|日向ネジ Hyūga Neji|
|Manga||Volume #4, Naruto Chapter #36|
|Anime||Naruto Episode #21|
|Novel||Konoha Hiden: The Perfect Day for a Wedding|
|Movie||Naruto Shippūden the Movie|
|Game||Naruto: Konoha Ninpōchō|
|OVA||Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival!|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Novel, Game, Movie|
|Academy Grad. Age||12|
|Chūnin Prom. Age||15|
Neji Hyūga (日向ネジ, Hyūga Neji) was a shinobi of Konohagakure's Hyūga clan. Though a prodigy even by the Hyūga's standards, Neji was a member of the clan's branch house; no matter how skilled he became, he would always be in service to the Hyūga's main house, a fact that convinced him fate was predetermined. After experiencing Naruto Uzumaki's refusal to be limited by such an ideology, Neji realised his fate was what he chose it to be, and as a member of Team Guy he sought the strength necessary to make the future he wanted for his family and friends, and ultimately sacrificed his life to protect the very same person who taught him about the freedom of one's choice of fate, Naruto.
Neji was born the son of Hizashi Hyūga, placing him in one of the Hyūga clan's branch houses. When the heiress of the main house, Hinata, turned three years old, Neji's forehead was branded with the customary cursed seal by his uncle, Hiashi. Despite how young he was at the time, Neji's natural talent with the Hyūga's trademark techniques were apparent to his father. For this reason, Hizashi resented that Neji was marked with a cursed seal, as he felt it bound him to a life of service to the main house when he should be destined for greater things. His anger would often manifest subconsciously, prompting Hiashi to activate Hizashi's cursed seal and punish him with pain, an act that traumatised Neji.
Shortly after Neji received his cursed seal, a Kumogakure Head Ninja visiting Konoha took advantage of a peace treaty and attempted to kidnap Hinata in order to gain the secrets of the Byakugan. Hiashi stopped and killed the Head Ninja. In what became known as the Hyūga Affair, Kumo denied the allegations made against its Head Ninja and insisted Hiashi's actions were a declaration of war by Konoha; the only way to avoid hostilities between the two villages would be if Hiashi's body were turned over to Kumo as compensation. Hiashi was willing to do so if it meant protecting Konoha, but that in turn would give Kumo the Byakugan. Hizashi, Hiashi's twin brother, volunteered to be his body double since his cursed seal would destroy his Byakugan at the time of his death, a fate he insisted upon over Hiashi's protests. Neji was too young to understand what was happening at the time, and over the years came to believe his father had been forced to die for the main house.
Neji became spiteful towards the members of the main house for what he believed they'd done to his father; in the anime, he missed no opportunity to try and harm Hinata. He also came to believe that the course of a person's life was determined from the moment of their birth and could be altered under no circumstances. When he graduated from the Academy at the top of his class he was added to Team Guy, where his philosophy placed him at odds with one of his teammates, Rock Lee: Lee wanted to become a great ninja despite his limitations, which Neji believed was impossible. Tenten was easily wowed by Neji, but Lee became determined to defeat Neji in a fight to prove him wrong. Their instructor, Might Guy, encouraged this, believing competition and the drive to succeed would push them to new heights.
As a child, Neji was kind and prone to smiling; on Hinata's third birthday, he confided to his father that he thought she was cute. He lost these qualities after his father's death, growing serious and cold, more mature than most his age. For years he was driven by a fatalistic belief that his and everyone else's fates were determined from birth and were inescapable. He perceived his own destiny as being that of a rare talent, causing him to arrogantly place himself above those he believes are "weaker" than himself. He also perceived that his talents would always be handicapped by mandatory servitude to the Hyūga's main house, which he resented and it fuelled his animosity towards the main house and its members.
Neji shared his philosophy about fate with those he met, gladly telling them when they are straying from the paths that have been set out for them by, for example, trying to exceed their natural limitations or trying to defeat him in combat when they lack any obvious ability to do so. When he shared his philosophy with Hinata, she concluded that his insistence upon destiny was actually a sore spot for him that caused him inner suffering: he so badly wanted to prove himself to the main house yet feels incapable of doing so. Neji attempted to kill her in anger for her words. Naruto Uzumaki also disagreed with Neji, claiming that Neji was not realising his destiny because he was in fact holding himself back. Neji initially scoffed at Naruto's suggestion, but he was forced to reevaluate when Naruto, a "failure", defeats him, a "genius", in a fight.
