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Monday, August 18, 2008

Sakura Haruno


Sakura Haruno (春野サクラ, Haruno Sakura) is a main character in the anime and manga series Naruto.

The name "Haruno" means "spring" and "Sakura" means "cherry blossom", which is cherished in Japan due to its beauty and almost tragically short life span (sakura blossoms have historically been associated with samurai). In Japanese "Haru no Sakura" means "cherry blossom of spring" which may be an origin of the name.

In the June 2006 issue of the American version of Shonen Jump, Masashi Kishimoto (in the voice of Kakashi) stated that Sakura would make the best ninja instructor and that "she has flaws in her personality, like stalking Sasuke, but Sakura is the closest to being normal".

In Shonen Jump's character popularity polls, Sakura is frequently in the Top 10, making the Top 5 once.

Background

Sakura Haruno is a member of Kakashi Hatake's Team 7, originally consisting of herself, Naruto Uzumaki, and Sasuke Uchiha. Contrary to her teammates, Sakura did not experience any kind of tragedy during her childhood. Because of this, she takes for granted things Naruto and Sasuke wish they had, most particularly a loving parent. Sakura's favorite foods are syrup-coated anko dumplings and umeboshi, with her least favorite being anything spicy. Her favorite phrases are "courage" (勇気, Yūki) and "Hell yeah!" ("Shannaro!").

[edit] Personality

At the start of the series, Sakura has a deep infatuation for Sasuke Uchiha, rooted primarily in his good looks, cool attitude, and prodigious talents. Because of this, many of Sakura's early appearances are dedicated to her continuing effort to win his affection. As time progressed, and she began to know Sasuke more as a teammate instead of the cool, mysterious boy she had a crush on, she both grew to love him as a person and began to fear that he would eventually leave her in his quest for power. When Sasuke finally defects from Konoha, Sakura offers to join him in his self destructive quest for revenge rather than leave his side, an offer Sasuke refuses. She has since joined Naruto in his quest to bring Sasuke back, even adopting Naruto's notion to use force to bring him back to Konoha.

Sakura's relationship with Naruto Uzumaki, like with Sasuke, also changes throughout the series. Despite Naruto's crush on her, Sakura, as with the rest of the village, saw Naruto as a burden, and was less than enthusiastic at being assigned to the same team as him. Due to his attempts to win her heart, which in turn ruins her chances to win Sasuke's, Sakura viewed Naruto as a talentless idiot out to ruin her life. However, similar to Sasuke, as they spent more time together as teammates, Sakura came to realize that her initial view of Naruto was wrong. When Sasuke defected from Konoha, she turns to Naruto believing him to be the only one able to bring Sasuke back. As such Naruto would in turn dedicate his next mission and 2 1/2 years of training to fulfill this promise. After the failed Retrieval mission, Sakura resolves that she will help Naruto the next time he attempts to rescue Sasuke. By Part II, when she learns the extent of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox's relationship with Naruto, and the Akatsuki's goal to capture Naruto she has grown a desire to protect Naruto herself. Yamato would comment that Sakura may feel something more for Naruto while she was healing him after his four-tailed transformation, but the unconcious Naruto woke up before he could finish.

Within Sakura resides "Inner Sakura," a manifestation of her inner emotions. In addition to comic relief, Inner Sakura represents Sakura's actual opinion on things when she outwardly displays something opposite. Inner Sakura's appearances are typically marked by an exclamation of "Shānnarō" (しゃーんなろー). The phrase has no literal meaning, but is usually translated as "hell yeah," "hell no," or "damn it" depending on the situation. The English dub, for censorship reasons replaced the aforementioned phrases with a forceful "Cha!" Inner Sakura is unique as it is in a way a second will within Sakura's mind. When the Mind Body Switch Technique was used on her, Inner Sakura was able to repel the user from her body. Although she appears quite frequently at the start of the series, Inner Sakura all but disappears midway through Part I, her only other appearance being at the start of Part II. The reason behind this is that she no longer needs to hide her true feelings or reactions behind a fake smile, finally allowing herself to truely say whats on her mind. However because Inner Sakura usually possessed somewhat violent reaction to things, Sakura is prone to violent outbursts which is not helped by a her chakra enhanced strength.

