Sakura Haruno has to be one of the most hated characters in Naruto history. She emotionally manipulated Naruto, knocked her team out, and didn't fight Sasuke, among other things, which lowered fans' opinions of her.
That, however, changed when Boruto came along and let her shine brightly as a brilliant healer, mother, and fighter.
Here are five ways where Sakura’s likability was tanked by Naruto and Shippuden and five in which Boruto lifted her back up.
Note: This article reflects the author's opinions.
Things that made fans hate Sakura
1) Her lack of camaraderie towards Naruto in the beginning
Though this is a little unfair, it contributed to the general dislike the fandom had towards Sakura initially. What started out as a slapstick comedy became a regular thing of just not getting along with Naruto during Team 7's beginning.
The fact that she constantly insulted Naruto and praised Sasuke didn’t help.
2) Being unhelpful during the Land of Waves arc
Building on the previous entry, Sakura didn't do much during the Land of Waves arc. Naruto is a shonen anime. The problem is that it took her very long to catch up to Naruto and Sasuke, and this mission cemented the meme of her being useless! The meme hasn't yet died, despite Boruto and Shippuden giving her a fair deal of development in every way.
This is especially insulting considering Naruto and Sasuke had several pivotal moments here, plus the entirety of the arcs before this was about them trying to work as a team.
3) Knocking out her teammates when going to stop Sasuke
After Sasuke defected from the Hidden Leaf Village, Sakura and Naruto trained to bring him back. During the timeskip between Naruto and Shippuden, she gained tons of medical experience and grew immensely in physical strength. Her crowning moment was aiding Lady Chiyo in killing Sasori.
After failing to take Sasuke back when he was with the serpent villain Orochimaru, she embarked with a team sent to stop Sasuke's attack on the Five Kage Summit. She knew that the rest of the Konoha 11 felt they needed to eliminate Sasuke, but wanted to do it herself.
She never confided this desire in anyone but knocked her team out with sleeping gas. This, combined with the next two entries, made everyone hate her.
4) Attempted to emotionally manipulate Naruto
At the time, Naruto seemed to be the only one who wanted to help Sasuke. But rather than tell Naruto about the Konoha 11, Sakura decided the best way to get his mind off Sasuke was emotional manipulation.
She knows Naruto’s need for love and to feel wanted, but she chose to try to throw him off via telling him that she loved him, so there’s no need to try to get Sasuke back for her sake.
Naruto rightfully called this out during the same conversation. It was a low point for Sakura and completely trashed any likeability she may have had!
There is, however, more to it. Sai explained that Sakura is trying to help, so Naruto doesn't kill himself by going after Sasuke. The scene has mostly been taken out of its complete context over the years.
5) Failing to confront Sasuke meaningfully
Sakura never fought Sasuke meaningfully throughout Naruto. Sure, she helped him down from his Curse Mark rage in the Chunin Exams arc. She got a blow or two in during the Tenchi Bridge Reconnaissance Mission arc and subsequent assault on Orochimaru’s hideout.
However, she broke down in tears, got grabbed and used like a hostage. This isn’t the only time when it comes to Sasuke either, as she doesn’t fight him before Naruto and Sasuke’s titanic last battle, but pleads and angrily yells at him.
5 times Sakura redeemed herself in Boruto
1) Raised Sarada healthily and helps Sasuke with her
Sakura may have failed in the prior series to fight Sasuke, but she picked up the slack as a mom and a fighter. Their daughter Sarada was raised with plenty of encouragement and aid whenever needed.
Sasuke coming back and being awkward around Sarada was mitigated by Sakura giving him the advice to open up to their daughter like he did to his wife. It helped that she spoke the world of him and opened up to Sarada after the initial awkwardness.
2) Providing a healthy boon for Sasuke and generally helping him more often then he does her
Haruno recognized Sasuke’s needs for love and a healthy mental state, so she did what she can to welcome him home. In her own way, she helps heal Sasuke and ensures that he has something to come home to.
This means working as a doctor, being a caring mother, and going out of her way to make things good for their family and herself.
She has help in a rekindled friendship with Ino, is good friends with Hinata, and reciprocates when they need help.
3) Training her daughter after initial doubts
These next two entries focus more on her physical prowess. She became concerned, as was warranted, with her daughter’s desire to focus on attaining a Mangekyo Sharingan (it requires a long and trauma-ridden process). Sarada and Sasuke both had words with her and ultimately agreed that Sarada needed to become stronger sans suffering.
To that end, Haruno would not only monitor Sarada’s training with Sasuke but train her in the physical arts she learned from Tsunade. It shows that she hasn't lost a step with her strength and power! Plus, she’s glad her daughter has the determination to keep going.
4) Holding her own in fights
Sakura fought Shin Uchiha and lived. With enough strength to break rocks and lift pillars, she kept pounding away at the creepy homunculi to rescue her daughter. Though she was captured and Sasuke had to save her before she was killed, she burst out of there herself!
A far cry from the girl she once was, she rocked Shin Uchiha and ended up helping her daughter out of the area.
5) She became director of the Medical Clinic and Konoha’s top healer
Sakura focused on healing for most of Naruto and Shippuden and came in handy more than once when Naruto, Hinata, and others were barely clinging to life. She even healed Sasuke and Naruto when they were bleeding out at the end of their final duel.
She became the director of Konoha’s medical clinics, performed life-saving surgeries on Sasuke, Boruto, Hinata, and others when the village was attacked, and opened a trauma center with Ino to aid kids with mental health issues.
Despite having a very rocky start in Naruto, Haruno would better herself in Boruto. It goes to show that persistence, and a loving heart, do ultimately make a huge difference.