|(日向ネジ, Hyūga Neji)|
|Anime||Naruto Episode #21|
|Movie||Naruto: Shippūden the Movie|
|Game||Naruto: Ultimate Ninja|
|OVA||Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival!|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Game and Movie|
|Academy Grad. Age||12|
|Chūnin Prom. Age||15|
Neji was born into the Branch House of the Hyūga clan to Hizashi, the twin brother of the clan's current head Hiashi Hyūga. When Hinata, the heiress apparent, turned three years old, as customary Neji's previously unmarked forehead was branded with the Hyūga Main Family's Juinjutsu by his uncle Hiashi. All Branch House members carry this cursed seal, and Neji believed it to be a symbol that one lives only to serve, and protect the Main House.
Neji's father, was well aware of Neji's natural talent, and he was frustrated that despite Neji's tremendous skill, he still carried the fate of a servant. Often times when contemplating this fate, Hizashi's anger would subconsciously turn outwards; consequently, he was punished through Hiashi's activation of his curse seal who noted that he would no longer tolerate such animosity. Around this time, the Konoha and Kumogakure had signed an alliance treaty. However, the treaty only served as a means into Konoha and a way to lower the village's guard so the Head Ninja of Kumogakure could abduct Hinata and steal the secrets of the Byakugan. This attempt failed, however, as Hiashi intervened and killed the man within moments.
When word of the murder reached Kumogakure, they demanded Hiashi's body as compensation as per the agreement in the treaty (as his body would hold the Byakugan as well). Konoha wasn't prepared to comply to this request until Hizashi stepped in and offered to give himself up instead. Due to him being bound by the Hyūga Main Family's Juinjutsu when he died, the Byakugan would be sealed away, thus protecting its secrets. Hizashi made this sacrifice willingly in order to protect his brother, family, and village. However, Neji came to believe that the main branch had forced him to do so. This misconception became the primary basis of his nine year grudge against the main branch and of his concrete view on one's unalterable fate.
Neji was extremely serious and mature for his age, and had great control of his emotions. Before and during the Chūnin Exams and his fight with Naruto, he was cold, and somewhat arrogant. In his younger years, Neji was a kinder, optimistic child who smiled more often. He even told his father he thought Hinata was "cute" when the two branches of the Hyūga clan met for her third birthday.
While under the belief that his father had died because he was a member of the branch house, Neji concluded that fate is something decided at birth and that no matter what one does, people cannot escape their destiny. Neji often applied this to people he viewed as weaker than himself, such as his cousin, Hinata. During his match in the Chūnin Exams, he told Hinata that she was unfit to be a ninja, due to being too kind and not confident enough. When she was eventually able to turn his philosophy against him, telling him that she believed that he was suffering from trying to become worthy of the main house, despite him being born into the branch family, Neji became enraged, and attempted to attack Hinata. He was stopped by multiple jōnin, but Hinata nevertheless was left in critical condition from his earlier attacks.
Neji displayed similar efforts to condescend others during his match with Naruto Uzumaki who, despite being repeatedly struck down, continued to try and fight him. While Neji tried to show Naruto that fate cannot be fought, and that someone who is weak will always remain weak, Naruto was unwilling to accept this mindset, arguing that Neji, for all his belief in fate, had not accepted his own destiny. Naruto went on to defeat Neji, suggesting that, if a "failure" like himself could change his destiny, think of what a "genius" like Neji could do.
With this example of overcoming "destiny", as well as finding out the truth about his father's death soon afterwards, Neji abandoned the concept of inescapable fate. No longer bound by the idea that he was stuck at his current status, Neji resolved to become strong enough to never again lose in a battle. To do so, he began putting more emphasis on working well with his team and started to value a mission's successful completion and his team-mates' safety over his own betterment, even encouraging Rock Lee to continue pursuing his own dream. His abandonment of the concept of inescapable fate was most prominent during his fight with Kidōmaru, where despite the Oto-nin's discovery of the Byakugan's weak spot and Neji being severely wounded, he was still able to fight on and eventually defeat Kidōmaru, because he remembered what Naruto had said to him.
In addition, Neji began trying to remedy the estranged relations between himself and the main house members, most particularly by being kinder to Hinata and his uncle Hiashi. It was also shown that since then he has been training with Hinata, sparring with each other in order to hone their skills. During the Fourth Shinobi World War the two cousins protect each other's back as well as the great concern Neji showed for her safety on the battlefield. The strongest amount of care towards Hinata was shown when he unhesitatingly sacrificed himself to save her and Naruto from being killed by the Ten-Tails. He similarly has great confidence in Naruto's capacity to change others, as he stated that the latter could redeem Sasuke and bring him back to Konoha. However, it seems that he gave up hope for Sasuke, and gave up his thoughts that even Naruto could bring him back.
