Name: Shikamaru Nara
Looks: To further emphasize his personality, Shikamaru is regularly seen with a lazy or irritated expression. He has fairly long jet black hair tied in a spiky ponytail, narrow brown eyes, and has both ears adorned by earrings, which were given to him and the other members of Team Asuma by Asuma himself.
During Part I, his attire was rather plain, consisting of a green lined mesh T-shirt under a short sleeved grey jacket with green edges, adorned on both the sleeves and the back with his a circle with a line through it, his blue forehead protector worn around his left arm, brown pants and blue sandals. After his promotion to chūnin, he also wore a flak jacket over his standard outfit.
During Part II, he has grown noticeably taller. His hairstyle remains the same, but he changed his earrings from rings to studs. He has also undergone a costume change, and among the members of Konoha 11, he's the one to sport an attire more mirroring the standard Konohagakure's one: he retains his flak jacket, along with a black long sleeved shirt paired with matching pants and sandals, and green lined mesh armour on his wrists and ankles. The placement of his headband is the same as before, but only the metal part is visible, seemingly sewn onto the shirt itself. He is also equipped with a chūnin's tantō, horizontally strapped onto the back of his flak jacket via a brown strap. During the second part of the Hidan and Kakuzu Arc, he had a belt with some bags attached to it around his waist.
Personality: As a genin, Shikamaru Nara was the sort of unenthusiastic kid who liked to watch clouds. He preferred not to get involved in "troublesome" activities, pretending to be busy to avoid responsibility. He also does not like fighting, deeming it, as he does most things, "troublesome". He is fully aware of this side of his personality. He even named himself "the number one at running away" or "the number one coward". In fact, his most commonly used phrase is "how troublesome" in the Japanese version, and "what a drag" in the English version.
However, when duty calls, Shikamaru has a strong moral compass and sense of commitment towards 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 and/or villagers without a second thought. Because of his raw leadership skill, he was the first genin from the Rookie Nine to become a chūnin. The weight of the decisions he must make as a chūnin and, thus, team leader have caused Shikamaru to mature rapidly. This was most evident after the death of Asuma. He vowed to protect and later mentor Asuma's child, so that the child could grow up to be a "cool adult" like Asuma. Shikamaru's sense of duty and commitment to the future of his village is also reflected in his willingness to enforce Konoha 11's recent decision to stop Sasuke at all costs, even in the face of potential objections on behalf of the original members of Team 7.
Chōji Akimichi is Shikamaru's best friend. He respects and trusts him. He said that if he had to fight Chōji in the Chūnin Exams he would give up. After he left Chōji to fight Jirōbō, he told the rest of the team that Chōji is stronger than anyone else in this team.
Shikamaru enjoys playing thinking games, that usually older men are usually into, such as shōgi and go (his teacher, Asuma, even said at one point "That kid is like an old man. He likes to take things slowly.").
Shikamaru's most distinctive character trait is that he considers most women bossy and "troublesome", particularly Temari, his mother and Ino. He usually defines them as aggressive, demanding, and sometimes even scary. Given his mother's tyrannical personality, this isn't too surprising. However, his father shares the exact same attitude, even though he married Yoshino in the first place. When Shikamaru questioned his father about why he would marry such a domineering woman, his father responded that even the toughest woman will show her gentle side to the man she loves. Nevertheless, Shikamaru is generally courteous to women, doing them favors and avoiding fights with them. He feels that men, like him, should be the ones protecting them and not the other way around. Despite the latter point, he exclusively fought against women during Part I of the manga, albeit because of circumstances that were mostly out of his control.
He has expressed a notably mature interest in marriage and raising a family. He hopes to "marry a regular girl who isn't too ugly and not too pretty. Have two children, first a girl, then a boy. Retire after my daughter is married and my son becomes a successful ninja, and spend the rest of my life playing shōgi or go. Then die of old age before my wife."
Shikamaru has also shown a little devious side. When he gets food for Chōji while he's in the hospital during the Chūnin Exams, the nurse tells him that Chōji has indigestion and that he can't have food. So, Shikamaru goes to Naruto's room to give him the food. When Naruto tells Shikamaru he wants to eat it in front of Chōji to annoy him, Shikamaru states "mean... I like it."
