|奈良シカマル Nara Shikamaru|
|Manga||Volume #4, Naruto Chapter #34|
|Anime||Naruto Episode #1|
|Novel||Kakashi Hiden: Lightning in the Icy Sky|
|Movie||Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of Gelel|
|Game||Naruto: Ninja Council|
|OVA||Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival!|
|Appears in||Anime, Manga, Novel, Game, Movie|
|Academy Grad. Age||12|
|Chūnin Prom. Age||12|
Shikamaru Nara (奈良シカマル, Nara Shikamaru) is a shinobi of Konohagakure's Nara clan. Though lazy by nature, Shikamaru has a rare intellect that consistently allows him to prevail in combat. The responsibilities that these successes leave him with cause him frequent annoyance, but he gladly accepts them so that he may be of service to his fellow members of Team 10, and to prove himself to generations of the past and future.
Shikamaru is the only child of Yoshino and Shikaku Nara. When he was young, he once played "ninja" with other children his age. Chōji Akimichi wanted to play with them, but the other children refused to allow him to do so, claiming he was too stupid to participate. When Shikamaru couldn't convince the others to let Chōji join, he left the game and went to his favourite spot to watch clouds. Chōji happened to be sitting in said spot when he got there, so Shikamaru introduced himself, offered Chōji some snacks, and invited Chōji to watch the clouds with him. From that point onward they were best friends; upon entering Konoha's Ninja Academy, they'd usually sit together in class and hang out after afterwards. Shikamaru had very little interest in the class itself, preferring to spend his time sleeping rather than listen to Iruka Umino's lessons. Shikamaru showed the same lack of enthusiasm for the tests he was given and couldn't be bothered to actually answer the questions, leading to his poor grades.
Shikamaru is naturally a lazy person and his inclination is to do as little work as possible. As an Academy student and even during his early career as a genin, Shikamaru is able to get away with this, spending his days sleeping, watching the clouds, or playing games of shōgi and Go. His goal is to live unremarkably, free of anything of noticeably good or bad, and then to die just as unremarkably as he lived. When he is faced with the potential for conflict or commitment, he responds first by saying, "how troublesome," and then by trying to find some way out of it, either by pretending to be indisposed or even outright saying that he doesn't want to do whatever it is.
Although Shikamaru describes himself as "the number one coward", he has a strong moral compass and dedication to his friends. It is these qualities that earned Chōji Akimichi's friendship, as Shikamaru was one of the first people to look past his weight and find value in who he naturally was. It is also these qualities that force Shikamaru to move away from his lazy pursuits, as he finds himself volunteering to do work or to sacrifice himself if it will in some way benefit his allies. Such selflessness, once displayed during the Konoha Crush, exacerbates his "troublesome" situations: he is given the responsibility of leading his friends into battle, for which reason he does everything that he can to keep them safe, for which reason he is given even more responsibility over even more of his friends, and so on. He still clings to his lazy origins as much as he can; even if he can't spend his entire day being idle, he at least avoids having long-term goals or confessing any particular pleasure in the duties he's assigned.
Shikamaru undergoes a rapid maturity after the death of his teacher, Asuma Sarutobi, whose loss forces Shikamaru to recognise that the world is not safe that he cannot be kept protected from it forever. After avenging Asuma, Shikamaru takes it upon himself to do all that he can to make things better for future Konoha generations, especially Asuma's then-unborn daughter, Mirai; such is the Will of Fire. He may still balk at the prospect of the work he must do, but he no longer runs from it, even going so far as to argue in favour of difficult choices if it will guarantee his friends' and village's survival. In Shikamaru Hiden, he describes his new goal in life as, rather than living unremarkably himself and watching the clouds all the time, to instead make a world where his children or grandchildren can live that way if they choose to.
One of the more "troublesome" things that runs throughout Shikamaru's life are the women he knows: his mother, Yoshino, his teammate, Ino Yamanaka, and his frequent companion, Temari. He describes each of them as aggressive, demanding, and sometimes even scary. Shikamaru tries to treat women delicately, being non-confrontational or at least polite to them and never asking anything of them that he believes he can do himself. During Part I, he generally believes he can do anything himself, and as such is mortified if and when a woman needs to assist him in any way; his frustrations are similar when he repeatedly finds himself facing female opponents. Because his father, Shikaku, has similar views and experiences with women, Shikamaru asks him for help in understanding them. Shikaku explains that men destroy themselves without a woman's influence and that women, despite how they may act, are kind to the men they love. As with most things, Shikamaru resists entanglements with women as much as he can; his Infinite Tsukuyomi dream world sees him successfully avoiding marriage entirely. However, in the end, he marries Temari – who he realises in Shikamaru Hiden is one of the most important things in the world to him – and later has a son with her, Shikadai.
Shikamaru takes up Asuma's smoking habit after he dies, his way of both coping with his death and keeping Asuma's spirit alive. He isn't seen smoking again in the manga after he avenges Asuma, but he is described as smoking in Gaara Hiden and the novelisation of Boruto: Naruto the Movie. In the anime and English manga, the cigarettes are either removed or replaced with Asuma's lighter as the scene requires.
Shikamaru has narrow brown eyes and a typical expression suggesting he is either bored or irritated. He has shoulder length black hair tied in a spiky ponytail. During Part I, he wears a short-sleeved grey jacket with green-edged sleeves and the Nara clan's symbol on the back, under which is a green-lined mesh T-shirt. He also wears brown pants, a pair of his clan's traditional silver hoop earrings, and wears his blue forehead protector around his left arm. When he becomes a chūnin, he adds a flak jacket over this usual clothing. In Part II, he trades most of his personalised wardrobe for the standard Konoha-nin outfit, the only customisations being green-lined mesh armour on his wrists and ankles and the plate of his forehead protector sewn into his left sleeve. He also replaces the hoop earrings for studs, a gift from Asuma Sarutobi.
In The Last: Naruto the Movie, Shikamaru's attire remains largely the same as in Part II, with the flak jacket being updated with Konoha's new design. He also wears taller sandals that reach more past his calves. In adulthood, Shikamaru finally abandons the normal infantry's attire, instead wearing a coat and pants very similar to what his father, Shikaku, used to wear. He also grows a short goatee.
Shikamaru's poor grades in the Academy gave his prospective instructors the impression that he would be an unremarkable ninja. This ends up not being the case; he is the only member of his graduating class to become a chūnin during Part I and he is one of only two to become a jōnin by the time of The Last: Naruto the Movie. His skills are apparent to those who get to know him, with Asuma Sarutobi, Temari, and Boruto Uzumaki all believing he possesses qualities befitting the Hokage. Although he does not want the Hokage's responsibilities, his skills nevertheless result in other responsibilities being appointed to him: he is frequently placed in charge of his own team; in the anime, he is offered a position as one of the Twelve Guardian Ninja; he is made deputy-commander of the Fourth Division; he inherits the job of chief-strategist of the entire Allied Shinobi Forces; he becomes the right-hand of the Seventh Hokage. Many of these responsibilities are given to him involuntarily, but he is on occasion able to find his own motivation and proves to be no less competent, as when he defeats Hidan of Akatsuki by himself, to the surprise of his peers.
Chakra and Physical Prowess
Not including his inherent laziness, Shikamaru's only real shortcoming is his chakra supply, which in Part I is consistently too small for to him use all the tactics he comes up with. His combat style relies on keeping his distance from his opponents, for which reason he rarely uses taijutsu except when doing so directly benefits one of his strategies. In Shikamaru Hiden, Shikamaru is shown, even if he's unable to compete offensively, to at least have the skills to defend himself, being keenly aware of his senses even when in complete darkness so that he can avoid an opponent's attacks.
Shikamaru briefly uses a tantō during Part II; he fails to decapitate his opponent with it as intended the one time he uses it, but still manages to leave a large gash in their neck. In Shikamaru Hiden, he is able to create shadow clones. Shikamaru's natures include fire and earth, but he almost exclusively uses the Yin Release of his shadow-based techniques.
Nara Clan Techniques
As a member of the Nara clan, Shikamaru's specialty is in manipulating his own shadow. His signature move is the Shadow Imitation Technique, which in the anime he learned before even entering the Academy. By connecting his shadow to a target's, Shikamaru can use the Shadow Imitation Technique to restrain their movements and force them to mimic his own. When used against opponents, they may be able to resist his control, requiring that Shikamaru exert additional effort to keep them bound; when used for whatever reason on allies or others who have been incapacitated, no resistance occurs and the process is accordingly much easier. Throughout Parts I and II, Shikamaru must perform the appropriate hand seals in order to use his shadow, but in later years he is able manipulate it without them.