From his experience with Naruto, Neji felt that fate is not inescapable but that, rather, one's destiny is what one makes of it; he felt indebted to Naruto for releasing him from his prior "darkness". The destiny Neji ended up selecting for himself was to become strong enough to never lose again, although his inevitable destiny would soon come to hold true. In pursuit of this goal he trained with his teammates, whose own dreams he became supportive of, and later with members of the main house, whom he gradually started mending relations with. Over time his desire to get stronger became as much a motivation to never lose as it is to protect his friends and family. In particular, he embraced his responsibility as a member of a branch house to keep Hinata safe, showing greater concern for her than anyone else in combat situations and, ultimately, giving his life to save hers.
Birds were often used to characterise Neji's philosophy and growth: while he felt bound by destiny and the cursed seal on his forehead, he described his personal experiences as being like a caged bird; after being defeated by Naruto, he observed to his father's memory how many birds there were freely flying in the world; when trying to overcome the limitations of his Byakugan, he observed birds at a distance but could never spot the one at his blind-spot; after his death, the Allied Shinobi Forces took on a bird formation in his memory.
Neji had fair skin and long black hair, which the anime usually depicted as dark brown. When his Byakugan was not active he has featureless white eyes; the anime gave them a slight lavender tint. In Part I, Neji wore a beige-coloured shirt, a dull blue shirt beneath that, and mesh armour beneath that. He wore dark brown shorts, blue shinobi sandals, and wrapped bandages around his right arm, chest, and right leg. He tied his hair back in a loose ponytail tied a few inches above the end. He wore a black forehead protector, under which was a smaller headband with two straps that frame the sides of his face, both of which hide his Hyūga main family's juinjutsu.
In Part II, Neji changed the clothing and bandages of his former wardrobe for a white kimono-shirt with long, loose sleeves, matching pants, a navy-grey apron tied around his waist, and black shinobi sandals. He stopped wearing the straps that framed his face, instead allowing his now longer hair to do that instead. When on missions, he usually carried a tan and black drawstring bag over his shoulder. During the Fourth Shinobi World War, he swapped much of his wardrobe for the standard Konohagakure flak jacket and other attire. At the war's start, he kept his hair tied in a ponytail, but as the war progresses, he allowed it to hang loose.
From a very young age, Neji's aptitude as a natural genius was evident, even by the Hyūga clan's high standards. As a member of the branch house, Neji was technically forbidden to learn any of the clan's advanced techniques. However, even without formal instruction, he learned how to perform many of these techniques from observation alone. Hiashi, so deeply impressed by Neji's raw talent and rapid growth despite being self-taught, came to believe that Neji should have been the successor of the Main Branch and would eventually surpass all other Hyūga to ever exist, the latter of which he succeeded in by Part II despite his still young age. Besides his advance clan traits, Neji graduated from the Academy at the top of his class, which in turn convinced Rock Lee that Neji was the top competitor during his first Chūnin Exams. Although he was not promoted during those exams, he was the only Konoha 11 member to become a jōnin during the timeskip. By the end of Part I, Hiashi started training Neji in all of the Hyūga's secret techniques. He could also use Fire, Water, and Earth Release.
As a Hyūga, Neji possessed the Byakugan. While a common dōjutsu in his clan, Neji's was noted to be especially powerful. With these eyes, he had a near-360° penetrative field of vision. A small blind-spot exists behind his third upper-thoracic vertebrae — a weakness he was well aware of and trained extensively to overcome, to no avail. Instead, he took extra precautions to compensate for it by emitting chakra around the area, giving him a way to sense any approaching attacks and slowing them enough to give him time to respond.
It allowed him to see chakra pathway systems and the 361 tenketsu that run along it. He was able to increase his Byakugan's range over time: whereas he could only see things 50 metres away in Part I, by Part II he could see things from at least 800 metres.
As with most members of the Hyūga clan, Neji specialised in taijutsu. He excelled at systematically taking down his opponents with precise strikes to key points in the body. Even more, he demonstrated blazing speed and combined with superb reflexes, coordination, and agility, he could seamlessly dodge nearly any attack while simultaneously able to counterattack his opponent. These traits made him especially formidable at close range, forcing enemies to keep their distance, where Neji's skill made him difficult to hit.
Neji was trained from an early age in his clan's secret signature Gentle Fist fighting style, which takes advantage of the Byakugan's piercing vision to strike at the opponent's chakra system directly, constricting or cutting off their chakra flow from only minimal contact. Because the chakra pathway system is closely intertwined with many of the body's major organs, debilitating and even fatal damage can be done just as easily. While Gentle Fist strikes are by default difficult to defend against, Neji's ingenuity and methods made his usage of the style especially effective.
Implementing several of the style's most powerful techniques, Neji was very versatile in battle. With the Eight Trigrams Sixty-Four Palms, he could attack multiple targets at once, either several opponents' tenketsu to restrain them at once or deflect incoming volley of projectiles; in the anime, he improved the technique to double the number of strikes. Defensively, he could use Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven to expel chakra from his body and deflect all incoming attacks from all directions at once. If restrained and thus unable to use Revolving Heaven, he could instead release chakra from his tenketsu to free himself. In Part II, Neji began using the Eight Trigrams Vacuum Palm to attack targets outside his physical range or push away incoming attacks; when performed in combination with others, its strength is accordingly increased.
