The Naruto series ended with most of the central cast of characters in their late teens. A time skip saw them (mostly) married with kids and leading the village in a new generation. Shikamaru ended Naruto Shippuden as a war hero, adviser to the Hokage, and a young man picking up the pieces after losing several people he cared for. By the events of Boruto, he became the Hokage’s right hand, married a formal rival, and was raising one third of the next generation of Ino-Shika-Cho.
Shikamaru began the franchise as a lazy kid who couldn’t be bothered to study. He wanted nothing more than an average life where he could watch the clouds go by. Uninterested in marriage, intimidated by women, caring only for his close friends, and preferring to use his genius intellect for board games, it might surprise some fans to see where Shikamaru ended up.
The Naruto arc that saw Shikamaru seek revenge for his sensei Asuma began the shinobi’s true growth spurt. Though he led teams before, his plans took out two Akatsuki members, avenged Asuma, and helped his friends grieve. That marked a turning point for him to grow into the man he became during the franchise “Blank Period” set between Naruto and Boruto.
It’s during that period that Naruto’s generation was busy carving out new lives for themselves in a changing Konohagakure. Shikamaru more than made up for his lazy childhood, and we’ve got 25 Things Shikamaru Did Between Naruto And Boruto to prove it.
25 Shikamaru Married Temari
Temari first met Shikamaru when they faced one another during their Chunin Exams as teenagers. While Shikamaru found himself annoyed that he had to face off against girl, Temari was overconfident, sure she’d beat him in the fight. Their match was nearly a draw as Temari underestimated his skills and Shikamaru exhausted his chakra.
Over the course of the next few years, they ran into one another often, backing each other up on missions, and acting as political messengers for their respective villages. Their rivalry became friendship, and that friendship eventually became something more until the duo decided to marry about a decade before the events of Boruto began.
24 He Became The Nara Clan Head
As the Naruto series wound to a close, the Fourth Shinobi World War occurred. During the events of the war, Shikamaru wasn’t in an office as an adviser, but out on the front lines of battle. His father Shikaku, the head of the Nara Clan, was in the intelligence office with Inoichi Yamanaka.
The duo stayed in the headquarters during an attack, both losing their lives. By the time the war was over, Shikamaru had to become the head of the clan as the only son in the head family (that we know of). This particular storyline hasn’t come into play in the Boruto series, but with Shikadai next in line, perhaps it will.
23 He Became A Jonin
Aspiring ninja in the Naruto world begin their journey at the Ninja Academy. Once they graduate, they become genin. Teams then enter the Chunin Exams to vie for promotion. Shikamaru was the first of the Naruto generation to achieve Chunin status, doing it the same year he graduated.
The franchise never makes it clear just what Chunin have to achieve Jonin status. During the early days of Naruto Shippuden though, as nearly everyone in their generation are Chunin, Temari points out Shikamaru could easily make Jonin status. At some point following the Fourth Shinobi World War, he did just that. By the time The Last: Naruto The Movie occurs, he’s a Jonin team leader.
22 He Led The Hanabi Rescue Mission
Following Shikamaru’s promotion to Jonin, he found himself selected to lead an important mission. Not only did he have to lead a team of his friends (Naruto, Hinata, Sakura, and Sai), but he had to rescue Hanabi Hyuga and stop the moon from crashing into the Earth.
Hinata was the original target of a kidnapping plot as the “Byakugan Princess.” When she fought back, Toneri snatched away her little sister instead. Shikamaru wasn’t initially supposed to lead a team that included her, but Hinata didn’t want a rescue mission launched without her. It’s a good thing she came along because Shikamaru needed Hinata’s specific chakra to help save the day in the end.
21 He Had A Son
The Ino-Shika-Cho trio includes the children form the current head families of the Yamanaka, Nara, and Akimichi clans. Traditionally, it appears they were always three male. Shikamaru’s generation was the first to have a girl in their trio in the form of Ino Yamanaka, so he probably wouldn’t have been upset to have a daughter. Temari and Shikamaru, however, had a son.
