Naruto Light Novel Reignites Debate That Sasuke Should Be Gay

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Sasuke Shinden: The Teacher's Star Pupil by Jun Esaka and Masashi Kishimoto, available in English from Viz Media.

In the Naruto series, one of the things many fans often wondered was whether Sasuke was gay. And it runs deeper than shipping or fan fiction because the story featured him rebuffing a lot of women, especially as he got older. But because there wasn't any content per se that alluded to a preference for men, many felt he was just too dedicated to the mission to have time for romance. Still, while it may have been that creator Masashi Kishimoto dared not tread water with such a popular anime character at a time, there was enough subtext for the speculation to exist.

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While it might have caused too much controversy in 1999 and even the 2000s, the question has been struck up once more in the Sasuke Shinden: The Teacher's Star Pupil novel, leading us to wonder once more whether the last of the Uchiha clan should have come out as gay moving into the Boruto era.

Young Naruto and Sasuke angry

The inference arises in the prologue to the book when Konohamaru repeatedly addresses Sasuke's handsomeness while the two are on the Thunder Train. As they head into Konoha and Sasuke sleeps, Konohamaru touches on how Sasuke looks and that even men found him pretty. Now, while an argument could be made for Konohamaru being gay and not Sasuke, it's the way that he continues to go on about Sasuke not liking women at all in the Naruto era that has us pondering how the character developed.

Sakura kept throwing herself at him, as well as other girls in Konoha, but Sasuke just wasn't interested. Even as he got older and met Karin, Sasuke didn't care for romance, and Konohamaru expresses a bit of surprise over how Sasuke ended up with Sakura. In fact, many people were shocked by their union because with no romantic history -- not even a peck on the cheek -- there wasn't any foundation for this. And factoring in Konohamaru's thoughts, it does seem like Sasuke being straight was forced, with he and Sakura being an afterthought that was tacked on -- all so he could have Sarada and carry on the Uchiha bloodline in the sequel series.

Seeing as Sasuke didn't have chemistry with any woman and Orochimaru did have an obsession with the Uchiha men, these plot points could have been turned into so much more. Had Sasuke been gay all along, it'd also have helped to break barriers in manga and anime properties aimed at a certain demographic that constantly shy away from leads being LGBTQ. No one's asking for Sasuke to be hooking up with guys every episode or arc, but him being at least confirmed to be of a different orientation to the rest of the cast would have added an air of progressiveness and inclusion to a series that quite frankly sorely lacked diversity. Apart from Killer B and the Raikage's people being Black, there's nothing much for people of color to relate to, for example, and given that B was a stigma-filled rapper, the series really lacked depth on that front.

If Sasuke were gay, the show could have still had 'Old Man Sasuke' as a Ranger atoning for his sins, as well as still had him become a father. After all, futuristic science is a huge aspect of the Boruto franchise so cloning and genetic manipulation could have still given him kids biologically, which ties into Orochimaru's work with Mitsuki.

Uchiha clan members were always a metaphor for "the other," and playing up Sasuke's incidental coding into something concrete could have helped diversify the franchise's male-driven perspective -- especially when not many women are given prominent roles. Plus, a gay Sasuke who's one of the most powerful characters ever would be totally inspiring for the LGBTQ community, not to mention in-universe, too: teaching a valuable lesson for future shinobi about accepting people from all walks of life to paint Konoha as a more relatable and cosmopolitan society.

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