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Shikamaru Nara奈良シカマルNara Shikamaru
Anime and Manga
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Shikamaru Nara (奈良シカマル, Nara Shikamaru) is a ninja from Konohagakure. He is a member of Team 10 led by Asuma Sarutobi along with his teammates Choji Akimichi and Ino Yamanaka. Currently, Shikamaru is the fourth most popular character in the Naruto series.
As a Genin, Shikamaru Nara was the sort of unenthusiastic kid who likes watching clouds. He prefers not to get involved in types of "troublesome" situations as during the attack on Konoha by the Sunagakure and Otogakure villages where he pretends to be unconscious. He is fully aware of this side of his personality and even named himself "The number one at running away" or "The number one coward". In fact, his most-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, such as when he stayed behind to confront a team of Sound ninjas, giving Naruto enough time to catch up with Sasuke. In short, he is the very definition of how a leader should be like and it is for his raw leadership skill why he was the first genin from the rookie 9 to become a chunin.
Shikamaru has a longstanding friendship with Choji Akimichi, in whom he has complete trust with. Before they were promoted to Chunin rank, Shikamaru, Choji and Ino Yamanaka were on the same Genin team under Asuma. Their fathers were on the same team as well. Their teamwork is unparalleled. They are the next generation of Ino-Shika-Cho trio, which is fully compromised from their past ancestry.
Shikamaru loves to play thinking games that older men are usually into, such as Shogi and Go. He is a brilliant strategist, and though his sensei, Asuma Sarutobi, often plays against Shikamaru, Asuma has never actually managed to beat him. Asuma got suspicious upon realizing that Shikamaru was so good at board games despite his abysmal grades, which were almost as low as Naruto's. 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. Shikamaru had felt that even moving his pencil in class was a bother and always slept through tests, resulting in his low grades. Nevertheless, his great wisdom and strategic expertise balanced his shortcomings.
Shikamaru has a habit of putting his fingers together to create a circle and closing his eyes so he can concentrate and come up with a strategy. Once he does, which often takes only a few minutes, he is able to think ten moves ahead of his opponent with over a hundred strategies ready to be used, even being able to plan out "the next 200 moves in advance". This hand sign intimidates the opponent, making them believe that he has an ace up his sleeve while in actual fact it just buys him time.
Since he has been promoted to Chunin, his responsibility for the lives of his friends has weighed very heavily on him on occasions. These burdens have also revealed his great maturity evolving over time.
Shikamaru's most distinctive character trait is that he finds all women bossy and "troublesome." Although the exception might be Kurenai who he visited in the hospital everyday and shows great concern for. The women he most finds troublesome and annoying are Temari , his mom Yoshino, and his teammate Ino. Given his mother's tyrannical personality, this isn't too surprising; however, his father shares the exact same attitude despite marrying her in the first place. When Shikamaru questioned his father why he would marry such a domineering woman, his father responded that Shikamaru's mother has a kind smile. He told Shikamaru that even the toughest woman will show her gentle side to the man she loves.
Besides this attitude, he has expressed a notably mature interest in marriage and raising a family: "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 get's a job, and spend the rest of my life playing Shogi or Go. Then die of old age before my wife.". Shikamaru dislikes fighting women, but ironically most of his opponents have been female until Shippuden in which they have all been male. It has been stated several times that his closest friend is Choji Akimichi, although he seems to have taken on the role of a close friend to Naruto as well since Sasuke left.
His favorite dish is mackerel and kelp; his least is boiled eggs. His favorite phrase is "What a Drag." His most desired opponent is no one since fighting is too troublesome. He changes his attitude significantly when he returns from the battle with Kakuzu. He is seen telling Kurenai that when he was young he thought of responsibility as troublesome, this being the reason he always messed up as a kid. He vows to protect Kurenai and her baby and to grow up so that he could become a "cool adult" like Asuma.
