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✦ Their personalities: Similarities&Differences

Sasuke and Karin are quite similar. This much is obvious right from the start; the way Karin handles herself and the way she looks at them, the way she stands plus her design. Heck, even the way she talks (she and Sasuke both have a rather disrespectful pattern of speech)—they all resemble Sasuke’s in a way that’s almost uncanny.

They’re self-confident, strong-willed souls that give an authoritative air and do not yield to anyone. They keep their cool in most situations and rarely if ever show a softer side. They like to act tough and aren’t afraid to speak their minds; even when facing a strong adversary they’ll treat him as if he were a no one. They’re both observant and they’re also full of bravado—something that spawns from their confidence. They’re also prone to bluff and conceal their feelings.

But their similarities aren’t limited only to their designs or their personalities, no. Their similarities also have a lot to do with their pasts. Both are the sole survivors of a tragedy in which they lost everything, and both willingly went with Orochimaru; in Sasuke’s case, it was for power. In Karin’s, the main reason was Sasuke. Not only that, but being an Uchiha and Uzumaki respectively makes them both one of the last two known survivors of each clan; one of the last vestiges of two legendary clans. So they even share the fact of belonging to a special, almost-extinct clan.

Alas, while they do fit the proverb ‘two peas in a pod’ pretty much down to a Tee, they also have a few traits that differentiate them from one another.

Sasuke is way more aloof than Karin, who is more explosive and shows her anger fairly easily. But despite that, while Sasuke is prone to allow his senses and logic to be overridden by emotion, losing the ability to think clearly in the process, the ability to keep a level-head is casually something Karin never loses, under any circumstance. That, coupled with their respective abilities and fortes (Sasuke is the offensive type, while Karin is top-notch support. When it comes to their origins, Sasuke is yin type, meaning he possesses powerful spiritual energy, while Karin is yang type, meaning she possesses a powerful physical energy; which gives her more stamina and exceptional resiliency) makes them a perfect team and a good reflection of the "Heaven&Earth" theme with which they were described during Karin's introduction (words that have also been used to describe Naruto and Sasuke, as well as Naruto and Sakura).

Furthermore, Sasuke has never shown interest in the opposite sex because he has always had his mind settled on vengeance, so he is portrayed as rather asexual; it is then interesting to notice that Karin is the complete opposite, as she has shown a clear sexual attraction to him (and to him only) atop of having feelings for him.

As such; Karin’s explosive-nature is leveled out by Sasuke’s impassive behavior, and Sasuke’s knack for letting his emotions override his logic is leveled out by Karin never letting that happen. Plus: Sasuke’s asexuality is cancelled by Karin’s acute sexuality.

They simply make a perfect match, having common ground to empathize over while also having a few healthy differences that make up for the areas where the other is lacking.

✦ Their bond: What’s its foundation?

The main foundation is mutual acknowledgement, respect and trust. These bases here are what allow the two to bond more easily, as their interactions are rooted on a common ground where neither sees the other as lower or higher than him/herself.

This was a problem with Sasuke’s bonds before; either he wouldn’t take them seriously because he deemed them as unworthy, or he wouldn’t want to acknowledge them for some reason or another. Or in the case of the girls, they saw him like some sort of idol. With Karin though he doesn’t have such a problem, because not only does he appreciate her as a person, he also acknowledges and respects her abilities as well—plus, she doesn’t treat him like he’s her idol, so she does not shy away from bluntly speaking her mind to him.

For Karin the same is applicable; she respects and acknowledges Sasuke. She has also shown clear admiration for a few traits of his personality, but this is in no way poses a hindrance to their bond. Because while Karin does have feelings for him and thinks he’s cool, she does not idolize him. She doesn’t see him as someone who’s better than herself, or very far away and out of reach; she doesn’t see him as a goal, either.

She simply sees him for what he is. Uchiha Sasuke, a guy who is emotionally stunted and has an obsession with avenging his clan; a guy whose logic is lost whenever his head gets a little hot, whose cockiness makes him underestimate his enemies and get his ass handed to him more often than not before being able to pull through. A top-class bluffer who acts as if he were always in control, while that usually isn’t quite the case. A guy who betrayed his whole village, willingly sought out Orochimaru, wanted to kill his own brother and then cried and mourned over his death. A guy who can’t let go of his past.

…But a guy who is naturally kind and who has a strong will and determination. Someone who would never allow anyone to walk all over him, and who is authoritative and capable to make others follow his lead with a mere look. A guy who has gone through a lot of pain in his life. The guy who saved and smiled at her back when they were twelve, and who she then fatefully met again in Oto, after having lost everything herself.

And if she loves him because and despite all that, well, why should she be judged for it?

Another thing that adds to their bond is the fact that they don’t put up facades for one another; they just are. Karin especially shows this in two different ways; first and foremost, Sasuke is the only one she allows to see her softer, tender side, symbolically (and literally) taking her glasses off for him. Secondly—but just as importantly—Karin never hesitates to let him know just what she is thinking, whether it’s pleasant or not; be it questioning his logic, lecturing him, or calling him pathetic, she never wavers or seems to care about whether Sasuke might get annoyed at her or not—which he never does, luckily for us—and this is refreshing, because that’s not the behavior that we’re used to see from a girl who likes Sasuke.

Truth is, SasuKarin is such a wonderful and likely pairing because for the first time, Sasuke and a girl actually see each other eye to eye, in every sense of the word.

✦ The Unknown: the mysteries surrounding this couple

a) Factor X: What "did Karin do to" Sasuke?