[edit] Sakura and Ino

During her early years in the Academy, Sakura was frequently bullied by others due to her large forehead. To try and combat this, Sakura used her bangs to hide her forehead, fueling the other kids' teasing by indicating she was sensitive about it. Ino Yamanaka, realizing this, gave Sakura a ribbon to accent her face and help Sakura overcome her phobia about her forehead. As such, the two became good friends and Sakura was in time able to develop her own unique personality thanks to Ino. Despite this, Sakura felt she was living in Ino's shadow and longed to be able to prove herself as Ino's equal. When it later became clear that both were infatuated with Sasuke Uchiha, Sakura ended their friendship so that the two could properly compete for Sasuke's affection, beginning a bitter rivalry between the two.

Later, during the Chunin exams the two rekindle their friendship but still consistently argue over guys. They mainly fight over Sasuke and lately, Ino has fought for Sai believing Sakura wants him for herself.

[edit] Abilities

At the start of the series, Sakura's only defining characteristic is her intelligence, largely due to her interest in memorizing things and the taking of quizzes while in the Academy. Because of this, Sakura is unable to contribute largely in battles, her stamina and overall talent being below average. Soon after the start of her first mission, however, Sakura discovers that she has an excellent control over her chakra, and as such she can use jutsu to their maximum efficiency. While this particular ability is never put to great use in Part I, it becomes a focal point of Sakura's fighting style in Part II.

Sakura's natural control of her chakra has been taken to new heights over the timeskip, an ability utilized to its fullest by the training she has done with Tsunade. With her excellent chakra control, Sakura has turned into an excellent combat Medic-nin, and has shown herself to be able to heal fatal injuries with relatively little effort even when more experienced medics would deem it a lost cause. In her training to become a Medic-nin, Sakura has also acquired the ability to pick up on an enemy's movements in a short period of time, a good medic needing to be able to survive a battle if they are to fulfill their purpose.

If she cannot avoid a battle, Sakura can rely on the strength taught to her by Tsunade. By building up and releasing her chakra with precise timing, Sakura can easily decimate any obstacle and turn it to rubble. Over time and through repeated use, Sakura has become able to use this strength instinctively and does not need to put any effort into using it. This strength, coupled with her medical expertise and her new disposition she gains over the timeskip has caused many to see Sakura as another Tsunade; perhaps even capable of surpassing her master.

[edit] Part I

[edit] Survival Test arc

Upon being assigned as a member of Team 7, Sakura spends much her time trying to appeal to Sasuke despite the fact that Sasuke has no interest in her and has a habit of belittling her. All the while, Naruto tries to appeal to Sakura, despite the fact that she has no interest in him and degrades him whenever given the opportunity. As such, when Kakashi administers a test on the three to see if they will be allowed to become Genin, Sakura preoccupies herself with following Sasuke instead of helping Naruto. After Kakashi lectures Sakura for this as well as Naruto and Sasuke for their respective faults, Sakura realizes that if they are to become Genin, they will need to work as a team, even if that means breaking the rules. This revelation having been the goal of the test, Kakashi passes the three, Team 7 being the first group to have ever passed his test.

[edit] Wave Country arc

When Team 7 sets out on their first mission to the Land of Waves, Sakura is left in charge of protecting Tazuna while Naruto, Sasuke, and Kakashi fight the enemy. When Sasuke appears to have died in battle, Sakura violates Shinobi Rule #25 of not showing any kind of emotions by crying for Sasuke's loss. When Sasuke turns out to have only been in a death-trance, Sakura is relieved that he is alive. Once their mission is completed, Team 7 returns to Konoha.

[edit] Chunin Exam arc

During the written portion of the Chunin Exams, Sakura is one of the few Genin capable of answering the test's questions without cheating. Realizing that Naruto isn't smart enough to answer the questions correctly or think of cheating, Sakura contemplates disqualifying Team 7 so that Naruto doesn't need to. She thinks about Naruto's dream of becoming Hokage, and she smiles and says that she doesn't want his dream to die. When Naruto proclaims that he won't back down from the test, Sakura decides against it, and Team 7 passes.

