Continuing where we left off last time, next we have the mission where team 7 meet Tazuna, the bridge builder. His first impression about Naruto was rather clear and simple: a super-stupid looking brat.
It’s another proof how Sakura wasn’t the only one thinking Naruto acted foolish; and so she didn’t hit him for nothing. Every time she hits him, besides the comedic relief, it’s because Naruto disrespects people around him, or from the desire to act cool, he makes stupid stuff.
Sakura has always been portrayed as a well-educated girl. (Check Databook 1, Character Personality, Haruno Sakura = stubborn, well-educated). So every time she hits Naruto is, once again as I said, because he wants to act cool and disrespects people around him.
Now going further with the progression of the story, as we know, they are instructed to take care of Tazuna.
And I admit, in Part 1, Sakura was nothing special, but she was far from useless. Her courage and boldness are seen, as she jumps in front of Tazuna to protect him with the cost of her life, although people accused her of “freezing” and being unable to do a thing.
Manga proves them wrong, once again.
As Kishi comments in Databook 2: “One can see her strong spirit during missions. She erases fears of the opponent, doesn’t back down, and bravely and boldly fights back.”
Well, Kishi’s own words and Sakura’s action clearly dismiss any comments like those of “selfish, b*tch, useless”. If she’d be a single one of those names she was called, Tazuna would’ve been dead.
The fact that she doesn’t have a kekke genkai, or any powerful jutsu is of less importance. We see Sakura fighting with what she has. She is doing her job as a ninja, regardless of those factors. Period! And this while Naruto was all trembling and sweating out of fear (if we were to compare).
What b*tchy, useless, selfish person would have risked their life for someone they just met? It was their mission, indeed. They were going to receive their money, yes. However life is more important than any other material things on this world. And Sakura risked it in order to complete her mission successfully. And from previous chapters, we know how much emphasis she puts on life.
You’ll probably say, but Sasuke jumped in to protect her. While this might be true, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t exclude the fact that she did her job; Sasuke did his, it was all part of team-work efforts. If Sakura would’ve been so useless, would’ve ruined everything from the very beginning.
So once again, we get to see that the “attributes” the fandom gives her are highly dismissed in the earlier chapters of Naruto.
Now, the “selfish b*tch that always thinks only about herself” strikes again later, after Kakashi shows himself again not dead, doing what do you think? Worrying about Naruto and his wounds, telling Kakashi that they should be going back to the village in order to heal Naruto.
I wonder how could she worry about him and his wounds? How could she think that they are not ready for that mission, when even Kakashi says so?
How in the world could she want to get back to the village to take Naruto to a doctor? Sarcasm intended, yes.
All these are aspects of her personality highly overlooked by others just for the satisfaction or you name it, of making her look bad and call her names. The truth however, is the other way around.
Once again, we get to see the general behavior of Naruto and the general view of others in regards to Naruto, when he starts acting all cool to make a show-off of himself. That’s when Sakura picks on him.
Even Tazuna, a man having a certain age, and Kakashi with a vast experience, tell him to stop acting that way, but yet, somehow, only Sakura gets the hate.
Guess that by that logic, we should call Tazuna and Kakashi names for picking on Naruto too, right? The fact that Naruto by luck stumbled upon that detail about the rabbit doesn’t change the fact that, personality-wise, it changes nothing and the general opinion of people is that he’s always acting cool and stand-off-ish when it’s totally unnecessary and out of its place.
Next, we head to the part where Zabuza appears. What does the all kinds of called names Sakura do?
Jumps in and risks her life for Naruto, who could’ve ended beheaded by Zabuza’s sword if not for her. Sakura freezes and does nothing as a useless character that she is? Well, it happens that Kishi proves them wrong ever since Part 1.
I mean, she is so self-centered that only cares about protecting herself, and not about her friends. Oh, Sakura, how could you do that?
How could you not think about yourself only, and think about Naruto’s safety? How could you think that he has to be protected instead of yourself? Sarcasm, sarcasm, once again.
But, on a serious note here, what useless and selfish character does that? Throw themselves in danger just to protect a friend? I cannot be amazed enough when seeing how these aspects of her character are so highly over-looked and put somewhere in the back. It’s like if someone dares to show her good parts, the fandom is afraid she might make people like her? What’s the game here? I seem to fail to understand…
Anyway, going next, Kakashi tells them to protect Tazuna. Being a team-work all of them, including Sakura, bravely do it. Afterwards, Kakashi gets in the fight with Zabuza and he gets caught. Once more, we get to see Sakura worrying about Naruto’s state. Again! Oh, my God! What is she thinking?
Then, in the next panels we see the Team, especially Naruto and Sasuke, form a plan after Kakashi’s been trapped in the Water Prison Jutsu. While they do that Sasuke is caught in a confrontation with Zabuza and, once again, we get the so-called selfish Sakura, worrying about Sasuke.