In battle, he was able to stay relatively calm in most situations and carefully look at the situation at hand. He had shown himself to be a bit stubborn, as seen during the Fourth Shinobi World War, when Kiba told him to go to the medic corps, he refused, telling that he is fine, despite the fact he was shaking and barely able to stand.
Neji had long, black hair, which is usually depicted as dark brown in the anime. In Part I, his hair reached the middle of his back and was tied back a few inches above the end in a loose ponytail, while two straps attached to a smaller headband underneath his ninja forehead protector frame the sides of his face. In Part II, he got rid of these straps, and allowed his hair, which is now longer, to frame his face instead. When he appears with the rest of his clan to protect Naruto in the Fourth Shinobi World War, he had his hair out of the ponytail. Like the rest of his clan, he had very fair skin and possesses the renowned Byakugan, which when activated, stimulates the veins and arteries immediately around his eyes to protrude more prominently. In the anime, his eyes are depicted with a slight tint of lavender to them.
In Part I, Neji wore a black forehead protector that he wore snugly over his forehead. He wore a khaki shirt, under which he wore a dull blue shirt with a mesh armour underneath it, dark brown shorts, blue shinobi sandals. He also had bandages wrapped around his right arm, chest, and right leg. In Part II, Neji abandoned the bandages and is clad in more traditional Hyūga-like robes: a white shirt with loose sleeves, closed on the right shoulder, with a fastener running down the right part of the chest, matching pants, with a dark navy grey apron tied around his waist and black shinobi sandals. This may or may not have been to facilitate easier execution of his techniques, or to symbolise his warming relations with his clan. Neji usually carried a large, tan and black drawstring bag, which he carries over his shoulder. During the Fourth Shinobi World War, he dons the standard Konohagakure attire with flak jacket, and the Alliance's forehead protector.
In Part I, Neji's facial expression was usually stern, hard, and cold. As the series progressed, however, his expression relaxes. He even smiled and chuckled at times. While still composed, Neji looked to be more calm, confident, and mature, rather than challenging.
From a young age, Neji had been hailed a natural genius even amongst the Hyūga clan. In Part I, he was labelled the top-ranked rookie in his class, and was said by Rock Lee to be the strongest genin to take the Chūnin Exam that year. His father even stated that with his talent, he could potentially surpass all other members of their clan. Over the time-skip, when most of the former Konoha 11 genin reached chūnin rank, Neji was the only one to advance to the rank of jōnin.
As stated by Tsunade, Neji had 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. In the anime, Neji was also shown to be a capable teacher, having helped Hinata improve and refine her skills, among other things, her Gentle Step Twin Lion Fists.
As a member of the Hyūga clan, Neji possessed the Byakugan, a dōjutsu kekkei genkai which granted him near-360° vision, along with x-ray vision, and the ability to see chakra networks, amongst other things. The Byakugan however, does have a small blind spot located at the third upper thoracic vertebrae — a weakness of which Neji was actually aware of and took extra precaution in concealing it from opponents. While the Byakugan naturally has an immediate 50 metre field of vision when activated, Neji was able to increase its range several times that by the start of Part II, to at least 800 metres. He was also noted to have a particularly strong Byakugan relative to other members of the Hyūga clan.
Gentle Fist Art
As a member of the Hyūga clan, Neji specialised in close-range, taijutsu combat. In battle, Neji has shown tremendous agility and dexterity, capable of simultaneously dodging and striking an opponent with no wasted movement. His attacks are fast and fluid, precisely striking in rapid succession to leave very little time for his opponent to find an opening to counter.
Neji's fighting style was the signature style of his clan, the Gentle Fist, which takes advantage of the Byakugan's insight into people's chakra pathway system. Gentle Fist allows for severe internal trauma with minimal external force as it relies on surgical injection of chakra into an opponent's chakra pathway system. As Neji's Byakugan was stronger than most, and was able to see special nodes on the chakra network, called tenketsu, Neji could use Gentle Fist to not only damage opponents, but control their chakra flow as well. Using the Gentle Fist, Neji could affect internal organs, and was capable of killing an opponent with a single strike should he aim to harm the heart. Training in the Gentle Fist style implies superior chakra regulatory control and mastery of the human chakra network. As a result, Neji could eject chakra from any tenketsu in his body as a means to slow or impede incoming projectiles. He can also release himself from chakra-based substances using this technique. Continuously maintaining this expulsion of chakra allowed Neji to create a quasi-sensory barrier around himself to detect anything that enters his immediate area, making up for the Byakugan's blind spot, although it rapidly depleted his chakra reserves as seen when this tactic was employed against Kidōmaru.
