As a child, Obito was constantly late, which, more often than not, was due to the good deeds he had stopped to do, which usually had to do with aiding the elderly. Having made it a point in his life to do so, he noted that he knew all the elderly persons in Konoha, stopped once on his way to the Chūnin Exams to help an elderly woman carry her luggage, and even comically offered to clean Madara's nether regions when he met him. Obito was also prone to crying, which he always insisted was because he had gotten something in his eyes despite wearing goggles. Obito was in love with Rin; but his feelings were not mutual as Rin was attracted to Kakashi instead. Obito was frustrated by this, and envied Kakashi's prodigious skills, and so constantly sought to surpass him. Although these efforts usually ended in failure, he was able to spend time with Rin while she treated his injuries. Ultimately, Obito would never get the chance to reveal his feelings to Rin before his "death". As Kakashi noted, besides his student's rivalry with Sasuke and one-sided feelings for a female team-mate, Naruto shared other beliefs Obito had, such as his desire to become Hokage and never abandoning comrades on the battlefield. Even after "dying", Obito still cared deeply for his friends and village, and immediately wanted to return, though he would eventually be dissuaded from this after Rin's death. From then on, his personality changed greatly.
Despite nearly dying, Obito's resolve is unchanged.
By the time he became an adult, after the events at Kannabi Bridge and the death of Rin, Obito's personality changed drastically as he became extremely focused, calm and serious; from his former loyalty and care that seems to be derived from the Will of Fire, he now claims to have inherited the Uchiha clan's Curse of Hatred. While frequently arrogant about his own abilities and disrespectful of those he considers as weak, he is not above giving praise to his enemies, such as his former teacher Minato for being able to wound him. He even respects Hashirama Senju to a degree despite his deep contempt for the man, stating that, even though Hashirama defeated Madara Uchiha at the Valley of the End, he has defeated Hashirama by thinking about the long term. He has also forsaken his dream of being Hokage and ideals of camaraderie, and ridiculed Naruto for having both attributes. This arrogance was extended towards Kakashi Hatake despite the two being former friends and team-mates, praising his speed while berating him not to open his mouth so easily. Although he expressed his reasons for not revealing his identity was due to Kakashi letting Rin die, Obito does not seem to blame Kakashi, instead blaming the "worthless reality" they both live in. Nonetheless, his love for Rin appears to be one of his defining features carried into adulthood and her death had a role in creating his current personality. Adult Obito also gets along well with Zetsu, which dates back to his friendship with White Zetsu when Madara saved him.
Obito has also shown an aggressive and sadistic side, a direct contrast to his youth. This was first shown when he attacked his village and held his former teacher's infant son hostage before extracting the Nine-Tails from its jinchūriki, an action that led to the deaths of Minato and Kushina. He mercilessly killed Torune in order to be reincarnated moments later by using Fū as a sacrifice, all for the purpose of testing Kabuto's abilities. After being outed as a fake "Madara" by Naruto, Obito displayed a more nihilistic personality, as he declared that his name was meaningless whether as "Madara", "Tobi" or "Obito", that he was and will be a nobody, and that he could not care less about who he was. He nevertheless remains fiercely committed to his Eye of the Moon Plan, vowing to do anything to see it completed despite his conflicting opinions, and that nothing else matters. This nature continued after his mask was destroyed, after telling Kakashi that his name was utterly meaningless to him.
When first introduced as "Tobi", Obito acted the role of the happy-go-lucky idiot, who annoyed most members of the Akatsuki, particularly Deidara, who frequently attacked Obito in a comedic fashion. Kisame, on the other hand, appreciated Obito's ability to brighten up a gloomy organisation such as theirs. In the anime, Obito is shown keeping up this charade even when no-one was around. Eventually, Obito discards his role as a fool after Deidara's death and used it one final time to distract the Eight Man Squad during Sasuke's battle with Itachi.
Obito is a master of manipulation, either by subtly corrupting his target's own goals, omitting parts of stories or events to his own benefit as he did with Sasuke, or by appearing to share their beliefs. This is best seen in the existence of the Akatsuki, its wildly-differing members working together because they believe the organisation furthers their own ends; in actuality they are mere tools that further Obito's agenda as noted with the case of Nagato. He often avoids responsibility for the influence he has over others, claiming those he coerced and manipulated followed him willingly. Revealing Itachi's true history and motives with Sasuke to win his services was the first of many gambles Obito takes. Even though Sasuke does not always live up to his expectations, such as being unable to defeat the five Kage, Obito is nevertheless happy with his "development": his developing Sharingan and his growing isolation from all other allies. While he has threatened to kill Sasuke at times and even offered to turn him over to others, Obito remains attached to Sasuke, at least until he no longer has use for him.