Staying close to the traditional Nara name format, the two named their son Shikadai. The Shikamaru Hiden novel revealed the duo had a hard time settling on a name. Since the birth of his son, Shikamaru worked to teach Shikadai some of their family specific jutsu, carrying on the old traditions.
20 He Fought A Lot Of Puppets
Puppet mastery is a unique shinobi skill. Of the main and recurring characters, only Kankuro uses puppets to fight on a regular basis. That’s why it’s interesting that some of Shikamaru’s major battles during the Blank Period involved puppets.
During the events of The Last: Naruto The Movie, Shikamaru stayed behind to battle Toneri's puppets, allowing his team to move forward and continue to fight without him. During the light novel Gaara Hiden: A Sandstorm Mirage, Shikamaru also fought a puppeteer. This time, it’s to save Temari during a major meeting when she and Gaara are attacked.
19 Shikamaru Advised Two New Hokages
Fans watched Shikamaru become a valuable fountain of strategic wisdom when Lady Tsunade acted as Konohagakure’s Fifth Hokage. She believed in Shikamaru’s skills and placed him in leadership positions as soon as he became a Chunin. After her time as Hokage ended, Shikamaru’s advisory position didn’t end.
Shikamaru also acted as an advisor to Kakashi Hatake when he became Sixth Hokage. Like Tsunade before him, Kakashi gave Shikamaru assignments that placed him in charge of different missions or divisions. Following Kakashi stepping down, Shikamaru acted in the same role for Naruto. We’ll have to wait and see if he advises another new Hokage in the future.
18 He Ran The Blood Prison
If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the most dangerous shinobi when they were captured by authorities, wonder no more. One of the Naruto movies showed fans that they ended up in the Blood Prison, but a light novel gave fans a bit more detail as well.
Set a year after the events of the Fourth Shinobi World War, Kakashi Hiden: Lightning In The Icy Sky saw Kakashi and Might Guy just wanting a little vacation. Instead, they ended up in the middle of a hostage negotiation. While they were busy doing that, Tsunade placed Shikamaru in charge of running the Blood Prison. By the end of the novel, he was back in an advisory position.
17 He Brokered A Deal Between Tsunade And Kakashi
One of the reasons Shikamaru didn’t last long as the director of the prison was because Kakashi recommended someone else for the job. He wanted Kahyo, the woman at the center of the hostage situation in the light novel, to run the prison as part of her sentence instead of losing her life.
Shikamaru is the first to agree that it’s a good plan (probably because it got him away from the prison and back in the Hokage’s office). He and Lady Tsunade agreed to Kakashi’s terms, as long as Kakashi agreed to take over as Hokage. Everything worked out just fine.
16 He Became Coordinator For The Shinobi Union
It’s a good thing Shikamaru didn’t remain in place at the prison because he had quite a few other responsibilities on his hands. For the two years following the Fourth War, he was the coordinator of the Shinobi Union.
Like the real life United Nations, the Shinobi Union was comprised of representatives from the major shinobi nations. They met to create treaties and make sure they could have a lasting peace. Shikamaru worked to coordinate schedules and set up meetings. As a result of his effort, the shinobi world experienced the longest period of peace they knew.
15 He Started Keeping Secrets From Friends
Not one who could be bothered with keeping secrets as a kid, that changed as an adult. During the light novel Shikamaru Hiden: A Cloud Drifting In Silent Darkness, the title character ended up with a new assignment from Kakashi. He had to infiltrate another land, and possibly take out the dangerous leader.
Shikamaru chose not to tell any of his close friends about the mission. He reasoned that Temari was an outsider since she was from Suna, that Choji and Ino shouldn’t be involved in such “foul business,” and that Naruto might lose faith in his abilities. Shikamaru lied to all of them until after the mission was over, something he’d never had to do.
14 He Refined His Shadow Skills
When Shikamaru first learned the skills inherited in his family, he had to take extra steps to perform certain jutsu. Primarily, when completing his Shadow Possession Jutsu, Shikamaru couldn’t enact it without utilizing hand signs.
