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Thread: ESSAY: WHY exactly do I like Hinata so much...?

  1. #1
    Arcane Azmadi is offline Senior Member Well Known
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    Default ESSAY: WHY exactly do I like Hinata so much...?

    Almost a year ago I posted this thread here where I called NaruHina as canon. 11 months later I feel quite satisfyingly vindicated by chapter 615 and in a safe position to declare "I f*cking called it!"

    But this got me to thinking about something that gave me pause: exactly WHY do I like Hinata so much?

    After much contemplation, research, soul-searching and meditation I came up with the following answer: because Hinata is arguably one of the deepest and most well-written characters in Naruto. No mean feat for what is basically a supporting character with surprisingly few actual appearances.

    What I came to realise is that Hinata's character is basically defined by her relationship with Naruto. Most people would say this is a bad thing, it makes her shallow and gives her no personality of her own. But this is a very inaccurate and shallow way of looking at Hinata. While Naruto shapes and guides Hinata's character arc, she still HAS her own character arc, one of the best in the series. And why is it such a bad thing that Naruto has so much effect on Hinata when he is the protagonist of the entire series?

    What is Sakura's character arc? Initially, she's in love with Sasuke because he's cool and hot and she hates Naruto because he's not and he's not. Then she realises she's useless because she never does anything and decides she doesn't want to be any more. She gets a haircut. She and Ino punch each other out of the Chuunin Exam. She starts to accept Naruto and begins getting stronger after training with Tsunade, in order to bring Sasuke back... I'm sorry, did her arc ever contain any more depth than "I want to become stronger because there's a guy I like?" Even when she set out to try and kill Sasuke herself, she eventually failed because she couldn't bring herself to do it (one of the most pathetic thing Kishimoto ever did to her). Sakura has no REAL ties to any other characters other than Sasuke and Naruto and even her connection to Naruto is really pretty tenuous. She doesn't even have a real character bond with her master Tsunade and her relationship with Ino is no deeper than "we used to be friends until there was this hot guy we both like" *PUNCH* "we're friends again!"

    What is Hinata's character arc? Born the eldest child to the head of the Hyuuga clan, she is next in line to become family head, despite both her elder cousin and her younger sister being stronger than her. She is naturally shy and timid, has poor self-esteem and gives up easily, a matter not improved by her own father's disappointment with her. She also feels guilty for the death of her cousin Neji's father, who was sacrificed after she was kidnapped as a child. She finds strength from following the example of Uzumaki Naruto, a boy who is even less talented than her but is committed to his goal of becoming the strongest ninja in the village, standing up again every time he gets knocked down. She admires him because of this and tries to follow his example, leading to her confrontation with Neji where, knowing that Naruto is watching her, she commits to following his nindo, refusing to give up even in the face of death. Although the series never explicitly states it (since Hinata makes few appearances between then and her next big moment in part 2) she takes heart both from what she did and from Naruto's subsequent defeat of Neji and has become much stronger after the timeskip. When Pain attacks Konoha and defeats Naruto, Hinata is the only person who is willing to intervene to save him, taking on one of the world's strongest ninja even knowing she will die and she finds the courage to confess her feelings for him. She has won her father's approval by now and Neji no longer has any enmity towards her. In the Shinobi World War arc she resolves that now she is strong enough to stand by Naruto and fights beside him in the series' climactic battle. When Naruto almost loses it AGAIN in the wake of Neji's death, it's Hinata who brings him out of it by reminding him of his own nindo, that she also shares. Her plot arc started from her family and she resolved it both through her own strength and the encouragement and inspiration provided by Naruto. While she may love him, she's no shallow fangirl.

    Hinata isn't the only character with her own arc. Shikamaru, for example, had a fantastic plot arc about coming into maturity despite his apathy, first when he becomes Chuunin and has to lead the Sasuke Retrieval mission, then when Asuma dies and Shikamaru must avenge him and accept the responsibility of protecting his unborn child. But Shikamaru's plot arc was almost completely independant of Naruto's story. It could have been part of its own series. Hell, during one of the anime omakes Shikamaru joked that they should rename the series "Shikamaru Shippuuden" with himself as the protagonist. Naruto was only peripherally involved in Shikamaru's arc; first he learned about wind chakra from Asuma (which was as much character padding for Asuma as anything else) then he showed up to try out Rasenshuriken on Kakuzu (something Shikamaru wasn't even present for as he was busy dealing with Hidan on his own). Hinata is one of the few characters who has her own arc (finding her strength and being accepted by her family) but also integrates it with the protagonist of the series.

