Animorph Air Force
Fierce-looking bird with the Sharp Beak
The Bird with the Red-Tail
The Time-Shifted Son
A Lost Soul with the Body of a Bird
The Forgotten Animorphs (along with Rachel)
The Winged Wonder
|Host to||Odret 177 (alternate timeline)|
|Eye color||Golden-brown (as a hawk)|
|Hair color||Blond/Dirty blond (as a human)|
|Born||1984 (conceived in 1980)|
|Died||1997 (alternate timeline; resurrected)|
|Family||Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul † (father)
Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill † (paternal uncle)
Unnamed maternal grandfather (U.S. Army Vietnam War veteran)
Unnamed maternal grandmother
Noorlin-Sirinial-Cooraf (unnamed paternal grandfather)
Forlay-Esgarrouth-Maheen (paternal grandmother)
Unnamed maternal aunt
Unnamed maternal uncle
The Sharing (alternate timeline)
|Behind the scenes|
|First appearance||The Invasion|
|Last appearance||The Beginning|
|Portrayer||Christopher Ralph (TV series)
Matt Levin (voice, PC game)
- "Who am I? What am I? A bird. A boy. Something not quite human. Something more than human. The person Rachel loves. I discovered something amid the pain and terror and confusion. I discovered that the answer to what I am, to who I am, isn't something to be answered in a single word or a single moment. It could take a lifetime to figure out who I am. For now, I'm willing to hang in there, floating on a thermal. Biding my time."
Tobias is a founding member of the Animorphs and a red-tailed hawk nothlit, although he was granted the morphing ability again by the Ellimist. He served as the "air force" member of the team, keeping an eye up above and performing aerial support and reconnaissance. He is the son of Elfangor and Loren, the nephew of Ax and was Rachel's boyfriend.
- "The food was better at my aunt's. She didn't pass out in my room. She had her own brand of fun. She'd work me like her own personal slave. That's how I knew what was in the attic: I cleaned it out. And she'd keep me out of school to run errands for her or just to "be there" in case she needed me. At least my uncle let me go to school. He'd have let me go to Australia and not cared. Not a nice feeling knowing that if you were ever kidnapped or whatever, there was no one around to bother and call the cops. But, hey, that's life. It's worse for lots of kids."
However, Loren's sister despised being given responsibility of Tobias. While she fed Tobias, she refused to let him go to school and instead kept him at home, using him as a personal slave. However, her irritation at raising her nephew caused her to send him to her brother, who lived on the other coast. While Tobias' uncle let him go to school and allowed him to live without restrictions, he was also a drunkard who passed out in Tobias' room, who harassed and emotionally abused his nephew. For many years, Tobias was constantly shuffled back and forth over both sides of the country every few months to live with his aunt and uncle, as neither wished to have permanent custody over their nephew. Tobias had been being informed that Loren and the man he believed to be his father had abandoned him, although he occasionally chose to believe that his parents had died, preferring not to believe that his parents did not love him and chose to desert him. As he got older, Tobias was unsure regarding the true status of his parents, claiming that the truth had become lost over the years.
At some point in 1997, Tobias was sent to the West Coast to live with his uncle once again. After enrolling in the local middle school, he developed an attraction to Rachel. However, he was constantly bullied and was physically abused at school. During one altercation, he was saved by Jake, and developed a sort of hero worship towards Jake as a result.
Becoming an Animorph
- "Suddenly the wimp is a hero."
"Maybe I just found something worth fighting for, Marco."
"You don't even fight for yourself."
"That was before. Before the Andalite. Before he died trying to save us. I can't let that go. I can't let him die for nothing. So whatever you guys decide, I'm going to fight."
- ―Marco and Tobias
On the way home, the group decided to take a shortcut through the abandoned construction site, where Tobias noticed Elfangor's fighter in the sky. After witnessing the ship's landing, the five of them found a dying alien named Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul and learn all about the Andalite-Yeerk War, including that the Yeerks have already infested a large percentage of humans. To combat the Yeerks, Elfangor gives Jake and the rest of the teenagers the morphing ability.
Trapped in Morph
- "Clinging to the rock face, praying for camouflage, searching the colossal cavern for a way to escape. A way to get past Visser Three's men. [...] How long since I'd morphed to red-tailed hawk? An hour and fifty minutes? An hour and fifty-five? How long?! The others had escaped already. The other Animorphs, I mean. They'd dodged the visser's fireball gauntlet. They'd slipped out to safety, back through the janitor's closet, back into the school. Rachel, Cassie, Marco, Jake. Had I missed the deadline? Had I been more than two hours in morph? Couldn't have. Can't have. No. I'd be trapped forever. A bird. Independent, free, alone. Forever."
