Now, shall we move along with showing how Sakura’s character grows, and as well, show some parts that people on purpose miss? In my opinion, of course.
We go further to chapter 34, after the Haku & Zabuza arc ends. Team 7 meets and heads to a mission.
The encounter takes place in the morning. Naruto and Sasuke are acting the silly way after what happened in the past mission, and Sakura is the one who has to stand between them. Noticing the tension between the two ever since the Wave Country, Sakura thinks to herself that Kakashi needs to hurry.
Now, as we all know, Kakashi arrives 3 hours later, Sakura scolds him for that, after which they go in the mission.
Upon return there’s a little detail – as many others, overlooked by many people of the fandom, the ones that always call Sakura all kinds of names.
What is Sakura doing? She carries Naruto as he is exhausted from the mission.
But I am pretty sure everyone saw only the part where she picks-up on him because he seeks reason to fight with Sasuke because he was “stealing” his spotlight.
I am not going to excuse Sakura because you might say that she was acting this way because of Sasuke. And this is true up to an extent. But she was also doing this because – let’s face it, Naruto was all the time in the humor for fighting – is this term correct? I Googled it.
The only one that puts him in his place is Sakura. She was the only one being able to keep it on par with him. Because in a way or another, she was like him as well.
That’s why, the only one who was able to cope with him and keep him in check was her. Because how different, yet similar they are. Complementary, I must say.
But that doesn’t change with nothing the fact that when things were serious and Naruto wasn’t acting stupid, Sakura was there for him, to support him totally.
Of course, the next moments, we have a comedic-relief situation with Sakura kicking Naruto’s ass again, and being disappointed by what Sasuke has told her in regards to her own training.
But what’s more interesting here, is that Kishi used these moments to foreshadow that Sakura will be a second Tsunade, thing that people didn’t get by now even though so many years have passed.
I get it that at that time, you wouldn’t get it, the masters were yet to appear in the landscape of the story. But still after this time, to not being able to see it and use these moments when she smacks Naruto just because you need to show how malevolent she is, I find it quite disappointing. Especially given the fact that manga contradicts it and does it for foreshadowing. Story building 101. But oh well…
As we can see, the Sakura carrying that big boulder was a foreshadowing of Tsunade’s
later appearance in the manga. She was portrayed as the strongest Kunoichi, and arguably one of the strongest (physically) characters in this manga. We have never seen anyone besides her and Bunta, to be able to carry his tanto [sword]).
And Konohamaru’s statement really speaks in the name of this foreshadowing, as he looks very hurt by her knocking, inclining towards the fact that for a girl, Sakura has an unnatural strength given his statement – “Is that really a girl?”.
The next panel where we see Sakura kicking Naruto’s ass again was when Naruto, once more, made a show-off of himself, acting stupidly when the Sand siblings appear.
Sakura sees that there’s a big difference in the power-scales between them and that they seem serious, so Naruto acting such a way, would only make things worse.
Now, you might say why didn’t she treated him gently? Now, let’s be serious… When did Naruto listened when people asked him nicely to stop acting stupidly? In order to calm him down, only someone like Sakura could come into play, because you know as they say, it takes one to know one and, well, to keep that one in check.
So next time when you accuse Sakura of being abusive, look at the cause (Naruto) not the effect (Sakura’s actions). Without the cause (Naruto’s idiocies), the action doesn’t take place (Sakura’s smacking).
Now as Kankuro keeps acting bossy, Sasuke comes between, hitting him with a stone.
Seeing this, Sakura reacts in the same fangirling manner she always does.
Now, to come back to the idea that I told you in the beginning – about Sasuke being the playboy and Sakura’s reactions to him given her age. Remember, Kishi enforced the idea that girls at her age are interested more in romance than ninjutsu. Excluding the comedic relief thus, her reactions are understandable. He is the dark, cool guys all the girls get interested in.
And to prove you once again this, let’s look at Temari’s reaction.
What does Temari think about while blushing? Yeah, that Sasuke is pretty handsome. Even later when Sasuke asks about Gaara’s name, look at her reaction when she thinks he was asking her.
Once again, it is proven to us that everyone finds him appealing and likes him because he’s that cool, dark, broody guy. Even Moegi has the same reaction.
