Hinata in short:
Hinata is a fast, close-ranged pressure character, in a similar mold to Lee and ANBU Kakashi. Her skillset includes:
- A special-counter that works on melee attacks (including all melee cutscene special triggers)
- Moves that step around the opponent
- Moves that automatically turn her around and have guard frames
- An infinite combo
- A reversible modechange into Awakened Hinata. Awakened Hinata has less health, more guard, different specials, and is generally faster-paced
- An extremely fast omnidirectional special for 75% chakra
- A counter that works on ranged attacks
- The ability to cancel out of the startup of a number of her moves using the Hyuuga cancel
Her biggest drawbacks are:
- Several of her abilities are mutually exclusive – some are only available while awakened, some are only available as regular hinata
- She has substantially lower health as awakened hinata
- Awakening costs 50% chakra (unless you’re in desperation)
- Short-ranged and slow cutscene special triggers
- An almost complete reliance on close-combat.
- Very few tools for power armour or guard frames
A quick, rundown of her abilities:
X: Cutscene special, 100%. Shortish range, moderately fast
vX: Counter special, 100% (only consumed if counter triggers). Only works on melee attacks coming from the front. Fair amount of damage
<X: Modechange into Awakened Hinata, 50%. Quite fast, no gatecrash.
X (awakened): Cutscene special, 100%. Short range, quite slow. Drains nearly 100% chakra. Same animation as Neji’s X.
vX (awakened): Dai-kaiten, 75%. Very fast AOE field special hitting everywhere around Hinata. Hits ‘towards’ hinata – characters behind her have to face away to block.
<X (awakened): Cancel awakening, 0%. Effectively instant.
A: Standard kunai throw.
>A: Start of ‘step-around’ chain, discussed later
vA: Low kunai swipe, start of a chain
<A: Melee counter, puts attackers into hitstun but does no damage.
>A (awakened): Finger-pokes, discussed later. Same as Neji’s >A
<A (awakened): Kaiten, ranged and melee counter. Active frames can be extended at the cost of chakra. Same as Neji’s <A.
BREAD AND BUTTER
Most of Hinata’s chains are moderately safe, but usually you will want to go for B B B A B B A A , with a possibility for a Hyuuga cancel at the end. If awakened, B B B A B B A Hc is the usual chain. It’s also her infinite. Both chains are quite vulnerable to well-timed <Bs, but that’s true of essentially everything Hinata does.
MORE DETAIL FOR SOME MOVES
Hinata’s unawakened >A A shows up in a few of her chains (B B A A, B B B A B B A A) and has some useful properties. The first hit of the >A, right in front of a perfectly still opponent, can go around their guard and connect – Hinata sidesteps a bit while performing the attack. If your opponent hasn’t moved, the second A is guaranteed to step enough around them to hit from behind. Because Hinata sidesteps a bit while performing both hits, she can turn around to face opponents behind her while performing this move, if, for example, they’ve escape-teleported during a chain. The second move in the chain also has some guard frames on it. Finally, the startup of the second hit in the chain can be Hyuuga-cancelled.
Hinata’s awakened >A is the same as Neji’s – quick dash forwards, a few attacks which drain chakra if they connect, done. Like Neji’s, it’s extremely unsafe. Hinata’s different air-kunai trajectory means she can’t do the usual Neji aA >A aA frame trap, but her version of the >A has the convenient property that it can be Hyuuga-cancelled at any point, rather than after the dash completes. This means that any chain that ends in the pokes (B B A, B B B A B B A) can be instantly cancelled into the idle state, making them much safer and also leading to infinites.
PLAYING AGAINST HINATA
If your character has a good <B, use it. All the time, whenever Hinata is comboing you. In general she has very little ability to delay out attacks to bait moves – the best she can do is Hyuuga-cancel a few parts of her chain – and as a result her attacks tend to come out at the same time every time. There’s even a convenient rhythm to follow. Hinata has very few responses to guard frames or power armour, other than throwing into a chain, so effective <B/power armour use defangs her extremely strong pressure game by preventing her from continuing on block.
A reasonable replacement for guard frames or power armour are extremely fast moves – Choji’s aA, for example, or Neji’s vX. It’s much harder to find places to slip those moves in, but if you can consistently find the spot it’ll have a similar chilling effect on Hinata.
If your character doesn’t have those options, you’re going to have to keep Hinata away as best as possible, because she’ll probably thrash you in close combat. Teleports and zone-y moves are going to be your weapon of choice. Poke and only punish with a full chain or combo if you’re sure it won’t be blocked. Remember that if Hinata is running at you you can always jump over her head and then continue running away to make some space. Avoid slow-ish omnidirectionals like Jiraya’s vA, because even if they’re safe on guard you’ll let Hinata close enough to you to be a pain.
Paying attention to whether Hinata has awakened or not will pay dividends. Awakened Hinata’s relevant aspects are her new vX, dai-kaiten, her infinite, her increased guard, and her improved <A counter. If she’s awakened, she’s going to try to use some of those. Keeping Hinata away from you deals with the infinite, but dai-kaiten is a threat to take seriously, any guardbreak options you have will be much weaker, and the kaiten counter is occasionally relevant. Unawakened Hinata has her slightly more technical >A, which is especially good against escape teleports, and her vX counter special. Hinata is much more likely to try to work throws into her usual chains while unawakened – hyuuga-cancelling >A A into a throw on block is a standard move. vA is kind of scary to think about but only rarely a threat – it’s quite slow, telegraphs a lot, and doesn’t even work on attacks from behind so you can’t respond to teleports with it. If you’re still scared, any way your character can link a ranged attack into a combo will prevent it being a problem.
Predictably, Hinata does poorly against characters with strong power armour options or strong <Bs. Sai, Raikage, Ino, Hiruko and Sasori are all characters that do very well against Hinata. Strong zoning options also cause her problems – Kiba, Chiyo, Kankuro, Deidara and Kakazu do well against her because of that, although Chiyo has problems if Hinata can close, and Deidara has to play very, very carefully. Choji can do well if he’s careful about his slower moves – his aA prevents pressure, but if he tries for his usual dashA shenanigans and Hinata avoids damage, he can be in trouble. Also, some of his moves are slow enough that Hinata can counter-special them.
On the flip side, Hinata does extremely well against zoning characters that can’t keep her away. Shino usually loses hard. Gaara has trouble because Hinata doesn’t have to stop punching to let him retaliate. Temari can have problems keeping her away. Kisame doesn’t have many options once Hinata is in his face.
Other melee-focused pressure characters don’t tend to do very well because Awakened HInata’s improved guard and vX special are threats and her infinite means she doesn’t give them many options. Additionally, they have to get within her effective range to accomplish much. Tsunade and Lee just don’t have any way to deal with the pressure, Yugao can <B Hinata but a number of her usual tricks get beaten by dai-kaiten, ANBU Kakashi’s <B has awkward timing for Hinata’s combos, and she’ll usually catch him after the guard frames, and he doesn’t have health to spare, Anko has excellent teleports in curse-seal form, but dai-kaiten, kaiten, and the counter-special are all excellent responses.