As a member of the Hyūga clan's branch house, Neji was forbidden to learn the clan's secret techniques, but managed to deduce their workings simply through observation, further exemplifying his status as a genius. He had learned many of the clan's most powerful techniques, such as the Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven, which allows him to repel every attack. He could also use the Eight Trigrams Sixty-Four Palms, an extremely strong offensive move with which he's able to rapidly dispatch enemies by striking many of their tenketsu in fast succession, making it hard for them to both move and control chakra. In the anime, Neji was also trained by his uncle Hiashi, who taught Neji all the other secrets of the Gentle Fist style. Since mastering these techniques, Neji has begun to refine and strengthen them for more specialised needs. In Part II he had learned the Eight Trigrams Vacuum Palm, a more focused version of the Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven, with which he can expel chakra from his palm to attack opponents out of his physical reach. In the anime, the strength of his Eight Trigrams Vacuum Palm is enough to completely obliterate Kidōmaru's Spider Web Unrolling which had been enhanced by his Cursed Seal Level 2, even inflicting a mortal wound on Kidōmaru so he would be vulnerable for sealing. In the anime, he was also able to increase the number of strikes in Eight Trigrams Sixty-Four Palms by doubling it. He could also collaborate with Hinata, using Eight Trigrams Vacuum Wall Palm. When trapped by an enemy, he could use the Gentle Fist Art One Blow Body, to release chakra from the tenketsu to free himself. Working alongside his uncle, he was able to stop the Ten-Tails' chakra arm from crushing the shinobi around them. Also, his Eight Trigrams Revolving Heaven had reached the same size as his uncle's, showing growth from the size in Part I.
Chūnin Exam Arc
During the first phase of the Chūnin Exams, Neji used his Byakugan to read off of other examinees' tests. During the second phase, Team Guy split up to find weak rival teams. Neji ran into Team 10, but thought them too weak to bother with. When Team Guy later reunited, and Neji and Tenten realised that Lee was uncharacteristically late, they went looking for him. They found him after having been defeated by Team Dosu. Angered, Neji threatened to fight them, but decided not to, after noticing that Sasuke Uchiha had woken up. Once Sasuke drove off the Otogakure genin, Neji and Tenten took Lee away to recover, still managing to pass the round.
In the preliminary matches, Neji was paired up against Hinata. He attempted to have Hinata forfeit the match stating that people would never be able to change no matter how hard they tried, though Naruto snapped Hinata out of her rising panic and with this, the two cousins begin fighting. After exchanging blows using the Gentle Fist-style of their clan, Hinata seemed to defeat Neji, only for Neji to reveal that he had closed Hinata's chakra points, rendering her Gentle Fist useless. He also hit a chakra point close to one of Hinata's vitals moments beforehand, putting Hinata in critical condition. However, Hinata refused to back down, insisting that Neji was also was fighting against what could not be changed. Enraged, Neji attacks Hinata, intent on administering a killing blow when most of the jōnin 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 despite listening to Neji's past. 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 Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven protected him from Naruto's attacks, but when he approached a supposedly defeated Naruto, Naruto sprang out of a tunnel he had dug in the ground, and delivered an uppercut to 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 changed to Neji reading a scroll written by his father, which explained everything), and broke down in tears. When Hiashi bowed before Neji, entreating his forgiveness, Neji asked 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.
Invasion of Konoha Arc
After the invasion of the village was staved off by the shinobi, Neji attended the Third Hokage's funeral alongside the other villagers, mourning his death.
Search for Tsunade Arc
A little before Tenten met up with him, Neji was in a forest training with his Byakugan. As he attempted to locate birds with his Byakugan, he was able to see seven birds before Tenten arrived and announced that they had a new Hokage: Tsunade who had returned to Konoha. She also asked Neji to accompany her, but only he declines her offer, stating that he was not interested. Shortly after this, Neji realised that it had in fact been eight birds.
Sasuke Retrieval Arc
Neji was recruited as part of the five-man team to retrieve Sasuke from the Sound Four. Neji was chosen to be the rear lookout in the single file line Shikamaru organised because of his ability to use the Byakugan. When, during the course of the mission, the team was captured by Kidōmaru's webbing, Neji was able to free them with his Gentle Fist, and sent them after the remaining members of the Sound Four while he fought Kidōmaru. Kidōmaru was able to analyse Neji's defences, and found the blind spot in the Byakugan.
