First Manga Appearance: Chapter 34
First Anime Appearance: Episode 1
Name Meaning: Nara (Prefecture), Shika=Deer, Maru=Boys name
Note: Shikamaru, takes the part of the Deer in the Hanafuda "Ino(Boar), Shika(Deer), Chou(Butterfly)" card combo hand.
Character Study: One of the most analytical minds in the series, Shikamaru relies on his brains rather than an extensive or powerful jutsu repertoire. It's this mind that helps him become the first Chuunin among his age group and one of the few Leaf to take out an Akatsuki member one on one.
Chuunin Exam | DB 1
Pre-Timeskip | DB 2
Post-Timeskip | DB 3
Height: 170.0 cm
Weight: 53.4 kg
Registration ID: 012611
Hidden Village: Leaf
Team: 10 - Akimichi Chouji, Yamanaka Ino, Sarutobi Asuma
Academy Grad Age: 12
Chuunin Exam Age: 12
Jutsu: Kage Kubi Shibari, Kage Mane, Kage Nui, Kage Mane Shuriken, Kage Yose
Weapons: Asuma's chakra imbuing knives
Nara Shikamaru is a member of Team 10, along with Yamanaka Ino and Akimichi Chouji, watched by Asuma Sarutobi.
Shikamaru is chronically lazy, refusing to even pick up a pencil to take a test because he found it so boring. He has a catchphrase of sorts, "Mendoukusei" which is frequently translated into English as variants of "This sucks…" or "What a drag!", furthering his frustrations with many situations. Being from the Nara family, he is able to use his shadow in a special manner. The shadow will move across the ground as though another light source were present, even altering shape completely, until it touches the shadow of another person. For around 5 minutes or so, the victim will lose control of most of their body, only able to speak on their own. Otherwise, their every movement will match Shikamaru, allowing him to control them. Shikamaru would rather relax and look at the clouds, than expend any energy doing school work. His general desire is to marry, make a good living and be able to retire, successful and happy with himself and die before his wife.
Shikamaru was on hand to delay the Sound Trio in the Chuunin exams, stopping Dosu Kinuta from interfering for a brief time. While his technique wasn’t entirely effective, it bought enough time for more help to arrive. Later, in the preliminaries, he used it once again when he was randomly selected against another of the Sound Trio, Kin Tsuchi. Shikamaru captured her with his shadow and drew a shuriken, forcing Kin to do the same. After flinging it, neither had a choice about avoiding it. However, Shikamaru was in the open while Kin was near a wall. As he bended backwards to avoid it, Kin copied the movement and drove her head into the wall behind her, knocking herself out. The sneaky action earned Shikamaru a spot in the finals and the chance at Chuunin promotion.
Upon reaching the finals, Shikamaru was placed against a kunoichi from the Hidden Sand Village, Temari. Temari was, like him, a keen analyst and had an extremely powerful attack, blasting gusts of cutting wind at him from out of his shadow’s reach. The battle was more of a war of wits than violence, with Shikamaru first using the shadow coming from the stadium’s walls to add to the length his own shadow could stretch, forcing Temari to second-guess her range. Still in control, Temari battered him with more wind, forcing him to retreat. Hiding, Shikamaru took up a kneeling stance. At this point, spectators assumed he was preparing for a jutsu to counterattack. However, his teacher knew better.
Shikamaru’s laziness hides his true strength, an IQ that reaches over 200 and a way of thinking that places him ahead of someone else, easily allowing him to set up traps. With Temari now confident in her range being safe, he once again extended his shadow, removing his jacket and forehead protector to make a parachute that floated towards Temari, allowing him to lengthen his shadow once more, forcing Temari to once more reassess the situation. However, as she prepared for her own final move, she suddenly found herself bound by his shadow… thinking two steps ahead, Shikamaru had been using his attempts to lengthen his shadow to effectively lure Temari over to a hole in the ground that had been created earlier in the finals. The darkness provided by the tunnel leading into it allowed him to sneak the shadow behind her. With his checkmate in place, Shikamaru then raised his hand… and gave up. Realizing that he was only able to hold Temari with the shadow for a tiny length of time longer, it would be better to cut his losses instead of risk being helpless and close up to her. It was this action that would later see him promoted to Chuunin as someone who would not endanger his charges for the sake of a mission.
When the invasion occurred, the mass-sleep spell Kabuto had cast was cancelled, but due to his laziness, he feigned sleep to avoid being dragged into combat, much to the annoyance of Sakura. When Kakashi summoned a dog, Pakkun, to assist them in tracking, Shikamaru was "encouraged" to go along by permission to touch his paw-pads. When Shikamaru was not swayed, the dog tried another method and succeeded by biting him. As they chased Gaara and Sasuke, they noticed that they were being tracked. Shikamaru’s intellect once again helped as he gathered a bundle of sticks and used them to leave a red herring by mimicking Pakkun’s paw prints and buying time. Although it didn’t throw them off for long, Shikamaru decided he would buy more time by sacrificing himself, holding the pursuers with his shadows until he was no longer able to bind them. When everything looked bleak, Asuma appeared to save his life.
The aftermath of the incident saw Shikamaru being promoted to Chuunin, but with a different outlook on Temari, not as a female but as a respected analyst. His leadership would be tested shortly later when an impromptu team was formed to return Sasuke. Arranging a formation based on everyone’s special skills, he managed to follow the Sound Four and outwit their main powerhouse, Jiroubou, by faking the desire to save his own skin and discovering the weak point of the prison he made. Shortly later, he was separated from the group and put into a one-on-one scenario with the illusion specialist, Tayuya.
