Shikamaru was born into the Nara clan to Shikakuand Yoshino. He has a long-standing friendship with Chōji Akimichi. They met even before joining the Academy, when others ridiculed Chōji for his weight, Shikamaru too abandoned the game and ended up hanging out with Chōji instead. Because of the kindness Shikamaru has always shown him, Chōji is unwavering in his loyalty to him, and will gladly give his life for Shikamaru.
Once they entered the Academy, Shikamaru and Chōji were among their classes' dead-lasts, along with Kiba Inuzuka andNaruto Uzumaki, spending their day pursuing what they deemed to be more interesting pastimes. In Shikamaru's case, he would spend all day sleeping; to Shikamaru, even the very effort of putting pen-to-paper was just too much effort for him to put into it unless he had to. Iruka Umino, their instructor, would give them all the same lecture.
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 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. 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.
Chōji Akimichi is Shikamaru's best friend. He respects and trusts him. He said that if he had to fight Chōji in theChūnin Exams he would give up. After he left Chōji to fight Jirōbō, he told the rest of the team that Chōji is stronger than anyone else in this team.
Shikamaru enjoys playing thinking games, that usually older men are usually into, such as shōgi and Go (his teacher, Asuma, even said at one point "That kid is like an old man. He likes to take things slowly.").
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.
He has expressed a notably mature interest in marriage and raising a family. He hopes to "marry a regular girl who isn't too ugly and not too pretty. Have two children, first a girl, then a boy. Retire after my daughter is married and my son becomes a successful ninja, and spend the rest of my life playing shōgi or Go. Then die of old age before my wife."
Shikamaru has also shown a little devious side. When he gets food for Chōji while he's in the hospital during the Chūnin Exams, the nurse tells him that Chōji has indigestion and that he can't have food. So, Shikamaru goes to Naruto's room to give him the food. When Naruto tells Shikamaru he wants to eat it in front of Chōji to annoy him, Shikamaru states "That is so mean… I like it."
To further emphasise his personality, Shikamaru is regularly seen with a lazy or irritated expression. He has fairly long jet black hair tied in a spiky ponytail, narrow brown eyes, and has both ears adorned by earrings, which were given to him and the other members of Team Asuma by Asuma himself.
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's the 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 Hidan and Kakuzu Arc, he had a belt with some bags attached to it around his waist.
Shikamaru is a highly skilled shinobi, attested to by him being the first of his peers to be promoted to the rank of chūnin. Even while he was still a genin in Part I, Shikamaru was among the few shinobi who detected and dispelled Kabuto's sleep-inducing genjutsu. In the anime, it was stated that he was offered a position in the Twelve Guardian Ninja, but turned it down in order to stay in Konoha and protect it. In Part II of the anime, he was seen being able to summon objects from scrolls to his advantage.
Shikamaru is a brilliant strategist. While his former sensei, Asuma Sarutobi, often played shōgi against Shikamaru, Asuma had never actually managed to beat him. Asuma became suspicious upon realising that Shikamaru was so good at board games, despite his abysmal grades. As a result, Asuma administered an IQ test disguised as a game to Shikamaru, which revealed that Shikamaru's intelligence was beyond that of a normal genius, with an IQof over 200 which is regarded as immeasurable intelligence. His intelligence has earned praise from the likes of Kakashi and Tobi, who considers him a regrettable opponent. Sakura once stated that Shikamaru is the smartest person in the Land of Fire.
Shikamaru is able to use his intelligence in combat to fit a number of purposes. By putting his fingers together to create a circle and closing his eyes so he can concentrate, Shikamaru considers everything that has taken place in the battle up to that point, even discerning how an opponent's techniques work. After doing this he can quickly think ten moves ahead of his opponent with over a hundred strategies ready to be used, but his real skill is choosing the best one. This analysis doubles as a way for him to avoid a fight, or at least minimise injuries for himself or his allies.
Because of his intelligence, Asuma believes that Shikamaru could become Hokage if he weren't so lazy. He is nevertheless given his share of responsibilities, such as helping the Fifth Hokage formulate defensive strategies and being made the Proxy Commander of the Fourth Division in the Fourth Shinobi World War.
Nara Clan Techniques
Shikamaru's primary supporting move is the Shadow Imitation Technique. Later, he learned the Shadow–Neck Binding Technique, which allows him to physically harm his opponent by means of a shadow hand. After the time-skip, Shikamaru also learned the Shadow Sewing Technique. This is more of an offensive technique, as his shadow can now act almost as a set of tentacles, leaping and twisting out of the air to attack multiple targets. He also has the ability to simultaneously use all of his techniques in astonishing co-ordination. Using this technique on Ino's unconscious body after she used the Mind Body Switch Technique, he is able to counter an attack from behind with ease to protect his team mate.
