Hinata is one of the most favoured characters from the original Naruto Shippuden, she is in the anime from the first episode and grows with Naruto in his journey to become Hokage.
In this dramatic episode of Naruto Shippuden, Naruto’s battle with Nagato comes to an epic and final ending that shook fans across the world.
The writers use Hinata’s death as a cliffhanger that they knew would affect Naruto fans across the world as Hinata is such a beloved character for Naruto fans.
Her supposed death rocked a lot of fans, but in this article I will attempt to explain how Hinata dies, whether she actually remains dead, and explain some of the reasoning behind Hinata’s death and what it symbolises more generally about the show, and the writer's ultimate message with this scene.
Who Kills Hinata?
Pain, real name Nagato, is the figurehead of the Akatsuki who wish to capture and destroy the tailed beasts that lie in the Shinobi people of Konoha. Aware that Naruto has the Nine Tailed Fox inside him, he launches an attack on the Shinobi ninjas in order to find Naruto and kill him.
Nagato has control over a group of corpses he refers to as ‘The Six Paths of Pain’ who fight for him, each having their own interesting character design.
As Hinata can sense Naruto is in danger, she seeks to save him but as her chakra and ninja proficiency is nowhere near the level of Nagato or Naruto, she fails in her endeavours and Nagato kills her.
Nagato murders her in front of the immobile Naruto, forcing Naruto to watch just as Nagato had to watch his parents be killed.
Nagato is regarded as one of the most complex and interesting characters in the Naruto world, for his dark past and philosophies. Nagato brings a very psychologically complex problem for the young audience of Naruto, which the writers received praise for.
What Events Lead To Hinata’s death?
Hinata finds the location of Naruto by using her Byakugan and sees he has been pinned by Nagato. As she uses her Byakugan she recalls a memory of the first time she met Naruto and how he attempted to save her from bullies.
This is a particularly poignant moment as viewers will feel nostalgia for these flashbacks to the start of the show, especially with what is to come. Remembering how Naruto came to her aid, she enters the battlefield in order to protect Naruto and reciprocate his past bravery.
Naruto has been pinned by the black recievers that Pain has created, these black receivers not only pin Naruto to the ground which impedes him movement but also drain his chakra so he can’t use any special moves.
Naruto, aware of the power that Nagato holds through the ‘Six Paths of Pain’ attempts to convince Hinata to leave the battlefield, knowing she will never be powerful enough to defeat Nagato.
When Naruto asks her why she would put herself in such danger in order to save him, Hinata talks about how she was always a crybaby and would always give in when it got hard, but she always followed Naruto on his journey in spite of this.
Hinata then declares her love for Naruto, citing it as her reason for entering the battle.
Hinata’s main focus in her battle with Pain is to free Naruto by destroying some of the black recievers that pin his limbs to the ground. A battle sequence commences where Hinata is generally much less powerful than Pain.
She manages to pupil out a black receiver before Pain knocks her away through a series of moves. Hinata’s last stand is to activate her Gentle Step Twin Lion Fists and runs towards Pain who easily evades her attack with his own moves.
When Nagato begins to cough blood this affords Hinata one last chance to land a blow on Pain which she does before Nagato regroups and uses Pain to land a final blow to Hinata.
In her last moments, Nagato questions why Hinata is still fighting when she clearly isn't powerful enough to compete with him.
She first remembers how Naruto cheered for her in her battle with Neji earlier in the series, Hinata declares that she would never give up, just as Naruto repeats the same words in a flashback.
Pain throws her dying body into the sky before pulling it back down, as she hits the ground Pain proceeds to stab her body with his blade. Repeating this is how Nagato’s parents were killed, in front of his eyes, by shinobi from Konoha.
It is Hinata’s callous murder by Nagato that causes gives Naruto the fuel to unleash the power of the Nine Tailed Fox.
In the manga, this battle scene is heavily expanded. While Hinata still dies, her approach is to distract Pain from Naruto so Naruto can regain his chakra power.
The long battle sequence in the TV show is to demonstrate how Nagato can be defeated as his dolls become vulnerable when Nagato’s attention is diverted, which is how the Shinobi eventually sequester Nagato.
Does Hinata Actually Die?
In the show, blood seeps from the rocks after Nagato stabs Hinata, which is a purposeful move by the director to convince the viewer that Hinata is in fact dead. The show received acclaim for Pain’s arc as he kills multiple Shinobi ninjas and overwhelms Naruto at one point.
Once Hinata is seemingly killed the viewer is presented with the hopelessness that Naruto’s powers aren’t enough to defeat Nagato and viewers are left wondering what will happen next.
Two episodes occur before Hinata’s death is returned to. Naruto, once he has returned to his original form, sees the damage he has caused to Hidden Leaf Village and fears that he has killed other Ninjas as well as Hinata in his rage.
As Naruto clutches his chest he can feel Hinata’s chakra and is assured she is alive and well. We then see Sakura has found Hinata’s body and uses her powers to heal Hinata of her injuries, as she does so she exclaims how much Hinata must love Naruto.
As Naruto defeats the final sixth Pain with his rasengan, he locates the location of the real Nagato and decides to go find him and face him personally and in physical form.
Naruto feels that if he can talk to Nagato, he might be able to forgive him for what he’s done as he understands that Nagato is a troubled individual.
Naruto’s mercy for Nagato is rewarded and as Nagato starts to believe Naruto, that people will start to understand each other, he decides that he should use jutsu that will revive the Shinobi ninjas he has killed.
As Nagato’s chakra is so low he kills himself in the act of saving the other Shinobi ninjas.
Conclusively, if it wasn’t already evident, Hinata does not die in this episode. Hinata is seemingly killed, as it was meant to seem, but is eventually healed by Sakura.
Pain’s assault arc is one of the most highly acclaimed arcs within the Naruto Shippuden universe.
The writers of the show were acclaimed for their tough but reasonable writing that brought a lot of philosophical quandaries to a young audience, using the show as a vehicle to teach a worthwhile message.
As we see Naruto eventually forgive Nagato and spare his life, Naruto encourages us to understand each other's problems before we scold each other’s actions.
Some critical response to the episode suggested that Hinata’s death was an obvious ploy by the writers and the eventual revival of the other dead Ninjas was unbelievable and lacked the consequence it needed.
Nagato kills Hinata in front of Naruto just like his parents were killed in front of his own eyes.
As Naruto felt the pain that Nagato felt when his parents died, through Nagato’s murder of Hinata, the audience too can recognise that sometimes a persons pain can make them act irrationally and we should always have empathy and sympathy for those who cross our path, as we hope they would for us.
These episodes demonstrate how rage and anger only lead to disillusionment. Nagato’s character shows how we can all fall from grace and let anger and resentment rule our lives.
As Naruto becomes enraged at the death of Hinata he destroys Hidden Leaf by accident, just as Nagato’s assault on Konoha is fuelled by his own rage.