While Rin Nohara is a fairly small character within the Naruto universe, or at least we don’t get much information about her in the series or manga, her death has a profound effect on both Obito and Kakashi and has a butterfly effect that is felt throughout the series.
Many fans speculate the events that occur between Kakashi, Rin and Obito during the Third Shinobi World War are potentially the most important events to understand in the whole series.
Those who have seen all of Naruto, and read all the manga, will understand that these events, including Rin’s death, are the flap of a butterflies wing that leads to the dramatic climax of Naruto: Shippuden, as well as being the events that shape not only Kakashi, but all his students who he teaches his ‘ninja way’ to.
The episodes that contain Rin’s death are littered around the anime. Kakashi often flashes back to this moment throughout his life, but we see flashbacks to this moment from his own memory, and later Obito’s – so there isn’t one specific episode where this happens.
We would suggest you watch them in order, as they happen chronologically within the series, in order to get the best effect.
Within these pivotal events Rin does die by Kakashi’s hand, but it is a little more complicated than this simple fact, and some fans may miss the important information needed to understand this event as so much does happen during this filler arc as well as immediately before Rin’s death that its understandable some fans get confused.
Moreover, during Kakashi’s Anbu filler arc, many villagers spread the rumour he killed his teammate, so this may have fans wondering why. Just understand some spoilers will be revealed in this guide so read with caution, depending on what point you are at in the series.
Rin’s Death Explained: Did Kakashi Kill Her?
Who Is Kakashi Hatake?
Kakashi Hatake is a powerful shinobi of the leaf village, within the animanga world of Naruto he is beloved for his ice cool temperament, his character design, and for those who have seen the whole series, his dramatic backstory.
It’s worth noting that he is the sensei of Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Sakura Haruno – the main characters, if you will, of the Naruto world. The lessons he learns from Rin and Obitos death definitely form the teachings he passes down to his team
In the anime, we see a young Kakashi start his journey to becoming one of the youngest Anbu captains in the village as well as the events that shape him into the character we recognise throughout the main series. This happens wholly in flashbacks.
In the events leading up to Rin’s death, both Rin and Kakashi are still fairly traumatised by the death of Obito, who gifted his Sharingan eye to Kakashi when he was crushed by a rock while the two attempted to save the kidnapped Rin.
Kakashi always remained an outsider within his team, due to his father’s death being a source of trauma for him, and focused on training and completing missions rather than bonding with his teammates.
As he understood he may have to abandon them for the sake of a mission, to avoid the fate of his father.
Who Is Rin Nohara?
Rin was a medical-nin of Team Minato, her teammates were Kakashi Hatake and Obito Uchiha. Rin Nohara, while not an Uchiha, grew up with Obito and became very close with him as they became teammates.
When Obito dies, Kakashi tells Rin that Obito loved her. However, Rin hysterically declares her love for Kakashi, merely minutes after Obito has died, while Kakashi defends her life against incoming enemy shinobi. Kakashi refuses to admit feelings for her as he knew Obito liked her.
It’s never really covered if Kakashi actually loved Rin, we can assume he did as he never really has any love interest throughout the series and is deeply scarred by her death, but we can only speculate.
Rin had a particularly caring personality as most medical-nin do, but as previously mentioned, we don’t really know too much about her past nor her clan. We see Rin only in the flashbacks from Kakashi and Obito, and know she cared greatly for them both as she did for her village.
Rin’s Death Explained
Rin’s death can be fairly complicated to understand and there are a few ‘sides’ to this story.
After the events of Kannabi Bridge, where Obito ‘dies’ and Kakashi kills the reinforcements of enemy shinobi (or Obito did), the Third Shinobi War trundles on to its end. During the final events of the war Kirigakure-nin (shinobi of the Hidden Mist Village) seem to kidnap Rin.
When Kakashi hears of this, having changed his ninja way from focusing on missions to focusing on protecting his teammates, he goes after Rin on his own.
Kakashi quickly frees Rin from her kidnappers, but she soon becomes aware that the tests the Kirigakure-nin seem to be have been doing on her was actually the sealing of the Three-tailed Beast within her, making her the jinchuriki of Isobu, the Three Tails.
Soon after this realization she realises that a curse has been laid on her that means when she enters the Hidden Leaf Village Isobu will be unleashed and destroy the Hidden Leaf Village.
[SPOILER] What has actually happened is that Rin was secretly captured by Madara Uchiha, not the Kirigakure, who sealed Isobu in her. This was to destroy the Hidden Leaf Village as he always planned to.
In any case, realising that her life would no lead to the destruction of the Hidden Leaf Village, and unable to bring herself to commit suicide, Rin asks Kakashi to kill her, Kakashi refuses obviously, and wishes to find another way, but is in the middle of a fight with the Kirigakure-nin while he is discussing this with Rin.
Rin, taking the initiative to save her village and sacrifice herself, moves in front of Kakashi’s Lightning Chidori attack.
This seems like Kakashi has killed Rin, especially when we see this flashback early on without context. However, Rin is actually committing suicide by the hand of Kakashi.
Kakashi himself would never kill Rin and actually refuses to only moments before her death. Rin understands that she has to force Kakashi’s hand in order to save the village by killing herself.
It’s arguable that without Rin’s death the village may have been destroyed that day, as Madara wanted, but her noble act saved the Hidden Leaf Village. Although her death is hidden from the village, only Kakashi and the elders of the village truly understand the sacrifice she made.
As a result, Kakashi is invited into the Anbu by Danzo, who understands his darkness, and for a long time Kakashi is shunned by villagers who believe the rumours that he killed his teammate.
Rin’s death had a profound effect on Kakashi, in the series we see him constantly wake up from a nightmare of this exact event. Some fans speculate the trauma to come from the fact he loved Rin, but this is speculative.
Rather, it seems Kakashi is traumatised by the fact that Obito asked him to protect Rin, and he couldn’t. However at the end of the series when Kakashi learns of Obito’s true story, Obito seems to forgive Kakashi for her death and seems to resolve the trauma caused by it.
So, in summary, Kakashi didn’t kill Rin. Rather, she died by Kakashi’s hand but this was actually an act of suicide by Rin who jumped in front of his fatal attack.
[SPOILER] This death scene is actually mirrored at the end of the series when Obito jumps in front of Kakashi’s same attack in order to kill himself and stop the Ten Tails from being released, as Madara makes him the Ten Tails jinchuriki.
Obito could see these events happening the whole time because the eye he implanted into Kakashi meant he could see everything Kakshi does and monitor him. This is what ultimately leads Obito to forgive Kakashi and help him defeat Madara at the end.
So, these events are definitely some of the most important events to understand in the whole series. On a simple note, Obito’s ‘death’ is what changes Kakashi’s outlook on his shinobi life.
Prior to Obito’s death Kakashi prioritised the mission being completed as paramount, as his father didn’t and this led to his father’s suicide. Post Obtio’s ‘death’ Kakashi understands that he must protect his teammates rather than the mission.
Ultimately, Kakashi passes this teaching down to Naruto and his fellow teammates and is also what forms Naruto’s resolve to not kill Sasuke but save him.
Moreover, the reason Kakashi struggles to find a genin team, and the make up of his incredibly hard bell test, is to find a group of teammates who prioritise teamwork over the mission’s completion.
Evidenced here, these events truly are the flap of the butterflies’ wings that lead to the epic and dramatic final events of the series that see Obito and Madara defeated and Sasuke saved by his friend Naruto.