|Template:Ninja loyaltyTemplate:Ninja clanTemplate:Ninja kekkei genkai|
Neji Hyuga日向ネジHyūga Neji
Naruto Episode 21
Anime and Manga
|Voice actor(s) (English)||
When his cousin, Hinata, turned three years old, Neji was branded with the Hyuga Main Family's Juinjutsu by his uncle, Hiashi. When his father, Hizashi, showed anger over this and was punished for it, Neji began to see himself as a helpless "caged bird" forced to obey the main branch of the family. Around this time, his father had begun to see Neji's natural talent. After his father's sacrificed himself for the main family, Neji mistakenly believed that the main branch had forced him to do so, and the event became the primary basis of his grudge against the main branch.
A year before the start of the series, Neji graduated at the top of his class, and was placed in Team Guy with Might Guy as the Jonin leader, and Rock Lee and Tenten as his teammates. After officially being promoted to Genin, Neji declined to reveal his dream, and laughed at Rock Lee for claiming that he could become a great ninja with just taijutsu. During their first year in Team Guy, Lee challenged Neji many times, but always lost. Guy decided to have his team wait a year before taking the Chunin Exams in order to ensure that they were prepared. At some point before his first Chunin Exam, his animosity toward the main branch became apparent to Guy, who made him promise not to let the issue influence his feelings during the exam.
Outside of his initial feelings towards his clan, Neji has shown to be extremely mature for his age and has great self-control. In battle, he is able to stay relatively calm in most situations and carefully look at the situation at hand. As stated by Tsunade, Neji has excellent instincts, both on the battlefield and as a leader. When forced to make difficult decisions on missions, he shows himself able to make a decision through keen observation and analysis.
While under the belief that his father died because he was a member of the branch house, Neji concludes that fate is something decided at birth and that no matter what one does, people cannot escape their destiny. Neji often applies this to people he views as weaker than he is, such as his cousin Hinata. During his match in the Chunin Exams, he tells Hinata that she is unfit to be a ninja due to being too kind and not confident enough. When she is eventually able to turn his philosophy against him, telling him that she believes that he is suffering from trying to become worthy of the main house despite his being born into the branch family, Neji becomes enraged and attempts to kill Hinata. He is stopped by multiple Jonin, but Hinata nevertheless is left in critical conditions from his earlier attacks. In this instance, Neji's only concern is that he could not complete his attack, and he accuses the Jonin of giving special treatment to the head family members. He disregards Hinata's personal growth in the match, concluding that because she was defeated, "a failure will always be a failure."
Neji displays similar efforts to condescend others during his match with Naruto Uzumaki who, despite being repeatedly struck down, continues to try and fight him. While Neji tries to show Naruto that fate cannot be fought and that someone who is weak will always remain weak, Naruto is unwilling to accept this mindset, arguing that Neji, for all his belief in fate, has not accepted his own destiny. Naruto goes on to defeat Neji, suggesting that if a "failure" like himself can change his destiny, a "genius" like Neji can, too.
With this example of overcoming "destiny" as well as finding out the truth about his father's death soon afterwards, Neji abandons the concept of inescapable fate. No longer bound by the idea that he is stuck at his current status, Neji resolves to become strong enough to never again lose a battle. To do so he begins putting more emphasis on working well with his team, and starts to value a mission's successful completion and his teammates' safety over his own betterment, even encouraging Rock Lee to continue pursuing his own dream. In addition, Neji begins trying to remedy the estranged relations between himself and the main house members, most particularly by being kinder to Hinata. His efforts seem to be effective, as he begins training with Hiashi and in Part II even starts to wear traditional Hyuga robes. He similarly has great confidence in Naruto's capacity to change others.
