Now NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 follows the path of its predecessor, NaruSaku symbolism 3.1: flowers in light and darkness. Whereas the first part deals with the darkness’ influence over the flower of the manga, the second one will deal with the light’s influence.
We established in part 1 who the flower is. And that is Sakura Haruno. We established as well, how exactly this symbolism translates in terms of the dynamics between NaruSaku and SasuSaku. As in Sakura’s emotional response to the treatment she gets from both the darkness – Sasuke, and the light – Naruto.
Covering the light part, today’s NaruSaku symbolism 3.2: flowers in light & darkness will deal with the flower’s journey into the light. Following that, today we’ll be talking about:
1. Sakura in the light – the NaruSaku pairing; Naruto (the light).
Like I was telling you in the first part of the story, I first started as a SasuSaku and NaruHina fan mostly due to watching the anime. However, when I turned to the manga, things totally changed. I saw a different dynamic in those pairings in the source material.
I also saw a totally different story than what Studio Pierrot was trying to portray. While the studio focused more on battle aspects and exaggerating certain aspects of Sakura’s character, in the manga things were different.
The anime showed her being downright mean to him, while the manga showed us Sakura changing her behavior towards Naruto since chapter 3.
Canonically, the manga establishes Naruto as the light. Through the virtue of being the main character, the paths he takes and his power-ups. That part is undeniable.
Likewise, we can observe that thematic executed via visual symbolism.
In Konan’s own words, Naruto is the light personified. Likewise, later on, when Hagoromo appears in the story, Naruto receives the seal of the sun as a power-up.
So this is an indisputable fact. Now, how does the flower of this story react to the light? Ignoring the organic rules we know from the real world, let’s follow the journey of the NaruSaky dynamic.
1.1 Naruto’s treatment of Sakura.
How does Naruto, the light, treats the flower of this story, Sakura? What can one understand from the dynamic the hero and heroine have? But outside of this statuses, what can we truly learn from their journey? What can we learn from Naruto’s treatment of Sakura?
How is his treatment affecting Sakura Haruno? What’s her emotional response to it?
Well, with these two, things are quite simple from the very beginning. Ever since her introduction, Naruto being the one who introduces Sakura, she is literally put under the (spot) light. Both thematically and romantically, even. She is the object of his affection.
Whenever she displays her skills, like when the team starts their training in the Zabuza and Haku arc, Naruto openly praises her for her skills in using chakra.
He is downright mesmerized when she saves Kankuro’s life with her medical skills.
Whenever Sakura’s emotional and physical well-being comes into play, Naruto always makes sure to take care of it to the best of his abilities.
In some cases, even at the cost of his own life, or at the cost of his own emotional well-being. Without asking for anything in return. He is the light that just gives, never asking for something in return.
Let’s remember some key moments.
1.1.1 Naruto reception of Sakura’s emotional well-being.
18.104.22.168 Shedding tears for Sasuke in the preliminaries.
Back in the preliminaries, Sakura gets scared and Naruto instantly picks up on it. He takes on Sasuke.
To comfort Sakura’s tears, he tells Sasuke to stop acting cool, seeing how scared she is.
As we can observe, at the slightest tear dropped by Sakura, Naruto instantly gets activated.
22.214.171.124 Shedding tears for Sasuke after Tsunade heals him
Later on, in chapter 172, when Tsunade returns to Konoha and heals Sasuke, upon seeing Sakura so happy and moved to tears, he retreats.
He gives her the space to freely express her feelings of joy. A sensible move, whose nature is also observed by Tsunade as well.
Despite being in love with her and wanting to greet Sasuke himself in person, he puts away his needs. She is the priority.
126.96.36.199 The rooftop fight & date that follows after.
When Naruto and Sasuke have the rooftop fight after Sasuke’s recovery, Sakura of course, interferes and puts herself between them.
Now, this fight for Naruto is on the same personal level as the cursed mark seal situation was to Sasuke, back when he meets with Orochimaru in the Forest of Death.
We saw back in part 1 of this analysis how Sasuke responded when Sakura interfered in his personal matters. But how does Naruto addresses this? Let’s take a look.
From Sakura’s own memories we observe the fact that yes, he is not happy she interfered in their fight.
But unlike Sasuke who was downright dismissive verbally and physically, Naruto is the exact opposite. He kindly tells her not to interfere. Not to stop them.
Moreover, as soon as he observes Sakura’s demeanor, despite his initial upsetting, he instantly changes.
As soon as Sakura starts to wither in the darkness of her thoughts, Naruto once again becomes the light she so much needs. The one who gives her hope for a better day.
188.8.131.52 The aftermath of Sasuke’s defection from Konoha.
The following example is maybe the most powerful moment, if not the most powerful. It shows the strength of Naruto’s feelings for Sakura. How whenever she is wilting in the darkness of the emotional turmoil her dynamic with Sasuke puts her into, Naruto is there to be her sun.