At one point in their fight, Kidōmaru summons a giant spider. The spider released many smaller spiders, and Neji used his Eight Trigrams One Hundred Twenty-Eight Palms to stop them.
Neji realised that Kidōmaru was more powerful than he was, but was determined to never give up, 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 Kidōmaru managed to fire an arrow through his chest. However, he was able to keep it from hitting his heart by moving at the last moment.
After dodging yet another arrow, Neji realised that he couldn't stop the next one. He allowed the arrow to hit him - however, he prevented it from being fatal, and took advantage of the string attached to it that Kidōmaru used to guide its trajectory by channelling chakra through the web, severely injuring Kidōmaru. He then ran towards him, saying for the sake of those believe that he was a genius he could not lose, caught and struck the latter repeatedly with Gentle Fist.
Before he died, Kidōmaru said that Sasuke was beyond salvation, and couldn't be brought back to Konoha as he had made his own choice to leave. However, Neji proclaimed that Naruto would be able to save Sasuke from the darkness, as Naruto had saved him. Afterwards, Kidōmaru died, and Neji collapsed due to his injuries. He was critically injured after the battle, but was saved with the help of Shizune and other medical ninja with the Healing Resuscitation Regeneration Technique.
In the anime, since making peace with his uncle Hiashi, the Hyūga clan leader decided to help oversee his nephew's training and as such Neji would regularly train with Hiashi when not on missions. Also during this time, Neji began training with Hiashi in an attempt to hone Neji's skills. On missions, Neji was commonly the team leader for Team Guy when Guy was absent, and was more cautious and pragmatic than Naruto was. During the Curry of Life Arc, Neji attempted 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 to spicy food, he merely fell unconscious again.
In the Survival Training Arc, the Academy students were divided into teams of three and were assigned to a genin who would lead them on a mission against the other teams. Neji was assigned to lead a team of three academy students; Kōji, Jin and Futaba. His time with them was not covered much except that he was doing better than Naruto. Neji instructed his students on how to use a watch as a compass.
During the Hoshigakure Arc, Neji suggested that he and the others should concern themselves with finding the star, as the mission instructed, rather than with the potential dangers the star training had to the children. When the villagers confronted Akahoshi, Neji initially refused to get involved, and when Naruto attacked Akahoshi after Akahoshi disabled Naruto's team-mates 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 Konoha 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 revealed that, as Akahoshi was the client, no one would complain about their failing the mission.
In the Menma Arc, he suspected that Menma was an Otogakure ninja, and openly admitted to Menma that he didn't trust him. While testing the theory, he learned of Menma's incredible speed. His suspicions were confirmed in part when it was revealed that Menma was part of a bandit clan, but Menma remained on Naruto's side, and sacrificed himself to save a town from bandits.
In the Trap Master Arc, Neji, along with the rest of the Konoha 11, was recruited by Shikamaru to investigate any traces of the trap master's plans. Using his Byakugan he found an explosive tag inside the Academy and discovered a wire that led to a log in which a thrown kunai hitting the bullseye would trigger an explosion that would potentially destroy the whole village. Neji later helped in locating all explosive tags through Konoha and joined Naruto and the genin in confronting the trap master, Gennō, at the Hokage Monument.
In the Ultimate Weapon Arc, Neji, Hinata, and Shino try to help Shikamaru by clearing the areas. When the Konoha 11 gather to look at Gaara's fight, Neji explains about Seimei's absorption ability that is affecting Gaara. After the mission, Neji suggests that Hinata should see Naruto leave Konohagakure in training with Jiraiya, being aware about the feelings Hinata has for Naruto. A similar scene happened after the Sasuke Retrieval Arc in the manga.
Kazekage Rescue Arc
During the timeskip, Neji is the only member of the Konoha 11 to advance to the rank of jōnin. At the start of Part II, Neji and the rest of Team Guy were sent to provide back-up for Team Kakashi. They were 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 in a Water Prison. Neji was able to free them with his Gentle Fist, allowing Guy to finish off Kisame. They discovered that it was not the real Kisame, only a lookalike.
