to be honest, I'm in America and a lot of dudes where I'm from honestly believes that if a girl doesn't like you at first, then f*** 'em. They believe that putting the necessary energy into getting a girl to like you is a waste of time. I notice a lot of people have that same mindset, that if you love a girl and the girl doesn't magically love you back, then she isn't the "one for you" or you shouldn't waste your time. If you love a girl who doesn't immediately love you back and you're actually putting effort into trying to get her to return your feelings, then you're a "simp." I think that's ridiculous. If you love a girl, pursue them. That's how I look at it, and that's what Naruto does with Sakura-Chan. He pursues her, because he loves her and because in his heart, she's the apple of his eye and the one for him. Hinata likes him, but Naruto has his heart set on a woman that he literally looks at as a future wife, he imagines a future with her and has his heart and dreams set on her, any true Naruto fan would realize that instead projecting on him what they think is best for him, just because in real life, they don't have the courage or perseverance to go after the girl they want and don't have the energy to work their ass off to get her to look their way.
Besides, in terms of the romance subplot, killing her off will give them all of the excuses in the world,especially since they love to deny that Naruto loves Sakura-Chan.
"Naruto settled for Sakura only because Hinata wasn't around."
We need him to let her know that he doesn't return her feelings because he's in love with Sakura-Chan.
And I believe Hinata could be a decent character.
I have read many different types of love stories.
-friends growing up
-Love at first sight
-forbidden love (a relationship that both families hate like Romeo and Juliet)
-reincarnations (Green Green)
-love between gods and humans
-the white knight
-a fake affair turning into a real love affair
-relationships that hit rocky roads, but then get back together
-The pathetic one meets the best one
-Cliche Fairy Tale
and so on
You know what they all have in common? The two people involved share a bond throughout the entire story. The bond does not need to explain why it is there, but there still needs to be one. There has to be a mutual bond that exist between BOTH parties and it must exist throughout the story.
Naruto is NOT a love story. Naruto is a wish fulfillment story. When people say Naruto is NOT a romance story they are right....a romance story has more development, more plot, and more bonds than what Naruto has. Ironic considering the main focus of Naruto was about bonds.
Naruto didn't fall in love with Hinata....he was pushed to be with her.
Sasuke didn't fall in love with Sakura...he was pushed to be with her.
Why? Because their fanbase wanted it. This is the first pairings I have ever seen where they just put people together and told YOU the reader to put the story in place.
Forget the idea of pursuing or the idea that if they don't like you, you need to get over it. No, forget that because that is too much sense even for here. Naruto could have been one of the greatest love stories ever told because you had two people who were right for each other, but never knew exactly why they didn't click. Sure, Naruto could have gotten with Hinata, but there was nothing between them. Naruto wasn't warming up to her until very late in the game. Naruto never got a choice between Hinata and Sakura...he went with Hinata because Sakura wasn't one. That's NOT a love story....that is a settlement story.
Here is how it SHOULD have went.
Naruto loved Sakura....Sakura loved Sasuke...Sasuke loved noone.
Naruto let's Sakura go and goes off to train for 2 years.
When Naruto comes back, he sees Sakura and he rekindles a friendship, but then Hinata comes in sometime after Sakura and Naruto hang out together and he starts to get close with her.
Sakura starts to get jealous and doesn't know why and throughout the story she finds herself. (This is what slowly was originally happening in the actual story, but it was always vague.)
Naruto and Sakura still have this bond that they will get rid of, but Naruto's feelings remain ambiguous. Instead of Sai telling Sakura Naruto loves her. It should have been Ino. Ino should have been a better best friend. (You can write development here where they were rivals, but then rekindled their friendship and she plants the seeds too.
Ino: "Naruto has become such a fine man. Does he still have a crush on you or did he move on?
Sakura: "What? That was just a childish crush...he doesn't actually love me..."
Ino: " Are you sure?"
Sakura: "Yeah...I guess so...I don't...he probably got over that a long time ago."
Ino: *smiles a little half smirk* "Well, you have that thing for Sasuke anyway...and it seems Naruto it getting pretty friendly with Hinata...."
Sakura: "........" *bites her lip*
Keep Naruto friendly with both girls throughout the story and then have the Pain scene and then have a scene where Sakura wants to talk to Naruto, but sees him with Hinata who is giving him a gift OR have it so that Naruto looks like he is going on dates with Hinata, but it was something else.
There is so many ways they could have done this subtly and just because it is a shonen does NOT mean it can't have good romance elements. Look at Chivalry of a Failed Knight for example. YuYu Hakusho, Ruroni Kenshin, and more.
I hate this "It is a shonen and not a romance manga" to excuse bad writing and plot pairing BS.