On the Cusp of Enlightenment

Looking for answers? In need of advice from a Taurus-sun, Virgo-moon, Gemini-rising? Think you can stump me? Email Simone at simone.a.levy@lawrence.edu with your own questions and you just might be featured in next week’s column.

Dear Simone, 

Why should I give a care about Sakura Haruno? She is just a dumb pink-haired ninja. 

Yours, 

Hugh Jass 

Dear Mr. Jass, 

As the premier authority on all things Naruto, I, Simone, plan to educate you plebs on the so often overlooked merits of the best ninja in the Naruto franchise. No, it is not the titular Naruto, and it is definitely not Sasuke. It was almost Might Guy, but alas, Sakura Uchiha, née Haruno, the Leaf Village’s pink-haired underdog is crowned the king of the ninjas, and here is why.

First, a bit of context. Sakura Haruno’s modest background immediately differentiates her from the fantastic and often tragic backgrounds of her fellow characters, Naruto and Sasuke. Throughout Shinobi school, she studied hard and relied on book smarts to avoid conflicts with others. However, upon being assigned to Team Seven alongside Naruto and her love, Sasuke, Sakura quickly realizes she did not want to rely on her teammates to rescue her every time she fell into harm’s way and therefore decided to dedicate three years to training her physical dexterity and ninja skills in order to become stronger. This strength is also exhibited in her absolute willingness to lay her life down for either of her teammates, Naruto or Sasuke. 

It is also important to understand Sakura’s training. A large portion of Sakura’s strength is thanks to master Tsunade’s expert training techniques. All of Team Seven trained with one of the three legendary Sannin, of which Tsunade is one, alongside Jiraiya who trained Naruto and Urochimaru who trained Sasuke. Tsunade, who is head of the Leaf Village, referred to as the Hokage, obviously, imparted a contempt for losing as well as an indelible and absolutely unbending will onto Sakura, which assured her victory in almost all of her battles. Instead of letting her allies risk their lives, Sakura began fighting enemies herself, and through her staunch stance on competition, she was assured a win. Now of course, Tsunade gave Sakura more than just an ideological teaching. She helped Sakura become just the second ninja to ever learn the 100 healings jutsu—a forbidden technique developed by Tsunade herself. In addition, Tsunade’s specialty of medical ninjutsu was passed down to Sakura as well, and her skills have now matched if not surpassed that of her teacher. 

So why is it seen as “cool” to hate on Sakura? We all know that Sakura isn’t Naruto or Sasuke. No, she doesn’t house any hidden tailed beasts within her, nor does she hail from the Uchiha clan with their Kekkei Genkai, or sharingan eyes, that allow them to copy jutsu. She has nothing that makes her stand out on her own and therefore has had to work from the ground up to gain any amount of recognition like the kind that Naruto and Sasuke get. Even characters like Neji and Hinata were born with the silver spoon in their mouths that is their Byakugan, a Dojutsu that grants its user a virtually full 360 degree field of vision along with an enhanced clarity and insight into opponent’s chakra and the general flow of events poised to happen. 

So she isn’t born special, and that makes it cool for Naruto fans to hate all over her. 

While Sasuke and Naruto are basically living as gods in their fighting abilities, it is remarkable that Sakura is able to stay with them and remain on their level of battle abilities. 

For Sakura to be a valuable part of Team Seven even though she is so often underrated, underutilized and underappreciated is telling of her sheer strength. She has built herself up through dedication and wit and a relentless appetite to be stronger than before. She stands next to the future Hokage and her future husband, matching their same poise and power on the battlefield. 

Arguably, the fourth shinobi war would have been lost without Sakura, as her healing medical jutsu was so desperately needed on the field and neither Naruto nor Sasuke could match her swift and adept ability to perform medical ninjutsu. 

Whether you believe the truth that Sakura is the strongest ninja in the ninja world or not, I hope you can at least appreciate her immense power that is slept on by many Naruto fans, yourself included, for no reason other than her modest upbringing and perhaps her pink hair. 

Signed,

Simone

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