Believe: Uzumaki Naruto/Hyuuga Hinata [Naruto]
Authors: x_darkhope_x and oniraitei
Pairing: Uzumaki Naruto/Hyuuga Hinata
Spoilers: Chapters 1-330+ (Recent Chapter)
Special thanks to sei_shounagon [phoenixblood] for translating Hinata's Databook 1 profile! :D
NaruHina, one of the most popular Naruto ships out there--Yet some people believe it has no development. Well that’s not true, and this essay should prove that. Before we start, I’d like to outline the goals of this essay:
1) To show Naruto and Hinata are a great deal more alike than many think; showing that they share trust within each other.
2) To show that the entire Chuunin Exam was a base set up for the pairing that may develop into something more later on.
3) Why Naruto/Hinata is more/deeper than just a “cute” pairing.
4) To show how many hints/moments/clues there are in the manga, even small ones. Also comparisons with interviews and the databooks.
5) Counter some of the common arguments used against this pairing.
Now there are some things I’m not trying to prove:
1) That Naruto is in love with Hinata--Just that he CAN fall for her. [with manga evidence]
2) That any other pairing that involves Naruto and/or Hinata is a bad pairing.
3) I’m not trying to convert anyone/force anyone to like this pairing.
I'm not going to go in depth with the plot of Naruto, because people reading this essay should know the main plot already. Now, lets begin.
One more thing, I kind of went over the word limit. ^^; Sorry! Two sections are linked because of the word limit. Special thanks to ship_manifesto for allowing me to post this. :)
+.+The Boy: Uzumaki Naruto+.+
When we first see Naruto, he is introduced as a trouble making brat. It's revealed why he is like that-He is the container of the Kyuubi. [Nine tailed fox] Sandaime discloses why Naruto was the “class clown.” It was to become the center of attention; something he lacked throughout his childhood years. It was apparent that Naruto was thrown into a cold world of hatred and scorn by a destiny beyond his control. Throughout his childhood, he is hated, and unloved by almost the entire village.
Nevertheless, he never let it show. Keeping a constant smile, and swearing to become the greatest Hokage the village has ever known, so that he would gain respect and acceptance. In gist, he wants to overcome the hate and show them all that he is actually worth something. He was the only one to fail the Genin Exam, yet he proved himself later on to earn the title. He makes mistakes, but he learns from them. He gets frustrated and angry, but he never forgets what his goals are and what really matters. He is the number one, unpredictable, hyperactive, knuckle-headed Ninja. He gradually gains respect among many, including the members of Team 7; his important bond of friendship.
+.+The Girl: Hyuuga Hinata+.+
Her cousin, Hyuuga Neji, also directs his hatred towards her. However, Hinata had no control over what happened between the main family and the branch family. As a result of her experiences as a child, she has grown up to be the complete opposite of Naruto. She is shy, unconfident, and has extremely low self-esteem. She does not want to be a burden, so when she makes mistakes, it is hard for her to recover. Hinata, longing to be like Naruto, seeking acceptance from her father and her clan, makes a firm decision. A decision that would impact her life, and perhaps the people around her. A decision to change herself.
+.+The Written Exam: Please Don't Disappear+.+
The first time we see Hinata is in chapter 39 where she speaks to Naruto and shyly looks away from his gaze. This is Naruto's initial evaluation of Hinata: "A weirdo who looks away when I look at her. A dark and shy girl." While this evaluation seems rather negative, there is nothing damning about it. It does not indicate any dislike for Hinata. This is a neutral opinion, and a temporary one at that. Of course, depending on one's interpretation it could be considered a negative opinion in romantic light. Just like Sakura hated Naruto, Naruto thought that Hinata is dark and weird . That changes as the series goes on.
The next time Hinata speaks to Naruto is in chapter 40 where they are sitting together during the written test portion of the Chuunin exam. Naruto is surprised when she says his name and thinks, "I didn't even notice her..." She says to him, "Lets do our best..." In the next chapter, 41, Naruto is struggling with his test. Hinata offers to let Naruto copy her test. This is now three times that Hinata has initiated dialogue with Naruto, not the other way around. Hinata is shy, but she is not incapable of initiating conversation with Naruto as some people believe.
