NaruSaku since it's the healthier of the two pairings. Naruto would have been just as happy with Sakura as he was with it Hinata and at least he showed that he cared for her unlike Sasuke. Seriously, the 180 Sasuke pulled at the VERY end was complete and utter BS and IMO a cop-out on Kishi's part. He was just trying to tie everything up regardless of whether it made sense or not.
Hinata DESPERATELY needed some panel time with Naruto or at the very least, the chance to grow beyond her crush. That's my biggest gripe with her character, that she is literally nothing without Naruto. Her character does not extend beyond him which is sad because she has potential. The story would have benefited from an arc that had Naruto teaming up with Squad 8, her team. That's the ONLY team Naruto is NEVER partnered with and I always wondered why that was.
If you want Hinata to be seen as a heroine, give her the opportunity. A scene here and one 100+ chapters later is honestly not enough. The two interact in less than 50 pages out of the ENTIRE manga which is well over 14000 pages. That isn't enough. The Last screwed up by trying to do what was essentially the manga's job to do, flesh out the pairing. I didn't like how they added to Naruto's backstory with he and Hinata as kids and the scarf from his mom which was used as a plot device to make Hinata jealous. I also don't like how they cheapened his feelings for Sakura. Rumor has it that his voice actress, Junko Takeuchi refused to say certain lines at the part where he and Sakura are talking in the film because she felt they were too OOC. OF course this is just a rumor so take with a grain of salt.
Anyways, the pairing should have been in the oven prior to the film, not just being made. So what we end up with is a love story that is horribly rushed and told in a way that isn't romantic in the least. It comes across as overly contrived and forced. I don't hate Hinata by any means, but a movie was NOT the best way to develop her because honestly, she doesn't really change, everyone around her changes to fit the scenario.
Considering the gaiden, she's working herself to the point of exhaustion, so much so she collapsed. All the while he's off wondering around the world, doing a job that the Anbu could most likely do. Yeah, great husband >_>. Also, I think you're mistaking passiveness for understanding. Sakura doesn't seem capable of standing up to or challenging Sasuke as much as she would with Naruto. We see this a lot throughout the series in her inability to defend herself against his abuse.
And honestly, when it comes to understanding Naruto, I think Sakura is the best. Not only have they been on the same team for years, but they've shared the same goal as well, saving their friend. No one else other than Sakura knew the full extent to which Naruto was suffering in order to fulfill that goal. So much so that she tried to free him from it through the infamous fake confession.
She had to UNDERSTAND that he was suffering to want to alleviate it. And if you're going to use the whole "I hate people who lie to themselves" angle, the Last practically states that Naruto had been lying to himself for years in regards to his feelings for Sakura. What he claimed to be love being nothing more than a sense of rivalry, told to him by Sakura no less.
I don't believe either of them was in a position to preach to the other, so I don't place much stock on either claim. Naruto's claim that Sakura was "lying to herself" and Sakura's claim that Naruto "never really loved her". Because if Sakura didn't love Naruto in some shape or form, why go that far? There was some love there though clearly not as strong as her love for Sasuke but love nonetheless. A love born from her understanding Naruto as a teammate, fellow shinobi, and friend.
Her crying showed that she already understood, she just didn't want to admit that she was partly responsible for it. Having someone else say out it out loud just drove it home. We know this because part of the reason Sakura became stronger was to help Naruto to bring Sasuke back, thus easing some of his burden. A burden she believed she had inadvertently placed upon him.
SasukeXSakura makes sense ? think again She put her own photo over the actual photo, over the face of the person who delivered her baby, the one who gave her daughter her glasses, her supposed new best friend. I'm sure some really pathetic people crop out such people in their lives to present misleading photos of themselves next to their "husband"(If you can really call someone like Sasuke that) picture, but its still some pathetic behavior of which you'd come to expect of a submissive person. Especially when they were apparently so unable to get a more current version of their husband as an adult when the two last met. Couldn't even get a marriage photo. I wonder how long the two actually even banged if they didn't even have time for a photo. Only a Stepford wife would put up with that.
Kishimoto got invested enough in Naruto x Hinata that he wanted it followed through ? keyword "Invested," he sure fooled me then cause in these past 15 years the two have BARELY interacted in the story, she was HARDLY ever present in the story, and she knew next to NOTHING about Naruto beyond him being lonely as a child. That's some REAL good investment there. >_> No, what he and the anime studio invested in was the ridiculously large number of NaruHina fans who would eat this **** up no matter how forced, contrived, or nonsensical it was.
Hinata Her understanding of Naruto ended after part 1. In part 2, Naruto is no longer a lonely outcast, he's popular and has friends while she's still hiding behind trees watching him from afar. The issues he had in part 2 , she played no role in aiding him with. Hell, she nearly got him killed at one point.
