How Fena: Pirate Princess’ Own Sasuke/Sakura Arc Compares to Naruto’s

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episodes 1-2 of Fena: Pirate Princess, now available on Crunchyroll and Adult Swim.

One of the most highly-debated topics of the Naruto franchise has always been the Sasuke and Sakura relationship. As teens, they didn't have much chemistry, even as she fawned over him. Instead, she had more of an emotional connection with Naruto, which made it odd later on when Sasuke married her. Seeing as he showed epic disdain for and even bullied her -- clearly not being able to stand Sakura at all -- it just didn't feel right.

The newly begun Crunchyroll and Adult Swim anime, Fena: Pirate Princess has its own version of that love-hate relationship, and while it botches one thing, it fixes another aspect of this particular bond.

The fledging potential romance is between Yukimaru and Fena, who were besties when they were children. She'd get separated and placed into bondage later in life, only for an older Yukimaru and his squad to rescue her, which is when the anime's story takes place. But as excited as she is to strike their spark back up, he cuts a similar figure to Sasuke -- silent, stoic and all about the mission. Sasuke, as a teen, was dedicated to avenging his family and older, as a Ranger, he's now all about protecting Konoha. For that reason, he didn't (and still doesn't) really display affection or has romantic tendencies towards Sakura at all.

5 sasuke tries to kill sakura

Yukimaru does the same in Fena, acting cold towards Fena despite her clearly being in love with him and wanting more now that they're reunited. However, she talks way too much, so he often asks her to shut up, reminding us of when Sasuke did the same to Sakura in their youth during Naruto. What's further disconcerting is when Yukimaru initially rescues her and slays would-be rapists, he smacks her with his wooden sword and knocks her unconscious just so she'd shut up.

He also knocks her out with a blow to the head later when they get to the haven island Yukimaru's mentor has for Fena, revealing the clan's loyal to her dead dad and the Houtman clan. This physical abuse isn't funny at all and shouldn't be condoned. It's actually pretty toxic, and while Yukimaru can verbally express his annoyance and frustration, it just isn't acceptable to hit a woman in this way. Even Sasuke never did that to Sakura (outside of when she tried to stop him in combat), so Yukimaru's physical anger just for the sake of shutting her up doesn't sit well.

As for the improvement to the Sasuke/Sakura relationship, Fena does have more agency in the first two episodes, as well as a bigger purpose than Sakura in finding a place called Eden, which she sets her fangirling aside to follow her dad's clues and do. Yukimaru actually respects her the more she's this kind of person: serious and focused on something bigger. He even acknowledges her haircut later on.

Yukimaru also gives her a blade to protect herself with, which he can tell signals a rebirth for her. She wants to be a warrior without Yukimaru, and, impressed, he tells her how nice she looks to boost her confidence. Sasuke never did this in Naruto, only giving Sakura an affectionate forehead tap when they got older, leaving their daughter, Sarada, to question if they were in love and actually her real parents.

This makes Yukimaru and Fena more nuanced after just two episodes of Fena: Pirate Princess. It crafts an organic reason for them to be together, which is why we can see them actually coupling up down the line. Compared to Sasuke and Sakura's bond, which lacked warmth and felt forced for the sake of shock value, it's a romance built from the ground up.

Fena: Pirate Princess airs Sundays on Adult Swim and premieres the next day on Crunchyroll.

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