I will start by saying that the title might not be one of my best, but it was the only one that could somehow compress into fewer words the thing you are going to be reading about. Like I was telling you on my Tumblr, I was planning on writing about the famous headcanon of ours (NaruSaku fandom), related to the possible forehead kiss that might be incoming in the manga given the early foreshadowing in Chapter 3 of Naruto. And why I, personally, believe that still holds importance and is a big key playing factor, if I may call it like that, in the romance subplot and its resolution, in the resolution of NaruSaku as a bond – be it we’re talking about a romantic road or platonic, and last, but not least, Sakura’s resolution as a character in terms of her romantic feelings – be it either for Sasuke or Naruto.
I, personally, as many of you know, believe that in terms of the big 3 of the fandom’s ships (aka NaruSaku, NaruHina and SasuSaku, because the real big 3 of the manga in my opinion are none other than NaruSasu, NaruSaku and SasuKarin from what we can observe from the manga’s depiction, but moving on…), NaruSaku tops easily having not only its development per se, but also the story elements that indicate in favor of NaruSaku as well. Such as parallels – that one that we all like to use, know where it points, but sometimes we stretch it to fit other things and also mostly get confused with the fact that parallels = canon, when it’s actually not true, it helps with directing things in the canon, give you an idea but moving on…-, cultural basis on which the story is created and, so many others but we’re not going to talk about that.
We’re going to talk about a single one at the moment. How Japanese depicts love in media; be it we’re talking about television, literature or whatnot. You pick. However, the general depiction is kinda always the same.
In order to understand what I am talking about, I am going to compare two series. Yes, I am going to bring that one. But no, fear not, I am not invoking total righteousness with this claiming that if I say so, it’s gonna happen because I said so. No, it’s rather a simple observation of mine, as as simple consumer of varied products from varied areas. The area I’m referring here is the one I told you about: the media and Japanese’s love depiction in it.
Now, what does this have to do with NaruSaku, you wonder? Especially with the forehead kiss scene? Or with Sakura’s development as a character? And what about the idea that I began with? Well… allow me to explain myself. About each and every one of it. But first and foremost, I will have to ask for your patience so that I will first make my point and then explain the NaruSaku point and the overall, the title’s point.
I will start by saying that the reason I believe the forehead kiss comment (probably the kiss itself, fingers crossed!) from Chapter 3 will be revisited and will play a big part in the romance subplot and Sakura’s character as a whole and in the romance department, is because finally she’ll be coming to a resolution in regards to her feelings, finally understanding them and coming as well, at peace with them. At the moment, she’s still confused, as she doesn’t understand herself exactly, sometimes. Her actions are those that speak about hers, not her words, as we’ve seen, and that’s how we, as readers, can get the message Kishimoto is trying to pass through, however, there were also times when words spoke about Sakura’s inner desires (or inner Sakura!), the times when she was speaking alone, to herself, the times we’re the most honest with ourselves, because there’s no one else around to see, hear, judge the words we’re saying, therefore, we can speak freely.
Yes, the thing I am speaking about is this:
This is Sakura, as we know, the one talking to herself about herself and how she was planning on pursuing a romantic encounter – aka date – with Sasuke.
As we know already, in Chapter 3, Kakashi asks each one of them their likes, dislikes, dreams etc. In the same chapter, we also have the rather not-so-subtle – if you ask me – introduction of the romantic subplot: Naruto likes Sakura, Sakura likes Sasuke, Sasuke likes none, apparently (and I say apparently because Part 1 Sasuke did show caring signs for all of them, whereas in Part 2, barely Naruto got some love, as we all know).
So we got an overall pretty clear idea about all of them: Naruto likes ramen, but hates waiting for the cooking time of 3 minutes until it boils and wants to become Hokage. Sasuke doesn’t like anything in particular and dislikes lots of stuff, wants to kill a certain man to avenge his clan and then, there’s Sakura… I will like to point a simple thing here, that was interestingly used by Kishimoto, a rather simple not only literary but also visually trick, however, brilliantly used, if you ask me.
The only sure thing we know is that her name is Haruno Sakura and that she dislikes Naruto (!) … Why the exclamation sign there, what does it mean? Well, I’d like to point out how nicely Kishi used his trick in the manga making things look in a way, but being actually in another way by the end of the series. What do I mean by that? Well, notice how at the time in the manga Kishi used to his advantage what he had established by then, made it known to the reader aka Sakura likes Sasuke, however, if you notice in the dialogue, you’ll notice that the only thing she says is “…well the person I like is…” as she looks towards Sasuke’s direction.
