Damn fan service. You might have thought the writers would have realized their readers grew into adults the same way Naruto and the gang had, but no~ they stuck to the stupid, senseless polls.
Naruto and Sakura made sense. I myself am a SasuSaku shipper, but even I knew how abusive and co-dependent this ship was. It’s sickening how it all ended up.
Basically, all the women vanished into their husbands upon marriage. WTF?? ALL WOMEN SCREAM I BEG OF YOU.
Naruto and Sakura supported each other for years after Sasuke’s departure. They even love each other. Naruto was head over heels for Sakura - he pined for her, ached with her, fought for her. And Sakura - while she was alone with Naruto - grew from her childish ways. She learned to look beyond the physical and into the person. She learned to prioritize herself, to hone her own skill. She was her own person when she was with Naruto.
And note - that even before ‘falling again’ for Sasuke - during the battles where she fought side by side with him, she stood her own ground. If anything, Sasuke’s departure allowed her to grow. If she had run away with him - she’d basically be a willing sex slave. (That is exaggerating I know but damn do I need my point to get across.)
I am different now after the years have passed. When I was twelve and watching Naruto, I couldn’t help but pine with Sakura. I wanted her to get what she longed for, what I believed she deserved - Sasuke’s love. But, now that I’m older, I know she doesn’t need this - that she has to grow up and face the music. There is no shame to having been in love. But - the fact of the matter is - Sasuke never loved her the way she wanted him to, the way she needed him to throughout the manga. And time is nothing if not a healer of all wounds.
(Also, what the fuck is it about Sakura now, as a mother, being depicted cleaning the house or with her children. What?? Now that she’s married - she has no more career? Must everyone working in the hospital be single??? WTF?)
There were no signs that Sasuke was in love with Sakura. Sure he cherishes her, thanks her for fighting for him even after all he’s done. But, he never loved her like Naruto had. Naruto gave his limb to get Sasuke home to Sakura. (I know there are a lot more factors to this, nonetheless, this is something we cannot deny.) Everything that happened post-war was FORCED to say the least. And I cannot accept SasuSaku like this.
Hinata, god bless the girl, is in love with Naruto sure. But, like Sakura, she can grow out of this infatuation or “love”. Hinata is uninteresting. She is bland. And with Naruto becoming Hokage (basically a paper pusher in this time of peace), I think Naruto will - fucking well - grow blander along with her. Damn. I saw Boruto and can’t shake the idea that he’s become toned down. Must maturity come at the price of vigor? of enthusiasm? Hinata’s basically the perfect housewife. Marrying Naruto helps neither Naruto nor Hinata’s character.
Sasuke and Naruto later shown to have fallen in love with Sakura and Hinata respectively is beyond the point. This, I believe, was a stretch. Forced as we see it in a movie stuffed down our throats, in a final chapter we can only be forced to accept.
Like any other decent storyline which respected its characters’ development, Naruto and Sakura should have ended up together. This would have solidified their growth throughout the series. Sasuke, post war, I believe, is not in the mindset to go falling head over heels in love. He has much to atone for. (Maybe this is why the writers never really go into Sakura and Sasuke’s story - seeing how tedious it could get.)
I just wanted to say that I am deeply unsatisfied and heartbroken over how Naruto ended. I had hoped more for the women in the anime - what with it being shounen. Well, what can you do, right? *what a let down*