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Shikamaru Nara奈良シカマルNara Shikamaru
Naruto Episode 1
Anime and Manga
|Voice actor(s) (English)||
"Chunin" is not in the list of possible values (Academy Student, Genin, Chūnin, Tokubetsu Jōnin, Jōnin, Kage, Head Ninja, Anbu, Chūbu) for this property.
Shikamaru Nara (奈良シカマル, Nara Shikamaru) is one of the main supporting characters of the series. He is a Chunin-level Shinobi of Konohagakure, and is a member of the Nara clan, as well as a member of the Chunin team, Team Asuma, which was formerly led by Asuma Sarutobi. Along with his teammates, Choji Akimichi and Ino Yamanaka, he is a member of the new generation of Ino-Shika-Cho, just like their fathers before them.
Shikamaru has a long-standing friendship with Choji Akimichi. They met even before joining the Ninja Academy. When others ridiculed Choji for his weight, Shikamaru instead chose to recognize his strength and worth as a person. Because of the kindness Shikamaru has always shown him, Choji is unquestioningly loyal to him, and will gladly give his life for Shikamaru.
Once they entered the Academy, Shikamaru and Choji were, among their classes, "dead-lasts", along with Kiba Inuzuka and Naruto Uzumaki, spending their day pursuing more interesting pastimes. In Shikamaru's case, he would spend all day sleeping; to Shikamaru, even the very effort of putting pen-to-paper was just too much effort for him to put into it unless he had to. Iruka, their instructor, would give them all the same condemnation.
As a Genin, Shikamaru Nara was the sort of unenthusiastic kid who liked to watch clouds. He preferred not to get involved in "troublesome" activities, pretending to be busy to avoid responsibility. He is fully aware of this side of his personality. He even named himself "the number one at running away" or "the number one coward". In fact, his most commonly used phrase is "how troublesome" in the Japanese version, and "what a drag" in the English version.
However, when duty calls, Shikamaru has a strong moral compass and sense of commitment to his comrades. Even though, by his own testimony, he lacks bravery, he will sacrifice himself and face almost certain death for the sake of his friends or villagers without a second thought. In short, he is the very definition of how a leader should be like. Because of his raw leadership skill,he was the first Genin from the rookie 9 to become a Chunin. The weight of the decisions he must make as a Chunin and, thus, team leader have caused Shikamaru to mature rapidly. This was most evident after the death of Asuma. He vowed to protect and later mentor Asuma's unborn child, so that he could grow up to be a "cool adult" like Asuma. Shikamaru's sense of duty and commitment to the future of his village is also reflected in his willingness to enforce Konoha 11's recent decision to stop Sasuke at all costs, even in the face of potential objections on behalf of the original members of Team 7.
Shikamaru loves to play thinking games that older men are usually into, such as Shogi and Go (His teacher, Asuma, even said at one point "That kid is like an old man. He likes to take things slowly"). He is a brilliant strategist. The Hokage often seeks his advice on defense strategies. Although his former sensei, Asuma Sarutobi, often played against Shikamaru, Asuma had never actually managed to beat him. Asuma became suspicious upon realizing that Shikamaru was so good at board games, despite his abysmal grades. As a result, Asuma administered an IQ test disguised as a game to Shikamaru, which revealed that Shikamaru was beyond a genius, with an IQ of over 200. Sakura once states Shikamaru as being the smartest person in the Fire Country. During the Chunin exams, even the Daimyo was impressed by his intelligence and offered him a position as his personal guard.
Shikamaru's most distinctive character trait is that he considers most women bossy and "troublesome", particularly Temari, his mother, and Ino. He usually defines them as aggressive, demanding, and sometimes even scary. Given his mother's tyrannical personality, this isn't too surprising. However, his father shares the exact same attitude, even though he married Yoshino in the first place. When Shikamaru questioned his father about why he would marry such a domineering woman, his father responded that even the toughest woman will show her gentle side to the man she loves. Nevertheless, Shikamaru is generally courteous to women, doing them favors and avoiding fights with them. Despite the latter point, he exclusively fought against women during Part I of the manga.