When Team Guy is first formed, Neji dismisses Lee's dream of becoming a great ninja despite his inability to mold chakra as hopeless, and suggests that Lee can never defeat him. After abandoning his fatalistic philosophy, he suggests that he would not have persevered in Lee's situation, and believes that if Lee works hard enough, he can surpass the gifted. They become good friends because of this, though Neji tends to spend most of his time with Tenten, as neither of them can compete with Lee or Guy's antics.
During the first phase of the Chunin Exams, Neji uses his Byakugan to read off of other examinees' tests. During the second phase, Team Guy splits up to find weak rival teams. Neji runs in to Team 10, but thinks them too weak to bother with. When Team Guy later meets up and Neji and Tenten realize that Lee is uncharacteristically late, they go looking for him. They find him having been defeated by Team Dosu. Angered, Neji threatens to fight them, but decides not to after noticing that Sasuke Uchiha has woken up. Once Sasuke drives off the Sound Genin, Neji and Tenten take Lee away to recover and still manage to pass the round.
In the preliminary matches, Neji is paired up against Hinata. After exchanging Gentle Fist-style blows, Hinata seemed to defeat Neji, only for Neji to reveal that he has plugged up Hinata's chakra points, rendering her Gentle Fist useless. He also hit a chakra point close to one of Hinata's vitals moments before, putting Hinata in critical condition. However, Hinata refused to back down, insisting that Neji, not she, was fighting against what could not be changed. Neji was about to administer a killing blow when most of the Jonin in attendance stepped in to save Hinata. After the fight, Naruto, angered by Neji's philosophy and treatment of Hinata, swiped up some of Hinata's blood and swore to defeat Neji during the finals. Neji dismissed his threats and watched Lee's match with Gaara. He was surprised by Lee's strength, but after the fight thought Lee foolish to try to win by using a self-sacrificial method.
Neji was pitted against Naruto in the first rounds of the finals. Although Neji soon gained the advantage and cut off Naruto's chakra flow, Naruto was determined to fight against Neji and prove that fate was not predetermined. Naruto tapped into the power of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox sealed within him, and was able to keep up with Neji for a time. Neji's Heavenly Spin protected him from Naruto's attacks, but when he approached a supposedly defeated Naruto, Naruto popped out of a tunnel he dug in the ground, and uppercut Neji in the jaw, defeating him. Neji was angry with himself for falling for Naruto's signature technique, but Naruto revealed that the technique used to be his worst one, and that he only became good at it through practice. Neji then heard of his father's fate from his uncle (in the Anime, it was change to Neji reading a scroll written by his father which explains everything), and broke down in tears. When Hiashi bowed before Neji in forgiveness, Neji asks him to rise, and forgave him. Neji then silently told his father that he wished to finally have control over his destiny and that he hoped to never lose again.
Sasuke Retrieval arc
Neji was recruited as part of the five-man team to retrieve Sasuke from the Sound Four. When during the course of the mission the team is captured by Kidomaru's webbing, Neji is able to free them and sends them after the remaining members of the Sound Four while he fights Kidomaru. Kidomaru was able to analyze Neji's defenses and find the blind spot in his Byakugan. Neji realized that Kidomaru was far more powerful than he was, but was determined never to give up, though, as he wanted to show those who considered him a genius that their faith in him was correct, and to prove that he no longer surrendered to fate. Neji was severely wounded when Kidomaru managed to fire an arrow through his chest. He was able to keep it from hitting his heart by moving at the last minute, and took advantage of the string attached to it that Kidomaru used to guide its trajectory. He channeled chakra through the web, severely injuring Kidomaru. He then caught and struck Kidomaru repeatedly with Gentle Fist, killing him. Neji was near death after the battle, but was saved with the help of Shizune and other medical ninja.
Pre-Shippūden filler arcs
Neji was commonly the team leader for Team Guy when Guy was absent, and was more cautious and pragmatic than Naruto was. In the Raiga arc, Neji attempts to use his Byakugan against Raiga, but Ranmaru's kekkei genkai created illusions that he mistook for real people. During the second battle, he was easily defeated and knocked out. While he was unconscious, Tenten attempted to wake him up by feeding him the Curry of Life twice but, due to his low tolerance towards spicy food, he only freaked out after eating it and fell unconscious again.