    Another thing worth noting is that Hinata is one of the most insightful characters in the series. At the start of the manga, how many characters acknowledged and were prepared to believe in Naruto? By my estimation, exactly three- the 3rd Hokage (who fits the Dumbledoresque "wise old mentor" archetype), Iruka (who at least liked Naruto, although it's honestly debatable whether he truly had faith that he could ever become strong enough to become Hokage) and, yes, Hinata, who always believed in him. One of Hinata's key early moments was in chapter 98, where Naruto met her at the training grounds before his epic fight with Neji. This was one of the few times Naruto, at the time still a brash idiot hero, admitted to doubts or weaknesses. Hinata put into words Naruto's true strength to him here, his determination to never give up which made him, even when he failed, "a proud failure". Unlike Sakura towards Sasuke, Hinata isn't oblivious to Naruto's weaknesses- she is fully aware of them and cares for him despite them. Hinata truly is the single character in the series who understands Naruto the best, she's not just a creepy stalker who hides behind things, spies on him and mutters "Naruto-kun..." to herself.

    And who is Uzumaki Naruto again? The outcast child who initially more than anything else craves acceptance and is committed to becoming Hokage even though his skills are a joke. He's also the protagonist. His journey from bumbling, loud-mouthed prankster to the greatest hope for the world and the strongest ninja in Konoha is the primary arc of the series (despite the spotlight-stealing jackass that is Uchiha Sasuke). He wanted people to accept him- Hinata always did, even if she was too shy to act on it. He wanted to be acknowledged as a great ninja- Hinata always believed in him, even if he wasnt actually strong at the time. And Hinata is the girl who actually loves him, the girl who will fight despite her self-doubt if she knows he is watching, who will fight against impossible odds to protect him, who will stand beside him in the final battle. She is the character most closely tied to Naruto, despite also having a strong arc of her own. Naruto wants to be Hokage, the leader of the village- and Hinata was the character who truly showed that he could do that.

    And so, despite having DRASTICALLY less page time, she is a far better heroine for the series than Sakura (not too surprising as Kishimoto has clearly expressed an open dislike for Sakura in the past). The fact that she's both beautifully drawn and genuinely likeable is just a bonus. She is SO well written that it's really a shame Kishimoto didn't realise her potential sooner.
    Last edited by Arcane Azmadi; 12-30-2012 at 02:51 AM.
    SamDaPsy, Bledge, danzo and 2 others like this.
    The Dream Wedding: My first one-shot Naruto fanfiction.
    Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja: My epic "what if" story where Sasuke never survived the battle against Haku.

    Top ten reasons why NaruHina will become canon:
    7. Naruto saw Hinata dancing naked in a waterfall, and he totally digs that.
    10. Hinata has giant boobies.

  2. #2
    TheJaggid is offline Senior Member Long Time Member
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    Bravo, man! You put Hinata into quite the perspective. Until this, I pretty much ignored Hinata's role in the story besides the obvious Pain v Naruto fight, and, her cuteness aside, though of her largely as the last hope keeping the series from ending with Naruto x Sakura (or Naruto x Sasuke for that matter). I'm not sure I'd call her the best written character, though. Her confession and almost-death is one of the most memorable moments in the series, but she never moved me quite as much as Zabuza and Haku, or Naruto and Gaara. Still, she's definitely one of the series' high points.
    Bledge likes this.

    May those who accept their fate be granted happiness; to those who defy it, glory.

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    qbsenuef is offline Senior Member Long Time Member
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    I too believe Hinata should've bumped Sakura out of the spotlight ever since the end of the first arc post time skip. They've practically the same amount of development but Hinata's is just more meaningful and had more impact.

  4. #4
    Arcane Azmadi is offline Senior Member Well Known
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    Quote Originally Posted by qbsenuef View Post
    I too believe Hinata should've bumped Sakura out of the spotlight ever since the end of the first arc post time skip. They've practically the same amount of development but Hinata's is just more meaningful and had more impact.
    I'm actually firmly convinced that Kishimoto DID originally plan for Hinata to have a much larger role in the series than she did. Way back in the Chuunin exam, during Naruto's fight with Neji, Hinata's unhealed wound causes her to start coughing up blood again while Neji is beating the crap out of Naruto and she passes out. She's saved by Kabuto, who heals her then makes an ominous comment to Kiba about "not being able to watch the rest" and knocks Kiba out as well.

