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Hinata Was Almost A Drastically Different Character In Naruto

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Sakura may be one of the big three of Team 7 in "Naruto," but she still has a rival for fans' favorite franchise heroine. Hinata Hyuga has beaten Sakura in multiple character popularity polls over the years, and when she hasn't, she is often not far behind (via Naruto Wiki). If you are familiar with her character, however, none of this should come as a surprise.

As the love interest to the protagonist, Hinata receives a lot more on-screen attention than many other characters in an already densely populated series. Many of these characters remain mostly stagnant across several decades of "Naruto" history — meanwhile, Hinata undergoes huge change. She goes from the timid and coddled princess of a powerful shinobi family, to one of her clan's strongest members, and wife to the village's Hokage after years of unrequited love. Basically, the story gives fans every reason to love Hinata.

But the "Byakugan Princess" wasn't always the fearless fighter and family woman that she currently is in "Boruto: Naruto Next Generations." Heck, she wasn't even originally a ninja. Before we met her in early episodes as one of Naruto's tweenage classmates, "Naruto" author Masashi Kishimoto had different plans for her, so it's no understatement to say that Hinata was almost a drastically different character.

In early drafts Hinata was just a normal girl

While Masashi Kishimoto hasn't gone incredibly in-depth about developing Hinata Hyuga's character in the early days of writing "Naruto," he has revealed certain details. In the official "Naruto" data book, Kishimoto actually shares early concept art for Hinata. Surprisingly, the sketch doesn't depict Hinata as a ninja, but as a normal girl dressed in a simple dress. Apparently, Hinata wasn't originally meant to be a ninja, which may have contributed to her early characterization as a timid or weak kunoichi.

In direct contrast to that, Kishimoto developed her as a love interest to Naruto almost from the beginning. Meanwhile, Sakura was developed as a side character who eventually became part of the show's main trio while forming a bizarre love-polygon between herself, Naruto, Hinata, Sasuke, and Rock Lee (via Cruncyroll). In the end, however, Kishimoto only created that dynamic to create drama in the story. Truly, Hinata and Naruto were always meant to be.