SasuNaru was the first pairing ever. It also dominated much of my childhood years and even until today, I still believe that this ship is sailing, slowing over the years, only to be reinvigorated by Boruto.
But first let me outline how we come to love this pairing. By the way, you can tell from the tone of the article that this will be one of the lighter ones, yet the implications are no less deeper.
I was not an avid Naruto fan back then. I felt that the world of this anime felt gray, drab and slow. It wasn’t until the Chuunin exams where it really picked up its pace and earned itself a place among one of the most beloved anime of all time, in turn making sure that SasuNaru remained known through time.
Unlike most of the pairings haphazardly thrown together just because they look “cute”, SasuNaru was set up from the beginning.
The infamous kiss scene, the birth of SasuNaru
We’re all familiar with the infamous kiss scene. In this scene, Naruto stared at Sasuke, frustrated at his apparent popularity.
A student behind him unknowingly pushes him onto our dear Uchiha’s lips and presto, the world came to know of the ship that is SasuNaru.
Brotherly bond and unlikely friendship- the Wave Arc
Although much of the interaction between Sasuke and Naruto is just bickering, their brotherly bond have been setup right from the start, and even if we remove the romantic elements from it, certain elements from their interactions still screams beyond brotherly love.
In the Mission to the Land of Wave, we are exposed to the extent that both will go just to save each other.
Even subconsciously, the care they have for each other borders self sacrifice.
“I don’t know, my body moved on its own.”
These were Sasuke’s words as Naruto, in shock asked him why he shielded him from Haku’s attacks.
This was reciprocated when, upon seeing Sasuke “died” in front of him, Naruto temporarily unlocked the seal with Kyuubi and crushes Haku easily.
Thus, was born the real friendship between the two, for it is in this moment that they silently affirmed just how much they’re willing to risk everything for each other.
This theme would repeat itself even in Shippuden and Boruto as the brotherly zeal in entrusting their lives to each other becomes almost certain and second nature.
The rivalry archetype, the makings of an interesting pairing
Sasuke’s jealousy of Naruto’ s growing power does put a damper on this growth for a while. However, I believe this too is a natural component of their subtle development in the anime.
Remember that whenever Naruto is involved, Sasuke tends to lose sight of his original goal which is to kill Itachi and avenge the Uchiha clan.
This jealousy is a form of misplaced love, and a mutated form of fear-fear that somehow Naruto is leaving him behind. And in this moment, the idea of this pairing begins to slowly develop without it being “in your face” about it, considering the genre of the anime.
The rooftop scene, the beginning of the end and the beginning of something new
While many will think that the rooftop scene is the beginning of the end of their relationship, I believe it is a birth place for a new phase of their growth.
It is a metaphorical jive not just at their rivalry but also a nod to the changing dynamics of their, friendship? relationship maybe?
Sasuke’s Departure and the Retrieval Arc, its aftermath and impact
Much have been discussed with regards to how the battle went down. However, take note of how gently Sasuke looks upon Naruto’s face as the other ninja lies upon the battlefield.
Though harsh words were exchanged in this battle, it is undeniable that whatever malice and hatred both have for each other has evaporated.
But this is also a turning point for the two of them.
Without realizing it, Sasuke’s goal has changed from Itachi into Naruto. Rather than surpassing Itachi, his goal at that moment was to beat Naruto. And he achieved it, a milestone that will be imprinted upon him.
On the other hand, Naruto made it his life goal to bring Sasuke back. And so the entire anime become this crescendo-decrescendo dance of the two chasing after each other, but never really touching, never really reaching.
Equal without equal
In the later end of the Shippuden series, the two would later fight and they would remain equal. A far healthier mode of relationship than most manga and anime conceived don’t you think?
This is even reinforced in Boruto. While Naruto is and will always be the Lord 7th, Sasuke is recognized as his equal. And only when the two join together will their power be unparalleled.
Boruto and its consequences
Boruto necessitated a next generation to carry on the torch of the previous fire. So it is understandable that the relationship between Naruto and Sasuke have been diluted somewhat.
Regardless, when you think about it, the two would frequently rendezvous in secret, as Sasuke reports his investigations to Naruto. Their long journey culminated from tenuous friendship into a stable and trusting one that permeates throughout the series.
And thus this development has impressed upon me that their relationship has been organically cultivated in the anime, although just not as blatantly as fans would expect.
Regardless, even now I believe that the two would continue their silent rendezvous, their shared cooperation and their unwavering respect and loyalty to one another.
Thus SasuNaru becomes a classic, a legend, a pairing that comes so organically natural that even without showing it, the anime basically tells us to ship them.
And so I did and so did many other fans.
Thus my first ship, my first foray into the world of yaoi and fanfiction writing was born, reinforced and ultimately reinvigorated over time.
How about you? Do you also ship the two? How is the fandom these days? I know I missed more clues as to their interactions within the anime, considering the length and the expanse of it. Nevertheless, these remain the highlight scenes that will forever tell me that the ship is alive, it will sail and will continue to do so.
If you are a fellow shipper, what are your thoughts on this ship? And what was the time that you said to yourself “yes, this is the one, I ship it!”?