When they convened with Team Kakashi, Team Guy was tasked with bringing down a barrier blocking the entrance to the Akatsuki lair. Neji used his Byakugan to find the seals keeping the barrier in place, but the team was ambushed by copies of themselves once the barrier was brought down. They defeated their clones, and reunited with Team Kakashi. Neji spotted Deidara with his Byakugan, and, when Deidara prepared to self-destruct, he warned the rest to run away. Later, when Chiyo began to use a strange technique, he mistook it as a medical ninjutsu, but later realised what it really was. Team Guy returned home when the mission was complete. On the way back, Guy resorted to carrying Kakashi in order to move faster. Lee, seeing this as a new way of training, requested Neji to go on his back, but Neji entirely refused.
Sai and Sasuke Arc
Team Guy only appeared in the anime at the very beginning and later comment about how ridiculous Lee and Guy's race was.
Hidan and Kakuzu Arc
After Asuma Sarutobi's death, Neji can be seen at his funeral mourning his loss alongside the other villagers in the anime.
Invasion of Pain Arc
When Pain began his attack on Konoha, Team Guy was away on a mission. During a pit-stop on their return home, they noticed a number of birds apparently escaping from the village. They rushed to the village, Neji using his Byakugan to see what he could find out before their actual arrival. With it, he noticed a defeated Gamabunta, who told them of the village's destruction. Upon their return, they found Hinata badly injured, and they quickly got her medical attention. When they later learned that Naruto had defeated Pain, Neji insisted on going to help him confront Nagato, even though Naruto did not want back-up, 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.
Konoha History Arc
Main article: Konoha History Arc
While interviewed by Team Ebisu over Naruto's actions three years ago, Neji instead told Konohamaru Sarutobi and his friends the story of how his life changed during the Invasion of Konoha while rescuing Hinata from two Kumogakure ninja who used the chaos as an opportunity to take the Byakugan. Reaching his cousin, Neji was nearly killed when Hiashi came to his nephew's aid. Upon being told by his uncle that he is the last memento of his late brother, Neji began to understand Naruto's words and see that he is not a slave to the clan as he thought he was. While the younger ninjas questioned what his story had to do with Naruto, Neji explains that he chose to rescue Hinata because of the change of heart brought about by his defeat during his fight with Naruto in the Chūnin Exams.
Five Kage Summit Arc
When news reaches Konoha of Sasuke's recent dealings with Akatsuki, Neji and the rest of the Konoha 11 decide that they should personally kill Sasuke before he involves the village in a war. When Naruto returns to the village, the Konoha 11 try to find out what happened in the Land of Iron. Neji then asks Naruto if Sasuke was in such a weakened state why didn't he kill him, but Sakura notes that Sasuke was not alone and doing so would not have been an easy feat.
Main article: Chikara Arc
Adventures at Sea Arc
Main article: Adventures at Sea Arc
Shinobi World War Arc
When the Fourth Shinobi World War began, Neji was placed in the Second Division. The Second Division was sent to intercept part of the White Zetsu Army. Part of the Fifth Division joined them, and Neji updated them on the plan of attack. When division-commander Kitsuchi unearthed the Zetsu army, the entire division attacked, with Neji joining forces with Hinata to perform the Eight Trigrams Vacuum Wall Palm.
The Zetsu prove very resilient to damage and the battle dragged on, with one Zetsu almost managing to trap Neji and absorb some of his chakra. He used Gentle Fist Art One Blow Body to free himself, but noticed that the Zetsu absorbed some of his chakra. As the battle raged on, Hinata and Neji fought side-by-side protecting each other's back.
As nightfall approached after the first day of the war, Neji rested alongside Hinata, Kiba, Akamaru and Shino. Exhausted from prolonged use of his Byakugan, Kiba urged him to visit the Logistical Support and Medical Division for treatment but Neji refused, and continued to use his Byakugan until he collapsed, causing Shino and Hinata to take over his scouting duties. Unbeknownst to Neji, the white Zetsu that had absorbed his chakra previously impersonated him and infiltrated the medical compound, killing five medical-nin before being stopped by Sakura. The real Neji was in actuality still on the battlefield, being carried on Akamaru's back.