Now, of course, Kishi used this visual trick on the reader, giving the reader the impression (which, at that time, it was true, of course) that the person Sakura likes is Sasuke and when she mentions her dream, it is also left uncompleted “And uhm… my dream for the future…Uhm…?“. Now, when Kishi brought the scene back in Chapter 675, closing the circle to yet another plot point – each individual’s dreams and how they developed since then -, in Sakura‘s case, it was particularly interesting the points he addressed…
Naruto is still the same, he was acknowledged by everyone, got his dream fulfilled in that regards but still wants to become Hokage. Despite when in the beginning of the series he wanted to become Hokage so that he would get acknowledged, his existence be acknowledged by the villagers, now that the villagers have acknowledged him and not only, Naruto realized that being Hokage isn’t just that… Now he needs to give back. As a Hokage he needs to be an example, he learns the hard way what responsibilities and other less pleasant things the entitlement comes with. He is learning to walk in front of his countrymen, his reason to become Hokage has changed, he doesn’t want to be Hokage from that old little mischievous reason he first wanted to, now… he really wants it, with all its benefits and its loses (cue losing Neji in the war). Therefore, Kishimoto showed us as I was saying, the changes. Now, in Naruto’s case particularly, things haven’t changed that much, in a way, it’s still the same thing.
Now, in Sakura’s case, it’s interesting what Kishi addresses. He particularly chooses to address her feelings in regards to Sasuke, alluding to a change, not giving it as a undeniable fact, which is only normal, it’s a common author technique – the authorial intent behind the Sakura > Naruto scenes + the conscious leading of the reader in another part when it’s actually the other way around; cue Obito case – from a third party but one that knows her from point zero till now and comments how her feelings towards the person she initially had those feelings for are most probably different – which we can see from their dynamics and manga content – and even if that person, Sasuke, had attempted at her life, given the kindness of her heart, she still can’t stop wanting to save him from the darkness.
However, it’s interesting how the point that Kishi doesn’t touch is her initial undeniable dislike for Naruto and her dream, the one we deduce to be her wishing to be in a relationship with Sasuke. As we know, in the manga, Sakura has done lots of at least interestingly intriguing things from a romantic POV, in her interaction with Naruto, cue Yamato’s unfinished line, Sakura hugging Naruto, Sakura wanting to feed Naruto, Sakura offering care to Naruto, Sakura confessing to Naruto – and yes, I know many of you call it the falfession, however, Kishi said he was trying to portray an honest girl, so until he gives us a clear answer, it stays as it always was – at the debatable status (although I am a firm believer she was honest in some aspects, but that’s another thing to talk about in another time). Sakura not denying Naruto’s statement about her being more or less his girlfrield, Sakura choosing to do, out of all the other typical medical procedures, a CPR and not only, which is considered in their culture not only a very intimate moment, but it is also known as the Kiss of Life in both medical field and literature – it is more used in a metaphorical context such as the one we’ve had between Sakura and Naruto.
Therefore, besides the clear hinting from the early databooks, we have lots of actual canon content that points in the Sakura possibly returning Naruto’s romantic feelings. But remember the little thing I told you about in the beginning, the literary and visually trick Kishi used back in Chapter 3 when he got to what Sakura likes, dislikes and her dreams, that he later used by coming to full circle in Chapter 675? He left the dialogue where she was supposedly to say clearly who she likes blank, as well as her dreams part, hiding these aspects under Sakura’s rather flustered expression in Sasuke’s presence, which later used to show character development in Sakura’s case, not only in terms of her character per se, but also in terms of her feelings and what ties her with the romantic subplot.
