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Sakura Haruno

Seiyuu: Chie Nakamura

When Sakura was little, she was picked on by the other children in Hidden Leaf Village because of her wide forehead. The only one who was kind to her was Ino, who eventually became her best friend. Ino didn't baby her, nor was she very sypathetic; she simply kept Sakura company when she was alone and crying and hinted to her that perhaps if she didn't try to hide her forehead, she wouldn't be picked on as much. She also asked Sakura to "bloom into a pretty flower" someday("sakura" means "cherry blossom" in Japanese.) Sakura and Ino's friendship continued to grow, but it suddenly came to a stop when they found out that they were both in love with Sasuke. After that, they became bitter rivals who were constantly competing for Sasuke's attention.

Although Sakura got top grades, her ninja fighting skills were not very good and she didn't possess any particulary special techniques(however, she does have a sort of alter-ego "inner" Sakura that lets us hear her more negative feelings even when she won't say them out loud.) After she was placed in the same group as Naruto and Sasuke, she basically just watched and shouted admonishments from the sidelines while they did all the hard battling. But during the ninja school's Second Exam, when Naruto and Sasuke were injured and unable to defend themselves, Sakura was the only one who could protect them from the enemy ninjas from the Sound Village. She made the decision that she wasn't going to just watch anymore; she was going to fight. Even though the Sound ninjas beat her up pretty bad, she was able to hold her own against them(symbolic of her character development was when one of the ninjas got a grip on her long hair and she used her weapon to cut it off in order to escape, in spite of how much she liked her long hair.) Even Ino was surprised by Sakura's new strength and, after they both tied each other in their one-on-one match in the Third Exam, their friendship and respect for each other began to slightly rekindle. Although Sakura will probably never possess the will-power and dedication to become a strong ninja like most of the other students, she still proves herself stronger with each new challenge.

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