Main article: Chūnin Exams
After being held back from entering the Chūnin Exams the year before in order to hone their skills, Team Guy takes part in the Chūnin Exams occurring in Konoha. Neji, Tenten, and Rock Lee decide to try and avoid drawing attention to themselves so that the other competitors will not team up against them, something they accomplish by allowing themselves to be bullied and acting defenceless when they are. During the first exam, Neji uses his Byakugan to copy off of other examinees' tests.
After they pass to the second stage, taking place in the Forest of Death, Team Guy splits up to search for weak, rival teams that they can take one of the scrolls they need from. Neji comes across Team 10 during his search who, although he's isn't willing to pretend he doesn't know where they're hiding, he decides are too weak for him to bother with. When he returns to Team Guy's rendezvous point, he and Tenten find that Lee is uncharacteristically late. They go looking for him and find he's been defeated by Team Dosu. Neji prepares to fight them, confident he can beat them, but decides to let Sasuke Uchiha fight them instead after he senses Sasuke's chakra. Sasuke drives Team Dosu off and, while Tenten collects Lee, Neji observes Sasuke, intrigued by his skills.
Team Guy completes the second test, but in order to qualify for the finals they must take part in one-on-one preliminary matches. Neji observes the early matches to learn about people he may face in the finals before he is finally matched against Hinata Hyūga. Neji, who previously promised to Might Guy that he would not take any actions against Hinata during the exams, encourages Hinata to give up not only the match but also the life of a ninja, citing her meek personality and her lack of talent. His piercing analysis of her brings Hinata to tears, but she is motivated to continue by the encouragement of Naruto Uzumaki. In their first exchange of Gentle Fist-blows, Neji seals her tenketsu, causing her attacks to have no effect on him.
Despite no longer having a way to damage Neji, Hinata keeps fighting. He continues encouraging her to forfeit and increases the amount of damage his blows do to her, but Hinata refuses to back down. Finally, after her internal organs are left badly injured and she has difficulty standing, Hinata uses Neji's words against him, arguing that he cares so much about destiny and being worthy of the Hyūga because his own destiny deprives him of the Hyūga's recognition. Neji is enraged and moves to kill her, but he is held back by Guy and the other observing jōnin. Nevertheless, Hinata collapses and is left in a critical condition from her injuries, Neji is declared the winner, and Naruto, moved by Hinata's perseverance and angered by Neji's actions, vows to defeat him during the finals. Neji watches the remaining matches and is amazed by Lee's performance against Gaara. After the preliminaries conclude, the first round matchups for the finals are selected and Neji is matched against Naruto.
After a month of preparation, Naruto and Neji face each other. Naruto starts by using shadow clones to engage Neji, trying to overwhelm his taijutsu skills with sheer numbers. Neji's Byakugan is unable to tell the shadow clones from the real Naruto and for that reason Naruto is able to land some blows, but Neji deflects them with Revolving Heaven and eventually seals Naruto's chakra with Sixty-Four Palms. Neji declares Naruto a failure who is destined to lose to him, a genius. When Naruto is unwilling to believe him, Neji explains his father's death and the differences between the Hyūga's houses. Rather than convince Naruto that he is right, his words convince Naruto that Neji is wrong, as Naruto has personal experience with persevering despite others' expectations.
Although his own chakra is cut off, Naruto has another source: the Nine-Tails'. Neji is surprised by it and, unaware of what it is, is startled by the chakra's ferocity. Naruto's speed and strength are heightened dramatically, allowing him to keep up with Neji. Neji uses Revolving Heaven to deflect a particularly powerful blow, flinging both him and Naruto apart. When the smoke clears, Naruto appears defeated and Neji, assuming he's won, begins boasting. As he talks, Naruto bursts from the ground beneath him, knocking him out with an uppercut to the chin. Realising that the Naruto he saw defeated was a shadow clone covering the hole the real Naruto was digging towards him, Neji scolds himself for being defeated by Naruto's signature ability. In response, Naruto reveals that clone techniques were once his worst ability. Before he's declared the winner, Naruto tells Neji to stop holding his natural genius back with trivial concerns about fate.
