I saw the team 7 post you made. I only watched the anime and I haven't read one of the data books and I think that Sakura was 'a little' useless in the normal Naruto series but she is not in Naruto shippuden and I can understand why people always have to say that she's useless like hello are we watching the same anime? And I'm saying this as a Sakura hater by the way... and sorry for my bad english.
No worries, I understand! Yeah, I agree. But, honestly, I think “useless” is the wrong term here. Even in part one, Sakura wasn’t exactly “useless”.
[ I have an issue with this that I might as well voice now, so thank you! ]
Tbh, the prime determinant here is that Naruto is (or, at least it was) a shonen series, meaning:
( a ) “Fans” will find any character who isn’t constantly throwing punches – i.e. engaged in battle – “useless”.
( b ) The mangaka will not utilise their female characters – i.e. have them participate in many fights or their own fights. (Unless Mashima’s writing it, tbh.)
Kishimoto has been labelled a (perhaps inadvertent) sexist in the past – as the majority of this genre is – and it can be seen in the lack of battling panel-time that female characters receive. I mean, we only really got to see Sakura’s competitive combat skills as a ninja a handful of times during this segment (e.g. the Chunin Exams). But, again, the important thing to consider here is Sakura’s lack of prestigious heritage, because it is a prime reason why she was not on par with a frickin’ Uchiha and jinchūriki of Uzumaki bloodline, as she’s so often held to the standard of.
“…all of the shinobi within her (overall) generation (including Team Guy & the Sand Siblings) were of prestigious descent, with the exception of Lee, Tenten and Sakura. Yet despite having no birth-right privileges or opportunities (unlike all but two others), Sakura was the only ninja – apart from the duel-protagonists – to reach Kage level (in the surpassing of her master).”
Yeah, Sakura wasn’t very offensive in part one. But that doesn’t exactly make her “useless”, you know?
- Kishimoto’s ‘Official Naruto Fan-Book’ states that she is “evenly matched” in ability with Ino; emphasising that “their physical strength is identical”. This being a feat, of course, because the same book reveals that Ino graduated at the top of the academy, even above Sasuke (due to teamwork grades, etc.).
- Sakura had greater chakra control than both of her teammates, Sasuke in particular. She excelled past them in this skill even at Genin level, on her first try at the exercise, with zero prior training [in the tree-climbing].
Not to mention that simply being offensive doesn’t automatically/necessarily make someone “useful”. Like, if you bring up the argument of ‘brain > brawn’:
- Sakura is acclaimed for her intelligence and repeatedly stated to be one of the smartest shinobi, even before graduating to Genin level. She’s acknowledged as the cleverest kunoichi in her generation, eventually developing into one of the smartest kunoichi all inclusively by parts two and three. She’s arguably the 2nd brightest of her generation overall, losing out only to Shikamaru. (Yet said ranking is only in practice – not theory – as she surpassed him academically, since he didn’t try.)
A relating feature often (and conveniently) forgotten is that:
- Sakura was able to answer the questions in the Chunin exam with her own knowledge… Being, of course, that the manga commented on the exam’s difficulty, in that no Genin should have had the ability to calculate and decipher those questions. To compare, both Sasuke and Neji – acclaimed geniuses of their generation – had to cheat.
Multiple characters have canonically validated Sakura’s intellectual skills on numerous occasions. In the first <50 chapters alone, we have:
Oh, and plot-wise too, right? Like, we must also remember Sakura’s significance to the series, which obviously made her a useful character. She contributed to major plot-points and, a lot of the time, acted as the audience’s voice & was a means of explanation in plot matter.
To be useful is to provide purpose. It can be measured in different areas and most of which were demonstrated by Sakura, even in part one. I mean, she was useful enough to save her teammates’ asses, including Lee’s!
- She protected and cared for Naruto and Sasuke whilst they were down and out…
- She rationally took precaution and set traps to guard them whilst vulnerable.
- She successfully fooled the Sound with a “basic” Substitute Jutsu twice in a row, cleverly setting up to fool them again with a real attack (which they thought would be another trick).
- But what’s most notable is that she put her life on the line, enduring numerous kunai to the body, blows to the head, etc. She tried to save her comrades by taking on the Sound, 1 V 3!
I agree that 12-year-old Sakura was nowhere near as useful as her part two counterpart, but the term “useless” gets thrown around without much rationale of meaning. It’s intended to be pretty harsh word but, in many cases, it’s not true.
[ Thanks for the ask! Sorry, I rambled… 😅 ]