Shikamaru also inherited Asuma's Chakra Blades after his teacher was killed. He learned to add his shadow to the knives, and created the Shadow Imitation Shuriken Technique. This allows him to "pin" his shadow on an opponent, without the need of the Shadow Imitation Technique, giving him far greater range, flexibility, and the ability to move. Shikamaru can also use the Shadow Gathering Technique which allows him great control over his shadow allowing him to pick up and throw tools, or pull in other objects. It can be used to grab multiple objects like explosive tags, and attach them to a trapped opponent.
Having graduated from the Academy, Shikamaru was first seen in the anime to be surprised by Naruto's graduation despite the latter failing the graduation exam. He was later assigned to Team 10 along with Chōji and Ino, who said moments earlier that she would not want to work alongside someone as lazy as Shikamaru, much to his amusement.
Chūnin Exam Arc
Shikamaru, along with the rest of the Rookie Nine, participated in the Chūnin Exams, commenting that it was "such a drag" that they were up against many candidates. During the first phase, Shikamaru had already figured out the true purpose of the written exam and was glad that Ino had figured it out as well when she used her Mind Transfer Technique on Sakura.
During the second phase of the Chūnin Exams, Team 10 stumbled across Sakura Haruno being attacked by someOto genin. Although he said he didn't want to get involved, Shikamaru dragged Chōji along once Ino joined the fray. The team then initiated the Ino–Shika–Chō battle formation, Shikamaru immobilising Dosu Kinuta. Soon after,Sasuke Uchiha awakened, his newly received Cursed Seal activated. As Sasuke prepared to attack the Oto genin, Shikamaru told Ino and Chōji to join him in abandoning their roles in the battle as Sasuke's onslaught ensued.
In his preliminary battle, Shikamaru fought against Kin. He defeated Kin by sneaking his shadow under the thin strings she was using to control her bells; she did not notice that a string that thin and that far from the floor could even make a shadow. Shikamaru then took a shuriken from his pouch, with Kin, caught in his Shadow Imitation Technique, doing the same thing. Because of Kin's increased proximity to the wall of the arena, she knocked herself unconscious as Shikamaru ducked under her projectile.
In the anime was shown that he trained to the final round with Chōji. When the latter was hospitalised due to eating too much, Shikamaru brought him a basket with fruits, but Chōji was forbidden to eat it. Shikamaru then found out that Naruto Uzumaki lied at the hospital as well and when the latter waken up the two encountered Gaara who was about to kill Rock Lee. Gaara told them about Shukaku sealed within him and tried to kill them, but he was stopped by Might Guy's arrival.
One day before the final round Chōji overheard Guy and Naruto talking about the "Fourth Hokage's legacy". Chōji then told Shikamaru and Ino about this. Later Naruto and Sakura met with Team 10 at the entrance. They ended up teaming up with Sakura and Naruto to find the "Fourth Hokage's Legacy". Through out their adventure Shikamaru showed his intellect solving multiple puzzles and ending up saving the other four multiple times. In the end he decided to give the "Fourth Hokage's Legacy" to Naruto realising that as long that someone from the Konoha gets it it will be ok. However, they realised that this whole mission was made up by Guy and, partially, by Kakashi as a sort of extra special training.
In the final round, Shikamaru was matched against Temari, where it initially seemed as if he was just pointlessly attempting strategy after strategy. Temari assumed that he was simply buying time for the sun to set, furthering the range of his shadow. He was in fact manipulating her into a position in front of the exit to a tunnel which was dug out by Naruto during an earlier match, where he could guarantee that she was caught by his shadow from behind. However, after Temari was actually caught in his shadow imitation, he then simply forfeited the match, claiming to have spent too much chakra to proceed with any additional matches. Moreover, he said he did not like to hurt or hit women. Despite having forfeited, Shikamaru's brilliant strategy impressed everyone, including theHokage.
Invasion of Konoha Arc
When the invasion of Konoha began, Shikamaru was able to dispel the genjutsu that swept through the stadium, though he pretended to be asleep to avoid taking part in the battle. Sakura noticed this and forced him to help in pursuing Sasuke. As they pursued Sasuke, they discovered that nine Otoninja were following them, and Shikamaru chose to stay behind so he could stall them while the others continued to follow Sasuke. Using a clever strategy, he was able to trap eight with his shadow. However, the ninth Oto ninja hid in the trees, protecting the captured eight against Shikamaru's attacks. Despite discovering the ninth's hiding place, he could not fight off the Oto ninja, after being drained from his earlier match against Temari. Asuma arrived in time to save him, and defeated all nine Oto ninja single-handedly. Shikamaru is later seen attending theThird Hokage's funeral.