Chunin Exam arc
During the second phase of the Chunin Exam, Shikamaru, along with Choji and Ino, came to the aid of Team 7 during Sakura Haruno's battle with the attacking Team Dosu. Choji attempted to run away, claiming that he was reluctant to die. Shikamaru told him that he too thinks the situation "troublesome", yet said that after Ino had revealed herself, there was no way that the men could back out of it. Shikamaru took his place in the Ino-Shika-Cho battle formation, Choji having been fired up by Abumi Zaku's comment that he was fat. Dosu Kinuta attempted to come to Zaku's aid, as Choji's Human Bullet Tank technique threatened to crush him, but was unable to due to the fact that he had been trapped by Shikamaru's Shadow Imitation Technique. Shikamaru proceeded to make Dosu perform some humorous motions. Ino told Shikamaru to protect her body as she used her Mind Body Switch Technique on Kin Tsuchi. Ino readied one of Kin's kunai as she threatened the rest of Team Dosu that she would kill Kin if they didn't retreat and surrender their scroll. Shikamaru was the first to notice that Dosu and Zaku were preparing to attack Kin themselves. Knowing that Kin's death would actually result in Ino's, he attempted to warn his teammates, but was too late. Although Ino survived, she was indeed injured by the attack, and Shikamaru grew concerned. Soon after, Sasuke Uchiha awakened, his newly received cursed seal activated. As Sasuke prepared to attack Team Dosu, Shikamaru told Ino and Choji to join him in abandoning their roles in the battle as Sasuke's onslaught ensued. After Dosu retreated, leaving one of his scrolls behind for Team 7, Shikamaru left with his teammates, eventually reaching the tower at the center of the Forest of Death.
Initially introduced as nothing more than a lazy person who was always complaining, it was during his organized matches in the Chunin Exam that Shikamaru earned acclaim as a keen strategist. In his preliminary battle, he defeated Kin Tsuchi 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.
Shikamaru's shining point during the arc was his battle with Temari, where it initially seemed as if he was just pointlessly attempting strategy after strategy, and that it was only a matter of time until one of her powerful wind attacks caugt him. His strategies ranged from simply buying time for the sun to set, furthering the range of his shadow, to sending out a makeshift parachute, made from his own jacket and a kunai knife, to make a new shadow for the same purpose. 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, remarking that despite having thought of about 200 other possible strategies, he'd run out of chakra due to the extensive use of his shadow techniques and that he would only be able trap her for another ten seconds. Moreover, he said he does not like to hurt or hit women. Plus, to his testimony, continuing would've been troublesome anyway, so he decided to give up. Despite having forfeited, Shikamaru's brilliant strategy impressed everyone, including the Hokage. As a result of his decisive tactical skills, he then became a Chunin after this Chunin Exam.
Invasion of Konoha arc
Later, when Konohagakure was attacked by Sunagakure and Otogakure, Shikamaru was one of only three Genin who successfully dispelled the sleeping genjutsu cast on the Chunin Exam third phase stadium. However, he pretended to be caught in the illusion so that he could lie there and not do anything, only to be 'awakened' by Sakura attempting to dispel the genjutsu for him. Shikamaru, Naruto, and Sakura headed off to find Sasuke, who had followed Gaara's trail determined to end their battle. As they pursued Sasuke, they discovered that eight Sound ninja are following them, and Shikamaru chose to stay behind so he could stall them while the others continued to pursue 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. Fortunately, his sensei, Asuma, came in to help him and defeated all nine Sound ninja single-handedly. Shikamaru then gazed into the clouds and figured that he should be more persuasive and started changing his view about life.
Sasuke Retrieval arc
Shikamaru led the Sasuke Retrieval Squad during the Sasuke Retrieval arc. Shikamaru's first job as a Chunin was to lead the team, consisting of Naruto Uzumaki, Neji Hyuga, Choji Akimichi, Kiba Inuzuka and Akamaru on a mission to retrieve Sasuke when the latter fled Konoha. Shikamaru formed an intricate plan in which the team traveled in a line. Kiba and Akamaru are placed in front, for they knew the geography well, would easily detect any traps laid before them, and would be safe even when isolated from the rest of the group, due to their working together. Shikamaru placed himself second, for he would be able to converse with Kiba easily, and send hand signs to the rest of the group. Naruto was put in the center of the group, as his "explosive" nature would have made him perfect at the "center of help." Choji was placed fourth, for his strength made him perfect for use as a "home base" by the rest of the group. Neji was placed last, as his Byakugan would allow him to perform the most difficult job of scanning the area, detecting any attacks from the rear. The plan, however, fell apart because of the interference of the "Sound Four," a specialized team of ninja who were specifically sent by Orochimaru to ensure that Sasuke arrived at Otogakure safely. Although Shikamaru attempted to sneak up on the Sound Four, the team's presence was detected, and the Sound Four launched an attack. Shikamaru tried to trap all of the four with his Shadow Imitation, but failed. The team was eventually trapped in a prison of earth by Jirobo, a member of the Sound Four. Only Choji's strength allowed the team to escape from Jirobo's cage before all of their chakra was sapped away by one of Jirobo's techniques.
