This is a fairly old essay I wrote- but I wanted to get it here out of livejournal, which I never go to anymore anyway. Anyway the topic of this is why I love Team 7 and it was written during the huge ?AMG Naruto and Sakura are so selfish? trend. It's also a bit outdated with recent events, but the core still matters. Fixed up a bit but not really:

Apart from threesome orgy jokes and blatant ? because that way no one will be left out!? mentality, NaruSakuSasu has an almost cosmic impact on the Naruto manga. The story of these three children has shaped the events of their time, and the events had come to shape the three children. But even more so, these three children have shaped each other.

Kishimoto bashes our heads in with Naruto themes. ?Precious people.? ?Bonds.? And maybe even ?living for somebody.? This manga isn?t about one person. It?s not about achieving greatness. It?s not about hokage, not about kyuubi, not about falling in love, not about avenging the past.

But of course, then what is about? Why the hell have we been reading 330 chapters, some for over seven years, watching hyperactive blonds screeching about some sort of childish dream followed by some weak little girl and an emotional shutout? What makes this manga substantial, what would it take to have a truly happy ending? Not one when everyone is skipping in a field of flowers, but one that could make you sigh in genuine relief.

It?s under my opinion, that it?s one character, Team 7, that makes it worth the read. Yes, team 7 is made up of three (for these purposes I could Kakashi not part of the team 7, but merely family of it) people, but beyond that? Team 7 is a ?bond.? A bond/relationship isn?t simply static and flat like two people talking to each other about the weather. A relationship grows, matures, it reacts to other relationships and characters differently, and characters and relationships interact with it. Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura push and pull each other, they mold with the love, patience, friendship, spite, jealousy, and inspiration to become who they become. There?s no such thing as solidarity in this manga because it only leads to sadness, to despair, to desperation, to frustration, and it continues to chip chunks out of your soul until there is nothing left.

?The one thing that you can?t defeat is lonliness.? Gaara.

The most fucking powerful thing in this manga isn?t chakra. It?s falling asleep knowing that you will wake up to a smiling face the next day. Or it?s falling asleep, knowing there?s nothing left when you wake up.

Pre team 7, Naruto was such a pitiful boy. He was alone, searching for acceptance in something, anything. He lived day by day without directioin, sitting alone on his swing, watching as people left with family one by one until he had no one to play with, and he walked alone on the streets aimlessly. Then there were these people who just hated him, ?When person hates and doesn?t acknowledge another?s existence? the eyes they use when looking at him are? frightening cold?-Sarutobi. He didn?t understand why they looked at him like that, he didn?t know how to stop it. When you are four, how do you deal with your entire village looking at you like he murdered half the village? Or eight? Or twelve years old?

Naruto did it by seeking out attention. He was a brat, obnoxiously spewing out anything that popped in his head, pulled pranks, and boasted about himself. Bu in trutht he was just a miserable child who was alone and no one to comfort him. He wasn?t loved enough for him to be satisfied with life and was talented at anything to find worth him in himself.

Thus at twelve years old, the begin of search for self in young adolescent, the two roads diverged and Naruto was at the fork. Mizuki was the catalyst, speaking words that pained Naruto and that tore whatever hope he had away. Sandaime Hokage, who was considered benovlent, could not anticipate what would happened and a growing fear developed as he realized that Naruto was unstable at this point, and if the seal and boy broke, who know what would happen. Afterall, Naruto is nothing but a monster, right?

Iruka saved him. No, not by taking a shuriken in his back, by acknowledging him. By looking at him with tears in his eyes and reminding him that yes, he was a person too. And Naruto, the worthless demon boy, now how had worth in the world. Naruto fully admitted that he would have become Gaara had it not been for the people that he had been loved.

Naruto could be the most powerful person in the world, but what use is it to have power and no reason to use it? What?s the difference between being a powerful person, and being an important person?