Sasuke Retrieval Arc
Because of his performance during the Chūnin Exam finals, Shikamaru was the only genin that was promoted to the rank of chūnin. Shikamaru was given his first assignment of forming and leading the Sasuke Retrieval Team to stop Sasuke from defecting from the village. Because Konoha suffered heavy casualties during the failed invasion by Sunagakure, Shikamaru was forced to limit the members of his team to genin. He immediately recruited Naruto andChōji, and then added Neji and Kiba to the team. Upon setting out, Shikamaru formulated a plan on how to approach Sasuke's escorts, the Sound Four. Their presence was detected, and they were trapped by Jirōbō. However, Shikamaru was able to find a way to escape. He was ultimately forced to leave Chōji behind to fight Jirōbō, but had no concerns that Chōji would lose, and marked the team's path so that Chōji could follow them.
The team continued to break apart, one member of the Retrieval Team engaging one member of the Sound Four. To give Naruto a chance to go after Sasuke, Shikamaru fought Tayuya. Tayuya summoned three demons, that she controlled with her flute and easily gained the upperhand against Shikamaru. Counting his remaining weapons, Shikamaru devised an elaborate plan. He threw eight kunai at Tayuya to see what finger movements she would use to protect herself with. Being unable to read her music he eventually took control of the three with his shadow, telling her how he found shogi fun because he could take over his opponent's pieces. Shikamaru then attacked with the three demons prompting Tayuya to remove the demons but she was still caught by his shadow. By activating the second stage of her cursed seal, Tayuya was able to resist Shikamaru's shadow.
Picking up a kunai that had missed her earlier she tried to slit his throat but was suddenly punched in the gut and caught by his shadow again, revealing that he only pretended to fall prey to her genjutsu, as he had used his shadow to break his finger to escape it. Shikamaru then explained about his plan and how he missed with that kunai on purpose to get her close while he then prepared his Shadow–Neck Binding Technique. As he was about to run out of chakra, he was saved by Temari. After Shikamaru gave her a tactical update she blew away her sound based genjutsu with her wind and then used asummon to finish her off.
Temari accompanied him back to Konoha, where they learned that Sasuke had escaped, and that everyone on the team suffered injuries despite being helped by Temari's two siblings, Gaara and Kankurō. Shikamaru's initial reaction to the failed mission was to quit being a ninja altogether, but his father scolded him for being such a coward, explaining that his friends would then only be led by some other ninja. If they were to die under that ninja's command, Shikamaru would feel worse for not having been there to try and save them. When he was informed that everyone on the team would make a full recovery, Shikamaru cried out of joy and relief, and resolved to do better next time.
He later saw Temari and the Sand Siblings off and, in the anime, was appointed as an Academy instructor.
Pre-Shippūden Filler Arcs
Shikamaru did not make as many appearances as his team-mates during the anime's arcs, being preoccupied with his Academy duties. He assisted with missions around the village, but did not play a major role until the Trap Master Arc. Shikamaru was assigned to lead the other primary genin in the investigation of a man named Gennō. Gennō had stolen blueprints that could be used to plan a potentially devastating attack during Konoha's period of reconstruction. Shikamaru proved to be a shrewd detective, quickly catching onto seemingly minor clues and predicting the enemy's plans. He also proved more comfortable in his role as leader, though not without complaining to Tsunade first about having to do anything at all. In the end, he led his team to victory and beat Gennō at his own game, leading to the old man's death.
He appeared again when Gaara was challenged by the Four Celestial Symbols Men, a group of ninja wielding strange and powerful weapons. When they kidnapped one of Gaara's students, Shikamaru led the Konoha 11 (minusTenten) to provide assistance, and repay their debt from the Sasuke Retrieval Arc. Shikamaru rescued Temari from Kujaku, another wind-user. He then worked with Temari to defeat Kujaku. After the mission, he sees the Sand Siblings and Matsuri depart from Konoha.
Kazekage Rescue Arc
Two and a half years later, at the beginning of Part II, Naruto ran into Shikamaru and Temari soon after returning to the village. Naruto initially thought that Shikamaru and Temari were a couple, although both denied this, explaining that they were working on planning for the next Chūnin Exam. This later prevented him from helping with Naruto's first attempt to look for Sasuke, but he was able to help during Naruto's brief scuffle with Sai.