Jake, on Tobias' behalf, has sent messages to his aunt and uncle, who live on both sides on the coast, to convince them that he is living with the other permanently.
At first, Tobias attempted to maintain his humanity and repress his hawk instincts, living in Jake’s attic and eating leftovers left in Rubbermaid containers. However, after giving in to the hawk's hunger, causing him to kill and eat a rat, Tobias attempted to commit suicide by flying into a mall, trying to slam into glass doors, store walls, and eventually, the mall's glass skylight, although Marco manages to shatter it with a baseball to save him.
He then surrendered himself to the hawk mind, living the next few days in a meadow, creating a nest, feasting on prey and nearly forgetting his human memories, although the sight of Hork-Bajir and a human being chased by the Yeerks brings him back to his senses. After feeling distressed about seeing the death of a female red-tailed hawk, Tobias discusses this with Rachel and begins to accept his newly found balance between being a hawk and a being a human. Tobias began to live in the forest and have a routine similar to a hawk’s while also helping the Animorphs like finding entrances to the Yeerk pool.
Regaining the Morphing Ability
- "Looks like I'm a full member of the team again. I can morph. But I guess ... I mean, it looks like I'll still be a hawk. I'll be keeping my wings."
Frustrated about being used, Tobias stops everyone and demands to find out what is happening. Tobias then finds himself in another plane, and sees himself as a cross between human and hawk. He encounters the Ellimist, who offers to grant Tobias’s innermost wish if Tobias helps save the two free Hork-Bajir.
While trying to find some food, Tobias is injured and about to be eaten by a raccoon. At that moment, the Ellimist restores Tobias's ability to morph, but does not return him to human form. Tobias is enraged, accusing the omniscient being of not keeping his promise, and then quickly acquires the raccoon and flies away.
After successfully getting the two Hork-Bajir to the hidden valley, the Ellimist sends Tobias back in time, to the night before he went to the Abandoned Construction Site with Jake and the others. Tobias remembers the Ellimist's statement about Tobias being able to change a timeline, and is given a choice: he could tell his younger self, who has waken up, not to go to the construction site, thereby preventing him from gaining the power to morph or being trapped as a bird, or he could decide to let things pass as they did and use the opportunity to acquire his human self. Tobias chooses the latter, accepting that he wishes to be a hawk with the ability to morph and become human temporarily rather than be human forever. Returning Tobias to the present time, the Ellimist asks Tobias if he has delivered on his promise, and Tobias replies that he has.
Discovering his Parentage
- "Time stopped. I felt like I'd grabbed hold of a million-volt power line. Every cell in my body was tingling. Elfangor! My father!"
On the day of his birthday, Tobias goes to the testament-reading and discovers that his father was in fact Elfangor. Tobias gives nothing away, not wanting to let “Aria” and DeGroot know that Tobias knows who Elfangor is.
Only after he returns to his hiding spot does he break down, and decides that he can't give up his morphing powers because he must continue to fight for his people, just like his father did.
- "Adolf Hitler. The most evil man in a long history of evil men. Tobias was up. He moved like lightning. The squat man with the funny mustache was jerked back, yanked around, and pinned against Tobias's Hork-Bajir body. Tobias's wrist blade was at his throat. [...] The captain fired. Point blank at Tobias. Tobias jerked in reflex. His wrist blade cut deep. The driver - Hitler - fell to the ground."
Tortured by Taylor
- "She hit the red circle again. I screamed. Screamed and screamed. My wings trembled, uncontrollable. My beak jerked wildly. Talons clutched at nothing. My bowels failed and I fouled myself. Indescribable pain. Staggering pain. Pain that ate into me, chewed at my guts, twisted every nerve ending."
Tobias tries resisting the torture but Taylor using both pain and pleasure methods in conjunction, causing Tobias to nearly die and experience Utzum, a genetic memory where he views Elfangor's memories and experiences from the past, which protects him from his agony.
While rescuing Tobias, Rachel attempts to kill Taylor when she discovers that Tobias’s torture, but Tobias feels a sense of pity for both the Yeerk and the girl and asks Rachel to spare her life.
- "Even if she's not a Controller, they'll figure it out. They'll be waiting for you. You have to walk away, Tobias. Forget her."