And don’t give me the “It was Sasuke, of course she was worrying” cause I’m not going to buy it. I clearly showed that she worried for her teammates, plain and simple. Didn’t matter it was her love interest or not, she worried about them. I wonder what useless,selfish b*tch would do that?
Next, we have Naruto and Sasuke putting their plan in motion, while Sakura knowing that she is no match for them as she doesn’t have any special talent, helps the team-work by doing what she could do best. That is protecting Tazuna, while being observant of the battle.
Next, as we know, the battle finishes with Zabuza’s so-called death which is later questioned by Sakura, as Kakashi starts wondering what’s missing from the puzzle.
Kakashi comes to the conclusion that Zabuza is not dead because the ritual of the hunter-nin is different. Also because Haku just took his body, and didn’t disposed of it immediately, as a normal hunter-nin does. That’s when he decides to put them to training and also, that’s when they meet Inari.
And in this instance we get Sakura picking-up on Naruto again. But let’s see why.
Once again, Naruto acts idiotic and picks-up on the little guy. Of course, that behind this, the plot device was that Naruto will be proving Inari that real heroes do exist, however the fact is there, Naruto acted idiotic once again, that’s why Sakura picked-up on him.
Following afterwards, we have the beginning of the training where Kakashi takes the the team into a forest and starts explaining them the concept of chakra. Naruto doesn’t understand a single thing, showing that his academy school days, were good for nothing while Sakura acts a bit bratty, like the know-it-all person (which at that time was part of her personality; Haruno Sakura, Databook 2, Personality: perfect student, bratty), scolding Naruto about his days in the Academy.
Then, Kakashi lets Sakura do the talking and she starts explaining the basics of chakra, keeping her bratty behavior towards Naruto, as Kakashi comments that Iruka had some good students.
Referral to Sakura’s intelligence, which, fair enough contradicts the popular belief that she is stupid or God knows what. No, every since the beginning, as we see, Sakura’s intelligence is noted.
Remember the Team 7 assemble reasons? This is Sakura’s part in the team: her brains!
Now, next is the instance with the Tree Climbing Training. Kakashi starts explaining the premises of that training and how hard it is to do such a thing. That one must gather chakra in one of the most difficult areas of the body, meaning the feet, thing that, Sakura does exceptionally, showing one of her biggest feats in this manga: chakra control.
We have the panel where it shows us that Sakura has climbed the tree effortlessly, Naruto compliments her while Sakura, still at early age, acts very bratty, silly and fangirly, and comments to herself that she wishes that Sasuke would’ve complimented her, instead of Naruto.
We mustn’t forget that at this time in the manga, Sakura’s personality was still shallow and childish. Especially towards Naruto, despite the fact that she was a well-educated girl.
But immediately afterwards, we have a very interesting and over-looked aspect of Sakura’s character personality.
No matter how fangirl-ish she acted or the know-it-all bratty one, she still helped Naruto with tips when he went to ask her for some insights on how to control his chakra better, since she was the best at it.
Now, a self-centered and selfish b*tch as she was numerous times described by the fandom, wouldn’t have shared a thing. She could’ve pretty much been selfish and keep it all to herself, not telling Naruto a single bit. Yet she did it and later both Naruto and Sasuke used her wisdom in having better training results.
Now while Naruto and Sasuke were training, Kakashi sends Sakura in town with Tazuna to pick-up different things they’ve needed and we learn more about her personality.
She’s walking in town protecting Tazuna as she sees the sadness and sorrow of the villagers and worries about some people totally unknown to her. We get the message that she doesn’t like to be peeped at. This serves as the basis of rounding her character as a second Tsunade for the upcoming arrival of her future master.
Now, what we also notice, is that there’s this kid that comes behind her back asking for some food. Sakura takes out what she has from her pocket and gives it to the little kid.
This is Sakura, a selfless character, well-intentioned, that worries for the people next to her even though she doesn’t know them or they don’t represent nothing to her. Helpful, doing the best she can for the well-being of other people, even if they’re total strangers to her.
She is that type of character worrying for the faith of the humanity of this world, and would like everyone to live a life spared of such things as poverty, pain, sadness, you name it.
She is that human part that needs to be taken care of or else we’re going to turn ourselves into brainless, emotionless tools.
What leads me to the most important and central point of this manga, that’s going to be portrayed in the next part of this analysis.
One of the major themes in Naruto is holding on to your humanity. As Kishimoto stated himself, he wanted to show her off as an irritating character with good intentions. He even told that he is fond of Sakura because from all the characters, she has a more human feel to her than the other characters – thing that I reminded you back in the beginning.
It’s about holding on to your humanity, emotions and, as well, protecting the ones you love.
Becoming a tool in this old idea which seems to be discarded by many, but getting forward let’s look at Haku and Zabuza Arc.
