Haruno Sakura: the character, the meaning, the hate (1) starts now!
In the prologue, I mentioned how this was going to be an analysis that takes into consideration the character traits.
And that aims to be as rational and non-biased as possible, taking into account other opinions, educated on the matter ones.
That’s why I want to start with GameSpot note on Sakura’s character which says that Sakura’s character has largely been used in the series as a form of comic relief, as well as often stating the obvious.
So when people call her abusive, it’s a nothing much than exaggeration from their part.
It was all done for the comedic relief aspect of the story, and as we see once again from some people educated in the matte.
She states the obvious, meaning, she hits Naruto whenever he deserves it because he acts “cool” by doing stupid/perverted things.
If by these standards Sakura is called abusive, then by the same standards his mother, Kushina, too, should be called abusive.
As we saw that when they met, for the same reasons, she hits him in the same manner Sakura does.
And also, in the cannon movie Road to Ninja, Kushina hits him as well. But not because she is abusive. It’s for the same reason Sakura does it – comedic relief.
Or, because Naruto acts in a stupid way. It’s an aspect of the manga genre – always have a character that punches another for comedic relief.
If Naruto would been that serious of a manga, would you still like it? If those elements of comedy wouldn’t be there, would you still laugh?
So calling Sakura abusive it’s nothing but a nonsense, in the end. Taking social-justice problems from the real world and applying them to a fictional world isn’t a healthy thing to do.
You cannot judge a piece of fiction by the moral standards of the real world.
One could argue, indeed, but what about the impact it has on teens? It’s their parents’ job and theirs (or teachers or acquaintances), to educate them/themselves on the matter.
To understand that what they’re reading is a fictional piece of work, and explain them how things should be in the real world.
There’s a fine line between fiction and real world, indeed, and one could wonder where to draw the line between what we accept and whatnot.
Well, to me it is clear as day: the answer lies in the fact that we need to make the difference between fiction and real world, what’s comedic and what really trespasses some lines that never should be trespassed to begin with.
So, let’s start. Finally the…
Haruno Sakura: the character, the meaning, the hate (1) – analysis start
Chapter 03 is the chapter that introduces us to the character of Sakura Haruno in the Naruto manga.
All done via the lenses of its main character, Naruto.
What do we find out about her? That she’s a cute girl that he likes a lot. In Naruto’s conception at least, though Kishi didn’t intended for her at first to be cute.
And we get to see the first glimpses of Sakura’s personality. Immature, bratty, fangirling over Sasuke, pre-teen behaviour. She’s 12.
The Sasuke aspect in Sakura’s character
Now one of reasons she’s hated was because she was fangirling over Sasuke. And because she acted annoyingly with Naruto.
What is funny though, is that people only hate her, though we are shown that she’s not the only one who acts like that.
Yes, she liked Sasuke. She had a crush on him. No one can deny that. It was part of her character, something that defined her in the starting chapters and gave her a reason to be at odds with her once best friend, Ino.
You could define this as some sort of rivalry that Naruto and Sasuke had.
But with her it wasn’t about perceived coolness as it was in Naruto’s case with Sasuke’s. It was about who gets the cool popular boy’s attention. Both silly 12 years old reasons.
Sasuke is the dark, mysterious, cool kid of the class. He’s the one the boys secretly envy, hate or admire (as in Naruto’s case at first).
And the one the girls pin over. He’s the bad boy.
We have the scan where Sakura hits Naruto. Besides the comedic-relief that is present in the situation, a part of her personality is also put in play – as in that part of hers which is “tsundere”.
The tsundere tendencies and future development
The aforementioned part of hers was foreshadowing the later appearance of Tsunade, the female ninja from the Legendary Three.
Who, surprisingly or not, acted the same way as her. Always punching Jiraiya because he wanted to act “cool” and “perverted” around her. Thing that Tsunade never liked.
So, as a result she punched the him in order to teach him a lesson – kind of like Sakura does to Naruto.
This is a thing that even Jiraiya himself comments later on, calling Sakura a second Tsunade or a mini Tsunade.
The Sannin story has the same basis and placement as Team 7, which is later introduced to us. But in the current timeline of events, we get the setting of Team 7.
Many people have claimed that “OMG, why was Sakura introduced in that team, she serves for nothing!”The general misconception, of course. Why Sakura was put in Team 7? Well, for the same reasons why they were all put in team 7.
Naruto would benefit from Sakura’s intelligence and Sasuke’s talent.
Likewise, Sakura would benefit from her more capable team-mates, while Sasuke would benefit from learning how to work with others.
We learn this ourselves later in the manga, after the Forest of Death test, where Iruka comments about the Heaven and Earth.
Also, at a smaller scale, we have the three-way deadlock.