In the end, the team ended up splitting up one by one and taking on fights individually. Shikamaru's opponent was Tayuya, a ninja who specialized in long-range sound attacks using her flute. She used her flute to control three demon-like creatures, called Doki, and to create genjutsu that bound the opponent. Shikamaru once again demonstrated amazing strategy in his attacks. Forced into hiding by the Doki, whose control had been made easier by Tayuya's cursed seal, he attempted to discover a pattern between the melody of the flute's song and the movements of the Doki. Just when he thought he'd figured something out, the melody of the song changed, confusing Shikamaru, who was once again forced to hide. Shikamaru decided that there must have been some other pattern involving the flute besides the song itself. He quickly thought up a strategy in which he could potentially defeat Tayuya in just nine moves. First, Shikamaru set off an explosive tag attached to a kunai. His second move took advantage of the cover provided by the explosion, as it required setting up a specialized lantern without being noticed. Before Shikamaru activated the lantern, he gave away his position by tossing another kunai, and the Doki advanced to attack him. He then proceeded to toss five more kunai, forcing the demons to defend themselves and Tayuya. Finally, Shikamaru activated the lantern, which flooded the area with bright light, allowing his shadow to grow and possess the Doki. Before the demons advanced, though, Shikamaru asked Tayuya to at least ready a kunai.
Tayuya replied by saying, "This flute is my only weapon. I told you, anyone who hears this flute's song is dead!" Having memorized Tayuya's finger movements across the flute during the previous charade, he easily attacked Tayuya with her own monsters. Tayuya, however, simply dispelled the beasts. Shikamaru then revealed his Shadow Neck Bind Technique, in which he gives physical form to his shadow to constrict his opponent. Tayuya once again countered the attack by advancing her cursed seal to Level 2. Tayuya went on to trap Shikamaru in a musical genjutsu. Shikamaru tossed a kunai at Tayuya, but misses, seemingly because of the disorienting technique. Shikamaru realized that he was unable to move, and it looked as if he was finally through. However, just as Tayuya attempted to kill him with his own kunai, he used his own shadow to break his finger, using the pain to escape the illusion, countered her attack, and bound her in his shadow, this time at point-blank range, where he could keep a stronger grip. He revealed that he had intentionally missed with his kunai, providing Tayuya with a close-range weapon, knowing that this would have made it easier for his Shadow Neck Bind Technique to succeed, and armed with the knowledge that Tayuya possessed no other weapon that could kill him from long range because of her earlier remark. However, her brute strength still outmatched his, and just as he ran out of energy, he was again saved, this time by Temari. Temari easily dispatched Tayuya, after which she remarks, "It is done." Shikamaru replied by saying, "What an aggressive woman... She's even scarier than my mom."
Although Shikamaru tried his best as team leader, upon his return he was very hard on himself for the results; not only did the mission fail, but most of his team's members were put in mortal peril, it being a miracle that they all came back alive. If it hadn't been for the Sand siblings arriving in time to save them from their clearly superior opponents, they probably would have perished. Furthermore, he (as Tayuya pointed out) had sacrificed himself and his teammates, five men, for just one. As the Sand siblings departed, he saw them off, exchanging words with Temari.
The mission ended with nearly all member of Shikamaru's team heavily hospitalized, with the exception of Shikamaru himself (injured with nothing more than a broken finger which he did unto himself). Shikamaru's initial reaction to the failed mission was to quit being a ninja altogether. His father scolded him for being such a coward, then explained to him that if he quits being a Chunin there would still be missions and somebody else would lead his friends; then he would only experience worse pain when somebody else led his friends to their deaths while he would have been able to prevent it by remaining in charge of them. Shedding tears of relief when a report arrived that his friends were all right and taking his father's advice to heart, Shikamaru resolved to do better next time for their sake. In the anime, Shikamaru was also appointed an academy instructor.