He has expressed a notably mature interest in marriage and raising a family. He hopes to "marry someone who is not too ugly and not too pretty. Have two children, first a girl, then a boy. Retire after my daughter is married and my son becomes a successful ninja, and spend the rest of my life playing Shogi or Go. Then die of old age before my wife."
To further emphasize his personality, Shikamaru is regularly seen with a lazy or irritated expression. He has fairly long jet black hair tied in a spiky ponytail and narrow grey eyes. During Part I, his attire was rather plain, wearing a short jacket, also translucent undershirt with his forehead protector worn around his left arm. During Part II, he has grown noticeably taller. He has also gone under a costume change, sporting a different undershirt and pants, and changing his earrings from rings to studs, though the placement of his headband is the same place. Shikamaru has since part II been equipped with a Chunin's Tantō, which he use to try and decapitate Hidan with in the 'Hidan and Kakuzu' arc. Shikamaru first started wearing a flak jacket when he first becomes a chunin.
Chunin Exam arc
During the second phase of the Chunin Exam, Team 10 stumbled across Sakura being attacked by some Sound Genin. Although he said he didn't want to get involved, Shikamaru dragged Choji along once Ino joined the fray. The team then initiated the Ino-Shika-Cho battle formation, Shikamaru immobilizing Kin Tsuchi so that Ino could use her Mind Body Switch Technique. When he realized that taking control of Kin's body would not stop her teammates from attacking them, he warned Ino to return to her own body. Soon after, Sasuke Uchiha awakened, his newly received Cursed Seal activated. As Sasuke prepared to attack the Sound Genin, Shikamaru told Ino and Choji to join him in abandoning their roles in the battle as Sasuke's onslaught ensued.
In his preliminary battle, Shikamaru fought against Kin. He defeated Kin by sneaking his shadow under the thin strings she was using to control her bells; she did not notice that a string that thin and that far from the floor should not be making a shadow. Shikamaru then took a shuriken from his pouch, with Kin, caught in his Shadow Imitation Technique, doing the same thing. Because of Kin's increased proximity to the wall of the arena, she knocked herself unconscious as Shikamaru ducked under her projectile.
In the final round, Shikamaru was matched against Temari, where it initially seemed as if he was just pointlessly attempting strategy after strategy. Temari assumed that he was simply buying time for the sun to set, furthering the range of his shadow. He was in fact manipulating her into a position in front of the exit to a tunnel which was dug out by Naruto during an earlier match, where he could guarantee that she was caught by his shadow from behind. However, after Temari was actually caught in his shadow imitation, he then simply forfeited the match, claiming to have spent too much chakra to proceed with any additional matches. Moreover, he said he did not like to hurt or hit women. Despite having forfeited, Shikamaru's brilliant strategy impressed everyone, including the Hokage.
Invasion of Konoha arc
When the invasion of Konoha began, Shikamaru was able to dispel the genjutsu that swept through the stadium, though he pretended to be asleep to avoid taking part in the battle. Sakura noticed this and forced him to help in pursuing Sasuke. As they pursued Sasuke, they discovered that eight Sound ninja were following them, and Shikamaru chose to stay behind so he could stall them while the others continued to follow Sasuke. Using a clever strategy, he was able to trap all eight with his shadow. However, a ninth Sound ninja hid in the trees, protecting the captured eight against Shikamaru's attacks. Despite correctly predicting the presence of the ninth ninja, he could not fight off the Sound ninja, after being drained from his earlier match against Temari. Asuma arrived in to save him, and defeated all nine Sound ninja single-handedly.
Sasuke Retrieval arc
Because of his performance during the Chunin Exam finals, Shikamaru was promoted to the rank of Chunin. Shikamaru was given his first assignment of forming and leading the Sasuke Retrieval Squad to stop Sasuke from defecting from the village. Because Konoha suffered heavy casualties during the failed invasion, Shikamaru was forced limit the members of his team to Genin. He immediately recruited Naruto and Choji, and then added Neji and Kiba to the team. Upon setting out, Shikamaru formulated a plan on how to approach Sasuke's escorts, the Sound Four. Their presence was detected, and they were trapped by Jirobo. However, Shikamaru was able to find a way to escape. He was ultimately forced to leave Choji behind to fight Jirobo, but had no concerns that Choji would lose, and marked the team's path so that Choji could follow them.
