Shikamaru Nara (奈良 シカマル, Nara Shikamaru?) is a fictional character in the Naruto manga and anime series created by Masashi Kishimoto. In the anime and manga, Shikamaru is a ninja affiliated with the village of Konohagakure. He is a member of Team 10, a group of ninja consisting of himself, Choji Akimichi, Ino Yamanaka, and team leader Asuma Sarutobi. Shikamaru is portrayed as a lazy character, unwilling to apply his prodigious intelligence; Kishimoto has noted that he likes Shikamaru due to his easygoing nature. Outside of the Naruto anime and manga, Shikamaru has appeared in two of the feature films in the series: Naruto the Movie 2: Legend of the Stone of Gelel and Naruto: Shippūden the Movie, as well as several other media relating to the series, including video games and original video animations.
Numerous anime and manga publications have commented on Shikamaru's character. Many reviewers commented on his laziness and intelligence, and noted his transformation into a leader; Anime News Network celebrated Shikamaru's emergence as "an unlikely hero" in the Naruto storyline. Shikamaru has also been highly popular with the Naruto reader base, placing high in several popularity polls. Merchandise based on Shikamaru has been released, including action figures, key chains, and patches.
Masashi Kishimoto has noted that he likes Shikamaru due to his easygoing nature despite being a genius, and contrasted him against Sasuke Uchiha's intelligent but abrasive personality. Kishimoto also comically remarked that he would marry Shikamaru if he were a girl, noting that Shikamaru would likely be successful in life. When designing Shikamaru's Part II appearance, Kishimoto wanted to give Shikamaru a unique appearance despite drawing him with a vest that several other ninja wear in the series. As a result, he drew his forehead protector on his arm in order to not obscure his hair.
Shikamaru is a highly unenthusiastic person, and he attempts to go through life with minimum effort. In his free time, he takes naps, watches clouds, and plays strategy games such as shogi and go. When put into a situation in which he needs to exert effort, he attempts to try to find a way to avoid it; for instance, he will forfeit battles or pretend to be preoccupied. In the instances where he can not avoid these situations, Shikamaru tends to remark "how troublesome" (めんどくせぇ, mendōkusei?, English TV: "what a drag" or "such a pain"). Another aspect of his unenthusiasm is his dislike for bossy women, as he refers to them as "a pain". Despite this perception, he has expressed an interest in marriage and raising a family with a son and daughter.
Despite his lack of enthusiasm, Shikamaru tries his hardest to lead successful missions. This might be due to the fact that Shikamaru lead the mission to bring Sasuke back to Konoha after he left to join Orochimaru. The mission was unsuccessful, and everyone but Shikamaru was severely injured (Shikamaru broke one finger). After a brief argument with his father, Nara Shikaku, Shikamaru vows to carry out his future missions flawlessly.