We have Naruto who meets Haku after a whole night of training to prove Inari that real heroes do exist. Haku asks him some questions about what he was doing around, what was the purpose of the training and if he has someone precious to protect.
At that time, Naruto doesn’t understand what Haku was talking about exactly. He just has some flashbacks about him protecting Iruka, Kakashi protecting them, and Inari’s father story.
This was just to show to us the fact that Naruto had an idea, but not fully grasped what Haku meant. Up until a point, that is.
The next day (the 7th one), Kakashi and Sakura go to the forest to see Naruto’s progression and we get a glimpse of Sakura getting worried about Naruto, although she still acts somehow harsh with him by calling him an idiot, again. But the concern for him was there.
We even see Kakashi reacting the same way as Sakura, although he’s not expressing his thoughts the same way she does. But you can see it through the body language he displays.
But like always, the hate falls only on her, though in these early stages we clearly see how idiotic Naruto acted in order to appear “cool”.
Even Kishimoto says that Naruto was portrayed as the stupid one from the team, in an interview back in 2008 or so, where he says that the most down to earth from them is Sakura, even though she has flaws in her personality, like the obsession for Sasuke. He also comments that Sasuke is the one being a bit of an anti-social. Basically Naruto and Sasuke are total opposites, while she’s the balance.
Anyway, let’s get further into the story’s progression. Kakashi along with Sasuke, Sakura and Tazuna head along the bridge where Haku and Zabuza appear. We get a glimpse of Sakura still being the fangirl that she was at that time, as Kakashi comments that she’s still so hung-up on Sasuke.
At this point in time, Sakura is still not so mature in her thinking and somewhat shallow. However, as they go through this, the fight starts as Kakashi orders Sakura to step in front of Tazuna and stand by his side.
Thing that she does. Sticks with Tazuna, while observing the battle and worrying about her team-mate. Which, once again proves, she’s anything but selfish.
As the battle progresses, Kakashi comments about Team 7’s ensemble, commenting that Sakura is the brightest in the village, making it very clear what her role in the team is.
How I said in the beginning, each one of them benefits of other’s qualities, in the end complementing each other very good for the sake of the teamwork.
So, it is shown to people who said she has no feats, that being a ninja doesn’t require only kekke genkais and talent (which she has, anyway – chakra control, may I remind you), but it also takes a great deal of intellect.
Anyway, let’s move further away with the story, its progression and analysis.
As Haku and Sasuke exchange kunais, Haku reveals one of his most-feared weapons: his jutsu that is a kekke genkai. He trapps Sasuke inside the mirrors. Seeing so and being worried about Sasuke, Sakura wants to help Sasuke. Noticing that Kakashi is holding back Zabuza and no possible danger was there, she heads towards where Sasuke is, tries to throw a Kunai to break the ice mirrors, however Haku catches it. So, she first weights the situation and then acts, doesn’t freeze, contrary on the popular beliefs around the fandom.
Being unsuccessful and with Naruto making his appearance, Sakura stands her ground and once again we see her being cheerful when she sees him, contrary to the popular belief. So yes, even if she was fangirling all over Sasuke, she wasn’t the b*tch people try to make her as, and she was supportive and cheerful for Naruto even from the early chapters.
I have heard so many times that Sakura became interested and supportive of Naruto only after Pein battle, and whenever I see those arguments, honestly, I ask myself what manga or what anime have these fans been reading/watching?
I mean, besides the comedic relief scenes and extra-added scenes, the cannon ones are in the anime. That’s the skeletal structure of the anime series, the cannon manga.
But as always, people tend to overlook or down-play these characteristics of Sakura just for their own pleasure, or for the neverending stupid reason that she stands between Naruto and Hinata happening. So, in order to make their pairing look better, or make Hinata look better, they downplay Sakura, building their favoritism on it.
Once again, may I remind you I like them both, however I deeply despise these acts I’ve mentioned.
Now, let’s go further.
Afterwards, as the battle goes on, seeing that she is not capable of helping somehow in the battle, Sakura tries to cheer for both Naruto and Sasuke (not cheering for Naruto you said, right?)
This is where the real-deal begins, I might add. From this point-on, it is fairly explained to us how the fact that cheering them won’t help with anything, and the fact is that not even Naruto and Sasuke could do something about it, as they don’t have yet the strength to destroy their hearts and kill another person, being all raised in a peaceful village like theirs.
Here, the old (and the reason why I say old is because they’re all fighting to change those old paradigms) idea of “what being a true Shinobi means” is introduced, which at that time meant that one must kill their heart, meaning emotions/human side, in order to become a true Shinobi.
As Haku comments “I can destroy my kind heart with a blade and become a true Shinobi”, making us realize the fact that at that time, what was considered a true Shinobi, was a Shinobi with no heart/feelings.
This is the beginning of the biggest moral lesson of this manga (meaning that even the most heartless killer has a human side), which represents the starting point of the newest generation in comparison with the oldest one.