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Topic

[I am Con] Sakura is a background (and relatively useless) character in the show Naruto. [Shippuden included]

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All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

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With 1 vote and 1 point ahead, the winner is ...

Nikunj_sanghai
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Round 1
Con
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This debate OBVIOUSLY INVOLVES SPOILERS!!
Don't read it if you don't want the series spoiled for you.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have genuinely no idea how to even begin to argue that Pro has to argue.

Sakura Haruno was central to the story of Naruto in so many different ways. What I will do, to keep things concise in R1 and let Pro lead the evolution of the debate, is to simply bullet point my arguments and expand on them in the next round (while rebutting Pro's points at the same time).

  • Sakura Haruno is 'involved' (not the romantic sense) with almost every single major storyline section that doesn't heavily rely on flashbacks.
  • The main character Naruto is extremely close to Sakura, yet many other characters' relationships and feelings towards and from Sakura don't involve Naruto at all, proving that she is not just a non-central love interest of the main character for most of the story's build-up (further proved by her later marrying Sasuke).
  • She is literally achieves epitome in skill of an entire branch of ninjutsu (healing) that is unparalled even by the God ninja (Ōtsutsuki clan). In fact, supreme healing capacity is the only thing they never did master beyond normal ninja capacity (because they are so strong, fast, agile and knowledgable that they don't need it).
  • Due to her ability to heal, having her on any team makes them unbelievably more difficult to kill and in any shape or form defeat (your best hope is to use genjutsu to confuse the opponents so that she can't exactly 'heal' the damage you do to their psyche but that's extremely specialist to even be able to do). On top of that, her strength is not some 'joke' it's just not supreme. She is among the strongest shinobi but towards the bottom end of the top tier, that's all. She can completely smash the ground to create massive shift in the landscape, this idea that she's just a cowardly healer shows complete ignorance of how incredibly she evolved as a Kunoichi (female ninja) throughout Shippuden.
  • Her character's personal and fighting-ability development is one of the single most complex and emotionally intense of the entire series.

Pro
I will try to reply to specific bullet points CON has mentioned in an orderly manner: 

1. Sakura is absent from most important and critical action scenes determining the fate of the plot throughout the series. Battle against Madara and Obito, Batlle against the ten-tails, Battle against Kaguya and finale battle of Naruto vs Sasuke,  Sankura had no part , if all she was involved in battle against ten tails, her contribution was little to nothing. 

2. The same can be said for a lot of characters, but at least the other characters had some contribution to the plot of the story. Example:- All previously dead hokage came back from dead and contained the ten tails, specially the ten tails. Senju Harshirama and Uchiha Madara storyline is far more critical to plot and even their contribution to the storyline when compared to the screen time they received was tremendous. 

3. Sakura's healing ability is far behind a host of other characters, even in the initial plot, she was third in healing 
a. Senju Hashirama: he could heal without signs or jutsu, Uchiha Madara himself told any shinobi in the present era does not have the ability and downplayed Lady Tsunade, because even she needs signs to cast heal.
b.Lady Tsunade: She had the ability to instantly heal, which she used in battle against Uchiha Madara, and her summoning jutsu animal katsuyu, can also heal drawing heal from Tsuande's body. 
c. Sakura : Learns to heal better than Tsunade's assistant Shizune but is no way near Tsunade's ability because she cannot instantly heal like Tsunade. 

Later in the plot she slips past to 4th since naruto acquires the power of sage of six paths and heals the virtually dead Lee sensei with his new abilities. 

4. She does not exercise the healing to save anyone in the plot, she learned the ability but Neji died right infront of her, if she was so supreme at healing why could she not save Neji? Harshirama was busy withstanding attacks from the Ten tails but she watched Neji die. Neji's death proves her presence or absence from the field of battle made no change to the fate of the shinobi world. 