Village of Birth: Konoha
Village of Alliance: Iwagakure
Ninja Rank: genin
During the second phase of the Chūnin Exams, Team 10 stumbled across Sakura being attacked by some Oto genin. Although he said he didn't want to get involved, Shikamaru dragged Chōji along once Ino joined the fray. The team then initiated the Ino-Shika-Chō battle formation, Shikamaru immobilizing Dosu Kinuta. Soon after, Sasuke Uchiha awakened, his newly received Cursed Seal activated. As Sasuke prepared to attack the Oto genin, Shikamaru told Ino and Chōji to join him in abandoning their roles in the battle as Sasuke's onslaught ensued.
In his preliminary battle, Shikamaru fought against Kin. He defeated Kin by sneaking his shadow under the thin strings she was using to control her bells; she did not notice that a string that thin and that far from the floor could even make 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.
One day before the final round Chōji over heard Guy and Naruto talking about the "Fourth Hokage's legacy". Chōji then told Shikamaru and Ino about this. Later Naruto and Sakura met with Team 10 at the entrance. They ended up teaming up with Sakura and Naruto to find the "Fourth Hokage's Legacy". Through out their adventure Shikamaru showed his intellect solving multiple puzzles and ending up saving the other four multiple times. In the end he decided to give the "Fourth Hokage's Legacy" to Naruto realizing that as long that someone from the Leaf Village gets it it will be ok. However, they realized that this whole mission was made up by Guy and, partially, by Kakashi as a sort of extra special training.
In the final round, Shikamaru was matched against Temari, where it initially seemed as if he was just pointlessly attempting strategy after strategy. Temari assumed that he was simply buying time for the sun to set, furthering the range of his shadow. He was in fact manipulating her into a position in front of the exit to a tunnel which was dug out by Naruto during an earlier match, where he could guarantee that she was caught by his shadow from behind. However, after Temari was actually caught in his shadow imitation, he then simply forfeited the match, claiming to have spent too much chakra to proceed with any additional matches. Moreover, he said he did not like to hurt or hit women. Despite having forfeited, Shikamaru's brilliant strategy impressed everyone, including the Hokage.
When the invasion of Konoha began, Shikamaru was able to dispel the genjutsu that swept through the stadium, though he pretended to be asleep to avoid taking part in the battle. Sakura noticed this and forced him to help in pursuing Sasuke. As they pursued Sasuke, they discovered that nine Oto ninja were following them, and Shikamaru chose to stay behind so he could stall them while the others continued to follow Sasuke. Using a clever strategy, he was able to trap eight with his shadow. However, the ninth Oto ninja hid in the trees, protecting the captured eight against Shikamaru's attacks. Despite discovering the ninth's hiding place, he could not fight off the Oto ninja, after being drained from his earlier match against Temari. Asuma arrived in time to save him, and defeated all nine Oto ninja single-handedl
Because of his performance during the Chūnin Exam finals, Shikamaru was the only genin that was promoted to the rank of chūnin. Shikamaru was given his first assignment of forming and leading the Sasuke Retrieval Team to stop Sasuke from defecting from the village. Because Konoha suffered heavy casualties during the failed invasion by Sunagakure, Shikamaru was forced to limit the members of his team to genin. He immediately recruited Naruto and Chōji, and then added Neji and Kiba to the team. Upon setting out, Shikamaru formulated a plan on how to approach Sasuke's escorts, the Sound Four. Their presence was detected, and they were trapped by Jirōbō. However, Shikamaru was able to find a way to escape. He was ultimately forced to leave Chōji behind to fight Jirōbō, but had no concerns that Chōji would lose, and marked the team's path so that Chōji could follow them.
The team continued to break apart, one member of the Retrieval Team engaging one member of the Sound Four. To give Naruto a chance to go after Sasuke, Shikamaru fought Tayuya. Tayuya summoned three demons, that she controlled with her flute and easily gained the upperhand against Shikamaru. Counting his remaining weapons, Shikamaru devised an elaborate plan. He threw eight kunai at Tayuya to see what finger movements she would use to protect herself with. Being unable to read her music he eventually took control of the three with his shadow, telling her how he found shogi fun because he could take over his opponent's pieces. Shikamaru then attacked with the three demons prompting Tayuya to remove the demons but she was still caught by his shadow. By activating the second stage of her cursed seal, Tayuya was able to resist Shikamaru's shadow.