Twelve Guardian Ninja Arc
In the anime, when Konoha was invaded by Furido and his team, Tsunade put Shikamaru in charge of Konoha's defence. He grew frustrated that his friends were fighting on the ground while he was on the back lines. Shikamaru stated that a strategist must lead his troops from the front line, and not be afraid to take risks. After getting Ino, Shikamaru led the counter-attack against the undead, ordering an attack plan which drove the enemy back. Later, Shikamaru used his Shadow Imitation Technique to bind Sora.
Hidan and Kakuzu Arc
Shikamaru was revealed to be a member of the Nijū Shōtai, where he was teamed up with Asuma, Izumo Kamizuki, and Kotetsu Hagane in an effort to track down and eliminate any and all members of Akatsuki. Eventually, the team found one such member: Hidan, and, as Shikamaru restrained Hidan with his Shadow Imitation Technique, the rest of the team were able to co-ordinate a finishing attack on Hidan. When it was revealed that had done little to stop Hidan, Hidan's partner, Kakuzu, appeared, forcing Shikamaru to release Hidan.
As Asuma battled Hidan, Hidan began a ritual that caused all damage done to himself to be inflicted on Asuma as well. Because of Hidan's apparent immortality, Hidan was able to use this to his advantage, giving himself injuries to easily harm Asuma while not being affected by the debilitating blows himself. To help Asuma, Shikamaru captured Hidan with his shadow once again, and adopted his meditative analysis of all of Hidan's actions and words up to that point. He quickly realised that the "link", created when Hidan consumed Asuma's blood, could only be maintained by Hidan remaining within the blood seal that he had earlier drawn on the ground, so Shikamaru pulled him out of it. With damage done to Hidan no longer harming Asuma, Shikamaru tied Hidan down with his Shadow Sewing Technique, allowing Asuma to decapitate the Akatsuki member.
However, even this was not sufficient enough to kill Hidan. After Kakuzu reattached his partner's head, he joined the fight and pinned down Izumo and Kotetsu, while Hidan managed to bind Asuma to his curse jutsu again by stepping back into the blood seal. Shikamaru rushed to the aid of his sensei just as Hidan impaled himself with his spear, delivering the final blow to Asuma. Chōji and Ino arrived as back-up, and Hidan and Kakuzu were driven off. Ino tried to heal Asuma, but there was nothing she could do, and the students were only able to listen to Asuma's final words. To Shikamaru, Asuma said that he had great potential, perhaps enough to one day become Hokage. After Asuma died, Shikamaru began smoking his first and last cigarette, blaming its smoke for his tears.
Shikamaru did not attend Asuma's funeral, instead coming up with a plan to defeat the Akatsuki duo. This was drawn out considerably in the anime, where his father made an attempt to comfort him with a game of Shogi, though Shikamaru could only blame himself and was too invested in revenge. When he finished his preparations, he set out with Ino and Chōji. They were stopped by Tsunade, who insisted that they stick to the usual four-man team. Kakashiappeared, and volunteered to help, so Shikamaru quickly modified the plan to accommodate for his presence.
Upon finding Hidan and Kakuzu, Shikamaru used Asuma's trench knives, swelling with his shadow, to restrain the Akatsuki members by pinning their shadows. With the two unable to fight back, Shikamaru prepared to trap the two with his Shadow Imitation Technique to allow him more of an advantage, though Kakuzu was able to escape before Shikamaru could ensnare him. With Hidan under his control, Shikamaru used Hidan to attack Kakuzu, forcing him into a corner where Kakashi attacked him with his Lightning Cutter. This destroyed only one of Kakuzu's four extra hearts, and, surprised by this turn of events, Kakashi and Team 10 regrouped. After being left on the defensive for a while, Shikamaru concluded that they must separate Hidan and Kakuzu if they were to win. To this end, Shikamaru again caught Hidan with his shadow, and led him away.
Once far enough, he covered the area in explosive tags to corner the immortal. The time limit on his Shadow Imitation then ran out, so Hidan was able to attack him, get some blood, and initiate his ritual. Hidan quickly stabbed himself in the heart, causing an apparently dead Shikamaru to keel over. Shikamaru was, however, alive and well; the blood had been Kakuzu's, Kakashi having taken a sample when he earlier used Lightning Cutter. In effect, Hidan stabbed Kakuzu in the heart. With Hidan oblivious, Shikamaru tried to decapitate him with a short sword. The cut was too shallow to sever the immortal's head, prompting Shikamaru to capture him in a Shadow Imitation instead - albeit a much weaker one at this point, with his chakra running low.
