Ever since his earliest appearances in the Naruto Universe as a Genin of the Hidden Leaf Village, Neji Hyuga has been a fan favorite. His aesthetic and appearance are just awesome – let’s face it!
Neji is perhaps the most notable user of the infamous Byakugan, which is one of the three most famous Dojutsu (eye powers) in the series. With his pressure point-based fighting style as well as his rough, edgy exterior, Neji Hyuga is a classic anime character who has a profound effect on the story of Naruto.
But if you get far enough into the story of Naruto, you will find that eventually, Neji Hyuga passes away. In the great Ninja War Arc, it’s only natural that there would be some casualties.
As the author of the story, Masashi Kishimoto knew that this would be his opportunity to create a lasting death that would really impact fans. Neji had changed from antagonist in the early show, to a powerful ally that had a lot of love for Naruto and determination to protect his clan.
But how exactly does Neji Hyuga die? Was his death an unforgettable moment in the manga/anime? How did a powerful ninja eventually meet his end? If you find yourself wondering about the fate of Neji Hyuga, then this article is the answer!
We’ll be taking you through the life of Neji Hyuga, his powers and relationships, and how all of this eventually lead to his death – which is one of the most impactful moments in all of Naruto: Shippuden.
Who Was Neji Hyuga?
Neji Hyuga was a member of the Hyuga clan born into the Village Hidden in the Leaves. With Neji, we see a pattern with certain cool protagonists of Naruto – that he was considered a genius from a young age.
The Hyuga clan has a long-standing tradition of extremely powerful ninja, but Neji surpassed many of them even before he was a genin. However, there is a big catch in his history here.
Neji was not a member of the main branch of the Hyuga clan, and as a result of this, he and his close family were forced to be in service to others.
This means that he and his father would always have to look out for – and eventually give their lives – for members of the main branch of the family.
In this case, Neji would always be the protector of Hinata Hyuga, a girl who was one year younger and far less strong when it came to the latent powers of their clan.
This means that Neji’s fate was determined from the day he was born – that eventually, he would have to give his life for another. During his early childhood and adolescence, he resented this fate and it turned him into an angry, dangerous genin.
It wasn’t until his run-in with Naruto Uzumaki at the final stages of the Chunin Exam that Neji began to change. During their battle, Neji was hell-bent on his conviction that weakness was not something anybody could escape and Naruto held the opposite view.
Believing in destiny, Neji thought that there was no way he could lose to Naruto. After Naruto defeats him in battle, he begins to change his mind.
From this point onwards Neji’s worldview is shattered and he learns that his Father’s death was not as he had once seen it. This caused him to be fiercely loyal to his comrades, as well as to Hinata Hyuga, who he had once resented and fiercely beaten in a duel.
By the time the story transitions from Naruto to Naruto: Shippuden, Neji is a loyal member of the Hyuga clan and a great ally to Naruto.
Neji In Naruto: Shippuden
Neji is a less important character for much of the second half of the Naruto story, mostly because there are more important events going on around the world that he is not part of. For the most part, Neji is a great ally to Naruto alongside Might Guy, Rock Lee, and Tenten.
Eventually, when the story transitions into its Fourth Shinobi World War Arc, Neji is a soldier in the Second Division. It is here we get to see how strong Neji and Hinata’s bond has grown, as they help each other in their battle against the army of White Zetsu Clones.
Eventually, Neji and Hinata come to Naruto to help him in his battle against the Ten-tailed beast.
The Ten tails fire several wooden spikes at Naruto, and Hinata is quick to jump in the way to protect herself. But in turn, Neji intercepts her – fulfilling his oath as a member of the branch family, and choosing willingly to give up his own life to protect her.
Neji is impaled by one of the spikes and killed. As he dies, Neji explains that he was happy to give his own life to save his comrades.
What Is The Importance Of Neji’s Story?
The death of Neji is an important moment in the story as it links back to the original conflict between him and Naruto. Neji learns that even though he was destined to die in the sacrifice of somebody, this fate is still his to control.
Eventually, the fate that he so despised became one that he chose, because of those around him. He cared so much about Naruto and Hinata that he would sacrifice himself in order for them to live on.
This sacrifice ultimately allows Naruto and Hinata to marry, which in turn lays the foundation for the next series in the Naruto Universe – Boruto: The Next Generations.
Although it is extremely sad that Neji dies, his death is a necessary casualty in the Fourth Great Ninja War – and a reminder that no character no matter how beloved is safe from danger. It also saves Naruto’s life, who is the only person who can defeat the Ten-Tails and save the world.
We hope this article has given you insight into the life of Neji Hyuga. Neji’s life was both sad and fulfilling and gives the message that anyone can make the best of their fate, providing they value those around them.
Beyond this, Neji is one of the coolest-looking characters in Naruto, and his Hyuga abilities are some of the coolest in the series.
We hope that we will see some of his characters reflected in his Niece and Nephew, Boruto and Himawari Uzumaki, the former of which has inherited the same Byakugan eye power and Hyuga looks.