Gozaburo Kaiba was Seto and Mokuba Kaiba's adoptive father and the former CEO of KaibaCorp. He was the final antagonist in the Virtual World arc, after his biological son, Noah Kaiba, failed and was defeated by Yami Yugi.
Gozaburo was the original founder and CEO of KaibaCorp, which, at that time, was a successful arms manufacturer. Because of the nature of his business, Gozaburo became involved in a war where he financed tanks and weapons to one faction, who easily overcame their enemies. Dartz, disguised as Gozaburo, lent weapons from KaibaCorp to the opposing faction as well, and made many people believe that he was only interested in making money through war.
At one point in his life, Gozaburo had a son, Noah, of whom he intended to raise as the KaibaCorp heir. Not unlike Seto Kaiba, he made Noah study heavily in various academic fields, music and sports. To ensure Noah had the best education, he only hired the best instructors and tutors. Gozaburo also spent time with Noah, and took him out to the sea at one point.
Gozaburo became a famous chess champion, who won the World Championship and donated the prize of $100,000 to the orphanage where Seto and Mokuba lived. The brothers heard of him on TV, so Seto developed a plan to be adopted, studied everything that he could about chess and Gozaburo, and learned his way of thinking and strategies.
When Gozaburo visited the orphanage, he gave toys to the kids, and on his way out, Seto challenged him to a game of chess, and told Gozaburo that if he refused, he would tell the press that he was scared of a little kid. Confident that he would not be beaten by a child, Gozaburo agreed to a single game with Seto, and stated the stipulation that if he won, Gozaburo would agree to adopt him along with his brother. Seto had spent time studying Gozaburo's strategies and how to overcome them, and thus defeated him. Gozaburo had to keep his end of the bargain.
After he was defeated by Seto, Gozaburo met with Noah. He showed his son a picture of Seto, told him he would be his adoptive brother, that both would compete to inherit KaibaCorp and would become rivals. After that talk, Noah was crushed by a car. Noah was transported to the Kaiba Hospital, but the doctors couldn't do anything to save him. Gozaburo wanted to save his son at any cost. After he found a way to do it through technology, Gozaburo digitized Noah's mind and transferred it into a KaibaCorp computer. Noah was then given a funeral. A woman, possibly Gozaburo's wife, wondered how could the events have happened. Gozaburo told her not to worry since there was nothing that he could not do.
Noah awoke in the Virtual World and saw Gozaburo on a screen, where he explained what happened. Gozaburo slowly expanded the Virtual World, and even programmed a space trip for his son. At first, Noah thought that Gozaburo would bring Seto to compete against him, which meant that if Noah won, the Virtual World would overcome reality and he could rule KaibaCorp. Gozaburo's true intentions were actually to use Seto's body as Noah's recipient, while making his adopted son think that he was being bred as his heir. However, Gozaburo soon understood that Noah could not inherit KaibaCorp because of his lack of contact with society, and because the virtual could not rule humans. Because of that, Gozaburo's visits to Noah became less frequent and he wasn't amused by his deeds.
On Noah's birthday, Gozaburo was told by his son that with KaibaCorp's military weapons, 97% of the human population could be destroyed in 30 days. This led Gozaburo to questioning whether Noah was out of touch with the real world. That day, Seto and Mokuba arrived at the Kaiba Mansion.
Gozaburo was a cruel father to Seto, who forced him to spend all his time studying and forgoing any of the joy or fun that was usually associated with childhood. He put the condition that if Seto didn't study as intended, he would be returned to the orphanage, and drove his adopted son to strict educational regiment for the gifted. One day, Gozaburo asked Seto what would he do if he inherited the company, and was disappointed when Seto answered that he would create Kaiba Land. Gozaburo confiscated all the games that Seto owned because of that, and made every day like constant torture. But Gozaburo didn't realize that he was turning his successor into his greatest enemy.
Gozaburo threw a party in which he invited Mr. Schroeder to discuss a deal. They were accompanied by Seto, Mokuba, and Zigfried von Schroeder. Mr. Schroeder first praised Gozaburo because of his fine successor and added that his son was also a genius. The lights from the party started to flicker on and off, and Kemo informed Gozaburo about a computer virus. Gozaburo was astonished as their computers were well protected and he couldn't imagine who could have done that.
