Here’s the rest of anons messages for reference:
Additionally, there is a huge stigma over crying and expressing emotion in fandom and it’s kind of gross to see sometimes. Yes, she was crying over a guy. But, tbh, what is wrong with that? And why should her emotional moment (with her younger brother who is showing compassion she still doesn’t expect sometimes.) be invalidated? Or any emotional moment that isn’t destructive or harmful be invalidated or treated as weak? Ftr, I’ve enjoyed following your blog a lot, but I’m just really disappointed in how you’ve approached this.
Bear with me because this is about to get looooooong.
There are a huge plethora of reasons I take issue with Temari crying in that scene, and zero of them have to do with me viewing crying as a weakness. Some of my favorite moments, and some of the most powerful moments in Naruto have been when a character expresses how moved they are through their tears. I have headcanons in which Temari cries. Its the reason she’s crying I find so offputting and out of character.
I could get into the history of the manga and its treatment of female characters (which I am definitely about to) but right off the bat I’d like to point out the post that you are referencing (aka this one) was written more to illustrate the fact that Temari had so little development in the actual manga that I have formed a very firm and personal standing on who she is and so if something conflicts with that I kind of just pretend it didn’t happen in my own little world. Temari as I invision her would not cry in that situation, and that post was actually referencing a broader understanding I am coming to that a lot of the things I believe about Temari aren’t technically canon because there’s simply nothing there to support them despite what we can infer from her limited panel time. Its making light of the fact that I get so riled up when something happens in canon or canon related material that conflicts with my personal headcanon, even though I technically have no room to talk because my headcanons are just head canons after all.
That said, I do still think her tears are out of character. Following the sasuke retrieval missions failure, Temari is with Shikamaru. She is confused by his “unexpected fragility” because she has had emotional training and does not understand why he is so easily shaken. When he breaks down crying in front of his father, she stares passively. She was later described as “the cruelest kunoichi” by Shikamaru himself. Most of her appearances paint her as a no nonsense all business type person. This is not a woman who wears her emotions on her sleeve. And yes, crying is not a weakness, but that doesn’t mean everybody expresses emotionally vulnerability by crying either. Temari cares about Shikamaru, that’s undeniable. But he isn’t in immediate danger. He isn’t on his death bed. The only thing he’s doing is acting differently….and….not telling her why? And that means Temari, a stone cold fighter is going to cry over that? There are situations involving Shikamaru in which I could see Temari shedding a few tears, but not over something this menial. She just isn’t that type of person. So that begs the question….why did they decide to have her cry in this scene when it goes against what we’ve been given in the manga.
And that brings me to my real point. She’s crying because everyone reading this novel knows she eventually marries Shikamaru, and its supposed to be some bullshit representation of how in love with him she is. I hate the fact that they think they have to make every woman in this manga cry in order to illustrate their love for a man. It has happened so many fucking times. I thought Temari would be safe because she’s mentioned so rarely but apparently that was just wishful thinking. They are sacrificing her characterization and reducing her to a teary eyed girl who just “can’t help shedding a tear when she’s worried about her man.” instead of the composed pillar of a person she is. She has never been presented as the type of person who would cry over something like this, literally ever.
Lets just take a look at the history of tears in Naruto:
-Naruto has cried a lot. He cried as a child after being rejected by the village. He cried over Haku’s death on the bridge. He cried after his fight with Gaara in memory over the way he had been treated. He cried over sasuke at some point. He cried when he had to say goodbye to his mother and father.
-Shikamaru cried when the sasuke retrieval mission failed. He also cried when Asuma died.
-Gaara cried as a child when he was completely fucked over by literally everyone. He cried when he realized Sasuke was unsaveable. He also cried when he was told his mother truly loved him.
-Sasuke cried when he realized the truth about his brother and his clan.
-Itachi cried when he was coerced into killing his entire family.
-Kakashi cried when Obito and Rin died.
-Sakura has cried too many times to count. It almost always has something to do with Sasuke or Naruto. Occasionally they’ll really play it up and have her cry about how useless she is compared to Naruto and Sasuke, and how she can only sit and watch them duke it out.
-Ino has cried three times. When Asuma died, when her father died, and when she was told the village was putting out a hit on Sasuke.