As Neji recovers, he is visited by his uncle, Hiashi, who was observing his match. Hoping to correct Neji's misconceptions, he explains the truth surrounding Neji's father's death: that Hizashi chose to die not in service to the main house as Neji has long thought, but because he wanted to protect Hiashi, his brother; in doing so, Hizashi selected his own fate. (In the anime, this is revealed to Neji in a letter written by his father before his death, Neji recognising his father's handwritting.) Neji does not believe the story since he's only hearing it now. Hiashi, having expected this and having no further proof, bows to Neji and begs his forgiveness for not telling him sooner. Neji is moved to tears by the gesture and bids Hiashi to stand, finally believing him. While watching the birds outside, Neji decides he'd like to choose his destiny just like his father did, and that he wants his destiny to be to never lose again.
Main article: Konoha Crush In the anime, two Kumogakure ninja attempt to kidnap an unconscious Hinata during the confusion caused by the invasion of Konoha. The Hyūga Elder sends Neji, Tenten, and Kiba Inuzuka to rescue her. Once they catch up with them, Neji draws the Kumo-nin away while Tenten and Kiba escape with Hinata. He is able to defeat one, but is no match for Sekiei's abilities and can only keep him busy until Hiashi arrives to defeat him.
Several days after the invasion is successfully repelled, Neji attends the Third Hokage's funeral.
Sasuke Recovery Mission
Main article: Sasuke Recovery Mission Although Konoha emerges from the invasion victorious, the village suffers numerous casualties that leave it understaffed in the aftermath. When Sasuke Uchiha defects to Otogakure, the only response the new Fifth Hokage is able to organise is the Sasuke Recovery Team, a team of genin led by Shikamaru Nara. Neji, who is recommended for the team by Lee, watches their backs with his Byakugan while they follow Sasuke's escorts, the Sound Four.
Once they catch up with the Sound Four, Neji uses his Byakugan to help them plan their attack, which is foiled only by the unforeseen actions of Ukon; the Recovery Team is trapped in Jirōbō's Earth Prison Dome of Magnificent Nothingness. Neji is able to locate a weakness in the prison's fortifications and they escape, but they must leave Chōji Akimichi behind to delay Jirōbō while they go after the remaining Sound Four. When they catch up again, Kidōmaru uses his webbing to bind them. Only Neji, with the refined chakra control courtesy of his Gentle Fist training, is able to break Kidōmaru's webs. He tells the others to go on without him, but first warns them that one-on-one fights are probably going to be a continuing trend.
Kidōmaru tries to toy with Neji, binding his movements to the point that he cannot use his hands to break the webbing. Thinking Neji is defeated, Kidōmaru moves closer to finish him off. Neji takes that opportunity to release chakra from his entire body, loosening the webs and giving him an opening to use Sixty-Four Palms. Kidōmaru prevents the sealing of his tenketsu with an Armour of Sticky Gold and falls back, unwilling to let Neji trick him like that again. He starts attacking Neji from afar to determine the range of his vision and the completeness of his defences. From this observation, he starts to suspect Neji's Byakugan has a blind-spot, something he confirms upon further testing.
Kidōmaru recognises Neji as a formidable opponent and makes to finish him off with his Spider War Bow: Terrible Split, firing it directly at Neji's blind spot. However, Neji, guessing his blind spot has been discovered, is able to dodge enough to prevent being struck in a vital place. Kidōmaru modifies his arrows, increasing their speed and strength so that Neji won't be able to dodge and attaching a thread to them so he can guide them in flight. Neji realises he can't avoid it and allows himself to be hit. He immediately afterwards sends a charge of chakra through the connecting thread back to Kidōmaru, paralysing him. Neji then personally locates Kidōmaru and delivers a fatal blow. As he dies, Kidōmaru warns that the Recovery Team won't be able to bring Sasuke back to Konoha. Neji disagrees, believing that Naruto alone will be able to get through to Sasuke, just as he got through to Neji during the Chūnin Exams.
Neji is left in a critical condition due to his injuries and near death. Konoha eventually sends the Medic Corps after the Recovery Team. Neji is found, brought back to Konoha, and a team of medics mend his wounds using the Healing Resuscitation Regeneration Technique.
Kurosuki Family Removal Mission
Main article: Kurosuki Family Removal Mission In the anime, Naruto and the members of Team Guy are sent to the Katabami Gold Mine to help deal with the Kurosuki Family. During their first confrontation with Raiga Kurosuki, Neji's Byakugan is nullified by Ranmaru's illusions. During their second confrontation, Neji is quickly knocked unconscious. Tenten attempts to revive him with the Curry of Life, but he has a low tolerance for spicy food and consuming it only knocks him out again.
Academy Student Lead Mission
Main article: Academy Student Lead Mission In the anime, Neji is put in charge of a team of Academy students to teach them survival skills. Very little of their exercise is seen, but Neji does teach his students how to use a watch as a compass.
Cursed Warrior Extermination Mission
Main article: Cursed Warrior Extermination Mission In the anime, Naruto, Neji, and Tenten are sent by Tsunade to the Land of Birds to investigate reports of a ghost, Cursed Warrior, terrorising the local population.