Dare I say this is the core of the Narusaku symbolism 3.2: flowers in the darkness & light. He truly is her sun and sheds his light in the darkest of Sakura’s times.
We all remember this moment and I don’t think I need to say too much about it. The manga pages speak for themselves.
However, once again, we can observe in the context of the symbolism of light, how Naruto literally becomes Sakura’s light in the darkest of her times, which is Sasuke deflecting Konoha, like she always feared. Her darkest fears came to pass, and the one who is there to light up her world is none other than Naruto.
It is also noteworthy to observe once again the visual symbolism between the two moments related to Sasuke’s defection from Konoha.
Aka Sakura’s confession and Naruto’s promise of a lifetime.
When Sakura’s confession happens, Sasuke is all shrouded in darkness. Whereas when Naruto vows to bring him back to her, he is bathing in the light.
184.108.40.206.1 The aftermath of Sasuke’s defection from Konoha; a comparison in dynamics: NaruSaku vs. SasuSaku
Likewise, we can observe from the two interactions the dynamics between the two boys and Sakura. Whereas Naruto faces her and puts a smile on his face, despite being in pain, so he can put away her tears, Sasuke does the opposite.
He rejects her, pushes her away, keeps himself at a distance. He doesn’t even face her. The only moment he does so is when he tells her she’s annoying.
Granted, that was a moment to be interpreted in many ways. But as I explained here, it shows thoroughly the dynamic between the two. Or better said, the perception of Sasuke’s treatment.
She gets the silent treatment. He doesn’t open up, she feels pushed away, downright hated. Her existence borderline ignored, if it weren’t for the hate. She feels small and doesn’t have the space to truly be herself.
Whereas in the dynamic with Naruto, as we can see it’s totally different: she feels safe. That feeling of safeness prompts her to open up to Naruto and trust him with her most intimate fears. She is free to talk and not only that, she is listened to. Naruto offers her the so much needed space to just be herself.
Short mention: this part of the NaruSaku symbolism 3.2: flowers in the darkness & light is a very important one. Why? Because it will serve the basis for the third part of this series.
But if you have read all the posts belonging to this symbolism part, it’s very important to remember this section of the NaruSaku symbolism 3.2.
I will explain in a further post why. For now let’s move on.
220.127.116.11 The aftermath of Sasuke’s retrieval mission fail
When the mission to save Sasuke fails, Naruto gets back wounded. All he thinks about is how he has failed Sakura’s promise. We see him laying depressed in bed while the moments of his failing keep replaying in his head.
When Sakura pays him the first visit after his hospitalization and is confronted with having to face hers, he’s at potrayed downright terrified and depressed.
But as soon as he picks up Sakura’s own deflection, he recovers and finds his conviction again for her.
No matter how hurt he’d be, for Sakura, Naruto won’t ever back down from being the light she so much needs. He continues to be the sun on her horizon. Protecting her, being her (emotional and not only) life support, a friend, a confidante.
He’d let her bathe in the light of his selfless love, asking for nothing in return.
Some might be inclined to say, oh, I’m being to the best of my abilities. But then again, am I?
Before the story had to sway a certain way due to the market segment they’re targeting, things were clear. Even Sakura’s own profile in the third Databook supports the claim I’m making here.
The indisputable fact presented via the development of the manga is that Naruto is Sakura’s light. Her sun.
18.104.22.168 The fate of a jinchuuriki unveiling.
When Sakura finds out what happens to a jinchuuriki once it’s removed from it’s host, Sakura is moved to tears.
As those tears start spreading down her face, Naruto immediately consoles her, despite being saddened himself.
For her, he puts up a strong fort once again, despite being noticeable how hurt he is when Chiyo tells the tale of how a jinchuuriki’s life is.
But Naruto feels that that respective part is his burden (and Gaara’s by extension), and Sakura shouldn’t have to wear it herself so that it causes her tears.
22.214.171.124 4 tails incident recovery.
Here we’re witness to a scene in a lighter tone, but it still holds ground to Naruto’s unwavering support in regards to Sakura’s emotional well-being.
Upon his recovery, Sakura is so happy that she starts shedding tears of joy. Of course, Naruto not knowing what exactly happened, he instantly assumes Sai has hurt her feelings again.
He is quick to react to that and gets instantly defensive.
Of course, this is one of those scenes where the comedic effect is one again put into action, as Sakura punches Naruto for calling her monstrously strong.
Short after that, when Naruto faints and Yamato says they should leave Naruto behind, Sakura’s emotions once again start boiling.
Naruto, despite being visibly weakened, even in that state he tries his best to put Sakura’s heart at ease.
