Manga Mondays: Naruto Volume 9: Neji vs. Hinata

Welcome back to Manga Mondays!

Today we will have a quick review and summary of Naruto volume 9!

Volume 9 begins with the conclusion of Sakura and Ino’s battle in the preliminary third round of the Chunin Exams. Ino, who has just taken over Sakura’s body with her own mind, is preparing to make Sakura surrender the match. As she begins to raise Sakura’s hand and speak as her, Naruto yells at Sakura to not let Ino have control over her, and this causes Sakura to be able to break free of Ino’s jutsu, using her Inner Sakura to force Ino’s mind back into her own body. The battle finishes with one final punch by each of the girls, causing them knock each other out, and Hayate to end the match, not allowing either girl to pass to the official third round. Kakashi and Asuma jump down to bring the girls back the viewing balcony, where they rest during the next match.

The fifth match is Temari against TenTen, and while we don’t see much, we do see that the ending is TenTen’s loss, Temari’s victory. Temari angering Lee by treating TenTen like she was nothing in the end. During this, Sakura and Ino both awaken and, kind of, reconcile their broken friendship, both girls saying they won’t lose next time, nor will they let the other have Sasuke for themselves.

As the sixth match, Shikamaru against Kin, begins, everyone watches as Shikamaru is able to gain victory, using the shadows from Kin’s strings she had tied to her needles to trap her, then tricking her into throwing a shuriken at the same time as he did, Shikamaru bending backwards to keep from being hit and causing Kin to hit her head on the wall behind her.

The seventh match belongs Naruto and Kiba with Akamaru. Naruto protests about Akamaru, but it told it’s allowed because he’s a ninja dog. Naruto at first is overwhelmed by Kiba and Akamaru’s team attacks, especially after Kiba gives Akamaru a military pellet, which turns his fur red (his namesake), and allows Akamaru to turn into a copy of Kiba. After a slight battle where Kiba and Akamaru have Naruto trapped, there are suddnely three of Kiba standing there, and he instantly attacks one of them, believing he can smell that it’s Naruto, not Akamaru.

However, when he punches this third Kiba, he sees that it turns into Akamaru, then turns around and punches the second Kiba! This one also turns into Akamaru, and the first one he punched truly is Naruto, who turned himself into Akamaru to trick Kiba into attacking his own dog. Kiba goes back on the offensive, but Naruto is able to overtake him and uses an attack similar to Sasuke’s Lion’s Barrage, slamming Kiba into the floor and claiming victory for himself.

When he returns to the viewing balcony, Naruto is stopped by nervous Hinata, who, thanks to Kurenai’s help, is able to give Naruto a medicinal salve for his wounds, which he uses right away. She offers one to Kiba as well, who tells her she needs to keep it for herself and, if she is put up against Neji or Gaara, to drop out right away. And as luck would have it, she is pitted against Neji, her cousin from the cadet branch of the Hyuga clan. Before even beginning to fight, though Hayate has given them the go ahead, Neji tells Hinata to drop out, telling her that she’ll never change from being a failure, and it angers Naruto, who was called a failure himself, to the point where he yells at Neji that Hinata can change, no matter what he says about her.

This causes Hinata to gain the courage to fight against Neji, and she’s able to push him back with her attacks as he uses the same ones on her, and it looks as though, from the viewing balcony, that Hinata has the edge over Neji, until they see that he’s hit her chakra points around her heart, and does the same to her arm, cutting off the flow of chakra. After Neji knocks Hinata to the ground, and Hayate begins to call the match in Neji’s favor, until Naruto yells at him to let the match continue, as Hinata begins to stand back up. When Hinata states to Neji that she believes he’s the one that’s suffering, not her, it angers him and he goes to attack her once again, but is stopped by Kakashi, Guy, Kurenai, and Hayate, before he can kill her.

Kurenai realizes that Neji was trying preparing to kill Hinata, and calls for the medics right away when she starts going into cardiac arrest, and the medics rush her into surgery. Naruto is, obviously, angered by what Neji has done to Hinata, and vows to defeat him for her. Once everyone is back to the viewing balcony, the ninth match is chosen, to be Rock Lee against Gaara, and the volume ends before the battle begins.

I really enjoy this volume. It shows more of Hinata and it’s the first time we get to see and hear of her relation to Neji, and the first time we see their skills in battle. Honestly, after I first read these chapters and saw the episodes, Neji pissed me off and I hated him for the longest time, haha. I also love this because it shows Naruto cheering Hinata on, and it also looks like this is where he starts to fall for her, at least a small crush is beginning at this point. 😉

So next week is volume 10, and that’s the start of another 3-in-1, which means a new cover will be shown!! We’re getting closer to the completion of the Chunin Exams, and into more chapters that I really enjoy!


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