Tenchi Bridge Reconnaissance Mission
When Sai visits the hospital with his teammates in order to be introduced to his new team leader Kakashi following their failed mission, they also run into Team 10 when Asuma barges into Kakashi's room uninvited. Here, Ino encounters Sai for the first time and she quickly becomes captivated by him due to finding him attractive.Ino can be seen staring and blushing at Sai's presence when they're at the hospital and she compliments his looks whilst talking to Sakura. Sakura tells Ino that although Sai is attractive, he has poor social skills but this doesn't deter Ino from her interest in him. Ino, who has already become smitten upon meeting Sai, devises a plan to sit next to him so she can flirt with him as both their teams are invited to go to Yakiniku Q by Asuma.When Team 10 (without Shikamaru) and Team 7 all go out to dinner, Ino sits next to Sai and begins flirting with him. Sai, having read in a book that you can form closer bonds with people by giving them nick-names based on their perceived personality traits, calls Ino "Miss Beautiful", causing her to blush and become flustered whereas Sakura becomes enraged as Sai previously called her "ugly" and Sakura was gleefully expecting him to do the same to Ino.
Akatsuki Suppression MissionAfter Shikamaru diverts Hidan away leaving the rest of Team 10 and Kakashi to fight Kakuzu, Team 7 arrive as back up and Sai can be seen stood in front of Ino to protect her.
Birth of the Ten-Tails' Jinchūriki Arc
Kaguya Ōtsutsuki Strikes Arc
Later, Sai and Ino along with everyone else are released by Naruto and Sasuke from the Infinite Tsukuyomi and all the shinobi who participated in the war return back to their normal lives. It is stated in the light novels that following the aftermath of the war, Ino realises that her mild attraction to Sasuke was nothing more than a childish crush like what most girls at the academy also had on him, especially compared to Sakura's genuine love for him. However, Ino realises her attraction to Sai has grown into something much stronger so her attention focuses on him following the war as her crush develops into a deep love as they begin to bond and become closer together during this period.
Blank Period Arc
Shikamaru Hiden: A Cloud Drifting in Silent Darkness
Ino, along with Chouji, Sakura and Temari, come to the rescue of Sai and Shikamaru after they were captured by a man named Gengo. Whilst Chouji and Temari come to aid Shikamaru, Ino is more eager to save Sai, the one who is under Gengo's genjutsu and whom she has a crush on.
Ino, after having read Sai's distressed letter about his conflicted and confused feelings regarding the Shinobi world is desperate to rescue him from his inner conflict and performs her Mind Body Switch Technique on him as she delves into his mind. Despite the danger for herself she dives deeply into Sai's heart as she feels she is the only one who can rescue him. She feels that she wants to learn more about him and his loneliness as she dives deeper down into him. Ino finds him trapped deep in his consciousness, crying and wrapping himself with the memories of his friends and she calls out to him before putting a reassuring hand on his shoulder which he returns with a heartfelt smile.
After the two wake from Ino’s jutsu, they both instinctively reach out for each others hands and Sai thanks Ino as her eyes begin to tear up before affectionately calling her "Miss Beautiful". After they defeat Gengo, Shikamaru checks in on an ashamed Sai and assures him that he is not to blame for anything he did while under Gengo's control before asking Ino to look after Sai.
Sakura Hiden: Thoughts of Love, Riding Upon a Spring Breeze
Ino and Sakura go to Sunagakure in order to open a clinic for children. On the way there, the two begin gossiping about the various relationships developing amongst their friends. Ino tells Sakura about Shikamaru and Temari's relationship and also how Chôji often goes to Kumogakure, where his girlfriend Karui lives. Sakura then asks Ino about her own love life and she shyly reveals her crush on Sai which has progressed to love. Ino tells Sakura she plans to confess her love but is unsure which type of flower to give to Sai to express her feelings, lavender or a flowering dogwood.
As Sai is investigating Kido, Kakashi informs Sakura and Ino of the rumours about Sasuke's activity that have been reported by him. Ino is more concerned by the risks Sai may be facing and anxiously questions Kakashi on Sai's safety but Sakura steers things back to what the rumours mean for Sasuke. Later, as Sakura with Sai's information think that Kido and Magire are behind the Sasuke impostor, Kakashi orders Ino, Sakura and Sai to team up, since they are investigating the same thing. Ino gets flustered at Sai's proposition of her working closely with him as he also states that they will make a good duo. Ino dubs themselves Ino–Saku–Sai and they promise to keep each other informed of their findings.