Naruto is an odd type of shounen hero. At first he?s the typical type, like everybody else, that gives power to people, he changes them in the right way and helps them push forward. But even more important, Naruto is the kind of hero that draws power from other people. For Team 7, he pushed past that miserable little brat, and he found the strength to save someone he loved.

Sasuke is just overloaded. He?s not emo, he?s not evil, he?s not ego centric, he?s a young little boy who has the weight of the damned on his shoulders. At eight years old, eight- not even a ninja yet, he had his entire clan slaughtered in front of him. And who was standing over the corpses of those had had loved but the person he had admired and trusted- the guy he dreamed to be one day. His dream slaughtered his life. And at eight years old, he was mentally tortured, mindraped, by this person who he had admired and trusted. And then this man purposely embedded a seed of hate and desperation. You don?t survive a genocide without it destroying your happiness. You don?t survive being mindrape by your brother without turning you bitter. And plagued with this mistrust of his last bond alive, post traumatic stress syndrome, and survivor?s guilt, was an emotion shut of eight year old boy who could no longer see a future beyond what was forced on him.

Sasuke came to Team 7 with one purpose in mind. A pure, unyielding ambition that he had worked towards for years. He didn?t mean to drag people into it, he didn?t mean to make alliances, but there was this baggage weighing down his soul and sometimes, it?s just too much- for awhile it was okay for others to help carry it.

Sakura is just Sakura. There?s no point in hating a twelve year old for liking twelve year old things; giggling about crushes, thinking of fairy tales, not really understanding people. Or liking for that matter. She was an insecure girl who couldn?t see past her own lifeShe just wanted to be happy, beat her rival, fall in love, and who knows, maybe have a white picket fence just like in all the stories. And then she met Team 7.

They all changed each other.

Naruto, through his simpleness and brattiness to the point that it exasperated readers, shone brilliantly. He showed that there was weight to his words, not because he wanted to become stronger and had lots of power but because he was willing to do anything, even surpass his given potential, to save his team, his family that had saved him from something that was suffocating him.

Through his fights with Sasuke, he became stronger and more skilled. Through his interactions with Sakura, he became a reliable friend. And with them he went from a jinchuuriki boy? to a hero.

Sasuke who was just living his troubles, he began to find a reason outside of just Itachi. His life no longer revolved around just that one thing Itachi said, but by the words of Naruto and Sakura. He went from a haunted drone? to a human being.

And Sakura, who was weak and afraid. Who was just a simple little girl who had no demons in the past, made no deals with the devil, and had childhood dreams, threw herself away. She broke who she was and built herself up again. She went from just being a face in the crowd? to a fighter.

The absolute power they had in each other?s lives is astonishing. The silliness in their dialogue, waiting by the bridge for Kakashi, walking side by side, it all meant something. Even when there was no deeper purpose, they grew to love each other.

It?s important to remember, that yes, these people are shinobi. They are trained assassins, but even more more significant?

They are children.

Twelve years old, impressionable, just starting to truly mature and find themselves. The years that they are to play, grow, experiment with new things, and gain identity, were taken away.

All three children who should have been given the world for a chance, thrown into events that most adults couldn?t face. Apart they were shallow and searching for self satisfying goals. But they reached a deeper identity within each other. Within each other, they had a reason, they had a place in the world, they had a dream for another day.

Relationships aren?t just about being with somebody when they are happy. It?s not just about laughing when everything?s ok or strolling next to eachother on a warm sunny day. It?s about listening in their struggles, about accepting their faults, it?s about filling in the cracks in others with their own selves.

It?s about smiling at each other when the sun is high, but holding each other?s hand when the rain falls. And then finding the place where you can smile at each other while hold their hands as the rain falls down.

Team 7 were so deeply in each other, not romantically, but as family. They were willing to lay down their lives, physically and emotionally for each other. In an amusing paradox, Team 7 is running in circles trying to save each other to the point that it?s killing them. And the only reason they haven?t been killed is because they are running around, saving each other.

(Continued in comments)