-Karin cried over Sasuke, someone who has never shown her respect, when he literally left her to die.
-Tsunade cried when Nawaki, Dan, and Jiraiya died.
-Kurenai cried when she got the news of Asuma’s death.
-Temari never cried even once during the manga ever at all. She did not cry when Gaara made a change for the better. She did not cry when her father died. She did not cry when her brother was on the verge of death after being poisoned. She did not cry when Gaara literally died. She didn’t cry when anything significant to her personally happened. Yet you expect me to believe she is crying because Shikamaru is “acting strange”. Even I have my limits.
Now lets analyze the results. I didn’t list every single time a character has cried because frankly I don’t remember all of them, those were just the ones that came to mind immediately. There is a pattern here, wherein male characters cry when they have reached a deep emotional threshold which then spurs them into action or speaks to their character as a whole. Female characters cry when something happens to a male character. Most of the time the fact that they’re crying is supposed to say something about the male character they’re crying over rather than themselves. When Shikamaru failed his first mission as chunin, his tears were a crucial moment for his development. It represented a shift in his motivations and a shift in how he views himself. That moment carried weight for the rest of the manga. I could say something similar about most of the moments where male characters cry. The same could not be said for some of the females. Ino crying over Sasuke was literally just put in the manga so it looked like someone other than Naruto and Sakura actually gave a shit about what happened to him. That moment wasn’t for Ino, it was for Sasuke.
Now we look at Temari. She never cried in the official manga even though it would have been understandable if she did. If my brother was dying in a hospital I might “get a little sand in my eye”. If my other brother was simultaneously captured by a terrorist organization, I would definitely have “let a single tear slide down [my] face”. But we were never shown this. You could make the argument that it happened off screen but that just further proves my point. They don’t think its worth the time to show her crying over her family members, something that would be significant to her as a character, and not only her, but to the sand siblings dynamic as a whole (showing how they have learned to accept and care for one another after the invasion of Konoha) but they somehow do think its significant to have her cry over Shikamaru. That’s because those tears aren’t there to develop Temari they’re there to develop Shikamaru.
And a lot of this is admittedly sour grapes in how Temari’s character was treated in the official manga, especially in the last few years of its serialization. Almost ALL of her panel time during the war was in reference to Shikamaru in some way. There was a panel where she lamented on Gaara’s progress, and then a few more when she was fighting the Raikage, but other than that she was mostly there to comment on what a great hokage Shikamaru would make or how much of a genius he had become. I don’t have a problem with Temari supporting or showing concern for Shikmaru. I do have a problem when that’s the only thing she does. I wrote a massive complaint in reference to chapter 700 and Temari which you can view here and a follow up to it here. I just don’t trust the writers intentions with Temari at all after chapter 700, so that feeds into this a lot.
And I know what you’re thinking “but wait Holly, what if her crying is supposed to show how she’s developed as a person and learned to be more comfortable with showing vulnerability!?” Okay but….that isn’t what’s happening. There have been a number of potentially emotional moments for her in the actual manga, none of which resulted in her crying. Nothing led up to these two scenes at all. And it’s because they really don’t give a shit about her characterization at all, she might as well just be a cardboard cutout of some generic woman crying over Shikamaru because they really only have two criteria here (woman, check. Crying, check) for moving forward the plot and its as easy to make Temari fit that bill as anyone else.
So if I actually thought Temari crying in those two scenes was supposed to be some example of her emotional development and her finally achieving the ability to express her feelings with those she cares about, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But that’s not what its there for. Temari is just a plot device being used to further Shikamaru’s development which is so typical of the naruto franchise. And I get it, it’s a novel about Shikamaru so its going to focus around him, but I take issue with Temari’s big character moment being her crying over a man she isn’t even in a relationship with up to this point, when about 400 other shittier things happened to her that were just glossed over in the manga.
I’m sorry if I disappointed you with my take on this novel, I don’t ever want to offend or isolate any of my followers, and I understand where you’re coming from. But I still stand by my statement, and I still hate the direction they’ve gone with Temari in the novel. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but I know there are some that do. It hasn’t been translated in its entirety, so maybe in later chapters something will change. But this is where I’m at with it right now.