The team continued to break apart, one member of the Retrieval Squad engaging one member of the Sound Four. To give Naruto a chance to go after Sasuke, Shikamaru fought Tayuya. Tayuya summoned three demons, that she controlled with her flute, and Shikamaru was able to pick up on which notes produced which movements. He eventually took control of the three with his shadow, prompting Tayuya to start casting genjutsu with her flute. Realizing that the flute was her only weapon, Shikamaru purposefully threw a kunai at her and missed. When he then pretended to fall prey to her genjutsu, and she picked up the kunai to slit his throat, she came within range of his shadow.
By activating her cursed seal, Tayuya was able to resist Shikamaru's shadow. As he was about to run out of chakra, he was saved by Temari, who quickly finished off Tayuya after Shikamaru gave her a tactical update. She accompanied him back to Konoha, where they learnt that Sasuke had escaped, and that everyone on the team suffered injuries. Shikamaru's initial reaction to the failed mission was to quit being a ninja altogether, but his father scolded him for being such a coward, explaining that his friends would then only be led by some other ninja. If they were to die under that ninja's command, Shikamaru would feel worse for not having been there to try and save them. When he was informed that everyone on the team would make a full recovery, Shikamaru cried, and resolved to do better next time.
He later saw the Sand Siblings off and, in the anime, was appointed as an Academy instructor.
Pre-Shippūden filler arcs
Shikamaru did not make as many appearances as his teammates during the anime's arcs, being preoccupied with his Academy duties. He assisted with missions around the village, but did not play a major role until the Konoha 11 arc. Shikamaru was assigned to lead the other primary Genin in the investigation of a man named Gennō. Gennō had stolen blueprints that could be used to plan a potentially devastating attack during Konoha's period of reconstruction. Shikamaru proved to be a shrewd detective, quickly catching onto seemingly minor clues and predicting the enemy's plans. He also proved more comfortable in his role as leader, though not without complaining to Tsunade first about having to do anything at all. In the end, he led his team to victory and beat Gennō at his own game, leading to the old man's death.
He appeared again when Gaara was challenged by the Four Celestial Symbols Men, a group of ninja wielding strange and powerful weapons. When they kidnapped one of Gaara's students, Shikamaru led the Konoha 11 (minus Tenten) to provide assistance, and repay their debt from the Sasuke Retrieval arc. Along with Ino, Shikamaru rescued Temari from Kujaku, another wind-user.
Two and a half years later, at the start of Part II, Naruto ran into Shikamaru and Temari soon after returning to the village. Naruto believed Shikamaru and Temari were a couple, although both denied this, explaining that they were working on planning for the next Chunin Exam. This later prevented him from helping with Naruto's first attempt to look for Sasuke, but he was able to help during Naruto's brief scuffle with Sai.
Fire Temple arc
In the anime, when Konoha was invaded by Furido and his team, Tsunade put Shikamaru in charge of Konoha's defense. He grew frustrated that his friends were fighting on the ground while he was on the back lines. Shikamaru stated that a strategist must lead his troops from the front line, and not be afraid to take risks. After getting Ino, Shikamaru led the counter-attack against the undead, ordering an attack plan which drove the enemy back. Later, Shikamaru used his Shadow Imitation Technique to bind Sora.
Hidan and Kakuzu arc
Shikamaru was revealed to be a member of the Nijū Shōtai, where he was teamed up with Asuma, Izumo Kamizuki, and Kotetsu Hagane in an effort to track down and eliminate any and all members of Akatsuki. Eventually, the team found one such member: Hidan, and, as Shikamaru restrained Hidan with his Shadow Imitation Technique, the rest of the team were able to co-ordinate a finishing attack on Hidan. When it was revealed that had done little to stop Hidan, Hidan's partner, Kakuzu, appeared, forcing Shikamaru to release Hidan.