    Now, WHY would this happen? The basic upshot of this was that Hinata missed what should have been one of the most significant moments in her relationship with Naruto- seeing him overcome and defeat Neji, something he was doing for her (in case you don't remember, Naruto swore on Hinata's blood that he would beat Neji in revenge for what he did to her). That was a pointless waste. There was also no reason for Kabuto to knock Kiba out either- even if he hadn't, Kiba could have been gotten out of the way by having him taken out by the mass-genjutsu when the attack started, just like Ino and Chouji. So in all honesty, what was the point of this little event?

    My belief is that, originally, Orochimaru was to have ordered Kabuto to capture Hinata for her Byakugan, possibly even as an alternate host he could use instead of Sasuke, with the intention of having Naruto rescue her to strengthen his bond with her. The original plan would have been for Hinata to more openly be Naruto's love interest from part 1. I can imagine several reasons why this was scrapped: possibly because it would either extend the Chuunin exam arc way past its climax (the battles between Naruto and Gaara and Orochimaru and the 3rd) or would have to be resolved too quickly; because it would necessitate yet ANOTHER arc focussing on Orochimaru's plotting immediately after the Chuunin exam arc had just been finished with (OK the Tsunade arc ended up being an Orochimaru arc, but at least it took a breather to introduce Akatsuki); because Kishimoto simply lost his nerve on introducing such overt romance elements into the story so early; or because he couldn't work out how to make the arc work. Either way, it was canned so Kabuto healing Hinata and knocking out Kiba was left as a bizarre loose end which only resulted in Hinata missing out on seeing Naruto defeat Neji and prove the power of their nindo. Damn.

    Ironically, the idea that Hinata was kidnapped while unconscious during the Chuunin exam was actually used in an anime filler episode (Shippuden 192, 'Neji Chronicles') although it was opportunistic spectators from Kumogakure (the village that tried to kidnap her as a child), not Orochimaru's forces, who attempted to take her and she was rescued by Neji instead. What a coincidence!
    The Dream Wedding: My first one-shot Naruto fanfiction.
    Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja: My epic "what if" story where Sasuke never survived the battle against Haku.

    Top ten reasons why NaruHina will become canon:
    7. Naruto saw Hinata dancing naked in a waterfall, and he totally digs that.
    10. Hinata has giant boobies.

  5. #5
    Arcane Azmadi is offline Senior Member Well Known
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    You know, something else just occured to me recently. Why exactly are we supposed to like Naruto? At the start of the series he's an idiot, he's a bumbler, he's loud, he's annoying, he's full of himself, he's even a bit of a pervert. Yet why do we root for him? Because he's brave, because he tries hard, because he never gives up, because he overcomes impossible odds by sheer stubbornnes and refusal to quit. He's a classic Idiot Hero. And you know what I realised? These are exactly the reasons Hinata likes him. Hinata is pretty close to the only character in the series who can understand Naruto from the reader's perspective, the way he's supposed to be appreciated. In a way, she's an audience surrogate character. And the more I think about it, the more brilliant that is.
    qbsenuef likes this.
    The Dream Wedding: My first one-shot Naruto fanfiction.
    Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja: My epic "what if" story where Sasuke never survived the battle against Haku.

    Top ten reasons why NaruHina will become canon:
    7. Naruto saw Hinata dancing naked in a waterfall, and he totally digs that.
    10. Hinata has giant boobies.

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    qbsenuef is offline Senior Member Long Time Member
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    Those are some really good points. 'Though it is kinda hard to believe that it was intentional for Hinata to be such a type of character under Kishis watch.

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    TheJaggid is offline Senior Member Long Time Member
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    The audience surrogate character theory is probably unintentional. Naruto has qualities we like, and Hinata unreservedly likes all of Naruto, so she also likes the qualities we like. It's coincidental.

    May those who accept their fate be granted happiness; to those who defy it, glory.