At first, Naruto is suspicious of Hinata. However, he quickly shakes this off, almost naturally trusting Hinata. Hinata has already gone from, "a weirdo/dark and shy girl," to someone Naruto can probably trust. However, Naruto does not trust Kiba, who may have influenced Hinata into tricking him for the sake of the team. Naruto asks Hinata why she would let him copy her test. The way Hinata responds speaks volumes. She only gave her answer after massive hesitation. Kishimoto dedicated most of a page to Hinata's hesitation! A person usually hesitates like this in order to think of a lie. However, Hinata hesitated in order to give an honest answer that wouldn't give away her feelings. "Because...I...don't want you to disappear here." The dialogue could be immediate and simple like all the rest, but it isn't! However, Naruto assumes a thoughtful but confused expression which causes Hinata to backpedal. She panics and fires off another half-truth that doesn't offer Naruto the opportunity to "read between the lines." Naruto accepts this seemingly straightforward answer, but Hinata has already shown us how she feels.
Naruto is about to cheat off of Hinata's test, but he notices Izumo watching him like a hawk. Naruto realizes that not only could he be disqualified for cheating, but Hinata could be disqualified as well. Naruto says, "Hinata...you don't understand. An incredible ninja like me doesn't need to cheat. Plus, because you helped me cheat, you could get in trouble too." Some may argue that Naruto was just trying to be "cool." If Naruto were just trying to be cool, there would be no need for him to have said anything about Hinata getting in trouble for his sake. Hinata has already moved from "a weirdo/dark and shy girl," to someone that Naruto trusts and holds in consideration, even if she is weird. Naruto then makes comment on how stupid he was to pass up the offer of copying off of Hinata. In the end, Naruto stands up and yells out that he was not afraid of the 10th question. Hinata stares at him with a smile on her face.
+.+Naruto vs Kiba: Memories+.+
The next area of development for NaruHina comes with the Chuunin Exam preliminary battles where Naruto fights Kiba. Hinata struggles within herself, "I'd like to cheer for Naruto-kun but...I am on Kiba-kun's team...he might get mad...but..." As a person who wishes to avoid hurting anyone's feelings, she can't bring herself to cheer for Naruto because she knows that Kiba would take offense. Hinata completely refrains from cheering out loud.
By choosing Kiba as Naruto's opponent, Kishimoto has placed this restriction upon Hinata, but he continues to show Hinata's silent cheering/thoughts. This serves to further our understanding of Hinata's feelings. Most importantly, we learn that not only does Hinata share Naruto's pain, she understands it. We see Hinata's memories/flashbacks of Naruto and herself. "I really thought that was incredible...because I understand how difficult that is..." Hinata has long since acknowledged Naruto while everyone else looked down upon him or just plain hated him.
As Naruto returns to the waiting area, he passes Hinata. Hinata has a titanic battle within herself and barely manages to squeak out, "N...Naruto-kun..." Having spent all of her willpower on saying Naruto's name, Hinata shyly holds out some medicinal cream for Naruto. Our witness is the perceptive woman Kurenai. Kurenai, Hinata's sensei, immediately picks up on Hinata's feelings for Naruto. Shino also observes this, but he is as stoic as ever. Naruto is hesitant at first, probably having rarely or never received this sort of kindness before, but after being prompted by Kurenai, Naruto takes the medicine and says, "Thanks, you're nice Hinata!" So Hinata is now: trustworthy, worthy of Naruto's concern, nice...and still weird.
+.+Neji vs Hinata: In Front Of The Person I Admire!+.+
Right after the Naruto vs Kiba fight, it is Hinata's turn to fight. Her opponent is her relative, Hyuuga Neji, the prodigy of the Hyuuga's branch house. Neji has a grudge against the main house, and Hinata is the heiress to the Hyuuga clan. At the beginning of the match, Neji psychologically attacks Hinata. Meanwhile, Naruto is on the sidelines fuming as Neji's condescending words strike a chord with him. Neji accuses Hinata of entering the Chuunin exam unwillingly, but Hinata says, "I...n...no...I...just wanted...wanted...to change myself..." These words resonate inside of Naruto as well as a few others.
As Kurenai watches, she recalls when Hinata first came under her care. Through this we learn exactly why Hinata can empathize with Naruto. Hinata does not live up to the high standards set by her strict father and the Hyuuga clan and her younger sister is superior to her as a ninja. Therefore, her father and clan are ashamed of her. Hinata's father and clan have ostracized her and Hinata has been going through the trials of an aspiring ninja without anyone to support her...just like Naruto.
