Saturday, September 20, 2008
Background Shikamaru Nara
As a Genin, Shikamaru Nara was the sort of unenthusiastic kid who likes watching clouds. Shikamaru Nara prefers not to get involved in types of "troublesome" situations as during the attack on Konoha by the Sand and Sound villages where he pretends to be unconscious. Shikamaru Nara is fully aware of this side of his personality and even named himself "The number one at running away" or "The number one coward". However, when duty calls, Shikamaru has a strong moral compass and sense of commitment to his comrades. Even though by his own testimony he lacks of bravery, he will sacrifice himself and face almost certain death for the sake of his friends or villagers without a second thought, such as when he stayed behind to confront a team of Sound ninjas, giving Naruto enough time to catch up with Sasuke.
Shikamaru has a longstanding friendship with Choji Akimichi, in whom he has complete trust with. Before they were promoted to Chunin rank, Shikamaru, Choji and Ino Yamanaka were on the same Genin team under Asuma. Their fathers were on the same team as well. Their teamwork is unparalleled.
Shikamaru loves to play thinking games that older men are usually into, such as Shogi and Go. He is a brilliant strategist, and though his sensei, Asuma Sarutobi, often plays against Shikamaru, Asuma has never actually managed to beat him. Asuma got suspicious upon realizing that Shikamaru was so good at board games despite his abysmal grades, which were almost as low as Naruto's. As a result, Asuma administered an IQ test disguised as a game to Shikamaru, which revealed that Shikamaru was a genius with an IQ of over 200. Shikamaru had felt that even moving his pencil in class was a bother and always slept through tests, resulting in his low grades.
Shikamaru has a habit of putting his fingers together to create a square and closing his eyes so he can concentrate and come up with a strategy. Once he does, which often takes only a few minutes, he is is able to think ten moves ahead of his opponent with over a hundred strategies ready to be used, even being able to plan out "the next 200 moves in advance".
Since he has been promoted to Chunin, his responsibility for the lives of his friends has weighed very heavily on him on occasions.
Personality of Shikamaru Nara
Shikamaru Nara is an extremely unenthusiastic person, and as such lives his life avoiding work. This is partly due to seeking paths of least resistance, as he often chooses to do things he would otherwise not do if people nag him enough. In his free time he typically takes naps, watches clouds, and plays strategy games such as Shogi and Go. When put into a situation where he potentially needs to put effort into something, he attempts to try to find a way to avoid it such as forfeiting a battle or by pretending to be preoccupied with something else. In the instances where he can not avoid these situations, Shikamaru tends to remark "how troublesome" (mendoukusai, English TV "what a drag" or "such a pain").
Despite his lazy tendencies, Shikamaru is extremely intelligent. His teacher, Asuma, found Shikamaru to have an IQ of over 200, and learned that Shikamaru's poor grades were a result of him finding lifting a pencil to be too much work for him. Nevertheless, Shikamaru works very well with his teammates as their fathers were teamed together in their youth as well. Of his teammates, Shikamaru is closest with Choji, who repays Shikamaru's confidence in him with unyielding loyalty to Shikamaru. Shikamaru also has a strong bond with Asuma, often spending time with him playing strategy games. After Asuma's death, he even vows to protect Asuma and Kurenai's unborn child for his teacher's sake. Shikamaru has stated that he will make the child his apprentice someday. Shikamaru also have very good friendship with naruto and kiba. When Shikamaru, Chouji, Kiba and Naruto in the academy had enough problems to their teacher Iruka.
One of Shikamaru's more distinctive characteristics is that he finds all women to be bossy and "a pain." Contrary to this opinion, he has expressed a notably mature interest in marriage and raising a family with a son and daughter. Ironically, Shikamaru seems to constantly find himself surrounded by the very same strong-willed and bossy women he dislikes. In addition to his own mother, and being surrounded by bossy females, he usually ends up fighting against such women. Shikamaru has had a number of his appearances coincide with those of Temari. When they make their Part II debut together, Naruto Uzumaki asks if shikamaru temari are on a date, though both Shikamaru and Temari state that this is not the case.
When the need arises, Shikamaru is quick to abandon his lazy nature and act appropriately to complete a mission or save his teammates. Using his Shadow Imitation Technique (Kagemane no Jutsu, English "Shadow Possession Jutsu"), the signature technique his clan, he can capture the shadow of an opponent to either keep them immobilized or force them to mimic his movements. This ability causes Shikamaru to frequently take the task of stalling enemies so that his comrades can get to safety or to simply buy time. Although this role puts him in a dangerous position once he can no longer stall the opponent, Shikamaru is willing to serve it, feeling that sacrificing his life to ensure the safety of his friends is worth it. He then considers every element that is relevant to the situation at hand and analyzes the information to its fullest and plan out a battle ten moves in advance and can devise over a hundred strategies to use against an opponent. This combination of intelligence and dedication to his teammates causes Shikamaru to become the first of the primary Konoha Genin to advance to the rank of Chunin.
Once becoming a Chunin, Shikamaru's father teaches him to allow him to use his shadow to have more interaction with an opponent 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 able to use multiple shadow-based techniques at once. He is also able to manipulate his shadow to lift from the ground and either grab and 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 becomes able to channel his shadow into the knuckles, 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, and he really didn't care if became Chunin or not. In the finals Shikamaru fights Temari, he would've won, but decided to forfeit. During the invasion in 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 forfeited the match, he was still promoted to Chunin. Mostly because his incredible way of thinking throughout the match. 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 is search for Orochimaru to gain greater power, which forces him to defeat his 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 the 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 weakening Akatsuki by one member.