In the Hidden Star Village arc, Neji suggested that he and the others should concern themselves with finding the star, rather than with the potential dangers the star training has to the children. When the villagers confronted Akahoshi, Neji initially refuses to get involved, and when Naruto attacked Akahoshi after Akahoshi disabled Naruto's teammates with an attack, he told Naruto that he would deny knowing anything about what Naruto did, unwilling to betray the client and erode people's trust in Leaf ninja. Despite saying this, when Tsunade reprimanded the group for Naruto's destroying the star to defeat Akahoshi, Neji accepted responsibility as team leader, before Tsunade reveals that as Akahoshi was the client, no one will complain about their failing the mission.
In the Menma arc, he suspected that Menma is a Sound ninja, and while testing the theory, learned of Menma's incredible speed. His suspicions were confirmed in part when it is revealed that Menma is part of a bandit clan, but Menma remained on Naruto's side and sacrifices himself to save a town from bandits.
Rescue Gaara arc
Neji makes his debut with the rest of Team Guy when they are sent to provide back up for Team Kakashi. They are intercepted by Pakkun who redirected them to Team Kakashi's destination: an Akatsuki hideout. Along the way they were confronted by Kisame Hoshigaki, who quickly captured Neji, Tenten, and Lee. Neji was able to free them, allowing Guy to finish off Kisame. They discover that it was not the real Kisame, only a lookalike.
When they convene with Team Kakashi, Team Guy is tasked with bringing down a barrier blocking the entrance to the Akatsuki lair. Neji uses his Byakugan to find the seals keeping the barrier in place, but the team is ambushed by copies of themselves once the barrier is brought down. They defeat their clones, and meet up with Team Kakashi. Neji spots Deidara with his Byakugan and when Deidara prepares to explode himself he warns the rest to run away. Later, when Chiyo begins to use a strange technique, he mistook it as a medical ninjutsu, but later realized what it could do. Team Guy returns home when the mission is complete. On the way back, Guy resorted to carrying Kakashi to move faster. Lee, seeing this as a new way of training, requested Neji to go on his back, in which he replied, "Oh hell no!"
Invasion of Pain arc
When Pain begins his attack on Konoha, Team Guy is away on a mission. During a pitstop on their return home they notice a number of birds apparently escaping from the village. They rush to the village, Neji using his Byakugan to see what he can find out before their actual arrival. With it he notices a defeated Gamabunta, who tells them of the village's destruction. Upon their return they find a badly injured Hinata, and they quickly get her medical attention. When they later learn that Naruto has defeated Pain, Neji insists on going to help him confront Nagato, saying that it was too reckless for Naruto to go alone when he was exhausted. Despite this, he remained in the village and greeted Naruto with the other ninja upon his return.
Since a young age, Neji has been held to be a natural genius, even becoming the top-ranked rookie in his class. His father has even stated that his talent and potential surpasses all other members of their clan, while his uncle told his youngest daughter that no one else had thicker Hyuga blood than he did. While most of the former Konoha Genin become Chunin over the timeskip, Neji is the only one to become a Jonin.
As a member of the Hyuga clan, Neji possesses the Byakugan, which gives him an almost 360-degree field of vision, except for a small blindspot at the back of the neck. Neji is acutely aware of his blind spot and takes extra caution in keeping it away from opponents as well as paying close attention to it. While the Byakugan naturally has only a 50 meter field of vision, Neji is able to increase the range of its sight several times over by the start of Part II, to at least 800 meters. He is noted to have a particularly strong Byakugan in comparison to other members of the Hyuga clan.
