First, I just want to give a shout out to Sunite for having me on the site for this guest post. It definitely sounded like a lot of fun and writing this post was definitely a good experience. I tend to write without a plan as I think of what I’ll say as I go. Mostly, that’s because I find it hard to follow a plan since my mind just goes too fast for my fingers to keep up. That being said, it’s worked out pretty well for me so far. I hope you enjoy this article and while I know that Sasuke can’t be everyone’s favorite character, hopefully you find the article enlightening or at least entertaining. All right, here we go!
This wonderful article was written by DReager1, check his awesome review and character fights blog!
Naruto is a pretty large franchise at this point. The manga has ended after a rather long run, but the anime will keep airing for a while and the video games definitely won’t be stopping anytime soon. As such, there are quite a lot of characters in the series and many of them have rather large fanbases. Why do I choose Sasuke over all of the other characters? Well, I do like a lot of the other characters, but no other comes close to Sasuke for me due to his personality. It may not seem all that unique on the surface, but I can’t say that there is any other character in the manga who is quite like him.
Sasuke is what you would expect from your typical Shonen Jump rival, which is why he is unique in the series. Vegeta is the only character who fits the role in DBZ and likewise with Hiei in Yu Yu Hakusho. There is (almost) always only one true rival for a series and that is Sasuke in the Naruto franchise. I typically love the rival characters so I wasn’t surprised when Sasuke became my favorite character. His cool demeanor won me over instantly and he was a great rival. He was rather mean to Naruto, but a little rudeness is to be expected from this kind of character. The important thing was that he stood up for his allies and fought the tough battles. (I started to like Naruto during the end of the Zabuza arc and I really started to like him during the Sasuke Retrieval Arc) Now, you may wonder how Sasuke’s defection affected me since that was a pretty drastic step. Most rivals do revert to the dark side at one point in the series, but it’s typically a brief stint. I’ve never seen another rival revert so completely before so it was definitely a shock. That being said, Sasuke didn’t move from my top spot for an instant!
The main reason for that is because of how Kishimoto handled this change. Sasuke didn’t randomly decide that he was going to destroy the Hidden Leaf Village for the thrills. No, he had a goal and he steadily sped towards it throughout the series. Itachi murdered his entire family so Sasuke was definitely going to do something about it. He trained for his whole life in order to complete this goal, but then his world was shattered when he couldn’t even beat one of the Sound 4. He knows that Itachi is vastly superior to those fighters and he couldn’t land a single hit on his brother. As much as we don’t want to accept this fact, Sasuke would have never gotten the strength that he did if he had stuck around in the Hidden Leaf Village. The best example of this is Naruto himself.
I think we can all agree that Naruto improved more than the other genin during the 3 year time skip. He was with Jiraiya after all and he returned as the strongest Leaf Shinobi of his generation. Yet, the gap between him and Sasuke widened. They were basically equals when they had last met since Sasuke barely earned that victory. When they met again near the beginning of Shippuden….the gap was huge. Naruto was outmatched physically and mentally. He couldn’t follow Sasuke’s movements and Sasuke could have ended it all with one clean strike. Naruto improved, but not enough to be considered significant. Sasuke wasn’t going to get trained by Jiraiya and he would have had to be trained by Kakashi. (Most likely anyway) Do we really think that he would have improved to the same level that Orochimaru got him too the same way? I highly doubt it. Sasuke’s abilities would have improved to an extent, but he wouldn’t have gotten the real life battle experience that he got with Orochimaru. After all, he would be called out on missions from time to time, which would hamper his development and it’s hard to constantly be training around the others. They would distract him, not intentionally, but it would just happen. So, Sasuke made the logical decision to train with Orochimaru. Keep your enemies close right?