Fresh Arguments: 
1. Naruto can be defined well within the action genre of the anime, speaking in a genre specific manner , a character's worth can be well summarized by the role he or she plays in the development of the plot and main battles of the plot. Sakura's contribution stares at a big zero in all the battles. 
a. Orichimaru in Chunin exams: She cries and asks for help. 
b. Battle against Zabuza: No contribution 
c. Battle against sound Ninja and one tail: Lies unconcious and Naruto has to save her
d.Battle against Sasuke(in the beginning of shippuden): Does nothing kakashi saves naruto
e. Battle against Sasori: Chiyo saves her 
f. Batlle against Nagato: Saves a kid from one of Nagato's monster thats it, even konohamaru injures one of Nagato's forms. 
g. Battle against Uchiha Madara: does nothing, Lee Sensei takes the fight and almost kills Madara. 
h.Battle against ten-tails: does nothing lets Neji die 
i.Battle agianst Kaguya: was absent from that battle

Sakura's net contribution to the entire action plot was zero, not to mention from the first episodes as well she only humiliated Naruto and was charmed by Sasuke. She never supported him in the initial series- hinata,third hokage, kakshi and iruka sensei were the only people kind to him in the initial 220 episodes, her attitude changed with all others in shippuden when Naruto earns a name for himself. All she does in the the entire Naruto shippuden is cries and cries and cries. Safe to say she was a background character with little contribution to the plot. 

Round 2
Con
Kunoichi = female ninja

Both Kunoichi and Ninja are plural of themselves, you are not supposed to add an 's'.


I am fascinated by the exaggerated depiction that Pro gives us of Sakura's participation in the storyline and situations she appears in. We are told she 'does nothing' and just 'lets Neji die'... Neji died in a situation where he had to sacrifice himself in order to save Hinata and even big badboy main character Naruto. Not only is Sakura self-sufficient, even at her weakest (she bit an enemy's arm after an ingenious substitution jutsu involving her cutting her own hair despite her vanity and need to impress Sasuke with her looks, which wasn't easy for a hormonal teenager as she was). When we are told Sakura did nothing to fight Ten-Tails, I am confused. Sakura is the only reason that at least 50% of brutally injured ninja even survived that war. She completely led the healing process and was single-handedly responsible for so much of the healing. If it wasn't for Sakura, Neji would be one of many on a list of significant characters who were wiped out while fighting ten tails. Sakura wasn't just supportive physically, she was an emotional rock for many characters during that war. Despite her and Naruto growing closer by that time, she didn't get in the way of the romance between Hinata and Naruto that ensued very much due to Neji dying leaving Hinata and Naruto bonding over their gratefulness to Hinata's cousin for doing that for them as well as the fact that Sakura always puts others before herself throughout the entire series.

I do not even fathom for a single second how Pro can begin to suggest that Sakura is useless to the storyline. All that Pro did was cherrypick completely arbitrary fight scenes where he tells you she didn't do what he seems 'enough' to be significant. That doesn't prove anything about her importance to the storyline outside of those fights nor does it even begin to admit that a healer is extremely significant to fights despite not being the most destructive force toward the enemy/ies.

Sakura is Naruto's crush/love-interest for a huge portion of the original Naruto as well as Shippuden. She is herself very much interested in Sasuke and in fact she was not some dumb chick with a crush who just lusted Sasuke, she was so in-tune with Sasuke's personality and thoughts that she outsmarted absolutely everyone, even Sasuke's team leader Kakashi, by being the only person aware enough that Sasuke planned to leave Konoha(gakure) forever the night that he did (well he returned later but that's irrelevant). She was even thanked by Sasuke (before he 'knocked her out') for being such a caring and great ally not just for him but many ninja of their generation. I would even go so far as to say even her rivals like Ino became better people for how Sakura showed them that they were nasty and also showed them a better way to be and treat people. Both Ino and Sakura envied one another (and even TenTen envied Sakura because TenTen always wanted to be a legendary medical ninja like Tsunade but discovered she couldn't due to genetic limitations in her bloodline's ability to use chakra for medical purposes). This envy-triangle between the Konoha kunoichi of that generation of Chuunin saw Ino try to imitate Sakura by mastering some medical ninjutsu herself and saw TenTen go her own path only after understanding that it was okay to be different. In a way all three are fantastic in different ways (though Ino is arguably least amazing and that no doubt is due to plot armour making it so that since she was mean to Sakura in the past, she never gets to truly flourish) with Sakura being the best medial kunoichi of all time, TenTen the best weapon-wielder of all-time and Ino one of the best 'defensive genjutsu' users of all time. Defensive genjutsu refers to using mind-control/possession tricks in order to stun an enemy and make them unable to keep using their jutsu and body the way that they want to. An example of offensive genjutsu is of course Itachi's style where the genjutsu itself is used to harm the other much more so than stun them. In reality, genjutsu are always both depending how you use them.