Sakura should've been with someone who actually cared about her (Naruto). Sasuke's change of heart at the end of the series was BS. Truly he's a "rare prodigy" who was saved by more plot convenient ass pulls than anyone else in the series. As for the "debt" to Sakura, you're right he doesn't owe her a thing. Except for maybe the fact that she could have poisoned him with the kunai but chose not to. She had a PRIME opportunity to do so. Or perhaps for her continuing to believe that there was still some good deep down inside that cold heart of his.
Whatever the case, his behavior towards Sakura was completely unacceptable and she SHOULD have given up on his ass. Her "love" for him caused her more pain than anything else. He deserved to be alone, or to be with a girl even more clingy than Sakura, Karin. Though IMO, they're BOTH too good for him.
Yeah, NaruHina and SasuSaku in a nutshell. Just pair the guys up with their respective fangirls. Also, claiming that Naruto was "competing" with Sasuke for Sakura would imply that Sasuke had feelings for her. Feelings that he made abundantly clear on several occasions he did not have. Not much of a competition when only one guy is actively pursuing the girl, Naruto.
"Fictional claims" lol. It's a fact that Sakura could have stabbed Sasuke if she wanted to. She stopped herself at the last possible moment. He was completely oblivious to her presence long enough for her to have scratched him at the very least. And furthermore, you want to blame Sakura for "trying" to kill him despite the fact that during that encounter, he tried to kill her first, while she was tending to Karin. No excuses, Sasuke was dead wrong to do what he did, yet later on he comes back with his crappy little "I'm sorry" 180 personality change and both girls forgive him, please. >_>
You chose to be blind to all the kittenish actions Sasuke took. Justifying them with honestly pitiful excuses seeing as it was Sasuke who chose to ignore his brother's wishes and walk a path of darkness. Apparently he can do no wrong in your eyes but I'll call a spade a spade and an ass an ass. That darkness had always been a part of Sasuke and the truth about his brother just brought it to the surface. Even before then, we could see some of this when he and Naruto first fought in the Final Valley in part 1. Sakura and Karin we oblivious to that side of him because they had never seen it, but he was most definitely being himself. It's just that after his final bout with Naruto, he set about changing himself to something a bit less dark.
I'm just stating why I think this "investment" Kishimoto "planned" for NaruHina was complete and utter BS that dirtied the story, I don't see how her interactions with Naruto were more important than others. She did confess to loving him but that gets thrown out and is never touched on again. She did encourage him after Neji's death yet, shortly after he calls Sakura his GF accompanied with the obligatory SakuShina parallel. Two of her best moments, completely disregarded.
Naruto as a character is defined by his bonds to others because that's all he has, his bond with Sasuke being the most important and the driving force behind many of his actions. Hinata not being able to understand that bond severely hampered her ability to understand Naruto and his goals, at least IMO. She is in the background for so long how anyone can claim that she knows him better than the people that actually stand by his side is beyond me. Hell, Sai probably understood him better than HInata and that's saying something.
This pairing war against the NaruHina shippers had to be one of the most obnoxious things in a very, very long time.
Since the Radical Naruto/Hinata shippers extremist are being so smug, here's a reminder: you guys enjoy but a hollow victory. You can't read back over the manga and ignore the fact Naruto loved Sakura for 699 chapters out of 700. Hinata was pairing fodder than never got much development, and neither did the relationship. You were "right" in the end, and yet Naruto/Sakura was the intended endgame pairing before Kishimoto capitulated. The manga reflects that fact, and the necessity of a movie to justify this BS pairing reflects that. You'll never be able to ignore that.
IMO the truth is that Hinata and Sakura were underdeveloped and poorly written. Hinata was almost never around Naruto for about ¾ of the story, even though it was clear what her feelings were. Sakura started out as a naive love struck girl who then kicked ass physically and mentally shortly after the time skip (Sai intro/Sasuke search arc) who then devolved back into a love struck teenage because…? If team 7 had 4 people in it including Hinata and she went on all those adventures with Naruto less people would give a fuss (I think).
Sakura became the worst character in the series IMO because she reverted back to her old self. I remember the first episode of Naruto I ever saw (Kakashi telling new Team 7 to steal bells). All 3 failed that “ninja test” for different reasons. Naruto failed because he never thought before he acted. At the end of the series he matures by becoming a more calculating person in his words and actions. Sasuke failed by taking independent actions without his teammates. He matures by realizing that he can’t accomplish any of his goals in life without support. Kakashi failed Sakura because she needed to get her head out of the clouds and stop obsessing over Sasuke so much. She matured in the end by…. Ohhh wait she didn’t.