Neji continues to verbally assault Hinata and Naruto boils over. As Neji is about to declare that Hinata is subject to fate and unable to change, Naruto shouts, "YOU CAN!!!" He says "you" not "I." Naruto continues, "Stop deciding things about people!!! Idiot!!! Kick that bastards ass!!! Hinata!!! Hinata! stand up for yourself!! This is hard to watch!!!" This is about Hinata. Naruto tells her to stand up for herself. Naruto is not the type of character to be vindicated by fighting vicariously through Hinata.
Naruto has ignited a fire inside of Hinata. She silently thanks Naruto and remembers him stating his way of the ninja. She then declares aloud, "...I no longer...want to run away!" Hinata explodes upon Neji, forcing him to briefly go on the defensive while Naruto cheers her on. However, Neji's taijutsu is superior to Hinata's and she is knocked to the ground by her fellow Hyuuga. Neji once again tries to break Hinata's spirit and get her to yield. Everyone is surprised yet again as Hinata brings herself to her feet saying, "I...don't...go back...on my word... That is...also my way of the ninja!" As dense as Naruto is, this does NOT go unnoticed. As Hinata straightens herself up,
she looks up and locks eyes heavily with Naruto for a good while.
Hinata is now: trustworthy, worthy of Naruto's concern, nice, similar to Naruto, incredible...and still weird.
Hinata has suffered from a jyuuken strike to her heart and is struggling to remain upright. The other Genins are commenting on the hopelessness of Hinata's situation and the strength of Neji. Naruto once again has had enough and shouts out to Hinata, urging her on, "You can do it, Hinata!!!" Hinata thinks about Naruto as she fights:
Hinata takes a decisive blow to her heart again and she falls to the ground. The examiner declares the match over, but Naruto, thinking about Hinata, interrupts by shouting for him not to call it. Naruto, believing in Hinata, was the only one who is unsurprised when she rises yet again after such severe punishment. Neji asks her why she continues to fight, but Hinata says nothing and thinks to herself, "He's finally watching me... In front of the person I admire...I can't look this bad..."
She once again locks eyes with Naruto and he smiles at her.
+.+The Blood Oath: A Vow To Win+.+
Hinata is beaten, and when she falls, Naruto is immediately at her side. Naruto and Hinata are face to face as she lapses into unconsciousness. She silently asks, "Naruto-kun...was...I able...to change a little...?" Hinata was willing to face death to change for him. Though it could have killed her, she kept getting back to her feet.
Neji begins to speak to Naruto and tells him that he as well is unable to change and will always be a loser. Suddenly this becomes personal to Naruto. Naruto becomes angry and charges at Neji, but Rock Lee intervenes and gets Naruto to calm down. Hinata begins coughing up blood and Naruto forgets about Neji as he goes back to her. Naruto is fixated on Hinata as she is being carried away on a stretcher, so much so that the stretcher bearers shout for him to move. As Hinata is being carried away, Naruto remembers Hinata's fight and her words. This is when Naruto decides why he is going to fight Neji. For Hinata and their way of the ninja that they share.
Neji, Gai, Lee, Sakura, and Kakashi watch in shocked silence as Naruto covers his right hand in Hinata's blood. "...Hinata...," Naruto thinks to himself, "I promise you..." Naruto then says aloud, "I will win!" A solemn promise made in Hinata's blood.
Some may argue that Naruto would have done these things for anyone. This isn't the case and furthermore, it cannot be the case. If anyone other than Hinata, or perhaps Lee, was picked to fight Neji, the events that occurred would not have happened. Neji would not have spoken that way to anyone other than Hinata due to his grudge against the main branch. The only one of the Rookie 9 he knows anything about is Hinata. He didn't even know Sasuke's name and Sasuke was the #1 rookie. Without Neji's condescending talk to his opponent, Naruto wouldn't have gotten angry. Naruto would certainly cheer for any of his comrades, but he wouldn't make a blood oath to win simply because they lost. Furthermore, Hinata is the only Genin who would react the way she did to Neji's onslaught of verbal attacks, not that Neji would have bothered talking to any of the other Genin except Lee or Sasuke. Every other Genin would have stood up for themselves or just ignored Neji's talk.