Soon after the start of the second phase of the Chunin Exams, Team 7 is attacked by Orochimaru. Although Naruto and Sasuke do their best to defeat Orochimaru, both are rendered unconscious and Sakura is left to take care of them. When they are attacked by a group of Sound Genin sent by Orochimaru to kill Sasuke, Sakura tries to defeat them with some traps she had preprepared, though the group easily avoids her efforts. Just as the Sound Genin are about to turn their attention to Sakura, Rock Lee comes to her rescue, determined to protect Sakura at all costs. Despite using techniques he was forbidden to use, Lee is defeated and the Sound Genin again turn their attention to Sakura. Kin Tsuchi immobilizes Sakura by grabbing her hair, scolding her for putting more effort in her looks than her abilities as a ninja. Distraught that people are always fighting for her because she can't fight for herself, Sakura resolves to better herself as a ninja. Cutting off her hair to release herself from Kin's grasp, Sakura does what she can to fend off the Sound Genin, even going so far as biting to make sure that she can't be easily repelled. This display spurs Ino and her team into coming to Sakura's aid, allowing the latter to rest. An unconscious Sasuke re-awakens after receiving Orochimaru's cursed mark, and asks Sakura who injured her. Quickly overcome by his new cursed mark, he begins a violent rampage on the sound nins who are present. Frightened by his new behavior, a tearful Sakura rushes to his side and wraps her arms around him, begging him to stop. Her tearful words and embrace get through to him, and his cursed seal quickly recedes.

In the preliminary matches of the exam, Sakura is pitted against Ino. After Sakura and Ino exchange insults, Ino follows Sakura's earlier example and cuts her hair, leading Sakura to believe that Ino has lost her mind. In actuality, Ino cut her hair to help her in battle; by sending chakra into her cut hair, Ino is able to tie Sakura in place, allowing her slow moving Mind Body Switch Technique to have no difficulties in finding its target. After taking control of Sakura's body, Ino tries to force Sakura to forfeit, though Inner Sakura stops Ino before she can do so and forces Ino from her body. With both girls exhausted from the amount of effort they've been putting into their fight, Ino and Sakura charge at each other to deal final blows. Striking each other simultaneously, both are knocked out, leading to a draw. As the two recover, Ino and Sakura begin to rekindle their friendship.

When the invasion of Konoha begins, Sakura is one of the few Genin present who is able to repel the sleep inducing genjutsu, in large part due to her control over her own chakra. Because of this, Sakura is assigned by Kakashi to wake Naruto so that they can follow Sasuke. Upon catching up with Sasuke, Sakura protects him from Gaara's attacks, though Gaara uses his sand to immobilize her. As the sand slowly suffocates Sakura, Naruto fights to defeat Gaara, determined to save her. He succeeds, and Sakura is freed.

[edit] Sasuke Retrieval arc

When Sasuke attempts to abandon Konoha so that he can go to Orochimaru for power, Sakura meets him at the village's exit. Realizing what he is trying to do, Sakura does what she can to stop him. She admits that he always acts like he hates her and reveals that he rarely spoke to her. Hastily, she professes her love for him and offering to help him in his quest for power, so long as she can be with him. Sasuke then turned to her, smirking, and tells her that she is annoying (in the official English translation, he tells her that she "makes him sick"). To Sasuke, Sakura has not changed from their first day as a team and still fails to understand what loneliness is. Sakura threatens to scream and alert the village of his betrayal, and Sasuke, apparently affected in some way by her concern, gives her a simple "thank you" before knocking her unconscious and leaving the village.

When Naruto sets out the next day to retrieve Sasuke, Sakura begs for him to bring Sasuke back, believing Naruto to be the only person who can get through to Sasuke. Naruto, looking at the crying Sakura, promises her that he will bring Sasuke back, making it his promise to her for a lifetime. Naruto assures her that he understands her, reminding Sakura of what she had said to Naruto (while he was impersonating Sasuke) near the beginning of the series. This brings more tears as Sakura realizes that Naruto "always knew" and "always helped [her]".