Neji's Byakugan allows him to specialize in the Gentle Fist fighting style, which he has mastered to the point he can damage an opponent's Chakra Pathway System and inner organs directly with even a slight tap. Neji also uses this technique to attack his opponents heart directly and send them into cardiac arrest resulting in the death of the opponent with but a single strike. He can eject chakra from any chakra point in his body to either slow down objects or release himself from chakra based substances that will get him out of trapped situations. This also allows him to sense anything that enters his immediate area, which he can attack or defend against any threat with his extremely fast reflexes.
Gentle Fist Techniques
As a member of the Hyuga clan's branch house, Neji is forbidden to learn the clan's secret techniques, but has managed to deduce their workings simply through observation. He has learned many of these techniques, such as Eight Trigrams Palms Heavenly Spin. Since mastering these jutsu, Neji has begun to refine and strengthen them for more specialized needs. In Part II he learned the Eight Trigrams Empty Palm, a more focused version of the Heavenly Spin, with which he can expel chakra from his palm to attack opponents out of his physical reach. In the anime, he also learns to increase the number of strikes of the Eight Trigrams Sixty-Four Palms, by doubling it. He also uses a jutsu in the anime called Eight Trigrams Mountain Crusher.
- Neji is a common playable character in the Naruto video games series.
- He appears in Naruto Shippūden the Movie as the replacement of Kakashi Hatake. He leads a group composed of himself, Naruto, Lee, and Sakura, on a mission to protect Shion. During the mission Neji, with Lee's help, realizes that their opponents get their chakra from a certain source and defeats Kusuna to make the group helpless.
- Neji also makes a short cameo appearance in Naruto Shippūden 2: Bonds. He is seen rescuing children as the sky-nin attack Konoha and explains how they use their chakra to fly. He is later seen after the attack talking to Shikamaru, and finally appears at the end wondering about the destruction Naruto had caused to the sky-nin's base.
- He likes fish soba, but he has low tolerance for spicy food and dislikes pumpkins.
- According to the latest Databook, Neji wishes to fight Naruto.
- Neji is aware of Hinata's feelings for Naruto, and shortly before Naruto's departure at the end of Part I, suggests that she see him off.
- Neji was ranked as the 8th most popular character in the sixth and most recent Naruto character popularity poll. He was 7th in the fifth poll and 6th in the fourth. 10th in the third poll and 13th in the second. He was 12th in the first poll. Ironically, while at first Neji was in between 10 and 19 in most of the character popularity polls and Lee was in the Top 10 Lee has gradually become less popular while Neji has become more popular, even though the two had equal exposure. However in an overall tally of all of their scores Lee and Neji made it to the Top 10.
- "Neji" means "whirl" or "screw," which might be referring to his Heavenly Spin. His name is one of the few known Hyuga names that does not feature a sun- or light-based theme, or begins with an "H."
- When Neji was first seen in the manga, his hair tie was higher, right below his head. However, after the second part of the Chunin Exams, it moves lower to the hair style he has now. In the anime, he has the newer hair style nearly the whole time.
- Hinata uses the title "Neji-niisan" ((Big) Brother Neji) when speaking to Neji, initially causing Sakura Haruno and Naruto Uzumaki to believe that they are siblings rather than cousins.
- Neji and Tenten have the same theme in the anime, but Tenten's has a slower beat, and Neji's is more upbeat.
- In the manga, Neji's curse mark is a Manji, a common symbol used in Buddhism, instead of an x in the anime. It was edited as the sauwastika looks similar to the symbol for the Nazi Party.
- "You're a failure."
- "Do you understand now? You have no way of beating me!"
- "Naruto...sometimes your eyes are better than mine."
- (To Kiba, Shikamaru, and Naruto) "Sasuke's out there right now, heading toward Orochimaru. We can't allow such evil to take someone from our village...that is not our way."
- "All this time I've been called a genius, so I can not lose."
- "Because Naruto...you saved me from the darkness."
- (About Lee and Guy) "As usual, I can't keep up with their craziness."