Picking up a kunai that had missed her earlier she tried to slit his throat but was suddenly punched in the gut and caught by his shadow again, revealing that he only pretended to fall prey to her genjutsu, as he had used his shadow to break his finger to escape it. Shikamaru then explained about his plan and how he missed with that kunai on purpose to get her close while he then prepared his Shadow Neck Bind Technique. As he was about to run out of chakra, he was saved by Temari. After Shikamaru gave her a tactical update she blew away her sound based genjutsu with her wind and then used a summon to finish her off.
Temari accompanied him back to Konoha, where they learned that Sasuke had escaped, and that everyone on the team suffered injuries despite being helped by Temari's two siblings, Gaara and Kankurō. Shikamaru's initial reaction to the failed mission was to quit being a ninja altogether, but his father scolded him for being such a coward, explaining that his friends would then only be led by some other ninja. If they were to die under that ninja's command, Shikamaru would feel worse for not having been there to try and save them. When he was informed that everyone on the team would make a full recovery, Shikamaru cried out of joy and relief, and resolved to do better next time.
He later saw the Suna Siblings off and, in the anime, was appointed as an Academy instructor.
Shikamaru did not make as many appearances as his team-mates during the anime's arcs, being preoccupied with his Academy duties. He assisted with missions around the village, but did not play a major role until the Trap Master Arc. Shikamaru was assigned to lead the other primary genin in the investigation of a man named Gennō. Gennō had stolen blueprints that could be used to plan a potentially devastating attack during Konoha's period of reconstruction. Shikamaru proved to be a shrewd detective, quickly catching onto seemingly minor clues and predicting the enemy's plans. He also proved more comfortable in his role as leader, though not without complaining to Tsunade first about having to do anything at all. In the end, he led his team to victory and beat Gennō at his own game, leading to the old man's death.
He appeared with Chōji and Ino when they helped Naruto to pursue Mizuki and dealt with the Legendary Stupid Brothers. They performed their version of the Ino-Shika-Chō pattern to hold the brothers. They were able to stall them until Tsunade appeared and defeated the two brothers.
He appeared again when Gaara was challenged by the Four Celestial Symbols Men, a group of ninja wielding strange and powerful weapons. When they kidnapped one of Gaara's students, Shikamaru led the Konoha 11 (minus Tenten) to provide assistance, and repay their debt from the Sasuke Retrieval Arc. Along with Ino, Shikamaru rescued Temari from Kujaku, another wind-user. After the mission, he sees the Sand Siblings depart from Konoha, including Matsuri, pondering, "another Naruto-fan, huh".
Two and a half years later, at the beginning of Part II, Naruto ran into Shikamaru and Temari soon after returning to the village. Naruto initially thought that Shikamaru and Temari were a couple, although both denied this, explaining that they were working on planning for the next Chūnin Exam. This later prevented him from helping with Naruto's first attempt to look for Sasuke, but he was able to help during Naruto's brief scuffle with Sai.
In the anime, when Konoha was invaded by Furido and his team, Tsunade put Shikamaru in charge of Konoha's defence. He grew frustrated that his friends were fighting on the ground while he was on the back lines. Shikamaru stated that a strategist must lead his troops from the front line, and not be afraid to take risks. After getting Ino, Shikamaru led the counter-attack against the undead, ordering an attack plan which drove the enemy back. Later, Shikamaru used his Shadow Imitation Technique to bind Sora
Shikamaru was revealed to be a member of the Nijū Shōtai, where he was teamed up with Asuma, Izumo Kamizuki, and Kotetsu Hagane in an effort to track down and eliminate any and all members of Akatsuki. Eventually, the team found one such member: Hidan, and, as Shikamaru restrained Hidan with his Shadow Imitation Technique, the rest of the team were able to co-ordinate a finishing attack on Hidan. When it was revealed that had done little to stop Hidan, Hidan's partner, Kakuzu, appeared, forcing Shikamaru to release Hidan.
As Asuma battled Hidan, Hidan began a ritual that caused all damage done to himself to be inflicted on Asuma as well. Because of Hidan's apparent immortality, Hidan was able to use this to his advantage, giving himself injuries to easily harm Asuma while not being affected by the debilitating blows himself. To help Asuma, Shikamaru captured Hidan with his shadow once again, and adopted his meditative analysis of all of Hidan's actions and words up to that point. He quickly realized that the "link", created when Hidan consumed Asuma's blood, could only be maintained by Hidan remaining within the blood seal that he had earlier drawn on the ground, so Shikamaru pulled him out of it. With damage done to Hidan no longer harming Asuma, Shikamaru tied Hidan down with his Shadow Sewing Technique, allowing Asuma to decapitate the Akatsuki member.