As the second day of war starts, they once again engaged the White Zetsu Army clones who had this time impersonated their comrades. Neji who was seemingly rested, in the anime, he is shocked to find the familiar chakra webs of Kidōmaru. After freeing his allies with his Gentle Fist, he spots the reincarnated Sound ninja, drawing him out with a substitution technique. Neji quickly overwhelms him with his new long-range Gentle Fist. However, his victory is short-lived, as Kidōmaru engulfs them in a strange seal. Neji's body was left in a comatose state while his soul was sent to a new location where it was reanimate within a large barrier. Inside, the inhabitants are able to battle normal. However, the Sound Four inform their enemies that in time, their actual bodies' halted chakra flow will eventually cause them to die. In addition, killing the Sound Four will not undo the technique. Despite the initial stalemate, the Sound Four's enhanced Cursed Seals grow even stronger from their accumulated malice, quickly overwhelming the Konoha ninja. Seeing that, Shikamaru begins to intentionally provoke them, knowing that Naruto's new senses would pick up on it. Eventually, Naruto finds them and breaks through the barrier, allowing Inoichi, through a telepathic connection, to release the technique and restore Neji and the others to their bodies. Upon awakening, Neji is tearfully hugged by a relieved Hinata.
Later, confronted by one of the transformed Zetsu, Kiba called out to him that Hinata is in danger. Quickly dispatching the shinobi, Neji cursed that he would not make it to Hinata in time and watches on with horror as his cousin is plummeted into a mountain-side only to be revealed as a Zetsu clone. As Naruto passes overhead, Neji wonders if it was really him before following after Kiba and Akamaru. He arrives in time to see that it was in fact Naruto and that he had protected Hinata from an enemy attack. After telling Kiba and an Iwa-nin that he did not realise that it was him because of his change in appearance and chakra signature. Demanding that Naruto prove that he is who he says he is, Hinata said there was no need for that because he came to their rescue. The group then mobilised to finish off the rest of the enemies. After being informed by Inoichi from HQ that Naruto and B were fighting the "masked Madara", Neji and the Konoha 11 rush to his aid.
Ten-Tails Revival Arc
Arriving to the front of the battlefield, Neji informed Naruto that he was the key to the new battle strategy, and before he could tell him what had happened to Inoichi and Shikaku, the Ten-Tails attempted to attack the group again. Rushing to his uncle's side, and following his orders, the two Hyūga used the Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven to deflect the beast's attack, gaining the praise of others on the battlefield for their prowess. Echoing his uncle's later sentiments that people might die on the battlefield and that it was better for a parent to know that they died before their children, as his own father had, Neji, Hiashi and Hinata declared that they would protect Naruto on the battlefield. As the battle between the Alliance and the beast waged on, Neji was able to buy Naruto enough time to enter Sage Mode and use the Rasenshuriken, but when the beast used a single fast-moving pinpoint attack which they were unable to deflect in time.
As Hinata flung out her arms to protect Naruto, Neji intercepted the attack and protects the both of them as the branches impaled the young Hyūga, as Kitsuchi subdues the Ten Tails' and Hiashi looked on in horror. Naruto shouted for a medic, to which Neji, accepting his death, explained that it was too late for him, as Hinata cried. Neji explained to Naruto that Naruto's life also contained the life of Hinata and himself, due to their willingness to die for Naruto. When asked by a devastated Naruto why he, a genius from the Hyūga clan, sacrificed his life for him, Neji remembered his fight with Naruto in the Chūnin Exams, and told Naruto that he did it because he called him a genius. He then mused that he finally understood his father's choice of sacrifice to protect his friends. As he passed away, Neji's juinjutsu activated, and his Byakugan was sealed forever.
Recognised as a genius even amongst the Hyūga, Neji was initially plagued with the burden that befell him being a Branch House member, and what he thought was its inescapable destiny. After the events of the Chūnin Exams, however, with the revelation of the truth behind his father's death, Neji's outlook on life changed, and he no longer saw himself as a caged bird, but as one who could learn to free themselves from their confines, and fly free. This lead him to become kinder, and even overly-protective of his cousin Hinata whom he had despised before, and train with his uncle Hiashi, whom, although was saddened that someone so talented could not inherit the leadership of the clan, wanted to protect his nephew.
His viewpoint changed so drastically that he could even proudly speak of his father's sacrifice, which lead him to forfeit his own life to protect that of Naruto and Hinata during the Fourth Shinobi World War. On the verge of death, Neji tells Naruto that he and Hinata, among those whose lives he touched, are willing to protect him. As Neji then died in Naruto's arms, Obito Uchiha sought to use Neji's death to break Naruto's resolve. Hinata however reminded Naruto of Neji's final words and not to give into Obito's ideal. Though his comrades were shocked that Neji had been killed, Neji's sacrifice ultimately strengthened the resolve of those within the Alliance to fight to keep the bonds they had. To this end, Neji became a martyr for the Allied Forces and his death inspired many.