Anime filler arcs
Shikamaru was seen in the Mizuki Strikes Back arc backing up Naruto alongside Ino and Choji against the Legendary Stupid Brothers. Through Ino-Shika-Cho's teamwork, they were able to temporarily subdue the two powerful criminals, but ultimately needed the help of Tsunade when the brothers prove too strong.
Shikamaru made a few brief appearances in later episodes before his next major arc. He oversaw Konoha's Genin in the survival-training mission for young academy students in one episode. In another, he made a brief appearance with his team. They had accidentally set off a distress signal after a large group of monkeys attacked them, intent on stealing Choji's snacks.
In the Konoha 11 arc, Shikamaru was assigned to lead the other primary Genin teams in the investigation of a man named Genno. Genno had stolen blueprints that could be used to plan a potentially devastating attack during Konoha's period of reconstruction. Not unexpectedly, 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 of course not without complaining to Tsunade first about having to do anything at all. In the end, he led his team to victory and beat Genno at his own game, leading to the old man's death.
He appeared again when Gaara is challenged by the ShitenShounin, 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 another wind user.
Shikamaru appeard in Naruto the Movie 2: Legend of the Stone of Gelel as part of a team with Sakura and Naruto, all of them being sent to retrieve a lost pet weasel and take it to a village where it could be picked up by its owners. 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 by 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 paper bombs and pieces of paper made to look like paper bombs 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).
Shikamaru, 2½ years later, made his Naruto: Shippūden debut in chapter 247, walking alongside Temari. Naruto believed Shikamaru and Temari are a couple although both denied this. Along with growing noticeably taller, he has 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. He also took on the responsibility as a Chunin Exam proctor in addition to his role as a teacher at the academy showing his maturity and his abilities as a future leader.
Sasuke and Sai arc
Shikamaru was approached by Naruto when he is looking for a new member for Team Kakashi. Shikamaru declined due to his involvement as proctor for the new chunin exam. After Choji joined them, they were attacked by a mysterious assailant who later was revealed to be Sai. During this fight, Shikamaru demonstrated he has learned a new jutsu: the Shadow Sewing Technique, which used shadow tendrils to restrain or impale multiple targets. These tendrils easily defeated Sai's ink animals which were sent to attack them.
Fire Temple Filler arc
When Konoha was invaded by Furido and his team, Tsunade put Shikamaru in charge of Konoha's defense. But 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 counteract against the undead, ordering an attack plan which drove the enemy back. Later Shikamaru used his Shadow Imitation Technique to bind a three-tailed Kyuubi Sora.
Hidan and Kakuzu arc
Shikamaru was revealed to be a member of the Niju Shotai, 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 was able to coordinate a finishing attack on Hidan. When it was revealed that this effort has done little to stop Hidan, Hidan's partner, Kakuzu, appeared, forcing Shikamaru to release Hidan.
As Asuma battled Hidan, Hidan began a ritual that causd all damage done to him to be done to Asuma as well. Because of Hidan's apparent immortality, Hidan was able to use this to 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 Hidan needed the blood seal that he had drawn on the ground earlier to maintain his jutsu, 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. After the arrival of a backup squad consisting of Ino, Choji, Aoba, and Raido, as well as the retreat of the Akatsuki duo, the Konoha ninja attempted to take Asuma to safety where he could be healed. Asuma, however, knew that he wouldn't survive, and decided to give parting words to his young teammates. To Shikamaru, Asuma said that he had great potential, perhaps enough to one day become Hokage. After Asuma enjoyed one last cigarette, he died.