With that said, people who say there is was NO evidence/foreshadowing for Sakura/Naruto to end up together must be dreaming. There is about as much evidence for Sakura as there is for Hinata, which confused the crap out of me when the series ended as to why Naruto and Sakura didn’t have any closure in the end (which not is properly addressed in the Last Naruto the movie). The evidence IMO pointed to Naruto confessing to Sakura in the end once he fulfilled his “promise” to her.
1.In the beginning of the series, it is revealed that Naruto has feelings for Sakura.
-Sakura knows of these affections (unbeknownst to him) thanks to Sai, but her feelings for him (according to the Databooks) are confused and unspecified.
2. Kushina's dying wish was for Naruto to find a girl like her so that Naruto can receive her love even when she was gone. Sakura was compared to Kushina by Naruto's father, noticing their striking resemblance in personality.
3. After Kaguya is defeated, Naruto talks with Minato, asking him to tell Kushina that he is keeping all her wishes. Kakashi and Sakura are shown staring at him blankly when he says that his feet aren't always properly washed. He eventually remembers his mother's wish for Naruto to find a girl like her, but starts stammering and eventually says that he hasn't quite fulfilled everything Kushina asked.
4. Throughout the series, Naruto and Sakura have been shown to share mutual admiration and strong respect for one another.
5.In Iruka's lesson of Heaven and Earth, he makes a real-world example of Naruto and Sakura, showing that each of them can't survive without the other.
6.Sakura has been shown to get angry and yell at people who insult Naruto, such as Sai and even Sasuke, who was her crush.
7.Sakura has been teased and/or pointed out as Naruto's girlfriend by Konohamaru, Gamakichi, and Minato respectively, among others.
8.Despite having feelings for Sakura, Naruto acknowledges her feelings for Sasuke. He also made a "lifetime promise" to bring Sasuke home, which is seen as both a positive and negative element of their relationship.
9.Sakura has shed tears for Naruto on numerous occasions whether due to his life being in danger or simply due to his commendable words and actions.
10.Naruto has been shown to recklessly save Sakura numerous times when her life was in danger, likely more than anyone else has
11.Sakura is shown to be openly protective over Naruto and constantly concerned for his well-being.
Additionally, Sakura realizes that Naruto has done a lot for her and wishes to repay the debts outside of "small and insignificant" things such as healing him.
12.Sakura greatly admires Naruto, particularly after he defeated Nagato.
13.Naruto and Sakura are known to constantly bicker, often ending with Sakura comically punching Naruto for being stupid, although they quickly get over each one.
14. When healing Naruto after he turned kyuubi against orochimaru, Sakura expresses her desire to be useful to Naruto. Despite her wound, she continues to heal the Uzumaki and soon asks Yamato to teach her the technique to stop Naruto's Kyubi form. She is quickly saddened when he tells her that he was the only who had this ability, saying that, as usual, the things she can do for Naruto are small and meaningless. Noticing this and her wound, Yamato claims that the important thing is Sakura's strong feelings, causing her to look up in confusion. Smiling, Yamato tries to say that he can tell she likes him by just looking at her, but he is quickly cut off as Naruto begins to awaken.
15. At the end of the Sai/Sasuke arc, Naruto complains he can’t eat because of his broken arm and Sakura, seductively moving her chair and leaning in closer to him, gives him a flirtatious look and offers to feed him, which leaves him happily surprised and blushing.
16. Naruto who is still walking through the village has a flashback about the encounter he had with Sasuke and just as he snaps out of his trance, Sakura and Sai arrive to see him sitting on a bench. Naruto then questions Sai's presence and complains that both Sakura and Sai interrupted him while he was devising a plan to go with Sakura on a date.
17. After Karui beats up naruto after he wouldn’t give any information on sasuke, Sai asks Naruto if he likes Sakura (Notice this happened after the Pain arc, wherein Hinata professed her love towards Naruto) Naruto said that he couldn’t because he didn’t keep his promise with Sakura (to bring Sasuke back).
In conclusion, based on this evidence, I can see why many people Including myself believed that Naruto would end up with Sakura (and were disappointed in the end), just as I can see how kitten the minimal evidence that caused Hinata to end up with Naruto in the end. I just wish Kishimoto hadn’t turned Sakura from IMO the worst to the best and then back to the worst female character in Naruto, and Hinata from an undeveloped minor secondary character that is not in most of the story to the main character’s significant other without having a more concrete visible relationship in the end. Ultimately I think Kishimoto just didn’t know how to develop female characters in the series which was a factor in my disliking of the pairings in the end.