Another argument might be that this the "Destined Hyuuga battle!" That’s right, it is. I've already stated why Kishimoto chose to make Hinata fight Neji in the preliminaries, but there are more reasons. Lets say that Neji was not a Hyuuga at all, but someone who had something against the Hyuuga or Hinata. Events could still proceed in the manner that they did. However, having Neji as a Hyuuga serves two purposes. It not only sparks the development between Naruto and Hinata during her fight, but it sets down a path for Naruto to "change the Hyuuga."
+.+Chapter 98: The Talk Before The Chuunin Finals: The Proud Failure!+.+
After the preliminaries and a month of training under Jiraiya, it is time for Naruto to fight Hyuuga Neji in the Chuunin Exam Finals. Naruto is on his way to the stadium, but decides to stop by the training grounds where he first became a Genin and he happens to meet Hinata who is training, asking her if she was alright now. Naruto is feeling uncharacteristically low and unconfident about fighting Neji. Now it is time for some major development.
Naruto and Hinata begin conversing and Naruto asks about his opponent. Naruto asks if Neji is strong and Hinata replies in the affirmative. However, Hinata is sensing Naruto's mood and goes on to say, "B..But...You might be able to beat him Naruto-kun. B...Because..."
Naruto interrupts her with a loud burst of bravado, "Hahaha!! Yeah!! I'm really strong!!" Naruto gives a hesitant laugh and then the training grounds fall into dead silence for a long time. Naruto's front is slipping and what is behind his brave mask is being revealed. Hinata speaks up to comfort him:
However, Naruto, for the first time ever, lets his happy facade fall away and shows Hinata how he is truly feeling. Never before to anyone has Naruto shown this side of himself. Hinata is the first to see him in this light. Sandaime and Iruka may have known that Naruto was hiding his feelings, but Naruto never let it show to either of them. Hinata is the first person thus far Naruto opens this side of himself to.
Hinata does not falter, but opens up to Naruto as well:
Hinata has bolstered Naruto's spirit and brought him back from his depression. Naruto thanks Hinata and turns to go, but Naruto stops. Naruto could have left after thanking Hinata, but he didn't. He turned back to Hinata and said, "You know, about you, I...thought you were...a plain looking, dark weirdo..."
"But...a person like you..I really like!!" Using logic, you = her as a person in this sense. If you think about it, there are no other “shy, dark, weirdos” other than Hinata.
With this, Naruto begins to walk towards the stadium, but not before telling Hinata to come and watch him fight Neji. As Naruto walks away, the only thing in the world Hinata can see is Naruto, surrounded by brilliant light. She can see and hear nothing else as she stands wide-eyed in shock.
Hinata is now: trustworthy, worthy of Naruto's concern, nice, similar to Naruto, incredible, someone who Naruto can talk to, someone who can motivate Naruto, and most important of all...someone Naruto really likes and a friend.
To sum it up: Naruto went from thinking Hinata was a “dark, shy, weirdo.” to a person he “really likes.” And this was all in one arc. Given the amount of screen time Naruto and Hinata had together, I'd say their devotion to each other is pretty good. He even opened up to her, telling her his doubts. Saying how he isn't as strong as she thinks he is, and how he only acted tough because he was mad... That surprised me when I first read it. Naruto told that to someone he hardly knew, while trying to act tough in front of everyone else. Even though he opened up in front of Hinata, it could have been because Hinata told him that he inspired her with his 'false' image. But the fact remains that Hinata was able to cheer him up, thus that he knows that he can trust her with his inner fears and doubts.
+.+Naruto vs Neji: I Made A Promise+.+
As the fight between Naruto and Neji is about to begin, Hinata shows up in the stadium to watch, even though she has not fully recovered from her own battle with Neji. As the match is opening Hinata overhears other spectators speaking poorly of Naruto. She takes personal offense at this, but says nothing. Hinata remains silent and puts on a strong face, waiting for the fight. Just before Genma is about to tell Naruto and Neji to begin. Neji comments on how it looked as if Naruto had something to say. Naruto raises a clenched fist and points it at Neji in the exact same fashion he did when making his promise to Hinata. Naruto has not forgotten about his promise made in Hinata's blood.
As Hinata watches the battle between Naruto and Neji, it's as any blow that Naruto takes is almost physically felt by Hinata. Hinata's constitution begins to crumble as Naruto takes the full force of Neji's Divine 64 Strikes. Everyone thought that Naruto was beaten, but he climbs back to his feet anyway. Hinata's frail condition gets the best of her as she is literally worrying to death about Naruto. "No...Naruto...No more..." But did Hinata really stop believing in him?