At Asuma's funeral, Shikamaru was noticeably absent, instead watching the clouds in the sky and the clouds created by the cigarette he was smoking. After some reminiscing, he read up on how to channel his chakra into Asuma's trench knives. Since chakra knives accepted the property of the user, he was able to channel his shadow chakra into the blades. After packing up his gear, Shikamaru left Konoha with Ino and Choji to avenge Asuma's death. Before they could leave, however, Tsunade confronted the trio saying that they couldn't go without a more experienced ninja present. Kakashi Hatake appeared from the shadows, willing to lead Team 10 in Asuma's stead. Once Tsunade allowed them to go, Shikamaru worked Kakashi into his plan for defeating the Akatsuki duo, and gave Kakashi something to use if he found he got the chance. As they headed out to confront the Akatsuki pair, Kakashi remarked at how great a plan Shikamaru was able to come up with in such a short period of time.
Upon finding Hidan and Kakuzu, Shikamaru used Asuma's trench knives, swelling with his shadow chakra, 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, though the latter was able to dodge and block all of Hidan's attacks. When Kakuzu revealed his ultimate defense, something that hardened his skin in order to protect him from all physical attacks, Kakashi appeared and delivers a Lightning Blade to Kakuzu's heart, apparently killing him.
Kakuzu, having the hearts of four other ninja within four masks kept on his back, survived the attack, only losing the use of the one of his five hearts. One of the masks crumbled away, sending its heart into Kakuzu for use. With the other three masks, Kakuzu was able to perform extremely potent elemental attacks, freeing Hidan from Shikamaru's bind and doing heavy damage to Kakashi. As Team 10 regroued from this unexpected turn of events, Shikamaru volunteered to distract Hidan while the others focused their attention on Kakuzu. After Kakashi gave Shikamaru a small capsule, Shikamaru sent multiple waves of his shadow at Hidan in an attempt to trap the immortal. Hidan, having fallen for the technique so many times, was determined not to fall for it again, and focused all of his effort into avoiding Shikamaru's shadow, effectively saving himself from its binding effects. Shikamaru used Hidan's concentration to his advantage by punching him in the face, distracting Hidan long enough to become trapped by the Shadow Imitation Technique.
With Hidan back under his control, Shikamaru led him away from Kakuzu. Once far enough, he covered the area in explosive tags to corner the immortal. Unfortunately, the Shadow Imitation Technique's time limit has elapsed, freeing Hidan from Shikamaru's bind. Hidan used the opportunity to cut Shikamaru's cheek and consume the blood. With the ensuing ritual complete, Hidan quickly stabbed himself in the heart, causing an apparently dead Shikamaru to keel over. Shikamaru was, however, alive and well; the capsule Kakashi had given him was filled with Kakuzu's blood, and the blood Hidan consumed for his ritual was from the capsule; effectively, 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 uses his Shadow Endgame Technique to cover Hidan with the explosive 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. After Shikamaru stated that Hidan dug his own grave when he killed Asuma, Shikamaru went on to explain 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 will never be found. After lighting a cigarette, Asuma's image appeared beside Shikamaru, congratulating him on finally defeating Hidan. He then passed his "will of fire" to Shikamaru. As the ghost faded, Shikamaru flicked the cigarette at Hidan(In the anime he throws the lighter), setting off all of the exploding tags at once.
The explosion blew Hidan apart, leaving only his head intact. From the bottom of the hole, Hidan threatened Shikamaru with punishment from his Lord Jashin, but Shikamaru calmly stated that he only believes in the "will of fire" and that Hidan’s god was nothing. He then threw a kunai tied to explosive tags at the side of the hole. The explosion caused the side to cave in, effectively entombing Hidan, and ending their battle.
Post Hunt for Uchiha
After coming to the Hokage office to discuss something of his own, Shikamaru was given the code Jiraiya left on Pa's back to decipher. Even though he informed Tsunade that the cryptographic squad likely went home, she insisted to gather them and that they would work directly for the Hokage under his lead.
At the office of the cryptographic squad, Shikamaru met a girl named Shiho who appeared to be strongly attracted to him, although he is not aware of this. He was told that they could not figure out the code without a key and that someone who was close to Jiraiya might be able to help. Visits to Tsunade and Kakashi provided no new leads. On the advice of Kakashi, who was more concerned about Naruto's well being, Shikamaru decided to see Naruto about the code. Realizing that Naruto's mind was still on Jiraiya, Shikamaru decided to help his friend. He first brought him to visit Kurenai who is pregnant with Asuma's child. Shikamaru then proceeded to have a talk with Naruto; explaining that they will have students of their own one day and there comes a time when one needs to grow up, refering back to his own experience with Asuma's death. The talk seemed to help Naruto. With Naruto now over Jiraiya's death, he turned his attention to helping decipher his master's code.