As Asuma battled Hidan, Hidan began a ritual that caused all damage done to himself to be inflicted on Asuma as well. Because of Hidan's apparent immortality, Hidan was able to use this to his advantage, giving himself injuries to easily harm Asuma while not being affected by the debilitating blows himself. To help Asuma, Shikamaru captured Hidan with his shadow once again, and adopted his meditative analysis of all of Hidan's actions and words up to that point. He quickly realized that the "link", created when Hidan consumed Asuma's blood, could only be maintained by Hidan remaining within the blood seal that he had earlier drawn on the ground, so Shikamaru pulled him out of it. With damage done to Hidan no longer harming Asuma, Shikamaru tied Hidan down with his Shadow Sewing Technique, allowing Asuma to decapitate the Akatsuki member.
However, even this was not sufficient enough to kill Hidan. After Kakuzu reattached his partner's head, he joined the fight and pinned down Izumo and Kotetsu, while Hidan managed to bind Asuma to his curse jutsu again by stepping back into the blood seal. Shikamaru rushed to the aid of his sensei just as Hidan impaled himself with his pike, delivering the final blow to Asuma. Choji and Ino arrived as back-up, and Hidan and Kakuzu were driven off. Ino tried to heal Asuma, but there was nothing she could do, and the students were only able to listen to Asuma's final words. To Shikamaru, Asuma said that he had great potential, perhaps enough to one day become Hokage. After Asuma died, Shikamaru began smoking his last cigarette, blaming its smoke for his tears.
Shikamaru did not attend Asuma's funeral, instead coming up with a plan to defeat the Akatsuki duo. This was drawn out considerably in the anime, where his father made an attempt to comfort him with a game of Shogi, though Shikamaru could only blame himself and was too invested in revenge. When he finished his preparations, he set out with Ino and Choji. They were stopped by Tsunade, who insisted that they stick to the usual four-man team. Kakashi appeared, and volunteered to help, so Shikamaru quickly modified the plan to accommodate for his presence.
Upon finding Hidan and Kakuzu, Shikamaru used Asuma's trench knives, swelling with his shadow, to restrain the Akatsuki members by pinning their shadows. With the two unable to fight back, Shikamaru prepared to trap the two with his Shadow Imitation Technique to allow him more of an advantage, though Kakuzu was able to escape before Shikamaru could ensnare him. With Hidan under his control, Shikamaru used Hidan to attack Kakuzu, forcing him into a corner where Kakashi attacked him with his Lightning Blade. This destroyed only one of Kakuzu's four extra hearts, and, surprised by this turn of events, Kakashi and Team 10 regrouped. After being left on the defensive for a while, Shikamaru concluded that they must separate Hidan and Kakuzu if they were to win. To this end, Shikamaru again caught Hidan with his shadow, and led him away.
Once far enough, he covered the area in exploding tags to corner the immortal. The time limit on his Shadow Imitation then ran out, so Hidan was able to attack him, get some blood, and initiate his ritual. Hidan quickly stabbed himself in the heart, causing an apparently dead Shikamaru to keel over. Shikamaru was, however, alive and well; the blood had been Kakuzu's, Kakashi having taken a sample when he earlier used Lightning Blade. In effect, Hidan stabbed Kakuzu in the heart. With Hidan oblivious, Shikamaru tried to decapitate him with a short sword. The cut was too shallow to sever the immortal's head, prompting Shikamaru to capture him in a Shadow Imitation instead - albeit a much weaker one at this point, with his chakra running low.
As Hidan tried to attack Shikamaru, Shikamaru used his Shadow Endgame Technique to cover Hidan with the exploding tags in the area. With Hidan tied in place, Shikamaru activated a mark he had prepared before the battle, causing the ground beneath Hidan to collapse into a pit. Shikamaru explained that the surrounding forest was the property of the Nara clan; only they were allowed to enter or leave the forest, thus ensuring that Hidan's remains would never be found. After lighting a cigarette, in anime, Asuma's lighter, Shikamaru flicked it at Hidan, setting off all of the exploding tags at once. Hidan's remains fell into the pit and, as he swore vengeance against Shikamaru, Shikamaru forced a cave-in. The battle won, he regrouped with his team, Kakuzu having also been defeated, and returned home. When he got back, Shikamaru stated to Kurenai that it is now his ambition to protect and train the next generation of ninja.