After he becomes a chūnin, Shikamaru is taught the Shadow–Neck Binding Technique, which allows him to use his shadow to strangle those who have been bound with the Shadow Imitation. Like the Shadow Imitation itself, the Shadow–Neck Binding can only be used on flat surfaces, for which reason opponents can resist it if they're strong enough. In Part II, Shikamaru is able to use his shadow independently of surfaces: with the Shadow Sewing Technique, he can make his shadow into tendrils to either pierce targets, destroying them if small enough, or alternatively sewing them in place to assist his Shadow Imitation; with the Shadow Gathering Technique and Shadow Clutch Technique, he can use his shadow to interact with his shadow's surroundings, picking things up and moving them as he chooses. After the death of Asuma Sarutobi, Shikamaru inherits his chakra blades. Rather than use them in hand-to-hand combat as Asuma did, Shikamaru channels his shadow into the blades, allowing him to throw the blades at the shadows of targets that are out of his reach, pinning them in place in the same way as his Shadow Imitation does.
After Shikamaru was assigned to Team 10, Asuma noticed that Shikamaru was much sharper than his Academy scores indicated. By disguising a number of intelligence tests as games and puzzles – the only way Asuma could get Shikamaru to be interested – Asuma discovered that Shikamaru has an IQ of over 200; his poor grades were because he was too lazy to take any of the written exams. It is chiefly because of his intelligence that Shikamaru receives as many responsibilities as he does, with the Fifth Hokage routinely pushing Shikamaru to use his intellect for his allies' and village's benefit. Indeed, the Hokage's faith in him is well-founded, as Shikamaru remains acutely aware of his own and others' limitations, allowing him to avoid surprise and unnecessary risk. By the time of Boruto: Naruto the Movie, he is regarded as the smartest person in Konoha.
Whether he is about to go into combat, issuing orders to those who are in combat, or is personally involved in combat himself, Shikamaru's general approach is the same: he remains aware of all actions that allies and opponents make, even things that seem insignificant at the time or that he doesn't yet understand; he keeps track of where everything is located in relation to everything else, even features that lack obvious practical use; he studies the behavior of all combatants, gradually learning how they react in any given situation. By then focusing on this vast amount of information – which he usually does by closing his eyes and cupping his fingers – Shikamaru can quickly think ten moves ahead of his opponent(s) and devise over a hundred strategies, from which he instantly picks the most effective. Such strategies are often highly elaborate and use multiple layers of misdirection, where he takes small victories just to eliminate extraneous factors, pretends defeat in order to re-position opponents, and engineers conditions that will lead opponents to defeating themselves. Tobi regrets that Shikamaru's ability to see through deception and correctly put together seemingly unrelated pieces of information is "wasted" in service to the Allied Shinobi Forces.
Prologue — Land of Waves
Main article: Prologue — Land of Waves Upon graduating from the Academy, Shikamaru is added to Asuma Sarutobi's Team 10, along with Chōji Akimichi and Ino Yamanaka. In the anime, Shikamaru is surprised that Naruto Uzumaki also graduated since Naruto failed their in-class graduation exam.
Main article: Chūnin Exams Despite how recently they graduated from the Academy, Asuma enters Team 10 in the Chūnin Exams being held in Konoha. Shikamaru agrees to participate, but nevertheless complains repeatedly about the competition with the many other participating genin, especially his fellow recent graduates: the members of Team 7 and Team 8. For the first stage of the exams, they are given a written test with ten questions too difficult for the standard genin to be able to answer, and for which reason participants are expected to cheat without getting caught. Ino uses her Mind Body Switch Technique on Shikamaru to fill out his exam sheet with answers she copied from Sakura Haruno; in the anime, Shikamaru is glad for Ino's intervention, as he didn't want to bother answering the questions on his own. Team 10 ultimately passes.
For the second stage of the exams, Team 10 enters the Forest of Death to take part in a five-day survival exercise. Team 10 initially spends their time avoiding conflict, hiding whenever they come across another team. When they discover Sakura defending her teammates from a team of Oto-nin by herself, Shikamaru asks Ino if they should help her. Ino decides to, and Shikamaru drags Chōji along to provide additional support. Team 10 initiates Formation Ino–Shika–Chō: Chōji attacks Zaku Abumi with Human Bullet Tank, Shikamaru immobilises Dosu Kinuta with his Shadow Imitation Technique, and Ino uses her Mind Body Switch on Kin Tsuchi. Ino tries to use Kin as a hostage, but Zaku opts to attack Kin himself rather than let her be used against him. Too tired to offer much more of a fight, Team 10 wonders what to do. When Sasuke regains consciousness, Shikamaru has them withdraw, sensing that Sasuke can deal with the Oto-nin on his own.
After passing the second stage, the remaining genin take part in one-on-one preliminary matches. Shikamaru, to his annoyance, is matched against Kin, who uses bells tied with strings to distract Shikamaru, giving her an opening to attack him with senbon; in the anime, the bells also produce a genjutsu, further disorienting Shikamaru. Shikamaru alters his shadow's shape and directs it to Kin under the cover of the strings she's holding on to, allowing him to ensnare her without her notice. He then throws a shuriken at her, releasing her from his shadow at the last moment so that she can dodge and knock her head against the wall behind her, rendering her unconscious. When the preliminaries conclude, Shikamaru and the other finalists are informed who their first opponents will be when they reconvene after a month of rest and training. Because there are an odd number of finalists, Shikamaru is scheduled to fight Dosu in an additional match.
Shikamaru is frustrated that he'll need to do additional work if he's to win the tournament. From listening to the Third Hokage's explanation about how the finals will be handled, Shikamaru speculates that one doesn't need to actually win the tournament in order to be promoted to chūnin, which the Third confirms when Shikamaru asks him: genin are promoted based on performance, not wins or losses. After they disperse, Chōji overeats in an effort to console himself for losing his preliminary match, sending him to the Konoha Hospital. While Shikamaru is visiting him there the day before the finals, he also visits Naruto, who is recovering from his training. As Shikamaru and Naruto are talking, they notice Gaara entering Rock Lee's room, intent on killing him. Shikamaru stops him with his shadow and tries to convince Gaara to leave by pointing out that he and Naruto outnumber him, but Gaara isn't deterred. After telling them a little about his childhood, Gaara prepares to kill them, his sand not being inhibited by Shikamaru's shadow. Might Guy arrives before he can do anything to them and forces Gaara to leave.
When the finalists gather the next day, Shikamaru is informed that his match with Dosu has been cancelled and that he'll instead be fighting Temari of Suna in his first match. When it's time for his fight, he contemplates forfeiting, but Naruto wrongly assumes he's eager to get started and shoves him into the arena. Temari attacks him when he's slow to get up, but he dodges at the last moment, deciding he doesn't want to lose to a girl. Shikamaru retreats to the cover of some nearby trees and uses the threat of his shadow to force Temari to keep her distance. While she ascertains his shadow's maximum reach, Shikamaru formulates a strategy, doing so quickly enough to be ready when Temari attacks from afar with her Giant Folding Fan. He takes shelter behind the trees and strikes out with his shadow again, extending farther towards her than before, the setting sun lengthening his shadow's range.
Temari dodges this and his other attempts to let his shadow reach farther, forcing her to repeatedly move away from him to avoid it. She attempts to finish the fight quickly, expecting things will only become easier for Shikamaru as the fight goes on, when she finds herself already caught: Shikamaru has been manoeuvreing her towards a hole in the ground created during Naruto's earlier match, which allowed him to catch her with his shadow from behind. Shikamaru approaches Temari, apparently to deliver a finishing blow. He forfeits instead, claiming that, even if he won this match, he's spent too much chakra to be able to safely fight in later matches. The observing older ninja are impressed by the wisdom of this decision, but Naruto is upset and enters the arena to accuse Shikamaru of stupidity.
When Sasuke arrives in the arena for his match with Gaara, Shikamaru and Naruto head back to the stands to spectate. They cross paths with Gaara moments after he murders two Kusa-nin and are paralysed by the realisation that he would have killed them had the Kusa-nin not been there. Naruto becomes fearful of what Gaara will do to Sasuke and runs off to cancel the match. When Shikamaru catches up, he's amused to see that Naruto's concern for Sasuke's safety has suddenly become jealousy for Sasuke's improved abilities.
