Shikamaru Nara is a character from the Naruto anime and manga.
Naruto's resident snarky teen genius and the poster boy for brilliant, but lazy. At first, Shikamaru is a person who complains about receiving any work at all. This, combined with the fact that his test scores were almost as low as Naruto's, cause others to initially think that he's a failure and a loser... a perception that Shikamaru doesn't mind in the least. It's only later that Asuma reveals that yes, Shikamaru is perhaps the smartest person in the world, having scored over 200 on an I.Q. test disguised as a game so it wouldn't bore him.
In the AWA fics, Shikamaru is a student at the AWA Academy and is part of Class 3 as it's vice class representative.
In the XP4 fics, Shikamaru debuted in XP4 Heroes Coalition - Kick-Off!.
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 rudimentary Nara clan symbol on the back, under which is a green-lined mesh armour 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 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 Tsukuyomidream world sees him successfully avoiding marriage entirely. However, upon realising in Shikamaru Hiden that Temari is one of the most important things in the world to him, he ultimately marries her and even has a son with her, Shikadai. Ironically, his relationship with Temari became very similar to his parents, where he once mocked Shikaku for being "whipped", which he himself became.
Overtime, having come to recognise Naruto's great contributions to the village despite his own hardships, Shikamaru came to sympathise for him, deciding to be there to support him much like the Second Hokage did for his older brother. His newfound goal became to aid Naruto in his goal of becoming Hokage and act as his personal adviser. Ultimately, as an adult, Shikamaru succeeds in this goal, often handling many duties to lighten the workload for Naruto as Hokage. At the same time, he still holds much of his original carefree nature from youth. He is not very strict with his son, viewing his acting out and/or punishments at school as a learning curve for him, trusting that Shikadai will find his way.
Shikamaru is a member of the Heroes Coalitions and is part of the Full Force Guerilla as it's second-in-command. He also attends the Vanguard Academy as a student.
XP4 Heroes Coalition - Kick-Off!
In Chapter 12, Shikamaru, alongside his team, the Full Force Guerilla, are seen in an empty city where they're tasked to stop Dr. Dolan Danger and his army from taking it over. After defeating Dolan's army with the doctor fleeing, Shikamaru and the others regrouped, discussing of cleaning the city.
XP4 Heroes Coalition - Neo-City Diaries
In Chapter 12, Shikamaru helped stopped Raya Amanda from killing Alden Cole by restraining her movements using his shadow.
Due to his poor grades in the Academy, Shikamaru was thought to be anything but a remarkable ninja, but his potential was demonstrated when he was the only member of his graduating class to become a chūnin during Part I. Despite being a newly made chūnin, he could hold his own against jonin-level opponents like Tayuya of the Sound Four. In Part II, he could defeat Hidan of Akatsuki after leading the latter to a trap. His skills led to him being offered a position as one of the Twelve Guardian Ninja in the anime, being made deputy-commander of the Fourth Division and chief-strategist of the entire Allied Shinobi Forces, as well as the right-hand man of the Seventh Hokage years later. He has been told he possessed qualities befitting the Hokage by Asuma Sarutobi, Temari, and Boruto Uzumaki, but has stated that he doesn't want to deal with the responsibilities of being Hokage.
Shikamaru's nature transformations include Yin Release, which he commonly uses to perform his hiden techniques, as well as Fire and Earth Release. In the anime, he has shown to be able to use fūinjutsu, as seen when he tried to seal Kakuzu's lightning technique into a scroll, and when he unsealed water from a scroll to use as a medium to electrocute Kakuzu. He is also able to use the Flying Swallow, and can create clones of himself, either by flowing chakra into his shadow and shape them, or by using the Shadow Clone Technique.
Nara Clan Techniques
As a member of the Nara clan, Shikamaru is able to manipulate 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 to 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 off surfaces, using his shadows to pierce targets and pick up giant things. He could even channel his chakra into his late mentor's chakra blades to pierce a target's shadow and bind them from a distance.
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.
- 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".
- 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 up to Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, but he is described as smoking in Gaara Hiden and the novelization 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. However, in the Boruto anime his smoking habits are actually shown, apparently because he's already an adult there.
- According to character trivia from Boruto: Naruto Next Generations:
- His attributes are: 115 in strength, 130 in negotiation, 100 in chakra, 210 in intelligence, 160 in perception, and 133 in dexterity.