Invasion of Pain arc
Shikamaru was left in charge of deciphering Jiraiya's dying message about Pain. When the cryptology squad couldn't break the code without some sort of key, Shikamaru approached Naruto for help. Using his own experiences with Asuma's death, he helped him to get over Jiraiya's death, pointing out that they would someday both have students, and would go to great lengths to protect them, just like Asuma and Jiraiya. Revitalized, Naruto helped to decipher the message as "The real one is not there." Shikamaru was then left to try and figure out what this meant, but was interrupted by Pain's invasion of Konoha.
After the village's destruction, Shikamaru and his father were shown to have survived, although he received a broken leg. They regrouped with Ino and her father, and pooled their knowledge of Pain to try and figure out his secret. They discovered that Pain had a main body that must be nearby, so Inoichi and Shikaku, went looking for it. Because his leg made it difficult to move, Shikamaru stayed behind, later joining in on the celebration of Naruto's defeat of Pain.
Summit of the Five Kages arc
Shikamaru goes to find Team 7 after his team, Team 8, and Team Guy, have decided that Sasuke must be handled by Konoha to avoid a war with Kumogakure. He asks for Sakura's permission, but tells her they'll do it either way and if Ino, Naruto, or her were hurt or killed they would want revenge continuing a cycle of violence that will never be broken. He asked to speak to Naruto, but is told he's in the Land of Iron. Sakura tells him that she will be the one to speak with Naruto.
Legend of Stone of Gelel
Shikamaru was part of a team with Sakura and Naruto, all of them being sent to retrieve a lost pet ferret and take it to a village where its owners could pick it up. Arriving to find the village in ruins, they then engaged the knight Temujin and his allies, who wielded the powers of the Stone of Gelel. Shikamaru and Sakura were separated from Naruto during the fight, but rejoined him after further engagements with the enemy forces. Shikamaru deduced a number of facts regarding the Stones of Gelel, before becoming involved in the final battle to prevent their falling into the wrong hands. He fought Kamina, who could transform into a large bat-like creature, by crafting a web of exploding tags and pieces of paper made to look like exploding tags to entrap her, allowing Kankuro to finish her off with his puppets. He also saved many people from Haido's castle, and appeared in the bonus ending credits.
Shippūden the Movie
After the legendary demon Mōryō escaped its imprisonment, Shikamaru became one of the ninja to hold off the demon's army from attacking the world. At the end of the movie, he was one of the ninja holding back the stone army from interfering with Naruto's battle against Mōryō.
Shippūden the Movie 2: Bonds
When the Sky Ninja attacked Konoha, Shikamaru fought to the best of his abilities to stop them. Later, he was teamed with Kakashi, Shino, and Sai to destroy the enemy's ship fleet. Using what he already learned from the enemies' attack patterns, he was able to deduce the enemies' location. There, he worked out a plan with Kakashi to take down the fleet. At the end of the movie, he watched with mild interest as the enemies' mother ship crashed into the ocean.
Shikamaru does not like fighting, deeming it, as he does most things, "troublesome". His intelligence lends him some help in this regard, such that he is fairly successful at avoiding injuries when he is unable to avoid a battle. Shikamaru's intelligence has earned praise from a number of characters, including the highly experienced Kakashi and Kakuzu. By putting his fingers together to create a circle and closing his eyes so he can concentrate, he can quickly think ten moves ahead of his opponent with over a hundred strategies ready to be used. When he does this, he considers everything that has taken place in the battle up to that point, even discerning how an opponent's techniques work. His teacher, Asuma Sarutobi said that he has the ability to become a Hokage, but he also said that he will be too lazy to want to be Hokage.