Four years later, Seto developed a virtual simulation system that was to be used in games, but Gozaburo planned to use it for warfare. One day, Seto insisted to Gozaburo that it had to be used in games, and made him angry. He told his adopted son that the objective of the Kaiba Family was the world domination with military weapons, and Kemo and other guard took Seto out of the office. After that, Seto stopped calling Gozaburo "father".
One year later, Seto concluded his studies. Gozaburo made the fatal mistake when he gave Seto 2% of KaibaCorp shares as his birthday present. He put Seto on a mission to earn 100 times (10 times in the English Version) that amount through investments within a year in order to test if he was capable of inheriting KaibaCorp, or else he would return to the orphanage. Seto overcame the expectations of Gozaburo by easily accomplishing his mission. However, Seto set in motion his own plan, he, along with the KaibaCorp Board of Directors (later known as The Big Five), started buying shares of KaibaCorp until they reached 49% of the company. Gozaburo, also with 49%, realized Seto's plan. Because of that, Seto hurt Mokuba to force him to spend more time with Gozaburo than with him. This was actually a ruse to deceive Gozaburo into thinking that Mokuba would support him instead of his brother.
Gozaburo, Seto, the Big Five, and other high ranking employees attended a meeting. There, Gozaburo, confident that he owned 51% of the company, revealed his plan to defeat Seto which consisted in transferring his shares to a subsidiary, but was ousted from power when Mokuba decided to betray him and give his 2% of the company to his brother. The loss of Kaiba Corp seemingly weakened Gozaburo's mind and led to him committing suicide (in the dub, he ran away and disappeared forever).
It was revealed that, while Gozaburo's body died, he had previously digitized his mind like he did Noah's, and hid inside the KaibaCorp computer banks. Because of Seto's treachery, his plans were shattered, so he changed them. Instead of using Seto's body as the recipient of Noah, it would become the recipient of KaibaCorp. Although Seto would rule it for a time, Gozaburo had planned on taking his body later on.
When Noah lured Seto and others, including Yugi Muto, into the Virtual World, Noah had the Big Five try and defeat Yugi, Seto, and company. When they failed one by one, Gozaburo revealed himself as the mastermind of the capture to everyone and Noah. He was disappointed by Noah's defeat as he could not take Seto's body, but had managed to hack into KaibaCorp's network. Through it, he accessed his secret missile satellite. No longer needing Seto's body, he unveiled the final stage of his plan: Launching missiles against the world leaders, hack into every computer system in the world, and rule humanity through the Virtual World (in the English version, he wanted to digitize the entire world and reign as King of the Virtual World).
Gozaburo then closed all the exits that he knew of the Virtual World. Noah then pretended to lead the group to a secret exit, but instead split them up, and left most of them wandering a Virtual Domino City while Noah, after he realized that his father was only using him, used Mokuba's body to escape, changed the trajectory of the missiles to the fortress, and intended to destroy everyone inside while he escaped.
While Yugi and the others tried to escape, Seto went to confront his adoptive father. Gozaburo, who was still bitter over his loss to Seto in chess years ago and because Seto stole KaibaCorp, challenged him to a duel to give him the same kind of defeat that he delivered to him. As a further insult, Gozaburo used the monster "Exodia Necross" (a ghostly dark version of "Exodia the Forbidden One", the monster who handed Seto his first Duel Monsters defeat). Exodia Necross gained 1000 ATK during every one of his Standby Phases, could not be destroyed by Spells, Traps, and Monster Effects, and could not be destroyed in battle. However, its special abilities depended on having all 5 Exodia parts in the Graveyard.
During the Duel, Gozaburo and Seto were informed that the fortress would be hit by a missile and the Virtual World would be destroyed. Gozaburo was astonished because of the betrayal of his own son and for his plans getting ruined again. After he knew that he would die, Gozaburo tried to take Seto's body, but Seto stopped him by offering that the winner of the duel would escape to the real world. Seto used "Soul Demolition" to Remove the Exodia parts from play, and neutralized "Exodia Necross". Now stripped of its powers, "Exodia Necross" was destroyed by Seto's "Blue-Eyes White Dragon". Gozaburo lost the Duel and his chance to escape the Virtual World.
With the fortress about to be destroyed, Gozaburo attempted to take Kaiba's body by force by transforming into a red creature. Yugi entered and helped Kaiba escape to the real world. Noah, having had a change of heart, appeared on Gozaburo's back, immobilized him as well as prevented him from downloading himself to another network. As Seto and Yugi emerged on the airship and escaped, the fortress exploded, and deleted Noah. Gozaburo lived for a few moments, somehow became 'real' as a beast of flame, and erupted from the ruins of the fortress. As Gozaburo attempted to destroy the airship, Seto activated the airship's thrusters, jetted out of his grasp for good, and left him to sink into the waves.