Konohamaru’s reaction to Naruto’s “uncoolness” – who tells Naruto that he thought about his cool act, once again reinforces the idea that it was a somewhat normal reaction to Sasuke’s persona in those early ages.
Going to the next chapter, Chapter 36 called Sakura’s Depression, we see a glimpse of Sakura’s worries regarding the Chuunin exams. She admits her inferiority in comparison to Sasuke, and even Naruto.
She clearly knows that no matter how she acts lecturing Naruto, he is better than her when it comes to combat. And we even see she’s changed and more calm, as Sasuke observes it immediately too.
However, no matter her inferiority in combat, Sakura has her own merit in the team as we talked about in the early parts. And not only that, but as Sasuke praises her – something he wouldn’t do just to make her feel good about herself, given that few chapters ago he was the one who told her straight out that she’s below Naruto, out of all 3 of them, Sakura’s analytical abilities and genjutsu know-how’s are the most improved in their team. As we know, she is a genjutsu type, and this can be a testament to her knowledge.
Then we have a moment that shows how shallow in thinking and rude Sakura was still being at that moment, when she meets Lee.
When Lee appears out of nowhere, asking her out and promising he’ll protect her until he dies, Sakura acts very superficial and refuses, calling him lame, showing the flaws in the personality she was still having at that moment. These flaws will later serve as a stepping stone for her character development.
And once again, Kishi underlines the idea with Sasuke being the playboy with whom all the girls get in love, by having TenTen as well being attracted to him.
Now, immediately after this, we have another overlooked moment of Sakura’s, as she calls both of her teammates to go and meet Kakashi. As people always called her Sasuke’s fangirl, the b*tch that doesn’t care about Naruto, we have here an example to show that it’s not that way, that she’s not how people make her to be in regards to Naruto. That she cares about him, too.
Surprisingly, she calls his name first. So before accusing her of some stuff, make sure you take into account both sides of the coin
Next, there’s the confrontation between Lee and Sasuke, where Sakura still has the same behaviour towards Lee.
When Sasuke and Lee finish the battle, Sakura runs to save Sasuke from the fall.
Now one could say that of course, because it’s her Sasuke-kun! And this is where I’ll tell you that no, it’s not just because it’s her Sasuke-kun. In the previous parts, we have been shown how this is an instinct of Sakura’s, as she did the same when Naruto was about to be cut in half by Zabuza’s sword.
So I’d allow myself once again to tell you to think twice when accusing her of giving attention only to Sasuke, because when it comes to the well-being of her teammates, Sakura worries for both Naruto and Sasuke. Remember she was relieved back in the Zabuza arc when she saw Naruto was ok, showing that she didn’t worry just for Sasuke.
And as a further proof, comes the panel where when having Naruto fancying some questionable methods, Sakura comes and comments that no, it’s too dangerous, clearly showing that she was worrying about him, too even though she acted tough.
Afterwards, once again we see Sakura picking on Naruto, but let’s see why she did it…
Someone that doesn’t like her, of course, would say “She’s a Sasuke fangirl, that’s why! All she cares about is Sasuke!”.
While it is true that she picked on Naruto because of Sasuke, let’s look once again why she did it.
As we see, Naruto knowing Sasuke will get pissed, looks for enjoyment in fighting, by teasing him. And not with any type of teasing, but with one that deeply hurts Sasuke – one about his clan. Dare I say, it’s quite comparable to what Sakura did to Naruto in the first chapters (calling him names because of his lack of parents. Naruto kind of does the same, mocking what Sasuke held dear, just because of a personal rivalry he set with him.
But, they were all children at that time. They didn’t knew better.
Any normal person would see that what Sakura tries to do here is to make them come at peace, by cutting down the source of the fight. This means making Naruto stop as he is the one looking for a fight. So what she did here, it wasn’t just fangirlingly (if that term even exists) defending Sasuke.
She was trying to reconcile the two, in order to avoid an argument between them. So, before blindly accusing her of infatuation, take both sides into consideration, and judge accordingly in a correct way.
Anyway, now let’s go further.
They all meet with Kakashi, who is amazed that Sakura came, too.
He states that the team can now properly take the exam as he explains its conditions; meaning that in order to be able to take it, all the three of them had to come.
Sakura then ask him about the exam, as Kakashi formerly said about the fact that they individually have to choose if they are going to take the exam or not.
