As I previously said, I was planning to make this post because as I have seen, the reactions on the web regarding Sakura’s speech were quite shallow or, not present at all.
They totally discarded her appearance in this chapter, yet, she represented 15% of this chapter. How come people miss such an important part?
I find it … how should I say it? Unprofessional?
I have a word to say to every YouTube reviewer out there… Do you guys really consider yourself reviewers? Do you know what even means to do a proper review on a piece of art you’re doing? Or you misunderstand personal opinion as a review?
If you don’t know, the all-mighty Google will help you. All I have to say is this: SHAME ON YOU! And not because I am a Sakura fan, far from it. But because all the reviewers I have personally watched, barely have a clue about what they are reviewing, how to do it, what really makes a review, so on and so forth.
Now, let me make my own review and show you what it really means. Yes, I might sound cocky and I might be. Not going to apologize myself. Because I have a big reason to back-up my cockiness.
Anyway, let’s get past this.
What a review means? A real review? Well, what we’ve gathered from a dictionary, yes, dictionary, to be as most clear as possible to everyone, review is defined as such:
1. To look over, study, or examine again.
How many of you have done it? How many of you have looked-over Sakura’s speech? How many of you have studied Sakura’s speech? How many of you have examined her speech, once again?
How many of you have asked yourselves “What does her speech mean? What implications it bears? How is it relevant from a character-development point of view and what is it’s relevance within the pivotal plot of this manga? How many? I haven’t heard one of you mentioning it. ONE! If there was one, my apologies. Do link me to your review.
2. To consider retrospectively; look back on.
How many of you have done this? How many of you left your personal preferences aside and had looked from a retrospect point? How many have you looked-back on previous chapters to see what Sakura’s speech meant? I bet none.
The general idea of a review is about having to look over, study the moments, see the implications, what meaning it held, examining that meaning, consider it retrospectively by putting personal feelings aside, overall looking back on events and see the development from point A to point B and determine its meaning.
Now, as I said, almost no one did this, so I am going to try to do it following the aforementioned steps and prove why Sakura’s speech in 630 it’s and can be considered one of the most impactful in Naruto Manga. Yes, I’ve said it and yes I know many of you will say “Pfft, yeah right!” and downplay it and misinterpret it. Because this is what most of the Naruto fandom does with Sakura’s character.
I haven’t read a single review/essay about Sakura’s importance within this Manga, I haven’t seen anyone wondering why the hell Kishi made her the heroine, since she is, whether you like it or not, what is her purpose, why was she put in Team 7, what does Kishi want to convey via, apparently, the most ‘bland’ main character. None! Zero! Nada!
I haven’t read/heard anyone to take and analyze Sakura’s character meaning, importance and all-throughout presence in the manga since they were wondering so much why is she a main character, the heroine of this manga. None did it. Why? Beat me! Because it’s probably easier to yell here and there that she sucks as a main character then to put your brain a bit to start analyzing. Because, hello! Analyzing is one of the most pivotal actions in doing a review, folks!
But noo, why should we do it? Bashing is easier, ne? [*sarcasm off]
Now getting past all these so-called-reviewers-of-naruto-manga, let’s get to the actual point I am trying to make here.
Sakura’s speech and its importance.
“We’ve made it this far, so quit sniveling and grow a pair! Naruto’s doing everything in his power to help us any way he can! Naruto made it perfectly clear just now!” she says at the beginning of her speech.
Then, another Shinobi [emphasis on Shinobi, please, do keep this term in mind] declares:
“You’re right! He’s been pushing himself to the brink… Looking even after Shinobi like us…”
“That’s not what I meant!” , she continues… “It’s the fact that he considers us all as his comrades… from the bottom of his heart!” , she ends her first part of her speech.
Afterwards, she quickly proceeds in continuing: “I’ll get Naruto as good as new! We all have to do our part! If we’re going to die here and now… Rather than die cowering… let’s all perish with our heads held high!”
The panels showing this are the following:
I am going to take a pause about the speech here and mention a few things.
The usual misconception of this fandom is that Sakura is useless. I’d like to point out how once again, Kishimoto blasts the manga in their faces showing how far from reality that misconception is.
First of all, what is she doing? She is healing Naruto. As we all know, in order to be a medical nin, one has to posess precise chakra control, as described by Kakashi in Part 1. “That’s a real feat”, he adds in Part 2, reinforcing the idea.
