If you’ve ever watched Naruto when you were a child or teenager, you know how it begins. A team is formed in the Hidden Leaf Village, team 7, which consists of Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke Uchiha, and Sakura Haruno. These three are the main characters of the show and whose lives we end up following all the way into Boruto, the sequel of the anime. But, really the events that lead to the forming of Team 7, had already started even before. Even before the enrollment in the Academy to train to become genins (starter ninjas somewhat), tragedy befalls Konoha in the form of a giant fox attacking the village. The fourth Hokage being forced to deal with the giant chakra creature, seals it in the body of a baby, his own son before his and his wife’s untimely death. This is the beginning of Naruto’s life. But what about Sasuke?
Tragedy follows Sasuke as well. As a child, Sasuke was a cheerful energetic boy who tried to emulate the teaching of his older brother Itachi and follow in his footsteps. However, one night, he returns home to find his brother standing over their parents, sword held high and he watches them die at the hands of his very own brother, the person who he had trusted and wanted so much to grow up into. Upon witnessing this he tries to run but is captured in a genjutsu where he relieves a nightmare on end for 24 hours. By the time he awakens, his entire clan, all of his neighbours and everyone he had ever known is dead.
Both characters end up leading a very lonely childhood. Naruto because he never manages to connect with anyone due to the inherent rumors and nature of the chakra fox that is sealed within his body, and Sasuke due to the actions of his brother which leave him desperate to get revenge. This is actually when they first meet. As two lonely boys in a big village, trying to find their path in life. When both of them enroll in the Academy, Sasuke takes to every technique easily and trains himself to the bone to surpass each and every one of his classmates. Naruto tries to train as well, but he fails multiple times. He sees in Sasuke, a person that in his opinion is unreachable, someone to conquer, someone to defeat.
Ultimately that desire is really just a wish to be closer and to be his friend. Or maybe more. However he does not realize this for the longest time. So even before being part of Team 7 together, these two had been linked by a thread of fate, of coincidence, of misery, loneliness, and rivalry.
Rivalry, Romance, Relationships
Which is what propels the manga and the anime forward – this rivalry follows them throughout their entire childhood to teenage years, where both of them compete against each other, to better themselves and to become the greatest ninjas alive. Naruto’s dream being to become the Hokage of the village that had for the longest time despised his mere presence (he wanted to change their mind about him and become a figure worthy of respect). Meanwhile Sasuke’s had been always to get revenge on his brother and become stronger. This leads to him abandoning his ideals that he gained within his time spent with Team 7, and leaving the village in pursuit of greater power. Which he believed, at the time, could be gained by following the missing nin in search of Orochimaru.
A figure of controversy, one of the legendary great Sannin, Orochimaru was a figure shrouded in mystery and unknown power. This is who trained and pushed Sasuke further. However, before Sasuke left, Naruto and his friends that he gained throughout different adventures, follow him and attempt to stop Sasuke from ever leaving the village and becoming a missing person of interest as well. A legendary battle takes place between Naruto and Sasuke in the Valley of the End where each of them unconvers and spends every bit of energy and power to stop one another. It ends with Naruto collapsing unconscious and Sasuke peering over his face, very battered and bruised, as he limps away.
Losing Sasuke strikes Team 7 harder than anything else which leads Naruto to train with Jiraiya for a couple of years, one of the Legendary Sannin, and Orochimaru’s old teammate. This transition of a few years, ends with the start of Shippuden which is set after the time skip and on Naruto and Sasuke’s first meeting after 3 long years. After losing track of Sasuke for so long, Naruto had spent every waking moment training to get stronger and ultimately find Sasuke and bring him back to the village, which he swore to do to Sakura in Part 1. However, even after Sakura herself begs Naruto to leave this old promise behind, Naruto refuses as this is his wish, not Sakura’s. He is the one who refuses to give up the chase even when Sasuke falls deep into pits of despair and animosity towards him.
Goals, Dreams, Running
Never abandoning him, Naruto spends most of Shippuden in fights and battles with Sasuke, trying to stop him from his current actions and to bring back the person he used to know, the person he is now, the person who he is to become. Time and time again Sasuke asks him why he risks everyhing for him, his dreams, his life, his friends, to bring him back, why he won’t let go of this thread of fate that had tied them together. But Naruto refuses to let anything come in between them.
This ultimately concludes in the same place it began, Valley of the end, to a momentuous battle between them where each of them loses their arm in a very powerful explosion between a fully fledged Rasengan and a Dark Chidori. This is when Naruto’s feelings finally reach Sasuke, when they’re lyign down in a pool of their own blood and manage to finally, calmly talk. No grudges, no one there to judge them and bother them. This point, changes Sasuke’s life forever as he is now not an avenger anymore, not a lost lamb following whatever whims at any moment’s notice and he realizes he has someone who cares for him, who followed him to the end of the world, who he had fought alongside with in the Great Ninja War. So he agrees to come back to the village with Naruto.