The need for Neji’s Hyuga’s death in Naruto has always been a topic of debate among fans. However, there is one simple reason why he had to die.
The Naruto franchise does not shy away from killing major characters, even if they are fan favorites. Neji Hyuga, for example, was introduced as a prodigy and was the most talented Hyuga in his generation. Although he didn’t have many contributions to the plot development, he was still well-liked by many fans. The Fourth Great Shinobi War was intense, and thousands of Shinobi from all the Great Nations had to sacrifice themselves to fight against a common enemy.
Neji was one of those Shinobi and, although he was not a major character in the series, his death was certainly devastating. Furthermore, the plot seemed redundant and fans question if his passing was even necessary. Looking back at the deaths of characters such as Jiraya, Itachi, Minato, Hiruzen and more, every single death in Naruto had some significant role to play. Although Neji’s death may seem unnecessary at first glance, creator Masashi Kishimoto reveals the reason why it was important.
Why Neji’s Death Was Important to the Naruto Franchise
According to Kishimoto, Neji’s death was necessary to bring Naruto and Hinata closer. Before his death, Naruto and Hinata’s relationship was only hinted at but never specifically defined. Neji died while trying to protect both of them. At that moment, Hinata was ready to take an attack on Naruto’s behalf when Neji intervened and saved them. Naruto then realized he had gone back on his promise to not let any more of his friends die.
Furthermore, Neji’s last words made Naruto realize how much he meant to Hinata, so much so that she was willing to sacrifice her life for him. Naruto was reaching a breaking point, but Hinata snapped him out of it just in time. They held hands and were united against the long battle they had yet to fight. Therefore, Neji’s death is a catalyst that finally gave Naruto and Hinata the last push they needed to declare their relationship. The scene was extremely heartbreaking yet meaningful at the same time.
Neji Hyuga’s Long-Awaited Freedom and the Meaning Behind it
Neji’s death in Naruto signified his freedom from his lifelong servitude to the Hyuga clan. He had always hated the curse mark that eternally bound him to the clan’s main house, portraying his destiny to live his life as its shield. Neji died protecting Hinata, a member of the main household, which depicts him fulfilling his destiny. However, there’s even more meaning to his death.
Rather than any sort of obligation, it was out of his own free will that Neji protected Hinata even at the cost of his life. In a way, his death was similar to his father, who had also sacrificed his life for the sake of others. As Neji finally took his last breath, the seal was undone and the caged bird flew away. This act of selflessness allowed him to define his own destiny, without any interference from the clan’s main house. In a way, Neji was even able to contradict the seal’s main purpose.