On the day that he was to become a student at the Academy, Obito arrived late to the opening ceremony. Believing that he had arrived too late he is relieved when Rin hands him his orientation-documents. When Obito eventually graduated at the age of 9, he was placed in a team with Rin and Kakashi under the leadership of Minato Namikaze. The team later took part in the Chūnin Exams, where Obito arrived late for the second round in the Forest of Death having stopped to help an elderly woman with her baggage, leaving his team-mates waiting at the gate.
While in the forest, they were confronted by a team consisting of Might Guy, Genma Shiranui and Ebisu. Obito, wanting to impress Rin, immediately attacked the group, but as he seemingly prepared to use a Fire Release technique, he choked on the sweet the elderly woman had given him and was knocked out by Guy. In the gap between the second and third rounds of the examination, Obito trained arduously to hone his skills and expressed his pride in his clan as well as his dream to become Hokage as their sensei had in his conversations with Rin. He was, however, eliminated in the third round when he fought Might Guy; Kakashi, by defeating Guy in turn, was able to advance to the rank of chūnin. Some years later Obito would also achieve the rank, but this was overshadowed by Kakashi becoming a jōnin and the subsequent surprise celebration Rin was planning for him.
During the Third Shinobi World War, Kakashi was placed in charge of the team for a mission to destroy the Kannabi Bridge, which would hinder Iwagakure from using Kusagakure which they had been using as an integral relief point of sorts. Before beginning the mission, the team gave gifts to Kakashi to celebrate his recent promotion to jōnin. Although Minato and Rin brought their gifts for Kakashi, Obito had forgotten. This strained the already-poor relationship between Kakashi and Obito, which Minato did his best to mend. After defeating Mahiru, Minato soon headed for the front-lines to assist Konoha's forces, leaving the team to carry out their mission alone. The three were subsequently discovered by Iwa ninja and Rin was captured.
Kakashi elected to abandon Rin, believing it was more important to finish the mission before concerning themselves with her. Obito became enraged by the idea and insisted that they focus on her rescue. Kakashi would not be convinced and Obito left to save Rin by himself, remarking that, "those who abandon their friends are worse than scum." Obito located the cave where Rin was being kept, but before he could stage an assault he was found and attacked by a camouflaged Taiseki. Kakashi, having had a change of heart because of Obito's parting words, arrived in time to shield Obito from Taiseki's attack, although his left eye was badly damaged in the process. To save his team-mate, Obito awakened his Sharingan and used it to see through Taiseki's camouflage and kill him.
Obito and Kakashi entered the cave and released Rin from her restraints, prompting Kakkō to start a cave-in to trap them inside. They tried to make it for the exit but Kakashi had difficulty avoiding the falling rocks because of his damaged eye. When Obito noticed that Kakashi was about to be hit by a falling boulder, Obito pushed him out of the way and became trapped beneath the rubble in his place. With the right half of his body completely pinned, Obito knew that he could not escape. Obito accepted his fate and made an offering: to give Kakashi his left Sharingan as an apology for forgetting to get him a present earlier.
Obito tells Rin and Kakashi to escape.
Rin performed the transplant and, once the procedure was finished, Kakashi used his new Sharingan to kill Kakkō. Iwagakure reinforcements quickly began to further constrict the rubble, forcing Kakashi and Rin to leave Obito behind after some final farewells. As the rocks tightened around him, Obito reflected that he had finally started to get along with Kakashi and that he couldn't confess to Rin that he loved her. Minato arrived soon afterwards and saved Kakashi and Rin from the Iwagakure ninja. Though believed dead, the cave in took Obito deep underground where he was somehow saved by an elderly Madara Uchiha. Though his Sharingan was miraculously unharmed, the entire side of his body from the neck down was completely destroyed.
A heavily bandaged Obito meets Madara.