You would wander but what about her dream? Well, remember what Kishi pointed through both Naruto and Sakura in chapter 246 entitled, funny enough, The Growth of the Two? Look underneath the underneath! I think this was Kishi’s most subliminal message to its readers in regards to NaruSaku as a pairing. People are easy to dismiss NaruSaku because they just look on the surface, thus, sorry for expressing this opinion, but it is mine after all, SasuSaku and NaruHina seem more likely, however, if you look underneath the underneath, you’ll get why NaruSaku is the pairing Kishimoto has been hinting at in this manga. But, I digress…
Well, speaking of that dream, if you had noticed, back in the days when Sakura was giving Naruto CPR, as the author of Kizuna The Words That Bind puts it, we notice that Naruto’s dream has become closer to her, as if Naruto’s dream of becoming Hokage was her own dream, given how she herself said Naruto’s stupid dream is right in front of them. How can we tell that, the fact that it’s like Naruto’s dream has became her own? In Chapter 675, when Kakashi asks Sasuke what is his current dream, given that Kishi had just closed-up his circle from Part 1, where he had shown us all the previous goals of Team 7 members, and given that Sasuke’s one was already fulfilled, aka to kill a certain man – Itachi, Sakura gets very… how should I say it?… Worried, maybe? Visibly intrigued and bothered, maybe, by Sasuke’s early self-proclamation as a Hokage candidate. Maybe some of you wondered, maybe some of you didn’t. But the author did make it clear to the reader that Sakura is highly conflicted by Sasuke’s words given that from what Kishimoto has shown us, Sakura is a “vocal” supporter of Naruto’s dream. So, with that being said, with the recent developments we’re witnessing, we’re noticing a lot of Sakura > Naruto moments, as we’ve established, and we even see clearly, how Naruto’s dream of becoming Hokage has become hers and that she is quite visibly conflicted about it – maybe a theory of mine will come to pass, in the end? Meh, who knows?…
Now, you wonder what all of this has to do with what I wanted to initially talk about? Well, I will start by saying I touched some points first, because they are going to be referenced later, in what I have to say. So, as I was saying in the beginning when I asked for your patience, I will talk about:
1)why I believe the forehead kiss comment from Chapter 3 will be revisited at some point in the manga,
2)what does it have to do with Sakura as a character and her development,
3) the romance subplot and
And I also told you that I’m gonna bring that one and compare two series. But as I said, the reason I am doing this is because this way, you will properly be able to get the idea I am trying to make here: the connection between NaruSaku forehead kiss scene and the way Japanese depict love in media – be it television or literature or visual medium, you choose.
In order to better get the point across, I will not use two mangas, because people might say that this was inspired from that. No. Instead what I’m gonna do is going to compare a television series with Japanese cultural inspiration and the manga, in order to show that this is a trope used a lot when it comes to depicting love in a Japanese-cultural-fashion way, if I may say like this, in the media, be it we’re talking about a TV show, like I said, or a literary piece of work.
Now, the series I am going to talk about is Heroes. Particularly, about Hiro Nakamura‘ storyline from Season 2, when he gets back in time and he finds himself having to be Takezo Kensei. Now, some of you may have seen it, some of you may haven’t.
I will be talking a bit about the storyline itself and talk in parallel, about similar scenes from Naruto, scenes that relate to NaruSaku, the forehead kiss comment, maybe the forehead kiss itself hopefully, and the love triangle from Team 7.
Now, I will begin by saying that this particular literary setting of a love triangle is one of the tropes, ways – you name it, is often used to depict love and its complications in a culturally-Japanese-style, so to speak. Meaning, the set of boy likes girl, girl likes another boy is used in Heroes, as well as in Naruto. As we can see, two different set of works, both under the same umbrella (aka media industry), use the same trope when it comes to the love triangle, the early mentioned one.
For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about in regards to Heroes, I will relate to you the events, but I’m also leaving an AMV I found on YouTube that could best explain, besides what I’m telling you, what happened. Now, due to the fact that the embedding feature on the video is shut, I will leave you with the link to it, and I will continue with my story.
So, in Heroes, as some of you might know, Hiro Nakamura – I know, ironic name, right? – gets sent back in time, to the times of one of his favorite feudal lord of Japan from the legends his father used to tell him about, named Takezo Kensei. Now, as he finds himself there, he meets the “real” Takezo Kensei of those times, a guy named Adam, a rather American guy, not a strand of Japanese heritage in him, who was a mutant, just like Hiro, having what is to be revealed to us later, the power of immortality (sorry if I spoiled someone!), and was also stuck on the past.
Now, as Hiro sees who the man who was supposed to be this brave knight from his father’s legend is everything but that, he decides to cover for Adam as Takezo Kensei, out of the desire to not ruin the legend, the image of the hero he, Hiro, had in mind all his life from his father’s tales but also because he had to act as Takezo Kensei, otherwise it would potentially hurt the future he came from, if the things from what Takezo Kensei was hailed to have been done, wouldn’t come to pass. Hiro and his world in the future, might crumble and thus, he would have never been born or who knows. But anyway, won’t go into much detail. Now, if you ask yourselves why Hiro decided to cover for Adam, I will say that no, it’s not because Adam, as a non-Japanese guy couldn’t do it, no. But because he was drinking all the time and wasting his life at that time, given his immortality and well, the fact that he was stuck in the past. Simply, the guy had been bored.