After Naruto fails to bring Sasuke back and lies in a hospital bed, he apologizes to Sakura for failing to bring back Sasuke and asserts that he will definitely keep his promise. Sakura regards Naruto and sees his injuries and determination. She thinks about how little she had done. She thinks "Naruto... I did nothing. All I did was cry and cling to you" (official translation). Inspired by Naruto's determination, she replies that next time they will retrieve Sasuke together, and asks Tsunade's to become her apprentice, a request to which Tsunade agrees.

[edit] Anime Filler Arcs

Little is seen of Sakura during the filler arcs, much of her time being preoccupied with training. When she does go out on missions with her fellow Genin, Sakura serves as the medical specialist, healing the wounds of others and examining bodies. Ino, jealous of Sakura's newfound healing abilities, asks to train with Sakura to be a medical ninja. To Ino's dismay, Sakura immediately proclaims that Ino will be her junior during the course of the training.

[edit] Movies

Naruto the Movie

Throughout the movie, Sakura encounters Mizore Fuyukuma and eventually defeats him with her Sakura Blizzard Technique.

Naruto the Movie 2

During a final battle with the wolf-like Fugai, Sakura kills her by using metal pillars to reflect her ear-splitting howl, which causes the pillars to collapse in on her.

Naruto the Movie 3

Sakura is assigned along with Naruto and Rock Lee to protect the Land of the Moon's prince during his world trip. Sakura also displays some of the immense strength learned from Tsunade by destroying a wall with a single punch. By concentrating all of her chakra, she becomes capable of hearing the enemy whos has her trapped in the genjutsu. She is able to defeat the genjutsu user Karenbana who was assigned to kill the prince.

[edit] Part II

Sakura in Part II
Sakura in Part II

After Naruto's two and half year training Sakura was one of the villagers to greet him. She flirtingly asked him did she look any different, though in complete ignorance to her reason, remarked she looked exactly the same. Not long afterwards she displayed some of what she gained from her training with Tsunade when she punched Naruto for attempting to reveal a new perverted technique that was designed to put the Sexy Technique to shame. Kakashi would gather the two remaining members of Team Kakashi together for another bell test, in which Naruto and Sakura had to work together to retrieve. Again Sakura shocked Naruto, and Kakashi as well by displaying her excellent chakra enhanced strength. But even then it wasn't enough to slow down Kakashi. It was only Naruto's plan to spoil the latest entry of Jiraiya's book did they manage to get past Kakashi's Sharingan.

[edit] Rescue Gaara arc

When Gaara is kidnapped by Akatsuki, Team 7 is sent to help in rescuing him. After arriving in Sunagakure, Sakura is able to make an antidote for Sasori's poison by extracting the poison from Kankuro's body. As Team 7 sets out to pursue Gaara's captors, they are joined by Chiyo. After finding Gaara, Sakura and Chiyo battle Sasori while Naruto and Kakashi follow his partner, Deidara. By guiding her as a puppet, Chiyo is able to help Sakura in avoiding Sasori's attacks, allowing Sakura to use her strength to destroy Sasori's puppets. When Sasori tries to kill Chiyo, Sakura uses herself as a human shield to protect her, giving Chiyo the opportunity to stab Sasori through the heart. Despite her injury, Sakura is able to persevere long enough to be healed by Chiyo. Before Sasori dies, he rewards Sakura for her survival by telling her of a spy within Orochimaru's ranks that he is scheduled to meet in 10 days from that day. After Gaara is revived by Chiyo, Team 7 returns to Konoha, an opportunity to find Sasuke now available.