Star Guard Mission
Main article: Star Guard Mission In the anime, Neji leads the Star Guard Team on a mission to Hoshigakure. After they arrive, Neji instructs the team to follow the mission's original instructions to locate the star rather than get involved in the village's affairs. When the village's issues become increasingly difficult to ignore, Neji informs Naruto that he will deny knowing anything about what Naruto chooses to do in the villagers' defence. However, when they return to Konoha having failed to prevent the star's destruction, Neji takes responsibility for the failure, but since Naruto defeated the client, Akahoshi, during the ordeal, nobody's in a position to complain.
Konoha Plans Recapture Mission
Main article: Konoha Plans Recapture Mission In the anime, Neji and the rest of the Konoha 11 are charged with halting the schemes of Gennō. He uses his Byakugan during the mission to locate the explosives Gennō plants around Konoha, preventing the destruction of the Academy and the Hokage Rock.
Menma Memory Search Mission
Main article: Menma Memory Search Mission In the anime, Neji and Tenten are assigned to help Naruto recover Menma's missing memories. Neji suspects that Menma is an Otogakure-ninja, a suspicion that turns out to be true. Despite his background, Menma remains Naruto's ally throughout the mission and eventually sacrifices himself to save an innocent town from his former compatriots.
Sunagakure Support Mission
Main article: Sunagakure Support Mission In the anime, Neji and the Konoha 11 are sent to help the Three Sand Siblings defeat the Four Celestial Symbols Men. Shikamaru, their team leader, assigns Neji, Hinata, and Shino Aburame to clear out the areas.
After they get back to Konoha - in a scene that happens at the end of the Sasuke Recovery Mission in the manga - Neji trains with Hiashi. When Hinata serves them drinks, Neji recommends that she see Naruto off rather than tend to them, as he is about to leave Konoha for several years of training.
In Naruto's Footsteps: The Friends' Paths
Main article: In Naruto's Footsteps: The Friends' Paths In the anime, Konoha and Sunagakure hold a joint Chūnin Exam two years after Naruto's departure, which Team Guy once again enters. During the first exam, Neji, Lee, and Tenten are seated in different rooms and are tasked with getting a combined score of exactly 100 points on their written test despite their separation. Thinking it over, Neji comes up with the idea of producing vibrations on the walls to communicate to Tenten and Lee which questions to answer. After the initial testing period is over, they are given a bonus question: each team must unanimously select one of their members to disqualify from the rest of the exams. Team Guy selects nobody, which is the correct answer and which qualifies them for the next phase.
Those who pass the first test must reach the Demon Desert within three days in order to participate in the second exam. Team Guy successfully does so and they are given the same objective as they had in the exam several years ago: obtain a scroll from another team. They are early on caught in various genjutsu set by members of Team Shira, one of which causes them to wander into quicksand. Once Team Guy escapes and manages to track down Team Shira, they instead offer Team Shira assistance, helping them drive off another team. When asked why they would help, Neji explains that Shira is quite similar to Lee; Lee in fact finds himself so similar to Shira that he follows the attacking team out of anger, forcing Neji, Tenten, and Team Shira to go after him and rescue him.
Teams Guy and Shira get along well and, after Lee and Shira spar, the two teams agree to meet up during the finals. They later come across Team Ajisai and are immediately engaged in combat. Team Ajisai retreats shortly afterwards but are pursued by Team Guy, who believe they have the scroll they need. Their chase leads them to some old ruins, and during an ensuing fight Tenten and Ajisai fall through a collapsed floor. Neji recommends to Ajisai's teammates that they stop fighting in order to look for Tenten and Ajisai. The teammates agree, but leave to do so by themselves. Neji and Lee follow them despite this, coming to their aid when Team Komugi attacks them. Team Komugi is driven off and Teams Guy and Ajisai finally start working together. They eventually reunite with Tenten and Ajisai, who have become friends during their ordeal. The two teams part peacefully.
Team Guy gets caught in a sandstorm, from which they seek shelter in one of Tenten's protective domes. After the storm clears they come across Matsuri, who asks that they help Gaara. Team Guy rushes to the scene and finds that not only Gaara but also Fū - both of them jinchūriki - are having their tailed beasts extracted by Hōichi. While Lee and Fū's teammates distract Hōichi, Neji approaches Gaara and Fū to block their chakra points, halting the extraction. Hōichi's jutsu turns on him due to the severed connection and Neji, at Gaara's request, blocks his chakra points too, saving him. Gaara and Fū separately thank Neji for his help, with Fū even specially requesting he become her friend.
