Bear with me on this one:
“It wasn’t meaningless, we became bestfriends.”
I want to psychologically analyze Naruto and Sasuke and their love even at that young age.
First of all, we have to take into account what fighting means to them as ninjas.
Naruto has always yearned for Sasuke’s acknowledgement. There were many reasons as to why he took notice of Sasuke over anyone else.
- Sasuke was popular with the girls and seemingly perfect at everything. He excelled in both physical and mental abilities. Where Naruto was more of the dunce with a good, strong spirit.
- *More importantly, Sasuke was alone - like Naruto.
Right there we have a connection already. But as children how do they develop this feeling?
For Sasuke, he knows well what bonds and family are. Considering out of the two he was the one to actually have a family. I do believe somewhere inside, (which he admits to later in chapter 72 of the manga) he always noticed Naruto, even if at first it was out of annoyance of his wild nature. He does later say, and I paraphrase:
“I couldn’t keep my eyes off you”
“I always knew you were alone. We were two lonely kids starved for loved”
“I too felt your pain.”
This shows us that Sasuke was always aware of Naruto. But the dramatic toll of his PTSD kept his from feeling safe in forming that new bond.
Now, Naruto, never having a family or bonds as a child, left him the lesser of the two when it came to knowledge of emotion. He felt much more compelled to desperately hold onto that bond; for somewhat the same reason Sasuke was intensely trying to let it go.
And so naturally rivalry began to grow. A typical psychological response for children and even adults. Admiration can be twisted into jealousy, which becomes a competition, which becomes a bond.
To continue. Flashing to Chunin Exams-
“You’re one of the ones I want to fight the most.”
That meant a lot. Not just to Naruto himself, but in the ninja world they live in. By Sasuke telling this to Naruto, he has made clear that he sees Naruto as someone with potential, someone equal to him, someone worth fighting with.
To Naruto, who has always seen Sasuke as this annoyingly good at everything “teme” he was literally finally being acknowledged by the boy he had coveted as a rival since day one.
Moving on. I just want to briefly add that Sasuke and Naruto’s first fight at the Valley was the moment I personally saw romantic inclinations in Sasuke.
Naruto, like I said being desperate to hold onto that bond, having gone on missions and grown to care for Sasuke - refused to let that go. For that same fervent need to passionately keep himself tied to Sasuke - Sasuke’s conviction was just as strong to let it go.
And yet, Sasuke could not kill him. Defying all the rules and laws he had set up for himself. Breaking the promise to kill him who is closest to him. For both power and his philosophy.
The way he stares down at Naruto’s unconscious body. Is a testimony to his heartache at what path he his following.
He’s literally staring at the first boy he ever grew to care for after the terror of losing everything.
And he was letting it go. That was tough and only once he is walking away does he claim he is simply refusing to do things Itatchi’s way.
But his physical display of tenderness at watching Naruto before leaving begs us to dig deeper into Sasuke’s psychology. It’s not as simple as just following his own path. That’s an excuse to cover the truth that the power he will achieve at killing Naruto isn’t worth it.
“I wanted to be smart like you. Cool like you.”
Naruto says in episode 215, if I’m not mistaken.
“The truth is I was jealous.” He continued.
Of course we don’t see til later that Sasuke felt not just similarly but nearly exactly the same as Naruto had all along.
Which is especially* why after that scene Sasuke is more intent than ever before to kill Naruto. It literally astounds me people can skip the psychological factors that come into play at that scene.
“I must kill Naruto.”
The conviction is terrifying and yes, fucked up. But perfectly plausible.
Naruto had just admitted to Sasuke - what a huge part of him he is. Confessing his admiration, his determination to stop him, even at the cost of his own life.
To Sasuke, what more frightening and infuriating than to have the very same boy you have been trying to sever bonds with, reveal that he has too been sharing the same connection and bond all along?
And is just as convicted enough to self sacrifice for it just like Sasuke was in the Land of Waves Arc.
So naturally, it becomes vital for Sasuke to kill Naruto himself. At least in his ideology.
He has already made his own truth. Which is sever all bonds and ultimate power is reached.
The loss of his profound bond with Itatchi and his clan and the suffering that ensued - instilled that self preservation method and it is only conducive- if he is alone.
Creating no opportunity for such pain to exist again.
So it d o e s make absolute sense that Sasuke sees it necessary to remove Naruto completely.
To somewhat begin a conclusion.
- Naruto letting himself get beat up, with no regard to himself and no resentment for the one throwing their fists.
= absolute resolution. He just learned Sasuke joined the very group which killed Gaara for awhile, killed Jiraya, and is after him. Does Naruto waver? Not in the slightest.
Is this healthy and romantic? No. But it’s also a life of a ninja. Sasuke is still his bond. A ninja is self sacrifice. So while in our world, that would be concerning and indeed it is - I do sense unconditional love. I think it’s bewildering not to.
At the valley in the Final Fight. There is just so much going on, I don’t know where to begin.
I’ll paraphrase to the best of my meager abilities.
In essence, Naruto and Sasuke’s will take their final stand.
As promised, Naruto is convicted to die with Sasuke. But at one point —-
“So you’ve finally decided to kill me?”
I love that Sasuke asks this, because it shows how much he’s been waiting for it. That moment. That final threshold he had to break to finally make Naruto concede. Much like Hashirama did with Madara.
But of course, the difference in Naruto is Naruto’s passion. Naruto is completely, irrationally, and madly devoted to Sasuke.
In the end, Sasuke always loses his cool.
“Why do you go so far for me?”
“Over and over and over and over again.”
“Just disappear already and take our** bond with you.”
If anyone knows what self loathing is like. You understand, almost heart-wrenchingly well what Sasuke is saying:
Sasuke has a very self destructive persona now, after killing his brother and learning the truth - on top of an already damaged psyche from witnessing the massacre of his clan. Sasuke doesn’t want love. He not only feels unworthy but it goes against the self proclaimed law.
The self proclaimed law being, sever all bonds, live on as Itatchi did - a life of self sacrifice, to live in darkness and solace, maintaining order by inheriting the role of all evil.
“Itatchi’s only mistake was he kept me alive.”
“I won’t make that mistake.”
= Yes I’ am set on killing you. Which also = you are the only thing standing between me and my crusade into that lonely, fucked up world I seemingly think I deserve = you are the most important person to me.
He even devoted the killing of Naruto an honor enough to dedicate to his brother. (Episode 478) Yes, fucked up. But remember - ninja world - separate from ours and Itatchi being the one he revered the most, this means everything.
Alas, in the end Sasuke asks a g a i n why Naruto goes so far…
“Everyone cut ties with me, but you never did,”
Sasuke is literally searching for an actual honest confession. He knows what a friend is. He just doesn’t see how friend covers the level of devotion Naruto has consistently displayed.
“When I see you carrying all that pain… It just …hurts”
Sasuke understands. Again, being the more aware of emotions and their respective categories in relationships, he probably knows it’s more than just a friendship.
I think the level of passion and devotion is more equivalent to that of “soul mates”
You can see it as platonic. (Which is hecka strange)
I see it as a wild, romantic, frenzied, illogical, passionate, overwhelming, all consuming love.