Naruto: Shippūden the Movie
Neji, replacing Kakashi Hatake, led a group comprised of himself, Naruto, Rock Lee, and Sakura on a mission to protect Shion, a priestess destined to save the world from the demon, Mōryō. The group arrived at Shion's temple to discover it already under attack by The Gang of Four. Naruto, having recklessly charged into the fray, got himself trapped, prompting to Neji send Sakura and Lee to his aid. Noticing that Shion was being pursued by Kusuna, he caught up with her to narrowly prevent what would have been a fatal blow, forcing Kusuna to retreat.
Later during the mission, Neji led the group, now with Shion and Taruho, through a large torrent because he had seen the enemy group fighting with fire. However, he was proven wrong when Shizuku attacked them with Water Release: Water Dragon Bullet Technique. This surprised Neji, as he detected no water-natured chakra in Shizuku during their first encounter. Once he and the others reached higher ground, Neji used his Byakugan to locate Shizuku. Lee and Naruto impulsively ran off to engage Shizuku and Gitai, leaving only Neji and Sakura behind to guard Shion. To quickly distance Shion from their pursuers, Neji knocked her out, and fled to the forest with Sakura, the priestess unconscious on her back.
Neji and Sakura were pursued by Kusuna and Setsuna. Telling Sakura to go ahead with Shion, Neji engaged the two enemies, hoping to stall them. Setsuna assailed Neji with Wind Release: Rotating Shuriken, which Neji deflected using Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven. However, Neji later realised that Kusana had been a puppet all along and Setsuna was merely playing decoy. Fearing for Sakura and Shion's safety, he rushed to save them. He was too late. While Neji managed to prevent Sakura from receiving a fatal, toxic bite, he failed to save Taruho, who had taken on Shion's appearance to also act as a decoy.
Later in the movie, Neji sent Naruto to aid Shion in sealing the demon while he, Lee, and Sakura battled their enemies. Neji learned from Lee's fight with Gitai that the enemy ninjas received chakra from an unusual source. The three of them provoked an attack from The Gang of Four and remained on the defensive until they depleted their chakra. Before Kusana could perform the chakra injections, Neji killed him with a slightly upgraded version of Eight Trigrams Sixty-Four Palms, effectively crippling the remaining Gang of Four.
At the end of the movie, Neji waited alongside with everyone else, waiting for Naruto and Shion to reappear from the mountain.
Naruto Shippūden 2: Bonds
Neji made a few short appearances in this movie. He was first seen rescuing children when ninja from the Land of the Sky when they attacked Konoha. Using his Byakugan, he scanned the Sora-nin's equipment to discover that chakra circulating though their Winged Mechanical Devices enabled the Land of the Sky ninja to fly. He later relayed this information to Shikamaru, who pinpointed the location of the Land of the Sky carriers.
Neji reappeared at the end of the movie, where he, Chōji, Yamato, and Sakura ran into Shikamaru's group. There, Neji wondered what was happening in the Land of the Sky's base as it was being destroyed by Shino's kikaichū.
Naruto Shippūden 3: Inheritors of the Will of Fire
Neji made many appearances in the movie. He was first seen at Naruto and Sai's recovery party. He then was included in the mission to bring Naruto and Sakura back, and was instrumental in defeating the monster created by the Chimera Technique with Hinata using the Eight Trigrams Sixty-Four Palms. At the end of the movie, he and Sai are on a rock as Sai explains that after going through life and death could breed love meaning Kakashi Hatake could be in love, freaking Naruto out.
Naruto 5: Blood Prison
Naruto 6: Road to Ninja
Neji first appeared alongside his friends battling several Zetsu clones disguised as deceased Akatsuki members. Later in the alternate world, different Neji appeared. Compared to the Neji that Naruto and Sakura know, this one is very immature with a lively personality and a huge pervert that has no regrets abusing his Byakugan to shamelessly peep on girls constantly, making his personality very similar to Jiraiya, which typically earns him a beating from the alternate Hinata.
Neji Hyūga is a playable character in the following video games:
- Neji's name means 'whirl' or 'screw', which may be referring to his Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven. Is possible to be a play on "Nejia", an internal Chinese martial art that focuses on developing internal chi through whirling and spinning techniques.
- According to the databook(s):
- Neji's hobby was meditation.
- Neji's desired opponents were Hiashi Hyūga and Naruto Uzumaki.
- Neji's favourite food was herring soba, while his least favourites were pumpkins, and he also had a low tolerance for anything spicy.
- Neji had completed 62 official missions in total: 26 D-rank, 19 C-rank, 4 B-rank, 11 A-rank, 2 S-rank.
- Neji's favourite phrase was "Flying leap" (飛躍, hiyaku) which refers to making rapid progress in something.
