“Hinata-sama was willing to die for you Naruto, so keep in mind that your life is not your own anymore. It also include now mine as well.”Neji Hyuga, Naruto Shippuden
But really, who killed Neji? Neji Hyuga’s death shocked the fans would be a severe understatement. The fandom was left shocked and devastated when Neji was killed in the Fourth Shinobi World War while protecting Hinata and Naruto.
Who was Neji Hyuga?
Fans warmed up slowly to the seemingly curt and tiny bit arrogant Neji Hyuga, who first appeared in episode 130 of the series. Born, to Hizashi Hyuga, Neji was a shinobi of Konohagakure clan. A prodigy and a ‘genius’ ( get the reference?), Neji retook the Chunin Exams and passed and was immediately promoted to Jonin, skipping the Chunin level.
He became stern and frigid when his father died, more mature than most peers. For years, he had been propelled by the fatalistic conviction that his and everyone else’s fortunes were predetermined from birth and could not be changed. He saw himself as having a special gift, which led him to elevate himself above those he considered “weaker arrogantly.” He also believed that his obligatory duty would always limit his abilities to Hyuga’s main house, which he despised and fed his hatred towards the main house and its members.
However, he became and showed his more kind-hearted side as the show progressed. He mended his relationship with Hinata and was able to let go of his defeatist convictions about fate with the help of Naruto. This charismatic character not only advanced the ninja levels with lightning speed but also paved his way into fans’ hearts.
So who killed the fan-favorite Neji Hyuga, and why is fandom still in denial?
How was Neji Hyuga Killed?
While many beloved characters had to submit to death in the series, Neji’s death was arguably most unseen and heartbreaking for the fans. The fateful incident was seen in episode 364: “The Ties That Bind “, Fourth Shinobi World War: Climax. This is how it went down.:
While Naruto was still regaining after the long war, the Ten Tail beast launched a focused attack on him, and Hinata stepped in front of him, ready to give up her life to shield Naruto. However, Neji unleashes his Byakugan for the last time, and his body falls to the ground, impaled by spikes of Ten Tail.
Through this, he manages to shield Hinata, and Naruto, who is left unscathed, he himself went down in the blink of an eye. So in a way, when Asked who killed Neji, the direct answer is Ten Tail beast. But there’s a lot more to it.
Who killed Neji?
This question about who killed Neji is seemingly straightforward but has some noteworthy layers to it. In short, Neji was impaled by the spikes of Ten-Tails in the Fourth Shinobi World War while protecting Hinata and Naruto. Ten-Tails was controlled by Madara and Obito, who launched the attack on the Allied forces.
Both Neji and Hinata rush to shield Naruto, who is now too weak to defend himself after a few Rasen Shuriken. Hinata sacrifices herself to protect Naruto, who she loved, but in the end, Neji too selflessly offers his life for both, figuring their Air Palms won’t be sufficient to save them.
It is bittersweet how Neji, who once despised Hinata for being lower in birth than her, gives up his life to protect her.
As Neji lies, fatally wounded, Naruto asks him why he’d do that.
“Because you called me a genius.”
(The tears just won’t stop… (┬┬﹏┬┬))
Fans argue that Hinata could have used her Dojutsu and other prowesses to save Naruto and yet she put herself in a vulnerable position. So was it Hinata’s fault in judgment that led to Neji’s fateful demise? No one can be sure. However, one thing is certain Neji cared for Hinata and Naruto deeply and was grateful to Naruto in many ways.
Who died first, Neji or Jiraiya?
Jiraiya was the one who died first in episode 133 (“The Tale of Jiraiya the Gallant“) of Naruto Shippuden. Jiraiya encounters Akatsuki leader, Pain, who turned out to be Jiraiya’s former mentee Nagato. Nagato, however, now was on the evil side and engaged in a fatal fight with Jiraiya which led to the latter’s death.
Neji died later in episode 364 (“The Ties that Bind“) in Fourth Shinobi World War, Ten-Tails beast was the one who killed Neji.
Who Killed Neji: Director’s Take?
In an interview, published shortly before the release of The Last: Naruto the Movie, Masashi Kishimoto explained that Neji’s death was a tool he used to bring Hinata closer to Naruto.
Kishimoto explained Neji’s death helped bring Hinata closer to Naruto. May because they will always share this dark reminder. Again, Hinata’s decision to protect Naruto against the Ten-Tails proves his love and establishes the importance of her character.
But, instead of Hinata sacrificing her life, Kishimoto felt like Neji was a good substitute, so Naruto and Hinata’s story could continue. Neji’s ultimate sacrifice ultimately brought them together.
The Legacy Continues
So while who killed Neji may not be a straightforward answer, it is certain that was not the last fans heard of him. With Naruto naming his son Boruto (meaning ‘bolt’), in remembrance of Neji (meaning ‘screw’), the charismatic and genius Neji continues to live in the show’s pivotal characters’ and audience’s collective memory alike.
FAQ on Who Killed Neji
Is Neji the strongest Hyuga?
Though he was a genius, Neji Hyuga was not the strongest Hyuga. It was Hiashi Hyuga, father of Hinata and Hanabi Hyuga.
Did Neji die in the war?
Neji Hyuga died in Fourth Shinobi World War after being attacked by Ten Tails.
Did Neji die for a clone?
No, Neji died saving the real Naruto, not his shadow clone, as well as Hinata.