Main article: Konoha Crush Sasuke and Gaara's match is interrupted by an invasion of Konoha and a genjutsu puts most of the spectators to sleep. Shikamaru is able to dispel the genjutsu, but he still pretends to be asleep anyway so that nobody will bother him. This is discovered by Sakura when she comes to wake up him and Naruto, and Pakkun forces him to get up by biting his ankle. Having overheard Kakashi Hatake's instructions for the four of them to stop Sasuke from pursuing Gaara, Shikamaru flatly refuses, prompting Pakkun to bite his hand until he agrees. As they head away from the stadium, Pakkun informs them that they're being followed by nine Oto-nin. Because they're outnumbered and because none of them are particularly good fighters, Shikamaru explains that their best option is to lay an ambush, a task he volunteers for while the others continue to follow Sasuke.
Shikamaru creates false tracks to lead the Oto-nin onto a different trail, and the captures them with his shadow once they're near him. Shikamaru notices that he's only captured eight Oto-nin and hypothesises that the ninth kept his distance in case of an ambush. Shikamaru tests his theory by throwing shuriken at the eight, forcing the ninth to reveal his location in order to block the shuriken. Shikamaru can't reach the ninth with his shadow and in fact is about to lose his bind on the other eight, but holds them for as long as he can. Once he's forced to release them he prepares to be killed, but is saved by Asuma, who has dealt with the ninth Oto-nin and quickly defeats the others. Asuma congratulates Shikamaru for his good work and tells him to rest.
A few days later, after the invasion has been repelled, Shikamaru attends the Third Hokage's funeral.
Sasuke Recovery Mission
Main article: Sasuke Recovery Mission
Even though the Chūnin Exams were interrupted and even though he lost his match, Shikamaru's performance was enough to earn him a promotion to chūnin. Team 10 goes to Yakiniku Q to celebrate, after which Shikamaru trains with his father, Shikaku. Although Shikaku wants to resume the training early the next morning, Shikamaru is summoned before Tsunade, the new Hokage. She informs him that Sasuke has defected from Konoha in order to join with Orochimaru, the man behind the invasion of Konoha. Shikamaru notes that a team of chūnin and jōnin should be sent after Sasuke, but Tsunade explains that this is impossible, the village being too understaffed in the aftermath of Orochimaru's invasion. The only Sasuke Recovery Team she can allow is one led by Shikamaru and consisting of any genin he sees fit to recruit in half-an-hour. Tsunade recommends Naruto's inclusion and Shikamaru insists on also including Chōji; Kiba Inuzuka and Neji Hyūga are likewise recruited.
After leaving the village, the Recovery Team comes across Sasuke's escorts, the Sound Four. Shikamaru has Neji scout the area and then has him loudly report Sasuke's presumed location: within a coffin the Sound Four are carrying. The Sound Four hear this and, when they attack, Shikamaru takes the opportunity to capture the four of them with his shadow. He didn't count on the presence of a fifth member, however, who attacks him and forces him to release them. Jirōbō then captures them with his Earth Prison Dome of Magnificent Nothingness. Kiba uses Fang Passing Fang in an attempt to break free, but the prison only heals the damage. Shikamaru notices that the damage heals more slowly in one area, and by engaging Jirōbō in conversation Shikamaru confirms that it's the point farthest from him. He has Chōji attack that area and they successfully escape.
Jirōbō will need to be distracted if they're to continue pursuing the rest of the Sound Four. Shikamaru volunteers, but Chōji insists on being given the responsibility, promising to defeat Jirōbō. Shikamaru agrees on the condition that Chōji catch up with them after he's won; Shikamaru makes a point to mark their route as they go for Chōji to follow. He realises, however, that it may become necessary for each of them to fight a member of the Sound Four alone like Chōji is doing, and warns the others to be prepared for this. When they catch up with the Sound Four, Kidōmaru tries to delay them and Neji remains behind to fight Kidōmaru. When they catch up again with Sakon and Tayuya, they try to use their superior numbers to their advantage; although they do succeed in taking Sasuke from them, Sasuke is quickly taken back by the Sound Four's backup, Kimimaro. Kiba and Sakon end up being separated from their respective teams and Naruto goes after Kimimaro to retrieve Sasuke, leaving Shikamaru to fight Tayuya.
Tayuya berates Shikamaru for systematically sacrificing all the members of his team in order to rescue Sasuke, but Shikamaru rebuts that, as team leader, he has faith in each of them. She summons her three ogres and uses her Demonic Flute to control their attacks against him. The ogres' attacks are so well coordinated that Shikamaru has no opportunity to use any of his jutsu. He tries finding a pattern in the music Tayuya plays to try an predict their movements, but the music changes too often for him to pick out anything. By instead studying her finger positions, he learns to predict the ogres' actions. When they move into the correct position, Shikamaru uses a flash bomb to extend the ogres' shadows, allowing him to capture them and control them against Tayuya. She de-summons them before he can do that, but once they're gone she discovers the ogres' entire capture was a distraction: she has been bound by Shikamaru's shadow, having been slowly navigated towards her.
Tayuya is able to resist his shadow's bindings by activating her cursed seal. Shikamaru tries strengthening his hold on her with his newly-learned Shadow–Neck Binding Technique, but he can't make its grasp strong enough. He releases her and allows himself to fall victim to the genjutsu she casts with her flute. When she comes near him to finish him off with a kunai (which he left for her), he releases himself from the genjutsu by breaking his own finger and traps her with his shadow again, using her closer proximity to improve his shadow's hold. Her cursed seal still makes her strong resist it, so he keeps her bound until he runs out of chakra. Tayuya is stopped from killing Shikamaru by the arrival of Temari, Suna's assistance having been requested by Tsunade. Temari quickly destroys Tayuya's flute, forcing her to retreat into the forest. Shikamaru starts musing about how they might go about either finding her or drawing her out, which Temari ignores, instead simply destroying the forest. Tayuya is crushed beneath the fallen trees and Shikamaru, though intimidated by Temari's ferocity, is nevertheless thankful to her.
Temari accompanies Shikamaru back to Konoha. His broken finger is healed and Shikamaru is informed of the dire conditions the rest of his team has been left in. That things went so badly on his first mission causes Shikamaru to believe he's unfit to be a ninja, much less to lead a team. Temari won't comfort him, nor will Shikaku when he comes to check on things. Shikaku reminds Shikamaru that his friends will continue to go on missions with or without him, but that maybe they'll avoid death if Shikamaru leads them then. If this mission went badly, Shikamaru should learn from it and improve so that future missions will be more successful. Tsunade interrupts with news that the team will make full recoveries, that Naruto has been found alive, and that Sasuke escaped. Although this means the mission failed, both Tsunade and Shikamaru are glad that everyone survived, Shikamaru even tearfully vowing to do better next time.
Temari and her brothers later return to Suna, and Shikamaru sees them off. He wishes them a safe journey and thanks them again. Before they go, Temari teases Shikamaru to call if he needs their help again.
Mizuki Tracking Mission
Main article: Mizuki Tracking Mission In the anime, Team 10 helps Naruto round up escaped prisoners from the Konoha Strict Correctional Facility. They use their Formation Ino–Shika–Chō to restrain the Legendary Stupid Brothers until Tsunade can arrive to defeat them.
Konoha Plans Recapture Mission
Main article: Konoha Plans Recapture Mission In the anime, Shikamaru leads the Konoha 11 in stopping Gennō from destroying Konoha. Shikamaru proves to be a shrewd detective, quickly catching onto seemingly minor clues and predicting Gennō's plans. In the end, Gennō decides not to destroy the village, instead having fun letting the Konoha 11, Naruto in particular, figure out what he's up to before he dies of a pre-existing illness.
Sunagakure Support Mission
Main article: Sunagakure Support Mission In the anime, Shikamaru leads the Konoha 11 in helping Suna stop the Four Celestial Symbols Men, repayment for their help to the Sasuke Recovery Team. The Konoha 11 splits up once they reach Suna, with Shikamaru reaching Temari in time to save her from Kujaku. Together they defeat Kujaku. Temari and the other Suna-nin rest in Konoha after the Four Celestial Symbols Men are defeated, and when they're ready to leave Shikamaru sees them off once again.
In Naruto's Footsteps: The Friends' Paths
Main article: In Naruto's Footsteps: The Friends' Paths In the anime, about two years after Naruto leaves Konoha to train, Shikamaru helps Tsunade coordinate with Suna to hold a joint Chūnin Exam, what has the potential to be both a sign of solidarity between their villages and also a way to potentially draw out Akatsuki. Gaara, Suna's new Kazekage, agrees with Tsunade's plans. Because only three-man teams can participate and because Shikamaru is already a chūnin, Shikamaru's position in Team 10 is temporarily filled by Sakura.
