No character is flawless in anime, even the protagonists make bad choices sometimes, so the side characters are not immune to it. To see the bigger picture of something, one has to be able to critique it. Naruto was and is an iconic piece of media that brought in a lot of tropes and inspirations in the shonen genre and is a piece of nostalgia in many people’s memories, however, it is a flawed show, and there are elements Masashi Kishimoto should have worked more on.
A character in the series that deserves a better plotline and portrayal is Hinata Hyuga – born Heiress of the Hyuga clan who ends up as Naruto’s love interest. Hinata is introduced as a non-confrontational, submissive, insecure, and extremely shy and timid girl by nature. She is also gentle, kind, and passionate about her love. There is a lot to love about Hinata, but she’s a flawed character, and here are the 10 worst things about Hinata that we all hate.
1. Her Dedication Toward Naruto
It’s okay to pursue your love interest, however, when it becomes a one-sided obsession from unrequited love, then that’s a red flag, and Hinata Hyuga is a victim of it. Hinata is known for her timid and non-confrontational personality paired with her upbringing, it’s no wonder that she becomes obsessed with Naruto to the point of stalking him.
Naruto is passionate, motive-driven, and a force of nature to reckon with. These are all traits that Hinata looks up to, her insecurities are projected onto her “love” for Naruto. It is best believed that to be able to fall in love, you should first learn how to love yourself.
2. She Has A One-Dimensional Personality
Let’s face the truth, Masashi Kishimoto left Hinata in the dust in the context of her character, as many believe that she is very one-dimensional. She is portrayed as timid, always hiding behind her group members and not even being able to speak in full sentences – especially in front of Naruto.
You can call this cute, but I call it bad writing and a watered-down female character. Hinata’s sole existence was made to cater to Naruto despite the fact that she had a Byakugan as strong as Neji, with a visual range even greater than him. Her plot/story mainly revolves around stalking Naruto, which was also shown as comic relief in many instances in the show. Hinata could have had a very fulfilling arc of character development, which she deserved but was not given.
3. The Lack Of Concern For Neji
Hinata’s hero-worship of Naruto takes up all of her time. Neji was introduced as a stoic and stern character towards Hinata, specifically because he harbored hatred towards the main house of the Hyuga clan because of his traumatic childhood. However, as time progressed, Neji’s character became more developed and well-rounded – his views on life changed, and he became more open toward knowledge and love, hence why everyone was devastated at his untimely passing. Neji always went out of his way to protect Hinata because of how he cared for her as a brother, even when he was taking his last breath.
Hinata fought admirably on the battlefield during The Fourth Great Ninja War, using her Byakugan with accuracy and demonstrating that she had mastered taijutsu, so it is a mystery why she did not use her abilities to protect Naruto. Even if she had not been able to fully use her Kekkei Genkai, she could have relied on her other skills, which would have been really useful on the battlefield. As a result, this left both Naruto and Hinata open and in harm’s way as an attack from the Ten-Tails made its way and Neji jumped in to become a human shield resulting in his death.
4. She Has A Dependent Personality
Characters should not be compared, but Hinata could have had a similar development in skills just like Sakura and maybe even Rock Lee and Naruto to some extent. This development was robbed from her. Hinata and Sakura were very similar when they were first introduced. Both had the same skill set, but Hinata had the upper hand with her Byakugan and being born into the prodigal Hyuga clan. Despite that, Sakura surpassed Hinata in terms of skills while Hinata remained the same.
We are not saying that one character is better than the other – after all, Sakura is also one of the most hated Naruto characters. However, Hinata was robbed off her character development for whatever reasons and was sort of baggage throughout the series. Her over-reliance on her two teammates, Kiba Inazuka and Shino Aburame, and also everyone else in the series led to very bad consequences. Her timid and insecure personality is a major factor in being too dependent, to the point that she comes off as someone who is not even interested in being a Ninja and holding her own.
5. She Is Wasted Potential
Hinata Hyuga had every reason to work on herself. She was discriminated against by her family, especially by her father, because she was not skilled enough for the position of leader of the Hyuga clan; he was the weakest link in her team, and she is sub-par in comparison to her siblings Neji and Hanabi. She was also mentored by the extremely skilled ninja Kurenai and, to top it all off, was inspired by Naruto, who was the personification of hard work.
