Chapter 599: Obito Uchiha
I want to say before I begin the summary, that I loved the way this chapter was done with virtually no dialogue. It helps to create a nostalgic tone, a sense that we’re looking into precious, bittersweet memories. And since there’s so little narration, the memories are not attributed to any one character, but seem to be shared between Obito, Kakashi, and Gai. Regardless of what you think of the Tobito plot twist, this chapter has some excellent story-telling.
The chapter begins with the academy’s entrance ceremony. Obito runs because he’s late, and walks in abashed while all the other students are already assembled. Kakashi looks exasperated at the late arrival, but Rin smiles at Obito and hands him his entrance papers.
We see several familiar faces among the academy students.
Next, it’s the 2nd test of the Chuunin exams—a team match. Obito is late again, having been slowed down by helping an elderly lady carry her groceries. The woman gives him some candy, which he sucks on as he runs up to meet Rin and a very angry Kakashi. In the match, he tries to do the fireball jutsu, but fails (possibly because he still has the candy in his mouth), and Gai knocks the daylights out of him.
Later, Rin comforts him, and he shows off his Uchiha crest to her, and possibly tells her he wants to be Hokage some day. (He’s posing in front of the Hokage mountain, which anachronistically has Minato’s face on it—whoops!)
Obito charms Rin--but not enough.
Obito doubles down his training efforts, and goes into the third exam with confidence. Unfortunately, he gets another kick to the face from Gai. Later, he notices how mesmerized Rin is while watching Kakashi handily win a match against Gai. Kakashi makes the rank of Chuunin.
Obito is inspired to increase his efforts, until he, too, makes Chuunin rank in a later exam. Rin whispers something to him—asking him to meet her at a certain place. Obito seems to be hoping for a private tryst, but it turns out to be a meeting of several of the young shinobi, who are planning a celebration of Kakashi making Jounin rank.
We get a glimpse of Rin and Minato presenting Kakashi’s gifts, which brings us up to the story covered in Kakashi Gaiden. At this point, we skip to Obito’s “death”, and are given another panel of Kakashi’s and Obito’s faces juxtaposed into one.
Then it’s back to the present, with a wide-eyed Kakashi, Gai, and Naruto looking at Tobi’s broken mask and the face that is now revealed. The left side, containing the Rinnegan, is handsome and grim; the right side, containing the space-time-altering Mangekyo Sharingan that matches Kakashi’s, is terribly scarred. His hair is black and spiky, just like young Obito’s.
Unmasked at last.
Kakashi says, “You are…Obito…?”
Thoughts on the chapter
So it is confirmed. Tobi is, at least in some sense, Obito Uchiha. Some questions/issues that remain to be resolved:
- It’s clearly his body, but is it his mind, and is he in full control of his actions? Some are suggesting that Obito’s body is being possessed, controlled, or partially controlled by another entity, such as Madara, Zetsu, or a being that originates in the alternate dimension connected to his eyes. Personally, I don’t believe this is the case, due to Tobi’s reactions to Kakashi in recent chapters—but it’s possible.
- If it truly is Obito, mind and body, what caused him to turn to such a wildly different path and outlook? Was it Madara who rescued Obito from death? Did he help Obito to power up and corrupt his outlook? Or was it Zetsu, or someone else? Did the trauma of being nearly killed and left to die by his teammates contribute to his transformation? What role, if any, did Rin play? Did he kill her to gain the MS? Or does he blame Kakashi or Minato or Konoha for her death? Is she even dead? Could he have, perhaps, imprisoned her in the other dimension? I suspect whatever the answer is, it will be the topic of chapter 600.
- At what point(s) does Obito assume the identity of Madara? There are several problems with the way the timeline works. Personally, I am not confident that Kishi will resolve these in a way that will really add up, but it’s still interesting to speculate. Here is one proposed timeline:
- Madara is defeated by Hashirama, but secretly survives.
- Madara implants the Rinnegan in Nagato.
- Madara influences the formation of Akatsuki.
- Madara controls the Mizukage and shadow-rules the Bloody Mist.
- At some point, Madara creates Zetsu.
- Obito nearly dies, but is saved by Madara and Zetsu.
- Some time later (how much is under debate), Obito, as the masked man, unleashes the Kyuubi and defeats Minato. Because he uses the space-time jutsu in this fight, it is believed that this is Obito and not Madara. However, that leaves the question of how he was able to control the Kyuubi, a power that was attributed to Madara. Perhaps Madara taught him this power, or perhaps Madara and Tobi were working together that night.
- Madara, as the masked man, influences Itachi and helps with the massacre, collecting extra Sharingan in the process (one of which probably goes to Obito, to fill in his missing left eye). It is believed this is Madara, and not Obito, because he has Madara’s signature long hair in the flashbacks.
- Some time later, the real Madara dies, and Obito fully assumes his identity.
- Madara is defeated by Hashirama, but secretly survives.
- How much time passed between Obito’s apparent death and the Kyuubi attack, and how could he grow that tall and power up so fast? One possible explanation is that he just did. Boys can grow suddenly in the space of a year, and under Madara’s tutelage, it’s possible that his skill as a ninja would suddenly increase. Another explanation is that time manipulation was involved. After all, his eye has the ability to manipulate space-time. It’s not hard to imagine he could, for example, spend years in the alternate dimension, aging and leveling up at a different rate from Kakashi. A third explanation is that we have miscalculated the time that passed between Obito’s “death” and the Kyuubi attack. This theory suggests that, despite appearances, Obito is actually older than Kakashi by about 3-4 years. This is based on combining info from the databook on when Kakashi and Obito graduated and made Chunnin rank, and what we observe in this chapter of them participating in the academy and Chuunin exams together. If the databook is right (which is debatable), Kakashi would have been 9-10 when Obito “died”, and therefore, the Kyuubi attack was actually 4-5 years later, making Obito about 17-18 when he fights Minato. (For this to work, we have to assume the third ninja war lasted at least 4 years, otherwise it messes up Itachi’s timeline.)
- Is it possible that the space-time jutsu allows time travel? If we go with this possibility, it may be that some of the instances where we are assuming the real Madara was at work were actually Obito. One possible example is the Bloody Mist, since Kisame seems to recognize the face under Tobi’s mask as the person who manipulated the Mizukage. On the other hand, it could be that Obito just looks a lot like Madara—they are related after all. He might also have used a transformation jutsu to confuse Kisame. Another interesting wrinkle in the time travel theory: Could it be that not only did Madara save Obito from the brink of death, but Obito also went back in time (on Madara’s orders) to save Madara from the brink of death after his fight with Hashirama?
- And finally: Does this fit in with the themes of the manga, and if so, how? I’ve been a little leery of Tobito from the start, but I have to say I’m coming around to it. Mainly because…I’m a sucker for angsty plot twists. But also, I noticed how Kakashi and Obito seem to parallel Sasuke and Naruto. Remember Sasuke and Naruto’s last confrontation, when Naruto had this insight that their positions could have been reversed? Well, in some sense, that’s Kakashi and Obito. It’s not a perfect analogy, of course, but at least in some ways, Kakashi and Obito are like Sasuke and Naruto, except that they took opposite paths. This may be another variation on the theme of Naruto’s generation improving upon the mistakes of previous generations.