Shikamaru proctors the first stage of the exams: a written test where participating teams must get a combined score of 100 points despite being seated in different rooms. To pass, teams must find some way to communicate and use teamwork to get the correct score. Towards the end of the first stage, Shikamaru offers a bonus question: if each team can decide upon a team member to disqualify, the rest of the team will be allowed to pass to the second stage. This is a ruse, and the only acceptable answer is for teams to elect to disqualify nobody. Shikamaru congratulates those who pass this first stage and hands them off to Temari, the proctor of the second stage.
The exams are forced to be cancelled during the second stage and the Kazekage consults Shikamaru about what to do. It's decided that performance reports on all remaining participants will be sent to their respective villages to decide who will be promoted to chūnin. Shikamaru later helps Tsunade pick who to promote.
Kazekage Rescue Mission
Main article: Kazekage Rescue Mission When Naruto returns to Konoha after two-and-a-half years of training, he runs into Shikamaru and Temari. Seeing them together, he asks if they're on a date. Both deny this, instead explaining that they're working together to plan another Chūnin Exam. Shikamaru asks if Naruto will participate since he's the only person from their graduating class who is still a genin. Naruto is devastated by everyone's promotions.
Tenchi Bridge Reconnaissance Mission
Main article: Tenchi Bridge Reconnaissance Mission Naruto tracks down Shikamaru to ask for his help in potentially finding Sasuke again. Shikamaru can't, once again telling Naruto that he's helping arrange the Chūnin Exams. Chōji offers to help Naruto, though Shikamaru shares his doubts that Asuma will allow it. While they're discussing this, they are attacked by Sai's Super Beast Imitating Drawings. Shikamaru uses his Shadow Sewing Technique to destroy Sai's drawings while Naruto gets close. Shikamaru then tries to catch Sai with his shadow, but he's able to escape.
Twelve Guardian Ninja
Main articles: Twelve Guardian Ninja (Arc) and Twelve Guardian Ninja In the anime, when Konoha is attacked by Furido's 4-Man Team, Tsunade puts Shikamaru in charge of Konoha's defence. Shikamaru is frustrated that he can't join his friends on the front-lines, believing that is where the strategist is most needed and most effective. Shikamaru eventually defies orders and does just that, and in doing so the Earth Release Resurrection Technique: Corpse Soil is repelled. When Sora later rampages through the village, Shikamaru tries to restrain him with his shadow, but this fails and he must leave Sora's defeat to Naruto.
Akatsuki Suppression Mission
Main article: Akatsuki Suppression Mission
Shikamaru plays shōgi with Asuma, but is surprised by Asuma's suddenly more offensive and reckless playstyle. Asuma explains that he's learned the importance of protecting the king, even if it means making sacrifices. Using shōgi as a metaphor, Asuma says that Shikamaru is like a knight while he's like a basic pawn. Shikamaru guesses that the king is like the Hokage, which Asuma disagrees with, though he refuses to elaborate. They are both later assigned to one of the Twenty Platoons, a taskforce assigned to hunt down Akatsuki members within the Land of Fire. As their platoon searches the countryside for a lead as to the location of two Akatsuki members that earlier attacked the Fire Temple, Shikamaru questions Asuma on his continuing strange behavior, specifically that he's stopped smoking. Asuma once again avoids the question, instead reminding them to be ready for the Akatsuki members' undoubtedly formidable abilities.
On reaching the bounty station, they find Hidan waiting outside. Asuma distracts him while Shikamaru retrains him with his shadow, allowing Izumo Kamizuki and Kotetsu Hagane to stab him with their swords. To their surprise, Hidan survives their attack. Hidan's partner, Kakuzu, then appears and attacks Shikamaru, forcing him to release Hidan. Their platoon regroups and Asuma instructs Shikamaru to try and restrain Hidan with his Shadow Sewing Technique while he fights him along, planning to decapitate him once he's captured. Shikamaru objects to the inherent risk of the plan, but goes along with it at Asuma's insistence. Hidan evades Shikamaru's shadow and Asuma's strikes, in the process managing to scratch Asuma's cheek with his Triple-Bladed Scythe. After licking Asuma's blood from the scythe and entering a symbol he drew on the ground earlier, Hidan links himself with Asuma, causing any damage he receives to also be done to Asuma.
Hidan tries to take advantage of his link with Asuma to stab himself in the heart, relying on his own immorality to survive while Asuma dies. Shikamaru stops him with his shadow and, having picked up on how his ability works, forces Hidan to leave the symbol on the ground, thus breaking the link. Now free to attack Hidan again, Asuma cuts his head off. Hidan once again survives and he calls on Kakuzu to sew his head back onto his body. Asuma, Izumo, and Kotetsu try to stop Kakuzu from doing so while Shikamaru, exhausted from the effort it took to move Hidan out of the circle, can only watch. They fail, Hidan's head is reattached, and he returns to the symbol, reestablishing the link. Despite Shikamaru's attempts to reach in time to stop him, Hidan is able to himself in the heart.
Asuma keels over just as another of the Twenty Platoons – one which includes Chōji and Ino – arrives to provide backup. Hidan and Kakuzu retreat, giving Ino a chance to try to heal the damage to Asuma's body. Aware that his wounds are too severe to heal, Asuma gives parting words to his students: to Shikamaru, he whispers the identity of the king they spoke about earlier. As his last act, Asuma requests that Shikamaru give him a cigarette, but he dies before Shikamaru can light it. Shikamaru lights the cigarette and smokes it himself, blaming the smoke for his tears. They return to Konoha to report what's happened, with Shikamaru taking responsibility for informing Kurenai Yūhi about Asuma's death. Shikamaru does not attend Asuma's funeral, instead spending his time thinking over cigarettes, practising with Asuma's chakra blades, and planning his revenge.
Once he's got everything ready, Shikamaru sets out with Chōji and Ino to hunt down Hidan and Kakuzu. Tsunade tries to persuade them not to go, but they are all confident in what they plan to do. She tries to hold them back on the grounds that they need a fourth member, at which point Kakashi Hatake appears and volunteers to be their fourth. Tsunade finally relents and Shikamaru quickly modifies his plan to take advantage of Kakashi's skills. Once Ino locates Hidan and Kakuzu, Shikamaru launches the first attack, striking at them multiple times until he is able to pin their shadows using Asuma's chakra blades. Shikamaru uses his shadow to force Hidan to attack Kakuzu, but Kakuzu frees himself in time to dodge. Shikamaru continues using Hidan to attack Kakuzu and with Chōji's help manoeuvres Kakuzu into position for Kakashi to attack him with his Lightning Cutter.
Although Kakashi pierced Kakuzu's heart, Kakuzu has four spares, one of which he uses to save himself. He kicks Kakashi away and joins Hidan, who Shikamaru was forced to release. Hidan attacks Shikamaru and the others with his scythe while Kakuzu uses his extra hearts' natures to attack from a distance, overwhelming them. Shikamaru decides that Hidan and Kakuzu will need to be separated if they're to be defeated and volunteers to deal with Hidan alone. Despite Hidan's attempt to use the experience gained from his many previous captures to avoid Shikamaru's shadow, he is captured yet again and led away. Once deep enough into the forest, Shikamaru surrounds themselves with explosive tags so that Hidan won't be able under any circumstances. Once Shikamaru is forced to release him, Hidan strikes, acquires some blood to create a link with, and stabs himself in the heart.
The blood that Hidan acquired was actually Kakuzu's, which Kakashi collected earlier when he used Lightning Cutter. Hidan's link was therefore to Kakuzu and he has thus destroyed one of Kakuzu's hearts. Hidan doesn't realise this and assumes Shikamaru is dead, allowing Shikamaru to attack him from behind in an effort to cut off his head. Hidan notices in time to keep his head attached, but Shikamaru once again catches him with his shadow. He uses his shadow to attach all the surrounding explosive tags to Hidan and then activates a mark he set earlier, which causes the ground beneath Hidan to collapse into a pit. Realising what Shikamaru intends to do, Hidan vows to dig himself out and come after Shikamaru. Shikamaru doubts this, explaining that the surrounding forest belongs to the Nara clan, and that only they can enter and leave it. He ignites the explosive tags with one of Asuma's cigarettes (Asuma's lighter in the anime), blowing Hidan up. Hidan's still-speaking remains fall into the pit, which Shikamaru buries with a final explosive tag.
Kakuzu is defeated by the time Shikamaru makes it back to the other and they return to Konoha to report their success to Tsunade. Shikamaru visits Asuma's grave afterwards and finds Kurenai there. As they reminisce about Asuma, Shikamaru vows to teach Asuma and Kurenai's unborn child just as Asuma taught him. He plays shōgi with Shikaku later and they discuss Asuma's earlier metaphor: Asuma believed the king was like the next generation, which Shikamaru now also believes. Shikaku is glad that he's learned this, and then proceeds to defeat Shikamaru so that he'll realise he's not yet ready for the responsibility of protecting it.
