Naruto: What if Minato had recognized Obito during the Nine Tails attack?

Rasengan being used on Obito (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Rasengan being used on Obito (Image via Studio Pierrot)

On the day Obito attacked the village, Minato, who was Hokage at the time, was occupied with Naruto's birth, caring for Kushina, and controlling the nine-tailed fox within her. It was extremely crucial to safeguard them in order to keep the village safe.

However, Obito had other plans. He learned that the nine-tailed fox's seal would be weakened during Naruto's birth, so he devised a plan to start a war by controlling the fox. Minato managed to save Naruto and Kushina when they were attacked, but he could not stop Obito from extracting the nine-tailed fox out of his wife.

Obito threatening to kill Naruto (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Obito threatening to kill Naruto (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Later, the two of them had a one-on-one fight, where Minato aimed to release Obito's control over the nine-tailed fox. Before the fight, the former questioned Obito's identity. He almost believed him to be Madara but realized that it wasn't possible because Madara was supposed to be dead ages ago.

He eventually defeated Obito, but Kushina and he sacrificed their lives to protect Naruto when the nine tails tried to kill him intentionally.

What would've happened if Minato recognized Obito behind the mask?

Minato and Obito crossed paths once more during the Fourth Shinobi World War, when the former was summoned through the Edo Tensei jutsu. Obito took him on a guilt trip by calling him an incompetent teacher who couldn't be there to save his students or even recognize one behind a mask.

Minato regretted not recognizing Obito that night. He felt that things would've been different if he had. Perhaps Kushina would still be alive and Naruto would not need to suffer as much. This got fans wondering if things really would have been different in a positive way.

The nine-tailed fox attacking Konoha (Image via Studio Pierrot)
The nine-tailed fox attacking Konoha (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Minato was too busy protecting the village to have time to think harder about who the person behind the mask was. Besides, Obito was a young child when he last saw him, so it would've been impossible to immediately assume that the attacker was Obito. But even if he did recognize him, things would've become more complicated and defeating Obito would've been harder. He would have hesitated a little from attacking his student who was forced to choose the wrong path to peace.

And, knowing Obito, he would've made his teacher feel bad by claiming that he couldn't protect his own students and was thus incompetent. That would disturb the latter mentally, and he wouldn't be able to time his attacks accurately. This way, it would be easier for Obito to use Kamui on his teacher, eventually defeating him.

What would happen after Minato's defeat in this alternate scenario?

The defeat would have made things more chaotic, possibly leading to the deaths of Kushina and Naruto. Someone with a large amount of chakra from the village would eventually seal the nine-tailed fox within themselves, thus becoming the next jinchuriki. That someone could be Hiruzen because he could use the Reaper Death Seal, making it easier to seal nine tails within himself and kill them both.

After Hiruzen's death, Danzo would most likely become the next Hokage, and with that, the fate of Konoha would be placed into the wrong hands.

So, yes, if Minato had recognized Obito that day, things would have turned out differently, but for the worse. The Shinobi world would have been in utter chaos with very little hope for peace.