This question was introduced in the manga in chapter 352 by Suigetsu, who teases Karin about her feelings for Sasuke—which she adamantly denies, of course—and then proceeds to add that poignant line “I know the truth. A long time ago, you did something to Sasuke” but before he can be anymore clearer, Karin shuts him up by punching him.

The truth is though, that said line is merely an assumption based on the original dialogue:

水月「ホラ図星だ だからろれつが回らなくなる バレバレ
ホントは知ってんだよ… 昔君はサスケに…

There is no verb in the original dialogue. In other words, the only thing one can get for sure from that line is that something happened a long time ago, something that involved both Karin and Sasuke—but that doesn’t necessarily involve Karin doing something to him. Moreover, it's important to mention that a native japanese reader pointed out that judging by the structure of the line, "its Sasuke who did something to Karin, not the other way around." As such, here are some possibilities as to what Suigetsu had been about to say.

In the 3rd Databook, this question is brought up again and Kishimoto said he would reveal the answer in the manga. So without a doubt, this is an element that played an unknown factor in this pairing; we’ll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, of course, speculating is always fun.

There are a couple of things that one can infer from the general meaning of the original sentence in Japanese. Basically:

-Whatever Suigetsu was alluding to was an event that involved both, Sasuke and Karin.
-Karin has had feelings for Sasuke for a long time.

So taking those things into account, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that Karin probably harbored feelings for Sasuke since their first meeting. ← Note: This was a conclusion I had arrived to back when I first wrote the manifesto, meaning back in 2009 - way before chapter 482 came out. Yet, if the mystery this quote was alluding to was their meeting back in the Forest of Death, one would have to wonder just how did Suigetsu find out about it; which, in in turn, introduces yet another SasuKarin mystery.

b) Factor Y: Their first second meeting
Originally, this segment was solely about their first meeting; since it was revealed in 482 however, my previous speculation has gained another layer of meaning. I will hereby try to tie both together.

Chapter 348 obviously wasn’t the first time Sasuke and Karin saw each other. The familiarity with which they treat each other is enough to attest to that, but Sasuke’s words at the beginning of the chapter only prove it I’ve been planning this ever since I came to Orochimaru. I picked you all a long time ago which alluded to the fact that they probably have known each other for at least 2 years.

Alas, the 3rd Databook revealed that apparently, things go deeper than the eye can see.

Once in a village wiped out by war, there was a young girl, all alone and totally unscathed. "She could tell lots of people were coming". Which prompted Orochimaru into inviting Karin to the Hidden Sound village... She's served Oto (the Sound) ever since, thanks to her honed perception ability, and her clear head. But even as Orochimaru's underling, Karin feels no obligation towards him. Karin still fulfills her duties out of affection for Uchiha Sasuke. Then Orochimaru dies, and Sasuke stands before her. She sees something in Sasuke... Just what would that be...?

Those bolded lines imply quite a lot. First, it mentions how Karin felt no obligation towards Orochimaru; which raises the question of why she agreed to serve him in the first place. And second, it reveals that Karin fulfilled her duties out of affection for Sasuke. Which means that he’s the main reason of why she was there; or of why she was there at all.

Three years after Karin’s introduction, chapter 482 came and confirmed that indeed, they did know each other from before. We just could not have possibly guessed just how early that ‘before’ was. The fact that they chronologically met as early as Part 1 is a great surprise in and of itself; however, the biggest surprise was Sasuke’s smile to her. I’ve already mentioned why it is so important, so I will simply focus on its meaning when it comes to their possible second meeting.

warning: the following is only speculation on my part, based on the aforementioned data. you may skip it if you would like (the link to the next section is at the bottom of the post), but if you've ever wondered just why karin loves sasuke so much, this may provide a possible explanation.

Sasuke being Karin’s reason to fulfill her duties as Orochimaru’s underlining leads me to believe these two’s paths crossed again that fateful day on Karin’s village, and that Sasuke was with Orochimaru when the latter found her, which I assume happened little after Sasuke himself deserted Konoha. It would explain why Sasuke told Suigetsu that he planned forming Hebi from the get-go, and why Karin is the only one to get an I need you, since it would be after hearing about her sensoring ability that his idea would be born. On the other hand, it would also explain just why Karin agreed to go with Orochimaru, despite being able to sense the nature of his chakra. It is here that this ‘new layer of meaning’ I mentioned earlier comes into play; as Karin would not be gaining an interest in Sasuke, but actually seeing him again. The boy who once saved her and whose smile touched her so deeply, now standing before her again right as she has lost everything? Talk about meaningful.

Especially since he, himself, went through a similar experience of loss. If I’m right, then that probably means this is the moment where Sasuke’s acknowledgement of Karin as a being started, and that his consideration for her spawns from here; he recognized the fact that she had gone through loss and a traumatic experience similar to his own.

In turn, he would be unknowingly giving Karin hope.

I believe that, given their similarities, there are chances that a vital part behind Karin’s character—a vital piece that helped her shape her character to the strong and tough woman she is today, was actually Sasuke’s influence. And this would also explain the way Karin seems to trust only Sasuke with the softer and vulnerable side of her personality, since he would have been a source of strength for her in overcoming what happened to her village.

We’ll just have to wait and see. But I believe this theory has considerable chances of coming to pass, because it’d explain a lot of things and would give a more meaningful reason as to why their backgrounds are so similar; because I doubt that Kishimoto would’ve bothered to do that if it wasn’t supposed to eventually play a role. Plus, the process of Sasuke acknowledging her had to start somewhere, and this is the perfect parting point, I believe.

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