126.96.36.199 Invasion of Pein.
This is the most arguably the epitome of the NaruSaky symbolism 3.2 post and for these two. In a broken home/world, where a god has left nothing but pain and misery, Naruto the light of hope, returns upon Sakura’s prayer.
Everyone can agree that this is one of the most epic moments in Naruto manga, if not THE most epic one to this date.
I believe it’s no wonder that the author himself chose Naruto and Sakura to convey this powerful scene and message.
What message? That whenever she will call, he will be there. In the darkest of times, in the pits of despair, Naruto will be there for Sakura.
When the world around the flower collapses, the sun comes to give it life and make it so that the environment benefits the growth of the flower.
This moment can also be interpreted as she is an allegory for the world/village, while he is an allegory for the protector of it. But this aspect will not be discussed in the NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 series, but on another one.
188.8.131.52 Rebuilding Konoha – meeting Inari & Tazuna.
When Konoha’s rebuilding process starts, as we all know, Team 7 meets once again with Inari and Tazuna. Of course, these two don’t know the events that happened with the team. That’s is why, the first thing they ask is where is Sasuke.
Upon hearing this question, Sakura’s emotions takes the best of her and we immediately see the flower starting to wilt again.
But the sun, Naruto, immediately picks up the signals and he lights her world once again, putting her heart at ease.
184.108.40.206 On bonds – refusal to give up Sasuke to the Cloud nin.
This one here is a very intricate situation, but at the end of the day it still shows how far Naruto is willing to go so that Sakura’s emotional well-being remains unaffected.
I think it’s is yet another moment we can consider the epitome of proof in the context of the NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 analysis.
When the Cloud ninjas come in search for Sasuke, we all remember Sakura’s emotional response to it, right?
About that aspect I have talked more in the first part of this analysis. However, the point of this analysis, is how once again, in the darkest of Sakura’s times, Naruto once again becomes her light.
And as so, he deals with that darkness of Sasuke’s news himself, sheltering Sakura’s heart from any sadness and pain (pun very much intended).
Of course, you might say that the reason he did that was not only because Sakura, and I agree. Naruto’s motives in that respective scene where he decides he won’t betray Sasuke, are many.
But among them, we see two important scenes that play out.
One of them is very much Sakura’s plea that generated the promise of a lifetime. Arguably one of the most emotional aspects of this series.
So for this reason, Naruto decides to let all that darkness encompass him, and be the light Sakura needs, so she doesn’t have to shed any tears.
This is observed in Naruto’s plea to Sai to not take him to Sakura after he’s beaten up by Karui really bad.
Which in return, prompts Sai to finally understand the bonds of team 7, more specifically, Naruto’s and Sakura’s bond.
He finally realizes, as emotionally as inapt he considers himself to be due to his Root training, that Naruto loves Sakura. And that’s the reason he takes all this onto himself.
Because that’s what love does – it shelters you from pain, filling you with warmth and offers you the safe space to just be you.
220.127.116.11 Infinite Tsukuyomi installment & return of Kaguya.
Last, but not least, in terms of Naruto’s reception of Sakura’s emotional well-being we have the Infinite Tsukuyomi installment and return of Kaguya.
As we all remember, in that particular phase of the story, Sasuke acted downright dismissive.
This prompted Sakura, the flower, to wilt at the treatment she receive from Sasuke, the darkness. But Naruto, the light, bluntly said, he was having none of that.
He is immediate to react to Sasuke’s bad treatment of Sakura.
Not only that, he is quick to fight “against” Sasuke with his own weapons, something that shuts Sasuke down, with no other comeback line.
18.104.22.168 Promise of a Lifetime fulfillment.
Last but not least, the last mention in terms of emotional well-being reception in this part of NaruSaku symbolism 3.2, we’re going to be talking about how Naruto’s promise to Sakura.
Despite calling her his girlfriend earlier in the war, and witnessing Sakura’s confession to Sasuke once again (which is such a bad move, but that’s not the point of this post), Naruto takes it upon himself to fulfill the promise of a lifetime he made to Sakura years back.
He is very well aware of the emotional implications of his promise, but he keeps it anyway. Through his actions and not only, Naruto demonstrates once again, that he is the sun of Sakura’s world.
1.1.2 Naruto reception of Sakura’s physical well-being.
Another aspect I wanted to talk about in NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 was Naruto’s reception of Sakura’s physical well-being. You see, he didn’t only care about her emotional one, but physical as well.
You could say he was her Sun/light in both body (physical) and soul (emotional). Let’s remember some of the most important moments.
Undeniably, one of the most important moment is when Naruto fights till the brink of death itself, to protect Sakura from getting crushed by Gaara’s sand.
In this fight we get to see an unwavering Naruto, a Naruto that’d do anything for her wellbeing. We even get to see one of his death stares, so to speak.