- Neji's personality had been described as cool and realistic.
- When Neji was first seen in the manga, his hair tie was higher, directly below his head. However, after the second part of the Chūnin Exams, it moved lower, to the hairstyle he has now. In the anime, he had the newer hairstyle nearly the whole time.
- In the manga, his curse mark is a Manji, a common symbol used in Buddhism, instead of an X in the anime. It was edited to avoid confusion, as the manji looks similar to the symbol of the Nazi.
- In the Naruto character popularity polls, Neji was placed 12th in the first, 13th in the second, 10th in the third, 6th in the fourth, 7th in the fifth and 8th in the sixth. He finished 15th in the seventh and most recent. 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 and Tenten have the same theme song in the anime, but Tenten's has a slower beat, and Neji's is more upbeat.
- In an omake in Naruto: Shippūden episode 156, Naruto highlights how Neji doesn't appear much in Shippūden in contrast to his team-mates Lee and Tenten, who appeared in the anime-only Three-Tails Arc. Neji argues that, as a jōnin, he is constantly away on missions and never has free time.
- Throughout the series, birds have been used to allude to Neji's will.
- (To Hinata) "People are judged by their true nature. It is the way of the world. That is why we have an elite, and that is why we have outcasts. We can change our physical appearance and improve our skills with training and study, but ultimately, we are judged by what we cannot change. What can't be changed must be endured. We are who we are, and we must live with it."
- (To Naruto) "These eyes of mine show me many things. One thing they've shown me… people's limitations are set, fixed, and unchangeable. Only a fool wastes his time trying to become something he can never be! The only destiny that everyone shares… is death."
- (To Naruto) "The curse represents a mark of the bird in a cage… It is… the symbol of being tied down to an inescapable destiny."
- (To his father) "Father, is a person's destiny a thing like a cloud flowing with an inescapable flow? Or can a person choose the flow he wishes… I still don't know the answer to this. Either way the destination may be the same in the end. However by choosing to live like the latter, a person can live and strive towards a goal. And in this match I have finally understood those who have that are truly strong. Father, I have but one goal, I want to become stronger… Enough not to lose to anyone… That's how I feel. Father, the birds are flying freely today… They look so happy."
- (To Naruto) "Naruto… sometimes your eyes are even better than mine."
- (To Kidōmaru) "Even if my enemy is far stronger, even if my body should fail me, I cannot lose, there is a reason I cannot lose… …I was always known as a genius so I cannot lose. Especially for the sake of those who believed I was a genius being my weak and powerless self."
- (To Kidōmaru) "No one can determine… another's destiny."
- (To Naruto after sacrificing himself) "Hinata-sama was willing to die for you Naruto, so keep in mind that your life is not your own any more. It also includes mine now as well."
- (Last words) "Father, I finally understand your feelings… The freedom you felt when you chose to die to protect your friends…"
- ↑ First Databook, pages 106-109
- ↑ Second Databook, pages 136-139
- ↑ Third Databook, pages 148-149
- ↑ Naruto chapter 102, page 10
- ↑ Naruto chapter 102, pages 14-15
- ↑ Naruto chapter 102, pages 11-14
- ↑ Naruto chapter 102, page 17-19
- ↑ Naruto chapter 105, pages 10-19
- ↑ Naruto chapter 102, page 9
- ↑ Naruto chapter 558, pages 17-18
- ↑ Naruto chapter 79, page 16
- ↑ Naruto chapter 101, page 12
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Naruto chapter 103, page 5
- ↑ Naruto chapter 79, page 5
- ↑ Naruto chapter 247, page 7
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 232
- ↑ Naruto chapter 172, page 10
- ↑ Naruto chapter 195, page 9
- ↑ Naruto chapter 263, page 8
- ↑ Naruto chapter 614, page 2
- ↑ Naruto chapter 104, pages 19-20
- ↑ Naruto chapter 105, pages 2, 6
- ↑ Naruto chapter 198, pages 7-8
- ↑ Naruto chapter 614, pages 16-17
- ↑ Naruto chapter 617, pages 12-13
- ↑ Naruto chapter 78, page 12
- ↑ Naruto chapter 100, pages 11-12
- ↑ Naruto chapter 102, page 5
- ↑ Naruto chapter 105, page 20
- ↑ Naruto chapter 193, page 4
- ↑ Naruto chapter 197, pages 14-19
- ↑ Naruto chapter 198, page 3
- ↑ Naruto chapter 614, page 14
- ↑ Naruto chapter 614, pages 15-17