Naruto, Sasuke, And The Difference Between

Mister Seldon

Konoha Military Accountant
Someone mentioned that Sasuke's decision not to kill Naruto at the Valley of The End as one of Sasuke's redeeming features and this really set me off to thinking. Technically it's correct that Sasuke decided to not kill Naruto after he was totally helpless, but to call it redeeming or even call it his decision alone really doesn't really carry the right connotation as to what happened. Sasuke drove his hand through where he thought Naruto's heart was. Naruto moved out of the way. He then powered up again with the intent to drive his hand through Naruto's heart a second time. So, Sasuke doesn't really have a saving grace here. He is guilty of premeditated attempted murder of the highest degree of his best friend. If Naruto didn't have Kyuubi's regeneration, he would certainly be dead. It doesn't really sound right to say that Sasuke decided to not kill Naruto, much less give him kudos for it; it's more like Naruto -convinced- Sasuke not to kill him, after Sasuke tried with full intent and attempt to kill him a couple of times. Moreover, after the time skip, Sasuke is going to kill Naruto, Sakura, Sai, and Yamato, but -Orochimaru- stops him. It's not that Sasuke has some saving grace; it's that Naruto has an amazing ability to change people. It's not that Sasuke has any redeeming feature as a 'friend'; it's that Naruto is a really amazing one.

Talking about power, Sasuke is mucho mucho powerful. No doubt. But, then again, his entire life is an obsession to kill his power hungry older brother. That's actually a pretty shallow and pointless life if you think about it. Not that we don't understand why he is that way, but a damaged life is a damaged life, much as it is in 'real life.' Naruto had just as much potential for becoming damaged goods as Sasuke.

Many people are going to take me to task for this, so allow me to explain myself. It has to do with Naruto's personality and Sasuke's personality. If I go into tragedy this and tragedy that, it's just going to become a subjective debate over interpretation of events. Arguing whether Sasuke's life is more tragic than Naruto's or not just runs into a rather vague area of opinion. We will all agree that Sasuke and Naruto have both had tragic childhoods. Rather, the crucial differentiation is in how Naruto copes with his tragedies. Naruto is told he has the demon fox sealed in him. He doesn't get angry at Konoha. He doesn't obsess over it. He doesn't hate the Fourth for putting that burden and stigma on him. People, including adults, shun him and bully him for no discernible reason. He doesn't get mopey or angry over it. He ignores it. He even tries to change it, which is remarkably considering the personal and social struggle involved. Sakura doesn't love him, much less like him (early on in the story.) He doesn't give up and he doesn't get angry at her. He doesn't 'sour grapes' her or start attacking her because she regularly harms him emotionally and even physically. When he gives up on Sakura in recognizing her deep caring for Sasuke after he brings back Tsunade, he's happy for them and it's that simple. Naruto just doesn't react to things in the way Sasuke does, at least not after the story starts. Now, it isn't because these things don't occur to him, as he explained in a round-about way to Hinata before the second set of arena battles, but because he doesn't allow himself to be conquered by his hardships. Naruto always overcomes things like that. When he gets attacked by the demon brothers in the wave arc, he's terrified but he overcomes it in such a way that the failure doesn't define his life. In fact, Naruto is stronger for his failures. Naruto is not damaged goods, not because he's never been damaged, but because he overcomes it. --- Sasuke is just the reverse in this. Sasuke's tragedies define his life; define him. In a subtle way, Sasuke's personality is the opposite of Naruto's. Sasuke's tragedy defines his life; Sasuke doesn't define his life. To be more specific, -Itachi- has defined Sasuke's life. Itachi has controlled and molded Sasuke's destiny from the day of the Uchiha massacre. Sasuke's tragedies make him a stronger ninja, but they don't make him a stronger person. Naruto has gone contrary to that route and defines his own life. Naruto's failures and tragedies make him a stronger ninja -and- a stronger person.

Naruto and Sasuke are rivals. That's why everybody is so hyped up about comparing their power levels to each other. But there is a bigger picture going on here than 'My Goku is bigger than your Goku.” Power isn't the only thing that matters, to Naruto. Admittedly, power isn't the only thing that matters to Sasuke; it's revenge. That's not a 'nice person' thing. That's totally contrary to Naruto. Relatively, power is much more important to Sasuke. He has a very specific motivating goal to attain, or rather kill. Of course Sasuke is going to be more powerful. He's willing to sell his soul to the devil, in more than one sense, for power. He'll take drugs (Valley of The End Arc, proven, and other possible forbidden techniques and drugs during his time with Orochimaru. You're talking about the person who killed thousands in horrible ways in his pursuit for jutsu, the human experiment guy. Sasuke went along with that sort of stuff, helped him, and was helped by it as well.), use a curse seal that makes him aggressive and binds his mind to Orochimaru, kill and sacrifice his friends, and betray his village for power. Sasuke was fully willing for every one of the genin twelve, hell -anyone-, to die in or for or as a consequence of his pursuit of power to kill his older brother, and Naruto convinced Sasuke to not kill him only after Sasuke had practically killed him. Sasuke stopped because Naruto has that sort of ability to make people acknowledge him. Sasuke is Orochimaru with different reasons. The parallels are uncanny. The only real redemption for Sasuke is in Naruto. Naruto had already started on Sasuke at the Valley of The End; that's why Sasuke didn't continue to try and kill Naruto. Err, even though he then immediately went about doing it after the time skip and had to be stopped by Orochimaru. Well, Naruto can't do anything if he isn't around.

Naruto is a much more amazing -person- than Sasuke. He lives in the future instead of in the past. He doesn't want revenge for his past. He doesn't obsess on his darkness. He tries even though he has failed. Sasuke is motivated by revenge, anger, and jealousy. Naruto is motivated by love, friendship, and hope. I wouldn't want to be near Sasuke, dangerous and will torture or even kill you on a whim. Even a once love-struck Sakura respects Naruto more than Sasuke now. Who wouldn't? Only someone as amazing as Naruto would have a chance in hell, much less be forgiving, to redeem someone like Sasuke. Sasuke is an amazing ninja. Maybe he'll be the most amazing ninja. Everybody wants him, a reoccurring theme. But, in the end, Naruto will be the one that gets him. And then Naruto will move on to bigger and better things. That's why this story is called “Naruto” not “Sasuke.”

Sasuke is a stronger ninja than Naruto. Naruto is a stronger and better -person-. If Naruto becomes a better ninja than Sasuke, that's just icing on the cake. If Sasuke loses his strength and his revenge, all he has left is Naruto.
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Thanks. I guess I should have structured it a bit better. I was writing in stream of consciousness and things tend to get messy.
I agree for the most part. Sasuke chose not to kill Naruto but how much of that was his own will? We'll never know.. no doubt Naruto is the one that changed his mind and should be given the credit for changing Sasuke's path at that point.
Sasuke is a stronger ninja than Naruto. Naruto is a stronger and better -person-. If Naruto becomes a better ninja than Sasuke, that's just icing on the cake. If Sasuke loses his strength and his revenge, all he has left is Naruto.

now this i understand
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