|This is the article on volume 9 of the manga. If you are looking for the article on chapter 78, head to Neji and Hinata.|
|Neji and Hinata|
|(ネジとヒナタ, Neji to Hinata)|
|Previous||Life and Death Battles!!|
|Next||A Splendid Ninja…!!|
|Japanese||October 4, 2001 ISBN (4-08-873174-2)|
|English||March 7, 2006 ISBN (978-1-4215-0239-7)|
Neji and Hinata (ネジとヒナタ, Neji to Hinata) is volume 9 of the Naruto manga.
- "A Declaration of Defeat…?!" (敗北宣言…!?, Haiboku Sengen…!?)
Having gained control of Sakura's body, Ino tries to make Sakura forfeit the match. Naruto yells to Sakura not to give up, prompting Inner Sakura to appear and force Ino out of Sakura's mind. Although confused by what had happened, Ino lacks the energy to try again. Kakashi presumes that Ino's lack of chakra was a factor in Sakura's liberation, but also takes note of Sakura's strong will to not lose. Ino and an equally exhausted Sakura charge at each other to exchange final blows, resulting in a double knock out. Hayate decides that neither of them will pass to the next round. They are taken aside to recover while the fifth match between Temari and Tenten commences. When they wake up, they decide to resume their friendship but will continue to compete for Sasuke's affection. Meanwhile, Temari defeats Tenten easily and swiftly, with all of Tenten's projectile weapons being rendered useless against her wind techniques.
- "The Sixth Match and…!!" (第六回戦…そして!!, Dairoku Kaisen… Soshite!!)
Shikamaru and Kin Tsuchi are selected for the sixth match. Shikamaru immediately tries to catch Kin with his shadow, but she dodges and retaliates by throwing senbon at him. He avoids them only to be distracted by a sound behind him. He finds that there are bells attached to the senbon which, in turn, are attached to strings that Kin can use to ring them from a distance. She attacks him with another volley, but then finds she is paralysed, Shikamaru having snuck his shadow over to her via the strings' shadows. Shikamaru throws a shuriken at Kin, who, forced to copy his movements, does the same. As they both lean back to dodge, Kin hits her head on the wall, not having realised how close she was. Shikamaru wins, and Naruto and Kiba Inuzuka are chosen for the seventh match.
- "Naruto's Growth…!!" (ナルトの成長…!!, Naruto no Seichō…!!)
Kiba, remembering what a terrible student Naruto was, claims that their fight will be an easy victory. He and his dog Akamaru, a permitted tool of battle, immediately attack, surprising Naruto by their speed and ferocity. Determined to not be looked down upon, Naruto writes off Kiba's attacks as pathetic. Kiba throws a smoke bomb to block Naruto's vision while Akamaru attacks him. When the smoke clears Akamaru stands beside a defeated Naruto. Akamaru returns to Kiba but immediately bites him, being Naruto in disguise while a shadow clone restrains the real Akamaru. The observers are impressed by Naruto's tactics.
- "Kiba Turns the Tables!! Naruto Turns the Tables?!!" (キバの逆転!!ナルトの逆転!!?, Kiba no Gyakuten!! Naruto no Gyakuten!!?)
Kiba tosses a pill to Akamaru, giving him the strength to escape the shadow clone's grasp. Kiba then turns Akamaru into a copy of himself, making them equally formidable and leaving Naruto unable to determine which is the real Kiba. They both double-team Naruto, but Naruto is unwilling to give in with everyone's eyes now upon him. Kiba taunts his hopes of victory and attacks again. Naruto turns himself into another Kiba to try and confuse Kiba and Akamaru. Kiba, with his superior sense of smell, attacks the Kiba he believes to be the fake, but the Kiba turns into Akamaru after being hit.
- "Naruto's Clever Scheme!!" (ナルトの奇策!!, Naruto no Kisaku!!)
Thinking he has made a mistake, Kiba attacks the second Kiba, assuming it is Naruto in disguise but it turned out to be the real Akamaru. When Kiba attacks Naruto, the first look-a-like, Naruto turns himself into Akamaru to turn them against each other. With Akamaru incapacitated, Naruto prepares to finish the battle. Kiba quickly appears behind Naruto in an effort to gain revenge but Naruto farts. With his heightened sense of smell, Kiba is disoriented, leaving him open for the Naruto Uzumaki Combo. Naruto is declared the winner, shocking all of his former classmates who, like Kiba, used to think he was an untalented idiot.
- "Neji and Hinata" (ネジとヒナタ, Neji to Hinata)
Kiba is carried away to recover. Before leaving, he pleads with Hinata to forfeit if she is matched against Gaara or Neji Hyūga. Hinata and Neji are paired together for the eighth preliminary match, and Hinata does not take Kiba's advice. Cousins, Neji and Hinata are members of separate houses of the Hyūga clan, which Neji resents. He ridicules Hinata for being weak and thus undeserving of her superior standing within their family and tells her to give up. He analyses her personality shortcomings and deems her a failure, which almost brings her to tears. Upset by Neji's words, Naruto encourages Hinata to defeat him.
- "The Hyūga Clan " (日向一族, Hyūga Ichizoku)
Inspired by Naruto's confidence in her, Hinata sheds the fears she had had only moments earlier. While Neji is surprised by Hinata's newfound determination, he maintains that Hinata will lose. The two Hyūga begin trading Gentle Fist-style blows, a form of combat that causes internal injuries. Even though she lands a number of punches, Hinata is unable to harm Neji. Neji, conversely, badly damages Hinata. He reveals that he has cut off her chakra points, leaving her unable to attack. Despite this, Hinata refuses to give up.
- "Crossing the Limit…" (限界を超えて…, Genkai o Koete…)
Neji does not understand why Hinata would continue to fight when she can no longer hope to win. Naruto continues to encourage her, so Hinata continues to attack Neji. Glad to have Naruto's attention at long last, Hinata strikes Neji despite knowing her attacks are not doing anything. Neji inflicts increasingly worse internal injuries upon Hinata, prompting Hayate Gekkō to try and end the match. Naruto stops him, giving Hinata a chance to speak. She tells Neji that, although he claims she suffers as the heiress of the Hyūga clan, he suffers more for only being a member of the clan's branch family. Neji tries to kill her but is stopped by the attending jōnin. When Hinata collapses, Naruto comes to her side, who catches a brief glimpse of him before losing consciousness. Neji then criticises Naruto for his pointless cheering and then states once someone becomes a failure, they will always be a failure.
- "Gaara vs.…" (我愛羅vs…, Gaara Bāsasu…)
Naruto tries to attack Neji for being so merciless to his own cousin. He is stopped by Lee, who states that this is not the right time for a clash between a "genius" and a "failure". Hinata is rushed away to have her injuries healed. Naruto takes some of her spilled blood and swears upon it in front of everyone that he will defeat Neji. As the participants of the ninth match are being picked, the four remaining contestants ready themselves. Gaara and Lee are selected and both enter the arena, glad to have the chance to fight each other.