"Like you've forgotten your parents? And Tom? You haven't forgotten your family, Jake, no matter what you say. And I can't forget mine, I'm getting her out."
""How? You said it yourself. She's blind. How can you get a blind person out while the Yeerks are watching?"
"By taking a huge risk. One you probably won't like By asking you to trust me."
- ―Jake and Tobias
During the final battle against the Yeerks, Jake orders Rachel to secretly follow Tom’s Yeerk and kill him when he gives the order. Following him on board the Blade Ship, Rachel attacks the Yeerks in control of the ship and kills Tom, before dying at the hands of a Controller in polar bear morph shortly after. Tobias is enraged at Jake, and as soon as the final battle is over, Tobias flies away.
Tobias arrives at Rachel’s memorial to retrieve her ashes and then flies away with them. He is not seen for many years, staying in the woods and only keeping contact with Cassie and Toby.
One Last Mission
Tobias is asked by Jake to go on one last mission, but only concedes when he learns that Ax is in danger. Tobias, along with Jake, Marco, Sergeant Santorelli, Jeanne Gerard, and Menderash-Postill-Fastill, head into space in “The Rachel”. After several months in space, the Animorphs find the Blade Ship, only to discover that Ax has been assimilated into an entity only known as The One. The One threatens to consume the Animorphs, as it had done to Ax. Jake comments on Marco's earlier call to be "crazy, reckless and ruthless," and, with a smile that Marco notes makes him look like Rachel, orders them to ram the Blade ship.
- "It suddenly occurred to me, right then, for the first time, that what I thought was so unique about me – that I was half instinctive predator, and half human being – wasn't so unique after all. Every human – Jake. Rachel. Marco. Cassie, all humans – kind of lives on that edge between savage and saint. And the thing is that sometimes when you get pushed you do have to push back. And other times, you have to turn the other cheek. [...] I guess the trick is to figure out when to do which thing. When to fight, when to let up. A balancing act. And even if I went back to being fully human in body and mind, that balancing act wouldn't go away."
Because of Tobias' dual existence as both a hawk and a human, his friends sometimes call him "bird-boy". Tobias' narrations contain many thoughts on his internal conflict between his human and hawk sides. A common issue that arises is his need to hunt and kill to survive. The ruthless nature of the hawk contrasts with the more caring nature of human Tobias. Tobias sometimes wonders if he is losing his humanity because of this.
Relationships with the other Animorphs
- "It felt good to hear Jake say I was indispensable, but with Jake you could never be sure anymore what was sincere. And what was just expedient. He'd been the most open of guys, back in the old days. What you saw with Jake was what you got. But he'd been a leader for a long time now. He'd learned to say what he needed to say. Jake needed me as one of the Animorphs. He liked me, respected me, was happy for me when I was happy. And, when he had to, he used me without regard for anything but winning."
- "Rachel would be beautiful in the middle of mud slides and hailstorms. On a sweet, sunny day, she made my heart ache. She looked at me. Embarrassed for me. Wanting to say something that would make it all right. Not knowing what to say. Hurting for me. Feeling my humiliation."
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Rachel and Tobias were acquainted before the start of the series, although they didn't really know each other. Despite this, Tobias had a crush on Rachel. Rachel was more affectionate towards Tobias than anyone at the start, and remained as his anchor to the other Animorphs after he became trapped as a bird, with Rachel stating that she felt like she had to take care of him. Tobias often visited Rachel in the late nights or early mornings in her bedroom, and their relationship soon became romantic, with them becoming boyfriend and girlfriend. Rachel's death drives Tobias into depression and seclusion.
- "I should have flown away. I knew I should have. But Ax had said I was his shorm. It's an Andalite word for someone who is closer than a friend. During the war we'd both been exiles in the woods, Ax and me. Neither of us had a real home. His family was a billion miles away, mine didn't really exist. Only later did we discover that Ax and I were, because of almost unbelievable circumstances, actually related."
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Ax and Tobias share a close bond, with Ax regarding Tobias as his shorm (best friend). Their bond is later strengthened when they discover they are uncle and nephew.
- "Marco and I will probably never be very close. He's a typical smart-aleck kind of guy. Always confident. Always has some funny or sarcastic thing to say. He's short, or at least he's not very tall. I guess girls think he's cute because he has this long brown hair and dark eyes."
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Initially, Marco and Tobias were indifferent to one another. However, shortly after becoming Animorphs, they grew closer through the various battles they shared, and Tobias and Marco became close friends.
- "You and me, I guess."
"I'm always glad to have you along."
