ZERO :: the Fool (annwyd) wrote,
ZERO :: the Fool
annwyd

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Some SasuSaku defense.

I've sort of been wanting to write something like this for a while. For those of you on my flist who are tired of my Naruto crap or who hate SasuSaku, don't worry, I'm cutting it.

The basic topic is the much-loved NaruSaku argument that in chapter 181, when Sakura said that she was happy when she was with Sasuke, she was thinking of time spent with Team 7, not with Sasuke alone. Therefore, this means she was confused about her feelings for Sasuke, and that it's really Naruto who makes her happy.

For reference, the actual lines in my scanlation (from the use of it as ZOMGPROOF I thought there would be more, but no):

SAKURA: "That's when it all began, though. You and me...along with Naruto and Kakashi-sensei..."
SASUKE: "......."
SAKURA: "We did all sorts of missions, just the four of us. It was painful and difficult at times. Even with that, though...I still enjoyed it." [This line has also been translated as "I was happy," I think.]

We see two flashback images here: one of Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura walking home with Kakashi behind them, the three genin looking tired and beaten up from a mission; and one a composite image of the four of them doing their usual things at the beginning. Sakura blushing and looking on, Sasuke smirking smugly, Naruto happily eating ramen, Kakashi reading porn.

Later in the chapter, there's a lot of important stuff that illustrates how well Sakura knows Sasuke's past and understands him (rereading it reinforces my opinion that if she can understand him that well, she's perfectly capable of being genuinely in love with him, despite being twelve, but let's not get into that here), but that's not the topic here.

At one point there's an image of Sakura and Naruto looking happy together, but it's pretty clear that this is Sasuke's flashback, not Sakura's. Of course, the argument on that goes, "Sasuke only thinks of Sakura along with Naruto! This proves he doesn't consider her anything more than a friend and never will!" The problem with that argument is that Sasuke makes it clear through his actions, which we're always being told speak louder than words, that he thinks of Naruto differently than he does Sakura. After all, he avoids hurting Sakura whenever possible, but he'll jump at a chance to fight with Naruto.

Got sidetracked for a bit there. Here are the rebuttals to the "only Team 7 as a whole makes Sakura happy" argument.

1) Even if the conversation quoted above do prove that it's Team 7 as a whole that makes Sakura happy, all that means is that Team 7 makes her happy. It does not mean that Sasuke does not also make her happy as a loved one; it does not mean that Naruto's pure and holy love is what's making her happy. They are both just a part of Team 7.

2) The quotes and images from above are Sakura's only reference to her love for Sasuke being related to Team 7 as a whole. The entire part of the conversation that I quoted takes up two pages. The remainder of the chapter deals with how she's willing to go to great lengths, even abandon her life in Konoha (although she clearly considers this a last-ditch option, a desperation move, as she knows it would lead to bad things for both her and Sasuke) for Sasuke. Disregarding the rest of the chapter and insisting that those two pages of talk about Team 7 prove that Sasuke hurts Sakura instead of making her happy is a prime example of the favored sophistry of taking things out of context.

3) Although to some extent all three of the Team 7 relationships stand alone, in the end they each involve the rest of Team 7. They are stronger as a group, and that group is the center of the series (when Kishimoto isn't being seduced by omg boys fighting!!! and making NaruSasu the center of the series). If there had not been at least some acknowledgment of how Team 7 brought Sasuke and Sakura together, strengthened them, and made them (or at least Sakura, in this case) happy, the scene would not have been as meaningful. It would have been disconnected from the rest of the relationships that form the heart of the series. In short: the discussion of/reference to Team 7 in general was necessary. It does not weaken the strong SasuSaku scene that follows, but rather gives it a backdrop and makes it stronger.

4) There are instances in the series of Sasuke making Sakura happy. When he encourages her before the chuunin exam (and no, he was not the one who "got her depressed in the first place"; it was thinking of her own lack of skill compared to her teammates that got her upset. Sasuke merely glancingly reminded her of this during a mainly comedic scene). When he let her hug him after waking up from his coma. Other than that, the moments we are shown between the two of them are mostly dramatic and stressful (like the hug in the Forest of Death), but in light of everything that's gone on between them, that's more easily interpreted as "they've gone through a whole hell of a lot of crazy, difficult stuff that has often resulted in dark, angsty scenes" than as "Sasuke hurts Sakura and makes her sad." The point is, if Kishimoto had wanted to expand the "times Sakura was happy" from a quick flash of two panels into an extended recap, he could have included Sasuke scenes. Judging from the context, though, the flashbacks there weren't meant to be a major focus of the scene. They were there to remind us of how important Team 7 as a whole is, regardless of what relationship within it Kishimoto is focusing on.

And that's about it. Hopefully, NaruSaku debaters won't be so eager to use that argument again when talking about chapter 181.

And now I've got better things to do, like finishing joiedecombat's splendiferous Mwu/Murrue essay, struggling with the camera features of my cellphone, and making sexy icons of SEED girls. Uh, and someday I'll sleep. Yes.
Tags: naruto, pairings, sasusaku
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