|“||What a drag||„|
|~ Shikamaru's famous quote.|
Shikamaru Nara is one of the main supporting characters in the Naruto anime/manga series and the Boruto: Naruto Next Generations anime/manga series both created by Masashi Kishimoto. He is a member of Konohagakure's Nara clan. He is best friends with Naruto Uzumaki and Choji Akimichi since childhood. 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 Asuma, and to prove himself to generations of the past and future.
Despite being one of the main supporting characters for most of the story, he is the most prominent member of the Konoha 11 apart from Team 7 and serves as the main protagonist of the Akatsuki Suppression Mission arc.
He is voiced by Shōtarō Morikubo and Nobutoshi Canna in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Tom Gibis in the English version of the anime.
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 to 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. This was demonstrated even from a young age when he, Sakura, and Naruto were being followed by Oto-nin while on the way to tracking Sasuke, he realised a decoy was needed to ensure success of the mission and without hesitation offered to sacrifice himself. Even in the face of imminent death, Shikamaru's unwavering laziness was demonstrated when he described death as a drag. 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 Uchiha at all costs, even in the face of potential objections on behalf of the original members of Team 7, in order to prevent Konoha from getting caught in a devastating war between the nations, albeit somewhat regrettably. He also resolved to be Naruto's adviser because he never wanted Naruto to suffer the same loneliness he suffered in his childhood again.
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 favours 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 almost exclusively fought against women during Part I of the manga, albeit because of circumstances that were mostly out of his control. His nihilistic view on women also extends to marriage, as in his dream in the Infinite Tsukuyomi Shikamaru dreamed himself seeing his parents and his sensei's different marriages as Shikamaru views marriage as too troublesome for himself. Ironically, he would later go on to marry Temari (a woman with similar personality to his mother), who would give birth to their son, Shikadai.
To further emphasise his personality, Shikamaru is regularly seen with a lazy or irritated expression. He has shoulder length black hair tied in a spiky ponytail and narrow brown eyes. Initially he wore a simple pair of silver hoop earrings given to him by his father as a way to pass on his will to him. Upon becoming a chūnin, these were replaced by a pair of stud earrings which were given to him — and the other members of Team 10 — by Asuma Sarutobi. 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 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 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 is the only 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 Akatsuki Suppression Mission, he wore a utility belt around his waist with pouches attached to it.
Once becoming a Chunin, Shikamaru's father teaches him how to use his shadow technique more effectively, by using it to choke an opponent. This more interactive capability with his shadow is put to great use over the timeskip, and by Part II Shikamaru becomes proficient at using multiple shadow-based techniques at once. He is also able to manipulate his shadow to lift from the ground and either grab or throw weapons simply by utilizing an opponent's shadow for the same purpose. After he comes into the possession of Asuma's brass knuckles, Shikamaru learns to channel his shadow into them, using them to immobilize opponents by throwing them at an opponent's shadow to capture them and save himself the energy. Shikamaru goes to the Chunin Exams without a particular objective, not caring if he becomes a Chunin or not. In the finals he fights Temari, and would've won, but he decided to forfeit. During the invasion of Konoha, Shikamaru helps Naruto and Sakura to find Sasuke by staying behind and creating a diversionary ambush against the Sound Ninja who were pursuing them. Even though he forfeited the match, he was still promoted to Chunin, mostly because of his incredible way of thinking displayed throughout it. As a result of his early advance to the rank of Chunin, Shikamaru plays a considerably more active role in the plot than most members of the Konoha 11, albeit more indirectly than the primary cast. His first assignment as a Chunin is to assemble a team to retrieve Sasuke Uchiha, who has betrayed Konoha in search for Orochimaru to gain greater power. This forces Shikamaru's team to defeat Sasuke's escorts, the Sound Four. While his teammates defeat their enemies, Sasuke is able to escape, despite their best efforts. In Part II, Shikamaru is assigned to track down two members of Akatsuki. While he and his team manage to find their targets with relative ease, Akatsuki member Hidan is able to kill Asuma during the course of a battle. After Asuma's funeral, Shikamaru sets out with the surviving members of Team 10 and Kakashi to avenge their sensei. As his team deals with Hidan's partner, Shikamaru is able to defeat Hidan in memory of Asuma, and single-handedly weakens Akatsuki by one member. In chapter 649 of the manga, Shikamaru states that when Naruto becomes the next Hokage, Naruto doesn't have a smart brother willing to be his adviser like the first Hokage and there would be no better adviser for Naruto other than him.
- Shikamaru makes a cameo appearance in a scene of the original Naruto: when it shows a group of girls swooning over Sasuke, Shikamaru can be seen among the girls (with hearts in their eyes).
- Shikamaru hates fighting, but will not hesitate to fight certain opponents, most notably Hidan, the Akatsuki member who killed his master, Asuma Sarutobi. When the situation calls for it he will put his life on the line for the Hidden Leaf.
- Despite being the smartest of the Konoha 11, Shikamaru did have an F in one subject: classroom attitude. And his other grades were just B's and C's, very average.
- Shikamaru adopted Asuma's habit of smoking after his death, but he is only shown smoking in the Boruto anime. This is likely because Shikamaru is an adult in Boruto but showing him smoke while a teenager wouldn't be kid friendly. In Shippuden, he carries around Asuma's lighter but is never shown smoking.
- Shikamaru was originally planned to be the winner of the Chunin Exams, but the creator ultimately wrote the Chunin exams to be interrupted by Orochimaru attacking the Hidden Leaf.
- Shikamaru's top position in the Weekly Shōnen Jump popularity polls is 4th place, though he consistently placed in the top 10 until 2011.
- In all of the Ultimate Ninja Storm games starting from Naruto Shippūden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations, putting Shikamaru and Chōji in the same team with just them will result in the label "Eternal Friends".
- The Boruto manga reveals that adult Shikamaru's strongest attribute, Intelligence is 210 (90 the genin average for all attributes) and weakest attribute, Chakra is 100.