- ―Cassie and Tobias
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Tobias and Cassie are similar in their kind natures and understanding of animals.
|Cat (Dude)||The Invasion|
|Hork-Bajir (Ket Halpak)|
|Human (his younger self)|
|Bottlenose Dolphin||The Escape|
|Deinonychus (unusable; Sario Rip morph)||In the Time of Dinosaurs|
|African Elephant||The Solution|
|Baby Ringed Seal||The Extreme|
|Polar Bear (Nanook)|
|Sperm Whale||The Exposed|
|Mountain Goat (acquired but never used)|
|Andalite (Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill)||The Illusion|
|Orca (Swoosh)||The Mutation|
|Human (Taylor)||The Test|
|Human (male United States Navy catapult-and-arresting-gear officer)||The Deception|
|North American Beaver (acquired but never used)||The Resistance|
|German Shepherd (Champ)||The Diversion|
|Mallard Drake||The Absolute|
Television Show Morphs
|Red-Tailed Hawk - Nothlit||My Name is Jake, Part 2|
|Human (Tobias)||Face Off, Part 1|
|Skink||My Name is Jake (original acquisition)/Not My Problem (as a flashback)|
Tobias has a total of 4 morphs in the TV series.
Books Narrated By Tobias
- The Encounter
- The Andalite's Gift
- The Change
- In the Time of Dinosaurs
- The Hork-Bajir Chronicles
- The Pretender
- Elfangor's Secret
- The Illusion
- Back to Before
- The Test
- The Diversion
- The Beginning
- Tobias is the first of the human Animorphs to both acquire as well as morph.
- Out of all of the core six Animorphs, Tobias has the least amount of morphs. This may be due to his preference to avoid morphing whenever possible, a sentiment remarked by some of the Animorphs.
- Tobias has the distinction of any member to have a cover showing him morphing into another member of the team, as he morphed into Ax in The Illusion.
- Tobias and Ax get the least amount of books in the series. The reason for this came from Scholastic, rather than K.A. They didn't think that kids would be able to relate as well to an alien character, or to a kid trapped as a hawk. As a result, they both got their books in rotations of every 10 books, rather than the 5 like everyone else. Tobias got all the 3's in the series (#3, 13, 23, etc), while Ax got all the 8's (#8, 18, 28, etc). However, as it turned out, the books for Tobias and Ax were some of the fan's favorites, so both Ax and Tobias were brought into the equal rotation with the rest of the Animorphs near the end of the series.
- The Test featured a new Tobias cover model. Ursula Albano, the art director for Animorphs shared this story on the Anibase about the discovery of the new Tobias:
- "We couldn't find a kid in time for the shoot, so the photographer asked the agency to send over any old kid to stand in. Our artist, David Mattingly, would alter him digitally to fit the character. Well, a boy shows up kind of out of nowhere, skateboard in hand (he lives in the neighborhood) and a knit hat pulled down practically to his eyes. When he pulled his hat off, we knew we found the perfect Tobias. Tonya (the editor for Animorphs) and I just loved him. He was blonder than the first Tobias, but was perfect. He was Tobias. A happy accident from a desperate situation."
- Tobias and Marco are the only two of the Animorphs to morph into a human of the opposite gender. Tobias morphed Taylor in The Test and Marco morphed the state governor in The Absolute.
- K.A. on why she chose a red-tailed hawk morph for Tobias to be trapped in:
- "Tobias' form was chosen because red-tails are among the most common hawks in the U.S. I liked thinking that kids driving with their folks across Kansas or wherever would daydream that they were seeing Tobias. Probably should have made him a turkey buzzard, they're so ubiquitous. I knew right from the start I would trap Tobias in morph, by the way, never a doubt. Had to be. I knew it would drive some readers crazy, but I also knew they'd want to know more."
- In 1999, three different transforming toys of Tobias were made. The larger two were transformers sold in stores that transformed from human to hawk. One was deluxe-class and the other Mega-class. The third toy, released in 1999 as part of a Taco Bell children's meal promotion, was a smaller, clear plastic hawk with a yellow human "soul" trapped inside. KFC also released a hawk-shaped glider, and in 1998 Taco Bell released a toy that was a watch clutched by a clawed hand shape that was roughly half human.
|Animorphs||Jake | Rachel | Tobias | Cassie | Marco | Ax | David|
|Auxiliary Animorphs||James | Collette | Timmy | Kelly | Craig | Erica | Julio | Liam | Tricia | Jessie | Judy | Ray|