Main article: Pain's Assault Tsunade assigns Shikamaru to decipher Jiraiya's dying message about the identity of Pain, Akatsuki's leader. He takes the message to the Konoha Cryptanalysis Team, but they can't decode it until they know what its key is, something that somebody close to Jiraiya might be able to find out. Tsunade and Kakashi have no theories when he asks them, so Shikamaru visits Naruto. Naruto is depressed about Jiraiya's death and has difficulty focusing. He takes Naruto to see Kurenai, who is well-along in her pregnancy, to illustrate the role that Shikamaru and Naruto must someday be able to fill: being cool teachers to children like Kurenai's just as Asuma and Jiraiya were to each of them. This properly motivates Naruto, who is able to find a clue that seems to point to Jiraiya's most recent book, Icha Icha Tactics. Kakashi uses his copy of the book to help them decode the message into, "The real one is not among them."
Shikamaru shares the message with Fukasaku, who was with Jiraiya when he died, but the message makes no sense without additional context. Shikamaru is forced to wait until the other investigations into Pain proceed further. Shikamaru discusses possible meanings with Sakura and Shiho a few days later, but they are interrupted by Pain's Assault and they disperse to join the village's defence. In the anime, Shikamaru immediately goes looking for Kurenai, finding her in time to save her from one of the Animal Path's giant centipedes. He helps her find an evacuation point out of the village before going to see what other help he can provide. Pain eventually destroys Konoha, which Shikamaru survives with only a broken leg; in the anime, he broke it while shielding Shiho from harm.
While Naruto fights Pain alone, Shikamaru meets up with Shikaku, Ino, and Inoichi Yamanaka to pool their knowledge about Pain. With their combined information they hypothesise that Pain is actually being controlled remotely by someone, likely form the highest point near Konoha. Because of his leg, Shikamaru must stay behind while Shikaku and Inoichi go searching. Naruto eventually defeats Pain and, upon his return to Konoha, Shikamaru joins in the celebration of his victory.
Past Arc: The Locus of Konoha
Main article: Past Arc: The Locus of Konoha In the anime, Shikamaru and Shiho sift through the rubble of Konoha and find some photos of villagers, which they try to reunite with their owners. Shikamaru and the rest of Team 10 later round up some hogs for the villagers to eat. The teamwork they demonstrate reminds Shikamaru of their mission to apprehend Baji.
Five Kage Summit
Main article: Five Kage Summit
News reaches Konoha of Sasuke's recent activity with Akatsuki, specifically his attack against Kumogakure's ninja. The members of Team 8, Team 10, and Team Guy decide that Sasuke can no longer be allowed to implicate Konoha in his criminal deeds and they resolve to personally kill him; Shikamaru volunteers to inform Naruto and Sakura of their decision. When he finds Sakura, he overhears Sai already expressing similar sentiments to Sakura and joins in with him, telling Sakura that it's their responsibility as Sasuke's former friends to stop him. Sakura eventually agrees and volunteers to be the one to tell Naruto. When Naruto returns to Konoha after learning of this and having his own confrontation with Sasuke, he meets with his fellow Konoha 11 and requests that they leave dealing with Sasuke to him.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Countdown
Main article: Fourth Shinobi World War: Countdown When the Fourth Shinobi World War against Akatsuki looms, Shikamaru is called to a council of Konoha's tacticians to discuss strategies for the coming war and any preparations that will need to be made. Shikaku notes that because he's so young, Shikamaru will need to take extra care to take in all the information that's brought up, which Shikamaru promises to do.
Main article: Power In the anime, Konoha receives reports that Hidan's Triple-Bladed Scythe was stolen from the Nara Clan Forest and Shikamaru is sent to investigate. Shikamaru is later part of a force sent to Tonika Village to provide backup to Team 7.
Paradise Life on a Boat
Main article: Paradise Life on a Boat In the anime, Shikamaru starts to feel the pressures of sending his friends to the war front. He is sent to Mokuzu Island to help ease his mind, where he meets with Naruto. When they later try leaving the island, they get lost in the fog and caught in a whirlpool, which Shikamaru helps them navigate safely out of. Back in Konoha, Shikamaru is approached by Konohamaru Sarutobi, who wants to enlist in the Allied Shinobi Forces, though Shikamaru refuses because Konohamaru doesn't know the identity of the king in shōgi. Konohamaru is frustrated by this and tries to prove himself in battle by fighting Temari, but Shikamaru forces him to stop. Konohamaru eventually realises what the king is and decides to find a better way for him to help the village.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation
Main article: Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation
Shikamaru is assigned to the Allied Shinobi Forces' Fourth Division, the deputy to the division's leader, Gaara. Because Gaara is also in charge of the other four combat divisions, Temari informs Shikamaru that he is in effect the Fourth Division's leader. After the Allied Forces mobilise, the Fourth Division encounters several reincarnated Kage. Gaara requests backup from Allied HQ, but Shikaku and others there instead decide to send part of the Fourth Division – including Shikamaru – to provide backup to the First Division. As they near the First Division's location, Shikaku contacts Shikamaru, Chōji, and Ino and tells them about the first threat they'll need to deal with: Kinkaku, who possesses some of the Nine-Tails' chakra. When they arrive, they use Formation Ino–Shika–Chō on Kinkaku, allowing his capture in the Kohaku no Jōhei.
After Kinkaku's defeat, Team 10 is immediately confronted by a reincarnated Kakuzu, who is interested in fighting them. Shikaku contacts them and instructs them to deal with another threat instead: a reincarnated Asuma. Although none of them want to fight Asuma, they, as his former students, are experts on his fighting style and thus the best-qualified to defeat him. When he notices their presence, Asuma congratulates them for their clear growth since he last saw them. They attack him and he's forced to counter, but he gives pointers about how to avoid his attacks and ultimately defeat him. Although Shikamaru and Ino are committed to the fight, Chōji has difficulty bringing himself to strike Asuma, to everyone's frustrations, Asuma's included. Chōji eventually manages to psych himself up and, once Shikamaru manoeuvres Asuma into position, punches him. Shikamaru restrains Asuma with his shadow while he's sealed away, but before that Asuma gives them new parting words: that he has nothing more to teach them since their teamwork is now perfect.
By nightfall, the First Division's battle appears won: all the reincarnated forces have been captured and all present elements of the White Zetsu Army have been defeated. When the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path suddenly appears on the battlefield and starts devastating the First Division, Shikamaru suspects that it's a distraction. He finds Tobi in the process of taking the captured Kinkaku and Ginkaku and, guessing that he plans to make use of their Nine-Tails' chakra, restrains him with his shadow. Tobi compliments Shikamaru's perceptiveness and has the Demonic Statue attack him, but he's saved by Chōji. Tobi escapes, taking Kinkaku, Ginkaku, and the Demonic Statue with him.
The following day, a new threat emerges in the form of White Zetsus that have infiltrated the Allied Shinobi Forces. In the anime, the reincarnated Sound Four also attack the members of the former Sasuke Recovery Team. Because he can't be sure if any of his apparent allies are actually White Zetsus, Shikamaru fights Tayuya alone. Although her flute-based genjutsu is stronger than when he last fought her, Shikamaru's skills have also improved and he quickly defeats her with the Shadow Sewing Technique. Her defeat activates Space–Time Technique Formula: Underworld Turnover, separating the Recovery Team's souls from their bodies and trapping them within a barrier where they must fight the Sound Four until their real bodies eventually die. Aware that Naruto has recently acquired the ability to sense negative emotions, Shikamaru provokes the Sound Four so that their anger will attract Naruto to the barrier's location. Naruto eventually finds them and breaks them free, restoring their souls to their bodies.
