Ready for a post about a couple not that many people care about? Good.
After watching Naruto, I, like most fans, had my favorite pairings…there were not many I actually liked. ShikaTema was the best, NaruHina was…not what is could have been, but cute…kind of…we try to ignore how disjointed the movie was…
Kishimoto, the author of Naruto, did not give a flip about writing good romance, as two of his MCs are still in an abusive cycle relationship on the current Boruto show. He admitted to not being good at it…however, he was fine at writing good couples moments between Naruto and Sakura to troll the audience with, I call BS.
(As a writer who struggles with romance writing also, let me just say, you have to push through it and be willing to experiment until you get it right, but it’s possible to overcome the difficulty.)
His indifference or straight up meanness to the female characters also did not help, the poor things barely get to be likable half the time, let alone the type of chick any self-respecting guy would date…and I would not date any of the men on Naruto either, so they are not much better.
Seriously, what girl dreams of guy who will neglect her half the time, and spend the other half not understanding her feelings?
Luckily, the fandom is nicer to the characters than the show is, and has endeavored to fill in the blanks with imagination (and also there’s a video game that does it better than the show, for some reason.)
That is why we somehow have this thing where we like the ships, but hate how they were executed, and there may be no better example of this, for the side characters, than the InoSai ship.
I talked about Sai and how much I like him in my review of the show, and he is one of the best boys, and the only one with a real excuse to be bad at relationships.
Ironically, he is not that bad at them. Sai puts so much effort into figuring things out that he usually stumbles his way into finding a right answer. Which is pretty much how he and Ino got together, after Ino developed a crush on him off screen and apparently between the war and the wedding timeline.
At first, I though InoSai was a terrible idea. Sai was introduced as the more foulmouthed substitute for Sasuke when he first came on the show,
and Ino was always the sloppy seconds when Cotton Candy Hair couldn’t be around to be the annoying twit.
But I did start to like Ino a little bit after the Chunin exam…I liked everyone for a little bit after that…We find out she’s actually not a carbon copy of Sakura with blonde hair.
Ino was, at one point, that one girl all the others girls tend to want to be friends with, the one who know how to do cool feminine stuff, is good at school stuff, and is always wone for girl talk.
She and Sakura initially became friends because Ino felt Sakura needed someone to help her deal with getting teased about her face, and then they ended up having common interests, it was a sweet little friendship.
Then Sakura violated girl code by liking the same guy as Ino, and it all went up in flames.
To be fair, Ino was part of the reason for that…
However, one gets the vibe that Ino would probably pick up the friendship again if Sakura, the ever toxic example, was not so dead set against it. During their slap fight at the exams, it’s revealed that Ino still thinks of Sakura as a friend who needs her help.
In typical Ninja fashion, instead of encouraging the traits that would save their society from the hatred and preying upon the weak that plague it, the show and Sakura both stomp on this display of Ino’s softer side by telling her it is bad and unnecessary. Ino accepts this…she really has no choice…but is never quite the same girl after the exam. Her confidence seems to be gone.
Later she becomes a bit of a sad, rather passionless older teen. One who has accepted she will never surpass Sakura. Whose progress is really do more to having people actually “expect things” of her, rather than any greater talent, initially she had less talent than Ino.
It was nice to see Ino and Sai get together because for once, Ino was able to care about someone and not have them throw it back in her face. She actually seems hesitatant to believe Sai actually does care, which carries into the future when they (SPOILER) get married and have a son.
There is not a lot to go by, but the ship that no one wanted, and no one thought would ever work, ended up becoming one of the best. Even the former haters admit they have a good relationship.
At first I didn’t understand why, it was just discount SasuSaku wasn’t it?
But upon closer inspection, I realized that Ino and Sai are actually a very good match.
It’s one of those very rare cases in media, where the relationship makes more sense if you think it out then it does when you just watch them interact.
Sai and Ino work because their flaws actually compliment each other.
