Finally, got around to typing up some of my thoughts on Hinata, while I procrastinate that Cultural Ecology paper I should be writing. And, here they are, late but heartfelt.

Posted in both the Anti-Character Bashing FC and this forgotten blog

Hyuuga Hinata: "Harmony and Balance" or "Why I Love That Pale-Eyed Girl"



-Emotional Strength-

True strength comes from more than just chakra!

When reading through the Naruto manga, there is no shortage of battle-tested powerhouses. Characters whose chakra capacity causes others to drop to their knees, whose skill can bring about the defeat of others with a single glance. Tacticians, taijutsu experts, tracking geniuses are all a dime a dozen.

However, those with the ability to adapt emotionally and bend over backwards without breaking are another story entirely.

Not only do few characters escape the story without some tragedy or abuse assailing them, but far less escape the experience without breaking, if only momentarily.

Hinata is an exception.

She trembles with the fear of battle. Her heart speeds with anxiety. And, one who is not weak appears so when compared to the warriors that surround her.

But, she never cries or complains or gives in to those fears. When her arm is raised against her enemy, it may tremble, but her resolve, the inherent self that is her core never wavers. Even when her fight is alone, and the enemy is the fear that causes her chest to constrict.

In this way, Hinatas strength shines. And, no matter how many panic attacks or tragedies she is enveloped by, she will always stay steady, stay true to herself, and keep herself emotionally strong and harmoniously balanced.

I find that quality truly admirable.

Also, Hinatas unbreakable emotional core will serve her as the future head of Hyuuga -and as a shinobi, in general. Power of authority and battle-readiness can be nurtured through experience. But, the ability to take the lives of others, to know that your actions may be both necessary and painful to those you care about, to do what she has to do, in order to change her world and develop herself; to do all of these things without giving away her sweetness, her kindness and her gentleness is an incredible achievement.

In other words, it is my belief that Hinata is one of the only characters who will be able to become as great a leader and kunoichi as it is in her power to be without ever having to make that personal sacrifice (i.e. Sasuke's bonds ripped to shreds in his desire to kill his brother; Kakashis future destroyed due to guilt) nor lose a part of herself (i.e. Narutos tenuous bond with the Kyuubi; Lees possible self subsumed by Gais overwhelming guardianship).




-Perception-


You see, I can tell that you're the one... you're suffering much more than I. You're the one... who's all torn up inside... about the fate of the main and side branches of the Hyuga clan...

A person with the Byakugan has a nearly 360 degree field of vision, but even the clans prodigy, Hyuuga Neji, has to cope with that infinitesimal blind spot. Sadly, this blind spot isnt just a physical weakness but a psychological one. The Hyuuga clan is unable to see the truth behind their actions, the many possible futures that lie before them, and the decay eating them away from the inside out.

But, the strange thing is

Hinata, the drop out, the one whose skills are less than a sister five years her junior, the disposable clan disappointment

Sees everything. All 360 degrees of dysfunction.

Before Iruka takes Naruto under his wing, Hinata recognizes his struggle for what it is. When Neji tears himself to pieces unable to deal with his fathers death and the uncertainty of making his own choices, Hinatas eyes pierce through the shield of arrogance far more fully than Nejis keen senses can see his younger cousin, for the skilled Hyuuga she truly is. She looks into the people around her, and understands what she finds there.

With this ability, more than any other, I think that Hinata not only has what it takes to lead the Hyuuga clan. But, she also has the ability to forge a new, better future for her people, walking down a path only she can perceive, seeing what her family truly needs from her as the head of the clan.



-Confucianism and Japanese Values-

Fate never smiles on the fortunes of the ninja who seeks victory by falling on his own sword... or demanding that others fall upon theirs.

One of my absolute favorite things about Hyuuga Hinata centers on the goal of her character. While many may consider this goal to be full, undeniable change in personality and spirit, I see it differently. For me, Hinatas goal isnt so much a change, as it is a development of her inherent traits: traits that are fully embodied and valued by the system of Confucius thought and only truly understood if one has knowledge of that system.

The main area of Confucian development that Hinata excels in is the conflict between Individualism and Individuality.

Individuality, the uniqueness of a character, is a trait to be treasured and valued. Not only does this make for a more varied and interesting world, but it also creates a societal balance: diversity making for a better functioning community. This is a quality the majority of characters throughout Naruto possess, and Hinata is no different. The young Hyuugas appearance, her attitude, her desires, and her gifts are all unique to her. And, she even brings new life to the old shounen stereotype of the shy, blue-haired girl who admires the main character with her interesting abilities and the possible political force she represents.

On the flip side of individuality is the concept of individualism: a major character flaw so many characters in the Narutoverse possess, an undeniable selfishness, the opposite of empathy. This doesnt mean that characters are running rampant throughout the streets, doing whatever they damn well please. Instead, it refers to the fact that all too often, individuals are more preoccupied with upholding their personal sense of honor and self esteem rather than fulfilling their true duties as friend, shinobi etc.

For example, although I love him to death and wouldnt have missed his Suiken fight for all the world, Rock Lees choice to rush into battle in the Rescue Sasuke Arc was foolhardy, disrespectful to the medics who had labored so hard to heal him, and would likely have ended much worse for all those involved, if it hadn't been for Tsunade's "medicine".

And, honestly, I consider Lee to be one of the most empathetic/selfless persons on the show. But, like everyone, he had his moment of true individualism. All characters, at some time or another, exhibit this selfishness.

Except for Hinata.

Its true that, at times, her insecurity will nearly get the better of her. But, every action she takes in the series seems to have been motivated with the thoughts of all those who might be affected hovering in the back of her mind. She quiets Kiba in the Forest of Death, so as not to upset Shino. She fights Neji full out, so as not to betray the lesson Naruto has taught her. She seeks to become a strong shinobi despite her physical and psychological handicaps, so as not to let down her clan, her father, and the community she was born into.

And yet, she still has that personal spark, which makes her undeniably and forever, not just Hyuuga, but Hyuuga Hinata.



-Maturity-

Naruto-Kun... was I able to change... a little?

As I already mentioned, Hinata's development and its connection to Confucian thought fascinates me. Besides the value of her individuality and selflessness, I think that Hinata's growth also draws on the practice's concept of maturity. Basically, the belief system states that true maturity is being able to stay true to oneself and societal norms, simultaneously; caring about what others think while recognizing one's own ability to judge effectively.

Most characters in the story are focused on the idea of staying true to oneself above all else, but if this was the case with every shinobi than a relatively well-organized community like Konoha would find trouble existing for long periods of time. Conflicting desires and worldviews destroying the chance for cooperation. Not only does Hinata balance this hero-heavy story by belonging to the most teamwork-oriented Team, but she also plays a specific role as the embodiment of Confucian maturation.

Kiba is connected with Akamaru but still extremely individualistic by nature. Shino's actions (with one exception) are necessarily collective, due to the kikai community to which he plays host and the family he was born into. Hinata is the bridge between the two.

At first, the role is a difficult one for her to play. But, as time passes and her personal resolve strengthens against her concern for the opinion of others, she becomes more adept. However, even in the beginning, Hinata was performing this balancing act (i.e. the mentioned incident in the FOD).

Because of this, I believe that Hinata's true development is one of blooming into a full Confucian maturity. And, it makes her choices and actions more interesting, considering how they represent the balance of the society as a whole.

(Continued in next post)