Coming to, mistaking Madara for the angel of death before realising he is still alive, Obito learns from his saviour that most of his body has been grafted with parts from Hashirama's living clone. Madara added that Obito owes him his life and will repay it in due time. But as Obito wanted to return to Konoha to aid his friends, Madara explained that he could not leave as his body needs to fully recuperate and used to its new parts. Madara preached to Obito the harsh nature of the reality they live in while formally introducing himself, Obito refused to listen, desperate to return to his village. However, due to his physical condition despite his determination to return to his friends, Obito is left with no choice but to remain with Madara. Left with White Zetsu and a swirl-patterned clone while Madara rested, Obito contemplated how long he had been in the cave as he eventually befriends the two artificial beings while undergoing strenuous rehabilitation in order to finally use his limbs. One day, during the course of his rehabilitation, White Zetsu alerts Obito to the fact that aboveground, Kakashi and Rin were being surrounded by Kirigakure shinobi. Obito attempts to break a wall to get out to help them, but only succeeds in destroying his right arm and barely cracking the wall. Seeing Obito's desire to save his friends, the swirl-patterned Zetsu attached itself to Obito to enable him to go to the surface. A grateful Obito thanked the clone as he prepared to leave.
Eventually, Obito caught wind of Rin's death and believed Kakashi had failed to keep his promise to him to keep her safe. This in part led to Obito's view-change, and he began to believe that a reality in which she was no longer living was worthless, and should be destroyed. With this acting as part of his motivation, he would eventually cast aside his given name and take up the alias of Tobi. Working with Madara, the two would begin the Eye of the Moon Plan. At some point following Madara's death, Tobi adopted the legendary shinobi's identity, and with it, the animosity towards Konoha and its Senju clan, a special interest in the Nine-Tails and other tailed beasts.
Tsunade cited that Tobi may have adopted this name in order to take advantage of the power and terror associated with the name alone. Because of the many infamous acts Madara carried out during his lifetime (such as acquiring an Eternal Mangekyō Sharingan), few are surprised that Madara could still be alive after such a long time. They take the crimes that Tobi commits under Madara's name as further confirmation that he is really Madara, as only Madara would be capable of such deeds.
Until the events of Part II, Tobi operated in secret, only using Madara's name during his private meetings with Pain, the figurehead that lead the terrorist organisation Akatsuki. Although Nagato believed that Tobi really is Madara, the actual Madara also has knowledge of Nagato's existence and abilities. Likewise, Tobi has claimed that he encouraged Yahiko to form the Akatsuki and that he "gave" the Rinnegan to Nagato. Both events occurred before Obito's supposed death, further complicating the truth of Obito's history. As Pain had leadership of Akatsuki, Tobi eventually joined the ranks as a subordinate of Zetsu, to oversee the operations of the organisation and directly influence future events.
Tobi threatening to kill Naruto.
Twelve years before the start of the series, Tobi discovered that Kushina Uzumaki, the Nine-Tails' jinchūriki, would be giving birth, causing the seal keeping the Kurama contained within her to weaken. Intending to use the Nine-Tails, Tobi tracked her down and took the newborn Naruto Uzumaki hostage to keep Minato from interfering.
Once he extracted the beast, Tobi placed the Tailed Beast under his control and ordered it to destroy Konoha. Using his space–time technique to keep Minato from going to the village's defence, Tobi engaged Minato before being hit by a Rasengan and branded with Minato's Flying Thunder God Technique. He then used a Contract Seal on Tobi to remove the Nine-Tails from his control. Wounded and deprived of his best weapon, Tobi fled, stating that the Nine-Tails would be his again someday and that he still had other plans.
Actions of a Masked Man
The flame-pattern mask and longer hair.
A masked-individual acting under Madara's name is known to have been involved in a number of other incidents in the past. Because of the timing of these events, it is unknown who was truly responsible. For convenience's sake, the following events will be attributed to Tobi until proven otherwise:
- Eight years after the Nine-Tails' attack, Tobi infiltrated Konoha to try to rekindle the flames of war. He was found by Itachi Uchiha first, who, under the assumption that he was actually Madara, convinced Tobi to spare the village in exchange for helping to wipe out the Uchiha clan for deserting him decades earlier. Tobi complied, training Itachi and providing assistance.
- Around this time, Tobi also met with Danzō Shimura.
- At some point in time, Tobi also took control of the Fourth Mizukage, in effect making him the "real" Mizukage, leading Kirigakure into the years of the "Bloody Mist". Kisame Hoshigaki was one of the few Kirigakure ninja to know of his manipulation of the Fourth and helped Tobi in his quest to bring about an end to the "world of lies".