If there is someone who doesn’t remember, let’s get back to where Sakura is the one giving Naruto an advice about how he should practice his chakra control, since she was the one to get at the top, first.
As you can probably see by now, one has to be focused while using the chakra.
So, besides the fact that she has to actually focus almost to perfection in order to heal Naruto, she is actually giving a speech, which could interfere to her Spiritual Energy which eats chakra. However, Sakura does that perfectly while not interfering with her healing capabilities.
And adding to that, if you guys haven’t noticed, Sakura is fully recovering Naruto, which means, besides the usual wounds she has to heal, she is replenishing his chakra. Because it’s equal to zero if she heals him but he’s not capable of doing his jutsus because he lacks chakra.
So, no more useless, not-enough-chakra Sakura, right? Busted! Once again, people fail to see. But, hey! Let’s not forget it’s easier do downgrade, downplay, bash her, whatever, you name it.
Let’s get past this and get back to Sakura’s speech.
Part 1: “We’ve made it this far, so quit sniveling and grow a pair! Naruto’s doing everything in his power to help us any way he can! Naruto made it perfectly clear just now!”
“It’s the fact that he considers us all as his comrades… from the bottom of his heart!”
Got that in mind? Great, now pay attention!
If we keep that in mind, let’s get back [attention, following the rule of the review here! checked! *wink wink*] a bit in time and look at Naruto here. What was one of the issues Naruto had, as a Shinobi? You might not even think about it because, hey, it assumed that it puts us at this so-hard task: to think! Why should we do that? [*sarcasm off, once again].
I’ll remind you: Chapter 552: The prerequisite to be a Hokage. To be more exact, Naruto’s actions and Itachi’s words.
What do we get from here? That Naruto is this stubborn individual who thinks that the battle is entitled to him, given that now, he has gotten all this power. Though, he quickly looses it given that he has used too much of the Kyuubi chakra.
This is where Itachi gives him a lesson about how he shouldn’t do this. That no matter how strong he will become, this won’t make him a Hokage, nor he will be able to fight everything by himself, shouldering all this burden by himself, no matter how much he tries.
That he should open himself and let others help him, too. That this is the way he will become Hokage. If he trusts his people, then his people will trust him and thus, this will be the key of success! This way he can become Hokage and be acknowledged, like he always wanted and he shouldn’t forget his friends who are always there for him.
Do thake notice about how, when the importance of Hokage and why Minato was able to do it is put. We have there normal shinobi, then the ones closer to him, his friends. Which Itachi tells him not to forget.
Also, we should take a look at the part where Itachi says that Minato could become Hokage because he trusted in the villagers and the villagers trusted him. We link this back to Part 1, when look at what Hashirama tells Sarutobi:
“The fellow countrymen of the leaf make up each part of my body… Those of the village believe in me and I believe in them… that’s what being a Hokage is!”
I am curious, how many have intercepted this thing when Itachi addressed those words to Naruto? I bet none! Or… very few, but I haven’t heard of them.
Now, you might wonder what this has to do with Sakura, right?! Well, my dears, let me take you back in time, once again!
Sakura’s inner monologue in Chapter 573: The path towards Radiance.
“Naruto… You saved Konoha… And now you’re trying to save the entire shinobi world… You always get left with these insurmountable tasks… But no matter what you say this time, we’re going to be together… Not just me… We’re all going to fight together this time!”
We have Sakura who remembered how he saved Konoha and reflecting on how he is trying to save the entire shinobi world by himself.
Why does that part is included in Sakura’s speech you might wonder?
Well, if you remember back in Pein Arc, when Naruto arrived, he said to all the villagers to stay back and not interfere.
You might say that he said all those words because “they were on his way”. True, up to a certain point, however, if you would have known Naruto, the human character, we’ve all been watching, the real reason he told Tsunade that was because of the fact he can’t stand or, couldn’t, by that time, the fact that his friends were fighting for him. He thought he was entitled to those enemies, that it’s his duty to do so. Hence, going 6 tails when he witnessed Hinata’s death back then. One would have said that after that, he would have reconsidered to trust his friends more, yet, he didn’t.
Proof? Naruto Chapter 614: To you.
Neji sacrifices himself, Naruto is still unable to accept the fact that his friends want to fight for him and even die for him, if that’s what it takes. But they are ready to do that. Naruto, up to a certain point, isn’t.