[edit] Sasuke and Sai arc

After returning to Konoha, Kakashi is left bedridden, leaving Yamato to lead in his stead. Sai is also added to the team as Sasuke's replacement, though Sai's insults towards his predecessor cause conflict amongst the team. After the meeting with the spy turns out to be a trap and Naruto is left heavily injured in his battle with Orochimaru, Sakura heals his wounds, asking Yamato if there is anything else she can learn to be of more use in protecting Naruto. After the group navigates their way to Orochimaru's hideout, they find Sasuke after much searching of the lair. Uninterested in returning to Konoha, Sasuke attacks the team, and Sakura does what she can to stop him. Despite their efforts, Sasuke manages to escape, and Team 7 returns to Konoha.

[edit] Hidan and Kakuzu arc

Sakura comes to Team 10's aid in their fight against Akatsuki members Hidan and Kakuzu. Because Shikamaru Nara is separated from the rest of the group, Sai and Sakura are sent as backup for him, though upon arrival they find that Shikamaru has already defeated his opponent. Having not taken part in the battle, Sakura returns to Konoha with the others, and later heals the damage to Naruto's arm from the use of his new jutsu.

[edit] Hunt for Uchiha

Sakura accompanies Naruto to the Ichiraku Ramen Bar. Naruto has difficulties eating his ramen due to his injuries, and Sakura scoots her chair closer to feed him. Interrupting their intimate moment, Sai feeds an indignant Naruto in her place, wanting to do what he can to be helpful. As they leave they encounter Konohamaru, who demonstrates some of his newly created perverted jutsu for Naruto who comically reacts in a way similar to Jiraiya. Although she berates Naruto and Konohamaru for their practice of creating perverted jutsu, she falls prey to Konohamaru's Sexy: Double Knockout Guys Technique, which takes the form of a naked Sasuke and Sai in a suggestive embrace and reacts like Naruto did. Although she tries to dismiss her outburst, the others are unbelieving. When news reached Konoha that Sasuke had killed Orochimaru and left Otogakure, Sakura and Naruto are the first to join Kakashi's 8-Man Squad and begin the hunt.

During her search, she barely missed a member of Sasuke's Team Hawk, Karin, and followed Deidara's suicide explosion to regroup. When Kiba caught Sasuke's scent, the group followed until they encountered Deidara's former partner, Tobi.

[edit] Post Hunt for Uchiha

Sakura was present when Jiraya's death was revealed to Naruto. Naruto then blamed his death on Tsunade, which Kakashi scolded him for his disrespect. Naruto stormed off and Sakura asked him where he was going but was stopped by Tsunade who told her to give Naruto time to deal with Jiraya's death. Afterwards, she then tried to convince Shikamaru to help Tsunade figure out Jiraya's code. Later, when Naruto was pestering Tsuande about the autopsy reports, Sakura told Naruto about the delicacy of the autopsys and mentioned that since Shizune was leading it, it would go fast. As Naruto was about to go pester her to speed it up, Sakura declared she'd never forgive him if he bugged Shizune. Sakura was then shocked to hear Naruto announce that he will avenge Jiraya and that he refuses to wait around.

[edit] Quotes

  • "Shannaro!" (original Japanese only; it roughly means "Hell yeah!")* "Oh, yeah! Bring 'em on!" "Cha!" (Only in the English dub)
  • "Naruto, Sasuke, I'll save you both."
  • "I love you so much I can't even stand it, Sasuke!"
  • "Cha!"(English Dub)
  • "Its always like this. The only things I can do for Naruto are small and insignificant." (To Yamato)

[edit] Sources

  • First Official Data Book (秘伝・臨の書キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK, Hiden: Rin no Sho Character Official Data Book)
  • Second Official Data Book (秘伝・闘の書キャラクターオフィシャルデータBOOK, Hiden: Tō no Sho Character Official Data Book)
  • Jump's 2nd Great Hero Book's Mini Data Book (秘伝・翔の書オフィシャルキャラクターデータBOOK mini, Hiden: Shō no Sho Official Character Data Book mini)
  • Naruto anime and manga Guidebook (秘伝・翔の書オフィシャルキャラクターデータBOOK mini, Hiden: Shō no Sho Official Character Data Book mini)
  • Taken directly from the Naruto manga chapters and anime episodes.

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