Obviously with the latest reveal that Tobi is Obito, many Naruto fans are in an uproar over the supposed inconsistencies shown by Obito's flashbacks. Mainly, most significant complaint is over the supposed timeline and how certain character's ages don't match up. As such, it has lead to attacks on Kishimoto's competency and professionalism as a manga author. However, I would argue that there are different grades of inconsistencies, and that we should give Kishi the benefit of the doubt by way of human fallacy and that sometimes they simply don't impact the plot or themes. Everyone who has even a passing understanding of Western literature has heard of the Greek poet Homer and his work the Iliad, which is part of the Trojan Cycle of mythology. Its regarded as one of the greatest literary works of all time. However, its not perfect. Homer actually makes a continuity error in the story. For example, in Book 5.576-9 of the Iliad Menelaos kills a minor character, Pylaimenes, in combat; but later in Book 13.643-59 he is still alive to witness the death of his son. In Iliad 9.165-93 three characters, Phoenix, Odysseus, and Ajax set out on an embassy to Achilles; however, at line 182 the poet uses a verb in the dual form to indicate that there are only two people going; at lines 185ff. verbs in the plural form are used, indicating more than two; but another dual verb appears at line 192 ("the two of them came forward"). Do we say that Homer is a hack and that the Iliad is a shitty piece of work because Homer can't keep a consistent timeline or mixes up his numbers? No, of course not. We accept these mistakes and move on because they ultimately are minor details. These mistakes are jokingly attributed to Homer nodding off when recalling the story. Now this is not to say that Naruto is on par with Homer's Iliad, its obviously not. However, they do share some similarities. For one thing, they are both meant to be a form of popular serial entertainment told over a length of time. As such, both Kishi and Homer have to cover a large amount of plot and characters over a long amount of time and neither have the ability to retract what has been said before. And as both are human, you get the occasional minor error.*** A story and character can still be interesting even if it doesn't make sense from a strictly timeline point of view. Refer again to the Trojan Cycle in Greek myths. The Trojan War was prophesied to never be won by the Greeks until Achilles son is supposed to take up his father's armor. Achille's son was supposed to be born from the sister's Achilles stayed with while he was hiding as a girl. Of course, going by that timeline that would mean that Achille's son was only 10 years old when he fought the Trojan War, and yet he was fighting toe to toe with all the other Greek heroes. It doesn't really make sense, but does it really matter? Not one bit. A son taking up his father's sword sounds cool, so the Greek authors rolled with it. So did the Romans, even though they were separated from the Greek stories by centuries and thus would have even more time to notice things like age discrepancies. Virgil wrote about how Achille's son killed Priam in front of his wife and daughters during the sack of Troy in his epic the Aeniad, and it was one of the best written and most harrowing sequences in the entire epic. In short, Kishimoto like other decent writers will write his story from the perspective of emphasizing emotions and themes, not numbers and ages. Its possible that this messes with the timeline. But from the perspective of Naruto's story themes of generational conflicts, fallen ideals, and mirror antagonists it fits. Turrin explains it better on his thread here. X All in all, one should worry more about inconsistencies in the manga that contradict the story's themes and characters rather than inconsistencies in the secondary canon databook that contradicts numbers in minor characters. ***On a separate note, do we even know what the exact timeline is? I don't recall it ever being established in the manga.