Now, to continue with the analysis.
Haruno Sakura: the character, the meaning, the hate (1) – a girl’s romance dreams and her prince charming
After the team’s assembly, the next scene is Naruto (disguised as Sasuke), meeting with Sakura.
We find out more here about her inner self, her insecurities, what she likes, what she wishes for.
We see here that she’s pretty insecure about her looks and as a normal pre-teen girl, she has a crush.
People always hate her for that, but really now, who didn’t have a crush on someone in the early stages of their lives?
What Kishi wanted to emphasize here with Sakura was that stereotypical girl that has a crush as a pre-teen.
People took it totally the wrong way and called her a b*tch because she was infatuated with Sasuke, and didn’t pay attention to Naruto.
Really now? As we see, Naruto never told her what he feels for her, although he got that close to her.
Given how he acted at that time, how should Sakura know that Naruto is “into her”? All that she saw coming from him were pranks and silly, petty things. Nothing too serious.
What’s also interesting here, it’s that we learn that Sakura doesn’t like him because he gets in her way, she doesn’t share the same reason as the rest of the villagers and kids.
She doesn’t ‘hate’ him because he’s the 9 tailed fox child, her reasons are totally different.
So from this stand-point, Sakura gets out of the general picture of the other villagers.
She didn’t care about him being the nine tailed fox kid, like the other children who were told by their parents not to get close to Naruto.
She didn’t blindly followed a hate-induced cult over a child, which bore the general hate for Naruto in the village.
Sakura from the beginning had her own reason to dislike Naruto – because, at least in her opinion, a 12 years old opinion – Naruto intentionally came between her and her happiness.
It was a matter of me vs. you. Not me hating you because mom and dad told me so.
On the similarities between Naruto and Sakura and why the hero falls for her
In the same panels we learn that Sakura is actually very alike Naruto. She also searches for acknowledgement.
While Naruto searches for the village’s acknowledgement, she searches just one person’s attention.
The reason she dislikes Naruto is because he always gets in her way on winning Sasuke’s acknowledgement of her.
That’s why she finds him annoying (and we have to admit that Naruto acted quite stupidly at the beginning, even Kishi said that he wanted to emphasize him as the stupid one from the team). Because he doesn’t understand her.
And then, we see as Naruto’s finally understanding why he likes her.
Because Sakura is like him, and he is like Sakura.
Now, everybody blamed Sakura for acting such a fangirl about Sasuke, but what about Naruto? We’ve seen him going fanboy over her as well.
They’re the same breed but of course, Naruto being the main character, is the one that gets the love, while she gets the hate.
A theme in Sakura’s character ; the ability to empathize and change one’s behavior
But now, let’s move forward to what I call, one of the biggest revelation-moments of her in this manga that has been so over-looked by many.
As Naruto disappears from the meeting place with Sakura, disguised as Sasuke, leaving this impression on her that it was Sasuke the one complimenting her, the real Sasuke appears.
Sakura, under the impression that Sasuke came back, she waits for that so-called kiss and we witness one of her biggest change from a bratty teen that is quite superficial and mainly talks before she thinks.
When she says that he (Naruto) doesn’t even have any parents, it demonstrates how superficial in thinking she is.
But for a 12 years-old that has had her parents all along and doesn’t know how it is to grow-up without a parent, it is normal to be shallow in thinking.
All she thinks about is the fact that Naruto doesn’t have to worry about getting late home because he has no parents to scold him.
And having no parents to scold him, his manners are rather harsh. Of course, not a healthy thinking of Sakura’s part either, but not 100% wrong.
Naruto did act without manners and quite uneducated. I mean, let’s be serious, how many of us didn’t think at early ages of our childhood, about being were alone with no parent to scold us?
Not that we wish for our parents to be dead – GOD FORBID! – I felt I had to specify this as I am sure some of you would get crazy over this statement and interpret it in the wrong way o_O) – but just not be there, so we can do whatever we wanted, without fearing that later we’re going to be scolded for what we did.
If you say you didn’t, I’ll have to call you a liar, sorry. There’s no youngster that doesn’t think like that when our parents don’t let us do what we want.
So basically it’s the same premise here. That was the message behind the curtain.
But it seems like many didn’t understand it and started whining about her although, in the next panel, given Sasuke’s rebuke, Sakura realizes the fact that she did wrong and her views and actions could hurt Naruto’s feelings.
Immediately after, she wonders if Naruto felt the same way she did, after Sasuke’s acted the same way she does to Naruto. She tells herself that next time she could be a little nicer to him.
So, as we can see, Sakura’s development starts from the very introductory chapter. A development that is worthwhile to follow.
And here I end Haruno Sakura: the character, the meaning, the hate (1).
See you on the next part!