She isn't aware of the Kyuubi. After 64 strikes, she was sure that Naruto would have hurt himself if he went on. However, it was not lack of belief. It was care. With this, Hinata passes out and she can no longer witness the fight. Was it just a coincidence Hinata coughed up blood during the fight where Naruto gave her a Blood Oath?
Neji tells Naruto to give up and that he has no grudge against Naruto. "Shut up!! Well...I do!!," Naruto cuts off Neji and we are once again reminded why Naruto is so determined to win. Naruto, asks why Neji had to mentally attack Hinata while she was trying her best; he could never forgive Neji for it.
As the fight is moving towards its climax, Naruto tells Neji that the two of them are not the only ones who are suffering. He says that Hinata is suffering just as much, "Hinata too...She's suffered as much as you! A member of the Main Family...but not acknowledged. Trying her best to change herself...Thinking that while she was coughing blood fighting you!" Not only does Hinata understand Naruto, but Naruto understands Hinata. Naruto once again remembers his promise as he summons forth the chakra from the Kyuubi sealed within him...
As the battle climaxes Naruto tells Neji that once he becomes Hokage he will "change the Hyuuga." Any barriers that the Hyuuga clan might create are no longer an issue for Naruto... Neji changed his hate with the help of Naruto, but he did not change the branch family, and the hate towards the main family. "Hate within the familly because of fate?! If you don't want to do anthing about it [the hate within family] do nothing. When I become Hokage I will change that clan of yours!” [Hyuuga clan as whole not just from Neji's perspective.]
Also note that Naruto did not say: Do it or I will do it. He said: Do what you want! I will change Hyuuga!
As Naruto stands victorious in his battle against Neji, he wonders, "Where is Hinata? Is she watching?" This shows he did not forget about her at all, and was thinking of her all along. Think back to when Naruto stated: "Remember to come and watch while I kick Neji's ass!"
Now, the reason why there was no Naruto-Hinata screen time between then and 238 is because there was no place to have Team 8 [Hinata] interact with Naruto on platonic terms.
+.+Chapter 238: I'll Do My Best Too!+.+
After the rescue Sasuke Arc, Jiraiya is planning to take Naruto away to train for two and a half years. As Neji is training with Hiashi, Hinata's father, Hinata brings them some tea. Neji asks Hinata if she knows about Naruto's departure and if she is going to go see him off. According to Kiba, Hinata had planned to see Naruto off, but faintined when she saw him and was too embarrassed to approach Naruto afterward. It is very interesting that Neji asked Hinata about Naruto. It seems that not only does Neji know how Hinata feels about Naruto, but he also supports it.
What is even more interesting about Neji's question is the fact that Hiashi is sitting right there with them! Furthermore, Kiba added to the conversation with his recollection of Hinata fainting over Naruto. From what we know about Hiashi, he is a very strict man, but he says nothing about this overt comment about Hinata and Naruto.
However, after this, Hinata does go back to find Naruto, but she only watches from a distance as he leaves the village. With a smile, she silently vows to try hard as well.
+Chapter 282: Reunited After 2.5 Years+.+
After the time-skip, Hinata reappears in chapter 282. Naruto has returned to the village again after rescuing Gaara. He is now searching for team members for his next mission. He runs into Shino and Kiba. He then senses a nearby presence, which is none other than Hinata, hiding behind a wall.
Apparently she has something she wants to tell Naruto, but she is not prepared. The word she used means to prepare someone's mind. Preparing mind = talk? She thinks to herself:
“I heard he was back but... What do I do? I'm not ready... I haven't seen him in three years... What do I say? Um... um...” What could she want to say to Naruto that is so hard to tell? Does she want to tell him that she admires him? That can't be the case because she has already done that. She said it in so many ways in chapter 98 at the training ground before Naruto's fight with Neji. [When she tells him how much she admires him and how he is a proud failure.] Basically, she already “faced him” [Came out from hiding] AND confessed those feelings of “admiration” back in part 1. Could she want to tell him something more personal? That she has feelings for him far beyond admiration? Her heart was also beating-A comparison one can make with the famed line of “When I look at you I get an intense feeling in my heart...”
