Sakura did tell Sarada that Sasuke was on a grueling mission (chapter 7 or 8 I believe)and yes I know the no contact thing is there and it's no excuse. I just hate how people use it to claim that Sasuke "hates" Sarada & Sakura when within Gaiden we see that's far from the case. People demonize Sasuke for Kishi's half assed "dramatic" writing.
Ok, here’s the classic quandary: blame the character, or blame the writer? It’s a case by case thing.
When it comes to the Naruto ending (ch 700, Naruto Gaiden, Boruto: the Movie), there’s no one thing you can change and make it better. It’s just layer after layer of bullshit. You peel away one layer and you discover something else just as bad.
Sasuke is an absent father who is never in Konoha; he doesn’t recognize his own child and tries to kill her AFTER she calls him “papa”; Naruto experiences being Hokage as a bureaucratic busy work nightmare with no real reforms; Orochimaru never stopped experimenting on children yet Naruto strolls into his hideout like he’s on an episode of MTV Cribs (hat tip to @thatshinobilife for that turn of phrase); Yamato is isolated and miserable; Sakura is codependent and miserable; everyone lies to Sarada and hides what’s going on from her for no coherent reason other than “Kishimoto doesn’t know how to write an exciting plot that doesn’t involve a mindfucked tween”; Konoha is super prosperous except what the hell are all the ninjas doing and how the hell is the economy working; Kishimoto only remembers economic hardship if it can punish a female character like Tenten’s shop; the ninja economy is dead because it’s sooooo peaceful yet they still gotta make teen soldiers, fuck outta here; Hinata’s character development was made to atrophy for two years so that they could start The Last off with nothing changed; more alien bullshit. It just keeps going.
With such an onion o’ bullshit, yeah, you gotta blame the writer(s) (because Kishimoto isn’t alone in writing/creating the Naruto ending). But. That only works if you basically decide to throw the whole thing out. Both Naruto Gaidens, aka the two post-699 stories that Kishimoto drew himself, can’t work without every adult character being either a villain or an accomplice. “The Path That the Full Moon Illuminates” isn’t about anything BUT Orochimaru being able to freely experiment on human beings, brainwash, drug, torture, etc Mitsuki to make him into what he is. “The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring” isn’t about anything BUT Sarada being lied to or denied the truth about who she is, where she came from, and her family history; and that even when she attempts to confront her father about this, she is savagely invalidated by him:
Like… why? This is a happy ending? This is a reformed Sasuke who has rejoined society? This is a strong leader Naruto?
No. This is a Sasuke who learned sweet fuck all from Itachi’s manipulation of him. This is a Naruto who just stumbles along with what his society’s always done to children and fills out forms instead of protecting victims from victimizers.
And if the story was honest with itself about what it was, that might be ok. Not what I would prefer, because I unashamedly like happy endings and successful societal reform is my shit, but it would be a consistent story. Loads of people like to tell and consume nihilist “nothing ever actually changes” stories.
The problem is that the Naruto ending wants nothing to actually change but also wants to depict Naruto as a hero who accomplished his goals: bringing Sasuke home, saving Sasuke from the darkness, becoming a Hokage who changes the Hyuuga, doesn’t objectify people into tools, being part of a family, and makes it so no more children have to suffer pointlessly.
Actual outcome of these goals in the Naruto ending: Sasuke’s never home, Sasuke’s still pretty fucking dark, Hyuuga who?, everyone’s expendable, his family gets the clone while the forms get the real him, and heck yes we still have child soldiers, and that kid in a tank at Orochimaru’s? Not his business.
actual video of Naruto getting the yearly report from Yamato about Orochimaru’s latest medical torture of children
So, Anon, I’m guessing you’re a Sasu//Saku shipper, so it’s natural to think you have to be satisfied with the ending because your ship “won”. But you don’t have to! Take it from me! (Ships Naru//Hina, Shika//Tema, and Sai//Ino.) I don’t blame you at all for liking Sarada; Kishimoto is good, really good, at character designing. But my humble suggestion is that rather than trying to square the circle by saying “Sasuke isn’t a bad guy, he’s just written that way”, you throw the Naruto ending out. Throw it all out! Freely help yourself to Sarada when you make an AU ending where Sasuke isn’t a bad guy. Just recognize that “Sasuke, Sakura and Sarada are a happy family” is an AU. The Sasuke in the Naruto ending IS a bad guy, but you know, so is literally every other adult in the Naruto ending; it’s just Sasuke is especially appallingly douchey.
Also, here’s a little aside: I can’t make a post about what actually happens in the Naruto ending without tons of trigger warnings. Maybe this is a sign that it’s not a very happy ending.