And when Hiro appears and questions him why he isn’t acting like the guy he was supposed to be, aka Takezo Kensei, Adam couldn’t be bothered. He responded he didn’t care, he acted like that, leaving Hiro the decision that in order to protect not only the legend, but the future of the humanity as he had known it by then, he would be taking action in the name of Takezo Kensei. What’s the catch, here, you wonder? What’s with this whole Takezo Kensei and Hiro and Adam guy? Well, let me tell you one little thing: Takezo Kensei was always wearing an armor and a mask… Now, guess what happens further in the story? You guessed it right – insert female character here, install love triangle. How? Simply… Hiro gets in love with Yaeko – the newly introduced female character. But Yaeko is in love with Adam, the one who was supposed to be Takezo Kensei. She is like his maiden or something like that (from what I can remember) and was supposed to get married with him, as some sort of ransom for her father’s life if I recall, from don’t know what Japanese feudal emperor. Now, Takezo Kensei guy was some sort of Japanese-correspondent of the well-known British folklore Robin Hood, just so you get the point. And because he had saved Yaeko’s father’s life, she gets to be like his maiden who will one day marry him – or something along the lines.
Point is, remember I told you that Adam guy, who was supposed to be Takezo Kensei – aka he was wearing the armor and the mask, was acting rather irresponsibly, disrespectful and was most the times drunk, therefore, you can only imagine how he treated Yaeko.
And here we meet yet another trope used – the girl that loves that other guy gets treated by that other guy not so nicely… cue Sasuke and Sakura. Same with Yaeko and Adam. She was all nice to him, doing his work, taking care of him and all. He was acting like a jerk.
Now, continuing, as I told you, Hiro gets to act as Takezo Kensei. By this point, Hiro gets to travel along with Takezo Kensei’s, Yaeko’s and the others in their journey – they were nomad-like people (sorry, another analogy doesn’t come to mind at the moment) and he gets very good friends with Yaeko, gets in love with her, but seeing how she is in love with Adam (Takezo Kensei in her eyes), he backs-up and decides to watch over her from a far.
As we can see, this is yet another trope used to depict the romantic plot of a story that has Japanese cultural basis – guy that loves the girl that loves the other guy, decides to sacrifice his feelings so that she can be happy and watches her from a far. This is what Hiro does with Yaeko and this is what Naruto has done with Sakura all throughout the manga, as we know. In Naruto, we have it under the form of the PoaL (Promise of a Lifetime), in Heroes, we have it tacitly expressed via scenes with Hiro watching Yaeko with Adam from a far, looking very sad. Of course, given that we are dealing with two different works from the same industry, these details that are presented to us in the storyline are done differently. Yes, they are both done via a visual medium, but while in Naruto, the whole idea you get get it from noticing both the dialogue and the drawing, in Heroes, given we’re dealing with a more visually-based work, the idea you get it by observing the time events of the movie, their expressions in real-time, so to speak, so on and so forth.
Also, another trope that’s used to depict love in a Japanese-culturally-based way in the media, is boy and girl are united by the common goal of saving the other guy. In Naruto, we have Sakura and Naruto united over the common-goal to get Sasuke back to Konoha, recently changed in saving him from the darkness. In Heroes we have Hiro and Yaeko uniting forces and sharing moments together, coming closer together, while searching for Adam who had been kidnapped by that Japanese feudal Emperor I told you about at some point.
All of these have been used in different works ie Naruto and Heroes in our case, but in the same industry, and the reason I brought them up and showed how they are used to depict love in the media industry. Now, what does that have to do with Sakura, NaruSaku, the forehead kiss comment and what I have talked about until now? Let me make myself clear….
Another trope that’s used in this whole love-triangle issue with all its other tropes of boy loves girl, girl loves another boy and yadda yadda, there are two more that are used and that given how Kishi usually writes his manga, I believe are going to be seen in the future chapters of Naruto. We’ve already had one in the beginning of the series, we only need the author to close yet another circle… Which one? Let me tell you… This one:
Yes, this moment here is what Kishimoto already did and it’s a circle he needs to close, based on a trope that is used also in other works that depict love in the media. I will remind you once again about Hiro, his love for Yaeko and her love for Adam. As we already know, the set is similar to the one used in Naruto. Hiro loves Yaeko, who “loves” Adam, who loves no one. In the beginning, at least. In Heroes, things get complicated, Adam does get to like Yaeko and feels betrayed by Hiro when Yaeko realizes that the Takezo Kensei she has been loving all this time wasn’t actually Adam but… you’ve guessed it: Hiro!
