Did Sakura Catch Up to Naruto and Sasuke? Let’s Discuss!
Even though the Naruto manga ended back in 2014 and then gave rise to the Boruto manga series in 2016, one character that is still able to cause heated arguments in the fandom is Sakura Haruno. Did she really catch up to Naruto and Sasuke during the War arc? How does she fare in the Boruto timeline? Let’s try and find out.
I decided to write this post because I continue to notice a lot of online hate being thrown toward Sakura Haruno. It’s kind of surprising that certain Naruto fans still hate (or, at least, strongly dislike) a fictional character who debuted back in the late ’90s.
Now, there are some fans who dislike her because she didn’t reciprocate Naruto’s romantic feelings for her. As far as my opinion goes, women should be allowed to love who they want. A guy being nice to them doesn’t mean they should love him back romantically. And, in a sense, I don’t like her being paired up with Sasuke, either. The Sakura/Sasuke relationship is very problematic, even though they seemed to have worked out some of their issues after they got together.
Anyway, the point is, I’m not going to focus on romantic relationships in this article. If you don’t like Sakura because she was mean to Naruto, then that’s something you’ll need to deal with.
I’m more interested in answering whether or not Sakura was able to catch up to Naruto and Sasuke. Also, yes, I do blame Masashi Kishimoto for not being able to better write fictional women in the Naruto manga. With Sakura being a member of Team 7, she could have had well-written moments of character development throughout the series. A lot of her potential remained untapped by Kishimoto.
Anyway, she did experience impressive growth in the Naruto-centric novels and will likely be treated well in the Boruto manga. But I’ll talk about all of that a bit later.
So, where did the current argument stem from?
In Naruto manga chapter 632, Sakura was finally able to activate the Byakugo Seal and use her increased strength. She demonstrated that a single punch from her (without releasing the Byakugo Seal on her forehead) possessed the destructive power of a small nuclear blast.
To give you an idea of the scale, the weird-looking little dark specs in the image below are monsters created by the Ten-Tails. They’re also supposed to be taller and bigger than an average person. The explosion shown is because of a single punch from Sakura.
After showcasing such a feat, Sakura thought she had finally caught up to Naruto and Sasuke.
Not only that, her ability was praised by Shizune and freaking Hashirama. She even got a smile from Sasuke of all people!
But, of course, the fandom was divided back then and continues to be. One of the reasons behind such discourse is how Kishimoto, even after giving Sakura certain powerups, didn’t write her role well as the War continued after this scene. I still can’t get over how she hesitated to destroy Obito’s Rinnegan when he was practically begging her to do it.
Again, this isn’t an article about Kishimoto’s poor writing choices (especially when it came to fictional women).
So, did Sakura Haruno finally catch up to Naruto and Sasuke?
Well, the answer depends on your understanding of what’s meant by catching up with someone in the Naruto franchise.
Due to Naruto and Sasuke basically being reincarnations of deities, Sakura can never really be on their level. No ordinary human can.
When Sakura thought she had finally caught up to Naruto and Sasuke, it was more about finally being able to stand next to them instead of always getting in the way or being a liability during battles (which she was before).
Being able to fight alongside Naruto and Sasuke as well as protect them both (which she had done on multiple occasions even when the odds were stacked against her) had always been Sakura’s goal. And she finally achieved that goal during the War arc.
Even though Naruto and Sasuke received more incredible powerups during the War arc, Sakura still managed to offer them her support.
According to the data books by Kishimoto, Sakura has impressive stats when it comes to her strength, speed, intelligence, etc. Apparently, (during the War arc) with her Byakugo Seal released, she matched Naruto and Sasuke in overall power-levels before the two young men got the Sage of the Six Paths chakra infusions.
In a sense, being strong enough to effectively work with two God-level ninjas during battles is an impressive feat in itself. Sakura’s goal was never to surpass her teammates. It was always about offering support and making sure she was able to protect them when they needed it.
Also, while Sasuke and Naruto seem to have reached their power-level peaks during the War arc, fortunately, Sakura has continued to grow.
In her solo novel Sakura Hiden – Thoughts of Love, Riding Upon a Spring Breeze, she demonstrated having become a ninja who was undoubtedly higher than what others in the Naruto lore would consider the requirement for becoming a Kage. During the Boruto timeline, she fought Shin Uchiha while being ill.
However, in my opinion, one of the biggest examples of Sakura being Naruto and Sasuke’s equal as a member of Team 7 came from the Sasuke Retsuden novel (released in August). The story showed that while Naruto and Sasuke are basically two sides of the same coin, Sakura is someone who can compliment both sides because (again) she’s their equal in the overall sense. She’s different from Naruto and Sasuke. Not lesser than them as a ninja.
In the novel, Sasuke wouldn’t have been able to complete his mission to save Naruto without Sakura’s intellect and strategic planning. She even created a new Sensory-type Jutsu which only she was able to use (as of yet).
I think the growth Sakura’s continued to experience has to do with other writers working on her even though Kishimoto is in charge of overseeing the entire process. While Kishimoto’s admitted he didn’t treat Sakura well, it’s satisfying to see him not stopping other talented individuals from giving Sakura the development she’s deserving of as the lead woman in the Naruto franchise and a highly respected character in the Boruto franchise.
Fingers crossed we get to see more awesome stuff from Sakura to let the fandom understand why she could support Naruto and Sasuke in the War arc as well become one of the strongest ninjas in the Naruto and Boruto franchises.
The ending of Boruto manga issue 39 did set the stage for Sakura to play a major role in the story. Let’s see what happens.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
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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