just some thoughts...
Normally when I used to watch episode 109 of Naruto, I always had a box of tissues beside me because at the age of 13, watching Sasuke leaving a helpless and sobbing Sakura in the village was too much to bear.
Now many years later, after SasuSaku have become canon, I decided to rewatch this episode and instead of crying, I’m simply amazed by the fact that this entire episode was a stepping-stone for SasuSaku, in order to bring everything to a full circle several years later.
Here we have Sasuke sadly accepting that in order to fulfill his goal, he can’t afford to have bonds with Team 7, his new family. I just love how much significance this portrait has, whether it be Sasuke looking at it, or Sakura crying over it, because it eventually transformed to an even better portrait.
Here Sasuke is clearly telling Sakura that for both his sake and her’s, she should not be concerned about what he does. The next time he uses similar words, they mean something completely different as this time Sasuke is saying it out of selfless concern for Sakura rather than out of selfish revenge.
I find this incredibly funny now because Sasuke ends up eating his own words a few years later, as similarly to everyone else, he is happily married with a family of his own.
Sakura’s confession here is heartbreaking as we know that it’s a cry on deaf ears. Sasuke listens to every word but he is too stuck on revenge to turn back.
Sakura bravely professes her love for him, in hopes that it could change something and with it, also makes him consider a future with her, a future where he could find happiness.
In chapter 693, she again professes her love for him and that despite everything that has happened between them, she can still forgive him and love him if he himself is willing to give up on following the path of hatred and revenge. Sasuke again listens quietly and this time his foot even “shakes” because of how strongly her words affect him. After already being down the path of revenge once which got him nowhere, he knows that Sakura is right and is very close to giving in.
The “you’re annoying” phrase, which is one of the most popular phrases in this fandom, makes its second appearance. The first time Sasuke used it, was when he first met Sakura and when Sakura reminds him of that encounter, he claims to have forgotten. The first time around, Sasuke was clearly annoyed (and had every right to be) but this time around, he smirks and uses it as an acknowledgement of their first meeting (
which means that he lied about forgetting it).
In chapter 693, Sasuke uses this phrase for the third time, again as an inside phrase between them but this time he looks pained to say it. He knows that his fight with Naruto could be his last one, and that a future with Sakura might be impossible in that case.
After knocking her out, he says the following and although it may sound harsh, it does show that he’s been contemplating Sakura’s love for him for a while and whether he harbors any feelings for her or not.
Sakura’s words from an earlier scene in this episode come full circle when Sasuke realizes that she had always been right and he asks for her forgiveness, for following a path of revenge and the consequences of that.
I love the contrast between these two scenes. Here we have Sakura desperately asking for Sasuke to take her with him if he can’t stay, and in the next we have Sakura asking him bashfully. It portrays Sakura’s growth as a woman in love, as she trusts that Sasuke is a changed man and is letting him go until he finds himself. Also that blush makes me wonder how close they may have gotten in the blank period ;)
Finally, in one of the most beautiful scenes in all of Naruto, Sasuke genuinely and humbly thanks Sakura fore everything as a last memory between them before he leaves the village.
In 699, this scene repeats itself and for me, this is the most beautiful scene in the entire manga. Sasuke pokes Sakura on the forehead, which is a gesture of love that was only meant to be between him and his brother, but he extends it to Sakura (and eventually to Sarada). Sakura is so shocked but later comes to understand the significance behind this gesture and calls it “better than a kiss.”
The difference between the two “thank you” scenes are that in the first one, Sasuke is thanking her for their past. In the second one, however,Sauske is thanking her for their past and their future that is to come.
This proves that when Kishimoto said that he had wanted Sasuke and Sakura from the very beginning, he is indeed telling the truth. All those arguments about these two ‘suddenly’ becoming a couple, are irrelevant.
From the way I see it, everything that happened during the 3 & ½ years, happened for Sasuke and Sakura’s personal development, in order for them to be individuals content with themselves before taking on a romantic relationship. This is why it makes sense that Sasuke left the village again in 699, as it was his first time thinking about something other than revenge and his selfish desires. He harbored feelings for Sakura by then, and he wanted to make sure that he felt secure with himself before taking things further with Sakura.
Sakura’s heartbreak and her determination to bring Sasuke back pushed her to sharpen her skills as a ninja, and in the end, she not only surpassed her teacher but became the only female from her generation in Konoha, to become a Jounin. As for Sasuke, revenge on Itachi for the Uchiha massacre, followed by wanting revenge on Konoha for ruining his entire life, made him realize it was never going to end and he was never going to be satisfied. Sakura’s words of revenge and hatred bringing no one happiness, eventually reached him and two or so years after his redemption journey, they travelled together, got married, had a kid…
My OTP of 7 years have gotten their happy ending and I’m happy Kishimoto knew they were meant to be from the very beginning.