Tayuya’s main strength was her flute, which could be used to summon and control a trio of vicious chakra ogres. The ogres were capable of releasing phantasmal parasites from their mouths which ate away at a person, though incorporeal. With no way to overpower the entities, Shikamaru once again out-thought his opponent by setting up a 9-step sequence, much like a Rube-Goldberg mechanism, to capture all three of the ogres with his shadow. Tayuya was astounded, thinking he had figured out what the notes of her melody did. Shikamaru corrected her, saying that he was watching how the movements of her ogres corresponded with her fingers on the flute. With her ogres no longer being an option, Tayuya pushed herself further and fully activated her cursed seal and trapped Shikamaru in a torturous illusion.
As Shikamaru sat in a state of shock, Tayuya approached him ready to kill him, picking up a weapon. However, Shikamaru had already broken the illusion by dislocating his finger, waiting for her to walk closer because she had previously boasted that the only weapon she needed was her flute. Now she was in range, he began to his lethal variation of his jutsu, trying to make his shadow reach her neck and strangle her. At the same time, she was about to stab him, forcing him to split his efforts between killing her and using his shadow to hold her hand back. Just as his strength wore off, Temari appeared on official orders to assist him, summoning a kamaitachi (a mythical weasel associated with sickles, that cuts using wind and was responsible for one of her jutsu names) to cut down the forest around Tayuya. Her crushed corpse was seen in the rubble, increasing Shikamaru’s admiration for Temari.
However, after the mission, Shikamaru grieved upon hearing two of his subordinates Chouji and Neji, one a close friend, had been critically wounded. Temari, followed by his father, gave him the words he needed to hear instead of what he wanted to. He made a tearful promise that next time; he’d do a better job.
One of Shikamaru’s roles in the anime-exclusive episodes was taking his team-mates out on their second mission since the rescue attempt, successfully detaining the Legendary Stupid Brothers long enough for Tsunade to arrive. Since their level of physical strength was not too far below Tsunade’s, it took a combined effort of physical, magical and even mental restraint from the whole team to delay their rampage.
Shikamaru was shown very early in Part 2 of the manga, now given an official position as a Chuunin Examiner. He was also to meet with Temari, who was eventually given the counterpart of his position in her own village, meaning the two met for official business while arranging the new Chuunin Exam. When Naruto was being "attacked" by Sai, Shikamaru displayed a new offensive skill, allowing him to raise his shadow from the ground as a solid object and use it as a fast-moving piercing tentacle.
Shikamaru next battled Akatsuki’s team of Hidan and Kakuzu, two people that boasted near-immortality, yet he came to understand the weaknesses of Hidan and exploit them multiple times. However, he could not stop Hidan from using his divine curse to kill his team leader Sarutobi Asuma. Shikamaru began smoking to honor his fallen sensei and planned to not give it up until he was avenged. He also took ownership of Asuma's chakra absorbing knives. These knives allowed Shikamaru to imbue his shadow chakra into a "pin" which could stick into his opponent's shadow and bind them. He used these new skills and other preparations alongside his teammates when they sought revenge again Hidan and Kakuzu. After tracking them down, Shikamaru himself would get his chance, going one on one with the skilled Hidan in a rematch.
Shikamaru led Hidan away from the others. There he carefully played out his trap, using all the knowledge he gained from Asuma's battle to ensure he didn't share the same fate. Ignoring Hidan's boasts, Shikamaru managed to bind Hidan and cover him in explosive tags. Then using Asuma's lighter and cigarette's he lit one. Shikamaru then imagined the smoke coalescing into Asuma, who congratulated him and passed his Will of Fire on to the young man. Shikamaru coldly stated that Hidan dug his own grave when he killed his sensei. He then flicked the lit cigarette which struck the explosive tags, blowing Hidan to pieces. Shikamaru returned to Konoha and spoke with Kurenai, telling her how Asuma was always there for him, like he would be there for her baby. The pregnant Kurenai thanked him, as she and Asuma were married. Shikamaru would make sure her baby was looked after like Asuma watched over him.
Shikamaru relates heavily with Chouji, to the point that the two can be considered the best of friends after Shikamaru overlooked Chouji’s weight as a child. While Shikamaru initially dislikes women, mostly thanks to the bossy and bratty attitude that Ino shows and the petty squabbles Sakura gets into (alongside his mother’s temper), he is gradually dropping his prejudices after a word from his father and his mutual respect for Temari. Temari is also paired with him frequently by fans, citing their shared analytical skills and respect, now strengthened by their frequent liaisons on official business. However, the two have rarely shown any intimacy towards each other and are, as far as Kishimoto has drawn, little more than mutual admirers of one another. Shikamaru’s popularity among fans is also immense ranking high in many polls.
|Nara Shikamaru Timeline
BSS: Before Series Start
ASS: After Series Start
(All dates approximate - There is no official comprehensive timeline)
12 Yrs. BSS - Shikamaru Born.
6 Yrs. BSS - Meets Chouji, Joins Ninja Academy.
0 - Series Start, Graduates Academy.
6 Mo. ASS - Enters Chuunin Exam, Advances to Third Test.
7 Mo. ASS - Gives up Third Test match, Assists Naruto in tracking Sasuke and Gaara.
8 Mo. ASS - Promoted to Chuunin.
9 Mo. ASS - Assists Naruto in chasing Sasuke, Fights Tayuya.
10 Mo. - 3 yrs. 2 Mo. ASS - Increases skills and strength.
3 Yrs. 3 Mo. ASS - Helps proctor Chuunin Exam, Meets Naruto again.
3 Yrs. 4 Mo. ASS - Helps track down Hidan and Kakuzu, Studies and trains after Asuma's death, Faces Hidan again.