Based on the game by Unisonshift.
Which anime character do you feel sorry for the most?
Haruno Sakura from Naruto.
The reason is really simple, and it divides into two (they’re connected, so I don’t see them as two but one):
Everybody found her to be useless.
That was only because her character development and writing were so bad.
Anything from here on contains spoilers:
Sakura had a lot of potential at the start of the story.
I don’t even think this is an unpopular opinion, because she was given a decent introduction.
Sure, she was a Sasuke fangirl, but so were half of the girls.
It’s not enough to immediately flag her as worthless.
She represents the female gender as the only female main character— I get it, but at the time she represented girls more than mature, adult women. I think that generally, her development through the first part of Naruto was decent.
She did her job— she was not like Sasuke and Naruto, not one of the “strong” guys.
She was a 13 years old girl who hadn’t quite grown up yet because it wasn’t required of her.
She fell behind because of that, which led to her realisation that she was indeed useless in comparison to her team-mates. Which brings me to Shippuden (post time-skip).
This is where everything went wrong. I think Sakura was a terrible character starting at this point.
She was developed poorly through events that made little sense and seemed to be only for the sake of convenience.
I’m not gonna mention or discuss them all because I don’t have the time nor the will to be honest, but I’ll mention one that always comes to mind and in my opinion is the most injustice that was ever done to her. That time when she went to Naruto, told him she loved him and that he can forget about Sasuke and their promise, and then went on to attempt to kill Sasuke herself. We barely get to know Sakura, but we know she’s generally kind.
She cares about the people she loves, and she cares for absolute strangers, too.
She wants to be helpful.
This kind of characterisation is basic at best, but it still absolutely goes against what Sakura did at that time. She betrayed both her best friend and the person she claims to love.
She supposedly did something very selfless by taking “the burden” off of Naruto onto herself and then by killing Sasuke, she was going to help the world out.
Sasuke wouldn’t suffer anymore.
It was supposed to be a sacrifice. What she actually sacrificed was her entire identity.
She mercilessly disregarded Naruto and what he wanted/cared about.
She preyed on Naruto’s feelings and thought that if she asked him to let go, he would do just that.
She told him she loved him— she lied to both of them.
It’s the most unkind and selfish thing you could do. The explanation for her actions is not good enough.
It’s a poor excuse for bad character development, because what really happened here was different.
Sakura was used as a means to make Naruto develop, to make Sasuke develop, but not herself. What really happened is Naruto had to experience Sakura acting so out of character that even he was not convinced by it.
He called her out on her lie, even though it hurt him.
Later when he found out what she was planning, he had a panic attack, and thankfully (for him), he still managed to get there in time and save her life.
He was either going to stop her from doing something she’ll regret forever, or save her life.
There was no other way.
Naruto was the one who actually came out of this experience as a better person, as a better character.
He showed understanding to a friend on the expense of his own feelings, and he never held this selfish behaviour against her. Sasuke was also developed through this.
He would have killed her.
He was going to.
Naruto stopped him.
For Sasuke, killing Sakura would have meant he was truly done for.
There would have been no ‘redemption’ for him.
Would Naruto forgive him? Probably.
Would he forgive himself? Never.
It would have been worse for him than killing Itachi and later learning what really happened.
(It wouldn’t be due to ‘love’ or anything like that.
It would have simply been due to the fact he killed someone who never did anything to him in cold blood.) Anyway, this is getting way out of hand… I just wanted to sorta explain why this whole thing was a terrible idea for Sakura and was not meant as character development for her, but for Naruto and Sasuke instead, like always.
Sakura’s character was pretty much disregarded in order to accomplish this.
After that event, Sakura was useful here and there, but she received no real character development and she never had to deal with any consequences. The fact she was given minimum character development of her own, and is therefore seen as useless, is why I pity her.
I am not talking about her fighting abilities— she is a decent ninja all in all (nowhere near her team, but what do you expect?) I’m disappointed strictly in her character and her story within Naruto.
And I do actually believe that the poor character development she got led to her being labelled useless by a lot of people.