Sakura Haruno - From a Girl to a Legendary Kunoichi.

Sakura’s growth from a girl who is “more interested in love than ninjutsu”, to one of the world’s most renowned Kunoichi, was quite remarkable.

The catalyst for this growth, as was the case for a lot of her development, were Sasuke’s words. They were harsh, but necessary, as it made her realise that she was becoming a hindrance to her team:

Those words would resonate in her mind until the Forest of Death, where she was stuck between a rock and a hard place:

And once she had finally reached her breaking point, and could no longer tolerate being the one to always get in the way, she decided to let go of her naive desire to look more appealing for Sasuke, and cut her hair. This symbolized the start of her blossoming into something special:

At this point, even though she knew she probably couldn’t defeat the enemies before her, she was at least going to go down fighting to protect those dear to her; She had finally found her resolve as a kunoichi.

And she even opted to sacrifice her body by purposely getting hit by shurikens and kunais instead of substituting, in order to land a surprise attack on her opponent, demonstrating her physical toughness as well:

The idea was reckless, but effective, and it paid huge dividends:

Now although she was eventually subdued, as she had expected, she could at least pride herself with the fact that she had fought her hardest to protect her friends instead of doing nothing. This was a huge turning point for her.

Later on during Sasuke’s confrontation with Gaara, Sakura once again illustrated how much she had grown as a person. In contrast to what had transpired in the Forest of Death where she had been absolutely petrified in fear of Orochimaru, when she saw Gaara heading to kill Sasuke, she put her life on the line to protect him, with no ounce of hesitation whatsoever:

I can only imagine what was going through Sakura’s head when she saw Gaara flying towards Sasuke, with the intent to kill:

So she got in the way, and was literally staring death in the face, but she didn’t move an inch. Not because she was afraid, but because her love for Sasuke was that powerful. It wasn’t a crush anymore, it was love, born from the desire to ease his internal suffering which at that point, only she was aware of.

After Naruto had come back unsuccessful in retrieving Sasuke, Sakura decided that simply putting her body/life on the line to protect her comrades was no longer enough; she needed the ability to actively fight and do things on her own terms, so that she could sufficiently aid Naruto in saving their friend: 

Thus, she turned to Tsunade in order to train and cultivate her skills:

Therefore, much like Naruto with Jiraiya and Sasuke with Orochimaru, Sakura set herself on the path of becoming part of the next generation of Sannin:

Tsunade taught Sakura the fundamentals of extremely precise chakra control, and as Kakashi and Naruto learned, that training wasn’t for the sole purpose of teaching Sakura medical ninjustu:

Sakura had gained the extreme levels of chakra control necessary to amplify her strength to monstrous levels:  

And Kakashi immediately saw that Sakura was a star in the making; to have come such a long way in a relatively short amount of time, he knew that at this rate, she’d probably surpass Tsunade some day.

And then came her unlocking of the Byakugou Seal; the moment when her true potential had finally been awakened, and the chakra that she had been amassing for all that time was at last ready to be put to use. This time however, she wouldn’t just be healing from the sidelines, she’d be on the front lines, standing side by side and on equal terms with her team mates: 

And she subsequently demonstrated to the entire allied shinobi forces what she was truly capable of, and every one of them were left in shock and awe (apart from Sasuke of course): 

Her display of strength was so impressive that even Hashirama Senju, who was touted as “The God of Shinobi”, acknowledged her abilities as possibly greater than Tsunade’s:

Shortly afterwards, the next generation of Sannin were truly born, as Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura recreated the “Three-Way Deadlock” summoning, with Sasuke’s Aoda and Naruto’s Gamakichi replacing Manda and Gamabunta respectively. Katsuyu needed no replacement:

They each subsequently demonstrated their prowess with their summonings, showing that it wasn’t just a case of simply being capable of summoning them; they all knew how to proficiently use them as well:

And Sakura wasn’t about to fall behind; she knew the task at hand and set about doing it with great efficiency:

It’s such a shame that a large portion of the fandom to this day, still fail to realise what Shizune was talking about here: Sakura’s growth, both emotionally and physically, was there for all to see. She is indeed a “helluva girl” :P

And several years in the future, even during times of peace, she most certainly hadn’t lost her senses for combat, as Shin found out the hard way that there were severe consequences for laying hands on her husband and daughter: 

And Sasuke, even though he hid it most of the time, had always seen her potential. He had probably remembered Sakura’s words when they were reunited on the battlefield during the war:

And at this point, he couldn’t have agreed more. No one believes in Sakura more than Sasuke:

And with good reason; Thanks in large part to his words, she had developed from a girl who cowered and cried in the face of adversity:

To a world renowned Kunoichi who doesn’t take shit from anyone:

And people say that she lacked development! :D