Despite the fact that Naruto Uzumaki and Sasuke Uchiha are the focus of the Naruto series, Sakura Haruno was both the series’ main female character and the third most important character in the series, along with Hinata. Sakura was a skilled kunoichi and master healer, but this article is not going to be about her skills but rather about her private life. Namely, Sakura has been shipped with numerous characters from the series, but she had only one crush from the beginning of the story, and this article is going to reveal whether that was Naruto Uzumaki, as we are going to tell you whether Sakura ever likes Naruto.
Sakura Haruno never liked Naruto Uzumaki in a romantic way. They knew each other since they were kids and while Naruto did, initially, have a crush on Sakura, Sakura never thought of him as anything more than a friend, which Naruto realized later; Sakura was in love with Sasuke, her future husband. The two of them developed a true friendship over the years, but it was never more than that.
The rest of this article is going to focus on the relationship between Naruto Uzumaki and Sakura Haruno. We are going to bring you the details of this relationship, how it evolved and how it ended up, i.e., whether Sakura ever liked Naruto in a romantic way. This is mostly an article about known facts from the series, so there won’t be too many spoilers for old fans of Naruto.
Does Sakura like Naruto?
We’ll start off by telling you the story of Naruto and Sakura, as we know it from the pages of the manga. When they were at the academy together, Naruto met Sakura, and over time, he started to develop feelings for her. However, Sakura thought Naruto was dull and had nothing but eyes for Sasuke. Tensions increased when Sakura and Naruto were deployed to the same team as Sasuke after becoming Genin. Sakura was more focused on Sasuke, but Naruto was still hoping to win her over. Sakura grew to admire Naruto as he developed as a ninja. After leaving the village, Sasuke made Sakura promise that he would return.
He attempted to train with Jiraiya for more than two years, but he was unsuccessful. Sakura was shocked by how much Naruto had changed when she arrived back. The two quickly formed a partnership and performed admirably on the battlefield. Sai noted that Naruto was determined to get Sasuke back because of his love for Sakura, even after he was labeled an S-rank criminal. As a result, Sakura declares her love for Naruto and pleads with him to give up on Sasuke. However, Naruto insisted that he take care of bringing Sasuke home as well after seeing that Sakura was being untruthful.
Naruto and Sakura were comrades in arms during the Fourth Shinobi World War. After being revived, Minato, Naruto’s father, inquired about Sakura’s relationship with him after witnessing her treat Naruto. When Naruto told her that he was his girlfriend, she struck him. When Sakura revived Naruto after the Fox-Nine-Tails was removed from him, he survived. Sasuke uses genjutsu to knock him out after the fight, which enrages Naruto. They clash, nevertheless, and Sasuke is ultimately persuaded to go back home.
This demonstrates that Naruto has finally kept his word to Sakura. Sakura offers Hinata a seat next to Naruto after realizing two years later that he has a crush on her. If he doesn’t take her home, she reprimands him and labels him an idiot. Hinata eventually hears Naruto confess, but she and Toneri take off to save their sister. Naruto is healed by Sakura, who also informs him that Hinata has the same feelings for him. She goes to Naruto and Hinata’s wedding years later.
As you can see, the text we have provided for you here is more than clear as to the exact nature of Sakura’s feelings towards Naruto. Now, the thing here is that Sakura was the female protagonist of Naruto, and such characters almost exclusively end up with the main character, especially if they have such a love-hate dynamic as Sakura and Naruto did (Naruto probably got beaten up by Sakura more than by anyone else). One great example of such a dynamic is Fullmetal Alchemist, but the protagonist getting the main female is a trope we’ve seen in Detective Conan, The Seven Deadly Sins, and numerous other anime and manga. So, that is why a lot of fans saw Naruto and Sakura as a perfect couple, and Kishimoto was even mean enough to let us think it might happen.
Naruto was clearly in love with Sakura early on in the story and while Sakura would usually just kick his ass and yell at him, she did care for him. It all seemed set for a late-bloomer romance, as Sakura would later realize that she loves Naruto’s quirky personality and they would end up together. But it never happened and for better or for worse, we agree with Kishimoto’s decision here. Namely, if you look at the series as a whole, such a relationship just seems… unnatural.
Despite Naruto’s initial emotions, Sakura was always in love with Sasuke, despite his erratic behavior. She cared for Sasuke in a romantic way and Naruto, being the great guy he is, realized that and he simply backed away, “sacrificing” his own emotions for the happiness of his two friends. That is why Naruto – among other reasons – tried so hard to bring Sasuke back – he wanted to see Sakura and Sasuke happy. Together. Knowing what we know about the relationship between Sakura and Naruto, as well as the relationship between Sakura and Sasuke, having Naruto end up with Sakura would just seem very odd.
Kishimoto has tricked us and he did, intentionally (probably), tease such an outcome, but it was never going to happen. Sure, we can say that now with more ease, but back then – it was difficult to observe the development of this triangle because we could not be sure. Luckily, things turned out for the best and this definitely does seem like the best way possible to conclude this story. Naruto and Hinata ended up together, which was the natural order of things, and Sakura and Sasuke also ended up together, which was also the proper order of things. Anything else would’ve been a faux pas from Kishimoto and it would not have done the characters any justice whatsoever, and would probably have received a lot of backlash from the fandom, which also realized that there was only one way that these relationships could go.
To conclude, we can only reiterate what we have said above. Sakura Haruno did care for Naruto Uzumaki, that much is obvious; she has used her skills to protect him and save him on more than one occasion, but that was simply because she considered him to be her best friend. Naruto did like Sakura in a romantic way, but she never had the same feelings for him. She liked him, but only as a friend, and with time, Naruto realized that and he handled this shift perfectly. He behaved like a true friend on more than one occasion, and the friendship between Sakura and Naruto is one of the best friendships we’ve seen in the Naruto manga. It was a truly perfect friendship between the two and a great example of how Kishimoto handled his characters with care and love. He managed to write a great story and create a great friendship, while – at the same time – allowing both of them to be happy with whose characters they truly loved.
Who does Sakura end up with?
Now, before we actually finish this article, let us just confirm how the actual story handled the romance between Sakura and Sasuke, as it further confirms everything we have said above about the nature of the relationship between Sakura and Naruto. After the war, one day, at the entrance of the village, Sasuke, Sakura, and Kakashi were there, as the Uchiha would go on a trip to see the world. After the Hokage said a few words to her, Sakura began to speak, asking if she was leaving since Tsunade was about to finish the prosthesis for his arm, made from Hashirama’s cells.
Sasuke tells her that he has to see for himself what the world looks like, saying other things. Sakura asks him what he would say if she says that she wants to accompany him, to which the Uchiha responds by saying that it is a trip to atone for his sins and that she cannot get involved, proceeding to touch her forehead in the same way that his brother Itachi did to him.
He then left, saying that he would be back soon, and thanked Sakura for everything. Sakura, blushing, sees how Sasuke walks away from her, but she is happy because she knows that he will return. The years passed after the end of the Fourth Shinobi World War, Sakura married Sasuke, and they had a daughter, Sarada Uchiha.