Hinata's "love" to Naruto... well minus how unlike naruto, Sasuke tried to kill Sakura multiple times. But then also in that sense, naruto never gave up on Sasuke even though he tried to kill naruto multiple times. It's sort of unfair to glorify how Naruto never gave up on his 'brother' while Sakura is always viewed as someone who can't get over an infatuation.
In the second part of the series, you get lost on her true feelings. At one point, it seems like she's in love with Naruto and now just views Sasuke as a teammate she wants to save because she's loyal to him, just as Naruto is loyal to him. She even tried to kill Sasuke herself because she wanted to free both of them of this burden... though it can also be viewed as selfish since she tried to get mixed up in something she doesn't understand (my understanding was that team 7 kept her out of the loop A LOT; e.g. her not knowing how strong the bond between Sasuke and naruto was, as shown at the end before the time skip, and her believing that naruto was just trying to save Sasuke because he promised her.)
It's hard to say why Sakura still loves sasuke, though it's for sure that she's loyal to sasuke AND naruto. During the war, you don't know if she still loves him since she just remembers him when she got that love confession from the shinobi soldier. It's never really explained and kishimoto never really tries. He just always makes hint in their relationship. Even during The Last, he doesn't even touch their relationship. For all we know, the time between when sasuke left and when they had Sarada, it took quite a while for them to actually get together.
Sakura's love for Sasuke never had a chance to develop, hence her inability to let go. Not to mention, as she states in the last movie, a girl never gets over her first love... which is actually true for a lot of people in reality. You can't blame her for something that makes her human, especially when there are so many things left unspoken.
The fact of the matter is that kishimoto never expands on sakura's feelings that much that it's unfair to say she has some sort of 'undying' love for sasuke. You can tell she's sad about how life was so cruel to him and wants to help, just like how any good friend or teammate would want to do. Just because she had a crush on him when she was TWELVE, people forget that she's also a kunoichi and a friend. Her bond with sasuke may not be as strong as the bond shared by Naruto and sasuke (especially since sasuke only viewed her as an annoying girl who'd never understand him, so he never gave her a chance to let her in, and rightfully at times since sakura was only 12 and still maturing in parts of her personality like any normal 12 year old who hasn't experienced horrible trauma in their life) but I'd like to believe she's a sensitive character who cherishes her precious people.
The direction Kishimoto took in Naruto, Sakura, Sasuke and Hinata's relationships has been flipped completely if these are indeed the final couples. Sasuke and Sakura is just... Incomprehensible. The man that tried to take her life several times and has never shown an interest in her has become her husband? When I go back and read through earlier Shippuden, as well as the anime, we see Sakura's character development in regards to overcoming her love for Sasuke. We are given heavy hints to Sakura's newfound love for Naruto, something that was never done for Hinata as we outright knew her feelings for Naruto from the beginning, albeit them stemming mostly from admiration than actual personal contact with him. Furthermore, Hinata's character development during the final arc also feels rushed. Killing Neji only to spark an intimate moment with Naruto and motivate him? It does not flow well and seems inconsistent, as we are given only a few lines from Hinata highlighting her passion to fight for Naruto during the war beforehand. If these leaks are true, Kishimoto has missed out on what would feel like a more complete Sakura story: the story of a woman struggling to bring back the boy she loves, constantly being hurt, but then overcoming her naivety in womanhood to love the man that has stood by her side not only seeking the same goal, but protecting her until the very end.
This is indeed a frustrating ship to go down with, because it defies cohesive storytelling. We see two characters constantly finding themselves in conflict trying to bring back a friend they both care about together, and a partnership develops, one in which deep feelings for one another possibly begin to blossom. We see Sakura present during key shifts in Naruto's life, in his self-discovery and struggle. We see parallels of Naruto's mother and Sakura with almost undeniable evidence of their romantic feelings for one another. But now we see a woman fall for the man that attempted to take her life in his indifference, which is not only a huge step back in character development, but just downright creepy. Naruto's relationship with Hinata is similar, and although it may have been forged out of kindness, there really was no deep, intimate relationship that connected these two characters. Naruto has always looked to Sakura when asked about his love, and for someone as stubborn and passionate as him, dismissing his feelings for Sakura is an even bigger step back in his character development.
I could ramble on and on but if this is truly what Kishimoto has finalized, it is possibly one of the most unsatisfying pairing endings I've experienced. Then again, Naruto as a series has never truly focused on strong romantic character development (unless what I've seen leaked is fake and Kishimoto redeems Sakura and Naruto's relationship). The shipping for this story has been a wild ride and it is a really sad defeat, in cohesive logic behind this conclusion is non existent.
Closed for reasons stated in the very similar thread that was started at about the same time.