With the help of Naruto, Kakashi, and Shiho, Shikamaru learned Jiraiya's code reads "The real one is not there." After reporting his findings to Tsunade, Shikamaru then saw Naruto off for his training, promising him he would solve the code. Shikamaru was then assigned with Sakura and Shiho to figure out what the code meant and how it can unlock a way to defeat the mysterious Pain.
Invasion of Pain
After hearing an explosion from the Code-breakers department, Shikamaru and Sakura headed towards the location and he was later seen with his father Shikaku, speaking to Shiho. After Pain uses Shinra Tensei, he shown to still be alive along with his father and Shiho. He mentions to his father that he is okay otherwise, but believes one of his legs is broken.
Shikamaru is a very skilled ninja with an IQ of over 200. Back in his days as a Genin, he is seen as one of the more perceptive characters in the series. Asuma noted that he is beyond genius and probably the smartest ninja in the Konohagure. Shikamaru also has a knack for being able to remember everything he witnesses in astonishing detail, which suggests that he's has eidetic memory which enables him to better formulate plans and tactics.
Improvements in Intelligence and Combat Abilities
It also seems that Shikamaru has grown smarter over the time-skip, now even being able to defeat a member of Akatsuki single-handedly, making him one of the few known to have done such a feat (alongside Sasuke and Naruto), as well as being able to analyze and discern the nature of their abilities after seeing it been performed only once using only the purest of logic. It might be noted that in each of his previous battles, Shikamaru makes use of strategy & planning instead of outright battle tactics. Asuma has stated Shikamaru can think ten moves ahead and consider 200 possible moves in a second, but his real talent is always being able to choose the correct one. This enables him to defeat many ninja who according to him, "Cannot use their head." It is also notable that during the timeskip, Shikamaru has also developed in fighting skill, became visibly stronger that he was in Part 1, as seen when he was able to launch a surprise attack on Hidan which almost slashed the immortal's neck halfway through. In the anime, Shikamaru also diplayed the capacity to use summoning scrolls in conjunction with his shadow-based techniques; such as summoning an instant pool of water to conduct lightning-based attacks against an enemy. In Sakura's flashback in Part II, Tsunade mentions that Shikamaru was requested by the Fire Country's Feudal Lord to join his personal guard.
It can also be said that Shikamaru is very skillful at dodging attacks, as seen in his unfinished but nevertheless "won" battle against Temari. This is most prominently seen in Part I when he evades all three of Tayuya's Doki Demons, and in Part II when he evades the Akatsuki members Kakuzu and Hidan. Shikamaru and Kakashi evade Kakuzu's fire mask attack unharmed while his partners, Ino and Choji, barely tumble out of the way.
Shikamaru displays his talents only later in the second part of the Chunin exams. His primary supporting move is the Shadow Possession Technique. After the time skip that leads into Part II, Shikamaru also learns the Shadow Sewing Technique and many other shadow related jutsu as well as the ability to simultaneously use them in astonishing coordination, and even learning to use Asuma's Trench Knives with his Shadow Chakra.
- "What a drag."
- "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."
- (About Temari) "What an aggressive woman..., she's even scarier than my mom."
- (To Hidan) "I only believe in the Will of Fire."
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 is currently one of the two known shinobi, along with Sasuke, to have defeated members of Akatsuki unaided in a one-on-one fight, while Sakura had the help of Chiyo and Naruto had Kakashi.
- Shikamaru dislikes fighting women, but ironically most of his opponents have been female.
- Shikamaru ranked as high as the 4th most popular character in Naruto according to the third Naruto character popularity poll. He ranked 5th in next poll. He was 10th in the sixth and last poll.
- In the omake at the end of Shippūden episode 75 (The Old Monk's Prayer), Shikamaru tells Asuma that Naruto Shippūden will now be called Shikamaru Shippūden. The logo appears with the title and two silhouettes appear facing each other. One is Shikamaru and the other is Temari.
- Shikamaru Nara is a playable characters in the Naruto "Clash of Ninja" video games. He appears in 5 out of the 7 games.