Sakura's role as a severely adept practitioer of medical ninjutsu means she naturally does 'support' in fights role-wise, rather than hard-carry them. Her role is to ensure minimum casualties occur to her own team as well as that the enemy fails to heal themselve sufficiently (this is done more via advice and at moments where she understands how to exploit an enemy team who lack medical ninja through certain moves and stuff). Her role isn't really significant in terms of how hardcore she fights, which Pro points out. That is irrelevant. Sakura is the main healing ninja in the entire series, even Tsunade who was the actual Hokage of Konoha pails in comparison to Sakura's overall significance to the storyline.

While it's true that Sakura herself is not the most potent ninja offensively-speaking, that doesn't mean she's not important to the storyline. What we see in her is possibly the single most amazing character development in all of anime history. She goes from being an insecure, emotionally dependent, physically fragile young Kunoichi into one of the most formidable healers of all time capable of smashing the ground so hard it makes severe earthquakes, if need be, in order to set up the landscape better for her team. Sakura doesn't fight against her natural talents being suited to supporting her team, I don't know if you remember but in the early fight vs Orochimaru it was actually Sakura who warned Sasuke that Orochimaru was behind him at significant moments. Again and again, Sakura is the eyes and ears for Team Kakashi, even when a ninja trained in being the 'eyes and ears' (Sai) joins it, replacing Sasuke. Sakura is extremely observant both of situations and people. She knows when others are in pain both emotionally and physically and seeks to help them. Rock Lee had an almost inappropriate crush on Sakura. Many other female characters would almost have asked for a restraining order on him or told others in the village what an obsessive lunatic he was. I am not demeaning how much being stalked and nonconsensually sought as a love interest must feel. I am saying that Rock Lee was on the borderline and what Sakura did was kindly turn him down while appreciating how hard he worked to protect her and help her out. What this displayed was an understanding far beyond her years as a young teen, that a socially awkward guy with a massive crush on her was simply that. Rock Lee in some ways seems autistic to me, I do not say that as an insult. Autism drives one who has a severe feeling, such as a crush, to either be very literal and open about it or the opposite (extremey shy), this is because Autism leads to very black-and-white thinking about situations. On top of that, Rock Lee shows many times to be totally unaware of social cues and obsessively dedicate to working so hard at Taijutsu to what seems an irrational amount in the eyes of most other Ninja. Sakura behaves at first in a way that shows lack of understanding towards him, since she doesn't realise he is simply awkward and he literally tells her she's a 'hideous beast' (referring to the bee). What is hilarious to me is that in this scene, Sakura is more furious at the fact Rock Lee called her that than at the fact he slapped her while trying to hit the bee. To me, this early scene perfectly showed that she somehow realised he lashed out physically by accident but that his words cut her deep as it was her insecurity that mattered more. She also was aiming to be complimented by him, purely because she'd grown her hair out to impress Sasuke and would have been flattered to know that her big forehead wasn't anymore what guys saw and thought of when they looked at her.

