「うちはサラダ」 (Uchiha Sarada)
My initial concern was that a top notch execution of original content might not translate into stellar adaption of source material. However, my doubts were (fortunately) off the mark, The introductory episode did a fantastic job of setting the pace, and included little details that even elevated the experience. So begins the Sarada Gaiden, and from the looks of it, it’s shaping up to be pretty awesome.
Sarada As A Character
Whether it’s because of the limited contact time Sarada gets with her parents, she is the most complete individual among her peers. Where you see Shikadai and Shikamaru both complaining about how life is a drag, Inojin being an obstinate rascal like younger Sai, Metal Lee enthusiastically training like Rock Lee, Boruto defacing Hokage Rock the same way younger Naruto did, these kind of similarities either don’t exist or are far less apparent with Sarada.
That’s not to say her character entirely departs from Sasuke’s moodiness or Sakura’s temperamental attitude. But she can seamlessly blend these characteristics while maintaining her own unique identity. When an obsessive crush doesn’t define your character, I think these kind of nuances come through a lot more easily.
Last of the Uchiha
For me, the best part of the episode was when Sarada was reading about the sharingan. Wasn’t it so awesome, when the sharingan illustration reflected in her glass to overlap with her eyes? Such gorgeous artistic direction! But I have to wonder what was going through Sarada’s mind as she read about the Uchiha clan. Seeing a large portion of your heritage blotted out by red ink must carry a heavy burden. A burden of blood that promises a curse of hatred, as we are reminded at the start of the episode. An Uchiha crest painted out of blood slowly fades onto the back of Sarada’s jacket. Talk about spooky symbolism!
I felt kind of sorry for Sakura, especially since she is basically a single mother who accidentally destroyed the family house, and now has to worry about footing extortionate repair bills. Nevertheless, I don’t feel she’s done an good job of adequately reassuring Sarada in her capacity as a mother.
As for Sarada, when you find a secret photo of your father containing a woman who looks more like you than your mother, no doubt it would start raising all sorts of questions in a child’s mind. Your identity might not seem like what you’ve been led to believe, and in that small moment, your whole world comes crashing down all around you.
On the bright side, Cho Cho offers a comedic foil that helps to highlight the stark contrast of Sarada’s plight. In the quest to find their ‘real’ parents, it also means that Sarada is not left alone and vulnerable to the evil elements out at play.
Trying to cope with the absence of a father must be difficult and it’s easy to see the strain it has on Sarada. On a tangent, I would be intrigued to see how Sarada would handle the fact her father used to be a wanted criminal and mass-murderer.
Sasuke is so introspective that we really don’t have any insight regarding whether he’s felt remorse for his past actions. For all we know, he could be a psychopath that doesn’t really care for anything other than the revival of the Uchiha Clan. That said, I get the impression that Sasuke is uncomfortable with re-entering society. After all those years being on the run, not to mention the amount of heinous crimes he has committed, it sure must be awkward to return and hang out with people who you know for certain that you have wronged.
Still, it’s interesting to see how Sasuke got waylaid upon his return from Kaguya’s dimension, as it raises many questions regarding the possible antagonist we’re seeing this time round. From the previews, it seems that the enemies possess the sharingan. Gee whiz, I sure wonder who could possibly have been up to some naughty genetic experimenting.