Naruto x Sakura

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Pairing
Pairing: Uzumaki Naruto x Haruno Sakura
Alternative name(s): NaruSaku, Heaven and Earth
Gender category: Het
Fandom: Naruto
Canonical?: Not canon
Prevalence: Popular
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Naruto x Sakura, colloquially known as "NaruSaku" is the romantic pairing of Uzumaki Naruto and Haruno Sakura in the manga/anime franchise "Naruto". It's one of the most popular pairings in the franchise.

Canon

Naruto and Sakura first met as kids in the Ninja Academy, and Naruto quickly started crushing on her. They were put in the same team, Team 7, alongside Uchiha Sasuke under the tutelage of Hatake Kakashi. Sakura did not return Naruto's feelings. She had a massive crush on Sasuke instead.

While she thought little of him at first, Naruto's growth as a ninja drew Sakura's growing respect and the two became friends. When Sasuke defected from Konohagakure, he promised Sakura that he would bring him back, but failed and began training with Jiraiya. After he returned, their relationship picked up where it left off. Most importantly, Sakura could see that he had changed and improved as a ninja, but was still the same knucklehead at heart. They were even put in the same team, Team 7, becoming a formidable force on the battlefield, going on several missions together. Naruto could also see that Sakura had improved as a medical ninja, and came to respect and admire her even more.

Soon, Sasuke became an S-Ranked criminal. Sai, the newest member of Team 7, confronted Sakura about Naruto's feelings for her, telling her that he really loved her and was hell-bent on retrieving him because of his love. In an infamous scene, Sakura told Naruto that she loved him, but Naruto rejected her, saying, "I hate people who lie to themselves!"

Despite this, they remained friends, fighting alongside each other once again in the Fourth Shinobi World War. In one instance, while Sakura was healing Naruto, his father Minato asked if she was his girlfriend. Naruto playfully said she was, making her hit him. Later, when the Nine-Tails fox was drawn from his body, she performed mouth-to-mouth CPR on him. In the end, they teamed up with Sasuke again to take down Kaguya. However, Sasuke attacked both Naruto and Sakura, infamously putting her under a genjutsu. After their final battle, Sasuke agrees to return to Konoha. He marries Sakura, while Naruto marries Hinata.

Semi-canonically, the movie "Road to Ninja" is the most popular Naruto movie amongst shippers for the shippy moments the pairing gets. The most famous of this is Naruto saving Sakura and carrying her in his arms.

Fandom

The pairing is one of the most popular pairings in Naruto. This is because of their interactions over the course of the series that shippers took as potentially romantic. The manga's ending is a source of disgust for the fandom. Since Naruto and Sakura ended up with different people, the fandom focuses their ire on both ships. "NaruHina" is probably the biggest rival, followed by SasuSaku. They accuse both pairings of being poorly executed; NaruHina because of their lack of interaction, and SasuSaku, which they accuse of being abusive. Another rivalry is with Sasuke x Naruto, but that rivalry mostly died down after the ending of the show.

The fandom and pairing are the target of abuse from "Pro-enders", accusing the ship of being "toxic" or abusive. This goes against their on-screen/page interactions, which are, for the most part, friendly, although Sakura has hit Naruto as a source of comedy. However, these instances have been exaggerated. They are also mocked for being unhappy with the manga's ending, as if this was somehow a bad thing on its own. For the most part, Naruto x Sakura fans just want to be left alone, preferring to express their disdain for the canon pairings in their own circle.

Shinachiku

What sets the NaruSaku fandom apart from most non-canon ships, however, is the creation of a fanon child, Uzumaki Shinachiku. His name originates from an interview that series creator Masashi Kishimoto gave prior to the release of the movie "Road to Ninja", a semi-canonical, hint-filled movie. When asked what the name of Naruto's and Sakura's child would be, Kishimoto answered "Shinachiku". The fandom took this and spun it into a web of fanon centered around this fictional son. This has allowed the fandom to move on in a positive way.

Shinachiku's portrayal often depends on the writer. Most often, his personality is depicted as being similar to his grandfather Minato's, but with his mother's temper.

A second fanchild was created, Hanami, who sometimes has her father's knuckle-headed personality.

While some fans will use Shinachiku to bash Naruto's canon son Boruto, others prefer to imagine them becoming friends.

Popular tropes

  • Both characters cheating on their respective spouses with each other, or just getting divorced
  • Sakura realizing that Sasuke is bad to/for her, and goes to Naruto instead.
  • Canon Divergence AU, sometimes starring the aforementioned Shinachiku.

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Naruto
Characters Uzumaki NarutoHaruno SakuraUchiha SasukeTsunadeNara Shikamaru
Ships Sasuke x NarutoKakashi x IrukaItachi x SasukeShikamaru x TemariUchihacest
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