There could have been two plotlines that would have been better choices for her story; One, she could have trained herself, honed her skills to surpass everyone in her clan and become the Heiress, or two, she could have used her childhood trauma as resentment, and done something about the resentment to her clan the way Itachi did. To be honest, there are so many ways her character could have been redeemed so that she was crutched beside Naruto instead of behind him as inspiration to their kids.
6. She Did Nothing About The Cage Bird Seal
With The Caged Bird Seal, the Hyugas practiced sanctioned slavery. It causes a great deal of suffering, anguish, and death and is a symbol of ownership that has been tattooed on half of the Lower Branch members of the Hyuga clan. These lower branch members live to serve the main branch members, and Neji, at a young age, was branded with the seal when Hinata, the Heiress of the clan, turned three. This custom is problematic on many levels and obviously gives in to the idea of hierarchical discrimination.
The Hyuga clan also rarely used to have any female heiresses. Hinata, with her kind and understanding character, could have easily changed the old and wrong customs of her clan if she used her potential to become the Heiress. Instead, she lets the responsibility fall on her sister Hanabi, who is five years younger than her. Hinata could have revolutionized the Hyuga clan system by being a rare female heiress and removing the customary seal practice that she knew troubled Neji his whole childhood.
7. She Is Unhinged About All Her Problems
Hinata vs. Neji resulted in the former’s defeat. It could have been utilized to explore her relationship with the Hyuga clan in greater depth – as well as how her loss impacted the Main Branch, the resulting guilt, and her relationship with Hanabi and her other family members. Instead, she encourages Naruto when he has doubts about defeating Neji.
Hinata versus Pain, as one-sided as it was, could’ve provided Hinata with the motivation to train harder and shine even more during the War Arc. It would have aided in her character development or just anything – but what we get was her confessing to Naruto for the first time and then quickly fading into the background. Hinata’s character was used only as a prop to evoke motivation for Naruto or as shock-factor elements. It was a literal pain (pun intended) to see that she finally had some potential to be inspired, but it again, ended with something related to Naruto.
8. Her Obsession Does Not Make Her Think Of Consequences
It is wrong today that these consequences happened directly because of Hinata, but to some extent, she was responsible. Hinata is generally a nice person, especially toward Naruto, which is a trait that people love about her. However, there is a certain amount of responsibility one should hold themselves with. During the written chunin exams, Naruto is at an utter loss for answers, so Hinata being Hinata, decides to show him her paper, which Naruto is tempted to peek at but ultimately decides not to, for his good.
Later on, it is revealed that he would have been barred to give the exam if he was caught, and maybe even Hinata and both of their teams. During the fight with Pain, she jumped in, despite knowing the big power difference between her and Pain, and as a result, ends up putting herself on the brink of death. The best example of her decisions would have been when she threw herself in the battle to become Naruto’s human shield before even trying to use her abilities, and this resulted in Neji’s unfortunate death. She does not think of consequences when it comes to Naruto.
9. She Can Be A Damsel in Distress
The Damsel in distress is a theme that is portrayed in a lot of media, and Hinata is the pioneer of it in anime. She is always portrayed as helpless and on the verge of tears at the drop of a hat. She is gentle and kind to the point that everyone takes advantage of her and steps on her to move forward.
Kindness is never a bad trait, but when it turns into submission, it can ruin people, and it is a trait that we see in Hinata all the time. When, Toneri attempts to kidnap Hinata, but fails and ends up kidnapping Hanabi instead, Hinata goes along with his order to marry her without trying to even oppose the idea or maybe even call for help. No plan was made to use her skills to escape his castle, and it was head empty, no thoughts.
10. She Is Overall A Very Bad Representation Of Women
Naruto has a bad representation of women in the series that people cannot ignore. One could argue saying that it was a thing of that era, however, we believe that it was just a perspective issue. If you like and are interested in something, you would be able to critique it too. At this point in the fandom, it’s just a battle between Sakura and Hinata for the worst female character in Naruto, maybe in existence also. Sakura is usually hated the most because of her unrivaled dedication to achieving Sasuke’s attention, but Hinata takes the cake in context to being a character.
Hinata is portrayed as too obedient, never going against her father, always staying in the shadow of Neji, Naruto, or her team. Her submissive and damsel in distress type of attitude is a very regressive perspective on women. The worst attribute is probably the fact that she has no personality of her own, she is an emulation of Naruto and exists solely to cater to Naruto’s attention. The women in Naruto have been completely robbed of any nuance or good traits.