Later on, Ino runs to Sai's home in order to inform him about Sakura's capture by Kido. However, when Ino arrives she becomes flustered at the sight of him in only his underwear, since Sai was taking a shower before her arrival. While he gets dressed, Ino contacts Kakashi and informs him of what's happened. He advises not getting anyone else involved in the rescue as that might only provoke Kido to kill Sakura. He also informs them that the Fourth Raikage is contemplating a Kage Summit to discuss reports of Sasuke's activity.
Sai and Ino go to one of Kido's hideouts and Ino senses the interior for Sakura's chakra. She isn't there, but Sai decides they should see what intel they can get anyway. Ino uses the Mind Body Switch Technique on the hideout's sentry while Sai captures them, her first time using such a tactic without Shikamaru and Chōji. When the sentry, an acquaintance of Sai's, is unwilling to answer their questions, Sai forces Sakura's whereabouts from him by tickling him with a paintbrush. They go to the hideout where Sakura is being kept on Sai's imitating bird and Ino initially struggles to maintain her balance but Sai comforts her causing her to feel a sweet warm sensation well up within her heart. When they arrive they find that Sakura has already escaped and is on the offensive.
Sakura, Sai, and Ino work well together despite being outnumbered. Sakura is drawn into a fight with the Sasuke impostor, who chokes her using his synthetic tailed beast cloak. Sakura breaks free and, as she beats him unconscious, warns him to never impersonate Sasuske again. This has the added benefit of revealing that the synthetic cloaks disappear when their user loses consciousness; Sai and Ino also discover that the cloaks have time limits. Sai recommends they use this information to end the fight quickly. Ino, who was usually positioned near the back lines during close ranged combat situations was now instead supporting Sai with her taijutsu and healing him. Sakura complements them on how well they work together as a duo.
Sakura, Sai, and Ino defeat all their opponents but Kido and Magire. Since Magire is a medic-nin, they decide to separate Kido from him so that Magire can't heal his injuries. Sai and Ino exchange attacks with Magire, but neither side is able to hit the other. Magire activates a synthetic tailed beast cloak and, with its tails, is able to create glowing orbs that detonate on contact. While Sai tries and fails to overpower Magire with his Super Beast Imitating Drawings, Ino takes control of an eagle which she uses to stab Magire from behind with a poisoned kunai. Magire's movements slowed, allowing Sai to deliver a finishing blow. Kakashi arrives to help soon after Magire is defeated, with Naruto and Hinata accompanying him. Together, they head into the forest to help Sakura. However, she defeats Kido with her Cherry Blossom Impact.
Sai along with Ino, Naruto, Hinata and Kakashi joined Sakura and congratulate her on her victory. However, they are interrupted by news that several of Kido's Anbu have fled the village. Sai and the others immediately give chase, but on reaching the Anbu they find them all defeated with a combination of fire and genjutsu. They guess that it was Sasuke's doing and that he chose not to stick around when he confirmed Kido was defeated. Although they're disappointed that Sasuke didn't at least say hello, they are glad that the entire ordeal is over. After Ino–Saku–Sai is dismissed by Kakashi, Sakura is called to a meeting with Suna-medics. Ino offers to go with her, but Sakura tells her to instead have lunch with Sai.
The Beast that was Shot by Love!!As Akamaru and Kiba go for a walk, Akamaru beings to notice how romance has started to develop amongst their friends. He notices; Naruto and Hinata, Shikamaru and Temari, Chōji and Karui, Sai and Ino have all formed romantic relationships following the end of the war.
Akamaru spots Ino and Sai on a date and describes them as being 'totally on heat'.
The Last: Naruto the Movie
In the ending credits, Sai and Ino attend Naruto and Hinata's wedding. They can be seen standing next to each other and holding hands together, showing they are in a relationship.
Konoha Hiden: The Perfect Day for a Wedding
Ino and Sakura get into an argument as they both pick out the same gift to give to Naruto and Hinata for their wedding. The two share heated words including Ino saying Sakura is jealous because she would be getting married long before Sakura will which Sakura believes is her getting cocky about her blossoming relationship with Sai.