I think what is important to observe in this panel is that Naruto gets a certain clarity of mind when it comes to saving Sakura, one we have seldom saw in him. Throughout the story, until he befriends Kurama, he loses himself to the spirit fox in search for that destructive power to win over the enemy.
But not when it came to Sakura Haruno. And this point of clarity of mind when in a fight is strengthened later on when he summons Gamabunta.
He wants to make sure that Sakura doesn’t get hurt in any way.
The fight for Sakura’s well-being in terms of physicality is important from various points of view.
One, of course, is in the context of the NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 I’m presenting here, but it’s also for another reason. What could that other reason be?
22.214.171.124 Naruto reception of Sakura’s physical well-being and the romantic subplot.
It’s to establish Sakura as not only as one of his important bonds, but it’s also once again to reinforce the romantic subplot, and how Sakura is the one who lies at the core of it. The plot once again shows us that.
First, Naruto finds in him to fight for them both (Sakura and Sasuke) because they are his important bonds (panels on top).
But like shown in the panels on the lower side, then, the plot also puts Sakura on a different pedestal, which lays the basis of the romantic subplot.
For Sakura’s well-being, when he is about to be beaten by Shukaku, Naruto digs even deeper into his spirit. With the last remaining chakra, he summons Gamabunta.
The naysayers will say that I’m all making it up, but then the plot once more comes and confirms what I’m saying. Through Gamakichi’s talk with his own father, upon Naruto’s request to not target the area where Sakura is held hostage, the romantic subplot kicks in.
This is a clear call-back to the initial chapters that puts another brick to the romantic aspect of the series, reconfirming if it wasn’t clear enough already that love interest of the protagonist is none other than the heroine – Sakura Haruno. His that (n.b – pinky finger sign).
Now, what do we know that signifies? As presented in the panels and like other sources taught us, I leave the meaning below.
And it’s not something that gets easily brushed over, as the idea is further cemented in the next chapters.
When the aftermath of the fight is brought-up, the story decides to strengthen the idea once more through none other than Sakura’s own object of affection – Sasuke Uchiha.
The romantic subplot is not only reinforced by Naruto’s love for Sakura, but by other characters’ observation of it such as Sasuke, Kakashi, Jiraiya, Tsunade, Yamato. All of whom lead the heroine’s affection towards the hero. But that’s something to discuss on another post.
2.1 Sakura’s reception of Naruto’s treatment.
So, how is Sakura doing at the receiving end of the light’s treatment? How it affects her? What’s her emotioanl response when Naruto is involved? We’re going to go once again back down on memory lane and recall.
I feel obliged to inform you that NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 will solely focus on the reception aspect of the relationship. I feel the need to inform you this from now, so later on you don’t ask yourself where’s the part with Sakura’s actual treatment of Naruto.
That aspect will be discussed in the next part of this post, and you’ll understand why when we get there. But until we do, let’s focus on the matter at hand.
However, it is important to remember that it went from zero to hero as they say.
A simple parallel of panels shows us that.
I mean, talk about development! We have here the simple proof of it.
So how does Sakura act when Naruto openly treats her one way or the other? Let’s go back in time and recall some important moments.
2.1.1 The warm eyes that can make my dreams come true.
One of the first displays of Naruto’s treatment towards Sakura is when he disguises as Sasuke to find out her real opinion of him in Chapter 3.
Now the way Naruto did that, it’s a thing to discuss on another occasion, but in this instance Naruto presents himself rather differently than usual. While known to be a troublemaker, when he disguises as Sasuke so he can talk to Sakura, he acts different. He is more level headed, and instead of playing the clown that all he does is talk about him, he listens.
Not only that, but to Sakura’s own words he looks directly into her heart with warm eyes. On top of that, without prior knowledge of her insecurities, he manages to compliment her most hated feature – her forehead.
Naruto finds his way to Sakura’s heart, as confirmed by Sakura herself at the receiving end of his treatment. Of his warming light. That warmth Sakura receives from Naruto disguised as Sasuke makes her dream about how her most hated feature could be complimented on.
And Naruto instinctively does just that. Makes her dream a reality by saying to her, while disguised as Sasuke, the very words she wants to hear in her fantasy.
In a metaphorical way, Naruto is the light that makes her dreams a reality. And I think it’s also interesting to observe this from a panel design point of view.
When Sakura first has that dream of being complimented on her forehead, she is drawn on a dark background. But as soon as reality of actually being complimented on it hits, like she dreamed of, the panel is drawn on sun light.
So, as know from there, such treatment from Naruto only makes Sakura more confident and for the first time, she opens up to him. While it’s shown throughout the manga that when it comes to Sasuke, she tends to change her behavior, when Naruto gives her the warmth and the safe space to be herself, Sakura opens up and is really truthful.