Naruto then instantly pops up in front of her face, causing her to faint.
Now it is one's personal interpretation on the fainting scene. Personally, I feel she fainted from shock due to Naruto appearing so suddenly. It has been 3 years after all. I also feel this chapter had a purpose-To show that Kishimoto has not forgotten about Team 8 and that Hinata still has feelings for Naruto.
In the end of the chapter, Shino makes a comment about Naruto recognizing Hinata right away. “Naruto recognized Hinata right away, too...” I'd say that is an improvement when comparing him to the Naruto we knew back in the Chuunin Exam-How he didn't notice her at all in the beginning. “Hinata... I didn't even notice her.”
So Hinata fainted. Big deal. That doesn't mean she can't change. She did, after all, vow to do her best. She has not been shown much post time skip, however there is still a long way to go before the end of the series. [As stated by Kishimoto in an interview: “There are still so many things that need to be resolved before reaching the ending I have.”] Hinata's theme and her feelings will be one of those many things. Her complete failure proves that she did not prepare herself to impress him as it should come out of her 'admiration' feelings. Is it really that hard to prepare yourself to greet/impress the one you yearn to be? With words and words only?
Hinata is very emphatic, I don't think that she would have any problems how to say: “Hi!” to Naruto when she would finally see him back after 2.5 years.
Not only that, when she realized that she isn't ready [to do something] she immediately thought that she doesn't have anything to talk to him about. So what? She was thinking about a way to greet him but couldn't come up with anything? Sorry, I don't buy it.
I think that she wasn't ready to confess. Firstly, 'how to confess' would take her whole free time, [remember that she is shy] not leaving time to think about other things. Secondly, she was taken completely by surprise. Telling someone that you are happy to see them back is far more easy then confessing your feelings, even if you're not shy. Thirdly, the scenery. It was not the best time for a confession, with Shino and Kiba around.
+.+Databook 1: More Than Admiration+.+
[Scanlation by kubik; Translation by phoenixblood]
The full pages can be found here.
+.+Naruto and Herself: Hesitant, Up And Down Love Story+.+
Yes it is a love story. ko-i-mo-no-ga-ta-ri literally means that in English.
Key words and phrases: Hesitant, up and down love story
Even though she likes [suki*] Naruto, Hinata can't seem to make any progress. However, sometimes it can be seen that in her own way she musters up the courage for an 'attack'. That's because it is her nindou.
The reason is clear why Hinata would fall in love with poor student Naruto. It's because she wants to become like him.(...)
(...)she doesn't lose her kindness because of Naruto's existence in her mind.
The reserved and shy Hinata. She freezes and can't do anything in front of the one she likes, Naruto. She's always thinking of how she wants to change that part of herself.
I'll leave the interpretation almost entirely to you.
*suki: liking, fondness, love
In addition to the use of "suki", it also said 'fell in love' [koi wo suru] in the part pointing out the obvious reason she would fall for him.
"Love story."; "Fall in love."; "Naruto and Herself."; "Likes" [Suki]: This is NOT a mistranslation. It is completely accurate.
+.+Databook 2: Will the day come when she can face him directly?+.+
Full scanlation found here. [By Pazuzu]
Key words and phrases: (...)She wishes that she could move even one step closer towards the back of Naruto. The one she yearns for...
Hinata, always feeling the same towards Naruto. Will the day come when she can face him directly?
Again, the interpretation is for the most part up to the reader. However, Hinata's confession has been foreshadowed in both databooks, and chapter 282. Her theme is to change herself, and one of her “tests” might be to face Naruto directly. Why should she confess? It is because she lacks self-confidence around Naruto because of her feelings for him. Her theme demands that she will believe in herself by the end of the manga. She wants to change that part of herself. One way to do so is to get over your feelings, or to face them directly. Judging by 282, it's obvious that she still has those feelings and her theme is yet to be complete.
She was afraid to see him. She fainted out of care for him. "Hinata always feeling the same..." <- Hinata always feeling, feelings of care/love for Naruto. "Will the time come..." <- Will she be able to face him even if she fears that she'll be rejected?
Notice what pictures from chapter 238 Kishi used to show what feelings she has. [For those who say databook 2 never says Hinata wants to face Naruto with Romantic thoughts, see the argument countered in the arguments section.]
