In anime, the cherry blossom girl is a pretty common character trope, but most of us have never heard of it. When we think of a stereotypical anime character, we usually go for one of the ‘dere’s (tsundere or yandere, for example) and forget that hundreds of other character types exist. Chances are if the character is called ‘Sakura’, then she’s a cherry blossom girl- and not just because of the name. We see this character type everywhere, so how come this trope isn’t more famous? How do we spot these girls? Which shows can we find them in?
As one would guess, they’re usually named ‘Sakura’ after the Japanese cherry blossom, or maybe Ouka- another way of writing ‘cherry blossom’ in kanji. This doesn’t always have to be true, but it often is. They have pink hair, a healing ability, they might embody luck, and they are centred around love. A lot of the time they’re the main love interest. They don’t all have to be true, but if the girl has at least two of these traits, you’ve probably got your cherry blossom girl. You might already have a character in mind.
Was is Sakura Haruno from Naruto? Maybe not, but a tonne of us have seen Naruto and Sakura’s name is the first clue. Her family name also means ‘of the spring’ so she’s literally ‘Cherry blossom of the spring’. Chuck in the healing ability she gets halfway through the series, and her obsessive love for Sasuke, and bingo! Cherry blossom girl. Almost everything she does is motivated by love, making her perfect for the trope. Okay, so she’s a bit annoying and some would say a bit useless, but she fits into quite a cool character type. In fact, she’s the poster girl for it.
In Shugo Chara, another fighting-style show, we have our protagonist Amu Hinamori. She’s pink-haired and her ‘charas’ (mini characters that help her out) are literally symbols of luck. And the theme of spring is quite prominent in the show too- the main enemy is a group called ‘Easter’ (sigh) and her goal is to convert ‘bad eggs’ into good ones. Eggs (birth) and luck and pink hair. Oh, and she is desperate to get with her elementary school crush. We get the idea now.
These characters are pretty common within shounen (young boys’) anime like Naruto in particular. What’s not so common is cherry blossom boys. Boys like Byakuya Kuchiki from Bleach. This shinigami might seem cold and heartless, but he’s love-motivated too. In his own way, he’s looking out for his sister Rukia and acting for the good of his family. And think of his bankai that swirls cherry blossoms everywhere. Okay so he’s not exactly a lucky guy, what with his wife dying and all, but we can agree that he has enough traits to make him a true cherry blossom (quite a cute thought actually).
While the really well-known tropes of tsundere and yandere can be quite hard to pin to most characters, ‘cherry blossom’ is lesser known and yet so much easier to put on someone. Plus it’s interesting to relate it to the Japanese language (if you’re into that kind of thing). We love our cherry blossom characters (except maybe Sakura Haruno)- they’re chirpy, good luck, they’re healers, and who doesn’t love pink hair?