2.1.2 Warming up to you, but not there yet.
Now that we’ve established in the previous post what Naruto’s behavior does to Sakura, let’s move to the next display of Sakura’s reception of Naruto’s treatment.
The next time Naruto showers her with the light of his love and admiration for her is when the chakra tree climbing training commences.
While Naruto and Sasuke have difficulty in climbing the tree, Sakura does it from the first go. This prompts Naruto to compliment her immediately.
He calls Sakura great and according to different translations and even the official one, he says that’s my girl/that’s the girl I put my confidence in.
He is clear and open in his support of her and her skills, even if he’s jealous.
At this point in time, although Sakura warms up to Naruto, she’s not there yet. Sure, his behavior and understanding gained prior to this moment make her slowly change. But, as shown Sakura isn’t there yet in terms of her reception of Naruto’s compliments.
2.1.3 Not your girlfriend!
The next moment we’re analyzing in NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 in terms of how Sakura perceives Naruto’s treatment is the girlfriend incident.
Konohamaru and his gang end-up calling Sakura Naruto’s girlfriend, like mentioned before. Despite not being true, but wanting to play cool in front of the kids, he treats her like such. He actually tells the kids that they are very perceptive.
How Sakura reacts to that treatment is clear in the very next panel. She immediately punches him, and as such, the scene fulfills several literary devices functions: that of part of the romantic subplot, that of comedic effect and that of build-up to the romantic subplot.
You are inclined to say how could this be a good thing in the context of NaruSaku symbolism 3.2, right? How can this be a positive example.
Well, like I said earlier, this is a step towards the process which I will come back later to. For the moment all you have to do is keep it in mind.
2.1.4 Forest of Death: you are important to me, too! So I’ll fight to protect you.
As we all remember, the Forest of Death fight is one of Sakura’s shining moments of part 1. You might be inclined to say what does this have to do with Sakura’s reception of Naruto’s treatment? Naruto is out that scene at that time.
While he may be out physically, he isn’t out metaphorically speaking, if you want to say it like that.
In her speech about her status as a ninja, Sakura also includes Naruto, reminding herself how she always used to think she is better than him just because of her academics.
The fact that Naruto has always fought to protect her, despite her always acting like holier than thou towards him, prompts Sakura to consider Naruto someone precious she wants to protect.
So when she is down and facing the threat of getting killed and her comrades as well, Naruto’s treatment towards her acts like a trigger along with the others.
She is fighting for him, too! He too, is someone important to her. His light finally reaches her and is one catalyst of change for Sakura.
2.1.5 Aftermath of the Forest of Death fight: I don’t want to worry you.
The aftermath of the Forest of Death brings us an old but new at the same time Sakura.
Quickly after Naruto wakes-up and gets aware that he’s not in the previous dangerous situation they were in, he notices Sakura’s hair and quickly goes to her.
Upon checking up on her, Sakura decides to hide her feelings towards what had happened to her hair. She tells Naruto that she decided to have an image change.
Okay so what does that have to do with NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 you ask yourself, right? Well, it’s tied-down to the previous point I made. After being on the receiving end of Naruto’s protection throughout the story, Sakura decides to make a change.
To not have Naruto worry about what happened to her, and instead take it all on her and put up a strong face in front of him.
This is rather an interesting interchange between the two, at this point. Slowly they become the sun to one another, like I talked in my previous NaruSaku symbolism post, The two suns.
For each other’s benefit, they become the light necessary to save the other from worry.
2.1.6: Chuunin exams preliminary matches: you give me strength, thank you!
Another part that I want to treat in this NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 post in regards to Sakura’s reception to Naruto’s treatment is the Chuunin exams preliminary matches.
We all remember Sakura’s match with Ino and how that went down. What’s interesting there is how Naruto treats the fact that Sakura is about to lose to Ino in the match.
Despite his rather unorthodox methods, Naruto manages to get to Sakura’s spirit and act as a trigger. He knows her so well, that he manages to speak just the right words to make her overtake Ino.
His love for her, his light, can come in many shapes and forms and this is one on display. And as presented in the panels, he manages to reach her and this is just the thing that Sakura needs to win.
That annoying Naruto is right. The meaning of the word annoying attributed to Naruto becomes cathartic for Sakura, and is now the thing she needs to become victorious.
In the end, it’s thanks to that annoying nuisance she is victorious. So she thanks him for that.
2.1.7 I can confide in you; you give me hope.
Another example of how Sakura ends up reacting at Naruto’s treatment is a something we discussed already earlier at point 126.96.36.199 – the rooftop fight and everything that surrounds that moment.
When Sasuke first starts with his rivalry battle and she gets worried, the one Sakura looks for solace in is Naruto.
This is a clear display of reception of his treatment to her. He has always treated her so well, that the one she finds security in is Naruto, of course.