Team Guy is not able to acquire the scroll they need but it ends up not mattering: the Chūnin Exams are prematurely cancelled. The remaining participants have a report on their performance sent back to their villages, leaving their promotion up to their superiors. The Fifth Hokage promotes all of Team Guy to chūnin and then gives Neji an additional promotion to jōnin because of the assistance he gave to Gaara, the Kazekage.
Kazekage Rescue Mission
Main article: Kazekage Rescue Mission
The Fifth Hokage sends Team Guy to assist Team 7 in rescuing the Fifth Kazekage from Akatsuki. While en route to an Akatsuki lair in the Land of Rivers, Team Guy is attacked by Kisame Hoshigaki. Kisame is only interested in fighting Might Guy, so he traps Neji, Tenten, and Rock Lee in Water Prisons. Neji is eventually able to build up enough chakra to break free and release Lee and Tenten, but they miss their chance to rejoin the fight as Guy has already defeated Kisame. While examining the body afterwards, however, they discover it was only a lookalike meant to stall them.
Once they rendezvous with Team 7, they discover a barrier placed over the entrance to the Akatsuki lair. Neji uses his Byakugan to locate where the seals maintaining the barrier are and he and the rest of Team Guy split up to remove them. Once the barrier is down, however, they are attacked by duplicates of themselves. Neji, like the rest of Team Guy, struggles to defeat himself, and it is only by becoming stronger than he was at the time the duplicate was created that he is able to defeat his. Team Guy reunites with each other after winning their battles and they go after Team 7, arriving in time to cut off Deidara's attempt to get away. Deidara uses a Suicide Bombing Clone to create an opening for him to escape.
Although the Akatsuki members are gone and the Kazekage has been retrieved, the Kazekage has died. He is resuscitated by Chiyo, who exchanges her life for his, and they all attend her funeral in Sunagakure a few days later. Kakashi Hatake, too tired from his fight with Akatsuki, must be carried back to Konoha by Guy. Lee believes that this is a special training method and asks to be allowed to carry Neji in the same way, but Neji flatly refuses.
Akatsuki Suppression Mission
Main article: Pain's Assault
Team Guy returns to Konoha after completing a mission. As they approach the village's outskirts they find a defeated Gamabunta, who informs them of the ongoing invasion of Pain. They rush back to the village and, upon arrival, find Hinata Hyūga badly injured from her fight with Pain. Tenten assures Neji that Hinata's wounds aren't life-threatening, but he nevertheless locates immediate medical attention for her. They are shortly afterwards informed that Pain has been defeated by Naruto Uzumaki, and they all join in the celebration when Naruto returns to the village.
Five Kage Summit
Main article: Five Kage Summit
News reaches Konoha of Sasuke Uchiha's recent activity with Akatsuki, specifically his attack against Kumogakure-ninja. Neji and the rest of the Konoha 11 (sans Naruto) decide that Sasuke can no longer be allowed to implicate Konoha in his criminal deeds and they resolve to personally kill him. When Naruto returns to Konoha after learning of this and having his own confrontation with Sasuke, he requests that they leave dealing with Sasuke to him.
Main article: Power In the anime, Neji is part of a team of reinforcements sent to Tonika Village to help Team 7 in the fight against Kabuto Yakushi. He rescues Hinata from the Nine-Tailed Naruto Clone and later helps evacuate the villagers when the clone starts going berserk. Naruto eventually defeats it and they return to Konoha.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation
Main article: Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation
When the Fourth Shinobi World War begins, Neji is placed alongside Hinata in the Second Division. Their entire division is sent to intercept a large segment of the White Zetsu Army, which Neji and Hinata join forces in attacking after Kitsuchi unearths the Zetsu army. Although the Zetsu suffer heavy casualties, their numbers are too great and the fight becomes one of attrition. Neji, growing tired from the prolonged battle, has some of his chakra absorbed by a Zetsu before he can fend it off. (Unbeknownst to him, the Zetsu later uses the chakra to impersonate him and infiltrate the Logistical Support and Medical Division, killing five medical-nin.) He and Hinata continue fighting into the night, protecting each other. Once night falls, Neji is too tired to stand but also too stubborn to get medical attention, opting instead to rest on Akamaru's back.
In the anime, on the second day of fighting, Neji is confronted by a reincarnated Kidōmaru. Stronger now than he was when he last fought Kidōmaru, Neji frees his allies that have been trapped by Kidōmaru's webbing and then easily defeats him with Eight Trigrams Vacuum Palm. This activates a seal that leaves Neji comatose and traps his and the souls of the other Sasuke Recovery Team's members in a barrier where they are forced to fight the Sound Four until their real bodies eventually die. Aware of Naruto's new ability to sense negative emotions, Shikamaru Nara provokes the Sound Four during their battle, making them angry enough to attract Naruto's attention. Naruto soon arrives, breaks through the barrier, and, with help from Inoichi Yamanaka, restores their souls to their bodies.