Naruto goes through the Allied Forces, purging it of White Zetsus. Until he can arrive at their location, Shikamaru has all the Allies draw circles around themselves and not enter anyone else's. Chōji and Ino both complain, but he insists it's the safest method and that if they don't follow his instructions he'll regard them as hostiles. Naruto eventually arrives and removes all the White Zetsus.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Climax
Main article: Fourth Shinobi World War: Climax After being informed by Inoichi from HQ that Naruto and B were fighting the "masked Madara", Shikamaru and the rest of the Konoha 11 rush to his aid. As he runs, he tells Chōji that he'd expect nothing short of Naruto overdoing things on the battlefield and because of his short temper, he wasn't one to calmly think a plan through, so Naruto should wait for him. After Shikamaru arrives on the battlefield Shikaku relays a plan of restraining the Ten-Tails to the assembled Allied Forces, but the plan is unsuccessful. The Ten-Tails' controllers, Tobi (real name Obito) and Madara Uchiha, are nevertheless concerned by Shikaku's strategies and have the Ten-Tails fire a Tailed Beast Ball at the distant Allied HQ, where Shikaku is stationed. Before the HQ is destroyed, Shikaku relays a final attack plan to Shikamaru and adds that he, as new chief-strategist, will need to come up with a new one if it fails. Shikamaru thanks him for being such a good example to live up to before the communications are cut off with Shikaku's death.
Once empowered by Naruto's version 1-like cloaks, the remaining Allied Forces enact Shikaku's last plan: a large-scale Formation Ino–Shika–Chō; Shikamaru and other members of the Nara clan hold the Ten-Tails' shadow while the rest of the Alliance attacks. The attack succeeds in removing the Ten-Tails from Obito and Madara's control. As a consequence, the Ten-Tails' attacks become more devastating and indiscriminate. When the Ten-Tails prepares to destroy the Allies with a Tailed Beast Ball, Shikamaru has Ino use the Mind Body Transmission Technique to connect him with Kitsuchi and teach him a simple protective wall. Shikamaru then has Ino connect him to the rest of the Allies so that he can teach them this same jutsu and use it to try and deflect the Tailed Beast Ball. It breaks through all their defences, but is slowed enough for the reincarnated Fourth Hokage to arrive in time to save them.
Sasuke Uchiha arrives shortly after the Fourth, claiming to now want to help protect Konoha by defeating the Ten-Tails. Shikamaru states that he's willing to accept Sasuke's assistance, but that he can't overlook Sasuke's past actions. With their whole graduating class together again, the members of Teams 7, 8, and 10 attack the Ten-Tails' minions. For Team 10's contribution, they use the Human Bullet Yo-Yo, wherein Shikamaru uses his shadow to grab Chōji and swing him through the Ten-Tails' forces that Ino senses for him. Their formation is quite successful, but does not compare to the amount of damage inflicted by Team 7's members. Despite Sasuke's contributions, some amongst them remain wary of him, with Shikamaru noticing that not even Sakura appears to fully trust him.
Birth of the Ten-Tails' Jinchūriki
Main article: Birth of the Ten-Tails' Jinchūriki Obito eventually becomes the Ten-Tails jinchūriki, against whom only Naruto, Sasuke, and the four reincarnated Hokage can fight. Morale starts to sink because of this, so Shikamaru contacts the Alliance through Ino and encourages them to remain vigilant for any opportunity to contribute to the battle. When Obito prepares to destroy the Alliance with four Tailed Beast Balls, Shikamaru curses his inability to come up with a plan of countering it. Naruto and the Fourth Hokage are able to teleport everyone to safety, but Obito only employs a different tactic: recreating the God Tree to feed off the chakra of whatever Allies it comes into contact with. Shikamaru is one of the many to have his chakra absorbed by the God Tree, but its roots are cut from him before he can be killed.
Even though he's saved, Shikamaru's lost enough chakra to place his life in danger and he struggles to remain conscious. Sakura attempts to revive him, but it's not until the version 1 cloak from Naruto – which was thought lost in one of the Ten-Tails' earlier attacks – reappears that Shikamaru starts to recover. Through Ino's link with the Alliance, Shikamaru's feelings about Naruto are shared with everyone else: the inspiration that Naruto brings to him; the painful childhood he wants to protect Naruto from; the Hokage position he wants to help Naruto achieve. When Tsunade arrives on the battlefield, she replenishes Shikamaru's chakra so that he can rejoin the fight. He then helps Naruto defeat Obito, first by joining the rest of the Konoha 11 in hitting Obito with one of Naruto's Rasengan, and then by rallying the Allies to pull the tailed beasts' chakra from Obito's body.
Even with Obito defeated, other threats still remain: a final Zetsu begins overwhelming most of the Alliance, which they're all too weak to put up much fight against. Shikamaru regretfully notes that they must leave fighting the Zetsu up to the reincarnated Third Hokage. While the Alliance continues fighting the Zetsu, Shikamaru notices Naruto and Sasuke's distant fight with Madara Uchiha. When the Infinite Tsukuyomi is cast upon the world, Shikimaru alongside most people are immobilised by the genjutsu and restrained.
Kaguya Ōtsutsuki Strikes
Main article: Kaguya Ōtsutsuki Strikes In his dream, Shikamaru observes his parents' marriage and Asuma and Kurenai's, and decides marriage is too bothersome, which Temari agrees with. Naruto and Sasuke eventually release the Infinite Tsukuyomi, freeing Shikamaru and the rest of the world and thus ending the Fourth Shinobi World War.
Kakashi Hiden: Lightning in the Icy Sky
Main article: Kakashi Hiden: Lightning in the Icy Sky A year after the end of the war, Shikamaru is placed in charge of the Blood Prison, part of Konoha's obligation to provide security. When the Ryūha Armament Alliance hijacks the Tobishachimaru in order to ransom the release of their leader, Garyō, from the Blood Prison, Tsunade contacts Shikamaru to discuss their options. They decide against caving to the Armament Alliance's demands and send reinforcements to the Blood Prison to prevent a potential prison break.
As the Tobishachimaru nears the Blood Prison, the Armament Alliance expels its passengers into the prison, each of whom are strapped with blue fire powder that detonates when the make landfall. Shikamaru instructs Konoha forces' to save the passengers before they're blown up and then has them start rounding up the prisoners escaping through the damaged outer walls. Shikamaru goes after Garyō, planning to capture him using his Shadow Imitation Technique, but discovers that Ino has already caught him using her Mind Body Switch Technique. They return to the Blood Prison and watch as the Tobishachimaru crashes nearby. Tsunade wants Kahyō, the highest-ranking Armament Alliance member to survive the failed jailbreak, executed. Kakashi Hatake suggests instead that she be made the prisons' new warden, thus releasing Konoha from its security obligations. Shikamaru sees merit in the idea and Tsunade approves on the condition that Kakashi become the Sixth Hokage. All agree.
Shikamaru Hiden: A Cloud Drifting in Silent Darkness
Main article: Shikamaru Hiden: A Cloud Drifting in Silent Darkness After the Fourth Shinobi World War ended, Shikamaru became chief coordinator of the Shinobi Union, successor to the Allied Shinobi Forces. Two years after the war, the Shinobi Union has created an unprecedented peace, in no small part due to Shikamaru's tireless work. The amount of work he's been doing in fact bothers Shikamaru, as he's gotten quite far from his dream of spending his days doing nothing but watching the clouds. Just when he decides he doesn't want to any more responsibilities, he notices one of Sai's ink birds delivering a message to Kakashi and immediately goes to Kakashi's office to read the message. Both are bothered by what Sai says, such as his warning about Gengo, the charismatic leader of the Land of Silence, or reports that Sai's team of Anbu have all gone missing. What bothers them the most is that Sai didn't deliver this message in person and that his words suggest he is awed by Gengo.
It is apparent to Kakashi that Gengo is a major threat to the Shinobi Union's peace and that, in order to protect the Union, Gengo must be assassinated. Shikamaru does not hesitate to volunteer for the job, chiefly so that he can try to find Sai. He will need help on the mission, but runs into issues when meeting with his friends: he doesn't want to talk to Temari about it, preferring to keep it a Konoha-only matter; he doesn't want to involve Chōji or Ino because it's too foul a business; he doesn't want to ask Naruto for help because he doesn't want Naruto to lose faith in him. Kakashi assigns two Anbu, Rō and Soku, to assist Shikamaru and they secretly leave Konoha, travelling to the Land of Silence after three days of nonstop travel. They infiltrate the capital city and start interrogating Enlightened Ones, Gengo's followers who all revere him and who believe he will revolutionise the world.
Shikamaru, Soku, and Rō disguise themselves as Enlightened Ones and attend a rally where Gengo delivers a speech to an enraptured crowd. As they move into position to assassinate Gengo, their presence is inexplicably discovered. Shikamaru tries to capture Gengo with his shadow, but his shadow refuses to be used against Gengo. Sai, now an Enlightened One, comes to Gengo's aid and captures Shikamaru and the others. Shikamaru is imprisoned, forced to endure sounds of Rō and Soku's torture and Gengo's occasional small talk. After ten days they are brought before Gengo, who invites Shikamaru to become his right-hand man. When Shikamaru refuses, Gengo observes how the world is skewed against shinobi: it is shinobi who can use ninjutsu, yet it is normal people who form the majority of the population; it is normal people who govern, yet it is shinobi who die in the wars those same normal people start.