Why did I used the quote’n’quote when I spoke about Yaeko’s love for Adam? Well, as you’ve guessed it, it has to do with the fact that she realizes, in the end, that the one she thought she loved wasn’t the Adam-Takezo Kensei but the Hiro-Takezo Kensei!
Now, this is where I will stop for a bit before going to the next part on where I explain why I didn’t skipped immediately to the realization trope that in my opinion, seeing how it was used in Heroes, who was a highly similar set of love-triangle and not only – we have a child meets mother trope between Hiro and his mother, very similar to the way Naruto meets Kushina – I believe it’s going to be used in Naruto too, and I firmly believe that this is the way Sakura will realize her dormant, yet active strong love for Naruto, through the forehead kiss scene happening.
So, before going to the realization trope, I will talk to you about how it was played in Heroes and what it’s its correspondent in Naruto. As we’ve established already, Hiro loves Yaeko and Yaeko loves Adam. But the Adam Yaeko loves is the Takezo Kensei one. He is her knight in shining armor – that’s how she gets in love with him. He, Takezo Kensei saved her from harm’s way and did to her one of the nicest things she has seen in her entire life. That is the man Yaeko loves, that Takezo Kensei. Who she believes is none other than Adam. But the truth was, like I already told you, Hiro took over as Takezo without no one knowing it, while Adam was still covering as being the “real” Takezo Kensei for the others. It has gotten to be their little agreement. Why? Because Adam was a drunk and irresponsible bored guy at that time, who didn’t knew how to fight with a sword and Hiro, before getting dropped in that past time, had just taken sword lessons with his father as an inheritance, a particular type of battle style of those who were from the Nakamura legacy, the time-travelers/time-keepers, something like that. And yes, I forgot to mention, if it wasn’t obvious by now, Hiro had the power to travel through time and control it up to a certain extent from what I remember, and this is how he gets stuck in the past + from his very own powers.
So, given all the things I listed by now, I want to bring you the trope Kishi has used in Naruto as well, being the one I wanted to stop before skipping to the realization part and talk a bit about it and what connections it has with Sakura as a character, her development, the romantic subplot and whatnot.
In Heroes, Yaeko loves the Sakura trees, especially when the wind blows and the petals fall. Well, once, she gets this surprise and a tender kiss from Takezo Kensei, thing which makes her fall in love with him. But what Yaeko didn’t knew at that time, was that the one who did that nice gesture for her she always loved and dreamed of feeling/having, was done by none other than Hiro, not Adam. But given that it was done under the Takezo Kensei mask – in both the literal and metaphorical sense, Yaeko thinks it was done by Adam, because Adam was known to the world as being Takezo Kensei. No one besides him and Hiro knew who, in the real battles, the real Takezo Kensei was.
So thus, for a long time, Yaeko keeps being “in love” with her own version of Takezo Kensei, while the real version of Takezo Kensei, the one she fell in love with, was hiding himself, protecting her from a far. One day, though, can’t remember exactly the details how it happened, the move I’m talking about it’s in the video around 2:09, when Yaeko figures it out that under the mask, then, when that nice gesture and that tender kiss she received, all came from Hiro, the one standing now in front to her, after which she realizes her love for Hiro, as all the things she loved in her version of Takezo Kensei, came from Hiro himself. And this is how the love triangle ends and Hiro confesses his love for her.
Now, why do I bring this up? Well, the same thing happened in Naruto, when Naruto transformed himself into Sasuke and complimented Sakura’s forehead. That one wish Sakura had, that one fairytale she believed in, that one nice thing that would be nice to happen to her was granted to her by Naruto, under the Sasuke mask, the same way Hiro granted Yaeko’s wishes, under the Takezo Kensei mask.
The only difference in the stories at this point is that Sakura hasn’t realized that yet, while Yaeko did. You might say it, what does this have to do with NaruSaku? It doesn’t matter at all, it was just a simple scene, not to mention that Sakura never remembers the forehead kiss comment when she recalls Sasuke, so how could this still be in NaruSaku’s favor, right? And what relevance does it hold in her character development, right?
Well, before touching those points, let me step to the realization point, which, by now I think you have guessed it: in my humble observatory opinion, the love triangle in Naruto will be resolved the same way it was resolved in Heroes. Meaning, the forehead kiss moment will be revisited, being accompanied by Sakura’s rather sudden for maybe herself and some of the readers, not for others who have noticed how she acts around Naruto and some other readers of the series.
