Identifying a Fangirl.
You gotta love it when people claim that Sakura never got over her fangirl phase, and then only use examples prior to chapter 49 as evidence.
I don’t think anyone can deny that Sakura was a fangirl at the beginning of the series, but she was 12 years old, that was to be expected.
Karin on the other hand, was 16 when first introduced, and was acting similar to how Sakura behaved at the beginning. In fact, Karin was acting much worse. Sakura’s fangirling was hardly ever depicted as sexual; It mostly involved blind, innocent cheering and wanting to spend more time together. By Contrast, Karin’s fangirling was almost exclusively sexual.
And these sexual thoughts of hers were just as strong during the war, when they had far more important things to be focusing on.
Karin’s fangirling and comedic nature therefore continued during a time that was supposed to be the most serious and important battle of the story thus far, whereas Sakura literally hadn’t had any thoughts regarding how cool Sasuke was since the Chuunin exams. Yet, people say she’s still a fangirl :S
At one point, even when the object of her affection was severely injured, Karin couldn’t help but fangirl over Sasuke in his injured state, thinking he looked cool, whilst injured!
You wanna know how Sakura as a 12 year old reacted to Sasuke being severely injured?
Kishi kept Karin acting in this manner so as to make a clear distinction between Karin and Sakura, and to clarify to the readers who the actual fangirl was. From the beginning, Karin’s character was never meant to be taken at the same level of seriousness as Sakura’s. I say “the same” level because I don’t believe Karin’s character was purely designed for comic relief, but I’ll get to that in a moment. She was no doubt vital to Sasuke’s survival against Killer Bee and during the Kage Summit. But even when she gets serious and shows how important she can be:
It often reverted back to comic relief, thereby hindering the advancement of her character to a more serious one in nature, and keeping her trapped in the realm of a comedic character with some importance here and there:
Not only did Kishi show the distinction between Sakura and Karin in how they behaved, but he also explicitly signified through Kakashi that Sakura was no longer the fangirl she once was; her affections were to be taken seriously. She got Kakashi to change his opinion of her love for Sasuke, from initially thinking she was just a fangirl who prioritized getting with Sasuke over improving her ninjutsu skills:
To thinking that she was a kind and gentle girl who wouldn’t stop until she’d saved Sasuke from the darkness:
Her feelings had “changed from what they were back then”, and now she loved him “on a totally different level”. It can’t get much more explicit than that. Conversely, Karin went from this:
So much progression… She was still the same fangirl she had always been.
Also, one of the biggest differences between Karin’s and Sakura’s affections was the fact that Sakura was striving to save Sasuke from his dark path, whereas Karin did nothing to try to prevent it, regardless of how cold and intimidating his chakra was.
This was how Sakura reacted to seeing Sasuke enveloped in darkness for the first time:
From the very first instance, she did her best to stop him before he sank any further, and succeeded. Now compare this with how Karin reacted to witnessing Sasuke drifting deeper into darkness:
She spotted the change, but did nothing to halt its progression. It was only after a first hand experience of Sasuke at his ABSOLUTE LOWEST, did she decide to no longer aid him along that path:
But the thing is, the situation should not have been this dire before she realised that helping Sasuke while he was in that frame of mind, was not a very wise choice. Sakura was privy to this immediately when she was 12, it shouldn’t have taken Karin that long to reach the same conclusion.
However, people often use this as ammo to bash Sakura, saying she was trying to save Sasuke for herself, and opted to kill him when she had thought that he had sunk to levels that were beyond recovery. Whereas Karin supported him through it all. But a viewpoint like that only makes sense if you wanted Sasuke to suffer in loneliness for the rest of his life. Sakura knew that his path wouldn’t grant him anything but more pain, she knew that from chapter 181, and she was only trying to prevent that:
All she wanted and wished for was Sasuke’s happiness, and would have gone to hell and back (she kinda did in chapter 685 :P) to attain it:
This is not a selfish attempt at guilt tripping Sasuke into returning her feelings. Rather, she’s not only trying to make him realise that all she wants is a better life for him, but also that his aspirations (especially the means by which he intended to achieve them), would only bring him further misery, and wouldn’t do anything for anyone.
However, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t think it’s fair for Karin to be taken solely as a joke. There are times where she has demonstrated that her feelings for Sasuke went beyond those of physical lust:
This was especially evident during the war when Karin discovers that Sasuke is on the verge of death, and becomes absolutely distraught over the news:
She subsequently gives her all to get to Sasuke in order to save him as soon as possible, unlocking her Uzumaki chains along the way:
This is comparable to Sakura giving her all to save Sasuke from the other dimension later on:
The biggest difference is what transpired afterwards. After Karin tried so hard to save Sasuke and he eventually woke up, what happened?
She got ignored. He didn’t ask how he survived Madara’s stab or why Taka was there, he just got on with his business, not paying any attention to her.
In contrast, what happened after Sakura saved Sasuke?
Sasuke holds on to Sakura (for longer than he needed to might I add :P), and sincerely thanks her. Why did the story pan out that way? because Sakura was no longer a fangirl like Karin was, and the main purpose of her character was not for comic relief. The following reaction to Sasuke apologizing to her:
Is not the reaction of a character who is to be taken 100% seriously. I didn’t even know what to make of that reaction or how she was feeling. What I did know was that she was again fangirling over an apology that was half sincere at best. I certainly knew what purpose Karin had in the story, and I was therefore able to enjoy her character for what it was, whilst also appreciating her genuine efforts to keep my favourite character alive.
On the other hand, it’s rather easy to decipher how Sakura felt after hearing Sasuke’s apology:
Utter relief and joy, that after all this time, they had finally achieved what they had trained so hard for: they had freed Sasuke from the shackles of his curse, and prevented him from living a life of loneliness and misery. Sakura wasn’t fangirling over the fact that she now had a chance to get with Sasuke. She was crying tears of happiness because she managed to secure a much better future for the guy she loved, regardless of whether or not that future involved her. That’s all there is to it.
After all she had done, she certainly deserved Sasuke’s gratitude and the happiness his words made her feel. Because after all the angst, they could now both look forward with hope for a brighter future…
At least until the events of Naruto Gaiden :P