However, Neji, via Hinata’s speech, does make Naruto accept the fact that this is life, that no matter what he says, is not only his. His friends will fight for him. This is where Kurama enters and gives a speech that Neji isn’t the first who has done the same thing for him, there were others as well who have done it, and that it’s a fact he’ll have to deal with. Afterwards, we have a panel with Minato and Kushina, Jiraiya, Chiyo, Itachi, Nagato, Sandaime and the recent ones: Shikaku and Inoichi.
I wonder though, how many of the reviewers have caught a glimpse in this chapter, on Sakura’s speech.
“But no matter what you say this time, we’re going to be together… Not just me… We’re all going to fight together this time!”
But no matter what you say this time… This is where Sakura’s speech in 573 and Itachi’s speech in 552 merge, connect each other.
Both Itachi and Sakura have seen a side of Naruto which no one has seen before. Itachi because he did the exact thing Naruto tried to do till the recent chapter – shoulder everything alone.
And Sakura because she was the one next to him. The one who saw him grow, the one who saw him be joyed and be saddened. The one who knew his heart, whether people like it or not, no matter preferences, ships etc.
Sakura was the one next to Naruto, the one who knows this side of his.
And you might wonder why the “no matter what you say this time”, and what made her say this? How does she know about this face of Naruto? Well, as not so important as you think Sakura is, she is. She is pivotal in Naruto’s journey and is the one who dare I say, knows him most and has been observing him, worried about him, the most.
Why that line? Well, if you remember, back in the Team 7 reunion arc where everyone bashed Sakura for being useless because she couldn’t kill Sasuke… Hello, darlings, you’ve missed a big point in Sakura’s character. She is the witness of his growth and journey. What did Sakura noticed that no one else did? Why was she the one? Well, because she’s the heroine, folks, take it or leave it.
What is Sakura always thinking about? About how Naruto wants to shoulder everything himself, saying that “They’d both die”, him and Sasuke. Like Sakura, Naruto always hides his real feelings. He did so in his quest to bring Sasuke back. Sakura knows this first-hand.
So this is why, Sakura, in her 573 speech says that “No matter what you say this time!”, because she is the one who knows him best, she is the one who knows when Naruto is trying to hide out things and not tell the real reason. She is the one who knows when Naruto wants to shoulder stuff alone, by himself. At this point, Sakura Haruno has gotten to know Naruto Uzumaki better than anyone, ladies and gentlemen! Everything connects.
That’s why a review is proper when you follow all those steps. Because you can understand better the story you’re reading and understand the meaning behind it. But I am sure that no one bothered with her, since, oh well, is easier to call her useless.
Now, getting back to her speech, why Sakura said the words she said?
When Naruto said that “Not having my friends here with me is the most painful thing for me”, what he truly meant is that he acknowledged all as his friends. No one got that, almost everyone were thinking at how Naruto is the one who is this super-powered bad-ass ninja that will protect them, so they won’t have to worry. Hence, the disappointment and fear when Sakura had to heal him and their protection was off.
And this is where Sakura enters again and explains them all what Naruto truly meant. That it isn’t about the protection, it isn’t about this super-powered Ninja, savior of the world, that will protect them to no end. That, like them, he is a human being, that like them, he suffers, that like them he is afraid. But he does everything in his power and rather than give up, he gives everything he has and that they should do the same. That he could use their help in this battle. It was Naruto’s own way to show-don’t-tell a part of his heart. He wasn’t the opening-up type, nor the one to ask for help, openly.
If you would have analyzed Sakura’s character, you would have seen how far she has gone. From this person with low-self-esteem issues, who tried her best to become something great and she did, however people downplay it, from this person that was constantly worried about Naruto and the fact that she does little to help him, she has grown into this strong-willed person. Not that she wasn’t by now, but when it came to how to be helpful to Naruto, she had these self-esteem issues.
May I remind you, Chapter 297: Sai’s Mission.
“It’s always like this… The only things I can do for Naruto are so small. “
We can clearly see here Sakura’s self-esteem issues when it comes to Naruto. How low she thinks of her actions in regards to Naruto, though she was helping him in the best way she could. Healing him given the fact that “thanks” to the Kyuubi’s bad chakra, so-to-say, his healing acceleration has decreased and could have brought him in a critical point.
Now, I want to remind you a bit of Yamato’s words and how they came to play into this recent chapter, though Yamato is not present and everyone asks what about him. Do remember folks! A character doesn’t have to literally be present in a chapter in order to play an important role. I wonder how many of the so-called reviewers got a glimpse of Yamato’s importance here? Bet almost no one.