Why do I believe this? Well, as I already made myself clear, seeing how love is depicted in culturally-based Japanese works in the media, given how we saw the same literary pattern in Heroes, in terms of the romantic subplot, I fairly believe that this is the move Kishimoto is going to use in either one of his NaruSaku development moves or, if not, dare I say, the canonization of the pairing. But hey, we’ll live and see!
Now, onto touching the points I wanted to touch and questions I said I’ll be answering.
Well, first and foremost, for the above-mentioned reason in conjunction with the two tropes that were used in depicting love in Japanese-based works in media that we met in Heroes and which Kishi has used/will be using: the secretly nice thing the guy that likes the girl does for the girl that doesn’t like him in the beginning, a thing she has been dreaming about, who she believes was done by that other guy, who was secretly the friend guy, so thus, girl realizes what she loved in the guy she thought she loves, was coming actually from the friend guy, thus q.u.e.d – she realizes her love for him. Which can either be dormant or not, and we can see it in the girl’s behavior. Sometimes depends. But it’s usually along those lines.
Now, another reason I believe that the forehead kiss comment from Chapter 3 will be revisited is because – you’ve guessed it: Kishi has this habit of revisiting and bringing back old threads and closes them up. This manga’s action is circular or cyclic – you name it, they’re basically the same thing. We’ve seen it done in multiple cases – we recently had a reminder in 680 of one of these moves of Kishi’s , therefore, given that I firmly believe that was an important moment in Sakura’s character and in the romantic subplot – it basically is what started it all, this moment will be revisited with a possible occurrence of the said moment. After all, Kishi did leave us a hint in the manga, that a moment such as that, might be happening. I know you’ll say that DanTsu supports SasuSaku, I’m sorry to express my disagreement, but in my opinion, given that the only canon parallel of Dan’s is Naruto, as Kishi has shown us several times, and even talks about through Tsunade, telling them (Nawaki and Dan) that he has found another one that shares their dreams.
Not to mention besides that, we have several different instances of forehead kisses happening in the manga between the characters that have been paralleled, or found themselves in similar situations with Sakura and Naruto. For example, Tsunade kissing Dan, Nawaki and Naruto’s foreheads which gets herself a forehead kiss in return, and since well, two of the characters that have been paralleled in a moment such as the respective one, aka Tsunade (Sakura) and Dan(Naruto), this fairly makes me believe that we will get to see the forehead kiss comment revisited at some point in the manga.
Also, besides all these things, why do I belive we’ll get to see it? Well, it has to do with Sakura herself so I’ll have to pass to the following point in line.
2) What does it have to do with Sakura as a character and her development?
We’re going to have a little look at Sakura’s character here. What do we know about Sakura as a character? How could we describe her in one word if it were to be? I’d personally say the heart of the manga. When people on Tumblr used to do those photosets and had Sakura entitled as “The Lover”, I always got somewhat mad, because I thought that they couldn’t see past her romantic characteristics, so to say, and would just look at her as the pairing fodder, when she’s so much more than that. So then, I give it a thought and finally understood why people called Sakura the lover… Not in the literal sense, a lover, but as the girl who is the heart of this manga, who has so much love to offer, it all depends on if you let her offer that love.
You see, what Kishi did in Chapter 3 when he presented us their likes, dislikes, drems and so on, we learn that what Sakura would dream of, is to be in a relationship with Sasuke, however, the Sasuke she’d like is actually Naruto. How can we figure it out? Well, it’s all rather quite simple, as we turn back and learn about Sakura’s wishful thinking fairytale – Sasuke to compliment her forehead, while looking with warm eyes in her heart.
This scene here gave us a good idea about the type of partner Sakura would need along her – someone to compliment her, someone to love herself when she doesn’t, someone who is always there for her to throw away any fear of hers and to make her deepest desires come true, someone with warm eyes and humble heart. But to Sakura, this is the Sasuke she knows at that time, given that Naruto has transformed himself into Sasuke. A thing unknown to Sakura, but this was her only intimate moment with “Sasuke”, the only time she thought she could get closer to Sasuke, make him “open-up” to her, thing which she has always wished, as we can see in Chapter 181 when she confesses her love for him and is visibly troubled by the fact that Sasuke never talks to her. They were once again, alone in Chapter 181, but this Sasuke and the Sasuke she knew right after the said event (aka Naruto transformed as Sasuke, cue forehead comment), are so different from the “Sasuke” that made her fairy tale come true, the Sasuke that then, did open up to her and had an honest discussion, so what Sakura never really understood was this difference between this warm Sasuke that made her heart beat faster and this cold Sasuke and the same from 181, the one that never said anything to her.