On the whole, Shikamaru has earned a great deal of renown, being one of three known people to single-handedly defeat a member of Akatsuki (other two being Naruto and Sasuke). In the anime, he is also revealed to have been offered a position as one of the Twelve Guardian Ninja.
Shikamaru's primary supporting move is the Shadow Imitation Technique. Later, he learned the Shadow Neck Bind Technique, which allows him to physically harm his opponent by means of a shadow hand. After the timeskip, Shikamaru also learnt the Shadow Sewing Technique. This gives him more of an offensive jutsu, as his shadow can now act almost as tentacles, leaping and twisting out of the air to attack multiple targets. He also shows the ability to simultaneously use all of his jutsu in astonishing co-ordination.
Shikamaru also inherited Asuma's trench knives after his teacher was killed. He learned to add his shadow to the knives, and created the Shadow Imitation Shuriken Technique. This allows him to "pin" his shadow on an opponent, without the need of the Shadow Imitation Technique, giving him far greater range, flexibility, and the ability to move. When Shikamaru finally had Hidan cornered, he demonstrated the Shadow Endgame Technique. This technique is essentially a shadow summoning, where various tentacles quickly surround an opponent. The second part allows the user to split apart the tentacles, grabbing multiple objects to bind to the trapped victim. This is very effective when used in conjunction with exploding tags, or perhaps other weapons.
Creation and conception
The trio of "Ino-Shika-Cho" is a hand that can be played in the card game Hanafuda, "ino" means "boar," "shika" is "deer" (Shikamaru's family raises deer, and his last name, Nara, is the name of a park in Japan that is famous for its group of free-roaming deer), and "cho" is "butterfly."
Masashi Kishimoto commented during an interview that he likes Shikamaru because he is "dry," so he does not show off his ability. In the 2008 databook, Kishimoto also said if he were a girl, out of all the male characters, he would date Shikamaru.
Shikamaru Nara is a playable character in the Naruto Clash of Ninja video games. He appears in 5 out of the 7 games.
- In the omake at the end of Shippūden episode 75, Shikamaru told Asuma that Naruto: Shippūden would now be called Shikamaru: Shippūden. The logo appeared with the title, and two silhouettes appeared facing each other. One was Shikamaru, and the other was Temari.
- In the Naruto Databook:
- He desires to fight no one, trying to resist trouble.
- Shikamaru is one day older than his teammate Ino Yamanaka.
- His favourite dishes are mackerel and kelp; his least favorite is boiled eggs.
- His hobbies is taking naps and playing Shogi.
- Shikamaru's registration number is 012611.
- Shikamaru has completed 39 official missions in total: 8 D-rank, 3 C-rank, 9 B-rank, 19 A-rank, 0 S-rank.
- Shikamaru ranked as high as the 4th most popular character in Naruto, according to the third Naruto character popularity poll. He ranked 5th in the next poll. He was 10th in the sixth and last poll.
- After Asuma's death, Shikamaru temporarily took up Asuma's habit of smoking. The cigarettes were removed from the English manga and the anime, the smoke instead being shown to come from Asuma's lighter.
See also: What a drag and How troublesome
- "Sometimes I wish I was just a cloud, floating along."
- (To Tayuya) "How many times do I have to tell you? The first move is always a feint."
- (To Ino) "What a drag ... I say a single thing against Sasuke, and I have to get that evil look from her eyes."
- "You would think just this once, when it was life or death, I could pull through."
- (Smoking Asuma's last cigarette) "... I knew ... I'd hate smoking ... the damn smoke ... gets in my eyes ..."
- (To Kurenai) "When you have that kid, I'll have to protect it. So I've gotta grow up to be a cool adult too!"
- (About women, to his father) "C'mon. You know what they're like. You can never figure them out. You never know where you could stand with them. The smallest things could put you in their bad side. Always playing little mind games with you. Trying to make you do what they want. They're just a big pain basically."
- (About women, to his father) "If women made you a better person, I wouldn't want to know what were you like before."
- (About Temari) "Subtle as a rhino...and scarier than my mom.."