword of black chakra, but Naruto and Sasuke strike him with their mightiest attacks combined, backed up by their friends.
With help from the entire Coalition, they succeed in extracting the seven Tailed Beasts from Tobi's body, breaking his power. In the process, Naruto reaches Tobi's mind and memories and tells him that rejecting the world means betraying Rin's expectations, and that he should stop fleeing from his former self. Despite wondering what he could have become had he not came back to Madara, Tobi refuses to hold back and ends up defeated.
Kakashi emerges from the Kamui dimension and prepares to finish Tobi off, but Minato stays his hand. It is only when his former master and former best friend reach to him, stating that he helped them envision a better future that Tobi finally reconciles with his former self. Musing about Naruto's resolve being stronger than his own, he prepares to sacrifice his life to resurrect all the victims of the war.
Alas, things turn from the worst when Black Zetsu is revealed to have faked his death upon Madara's order. Zetsu possesses Tobi and forces him to resurrect Madara, before using his dying body as shell to fight Minato and Kakashi. Gaara and Sakura bring a Naruto on the verge of death, since Madara ripped Kurama out of him, to Minato, so that the other half of Kurama's power could be transferred into him. However, Black Zetsu steals Kurama's Power before Tobi manages to subdue him.
|“||You'll probably have to suffer again from now on… but don't change, keep going your way. You told me that you never change your words… that's your ninja way. Right? Naruto, become Hokage… at all costs.||„|
|~ Obito's last words to Naruto.|
Madara, now the new jinchuriki of the Ten-Tails, attempts to talk Tobi back into his side. Fortunately, Tobi only feigns to accept and steals a part of the nine Tailed Beasts' power from Madara, before prying his Monk-staff off him. With Kakashi's help, Tobi (who restarts calling himself Obito Uchiha) sends Naruto and Sakura into the Kamui dimension before jumping there himself, while Might Guy sacrifices all his life-force to drive Madara into a corner.
Obito saves Naruto's life by transferring the half of Kurama's power along with a part of the other Tailed Beasts' into him. Later, Naruto and Sasuke, who gained divine powers from the Sage of the Six Paths' spirit, almost defeat Madara, forcing him to steal Kakashi's Sharingan to enter the Kamui dimension. Obito asks Sakura to destroy his Rinnegan, but Madara arrives before she can do so. Obito saves Sakura from Madara’s attack, but he can no longer hold Black Zetsu, and Madara uses both Rinnegan to cast the Infinite Tsukuyomi, leaving Obito for dead.
With the entire world, save from Naruto's team (who are protected by Sasuke's Susanoo) and the undead Hokage, under his control and absorbed into the God Tree, Madara prepares to finish his foes off, but he is betrayed by Black Zetsu, who reveals that the Uchihas and the entire Ninja World were his pawns for millennia to resurrect Kaguya Otsutsuki, the goddess of the ancient world. Kaguya then uses Madara's body as a vessel and drags the protagonists into another dimension to kill them.
As Naruto and Sasuke are holding their own against her, Kaguya ends up banishing Sasuke into a desert dimension, as they need to unite their power to defeat her. Meanwhile, Obito (who was revived by Naruto earlier and regained his two Sharingans) and Sakura manage to enter Kaguya's dimensional plane and use Obito's dimensional power to rescue Sasuke.
After everyone returns to the dimension where Naruto is battling Kaguya, she paralyzes Naruto and Sasuke by increasing gravity before firing deadly projectiles at them. However, Kakashi and Obito shield them with their bodies and Obito vanishes the projectile threatening Kakashi, sacrificing his life in the process. Obito slowly crumbles into dust, indifferent to Black Zetsu's taunts, stating that such fate is a fitting punishment for his crimes. Before dying, he thanks Naruto for redeeming him and encourages him to succeed in the battle and in his dream of becoming Hokage. Before passing on, Obito uses Kamui to somehow contact Kakashi’s spirit and grant him both of his eyes, and the immense power that goes with it.
Road to Ninja
Tobi is the primary antagonist of the semi-canonical movie Road to Ninja. He appears to Naruto and Sakura and traps them into a limited version of the Infinite Tsukuyomi, both to test it and to isolate Naruto to capture him, and get his hands on Kurama. They find themselves in an illusionary world, in which the Uchiha massacre never took place, with everyone having lived a different life and as such being radically different to the people they know.
It soon appears that in this world, Naruto’s parents are still alive while Sakura's are dead, somehow switching their life. Meanwhile, Tobi sends his spirit into the dream-world, where he gains the obedience of a young masked criminal. The masked boy later sneaks into Konoha to steal an artifact, abducts Sakura to use her as a hostage and destroys most of the village. Naruto rushes after him and destroys his mask, only to discover that it is his dream-world counterpart Menma Uzumaki.
As Menma is able to summon his counterpart of Kurama, Naruto is forced to do the same, but this is what Tobi wanted all along. Indeed, this battle would weaken the seal, enabling him to extract Kurama like he did to Naruto's mother in the real world. He then possesses Menma, who gains a Sharingan, and takes the matter in hand.
Tobi-Menma manages to hypnotize Naruto, but he is saved by Sakura before Kurama can be extracted. Naruto eventually manages to defeat Tobi-Menma thanks to one of his father's teleporters, in a similar fashion to how Minato defeated Tobi during the attack of the Nine-Tails.
Admitting defeat, Tobi breaks the spell and returns Naruto and Sakura to the real world.