Not only that, but later when things get too serious and personal, like shown before, Naruto tells her nicely to stay out of their business, in contrast with Sasuke like we saw in NaruSaku symbolism 3.1.
Whereas Sasuke’s treatment made her close off like I talked about in the previous post, Naruto’s way of handling her interfering has a different effect. Instead of closing herself out like she did with Sasuke, with Naruto she opens-up.
To Naruto’s own surprise, she even invites him out on a date, where she confides in him about the things that happened behind the scene that Naruto isn’t aware of.
In the context of NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 and 3.1 it’s actually very telling. Sasuke’s treatment which is the counterpart of darkness closes her off, while Naruto’s opens her up. The exact way a flower acts under the conditions of light and darkness.
Don’t have be believe me. Search it up. But let’s move on to the next point.
2.1.8 Promise of a lifetime: I trust you completely.
Another display of how Naruto’s treatment has made Sakura more and more receptive towards him is the all-known promise of a lifetime.
When Sasuke defects Konoha, the one Sakura goes to is Naruto. In her darkest moments, like the databook tells is, the one she turns to is Naruto.
Not only that, but as she was making the plea, she realized how well Naruto treated her. Despite what she initially thought of him.
This is the peak in terms of the light symbolism for part one. Like I said in the previous post of this series, it’s also interesting to observe the body language she has when she comes with the plea, besides the emotional response.
As long as she talks directly to Naruto, she is standing tall, open in the light. But as soon as she talks about Sasuke whose counterpart is the darkness, she starts to wilt; she closes herself off, her emotional response is negative.
2.1.9 Failing to keep the promise: I’ll get stronger with you!
Another observation in terms of emotional response that Sakura has towards Naruto is when he fails to keep his promise.
When Naruto gets back to the village, Sakura visits him and sees the state he’s in. Whereas Naruto was trying to be the light she always needs and put up a strong front bravado, Sakura decides to put his heart at rest.
She deflects the pain of not having Sasuke back. She sees how bad Naruto hurt himself to keep the promise.
Despite the pain, seeing Naruto like that makes her talk about the positives instead of focusing on the negatives. And she decides to make a change, as the plea she made to Naruto echoes to her head while the image of a hurt Naruto finds itself in front of her. Not before apologizing to him.
If in the Forest of Death Sakura changes from the scared little girl into a brave ninja, here she decides to be not just a ninja. But a strong one. One that can be there next to Naruto so next time she doesn’t have to rely on him only.
She takes matter into her own hands and decides that next time, she too, will be next to Naruto when they’ll bring Sasuke back.
This part here is once again testament of the impact the light has over the flower. As in, of course, Naruto over Sakura. Without asking for anything in return, he does all that is in his power to make her happy. To keep her safe, and her heart out of harm’s way.
Her emotional response to such positive impact is clear – Sakura being at the receiving end of that treatment starts making a real change immediately.
2.1.10 The human sacrifice – It’s you that I’m worried about.
Another moment in the manga we’re addressing in NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 is the moment Sakura finds out about Naruto’s jinchuuriki status. For those unfamiliar a jinchuuriki is a human sacrifice.
Sakura finds out about this part of Naruto’s life. It saddens her to no end when she finds out, to the point of tears, like Naruto takes note.
When Naruto tries to do his usual thing and have Sakura not worry, Sakura fights back telling him that it’s him that she’s worried about. Or tries to, before being interrupted.
It’s an interesting dynamic to observe here in terms of the emotional response that Sakura has. Of course, it’s tears, so you could say that she cries because of Naruto, too. That Naruto’s also making her cry. But that’s indirectly.
And the difference is that she doesn’t cry because it pains her. She cries because it pains him. She cries for him, not for herself.
That’s the difference in the emotional response she has.
Plus, it’s another thing that’s noteworthy: Naruto cuts her short as soon as she starts to cry. Why? Because as much as he is the light for her, this is a dark part of his being. A darkness and pain that he doesn’t want to put Sakura through.
2.1.11 The human puppet – I promised you we’d be together!
Another interesting reception of Naruto’s treatment overall that Sakura has is found in her fight with Sasori. When she’s on the brink of death by intoxication with poison, the one that comes first in Sakura’s mind is Naruto and the promise she made to him.
Driven by that promise, and the subsequent promise she made to herself to save both her teammates, she frees herself from Sasori’s poison trap.
But why is this important for the NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 you might ask, right? It’s a proof that all the metaphorical light (aka his treatment) Naruto has poured over Sakura (the flower) is in a continuous effect. That even when she’s on death’s door the light of Naruto’s treatment of her sticks with her and makes her keep going, despite the odds that seem to be not in her favor.
2.1.12 – Protecting my feelings: stop overdoing it!
Another point in the manga that we are going to cover in this series’ article is a rather insignificant to others, but significant to me. Although it can be considered a small, insignificant moment, I think it bears true weight, and let me explain you why.