The Second Division's fight with the Zetsu Army continues until one of Naruto's shadow clones arrives to finish off all that remain. In the anime, Naruto arrives just in time to save Hinata from a Zetsu that Neji, preoccupied elsewhere, was not present to stop. He is grateful for Naruto's assistance.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Climax
Main article: Fourth Shinobi World War: Climax
Neji and the rest of the Allied Shinobi Forces are sent to assist Naruto in his battle with the Ten-Tails. Recognising how crucial Naruto is to the war's victory, Neji, Hinata, and Hiashi join forces to block attacks directed at him. The Ten-Tails' attacks rapidly become too numerous and Neji and Hiashi must break away to protect the other Allies from the Ten-Tails too. In their absence, the Ten-Tails fires several volleys of wood projectiles at Naruto, which Hinata uses her body to defend him from. Neji arrives in time to protect her in turn with his own body, mortally wounding him.
Naruto calls for a medic but Neji accepts the fact that he can't be saved. He collapses over Naruto's shoulder and tells him to not to put his life at risk in the future, as he is now responsible for many other lives in addition to his own, one of which is Hinata's. As Neji watches Hinata cry for him, Naruto questions why Neji would give his life for him, to which Neji responds that it is because Naruto once called him a "genius". Neji dies, noting that he finally knows what it was like for his father to choose to die for his friends. Upon death, the Hyūga main family's juinjutsu activates, sealing his Byakugan.
Time Slip Arc
Main article: Time Slip Arc In the anime, when the grown-up Sasuke and Boruto Uzumaki were sent back in time to shortly after Sasuke's defection, the two pretended to be travelling performers and were put under watch by Naruto. Past-Neji and his friends helped Boruto and Naruto clean up a bathhouse after the commotion Naruto and Jiraiya caused.
Days later, after completing a training session with Hinata, Neji noticed Boruto eavesdropping and confronted him, having noticed Boruto through his Byakugan, and seeing that he was troubled, offered to talk to him. The two head to a nearby bridge, where Boruto admitted to having been exposed to the berserk power inside of Naruto and talked about being attacked. Neji insisted that Naruto is not one to be pitied and that he could be trusted. Neji told Boruto of his own experience and growth with Naruto, insisting that he learned from Naruto's example to not let one's past define them, and claimed that despite Naruto's lonely and sorrowful life, he was capable of fighting his fate of being deemed a monster, and perservered to become a trusted friend and comrade. Neji's words helped cheer up Boruto, who decided to continue his training with Naruto and refuse to allow his fears to overwhelm him, and as Boruto runs off, Neji mumbles that he should've asked for Boruto's name.
Obito Uchiha uses Neji as an example of the type of countless death that will keep occurring if Naruto and the Allied Shinobi Forces continue fighting. Rather than mourn Neji by surrendering, they celebrate his sacrifice with a counterattack in his memory: Naruto gives version 1 cloaks to the entire Allied Forces and they manoeuvre into a bird-shaped formation, together breaking out of a prison created by the Ten-Tails and subsequently releasing it from Obito and Madara Uchiha's control.
After the war is won, Neji's body is taken back to Konoha and he is buried alongside the many other casualties. Though he is gone, he remains in the thoughts of those who knew him: in Konoha Hiden, Rock Lee regularly dreams of Neji, but the dreams never last long enough for Lee's liking; at Naruto and Hinata's wedding, Hanabi Hyūga holds a picture of Neji during the ceremony; years later, Hinata regularly visits Neji's grave with her daughter, Himawari Uzumaki, who, though she never met him, regards him as her uncle.
In Other Media
Naruto Shippūden the Movie
Main article: Naruto Shippūden the Movie Neji led a team consisting of Naruto, Rock Lee, and Sakura Haruno on a mission to the Land of Demons to protect Shion, a priestess. Naruto arrived at Shion's temple ahead of the rest of the team and was trapped by the Gang of Four, requiring they rescue him once they catch up. Neji himself also saved Shion and Taruho from Kusuna during the initial encounter. Seeing that the enemy uses a number of fire-based techniques, the team and Shion retreats through a torrent of water in order to neutralise their abilities, only to discover that the enemy can use Water Release techniques too.
Naruto and Lee ran off to engage their attackers, leaving him and Sakura solely in charge of protecting Shion. To make an escape to safety easier, Neji knocked Shion out and retreated with her into the forest. They were followed by Kusuna and Setsuna. Neji remained behind to stall, deflecting Setsuna's Wind Release: Rotating Shuriken with Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven. He eventually discovered that the Kusuna he's fighting is actually a puppet controlled by Setsuna. He rushed after Sakura and Shion and arrived in time to save Sakura at least, but Shion had received a fatal, toxic bite from the real Kusuna. This Shion, however, was actually Taruho, who disguised himself as her to protect the real Shion from harm.