Hand signs help a shinobi to focus and refine different skills. Some jutsu require them. In Shikamaru’s case though, he became so adept with his shadow skills that by the time the Boruto series rolled around, he didn’t need hand signs to use every jutsu he performed with his shadows in combat. At some point during the Blank Period, he must have gotten in a bit more training.
13 A Cult Leader Captured Shikamaru
During the novel Shikamaru Hiden, the title character was sent on a rescue mission of sorts. An odd letter from Sai alerted Kakashi and Shikamaru to the fact that Sai was compromised. Shikamaru and a team went to the Land of Silence to rescue Sai and eliminate the land’s leader, presumably the one responsible for Sai’s strange messages.
When Shikamaru got there, it didn’t take long for his team to be compromised as well. Gengo, the shinobi leading the Land of Silence, laced his voice with genjutsu, controlling his people. He captured Shikamaru and held him in prison when Shikamaru couldn’t quickly be swayed.
The anime adapted a version of the arc for its final special episodes.
12 He Refused To Leave His Job Behind
Though Gengo found it odd that his genjutsu didn’t work on Shikamaru, he still gave the Konoha ninja the option to become one of his advisers instead. All Shikamaru had to do to get whatever he wanted in the Land of Silence was leave his position as adviser to the Hokage (and the shinobi lifestyle) behind.
Shikamaru refused. He decided that if the people he cared about, like Temari and Naruto, were still back in Konoha, no amount of genjutsu was going to sway him. That resolve nearly worked. Over the course of several days, Shikamaru was tired of hearing his friends in pain and, given the choice to stay, he almost changed his mind.
11 Temari Rescued Him
It’s lucky that, despite having genjutsu thrown his way with every word in the Land of Silence, Shikamaru remembered Temari and Naruto. Temari might have been more than a little upset when she mounted a rescue and he didn’t respond.
Just as Shikamaru was seriously considering giving into Gengo’s genjutsu, a gust of wind lifted him off his feet. That wind cleared his head and gave him hope. Said wind was the result of Temari coming to the rescue with her giant fan. It was this particular rescue mission that allowed the two of them to realize how much they cared for one another.
10 He Grew A Goatee
Shikamaru still sports his signature updo in Boruto, but in between the Naruto and Boruto series, a few other aspects of his appearance changed. Not only does he not walk around in the Konoha military issued flak jacket anymore, but gone is his baby face appearance.
Taking after his father, Shikamaru grew a goatee during the franchise Blank Period. It seems like the artists really wanted the character to more closely resemble Shikaku. After all, since the early days of Naruto, even his hairline changed to resemble Shikaku’s. With the hairline and the goatee, the two look even more alike than they did initially.
9 He Became Closer With Naruto
One of the hallmarks of the Naruto series was that Naruto was a friendless orphan who somehow hadn’t lost his faith in people. He wasn’t particularly close with anyone as a child because nearly his entire village was afraid of him - or more specifically the Nine-Tailed Fox inside him.
Flashbacks revealed that Naruto, Shikamaru, Choji, and Kiba skipped school together. Somewhere along the way, Naruto became the outsider again. That changed as he literally saved the world time and time again. Shikamaru resolved to help him become Hokage, and along the way, the two developed a close friendship. Shikamaru promised to never lie to him, and their sons became best friends.
8 He Turned Down A Mission For A Date
As a kid, Shikamaru was all about putting in as little effort as possible. He even pretended to be caught in a genjutsu during the Chunin Exams to avoid defending the village, though he was caught in the act.
Losing Asuma and being on the front lines in the Fourth Shinobi World War forced him to grow up quickly. As a result, he began taking on more and more missions for the Hokages who trusted him. It wasn’t until the events of Shikamaru Hiden, when Kakashi assigned him a mission that anyone could complete, that he actually flat out turned a mission down. He decided to spend his day off finally taking Temari on a date.
7 Shikamaru Spent A Whole Day Searching For A Gift
When Naruto and Hinata married, the entire village wanted to attend the ceremony. It created a headache for Kakashi. He had to plan out guard shifts to keep the massive number of attendees safe from any lingering war resentment. The matter of the gifts also created a headache for Shikamaru.
