If you are looking for a controversial character, look no further than Naruto’s very own Sakura Haruno. The third and final member of the infamous Team 7.
Regarded by some as a useless piece of hot trash, and by some as “best girl”.The opinions on this girl are very mixed.
I want to put this up. I do not dislike Sakura Haruno, she is my favorite female character in the Naruto anime. Mainly because there is no good selection of female characters in the entire anime, but yeah.
I also want to say, I have not finished with the anime yet. I’m over halfway done with Shippuden. Probably passed the 300th episode mark. I don’t know. It’s been months since I last saw the anime, and so many other anime have been on my watch list that I haven’t gotten around to finishing them. Also because I got all the spoilers from social media.
All that aside, Sakura Haruno is a weird character. She is weird because she is such a conflicting character. She can be god awful, or, to say it in simple terms. Quite amazing.
Now give me a minute here. I know a good majority of you are whining saying “She sucks”, “She is a useless piece of trash” or other nasty insults. And, I hear you.
And allow me to prove you right for a few moments.
How Sakura Haruno Failed Our Expectations
Masashi Kishimoto gave us the masterpiece of Naruto, but what he couldn’t give us was proper female characters. There are many problems with Sakura Haruno. One of the major problems in the writing of Sakura Haruno is her constant stating she is now independent, and that she can take care of herself. And then two seconds later she screams at Naruto to help her or yells at him to get up and do better. While she sits there watching and does nothing herself.
She does nothing in fights. Except beg for her teammates to come to her rescue. She never truly held her own in any battles, except for the battle against Sasori. The other battles she fought were complete jokes.
Naruto was always getting her out of these problems. Without him, only the gods know what would’ve happened to her. On top of that. She is always smacking the poor boy.
I wouldn’t be surprised if she punched Naruto in the face, more than she hit an enemy in any way. I know this was used as comedic relief. But let’s be honest. Physical Abuse of your friends is hardly funny. If I punched my male friends even once, that friendship is over. It doesn’t matter if it is my decade-long friends or my year-long friends. It’s done. Naruto deserved better than that treatment.
The problem is, Kishimoto isn’t very good at writing female characters. The characters from his manga, we so love, are all male. Any main female character is controversial, and the actual good ones don’t play a huge role in the story. He gave us an amazing story, that is very true. One character that isn’t well developed is one thing. But half of the entire cast is looked down upon.
Kishimoto introduced the idea that Sakura Haruno would be an amazing Genjutsu user, a fact said to us though I believed Kakashi.
Sakura Haruno being a genjutsu user would’ve improved her character. By a lot. She could’ve had a proper skill. Yes, she could punch hard. But neither of these “talents” proved to be useful. It would have been immensely satisfying seeing Sakura, a sweet-looking girl (who we know isn’t sweet at all), torture her enemies using her genjutsu.
And the final problem I had with Sakura, was her marrying Sasuke (this was one of the spoilers I got so yee). Bruh, girl… no. Like, I am sorry, where did this come from? Babes, one moment he was trying to murder you and the next you have a kid with him. No sane person would ever marry their near-murderer. It (like so many other relationships in Naruto) seemed so forced. There was no chemistry. At all. I do not call this an enemies-to-lovers story. I call it stupidity.
How Sakura Haruno Exceeded Our Expectations
Ok, so I finished going over all the ways Sakura Haruno was a pain to deal with. But let me now bring up the second half of my argument. How she did some good in the anime.
Let’s be honest. She was actually a pretty good friend. Apart from the whole, smacking Naruto thing, which I am not gonna defend in the slightest. She seemed to actually care for her comrades. Sakura Haruno saved Naruto’s life a few times by healing him with her healing jujutsu. She always stood behind him, as he climbed the ladder to become Hokage.
For a girl who loves to punch the heck out of Naruto, she never hindered him in his attempts to become the top man of the village. Many times she went out of her way to help him, even if she had to sacrifice something in turn. During the chunin exams, she was ready to give up on the first test, because if they were to fail the final test, they would never be able to take the chunin exams again.
She was ready to call it quits because she didn’t want Naruto’s dream to be trampled upon. She wanted him to have the chance to make his dream come true. That was one of the situations where she put him over herself.
She, on multiple occasions, saved his life. Even if his life wasn’t in danger. Being injured while fighting an enemy would increase his chances of certain death. She even saved his life when he was at death’s door. She used her skills as a doctor to save his life, along with hundreds of others. She may not have been that great of a fighter.
But my gods, a doctor with a scalpel is as valuable as a soldier with a gun. The number of lives she saved was astronomical. We can always see her healing men, so when they are thrown back into the field, they’re more likely to survive. A doctor is valuable too. Very valuable. A fact that is often overlooked when people judge Sakura Haruno as a character.
And keep this in mind. Everything she accomplished, pales when compared to Sasuke, Naruto, and Kakashi. Because she had nothing to her name. She wasn’t born into a prestigious clan, she doesn’t have a powerful demon inside of her, and she didn’t have an amazing ninja for a father.
She came from a regular family and was a regular girl. She worked from square one to get where she was. Comparing her to her three teammates is like comparing a middle-class girl becoming a millionaire, and a millionaire becoming a billionaire. It’s far easier to turn millions into billions than it is to turn $50,000 into millions. Now I am not saying it is wrong to have a headstart, but having a headstart really can make a difference.
Jiraiya mentored Naruto because he was his mentee’s son and because Jiraiya knew Naruto had the 9 tailed fox in him. A tailed beast whose jinchuriki had to know how to contain. So, by pure luck of birth, Naruto got the man who trained the 4th Hokage as his mentor.
Sakura Haruno had to ask Tsunade herself to be tutored. Tsunade has no “village” obligation to train this girl. But she saw something in Sakura Haruno that made her agree. That was all her hard work.
And let’s be honest, she did become strong. Sakura Haruno managed to defeat an Akatsuki member with the help of Grandma Chiyo. She used her fists and her brain to bring him down. He was the first Akatsuki member killed. She was responsible for being the first to kill an Akatsuki member. A rogue ninja group that the Leaf Village wanted dead. And she was the first.
Yes, her skills weren’t very good. But that was because of bad writing. She had good potential, but it was never shown.
Sakura Haruno isn’t a useless girl. Just a bad character. A badly written character. She could’ve been so much better. All she had to do, was fight more and simp less. It wouldn’t have been that hard to make her likable. Have her throw more punches toward the enemy (preferably Sasuke) and less at Naruto. And for this. I am conflicted about whether she was a good character or a bad character.
What do you think? Did she exceed our expectations? Or did she fall low?