While Temari and Shikamaru function because they make up for each other’s weaknesses, Sai and Ino bring out each other’s weaknesses, but in such a way that it would be a good thing.
Sai is emotionally stunted and unable to read signals. At first glance, the hypersensitive and insecure Ino seems like the worst possible combination with him, and some do hate the ship for that reason.
But if you are like me, and think one of the main things a relationship does is grow you, then it’s actually a good idea.
Sai is ignorant, but he is not at all cruel or neglectful on purpose. When Ino gets worked up, she generally calms down after reaching a certain point where she knows she is being ridiculous (I have fights like that with my sister all the time.) With Sai, one could infer this would happen much sooner, as he cannot really be said to be being a jerk on purpose, as with the other people Ino fights with. Gradually, one could assume, Ino would learn not to have such a short fuse, because it’s clear that Sai is not actually trying to make her mad.
The sad thing is generally Ino is being provoked deliberately when she loses her temper, and seems cooler headed than Sakura when she is around people who do not push her buttons.
On the other hand, Sai is unable to pick up on subtleties, but he wants to change that. His problem is that he cannot guess what is really bothering someone.
In some ways, Ino, who complains more than anyone else usually, is the perfect match for him. She does not take long to start saying what’s annoying her. Sure, usually it’s something stupid, and the real reason does not even come out till later, but eventually it does, and then communication happens…or could happen, if the other person cared to know.
What really galled me about her and Sakura’s friendship was that Sakura realized what was going through Ino’s head, and didn’t show her any mercy. Like it’s the worst thing ever to have someone actually care about you and not want to whale on you for that reason…well, I guess the record shows Sakura doesn’t mind people trying to hurt her.
It is unlikely this situation would ever repeat itself with Sai, because Sai is grateful for people who care about him, and tries to learn about their feelings.
While one could forsee plenty of fighting between them during the first few years, some fans have pointed out that it would likely subside after that, once they got used to each other.
They really have no reason to fight, once that is understood, above the petty argument now and then.
What is even better than that is that the strengths of their personalities actually do compliment each other, along with the weaknesses.
Sai’s devotion to his friends is one of his best point, even if he pulls it off very clumsily, he is not half way about it. Unlike many of the characters on the show.
Ino’s tenancy to take care of people and show them the ropes, while not given much attention, is a rare quality among the negligent shinobi culture of adults who really couldn’t seem to care less about training their students most of the time. (Except you Iruka-sensei, love you.) It would go perfectly with Sai, who gets ignored by the rest of his friends and would probably love it if someone would try to help him learn.
To be sure, the show never demonstrates this happening, as a fan, you have to be willing to look at their personalities as a whole, not as what they are reduced to for convenience/comedy’s sake.
Back when we thought Ino might actually be relevant, she was interesting, and if you choose to belief that person is still present in her as an adult, it makes for a very cute ship.
More importantly, it makes her different form Sakura, and makes her dynamic with her team make more sense.
Now, what does this half-baked ship that the fans have made valid have to do with real life?
It’s actually a great example of how the perfect person for you does not have to be the one who would cause the least friction in your life. It could be you need someone who would cause plenty of friction, but ultimately would be doing their best to love you, and in the end, it could be worked out.
I guess the lesson here, if you want one, is that Ino and Sai work because they fight together towards a point, and do not fight just because neither of them really wishes to be bothered with the other.
There is a huge difference between fighting with your significant other because you can’t stand them and want to get away form them, and fighting because you value them and want things to be better, for both of you.
Whether InoSai perfectly represents that or not, there is that germ of an idea in it, and it is rare to find fictional, or real life, examples of it.
It’s hilarious that we all know it was 100% an accident. The ship was the most lazily written ever…but it works.
Well, that is all for today, till next time, stay honest–Natasha.
PS. (If you’re interested in fan fiction about anime, maybe check out my Wattpad page, I have the first few parts of my own work there. If you’re into it. At https://www.wattpad.com/user/worldwalkerdj)