Although that was Gozaburo's first and final appearance in person, he appeared in flashbacks before and after the Virtual World. Kaiba's goal to defeat Yugi Muto at Alcatraz (Battle City) was not only a mission to defeat Yugi, but to overcome Gozaburo's legacy and put it behind him. Kaiba felt that only when he was crowned Duel King atop the Duel Tower, amidst the rubble of the military factories that Gozaburo had built there, that only then could he forget his past and step out of Gozaburo's shadow. Alister of Dartz's group, Doma, also harbored a grudge toward Seto, and believed that Gozaburo had funded a military attack on his town, although he later realized that the attack was instead ordered by Dartz who was disguised as Gozaburo, and thus ended his rage against Seto.
Gozaburo was a strict and persistent man. He was considered evil by many because he constantly manipulated people, including his own son, to achieve his goals. At first, Gozaburo appeared to be a caring father, training his son to succeed him as CEO of KaibaCorp. He never really cared for Noah, and rather just saw him as a tool for KaibaCorp to take over the world with. His plan was to make Noah's mindset identical to his to accomplish his goal. After Noah's accident, he only wanted to save him at any cost, but by doing so, he discovered a plan to destroy the real world and rule the virtual world instead. However, Gozaburo saw Noah's death as having a wrench thrown into his plans and did not really care about him. Originally, Gozaburo planned to have Seto become a host to replace Noah's dead body because of the limitations of the virtual world. In the English dub, Seto proved himself more capable than Noah, so he ultimately scrapped the plan. In the original, that never occurred because Noah's lack of interactions with real people inhibited his maturity. Upon hearing that, Yami Yugi, despite his difference with Seto, understood why he hated Gozaburo so much. He usually didn't recognize the hard work of the Big Five. He was very strict with Seto, though he was nicer (or at least not as openly cruel) to Mokuba. Meanwhile, Gozaburo used Noah to set his ambition into motion.
Gozaburo's appearance was that of a tall man, with gray hair and a mustache. In the manga, his facial expressions showed evil and madness when he committed suicide, while in the anime, he seemed like a calm and deceitful man. He usually wore a red business suit, a black tie, and a white inner long-sleeved dress shirt. Gozaburo had brown eyes and was fair skinned.
Gozaburo played an Exodia Necross Deck. His strategy revolved around Summoning "Exodia Necross" by quickly sending the pieces of "Exodia" to the Graveyard through "Painful Choice". He then relied entirely on the immunity and ATK raising abilities of "Exodia Necross", which provided decent offense and defense, but whose weaknesses proved to be his undoing.
Before his Duel with Seto, Gozaburo Summoned a number of monsters with a chess theme against Yugi and company, using their respective chess pieces - "Cosmo Queen" (Queen), "Skull Knight" (Bishop), "Command Knight" (Knight), "Rock Ogre Grotto 1" (Rook), and "Lizard Soldier" (Pawn).
- Left Arm of the Forbidden One
- Left Leg of the Forbidden One
- Right Arm of the Forbidden One
- Right Leg of the Forbidden One
- Contract with Exodia x2
- Delinquent Duo
- Emergency Provisions
- Final Countdown
- Foolish Burial x3
- Graceful Charity
- Lightning Vortex
- Mystical Space Typhoon
- Pot of Greed
- Swords of Revealing Light
- United We Stand
- Gozaburo is the only character in the Virtual World Arc to not use a Deck Master.
- In the English anime, both Gozaburo Kaiba and Rare Hunter are voiced by Richard Will. Each of these characters have at least one set of Exodia cards in their deck.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 150: "Deja Duel! - Part 2"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 179: "A Duel with Dartz - Part 3"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 114: "Brothers in Arms, Part 1"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 112: "Merger of the Big Five, Part 2"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 100: "Isolated in Cyber Space, Part 2"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 110: "Noah's Secret"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 119: "So Close Yet So Far"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 115: "Brothers in Arms, Part 2"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 103: "Freeze Play, Part 2"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 190: "Down in Flames - Part 1"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 104: "Courtroom Chaos, Part 1"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 108: "Settling the Score, Part 1"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 120: "Burying The Past - Part 1"
- Yu-Gi-Oh! episode 137: "Battle for the Bronze - Part 3"