Monday, June 24, 2013

Character Analysis: Haruno Sakura

HARUNO SAKURA: She is a bad character. You’re right

One would argue that Haruno Sakura is a bad character because she is useless, but this argument could be easily countered by the fact that Sakura is a medical ninja. Even though she has not contributed much in terms of raw power, she has helped maintain the ninja forces by catering to their medical needs.

Power level does not make a character bad. Look at Iruka, he’s a fine character despite being relatively weak. What makes a character bad is her depth and development -- and these are where Haruno Sakura falls short. That is why she is a bad character.

In the beginning of the series, she is known as the girl who doesn’t really care much about her ninja career. She just indulges herself in her own feminine sensibilities. Even though this is annoying, she is able to leave an impression -- and that’s the important part. The audience actually has a reaction to her, meaning that she is not just a paper cutout, meaning that she has depth as a character.

Further in the series, she realizes her own shortcomings and tries to catch up to her teammates -- Naruto and Sasuke. This is good character development. She continues to develop up to the early part of Shippuden, where she is established as a medical ninja with great chakra control and has the potential to surpass even Tsunade of the Sannin. This growth is, I must admit, very satisfying for me as an audience; and I couldn’t help but feel excited for her.

But this excitement didn’t last long. She started to be overshadowed by Naruto and Sasuke’s storylines.

After winning the fight with Sasori of the Akatsuki, Haruno Sakura barely has screen time, as the story focuses more on the tailed-beasts and the Uchiha. It’s as if she has no bearing in the story anymore. This is not a problem if she is not a main character, but she is! She has to be one of the main pillars that support the story. And if the audience doesn’t see her perspective in the overall scheme of things, it just means that she has failed as a main character.

Sakura vs. Sasori

It seems that Kishimoto notices this, and so he makes a desperate attempt to add her to the story again during the Kage Summit, where she swears to stop Sasuke by herself -- but then she chickens out. This is negative character development.

What makes this as such is the fact that she has already sworn over and over again that when the time comes, she will be able to put her feelings aside and eliminate Sasuke with her own hands -- but she couldn’t. Now she’s back to her whiny self that we have all seen pre-timeskip. All her growth goes down the drain.

Aside from this negative character development, Haruno Sakura also suffers from her failure to live up to the audience’s expectations. As I said earlier, she is established as a medical ninja who can surpass Tsunade, but she has not made any significant progress in her skills that could suggest her surpassing of the Sannin.

This makes her recent power-up very problematic, because there have been no subtle hints that have suggested that she finally “caught up” to Naruto and Sasuke. It just pops out of nowhere! I’m thinking that this is just another desperate attempt of Kishimoto to bring her character back to the series.

Haruno Sakura is a good character in the early part of the series, but further on she is nothing but a remnant of the old storylines, and Kishimoto is just trying to sustain her since she is originally a main character. Overall, this is not Haruno Sakura’s fault. I blame Kishimoto for diving too deep in the Uchiha lore that he forgets about the other main character that has so much potential to be awesome.

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  1. I agree with you. It's not sakuras fault that her character is overshadowed by naruto and sasuke. Kishimoto-san just doesn't seem to care for her. In spite of her shortcomings she is still my most favorite character. I personally think that she is awesome

    1. Yes, she is an awesome character. But she doesn't live up to her potential because of Kishimoto's writing. Glad that we agree!

  2. I'm curious as to what you think about Sakura now that the series is over.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Of all the characters created by Kishimoto, Sakura was by far the one that more disappointed me. She had a great potential, but was terribly wasted. I disagree when say that Sakura is a useless and weak character. No, she is very strong and useful, compared to who she was at the beginning of the story. But her character development, especially in relation to Sasuke, it was really bad bad bad. It was simply unacceptable the way that Kishimoto treated Sakura in this point. At all times she had the opportunity to punch the face of Sasuke, Kishimoto always did some fucking character meddle in front her. When there was no one in front, she was crying and having to be saved again. That was very, very annoying. Sasuke deserved to have some teeth broken by Sakura, as a matter of honor and dignity for her, but it never happened because Kishimoto, that son of bitch, not wanted this.