When Naruto recovers after being unconscious and sees Naruto in tears, he immediately thinks it’s Sai who hurt her feelings. He immediately enters his Sakura-protecting-mode and without wanting it, he overdoes it again and comedically offends Sakura.
What’s Sakura’s emotional response to that overprotection? To comedically punch him. How can this be important in the context of NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 you ask? I mean, she’s shown punching him, how is that even positive?
Well, it’s positive by the virtue of the fact that when it’s too much, Sakura feels safe enough to put a limit. She doesn’t have to worry that he’ll respond back in a negative way like it happens in her dynamic with Sasuke.
She doesn’t have to wilt in order to cater to him. All she has to do is be herself and put a stop to it.
And for all the comedy that’s involved in this scene, it’s still a display of positive interaction in its depth.
Sure, the sun is good, but if it’s becoming too scorching, you can always limit it with an umbrella.
2.1.13 You protected our home – thank you!
The epitome of the relationship between the two and in terms of how Sakura reacts to Naruto’s treatment is the all-known scene at the end of Pein Arc.
Of course, Naruto wasn’t doing this only for Sakura specifically but she was among the ones at the receiving end of that treatment. Especially if we take into consideration the symbolical scene at the beginning.
It is at Sakura’s desperate plea for help that Naruto shows-up.
I talked more in dept about it at point 188.8.131.52 Invasion of Pein in terms of symbolism, so I won’t repeat myself once again.
However, it is important to take into consideration because this is a big moment for Sakura’s reception to Naruto’s treatment. Why? Well, let me break it down to you.
How does Sakura feel about people touching each other, which is a sign of great intimacy within the manga? We find that answer earlier in the story. Hidden like an Easter egg that cracked just now.
In the world of Naruto being so close like that to someone means being very intimate. So the fact that Sakura decides to hug Naruto in front of the whole village speaks volumes. On all accounts in terms of symbolism: personal, romantic, you name it.
It’s no wonder that the everyone in the village that assisted at the scene was blushing.
In terms of symbolism of light, it’s the moment where Sakura, the flower opened completely to the light that was Naruto, and embraced it fully and unequivocally.
2.1.14 Thank you for protecting my heart!
Another display of how Sakura reacts to the treatment of Naruto is when they meet Inari and Tazuna. Right after the Pein invasion.
When Tazuna asks where Sasuke is an puts them all in a rather uncomfortable situation, Naruto is quick to react. He shelters Sakura’s heart of any aches.
He deflects any questions that might make her uncomfortable and Sakura notices that, thanking him for it. Once again, Naruto pouring his light over her makes Sakura truly grateful to him.
2.1.15 Thank you for protecting my dream!
The next instance that we’re addressing in NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 in terms of Sakura’s reception of Naruto’s treatment is right after Team 7 meets at the Kage Summit Arc.
We all know what happened there so I won’t blab too much about it. However, we get once more a display of how thankful Sakura is for how Naruto treats her.
Once again she thanks him for how he always makes her believe in better days. Even after things have gone maybe not so well between them. But at the end of the day, they got each other’s back no matter what.
Because they understand that at the end of the day, they have each other’s best interest at heart. Even when they make mistakes.
2.1.16 I don’t want you to get hurt if that means protecting everyone.
Yet another moment I want to bring to your attention in NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 is the war arc. Respectively this moment.
As we all know, after Neji’s death Naruto’s chakra gets back and he singlehandedly protects everyone from Madara, Obito’s and TenTail’s attacks.
As the attacks get even more severe, Naruto slowly gets tired as well. He even gives a speech about how his heart aches for not having his comrades fight with him.
And who’s the one who truly understands the words that come from Naruto’s heart? None other than Sakura Haruno.
I’ve talked more in depth about that chapter in my old article Why Sakura Haruno’s speech can be considered one of the most impactful on Naruto manga.
She is the one who understands that what Naruto means. That he cannot do it all alone, that he needs help. And it’s Sakura the one who explains it all to the alliance and makes them act like shinobis.
For Naruto’s sake, she urges everyone to do the least they can do and stop relying on him that much. It speaks greatly in terms of Sakura’s character and the reception of his treatment.
She knows first hand how Naruto can burden himself with protecting the ones dear to him. But she doesn’t want to let the others do that. Especially if it’s at the expense of his own well-being.
By this time, the scales have turned. Whereas in the past it was Naruto the one who protected her constantly, in part 2, Sakura is the one doing it.
2.1.17 Meeting the in-laws: stop making me embarrassed!
We all know the infamous 631 scene. Minato joins the fray and asks Sakura if she is Naruto’s girlfriend.
We also know Naruto’s response to that question. However what we’re analyzing here is Sakura’s response to that.