Sasuke still didn’t turn pure evil and the anime makes sure to point out that he doesn’t murder anyone while training with Orochimaru. Orochimaru is displeased, but he allows this. Sasuke doesn’t actually murder anyone until he meets up with Itachi and ends him. Murder is never just and it can never be excused as a heroic act, especially in vengeance. That being said, it was his goal and he was going to see it through. The others wouldn’t have a problem with it either since they’re shinobi and they are used to murdering opponents. Besides, Itachi was a rogue ninja. It’s like lying to a few hoodlums who come to your house looking for a relative and telling them that him/her is not around. You know that it’s wrong to lie, but considering the circumstances, you’ll still do it. I consider lying to be wrong under any and all circumstances, but I would still commit the act at that point while knowing in my heart that it was a bad act. I just committed the lesser of two evils in my mind as selling out a friend/family member is truly despicable.
Now, Sasuke did go off the deep end after he murdered Itachi. It was a mix of the damage to his psyche that had already occurred and the fact that his whole life was a lie. He had trained and forged his way through life all for the purpose of destroying Itachi. Yet, Itachi had sacrificed so much so keep him alive. (I actually have a lot of major problems with the whole plot twist, but I shall not go into that here. For now, we’ll just take the twist at face value that Danzo made a deal with Itachi to do this) The village that Sasuke had wanted to protect were now the true villains. Sasuke decided that he needed to destroy them. Now, there aren’t really any excuses left since it may be all right if Sasuke only wanted to get Danzo, but he wants the whole Leaf village dead. He also tries to go after Naruto in the end to erase their bond.
It’s safe to say that Sasuke began to get a little insane and he was totally evil. I think he even lost sight of his goals at some point along the line. Attempting to kill Karin really did not help his plans all that much since Danzo was already at the end of his rope and deciding to slaughter all of the other Kage was an extremely risky plan that did not seem to be worth the danger. That being said, I was already invested in Sasuke’s character and it was definitely easy to feel bad for him. This was definitely a tough ordeal and he really had a pretty sour life. He should not have thrown away his bonds for the pursuit of strength, but it happened so now he had to live with it.
One of the reasons why I did not start to dislike Sasuke once he turned evil was that I understood the motive. Itachi was now more important to him than the rest of the world so he wanted to make everyone suffer. I always thought that a true bond can make someone more important to you than anything else in the world so anything that you do to save that person or honor their memory is worth it. It is not just, but you’ll find yourself doing it anyway. Kirito saying that he would abandon the squad to die if Asuna was in danger during the climax of Arc one in Sword Art Online is an example of this. Asuna is more important to him than the other lives and that’s what I would expect from him. It may not be considered heroic, but I’m totally on his side there. One show called Yugioh GX has a character deciding to become a devil if it meant that he could save the souls of his friends. Again, reaching for the dark side in order to grab power is not typically a great move, but if it means saving your friends, then it may be worth it. It all depends on how far you are willing to go to help a friend or avenge their memory. You tend to lose sight of right or wrong in those extreme circumstances.
Overall, I may have not been completely satisfied with Naruto’s ending, but I did like the way that Sasuke’s character arc ended. You are never too far gone to be unworthy of a second chance. If you are truly heartfelt in your desire to change, then I believe that you deserve a chance. Some people realize this too late when they are already on the verge of death and I’m glad that Sasuke was able to see the light again. Kishimoto really did a great job developing Sasuke’s character since his changes happened subtlety as opposed to him changing in one fell swoop. This made his character a lot more realistic. I imagine that it will be extremely awkward for him to chat with the heroes for the next few years, but having Naruto as a pal helps to eliminate this problem. Naruto never gave up on him and that’s true friendship. Sasuke started out as a hero and slowly descended into the darkness. He became engulfed in it as his transformation into a villain was complete, but Naruto pulled him back up into the light. Sasuke is now a hero again and it is probably one of the best stories of redemption in fiction. Accelerator’s character arc in the Index/Railgun franchise gives it a run for its money though. So, I may have gotten sidetracked, but that is why Sasuke is my favorite character. He’s certainly made his mistakes, but he found his way by the end. He was extremely cool as a hero and his cool demeanor as an Anti Hero/Villain kept him atop the ranks. The Shonen Jump rival is a character that is really needed in a series and Sasuke played the role perfectly.
So what are your thoughts on favourite Naruto character? Is your Sasuke as well, or someone else. Comment below telling us who your favourite Naruto character is.