Now here is where a really nice part comes and speaks about her kindness to her teammates, both of them, even if she had a crush on Sasuke.
Keep in mind that Kakashi is their leader and knows them best, all three of them and you cannot deny this.
As Kakashi starts explaining more details about the exam, the truth behind his decision to tell them to choose individually, he tells Sakura that if he had told them the truth from the very beginning, both Naruto or Sasuke would have pressured her to take the exam.
Once again this shows that she is an important asset to the team. That she is the brains of the team and without her, they wouldn’t have gotten further. Not because they lacked the talent in combat, but because her intelligence was something dependable.
It shows that without her, they wouldn’t have had any chance to even enter the exam. So this speaks very much, from the earlier chapters in their right. Especially to those people calling her useless just because she had no special moves.
As I said before numerous times – a ninja is not only flashy moves, jutsus or however you want to call it. Being a ninja is a great deal of intellect, too. And as it was shown to us, the intellect part is all Sakura’s.
Now, my most favorite part from this page, is yet to come. People keep accusing her that all she cared was Sasuke, Sasuke, Sasuke that she was a b*tch to Naruto.
Manga comes again and contradicts that.
What did Kakashi say here? That, indeed, if Sasuke had asked her, given the fact that she had the crush on him, she would’ve taken the exam. But he also adds that if Naruto too would have asked her, she would’ve taken the exam.
Now this speaks in Sakura’s name a lot. Even if she was still shallow in thinking at that time, even if she was “bullying” Naruto in some sort of way or another, though as I said, he deserved it, and the only one who could keep up with his craziness was her, even if she was still acting like know-it-all, she CARED about Naruto as well. That’s why Kakashi said, may I remind you once again: Naruto too!
So this speaks a lot about her and about the fact that in the end, no matter what, she will be standing next to them, helping them as best as she can, no matter how downgrading it would be for her.
Remember the chapter where she was really depressed and didn’t want to take the exam? Well, for them, she did it anyway.
Note that I am not doing this for the pairings, I could care LESS! As I’ve stated before, I am a multishipper, so in the end, I’m not going to be one of those fans screaming that their pairing didn’t get canon. I am one of those fans that will enjoy the pairing and that’s it.
But what I really care for and really is important for me is Sakura. She could stick out alone, I could care less as long as she’s happy.
What I do here is talk about Sakura and solely her, everything that surrounds her and her actions showing acts that people overlook just from the sick or God knows what pleasure, to downplay her and deliberately miss or downplay these acts of hers.
Anyway, let’s move forward.
But I felt like I needed to mention this and clear it as I am sure somewhere in a corner of the world there would be someone commenting I am doing this just because I ship NaruSaku.
Yes, I ship NaruSaku/SasuKarin! AND NaruHina, SasuSaku, KakaSaku, ItaSaku etc. The two latter having NO CHANCE of being cannon whatsoever, however I still ship them and don’t whine about others’ shippings like the majority of shippers do, on every sides.
The only trace of displeasure I get, is, I’m not going to be hypocrite, is for NaruHina. But not because I don’t like the pairing, or because of NaruSaku, or because of the fans and the fact that they defend their pairing. NO! It’s because HOW they defend their pairing [the majority I’ve seen, read closely and clearly, I HAVE SEEN, meaning MY OWN experiences, act like Sakura used to do it in Part 1 for Sasuke (and they say they hate her, laughable), and are damn disrespectful. Kudos to those who are not, anyway!
Putting Hinata on a pedestal by downplaying Sakura. That’s how they do it. This I find HATEFUL! And I say it fair and square without no fear, hiding or remorse. I don’t care what people say! I am not a hypocrite that will hide it just to ass-kiss people and make them feel comfortable. No, I don’t like it, I tell it.
I am not here for anyone’s excitement or enjoyment.
When people will start respecting Hinata for what she did WITHOUT comparing with Sakura, who, at that moment was doing her job as a MEDIC NIN, not a COMBAT NIN, unlike Hyuga Hinata, I’m going to stop having the slight disliking I have now, but until then, I ship it the way I know but by acknowledging BOTH Hinata and Sakura, independent of one another’s actions.
Anyway, I’ve gotten myself carried away by the fiery spirit once again and added more than I planned. Sorry! ^_^
Now let’s stop here for now!
God, I really talk a lot, lol.