However, even this was not sufficient enough to kill Hidan. After Kakuzu reattached his partner's head, he joined the fight and pinned down Izumo and Kotetsu, while Hidan managed to bind Asuma to his curse jutsu again by stepping back into the blood seal. Shikamaru rushed to the aid of his sensei just as Hidan impaled himself with his spear, delivering the final blow to Asuma. Chōji and Ino arrived as back-up, and Hidan and Kakuzu were driven off. Ino tried to heal Asuma, but there was nothing she could do, and the students were only able to listen to Asuma's final words. To Shikamaru, Asuma said that he had great potential, perhaps enough to one day become Hokage. After Asuma died, Shikamaru began smoking his last cigarette, blaming its smoke for his tears.
Shikamaru did not attend Asuma's funeral, instead coming up with a plan to defeat the Akatsuki duo. This was drawn out considerably in the anime, where his father made an attempt to comfort him with a game of Shogi, though Shikamaru could only blame himself and was too invested in revenge. When he finished his preparations, he set out with Ino and Chōji. They were stopped by Tsunade, who insisted that they stick to the usual four-man team. Kakashi appeared, and volunteered to help, so Shikamaru quickly modified the plan to accommodate for his presence.
Upon finding Hidan and Kakuzu, Shikamaru used Asuma's trench knives, swelling with his shadow, to restrain the Akatsuki members by pinning their shadows. With the two unable to fight back, Shikamaru prepared to trap the two with his Shadow Imitation Technique to allow him more of an advantage, though Kakuzu was able to escape before Shikamaru could ensnare him. With Hidan under his control, Shikamaru used Hidan to attack Kakuzu, forcing him into a corner where Kakashi attacked him with his Lightning Cutter. This destroyed only one of Kakuzu's four extra hearts, and, surprised by this turn of events, Kakashi and Team 10 regrouped. After being left on the defensive for a while, Shikamaru concluded that they must separate Hidan and Kakuzu if they were to win. To this end, Shikamaru again caught Hidan with his shadow, and led him away.
Once far enough, he covered the area in exploding tags to corner the immortal. The time limit on his Shadow Imitation then ran out, so Hidan was able to attack him, get some blood, and initiate his ritual. Hidan quickly stabbed himself in the heart, causing an apparently dead Shikamaru to keel over. Shikamaru was, however, alive and well; the blood had been Kakuzu's, Kakashi having taken a sample when he earlier used Lightning Cutter. In effect, Hidan stabbed Kakuzu in the heart. With Hidan oblivious, Shikamaru tried to decapitate him with a short sword. The cut was too shallow to sever the immortal's head, prompting Shikamaru to capture him in a Shadow Imitation instead - albeit a much weaker one at this point, with his chakra running low.
As Hidan tried to attack Shikamaru, Shikamaru used his Shadow Endgame Technique to cover Hidan with the exploding tags in the area. With Hidan tied in place, Shikamaru activated a mark he had prepared before the battle, causing the ground beneath Hidan to collapse into a pit. Hidan cursed at saying once he was free he would kill him, but Shikamaru explained that the surrounding forest was the property of the Nara clan; only they were allowed to enter or leave the forest, thus ensuring that Hidan's remains would never be found while one of his clan's deer, Rikumaru watched on. After lighting a cigarette, in anime, Asuma's lighter, Shikamaru flicked it at Hidan, setting off all of the exploding tags at once. Hidan's remains fell into the pit and, as he swore vengeance against Shikamaru, Shikamaru forced a cave-in. The battle won, he regrouped with his team escorted by Rikumaru, Kakuzu having also been defeated, and returned home. When he got back, Shikamaru stated to Kurenai that it is now his ambition to protect and train the next generation of ninja.
Shikamaru was left in charge of deciphering Jiraiya's dying message about Pain. When informed by Shiho that the Konoha Cryptanalysis Squad couldn't break the code without some sort of key, Shikamaru approached Naruto for help. Using his own experiences with Asuma's death, he helped him to get over Jiraiya's death, pointing out that they would someday both have students, and would also go to great lengths to protect them, just like Asuma and Jiraiya. Revitalized, Naruto helped to decipher the code which revealed the message: "The real one is not among them." Shikamaru proceeded to figure out what this meant, but was interrupted by Pain's invasion of Konoha.
