Growth is one of the central themes in Naruto, even for characters that initially seem to grow in the wrong direction. There are many characters that seem to positively grow from the beginning. Naruto and Sakura of Team Seven are shining examples of this, although the latter takes a little longer to start her journey of personal and physical growth. They both take their training very seriously and strive to be the best ninjas for the sake of Konoha and his friends.
But there are also characters like Sasuke. Although he ends up being an ally of the Hidden Leaf once again, acting as a pseudo-Shadow Hokage for the village, his initial growth is in the opposite direction. He grows up as he follows the path of resentment, revenge, and power, and is later shown the error of his actions. However, regardless of whether it is positive or negative growth, it is thanks to the contributions of others in his life that Sasuke ends up being the way he is.
8 Itachi Teaches Sasuke That Even Those He Idolizes Can Commit Heinous Acts
It is true that the true intentions behind Itachi’s actions are actually good-natured. However, it is also true that the Uchiha Massacre is a deeply scarred and horrible event for young Sasuke Uchiha, who at the time idolizes his older brother more than anything.
Naruto: 8 Characters Who Helped Sakura Grow (And How)
Naruto: 9 Characters Who Helped Naruto Grow (And How)
Itachi teaches Sasuke at a young age that even people he holds in high regard are capable of horrible acts. The result of the massacre of the Uchihas fundamentally changes Sasuke as a person, as well as changing his goal to exacting revenge.
7 Rock Lee teaches Sasuke that there are other young Shinobi as talented as him
By the time Sasuke and his companions are about to enter the Chunin Exams, he is an incredibly cocky ninja who has the utmost faith in himself and his abilities. This is only amplified by the fact that Naruto, who has been his main rival up to this point, has been easily embarrassed by Sasuke for most of him.
Rock Lee is one of the first to teach Sasuke that there are other genins his age who are just as powerful. He does so by challenging the Uchiha to a match and using his own special techniques to win.
6 Sakura Teaches Sasuke That True Love Perseveres Through Everything
Sakura has been infatuated with Sasuke since the Academy days. She takes every opportunity she can to try and get close to him and risks her life for him for the first time during the Forest of Death arc.
At first, it seems that Sasuke is not interested in her, but later he gains her respect, and he appreciates everything she has done for him even when he defected from the village. Sakura teaches Sasuke that true love is something she can never waver from.
5 Naruto Teaches Sasuke What A True Bond Of Friendship Is
When Naruto and Sasuke first officially meet upon becoming members of Team Seven, Sasuke acts as if he has no interest in the other. Even when Naruto tries again and again to prove himself to him, Sasuke just mocks him, until the Uzumaki begins to overtake him in terms of power and progress.
Over time, the two develop a close bond, even as Sasuke deserts the village and tries his best to break their friendship. One of the most valuable lessons Naruto teaches Sasuke is that true bonds can never be broken, no matter how hard one tries.
4 Kakashi Teaches Sasuke That There Are Contradictions With His Revenge Mentality
During Sasuke’s time as an active part of Team Seven, Kakashi is probably the best sensei you could ask for. He instills in Sasuke the value of teamwork, and until Orochimaru and the Sound Four’s influence cause him to stray too far down the path of revenge, Sasuke begins to take some of these values seriously.
Kakashi sees things this way: Sasuke is driven to gain power due to the loss of his family, but tries to sacrifice the family he finds on Team Seven in order to do so. Kakashi teaches Sasuke that there are contradictions in his quest for revenge, although ultimately it is not enough to keep him in the village.
3 Orochimaru Teaches Sasuke The Overwhelming Power Of The Cursed Seals
It is likely that Sasuke would have stayed with Team Seven in Konoha were it not for Orochimaru’s influence. However, after being marked by it with a cursed seal, he decides to dedicate himself completely to the path of revenge after realizing the enormous and immediate increase in power that it grants him.
Orochimaru shows Sasuke how powerful the Cursed Seals can be. This is reinforced by the Sound Four, which Sasuke sees use his Cursed Seals to take down even elite jonin-level ninja.
2 Zabuza Teaches Sasuke What True Unbearable Fear Feels Like
Until Team Seven’s adventure in the Land of Waves, since the night of the Uchiha Massacre, Sasuke doesn’t seem to feel any fear. He is overconfident in his own abilities and believes that he can defeat any opponent no matter how strong he is.
Until Zabuza and Kakashi face off for the first time and Sasuke feels the overwhelming presence of two S-rank jonin facing off with the intent to kill Zabuza and teaches Sasuke what true fear is in battle for the first time. It’s so much that he even internally questions taking off his lifetime to stop the overwhelming pressure he feels, and Kakashi has to verbally snap him out of it.
1 Gaara Teaches Sasuke The True Power Of The Jinchuriki In Battle
Sasuke doesn’t really see the jinchuriki’s power in battle until his fight against Gaara after the start of the Konoha Crush arc. While it is true that Naruto has awakened his own jinchuriki powers before this point, it is while Sasuke is unconscious, and for Sasuke it is not comparable to fighting himself.
Gaara shows Sasuke how powerful the jinchuriki’s power is. Even with his cursed seal active and managing to throw a Chidoris point-blank directly at Shukaku, it is shown to have little effect, and Naruto has to come to both him and Sakura’s rescue.