All of the happy couple’s friends wanted the perfect gift. Shikamaru seemed to be the only one who hadn’t figured out his present. As a result, he spent an entire day getting advice from everyone else. After speaking with his former classmates, he finally enlisted Temari’s help in getting the newlywed’s a honeymoon at a spa.
6 He Worked Out His Communication Issues With Temari
Fans know Temari and Shikamaru wound up married, but the road to get there was rocky. They started off as rivals during the Chunin Exams. They repeatedly saved one another from enemy shinobi over the next few years. The two became friends thanks to being paired up (in the anime) to proctor Chunin Exams for the next generation as well.
Despite spending so much time together, the two never really learned how to communicate. While trying to enlist Temari’s help with a wedding gift (after their less than stellar first date), Shikamaru mistakenly let her think he wanted help planning their night at a spa! They both eventually realized their mistake and began to talk things through more.
5 He Became Mirai’s Sensei
When Shikamaru lost Asuma to a battle with the Akatsuki, he vowed to protect his sensei’s unborn child. While he did stand guard over Kurenai and her daughter Mirai when the village faced attack, he also went a step further as an adult.
The light novels reveal a bit of information the manga and anime haven’t delved into yet. When Mirai graduated from the Ninja Academy as a child, she didn’t suddenly jump to the position of body guard for the Hokage like she is in Boruto. She still needed more training. Shikamaru became her sensei, guiding her the way Asuma guided him in shinobi skills, team work, and logic.
4 He Attempted To Get Gaara Married
When Temari and Shikamaru finally decided they were ready to marry, they ran into a bit of a problem. As the sister of the Kazekage, Temari wasn’t supposed to marry until after Gaara did. Both Shikamaru and Temari set about helping Gaara find a wife.
A marriage was arranged between Gaara and a woman named Hakuto in Gaara Hiden: A Sandstorm Mirage. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Gaara wasn’t interested in more than friendship. Hakuto was also already in a relationship with someone else. Their meeting also got attacked by missing ninja, so it was all around a difficult engagement.
3 He Helped A Couple Get New Identities
With Hakuto not interested in wedding the Kazekage, and Gaara being a relatively good sport about the whole thing, they formed a plan. Shikamaru and Gaara helped Hakuto start a new life.
Gaara’s idea was to file a report stating that Hakuto and the real love of her life met their ends while traveling through the desert. All he needed was for Shikamaru to file a report in Konoha saying the same. Shikamaru did. He also got the two new documentation with whole new identities so they could live in Konoha with no one knowing the truth.
2 He Reconciled His Childhood Dreams With His Adult Life
As a child, Shikamaru made very clear what he desired in the long term: to live an unremarkable life. In fact, he was less interested in shinobi missions and more interested in laying back and watching the clouds, or playing a game of shogi.
When Shikamaru Hiden gives us a glimpse into his point of view, the novel sees him wondering just how he ended up as one of the hardest working shinobi in the village. His desire to help overrides his desire for laziness, something he had to reconcile during the Blank Period. He can still take time to relax and play games with his son, and then go work for the village.
1 Shikamaru Found A Temporary Hokage
In order to become Hokage, there is an official induction ceremony in Konohagakure. It looks pretty bad if the person at the center of the presentation doesn’t show up at all. That’s what happened to Naruto.
The animated short “The Day Naruto Became Hokage” revealed what happened. When attempting to stop a squabble between his kids, Naruto's daughter awakened her Byakugan and sealed his chakra points. He was unconscious when he was supposed to become Hokage! Luckily, Shikamaru came up with a plan on the fly. He instructed Naruto’s student Konohamaru to disguise himself as Naruto and stand in for the unlucky dad. The two helped prevent a village panic.
With a little more detail about the Blank Period between Naruto and Boruto, do you have more of an appreciation for all the things Shikamaru has done? Or does he still have a ways to go to make up for his childhood inactivity? Let us know in the comments.