It’s not a problem of small or big… What’s important is the strength of the feelings you have for Naruto.”
It’s not a problem of small or big, Yamato tells her at that time, which Sakura, now, finally understood. Yamato’s words back in 297 strongly resonated with her speech in 630.
“I’ll get Naruto as good as new! We all have to do our part!”
By now, Sakura understood given her past experience and character development [yes, people, character development isn’t about how many powers one manages to get, it’s about how much you have grown as a person, too], that it isn’t a matter of how small or big one’s actions are.
What counts it’s the action itself and how it can help on a bigger scale. It doesn’t matter if the other shinobi aren’t as power-houses as Naruto. Their actions might help him buy some time, for example. That if they all work together they will be victorious.
As a quote says: “It is a fact that in the right formation, the lifting power of many wings can achieve twice the distance of any bird flying alone.” – a little reference to Neji, blame me!
And this goes hand in hand closing the circle of character development for Naruto, when it comes to his issues of not accepting the other’s help. Personal reference: he can truly become a Hokage now!
And is very interesting the fact that, though many didn’t even care about it, this closure of character development for Naruto is done via Sakura, the heroine. And she is the one who truly gets him. Why? Because she was the one witnessing his life journey.
Many have compared Sakura’s speech with Hinata’s speech back in 615. There is a difference folks, in terms and importance here. Yes, Hinata brought Naruto back on his feet via Neji, a thing which most of you disregard. It is like Neji didn’t even existed. Well, hello! Her speech in 615 was a resolution of the Hyuugas in juxtaposition, if I may say like this, with Naruto. Do remember how it all started and make a retrospection with this.
While, yes, Hinata’s speech did have its importance, there are different weights here. Hinata spoke to Naruto from Neji about the feelings in his heart, while Sakura spoke for Naruto to the alliance ABOUT what’s in Naruto’s heart.
Clearly drawing a line when it comes to the importance. While HInata yes, takes a spot in the important list of side-characters, Sakura is placed on her spot as a heroine.
But of course, none of you even disturbed yourself with such an analysis of the events.
Now, I want to get along to the last part, but not the least, and probably one of the most important one and the one that makes it “deemable” of the title “One of the best speeches/most impacting in Naruto manga”.
“If we’re going to die here and now…Rather than die cowering, let’s all perish with our hands held high!”
I don’t really know where to begin and how to explain the impact and the beauty of this part of her speech. As we all know, Sakura always took pride in her status as a Shinobi. Is something she wanted to do with all her heart, and whenever she could, took pride in her status.
“I always thought of myself as a proud ninja…” she used to say back in her genin days.
For Sakura, being from a normal family, being a ninja was something she could be proud of. It was probably a thing that took her from the anonymity of not being part of a big and renown ninja clan, so the fact that she could get to be a Shinobi was a big achievement for her.
At that time, Sakura saw only the name and the pride of being a ninja, not the implications themselves. That’s why, throughout the manga, she learns what really means to be a ninja. It isn’t just a fancy name and status. It comes with more responsibility and actions. That’s why we have her saying the Shinobi no. 25 Code [I wonder how many saw the back-reference of that] and, in Forest of Death, showing what it really means to be a Shinobi. It comes with responsibility.
Which she finally took. It wasn’t just a fancy name and status.
Also, in the Team 7 reunion arc, where everyone called Sakura weak and useless, learned nothing. When they heard that speech in which she said that “She’s supposed to be a ninja…[etc]” she is such a waste of panels, so on and so forth. Let’s take a look.
While everyone screamed she was a waste of panels, this only showed her character development and a journey from her life as a Shinobi. She kept going through these journeys and learned what a Ninja, Shinobi really is.
“I’m supposed to be a ninja, but all I’ve ever done is lean on him and cry. I was supposed to change that…” etc.
This only shows once again, how Sakura is maturing. How she’s going through all this progress of learning what it means to be a ninja. We can even once again see her low-self-esteem issues back here.
However, now, all that changed. Proof of it stands the aforementioned facts in regards to her character.
Also, I’d like to point out one more important meaning in her speech about being a shinobi and die with their heads held high. Sakura, as for now, has truly bloomed into this all-rounded shinobi. She isn’t depending on anyone, she isn’t getting discouraged. She, through her speech, teaches us what a Shinobi really means.
