Minato Wins NARUTOP99 Fan Poll

NARUTOP99 Illustration

The much-anticipated results of the NARUTOP99 fan poll have been revealed. Minato won the top spot followed by Itachi Uchiha and Sakura Haruno!

If you have been keeping up with the fandom chatter during the NARUTOP99 voting process, I think the final Top 3 didn’t come as a surprise. Everyone knew that Minato, Itachi, and Sakura were going to rank the highest. However, their actual positions led to a lot of discussions (and certain arguments about Sakura not deserving of the top spot) while fans waited for the results.

As a fan of Sakura Haruno, I’m glad to see her in the Top 3. She’s the only female character ranked that high, with Hinata being the second female character and coming in at number 10.

Due to Minato winning the poll, fans can look forward to a special short manga by Masashi Kishimoto being released soon. From the message that Kishimoto shared about the results, the Minato-centric manga ended up being longer than anticipated. The story will dive into the secret being Minato’s Jutsu. So, I guess we will get learn more about the Rasengan? I wanted to learn more about the Flying Raijin. But oh well.

Kishimoto also stated how proud he felt as a writer after seeing Sakura ranking so high and being loved around the globe. I get where Kishimoto is coming from, but frankly, Sakura is beloved as a character in spite of how poorly Kishimoto wrote her in Naruto.

Being a Sakura stan still continues to be an uphill battle. The “Sakura is Useless” memes are still a thing in the Naruto fandom. And yes, Kishimoto is responsible for such memes being created in the first place. When you analyze Sakura Haruno’s character arc objectively, she was not treated well by Kishimoto, even though she’s supposed to be the female lead in Naruto.

While she didn’t win, I hope all of the fan votes make TPTB realize that fans want more Sakura content. I still have my fingers crossed that one of these days the highly-enjoyable Sakura Hiden novel gets an anime and/or a manga adaptation. More Naruto/Boruto fans need to see the power levels that Sakrua demonstrated in Sakura Hiden.

Message from Masashi Kishimoto

As for the latest illustration by Kishimoto, I liked how he focused on the Top 3 by placing them in the middle. I also liked how the characters are close to the people they share a bond with. And while I would have wanted Hashirama and Madara to be closer, having them in their current positions does make artistic sense.

And yes to the expression Kishimoto decided to give Sakura. The rest of the characters are more or less in serious poses, but not Sakura. She has her tongue out and is winking. I have a feeling that even Kishimoto realized that seeing Sakura in the Top 3 had certain members of the Naruto fandom pressed. So, he went all in!

Cope, Sakura haters! Cope! Ha!

During the voting period of December 18, 2022 – January 31, 2023, approximately 4.6 million votes were cast. You can see a more in-depth analysis of the vote breakdown by visiting the official NARUTOP99 website.

Where did your favorite character rank?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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