I cant find the exact scene but it's where Rock Lee gets stung by a bee while intending to flirt with Sakura. I'll find it if need be later. Sakura brings out the best in Rock Lee as well as many other characters. Sure, that may sound like a 'supporting character' but she is undeniably a main character given the following objective facts:

  1. No female character gets more screentime than her, in fact she is there in at least every other episode, minimum, pretty much.
  2. Aside from being the lead female character, she is also part of the 'main team' that undeniably have such extreme plot armour surrounding them: Team Kakashi.
  3. She is one of the only characters of that generation of Ninja and Kunoichi to herself have been raised by non-Ninja/Kunoichi parents. She is very akin to Hermione in Harry Potter in this way, representing a 'self-made' brand of feminist character that many women can root for while watching the series.
  4. Continuing from Point 3, her character development goes beyond just being the best healing ninja/kunoichi, she goes from depending on males for their approval of her to being one of the most self-sufficient people in the entire series both physically (she can heal herself with ease) and emotionally. Sasuke ends up asking Sakura for love and forgiveness, not the other way around. This complete flip in dynamic from early on in the series shows a very beautifully feminist character development in the lead heroine.

Pro
chornologically ordered rebuttals: 

1. When Neji dies, Naruto has already exhausted all his chakra trying to save every soldier of the Ninja army, Sakura was also breathing because of Naruto's chakra protective shield. Saying naruto could not do anything about Neji is a false statement, he already saved everyone from multiple attacks of the ten tails. 

2.There is no evidence in the series that corroborates CON's claim of Sakura saving 50% of lives of any such number. Sakura was heading field operations, that it. Field commander is lower in status and importance than commanding officer, basic military doctrine. 

3.Sakura had zero contribution in the fight against ten tails, she killed a few of his small ten tail clones that too with the help of katsuyu. 

4.Amazing how CON claims Sakura to be emotionally supporting many characters in the war, when the war was fought in several battlefield's spread across the villages. Anyone barely talks during the entire war, except transmission of critical information. 

5.PRO will let the voters decide if PRO has cherrypicked or highlighted almost all the battles that took place in the whole series. 

6.Healers are important but throughtout all the fights, she does not heal anyone significant, or cause the plot to pivot because of her contribution. 

7. Again Sasuke and Sakura's plot or dialogues are of no significance to the plot, she was ignored by sasuke and her importance even as a credible source of advice ignored by him. It was Naruto and his Big brother Itachi and the knowledge from 4 previous hokages that turn his attitude. Sakura was no significance. 

8.CON is comparing Sakura to other secondary/ backgrouund characters proving my point. Sakura, Ino and Tenten all were of no significance to the plot. 

9.Action does not equate to violence or fighting ability, healing is also subdomain in the action genre, just like fighting ability. The most important healing moments are 
Tsuanade healing everyone in Konoha after the attack by Akatsuki 
Tsuanade healing all 5 kage's in battle against Madara 
Chiyo saving Kazekage from death 
Naruto saving Mighty guy sensei 
Minato saving Naruto 

PRO has mentioned all major healing moments Sakura is absent from those as well. 

10. How does Tsunade pails in comparison to Sakura, because CON wishes it to be? Tsunade can heal instantly by her forbidden jutsu an ability Sakura does not posess, she saves all of Konoha's resident single handedly from the Akatsuki by healing eveyone from katsuyu. She again heals all the 5 kages and fights Madara. Sakura does nothing.

11. Most amazing transformation, was not bullied by other children for being a jinchuriki, was not denied the moral support of parents, was not denied affection by his teachers, was not the subject of constant staring and mean comments of residents of Konoha, was not undermined by his teachers. Sakura is the first world kid, lamenting about her pollen allergy to a Syrian refugee(Naruto) escaping from a warzone. 

12.Whatever fight they put up in the jungle was of no use to the plot, Sasuke eventually gets bitten by orichimaru and has a seal which had to be removed by his brother Itachi. If we are want to quibble about details, then Naruto saved her from Gara or she would have died in the beginning end of story for her. 

13. Sakura was of little use in Team 7, when sound ninja attacked Konoha, Naruto stepped up and fought Gara. 

All the previous agruments still stand. 

Round 3
Con
Forfeited
Pro
Opponent has been banned from the website.
Round 4
Con
Forfeited
Pro
ban ban ban ...!!!!!
win by concession