+.+So Naruto Can Fall For Hinata? How?+.+
With the way Kishimoto set up Naruto, it is indeed very possible for him to develop feelings for Hinata. How? Let's look at why Naruto liked Sakura:
It was because Sakura sought acknowledgment, just like him. Because they were the same. How does this relate to Hinata? Well because that is what Hinata seeks as well. She seeks acknowledgment just like him. Basically, Naruto can fall for Hinata for the same exact reason he fell for Sakura.
Also, with the simple line of “A person like you I really like!” <- Romantic or not, that shows that Hinata is Naruto's type. "I always thought of you as... a dark, shy, weirdo. But, a person like you I really like!"
He likes her for her, not just because she seeks acknowledgment. Sure he likes people like that, but he likes her as a person as well. But why else would he love her in return?
1. Naruto wants to love and to be loved. His asking Sakura on dates proves that.
2. If Hinata confesses out of her free will, I expect her feelings to be reciprocated. If not, there is no logical sense in confession because it would hurt her self-confidence.
3. It WILL have a great impact on Naruto. Remember that he was never loved romantically by anyone before, he always gave, never received.
4. The promise of a lifetime created an opening in his heart to love someone other than Sakura.
5. Naruto likes Sakura for her desire to be acknowledged. Can you imagine his reaction if he found out that Hinata desires acknowledgment from him? [for her change]
+.+People Accepting Other People+.+
Interview: SJ: What is the theme for part 2?
Kishimoto: I want to continue "People accepting other people" theme. I also want to put in romance that I wasn't able to in part 1. It seems difficult though. *laughs*
Talking about romance when he was asked about the theme? Now, I am not saying this indicates NaruHina or any pairing for that matter. Just that it can relate to it. NaruHina is all about acceptance. Both of them, the desire to be acknowledged. Naruto being accepted by the Hyuuga clan? Hinata being romantically accepted by Naruto.
+.+If You Believe In Yourself, You Can Become A New Person+.+
She “Wishes she could take one step closer towards the back of Naruto, her idol.” Now, taking a step closer towards the back of Naruto would not mean simple “admiration.” The “idol” part could be interpreted as him being her role model as she changes. However, the sentence before that saying she wishes to take one step closer does not necessarily mean change. It may have implied romantic feelings as well.
Now, I don't believe in the “covers don't mean anything.” theory. Kishimoto is the one writing the manga, and drawing the covers. He is also the one writing the side text.
“Guided by a golden light, she now steps into the sun!” [Or: “Golden light guides her into the sun.” -- Depending on which ever translation you read.]
That the "golden light" might be an indirect reference to Naruto.
I know her name means sunlight but is this all just a coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. But think about it. Has there ever been a coincidence in a manga? Something like that? Not that I recall of.
There is also the chapter cover of 209, however it's your own interpretation on what the purpose of the text means.
Other thoughts:able_spacer made an interesting post the other day...
I had a thought after re-reading some of the recent manga chapters (yes, that was the crackling, popping sound you heard...): In Naruto, blood signifies a profound connection between people.
Consider: when Hidan caught Asuma's blood on his scythe and then tasted it, the two of them were connected, with lethal results for Asuma. It was a blood bond.
This isn't the first time we've seen this; way, waaaay, back in the first chapter, during the fight with Mizuki, Iruka's blood fell on Naruto's face, symbolically connecting student and sensei.
Hinata's reaction during Naruto's fight with Neji, where she was suffering along with Naruto, happened after Naruto had touched her blood. Unlike Hidan's mystical connection to Asuma, Hinata's is a sympathetic one, but Kishi's literary device of the blood bond remains.
So, NaruHina fans, I believe the conclusion is obvious: the Number One Knucklehead Ninja and the White Eyed Girl are connected, body and soul.
So was it just a coincidence Hinata started coughing up blood during Naruto's fight with Neji? It's not 100% proven her injuries were healed.
Maracunator informed me of Kiba taking notice of Hinata's feelings for Naruto, numerous times.
In chap. 238, when Kiba talks about Hinata fainting after seeing Naruto bandaged, followed by Hinata's blush and the subsequent laugh of Kiba; we see that he knows how does Hinata feel towards Naruto and used the moment to get a laugh at Hinata's expense.
For last, in chap. 282, his line of "Why do you always faint when you see Naruto?!"; important thing there is the "always" and the fact he said it out loud in Naruto's presence.