Gengo believes the world is unjust to shinobi, which Rō and Soku agree with. Shikamaru also finds his words compelling and starts doubting the work he's done to protect the current shinobi system. Yet he can't bring himself to agree, a small place in his heart clinging to the question of why he should be subordinate to Gengo. Gengo invites Shikamaru to kill him if he truly believes it's the right thing to do. Shikamaru starts to suspect Gengo is using some sort of genjutsu, but gives up on figuring it out and prepares to join hands with Gengo. Before he can, a gust of wind suddenly lifts him into the air and then drops him on the ground. Shikamaru sees that it is Temari's doing and, from her appearance and her words, Gengo's influence over him disappears. He realises that Gengo's words are laced with genjutsu, which, now that he knows this, means they no longer have sway over him. Although he can't actually refute anything Gengo said, Shikamaru states that the shinobi system has Naruto and Temari and that's reason enough for him to defend it.
Genego attacks, trading blows and words with Shikamaru. Shikamaru decides that, rather than the unremarkable life he used to want, he'd prefer dedicating himself to creating a peaceful world where it doesn't matter whether or not a person is a shinobi. Shikamaru overpowers Gengo, but Sai forces him to let Gengo go. Temari fights Sai so that Shikamaru can go after Gengo. He follows him to a room too dark to use his shadow, forcing him to rely on his other senses to dodge and disarm him. When Rō and Soku – freed from Gengo's genjutsu – join him and open a door to provide some light, they team up against Gengo: Shikamaru distracts Gengo with shadow clones while Rō hides his chakra, allowing him to manoeuvre behind Gengo. He restrains Gengo with his shadow and Soku uses a Chakra Needle on his tongue, robbing him of his ability to talk. Gengo's influence over the Enlightened Ones disappears and he is taken into custody.
In the aftermath, Shikamaru is confronted by Naruto, who is upset that Shikamaru would put himself in danger without telling him. Shikamaru promises to never keep anything from Naruto ever again. Gengo is turned over to Gaara, the Kazekage, who led the reinforcements responsible for saving him. Although Gaara claims he only did it because of how important Shikamaru is to the Shinobi Union, he points out he might not have done so without Temari's insistence. As the Kazekage leaves with his other Suna-nin, Shikamaru asks Temari to stay behind so that he can ask her out on a date. She responds with, "How troublesome." When Shikamaru gets back to Konoha he is given a week off by Kakashi, but he no longer finds the distinction between work and relaxation as troubling as he did before. Kakashi gives him a mission when he returns to work that, while important, can be accomplished by almost anyone. For that reason, Shikamaru turns down the mission, as his date with Temari is the next day.
The Last: Naruto the Movie
Main article: The Last: Naruto the Movie
Two years after the war, Shikamaru is placed in charge of a team tasked with rescuing Hanabi Hyūga from Toneri Ōtsutsuki. Because Toneri may have some involvement in the imminent crashing of the Moon into the Earth, Kakashi gives Shikamaru a clock that will keep track of how much time there is until the Earth's destruction; Shikamaru and his team are to prevent this if at all possible. They follow Toneri's trail into an underground passage, within which they are faced first with genjutsu-based defences and then the Gatekeeper. They do eventually make it through the passage, arriving in what they later discover is the Moon's interior.
After they spend the day investigating the surrounding landscape, Hinata Hyūga voluntarily joins with Toneri and Naruto is badly injured in his failed attempt to stop her. Once he regains consciousness after three days, Naruto has lost all willingness to continue since Hinata has seemingly taken Toneri's side. Shikamaru lectures him about not giving up, reminding him that no matter what Hinata has done and no matter what Naruto's feelings for her are, they still have a mission to complete. Their team assaults Toneri's base, with Shikamaru figuring out how to pass through its protective barrier by observing Toneri's puppets. Shikamaru then holds off the puppets with his shadow while the others go looking for Hinata and Hanabi. They succeed in finding them and Naruto defeats Toneri, which has the added benefit of saving the Earth. They return home through the same passage they arrived in.
Konoha Hiden: The Perfect Day for a Wedding
Main article: Konoha Hiden: The Perfect Day for a Wedding Naruto and Hinata decide to get married shortly after the mission to the Moon and Shikamaru is invited to the wedding. He has lunch with Chōji to discuss what he should give them as a wedding present, feeling that his first choice of money would be thoughtless. He finally settles on getting them a romantic honeymoon trip, but will need a woman's input to help him plan something suitable. While looking for Ino to help in this regard, they run into Temari, who also happens to be a woman. Shikamaru is reluctant to ask her for help, feeling she doesn't have the right personality; he's also embarrassed about their previous date, during which they spent most of their time discussing work. Chōji forces him to ask her anyway, but from the way Shikamaru poses the question, Temari believes he's asking her to plan their own honeymoon. Temari is embarrassed and Shikamaru, not realising the confusion, believes he's offended her. He tries to find an excuse to leave, but Temari holds him back and agrees to tour the Konoha Hot Springs' district with him.
Evening descends and Shikamaru and Temari walk around in the soft lighting of the hot springs. Temari remains quiet and strange the whole time, so Shikamaru suggests they go to a shop so the trip isn't wasted. Temari points out some target-throwing booths where numerous couples are trying to win prizes. Shikamaru ends up winning two small trinkets in his determination to figure out the booths' scam, which he gives to Temari. Afterwards, he takes her to an inn, hoping she can tell him if Hinata would like it. Temari suspects he has other intentions and declines, believing she won't refuse him if they go inside. Shikamaru puts his hands on her face, worried she's sick because of how red it is, causing her to run away. He chases after her, desperately needing her (opinion). When she stops he assures her how important she is to him, explaining that he, as a man, can't evaluate the inn's services for women. Temari is confused once again and Shikamaru is confused by her confusion. He repeats that he wants to give Naruto and Hinata a nice honeymoon and, now that he says it, he realises what Temari thought he meant earlier. Temari is put at ease and Shikamaru smiles from the misunderstanding. On the day of the wedding, Shikamaru happily discusses work with Temari.
Gaara Hiden: A Sandstorm Mirage
Main article: Gaara Hiden: A Sandstorm Mirage Shikamaru and Temari decide to get married, which becomes its own political issue in Sunagakure and also generates a second one: having Gaara get married first. When Gaara meets with the woman he is arranged to marry, Hakuto, Shikamaru secretly attends in case there's trouble. When various missing-nin attack the meeting, Shikamaru saves Temari from being killed by an enemy puppeteer.
After the attack is fought off, Gaara requests via Temari that Shikamaru meet him on the border between the Land of Wind and the Land of Fire. There, Gaara turns Hakuto and her lover, Shigezane, over to Shikamaru so that they can elope and settle in Konoha under new identities; in order to make sure they won't be bothered in their new lives, Shikamaru will file a report corroborating Gaara's story that they were both killed in the desert. Before Shikamaru leaves to take Hakuto and Shigezane to Konoha, he smiles to see Gaara with Hakuto's sister, Shijima.
Sasuke Shinden: Book of Sunrise
Main article: Sasuke Shinden: Book of Sunrise When enemy ninja infiltrate Konoha, Shikamaru is part of a force tasked with finding and capturing the intruders.
Thirteen years after they marry, Shikamaru and Temari have a son, Shikadai, who Shikamaru trains to be part of a new generation of Ino–Shika–Chō alongside Ino's and Chōji's children. Most of his time is spent in his advisory capacity to Naruto, the Seventh Hokage; when Naruto doesn't show up to his own inauguration, Shikamaru has Konohamaru Sarutobi disguise himself as Naruto. In the following years, Shikamaru helps Naruto navigate the Hokage's heavy workload and accompanies him to Five Kage Summits when they are held.
Naruto Gaiden: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring
Main article: Naruto Gaiden: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring When their sons' graduation from the Academy approaches, both Shikamaru and Naruto take the time to help train them. Naruto in fact takes too much time training his son, Boruto, in a game of hide-and-seek, so Shikamaru captures Boruto with his shadow so that Naruto can get back to work. While they're both back in the office, they receive news from Sasuke about a boy with Sharingan. Naruto leaves the village to help Sasuke investigate, placing Shikamaru in charge of anything that comes up while he's absent. He also asks Shikamaru to apologise to Boruto for not waiting around for him to see him off.