In the anime, Shikamaru immediately went to check on Kurenai's condition and ended up protecting her from a Giant Centipede. After killing the summon, with his shadow and explosive tags, he helped Kurenai to the underground passage to evacuate. After the village's destruction, he and his father were shown to have survived, although Shikamaru received a broken leg when he shielded Shiho from harm. They regrouped with Ino and her father, and pooled their knowledge of Pain to try and figure out his secret. They discovered that Pain had a main body that must be nearby, so Inoichi and Shikaku, went looking for it. Because his leg made it difficult to move, Shikamaru stayed behind, later joining in on the celebration of Naruto's defeat of Pain
Shikamaru, along with Shiho, was looking at a table filled with salvaged photos of villagers. They were trying to sort them out to give them back to their rightful owners.
Shikamaru remembers a time when Team Asuma, along with Team Kakashi, went on a mission where they had to save a Village Headman's granddaughter from a gang boss named Baji. After analyzing the situation, he recommends Kakashi and Asuma to take an alternate route to the boss's fortress. After infiltrating the boss's fortress, he agrees for a hostage exchange between himself and a man named Tōfu. He is then taken up to a secret room where the Headman's granddaughter is being kept. Moments later, Ino and Chōji catch up with him, apprehend Baji and save the girl, completing their mission.
Shikamaru went to find Team 7 after his team, Team 8, and Team Guy, have decided that Sasuke must be handled by Konoha to avoid a war with Kumogakure. He asked for Sakura's permission, but told her they'll do it either way and if Ino, Naruto, or her were hurt or killed they would want revenge continuing a cycle of violence that will never be broken. Neji explained not to make the same mistake he did as a chūnin before. He asked to speak to Naruto, but is told he's in the Land of Iron. Sakura told him that she will be the one to speak with Naruto. Along with the rest of the Konoha 11, Shikamaru is prepared to kill Sasuke. Shikamaru is seen with the rest of the Konoha 11 and is skeptical about Naruto's decision on dealing with Sasuke.
Shikamaru is present with his father during the war council meeting the village held as they prepared for war. Although Shikaku voiced that he believed his son too young and inexperienced to be there, Shikamaru resolved to use every brain cell he had to memorize everything during the meeting.
Shikamaru is assigned to the Fourth Division alongside Chōji and Temari under Gaara. Because Gaara is also the Commander and Chief of the whole army, he named Shikamaru as Proxy Commander. Because of this, Temari encourages him to look and act more like a leader, causing him to remark how troublesome things have become.
Following a plan laid out by his father Shikaku, he and half of the Fourth Division are sent to back up the First Division. He teamed up with with fellow Team Asuma members Ino and Chōji and received instructions from his father on his plan to seal Kinkaku. He then helped Darui seal Kinkaku into the Kohaku no Jōhei by using the Shadow Imitation Technique, it failed but Ino took Kinkaku over in time to prevent him from attacking Shikamaru. He later, along with Chōji and Ino, confronts Asuma, who remarks how much they have grown since his death. He then charges his former teacher with his team-mates. He managed to lure Asuma towards Chōji with his shadow giving Chōji a chance to attack Asuma. When Chōji couldn't bring himself to attack his teacher Shikamaru told him to get his head on straight, Asuma then called Chōji a fatass, Chōji charged at their former sensei but was unable to hit him for the second time, Shikamaru then tried to use Asuma's trench knife to bind him but the latter saw the attack and blocked it with a kunai. After Ino used Mind Body Switch Technique on Chōji and attacks Asuma, Shikamaru saves his unconscious partner from a White Zetsu attack by taking control of her body with his shadow to kick the Zetsu away. He is surprised to see Chōji's butterfly appearance again and was worried for him, because of the side-effect. Chōza noted that it doesn't have any side-effects since Chōji didn't take any pill. He helped to take Asuma out by using his Shadow Sewing Technique to pick Asuma's trench knifes and asked Chōji to punch it through Asuma's shadow for the Shadow Imitation Shuriken Technique bind to take place. The temptation was a success and Asuma is unable to move giving the sealing team an opening to seal him.
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