Sai attended Naruto and Hinata's wedding alongside Ino, where he was seen holding Ino's hand, showing they are dating. They were described as looking blissfully happy as their friends teased them on the progress of their relationship.
Sasuke Shinden: Book of Sunrise
Ino along with the others arrive at the Konoha entrance following an invasion by intruders. Ino recognizes one of the intruders as a regular patron of her families flower shop known as Tadaichi. Ino is in disbelief after the kind, old man explodes in front of her followed by a number of other intruders. Following their efforts, they are able to stop the invasion but Ino and Aoba pass out from exhaustion after they use their techniques and are both transported to the hospital on Sai's Super Beast Imitating Drawing along with Sakura who provides them with medical aid.
Shikamaru and Chōji decide to visit Ino at the hospital and find that Sai is watching over her whilst she sleeps as he sketches a flower that Ino's mother brought her. They discuss the attack from a few days earlier and the heightened security measures that have since been put into place. They begin discussing possible motives, but then realize they shouldn't be doing this while Ino is recovering. Shikamaru and Chōji get up to leave, but Sai remains, claiming that he will leave as soon as he has completed his drawing, however Shikamaru notices several of Sai's already near-completed sketches in the trash as he exits. Shikamaru and Chōji realize that Sai did not want to leave Ino's side and begin discussing how much he has changed from the emotionless man they first met.
EpilogueSai and Ino eventually got married. Sai took on the Yamanaka name and they run a modern version of the Yamanaka Flower shop together with their son Inojin. They train their son who uses his fathers techniques as part of the new generation Ino-Shika-Cho.
On the day of the Five Kage Summit in Konoha; Sai, Ino, Chôji and Karui are seen waiting for their children. Ino becomes irritated that Inojin didn't turn up to his training, as Sai attempts to calm her down. Inojin is seen hiding behind a tree saying that he can not come out without Shikadai and Chōchō.
Boruto: Naruto the Movie
Sai and Ino appear alongside their son in the ending credits of the movie as well as during the group shot of the the entire cast.
Boruto: Naruto the Movie Novel
In chapter 3 when Sai is stood in front of the genin for the 'True or False' quiz, Boruto describes him as being a man that has survived many harsh things and not someone that would go easy on them because of personal emotions stating 'That man's only weak when it comes to Aunt Ino'
Graduation Exams Arc
Whilst working together in their flower shop and discussing Inojin's frustration at not being able to perform the Super Beast Imitating Drawing, Sai tells Ino of his belief that their son needs to find the solution to his problem by himself for his own benefit but Ino remains worried about him, fearing their son may give up altogether. Sai then comforts his wife by telling her that he has faith in Inojin because he is their son, causing Ino to become flustered and blush. Sai tells her that he loves art as it brings him closer to people and he believes Inojin also felt the same way as a child but has recently lost his passion for art which he feels he needs to rediscover on his own. Ino then tells him he should express his feelings regarding art more to their son as it may help Inojin. Ino then shows amusement on how socially awkward her husband can sometimes still be.
Whilst Inojin prepares to throw away his old drawings, Ino and Inojin discover one of his old drawings he made of his family as a child and Ino remarks how happy Sai was when he saw it which motivates Inojin to retry performing the technique again.
After Inojin has learnt the true emotional meaning of art and is able to perform the Super Beast Imitating drawings once again, he returns to the Yamanaka flower store where Sai and Ino are working and they share a heartfelt family moment when Sai reveals he always keeps Inojin's drawing of their family he drew when he was a child in his pocket with him everywhere he goes and tells his son how he will always believe he can overcome any obstacle.
- Ino was shown attracted to Sai during their first meeting.
- Ino was shown to be smitten by him and continuously attempts to flirt with him, ignoring Sakura's warnings of his social awkwardness.
- During the Infinite Tsukuyomi, Ino was shown dreaming of Sai fighting over her.
- Ino is triggered into rescuing Sai from Gengo, due to her crush on him and believing only she can do it.
- They instinctively reach for each others hands and Sai once again calls her 'Miss Beautiful' but this time truly meaning it.
- Ino shyly reveals to Sakura that she has gone from finding Sai hot to being in love with him and plans to confess to him her feelings by giving him a special flower.
- Ino is shown to be concerned about Sai's safety and well being when he is on missions. She becomes angry when she finds out Kakashi sent him on a mission on his own.
