[sakura, genjutsu, and the power of truth]
a week ago, maybe, these posts crossed my dash about how sakura was being neglected by kishimoto. they talked about how sakura never used genjutsu even though it had been brought up as one of her talents way back a million chapters ago.
they talked about the fact that he couldn’t possibly keep track of all the things he’d put on the stage, and they talked about how inconsistencies were always his thing.
and I fundamentally disagree with that, but I couldn’t put it into words. until now. so I’m going to use the whole genjutsu sakura thing as a point to leap off of when I talk about why exactly I think that kishimoto is brilliant, and I’m not willing to discount him until everything is over and all the loose ends have been tied up.
sakura, to me, has always been this great symbol of love and all that it can do. a lot of people in this fandom fundamentally think that sakura is weak because she loves so fully, but to me, that’s always been why she’s strong.
that’s always been the theme of this whole story to begin with—that love can conquer all. power and greed and selfishness are nothing compare to friendship and love and truth.
sakura heals like love fixes broken bonds. she fights because she’s defending the people she loves. she fights to get back the people she loves. she’s been the glue of her team, the defining point that like the rocks she shreds is nearly immovable. she sticks to her guns, and she is what she is.
she wears everything she is on her sleeve, and she’s not ashamed, and I think that’s incredibly brave.
so I guess here’s where I thesis this out. I don’t think kishimoto forgot about sakura’s genjutsu talents. I think he deliberately left them out.
more than just a skill, I think in the larger context of the manga, that genjutsu is a symbol. at its core, it’s all about illusions. lies. things that deceive people. it’s incredibly fitting, to me, that the uchiha clan was so adept at using it because of all the trickery and the coup d’etat and all that.
I also think it’s incredibly fitting that danzo had dozens of sharingans implanted in his skin—and was the one who deceived the whole village to begin with.
I think it’s very fitting that the sharingan wears on the eyes, blinds you, in the same way that illusions blind people. I think it’s so fitting that when sasuke finally decides to join up with the alliance, his sharingan is off. he’s finally seeing things clearly, without anything to get in the way.
I think that the entire thing is a giant metaphor for lies and deception, used doubly as a weapon in dire straits, and I think it’s very, very intentional that sakura never casts a genjutsu, but instead dispels it multiple times.
for sakura to place an illusion on anyone would go against her character. she’s fundamentally so many virtues, and the one time that she tried her hand at trickery—telling naruto that she loved him before knocking everyone out and running off—didn’t even work.
sakura, the girl who somehow just instinctively knew when sasuke was going to leave the village. sakura, the girl who saw through “neji” to be who he truly was—a white zetsu. sakura, the girl without a single doujutsu, the girl whose wide, green eyes are always the highlight of panels that show only her face.
she’s intelligent and she’s kind and she loves and she has always seen the truth. she can see a lie, and she can take it apart in the same way that she can sense a genjutsu and can dispel it.
I think there’s a lot about this manga that lies beneath the surface, and I think a lot of that is why I have so much everlasting faith in kishimoto’s writing. first and foremost it’s not a tale about a boy without parents who wanted to be accepted by society and become hokage.
first and foremost, it’s a tale about how love is stronger than fear, stronger than hate, stronger than lies, stronger than greed and power and selfishness. it’s a tale about how friendship and bonds and caring about your loved ones is stronger than any power in the world.
it’s a story about how the truth always prevails.