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    Arcane Azmadi is offline Senior Member Well Known
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheJaggid View Post
    The audience surrogate character theory is probably unintentional. Naruto has qualities we like, and Hinata unreservedly likes all of Naruto, so she also likes the qualities we like. It's coincidental.
    While you're probably right that it was unintentional on Kishimoto's part, claiming that Hinata "unreservedly likes all of Naruto" isn't really accurate. Hinata has very specific, clear and well-understood reasons why she likes him, especially compared with Sakura, Ino and Karin, whose feelings for Sasuke were never based in anything more than "OMFG he's so cool and handsome!" (OK, Karin had a bit of Rescue Romance retconned in there as well, but would she have had the same reaction if she'd been saved by, say, Lee?). She's never simply worshipped the ground he stands on, she doesn't dream about his good looks (despite the way numerous rather untalented fanfic writers love to have her gush about his "sapphire eyes"), she doesn't just think he's the best because he's so kickass awsum strong. She loves him for his most admirable traits, the ones that resonate with her and inspire her to be better than she would otherwise be. She's not blind to Naruto's faults (although I grant that we really don't get a complete and in-depth look at every aspect of her feelings for him) but she can look past them.
    Last edited by Arcane Azmadi; 01-14-2013 at 11:26 PM.
    The Dream Wedding: My first one-shot Naruto fanfiction.
    Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja: My epic "what if" story where Sasuke never survived the battle against Haku.

    Top ten reasons why NaruHina will become canon:
    7. Naruto saw Hinata dancing naked in a waterfall, and he totally digs that.
    10. Hinata has giant boobies.

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    TheJaggid is offline Senior Member Long Time Member
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    The thing is, I believe what you're calling 'his most admirable traits' are actually ALL of his admirable traits. Maybe I'm just not having a clear/deep enough image of Naruto at the moment, but I can't think of any 'good' trait Naruto has that Hinata hasn't talked about at some point. The way I see it, her 'clear and well-understood reasons' for why she likes him is that Naruto = Naruto, as opposed to Sakura and Ino's, which is Sasuke = handsome + cool.

    Actually, I think we have different views as to why Hinata likes Naruto. Or more like, our definitions of 'like' are off. The reasons you describe aren't exactly reasons that translate to romantic affection, they normally translate to simple admiration. I think the main reason Hinata likes Naruto romantically is the basic rule of 'opposites attract.' Why she respects him and can talk about him so fondly is because of how his 'good' traits have inspired her and affected her life. I believe these good traits may have been what attracted her (not romantically) to him initially, but the 'opposites attract' rule is what made her translate that attraction beyond respect into respect + affection. In fact, it doesn't even have to be in that order; it could be that the 'opposites attract' rule came in before the admiration. My point is, they're separate and come together to create the relationship we see today in the manga. I have absolutely no proof of this, but it's the logical way I think their relationship came to be.

    Honestly, some of this might not make sense because I'm in a rush and need to get ready for work.
    Last edited by TheJaggid; 01-15-2013 at 03:31 PM.

    May those who accept their fate be granted happiness; to those who defy it, glory.

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    Ryoga-san is offline Senior Member Long Time Member
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    I think you are overanalyzing. If there is something I've learned about Kishimoto Masashi, it's that he can't comprehend human psychology and basic story structure. There have been no grand plans or deliberate exposition prior to the Pain battle (and barely anything after it). That Hinata and Naruto seem to be hooking up now is just another spur-of-the-moment twist Kishi has added in as a desperate attempt to keep readers interested. This manga is not well-written. Kishimoto is not a good writer. It used to have some cool fighting scenes and the only reason I'm still reading it now nine years after I started is because it's nothing more than a guilty pleasure that I have invested too much into to simply give up.

    To call Hinata a good character is a stretch of the imagination. Her story is just as shallow as everyone else's and her character has done nothing productive. Remove her from the storyline and not much would change. Her impact on the main character has been minimal. I'm not saying that she's the worst character. Definitely not. Sakura's background story is a void and I agree that her entire character is motivated by childish emotions. If you look at Sasuke's story, he has a much more well-written background, and would be a great character if Kishi hadn't ruined him by making him driven by a "lack of motivation" now when he no longer chases after Itachi. The reason I dislike Sasuke is because I don't know what his goals are or why he acts the way he does. If Kishi had been a good writer, he could have done something interesting with Sasuke's story instead of making him out to be this anti-hero or anti-villain or what-the-hell he is. Itachi had basically the same story but was a successful and likeable character. As was Nagato.

    Kishi has proved that he can do something interesting with characters, even if they lack depth. Shikamaru was such a character, who quickly became a fan favorite even though we don't know much about him. If he wants to make Hinata into a good character, he has an opportunity to start now. But so far, I haven't cared for her in the slightest.
    danzo and krazykwasi like this.

 

 
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