- Ino becomes flustered at the sight of Sai in only his underwear.
- Ino is shown to be blissful about her relationship with Sai, believing she will get married much sooner than Sakura.
- They are shown holding hands at Naruto and Hinata's wedding.
- Sai stays at Ino's bedside as she is in the hospital, being unwilling to leave her.
- They are described by Akamaru as being 'on heat' as he spots them on a date.
- Ino is normally always shown to be self confident and assertive. However, only when she is with Sai and especially when he shows affection towards her she always blushes whilst becoming flustered and shy. Showing how only he can cause such an effect on her.
- It is revealed in the final chapter that Sai and Ino are married and have a son named Inojin Yamanaka.
- Sai is the only known male character in the series to take on his spouse's surname upon marriage.
- As a married couple, Ino refers to Sai as anata ('darling' in Japanese).
- They run a modern version of the Yamanaka flower shop together with their son.
- They are seen multiple times holding hands. In Shikamaru Hiden (Novel), The Last: Naruto the Movie Ending, Naruto Shippuden Episode 493, Naruto Shippuden Ending 20, Naruto Shippuden Episode 500 and Konoha Hiden (Novel)
Ino's reaction to first seeing Sai in the hospital whilst talking to Sakura - Chapter 312:
- "Wow...you know, he does look pretty good"
Sai's nickname for Ino after first introducing himself to her in attempts to form friendships - Chapter 312:
- "Nice to meet you...umm...Ms. Beautiful"
Ino trying to free Sai from the Genjutsu he is under whilst fighting him - Shippuden episode 493:
- "I'll never give up...on a precious friend!"
Ino to Sai whilst they embrace after she has freed him from the Gengo's genjutsu - Shippuden episode 493:
- "Let's go back together, Sai. Everyone is waiting for you."
Sai thanking Ino after she had rescued him from Gengo - Shippuden episode 493:
- "Thanks, beautiful. I really felt...your kindness."
Akamaru after spotting Ino and Sai on a date - The Beast that was Shot by Love!!:
- "I can understand that...they are totally 'on heat'."
Boruto describing Sai - Boruto: Naruto the Movie Novel Chapter 3:
- "That man’s only weak when it comes to Aunt Ino"
Sai comforting Ino and making her blush after she becomes worried with Inojin's frustration revolving his jutsu - Boruto: Naruto next generations Episode 33:
- "It will be fine. He is our son."
Among the Fans
SaiIno has started to become increasingly popular in the fandom and it is well known by fans. The pairing was popular when Sai and Ino had their first interaction but the popularity started to drop due to the characters no longer seeming to interact. However, the couple's fanbase significantly grew once again when it was revealed that Ino and Sai eventually had a child and got married and continues to rapidly grow due to the various material such as the light novels and the anime which began to showcase their relationship in depth. Many members of the fandom nickname this pairing the flower and the root. It is commonly a companion couple of ShikaTema and SasuSaku.
- After their first meeting where Ino sits nexts to Sai at a restaurant to flirt with him, they are shown again multiple times eating next to each other at restaurants such as in Naruto Shippuden: Ending 34 and Naruto the Movie: Blood Prison.
- Ino is always commonly associated with the colour purple and Sai is too; his casual costume, underwear (Shippuden ep.98 Omake), swimsuit (Shippuden Ending 10) and filter (Shippuden Ending 5) are all purple. They are then given a purple filter together with their son in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ending 2 ver. 2. Their son is similarly always associated with purple in various endings just like his parents.
- Sai calling Ino "Miss Beautiful" in Shikamaru Hiden is a direct reference to when he called her the same nickname when they first met.
- Ino has a shimmy move where she moves her shoulders in excitement which she does only when she is with Sai
- Their scene in Shippuden ep. 493 when Sai asks Ino on a date is a direct reference to the scene when they first met. Both scenes consist of Ino shimmying in excitement at Sai as a third party looks at Ino confused (Sakura in the original, Chôji in ep.493) and both end with Sai calling Ino "Miss Beautiful" and her blushing in response.
- Ino's shimmy in Shippuden ep. 493 as she stands shyly in front of Sai is replicated by Inojin as a child in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations ep. 33 where he does the same shimmy as his mother when he stands in front of Sai and gives him his drawing.