People always brought as an against-this-theory argument the fact that it must mean nothing for Sakura because whenever she is reminded about important scenes with Sasuke, the forehead compliment doesn’t even show, only the Thank you scene, so thus, it surely must mean nothing to Sakura. But the very thing they omitted to notice was certain details in the unfolding of the action back in Chapter 3.
Why doesn’t Sakura remembers the forehead comment coming from Sasuke and just the thank you scene? Well, let me tell you why. It is rather very simple, but Kishi is tricking his readers very efficiently, in my opinion.
After the event of Naruto and Sakura’s forehead kiss moment, if you remember, Naruto runs to the bathroom due to gastric issues, to say the least, but in all this time, Sasuke gets to arrive at the meeting place, the place Naruto transformed as Sasuke has just gone. But Sakura didn’t know that she was dealing with two different Sasukes. For her, what it’s important to remember is that for Sakura, she had to deal with the same Sasuke, nothing’s changed, she is unaware of the trick behind the previous meeting, so she just waits for Sasuke to return and kiss, when, something totally different happens, as we all remember: the Sasuke that has returned, is a cold individual who had just belittled her. Granted, at that time we had another lesson from which to learn, but in the romantic subplot this interaction tells us very much about Sakura as a character, and her traits in the romantic department and shows us the guy she would like to have around her (soft, warm). And about Sasuke as well, learning thus, from early chapters that the reason they don’t match isn’t because of all the things that had happened between them in this series, but simply because they are two different set of people. Two different characters with different needs and different ways of expressing the needs, different ways of giving something and whatnot. They simply don’t match.
Sakura is the girl that deep down she’s a romantic hopeless that dreams about a warm Prince Charming and Sasuke is the old, cold Knight, who is capable of love, but not in the way that it would make him compatible with Sakura’s needs. He is less of a talker and compliment giver, he is more the cold, quiet, inexpressive guy. While Sakura, from what we saw would need a guy who would verbally and openly encourage, compliment, protect her, give her hope, make her feel safe. As a parenthesis, this is why I don’t believe Sakura was lying to Naruto in her confession and that she was truthful (she just doesn’t realize it yet), when she said she loved him, because she relates all the things that he makes her feel – that he makes her feel safe, that she feels comforted by being able to feel him, and that how she remembers all those times when Naruto openly encouraged her. This is what Sakura needs in a relationship, and Kishimoto makes sure to make it clear from the very beginning, but all done in his all-knowing fashion way, the symbolic message “look underneath the underneath”. What she needs in a relationship, she has gotten from Naruto, while it is shown to us that Sasuke is the total opposite of what Sakura would be okay with in a relationship.
Now going back to the anti-argument that is made to this theory, the one that Sakura doesn’t remember the moment when she thinks about Sasuke, thus the forehead moment has no meaning. Now I was telling you why Sakura doesn’t remember it when it comes to Sasuke and remembers only the “Thank you” part. Wanna know why? Simple, because of the little unfolding of the events I told you about, the one where Sasuke belittles her over the comment she makes about Naruto, that later makes Sakura revise her behavior towards Naruto. Now what is the “secret” behind why Sakura remembers only the Thank you scene and not the forehead kiss scene, even though, it was still a scene between her and “Sasuke”? Well, I think, first of all, the answer lies in the fact that the actual scene was between Naruto transformed as Sasuke and Sakura, thus, a Naru-Saku moment and it will only be referenced when the two characters will be involved. You see, the thank you scene is a scene between Sasuke and Sakura, at its core, that’s why Kishi always puts it in Sakura’s memory when it comes to Sasuke however, with the forehead kiss one is rather more tricky, because the scene at its core is a scene between Sakura and Naruto. Sasuke is there just as a mask to hide the truth and complete that trope with the guy doing a nice thing for the girl, a thing she’s always been dreaming of.
Getting past that, another reason Sakura is remembering only the Thank you scene and not the forehead one is because of a simple coincidence: in Sakura’s mind, there was only one Sasuke. The event that unfolded itself in a rather negative way for Sakura and Sasuke’s interaction, to Sakura was only one. From beginning to the end. What she doesn’t know as I already said, is that in the middle, the Sasuke’s switched and that there was no one Sasuke from the beginning. But that is what she remembers, that is how her memories are built. Only we, as readers, know the behind-the-scenes of the respective moment. Remember: Sakura doesn’t!