Analizing Hinata's fainting background:
1st test of the Chuunin exam: zero, and she was beside Naruto during the whole test.
Preliminary matches: She fainted due to Neji's attacks and it happened after Kiba was taken by the medics. So this one becomes another zero for the record.
Before the 3rd exam: Zero... and that was the time when Kiba noticed that something was going on between them.
3rd exam: Fainting was once again caused by her fight with Neji, so Naruto can't be accounted as the reason here, another zero.
Tea scene: Well, after a translation check, that time she did face Naruto and fainted, first faint on the record.
282: That's the only time we see her fainting out of nervousism in front of Naruto, and second time to the present date, so we get a total of only 2 faints vs. 4 moments of interaction with no faints.
Yet, Kiba says "always" and says it in Naruto's presence, it's almost as if he was indirectly telling Naruto "realize it already, baka!"
This is also something else... Not meant to be an argument, however it's pretty interesting. Lets take a look at the rough draft of Hinata that Kishimoto first showed the editors. Also known as "Kishimoto's Original."
Many have interesting comments on this scan. Maracunator once said:
This drawing can be found on page 241 of the databook, in the section dedicated to the designs Kishimoto was working on before releasing the manga. Notice that while Hinata is the clearly center of the drawing, we see Naruto in the background looking towards the Sun (Hyuuga = Towards the sun), and if it wasn't enough, the Sun and the pendant hanging on Hinata's necklace have the same spiral design Naruto has on his back. Perhaps Kishimoto had them bonded to each other from before starting the manga?
It also looks like there is a spiral in the sun as well. This all goes back to chapter 297's cover. Guided by a golden light, she now steps into the sun!
**These next two sections are linked because of the word limit. [Not that we haven't gone over it enough already...]
+.+Why People Like NaruHina and Experiences+.+
x_darkhope_x : Actually, I started off the series shipping NaruSaku. [And SasuSaku] I guess I found NaruSaku to be the “obvious” pairing and that Naruto should get the girl he wanted. I shrugged off Hinata's feelings like they didn't matter. But as the series went on, I began to realize how deep her feelings are, and how almost her whole character is based on Naruto's influence.
Yes, Naruto is helping her change. Even non-NaruHina fans shouldn't deny that. I slowly began to convert from NaruSaku [seeing as Sakura's feelings for Sasuke weren't going away anytime soon] to NaruHina. [promise of a lifetime did it for me] Writing/putting this essay together made me realize why I truly believe NaruHina will become canon. I know some people would think it would be a great thing for Naruto to get the girl he always wanted, but... [phoenixblood once stated this] “I think it's even more awesome for Naruto to discover that there was someone who wanted him all along, someone he didn't try to impress, someone who already likes him just for who he is.”
oniraitei : Let me say that I watched the anime before I read the manga, so the first time I saw Hinata was in episode 1. However, the fact that a non-manga moment such as that was put into a canon episode made me all the more surprised when I read the manga for the first time and didn't see Hinata until the Chuunin exam.
So from the beginning I marked this as significant, but I was still dual shipping NaruSaku and NaruHina. Throughout the story I was feeling sorry for Naruto as I thought that there didn't seem to be a love interest for him. I was hoping Sakura would fall for Naruto. Suddenly, Hinata shows up and I thought to myself, "There she is. Everyone can end up happy now."
Like a lot of people, I tend to root for the underdog and from a subjective standpoint, whether they know it or not, many people are pegging Hinata as that underdog.
For more reasons on why people like NaruHina, go here.
We hope this showed you that NaruHina is not underdeveloped. Hinata has limited screen time, but almost all of that screen time was used to develop her relationship with Naruto.
Hinata has confessed her love for Naruto, as expected. And she is comfirmed alive. :)
Chapter 437: Confession. Only the NaruHina pages are available in that link! If you want to read the entire chapter, click here.
Heh, even at death's door, all she cares about is Naruto. Of course, these aren't the only chapters with NaruHina moments since she reappeared in part two. This manifesto is horribly outdated, but check out Chapters 355, 383, and 434. (Links aren't the full chapters, but rather just the NaruHina pages) I'm not going to interpret them, nor the confession here. It's up to the readers themselves. However... IF you are interested in the interpretation of Hinata's confession, this is mine. If you want to read other reactions and interpretations, click here.
Happy reading Naruto x Hinata fans!