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Naruto Creator Masashi Kishimoto Didn't Always Think Hinata Would End Up With Naruto

Starting in "Naruto" and continuing through the time skip that kicks off "Naruto: Shippuden," shy, cerebral Konoha Village ninja Hinata Hyuga harbors hidden romantic feelings for series protagonist Naruto Uzumaki. Eventually, she reveals her secret crush to Naruto, kicking off a genuine and lasting relationship between them, and making Hinata the one character that changes Naruto for good.

Naruto's relationship with Hinata is ultimately surprising because, for a time, Naruto, rather, has a crush on his teammate Sakura, and doesn't consider Hinata to be anything more than a friend and colleague. At the start, then, it seems that the series is telegraphing an eventual romance between Naruto and Sakura. In fact, author Masashi Kishimoto's wife was upset about Hinata and Naruto's pairing, to the extent that Kishimoto had to reassure her that Hinata, rather than Sakura, was the right choice for Naruto.

Hinata's character and the role she plays in Naruto's life weren't planned from the start, it turns out. Initially, Hinata was going to be drastically different, appearing in early documents as civilian rather than a superpowered ninja. Furthermore, Kishimoto revealed in an interview that even he didn't originally think Hinata and Naruto would end up with one another.

Deciding to pair Naruto and Hinata happened partway through the series

During an interview with Anime News Network, "Naruto" author Masashi Kishimoto fielded a question about the point at which he decided to commit to Naruto ending up in a relationship with Hinata. Kishimoto replied that he came to this decision in the series' middle, remaining vague about precisely when, but nevertheless revealing that their pairing was not in the cards from the outset.

"I think what made me realize it was partly because, if you really look back and think about it, Hinata always supported and acknowledged Naruto," Kishimoto explained. "She had the ability to see beyond his reputation and see the true person inside. I think I started realizing that they were meant to be."

Seemingly, then, Kishimoto responded to his own work, developing Hinata as someone who genuinely cared for Naruto, before eventually deciding to pay off these traits that he made integral to her character.

That said, in a Japanese-language interview that a Reddit user translated, Kishimoto specified that Naruto's romance with Hinata was planned early enough that at some point his interest in Sakura was intended to misdirect readers. In any case, Naruto and Hinata's marriage remains a core element of the story as it exists today, reinforcing Kishimoto's decision regardless of the precise point at which it may have come to fruition.