I’d like to speak about the portrayal of Shinobi at the beginning of this manga. I have spoken about it here. How they were viewed as tools, emotionless ones, that were actually trying to behave like such, but in the end, they all returned to their feelings, to their human side.
Shinobi rule no. 25 said that no matter the situation, a ninja mustn’t show their emotions.
And everyone hated Sakura for being the one who showed emotion, considering her a failed Shinobi, just because of that.
However, further in the manga, besides this Zabuza Arc, we have the Sasori Arc where we’re explained that Suna’s ways of instructing their ninjas – similar to Konoha’s, making them these emotionless machines – made Sasori the way he was, as Chiyo herself stated.
And because Sasori negated his side of his, in the end he lost. Because – coincidence by fate, or not, he let himself be ruled by emotions. Which, shows us the fact that no matter how much he always negated his human side, that was the side he returned to in the end.
There we have Sakura asking him: “What do you think a human life is!”, and Sasori responds with “Are these words of a Shinobi?”.
Kishi was subtly showing us that the fact that whoever didn’t cherished a human life, and let themselves be ruled by those cruel codes, in the end failed. That, in the end, they all returned to their human side. A nice analogy Kishi did via Sakura’s character, but no one got the glimpse of that, because hey, we’re not interested in Sakura’s character, right?
And then we ask ourselves what her role in the manga is. Well, congrats for missing it. She is deeply rooted in this pivotal lesson of the manga, that I always laugh when someone says to me that Sakura’s role isn’t important or that she doesn’t mean anything.
People have literally been missing a huge part of this manga, and when Sakura misses from this manga, it’s funny how the story that goes at that time, can be directly linked to situations in which she’s been and have had a meaning behind.
Example on how her situations link again? Well, let me hit you with this one: Hashirama’s flashbacks. Right! You wouldn’t have thought Sakura’s experiences had anything to do with those flashbacks, right? Well, surprise, they do. Now you’ve realized how many things you’ve missed about Sakura’s character.
So we have Hashirama Senju, the God of Shinobi, which, in his youth was this super-emotional child. Afterwards, we learn how hard it was for them to live in that era of what a Shinobi “truly” meant.
We witness here what tragedies occurred in the old Shinobi world, where you weren’t even allowed to mourn the deaths of the beloved ones, because all you had to do is keep your head high and show no emotion.
While this seemed the recipe of success, it had only one minor flaw. The fact that no matter how emotionless you try to make yourself, you’ll always have this human side in you which will duel to get outside whenever such dark times come.
This is when, Rule no. 25 of the Shinobi code is made. I wonder how many of the people have remembered this when Tobirama’s panels in which he talked about introducing the code of conduct was shown. I bet almost no one thought about Sakura. Why would they? They already missed most than half of meaning in this manga.
This was the beginning of the world the Shinobi nowadays live in. While that rule of conduct with not showing emotions, seemed to have be the resolving manner. It wasn’t.
And Hashirama himself is the one admitting it to Sasuke when he talks about Madara. In the day Hashirama decided to as shinobi, a emotionless tool and kill his best friend, it’s the day when he had failed. The world he thought to be perfect, wasn’t in the end. The conduct he and his brother have established, was no good in the end. Because no matter what, in the end, we’re all humans.
And this is where Sakura’s character importance and growth is shown. She has grown in this full fledged Shini who is ready to die with her head high, if necessary. However, the fact that she cries and doesn’t turn herself in this emotionless, doesn’t make her weaker, nor less important. Because we have seen from the past experiences that denying this side of one’s nature, has caused only troubles.
Sakura is now, what it seems to be, a Shinobi in its true form. A human with feelings, that is going to express them no matter what, however, when the time needs it, she will be this prideful Shinobi who will die with her head held high, if necessary.
This is what it seems to be the message that Kishi tries to convey here. There is no perfect Shinobi, there is no perfect being. No matter how powerful we are, we are human beings in the end. In the end, it’s a morally-gray area and situation. There is no recipe for a perfect shinobi. But from what Kishi has shown us until now, this seems to be the one – a good balance between the two.
And the one representing and being pivotal in this message to get across, seems to be none other than Sakura Haruno.
So this is why, Sakura’s speech can be considered one of the most impacting speeches in Naruto manga’s history. This is why, the meaning behind her words are strong. This why her role is shown and sets her apart from other characters.
So, dear reviewers, congratulations from missing one of the most pivotal teachings conveyed via a speech in this manga, just because is spoken by Sakura Haruno.