So, Naruto has basically treated Sakura as his girlfriend in front of none other than his dad. What’s Sakura’s response? The well-known headbutt.
What does that symbolize in the context of Narusaku symbolism 3.2? Well, let’s take it on turns.
Of course, like we talked previously at 2.1.12 – Protecting my feelings: stop overdoing it!, the scene is meant to play the comedic relief effect. If we take it face value. But then, if we look deeper, underneath that, what is that confirming to us?
Well, first of all, by the virtue of mirroring (also known paralleling), Kishimoto once again confirms that Naruto and Sakura are the two suns of the story. By this time, Sakura has transcended the flower symbolism herself. Given Naruto’s continuous pouring of light over her, she is now a sun herself.
But what is this besides that? Why the reaction to that treatment?
Well we find the answer in previous chapters of Naruto.
184.108.40.206 The nature of embarrassment.
Like discussed before, Sakura is rather a private person. Like we talked at point 2.1.3 whenever intimacy is concerned, she doesn’t easily display her most intimate thoughts. Or anything related to that. She is a private person. Inner Sakura is the epitome of proof in this case.
So, what does Naruto do? He states out in the open something that is quite intimate for her, and she gets flustered/embarrassed. Especially when someone has hit the spot aka guessed exactly the truth about her or a situation she’s in. How can we know that? Let’s look back at similar instances.
How does Sakura react when the subject of intimacy comes to play? She reacts as overly embarrassed. Same way she reacts in 631.
Of course, one is inclined to say that well, if she’s embarrassed, it doesn’t mean she agrees with it. To which I respond with the following panel.
Sakura reacts embarrassed like this when she is caught with a truth she doesn’t want to admit to. She headbuts Naruto in the same fashion she punches Konohamaru for showcasing the perverted ninjutsu.
But like the narrative shows us through Konohamaru’s character, she is very much on the same page as they are. She just doesn’t want to admit it to herself and others. A very similar case to 631.
Now that we’ve cleared this up, let’s move to the next point.
2.1.18: Don’t pamper me! I can be strong, too!
The next moment from the manga we’re addressing in NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 is Team 7’s reunion moment.
After healing him for a long time, Naruto is his usual self. Wanting to protect Sakura like always, tells her to get rest. But Sakura isn’t having any of that.
She directly addresses his overprotection and stands her ground in her status. She isn’t the little Sakura that needs protection all the time anymore. Makes it clear to Naruto that she can take care of herself. He can stop with the overprotection, now.
Naruto understands that completely and with a warm smile, he is happy to have her join the attack.
Once again this speaks loudly in terms of how freely Sakura feels to be the best version of herself when she is around Naruto. No sign of feeling pressured to be anything that she’s not.
She is her best, authentic version of herself around him: strong, confident, fierce.
2.1.19 Madara fight: don’t worry, I’m fine!
The next time Sakura is at the receiving end of Naruto’s treatment, is when she acts as a decoy for Madara.
He immediately jumps to her rescue when he sees her impaled. She immediately puts him out of worry’s way. Assures him that he doesn’t have to worry about her. The tides have turned. In the past Naruto was the one telling her not to worry about him being hurt.
Now it’s viceversa. Sakura tells him not to worry.
2.1.20 Kaguya fight: Thank you for always protecting and believing in me, Naruto!
And the last moment we’re discussing in today’s article NaruSaku symbolism 3.2 is the infamous Kaguya fight.
We all know it. The team gets teleported to another dimension. Sasuke ends up offending and hurting Sakura with his remarks. And despite plot proving Sasuke otherwise later in the story, for the moment Sakura believes that Sasuke is right.
However, like always it’s Naruto’s light, love and protection that makes Sakura step forward, despite the harsh words Sasuke says.
NaruSaku symbolism 3.2: Conclusion
We are finally here. At the end of it all. So what is the conclusion to draw? What is the Sun/Light’s effect over the flower of this story? How is Naruto’s treatment is influencing Sakura’s behavior? What is her emotional response to that treatment?
We’ve seen it all here. When she’s at the receiving end of Naruto’s treatment Sakura Haruno becomes the best version of herself. She is strong, confident, authentic, true to herself, daring, bold. She surpasses her limits and becomes the best version of herself.
Naruto’s treatment has a positive impact on Sakura and stays true to its symbolism. All throughout the end. He is the sun whose light opens up the flower radiate in all her beauty, strength and wisdom.
She opens up. She grows. Studies. Becomes better. Takes action. Changes. Fights. Doesn’t back down. Takes challenges head on. Supports. Keeps her promises. Keeps her head held high. Even at the cost of her own life.
And I end it here.
If you read this all through its end, thank you! For your time to read this article. For your patience to read until the end.
Hope you enjoy reading it! As I enjoyed writing it.
Yours truly like always,