Neji and Sakura reunited with Lee and they distracted the Gang of Four while Naruto helped Shion seal Mōryō. From hearing about Lee's fight with the gang's other members, Neji theorised that they receiveed their chakra from an external source. They provoked the gang into depleting their chakra and, when Kusuna moved in to replenish the chakra they've used, Neji killed him, leaving the rest of the Gang of Four unable to fight. The mission accomplished, the team waited for Naruto to return with Shion.
Naruto Shippūden the Movie: Bonds
Main article: Naruto Shippūden the Movie: Bonds When the Land of the Sky attacked Konoha, Neji rescued children caught in the battle. He also used his Byakugan to analyse the Sky ninja's flying equipment and determined that they're powered by chakra. He relayed this information to Shikamaru, who was able to pinpoint the location of the Land of the Sky carriers. Neji was later sent as part of a force to provide backup for Shikamaru's team, but the Land of the Sky's base was already in the process of being destroyed when they arrived.
Naruto Shippūden the Movie: The Will of Fire
Main article: Naruto Shippūden the Movie: The Will of Fire Neji assisted at various points in the battle with Hiruko and his forces. He and Lee defeated Ichi with their combined Front Lotus: Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven. Later, he and Hinata arrived in time to land a finishing blow against a creature created with the Chimera Technique.
Naruto the Movie: Blood Prison
Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie
Main article: Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie Neji and the rest of the Konoha 11 fought off an attack by what seemed to be the entire Akatsuki roster, but what were actually disguised parts of the White Zetsu Army. When Naruto and Sakura were sent to the Genjutsu World, they met that world's Neji: he was an immature pervert who shamelessly used his Byakugan to observe women while they bathe. That world's Hinata regularly beat him as punishment when he was inevitably caught.
Neji Hyūga is a playable character in the following video games:
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- The name "Neji" means "screw/whirl" (螺子) or to "twist/wrench" (捩), which may be referring to his Eight Trigrams Palms Revolving Heaven. It's also possibly a play on "Nejia", an internal Chinese martial art that focuses on developing internal chi through whirling and spinning techniques. His family name "Hyūga" means "place in the sun" (日向).
- 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; in the anime, the very latter was shown in-series whenever Neji consumed the Curry of Life, as it would knock him out cold each time was fed it.
- 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.
- In the fourth databook, hiden is not listed among Neji's special characteristics, despite his usage of at least one hiden technique.
- In an interview, Masashi Kishimoto stated that the origin of the name Boruto is from Neji, who brought Naruto and Hinata together, and can have the meaning of connecting. Boruto (bolt) is another way of saying Neji (screw).
- Neji places well in the Naruto Character Popularity Polls, reaching an all-time high of sixth most popular; he and Rock Lee are roughly matched in overall popularity.
- 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 the omake for Naruto: Shippūden episode 156, Naruto points out how Neji doesn't appear in Naruto: Shippūden very often, whereas Lee and Tenten frequently do. Neji argues that, as a jōnin, he is constantly away on missions and never has free time.
- Studio Pierrot has consistently given him the height of 158 cm at 13yrs, instead of 159.2cm as his Databook profile gives him.
- Despite technically being cousins with Hinata, she would commonly refer to him as "brother" (Nii-san), possibly because their respective fathers are twins. To which, Hinata's children would refer to their late cousin-once-removed as "uncle".
- (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 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 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."
- (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
- Fourth Databook, page 152
- Naruto chapter 102, page 10
- Naruto chapter 102, pages 11-14
- Naruto chapter 102, page 17-19
- Naruto chapter 105, pages 10-19
- Naruto: Shippūden episode 389
- Naruto chapter 102, page 9
- Naruto chapter 558, pages 17-18
- Naruto chapter 104, pages 19-20
- Naruto chapter 105, pages 2, 6
- Naruto chapter 198, pages 7-8
- Naruto chapter 617, pages 12-13
- Naruto chapter 79, page 16
- Naruto chapter 103, page 5
- Naruto chapter 79, page 5
- Naruto chapter 172, page 10
- Naruto chapter 263, page 8
- Naruto chapter 614, page 2
- Naruto: Shippūden episode 410
- As Neji's father and Hinata's father are identical twins, Neji and Hinata could be considered half-siblings, thus making the "uncle" title fitting.
- Masashi Kishimoto's Interview Announcement of Boruto: Naruto the Movie Plus Comments on The Last
- Naruto chapter 78, page 12
- Naruto chapter 100, pages 11-12
- Naruto chapter 105, page 20
- Naruto chapter 197, pages 14-19
- Naruto chapter 614, pages 15-17