So, how did all from the beautiful fairy-tale mode ended?! With a cold look and what Sakura might have perceived as then – an insult – coming from that early heart-warming eyes guy. What a confusing event right? The point is, to Sakura, that experience ended negatively and the forehead kiss comment was immediately wiped-out by Sasuke’s “newest” attitude. If you noticed, immediately after Sakura refers to Sasuke’s custom of never talking to her in 181 when she confesses to him, the thing we earlier reminded of, she immediately gets reminded of the times when Sasuke, back in the Chapter 3 days, calls her annoying.
So, as we can see, the thing Sakura refers to is the negative thing, being the thing that has most marked her in that turn of events. That’s why she never gets reminded of the forehead kiss comment when she thinks of Sasuke. Because to Sakura, first of all it’s still a mystery how changed the two Sasukes were, but being oblivious to what actually happened, she believes that the same Sasuke was there in both times, only that from the “charming forehead” warm guy, he turned into “you’re annoying” cold guy, and this is the only thing that got stuck in her mind.
In my opinion, this is why Sakura held so much on her feelings for Sasuke until some point, because she still believes there still might be a trace of “charming forehead” warm guy inside Sasuke, what she doesn’t know is that that guy was none other than Naruto, transformed into Sasuke and thus, the one who made her heart beat faster at those words and made her have butterflies in her stomach was none other than the idiot-annoying-at-that-time-Naruto, the one who complimented her on her deepest insecurity, most hated trait of hers.
It’s all the impact the said scenes left on Sakura and given how the forehead comment one lead to a negative impact, that’s why Sakura only remembers the Thank you and not the forehead kiss one. Because the Thank you scene is the most positive response she ever got from Sasuke, the real one, being still oblivious to the fact that when the events around the forehead kiss scene happened, she was dealing with two Sasukes.
So the reason I am saying that this has to do with Sakura’s character and development is, because as I said, she is the heart of this manga, she is the love of this manga, she is the one that has the deuces in the romantic-subplot and in her hands lie all the answers. But before anything, before Sakura can move on with either Naruto or Sasuke, she needs to learn the truth. It’s yet another of the cycles Kishi needs to close in order for everything to come to full circle. Sakura is still vexed, confused about a Sasuke that she knows and the Sasuke there really is and in order for her to move on and come to a resolution, the forehead kiss scene will be revisited and will be a closed circle in Sakura’s character development. And, at the same time, will resolve the romantic-subplot issue once and for all.
But all this, can’t be done without Naruto, therefore I will now touch upon points 3) the romance subplot and 4)NaruSaku.
What does this all have to do with the romantic-subplot and NaruSaku? Well, here I don’t think it’s that difficult anymore, you must’ve understood by now where I’m going. The romantic subplot is first and foremost supported by none other than Naruto and Sakura with their rather controversial, for some, relationship.
The romantic subplot and NaruSaku are one, they can’t function one without the other. Basically, Naruto himself started the romantic subplot with his interest in Sakura and Sakura with her interest in Sasuke, at first.
Therefore, as we’ve seen by the way love is depicted in Japanese-based works in the media, we’ve got all the ingredients of a successful romantic subplot that follow the same rules not only in Heroes, which is an American TV show with Japanese-influenced storyline but also in Naruto, an original Japanese piece of work. The only step we’re missing is the last one I told you about, the realization, which Sakura needs to go through.
For the romance subplot and NaruSaku to be resolved and receive a resolution, Sakura first needs to get a resolution on her own. And given how important the subject of her forehead was always to her, I believe that, like I said, we will get to see the moment being revisited in the manga, with a possible proper resolution to it. But it order for this to happen, like I said, Sakura needs to realize who did it, it’s important to her as a character and to her resolution given the issues she has with herself, to know that the way she is, with that big forehead of hers, she is loved the way she is and appreciated. She theoretically knows, but she doesn’t know that her most hated feature is so loved by the same person. If only she’d knew… But that’s a “dangerous” move of Kishi to use, because in my opinion, if he’d use that, it’d be the last match, the final game, the final curtain, for if he’d do it, that would warrant the canonization of NaruSaku (not that we don’t have other moments, I just consider this to be the biggest which Kishi will use as a trump card).
Anyway, with this being said, I have written a lot about the scene itself and why I think it’s going to be revisited, hope you enjoyed and if you feel there’s something I haven’t touched upon, feel free to leave it in the comments down below where we can have a debate.
So then, who knows, maybe one day, this will come true!
Till next time,