Boruto: Naruto the Movie
Main article: Boruto: Naruto the Movie Naruto's already heavy workload becomes even more complicated by the approaching Chūnin Exams. Sensing the difficulties this is causing Naruto's personal life, Shikamaru volunteers to complete some of his work for him so that Naruto can spend time with his family. Shikamaru designs the exams' first stage and keeps Naruto informed about how Boruto is performing. When both Bourto and Shikadai advance to the final rounds, Shikamaru sets up a competition with Naruto about which of their sons will win if they end up fighting each other. Boruto and Shikadai do indeed fight each other and Boruto is initially declared the winner, but Naruto catches Boruto cheating and forces him to be disqualified.
The finals are interrupted by Kinshiki and Momoshiki Ōtsutsuki, who attack Naruto and destroy much of the stadium where the finals are being held. Shikamaru attempts to restrain both of them with his shadow, but Momoshiki absorbs it and Shikamaru is forced to withdraw. Naruto is captured and Sasuke organises a rescue team consisting of himself, Boruto, and the other Five Kage. Shikamaru sees them off as they travel to Momoshiki's Planet, noticing that Katasuke and Kōsuke are following after them. Naruto is saved and life in Konoha returns to normal; in the movie's novelisation, Shikamaru is tasked with organising another Chūnin Exam.
In Other Media
Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of Gelel
Main article: Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of Gelel Naruto, Sakura, and Shikamaru are sent to deliver Nerugui to its rightful owners. When they arrive at the village where Nerugui's owners live, they are attacked by Temujin's warriors, who wield the power of the Stone of Gelel. Shikamaru is eventually forced to fight the bat-like Kamira; he uses a net of explosive tags to trap her, allowing Kankurō to finish her off.
Naruto Shippūden the Movie
Main article: Naruto Shippūden the Movie Shikamaru is part of a Konoha force sent to hold off Mōryō's stone army. He later helps prevent this same army from providing backup to Mōryō in its fight with Naruto.
Naruto Shippūden the Movie: Bonds
Main article: Naruto Shippūden the Movie: Bonds When the Land of the Sky attacks Konoha, Shikamaru helps protect the villagers and fend off the attackers. Later, Shikamaru is put on a team with Kakashi, Sai, and Shino Aburame to take down the Land of the Sky's ship fleet. Having deduced where the fleet is located based on its attack patterns, he and Kakashi work out a plan that enables the team to accomplish their mission.
Naruto Shippūden the Movie: The Will of Fire
Main article: Naruto Shippūden the Movie: The Will of Fire After Hiruko declares the start of the Fourth Shinobi World War, Kakashi approaches Shikamaru and tells him his plans to sacrifice himself in order to defeat Hiruko. Kakashi is shortly afterwards taken control of by Hiruko and forced to leave the village. When Naruto attempts to go after him, Shikamaru stops him, though does not divulge Kakashi's plans to anyone but Tsunade. Despite his and Tsunade's instructions to remain in Konoha, Naruto and Sakura go after Kakashi and Shikamaru leads a team to bring them back.
They run into San along the way, whose defeat Shikamaru leaves to the rest of the team while he catches up with Naruto. Upon reaching him, Shikamaru threatens to kill Naruto, believing the future of Konoha is worth sacrificing Kakashi. Naruto agrees that Konoha's future is important, but he doesn't feel the future is worthwhile if they assume sacrifices are the only way to protect it. Naruto's words are in accordance with the Will of Fire and in fact remind Shikamaru of Asuma, so he joins Naruto in rescuing Kakashi. On freeing Kakashi and getting drawn into a fight with Hiruko, Shikamaru advises Naruto on where Hiruko's weak points are.
Naruto the Movie: Blood Prison
Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie
Main article: Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie Shikamaru and the rest of the Konoha 11 fight off an attack by what seems to be the entire Akatsuki roster, but what are actually disguised parts of the White Zetsu Army. When Naruto and Sakura are sent to the Genjutsu World, they meet that world's Shikamaru: he is goofy, slow-witted, and lacks the real Shikamaru's intellect. His hair is also thicker, appearing star-shaped when held in its ponytail.
Shikamaru Nara is a playable character in the following video games:
Creation and Conception
Masashi Kishimoto has noted that he likes Shikamaru due to his easygoing nature despite being a genius, and contrasted him against Sasuke Uchiha's intelligent but abrasive personality. Kishimoto also comically remarked that he would marry Shikamaru if he were a girl, noting that Shikamaru would likely be successful in life. When designing Shikamaru's Part II appearance, Kishimoto wanted to give Shikamaru a unique appearance despite drawing him with a vest that several other ninja wear in the series. As a result, he drew his forehead protector on his arm in order to not obscure his hair.
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- In the Live Spectacle Naruto, the role of Shikamaru was played by Tsubasa Hattori.
- Shikamaru placed well in the Naruto Character Popularity Polls, reaching an all-time high of fourth most popular.
- According to the databook(s):
- Shikamaru's hobbies are taking naps and playing shōgi against formidable opponents.
- Shikamaru desires to fight no one, and always tries to avoid getting into trouble in the first place.
- Shikamaru's favourite foods are mackerel and kelp, his least favourite are boiled eggs.
- Shikamaru has completed 39 official missions in total: 8 D-rank, 3 C-rank, 9 B-rank, 19 A-rank, 0 S-rank.
- Shikamaru's most used phrase is "How troublesome" (面倒くせい, mendōkusei, English TV: What a Drag).
- (To himself while fighting Temari) "Oh, man… those clouds are so lucky… so free… More to the point, I didn't feel like doing this in the first place…And I only became a ninja because I thought life would've been more interesting as one… I suppose things aren't gonna be that simple."
- (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 Sasuke) "I never really liked Sasuke, but all the same, he's a member of Konoha; he's a comrade and I'll put my life on the line to help him, that's the way of our village. I know I usually seem like a pretty lazy guy but not today, because now I'm responsible for your lives too."
- (To Tayuya) "How many times do I have to tell you? The first move is always a feint. It's the most basic thing to land a hit with the second move."
- (To himself) "Ughh. Great. What's the point in setting the alarm if I'm going to wake up before it goes off? What a total waste. Now I've gotta shut it off but I don't feel like moving. But if I don't shut it off it will just keep ringing and ringing. It makes me tired just thinking about the whole thing. Some mornings are such a drag…"
- (To Hidan) "See, you and I have different beliefs. I believe in the Will of Fire. That pathetic Lord Jashin or whatever isn't your God any more. I am. The only one bringing down vengeance is me."
- (To Naruto) "My master entrusted me with a lot, from big things to little things. It's the same for you an unlimited number of things, don't you think it's about time for us, to be the ones who entrust not the entrusted, it's a pain in the ass but I can't say that; Someday you'll be the one to treat others to ramen and you'll be called Master Naruto… we can't stay kids forever, like Asuma and Jiraiya I wanna be as cool as them."
- ↑ First Databook, pages 84-87
- ↑ Second Databook, pages 116-120
- ↑ Shō no Sho, page 8
- ↑ Third Databook, pages 122-126
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Fourth Databook, pages 131-132
- ↑ Retsu no Sho, page 29
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Zai no Sho, page 32
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Naruto chapter 190
- ↑ Naruto chapter 154
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Naruto chapter 107, page 14
- ↑ Naruto chapter 119, page 7
- ↑ Naruto chapter 117, page 7
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Naruto chapter 118
- ↑ Naruto chapter 459
- ↑ Naruto chapter 106
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Naruto chapter 172, page 8
- ↑ Naruto chapter 172, page 19
- ↑ Naruto chapter 328, page 8
- ↑ Naruto chapter 641
- ↑ Boruto: Naruto the Movie novelisation
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 87
- ↑ Naruto chapter 515, page 15
- ↑ Naruto chapter 616
- ↑ Naruto chapter 700
- ↑ Naruto chapter 342
- ↑ Naruto chapter 108
- ↑ Naruto chapter 337, page 3
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 315
- ↑ Naruto chapter 533, pages 6-7
- ↑ Naruto chapter 700+1, page 8
- ↑ Naruto chapter 109
- ↑ Naruto chapter 324, page 17
- ↑ Naruto chapter 537, page 12
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 394
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 395
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 396
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 397
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 413
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 158
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 163
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 290
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 291
- ↑ ANN Interview
- ↑ "The Day Naruto Became Hokage"
- ↑ Art Collection: Uzumaki, page 139
- ↑ Sha no Sho, page 344
- ↑ Naruto chapter 107, page 6
- ↑ Naruto chapter 183, page 7
- ↑ Naruto chapter 208, page 18
- ↑ Naruto: Shippūden episode 33
- ↑ Naruto chapter 399, page 4
- ↑ Naruto chapter 406, pages 16-17