As Hidan tried to attack Shikamaru, Shikamaru used his Shadow Gathering Technique to cover Hidan with the explosive tags in the area. With Hidan tied in place, Shikamaru activated a mark he had prepared before the battle, causing the ground beneath Hidan to collapse into a pit. Hidan cursed at saying once he was free he would kill him, but Shikamaru explained that thesurrounding forest was the property of the Nara clan; only they were allowed to enter or leave the forest, thus ensuring that Hidan's remains would never be found while one of his clan's deer, Rikumaru watched on. In the anime, after lighting a cigarette, Shikamaru flicked Asuma's lighter at Hidan, setting off all of the explosive tags at once. Hidan's remains fell into the pit and, as he swore vengeance against Shikamaru, Shikamaru forced a cave-in. With the battle won, he regrouped with his team escorted by Rikumaru, Kakuzu having also been defeated by Naruto, and returned home. When he got back, Shikamaru stated to Kurenai that it is now his ambition to protect and train the next generation of ninja.
Invasion of Pain Arc
Shikamaru was left in charge of deciphering Jiraiya's dying message about Pain. When informed by Shiho that theKonoha Cryptanalysis Squad couldn't break the code without some sort of key, Shikamaru approached Naruto for help. Using his own experiences with Asuma's death, he helped him to get over Jiraiya's death, pointing out that they would someday both have students, and would also go to great lengths to protect them, just like Asuma and Jiraiya. Revitalised, Naruto helped to decipher the code which revealed the message: "The real one is not among them." Shikamaru proceeded to figure out what this meant, but was interrupted by Pain's invasion of Konoha.
In the anime, Shikamaru immediately goes to check on Kurenai, arriving in time to kill the Giant Centipede attacking nearby. He then helped Kurenai to an underground passage to evacuate. After the village's destruction, he and his father were shown to have survived, although Shikamaru received a broken leg when he shielded Shiho from harm. They regrouped with Ino and her father, and pooled their knowledge of Pain to try and figure out his secret. They discovered that Pain had a main body that must be nearby, so Inoichi and Shikaku went looking for it. Because his leg made it difficult to move, Shikamaru stayed behind, later joining in on the celebration of Naruto's victory over Pain.
Konoha History Arc
During Iruka's flashback of Naruto as a young prankster, Shikamaru was shown to be curious as to why Naruto was hated by the majority of the village. At one point he and Chōji wintessed a shopkeeper assaulting Naruto while the latter was harmlessly browsing for a face mask. Seeing everyone glaring at Naruto with hostility, Shikamaru asked his father why Naruto was viewed like a disease. Shikaku did not answer his son's question but told him to follow his own feelings. When Shikamaru and Chōji next saw Naruto heading off to the back hills on a dare of three boys, he remembered that a battle had taken place there quite recently and bearing no hostility towards him, tipped Iruka off of the danger Naruto was unknowingly walking into.
Back in the present Shikamaru, along with Shiho, was looking at a table filled with salvaged photos of villagers. They were trying to sort them out to give them back to their rightful owners.
Shikamaru remembers a time when Team Asuma, along with Team Kakashi, went on a mission where they had to save a Village Headman's granddaughter from a gang boss named Baji. After analysing the situation, he recommends Kakashi and Asuma to take an alternate route to the boss' fortress. After infiltrating the boss' fortress, he agrees for a hostage exchange between himself and a man named Tōfu. He is then taken up to a secret room where the Headman's granddaughter is being kept. Moments later, Ino and Chōji catch up with him, apprehend Baji and save the girl, completing their mission.
Five Kage Summit Arc
When news reaches Konoha of Sasuke's recent dealings with Akatsuki, Team 10, Team 8, and Team Guy decide that they should personally kill Sasuke before he involves the village in a war. Shikamaru volunteers to approach Team 7 on the group's behalf and inform them of their decision. Sakura reluctantly agrees with him. Because Naruto is in the Land of Iron, Sakura offers to tell him for Shikamaru. When Naruto returns to Konoha he meets with Shikamaru and the others to tell them he understands their reasons, but asks that dealing with Sasuke be left to him.
Confining the Jinchūriki Arc
Shikamaru and his father attend a war council to discuss the village's preparations for the looming Fourth Shinobi World War. Although Shikaku believed his son too young and inexperienced to be there, Shikamaru resolved to use every brain cell he had to memorise everything during the meeting. In the anime, before attending the meeting, he sees Naruto being chased by Konohamaru and he can't seem to get Naruto and the Nine-Tails out of his mind and remembers of what Hinata and Yamato said to him earlier, resolving to doing everything possible to protect him.
Shinobi World War Arc
When the war begins, Shikamaru is placed in the Fourth Division alongside Chōji. Although Gaara is technically the commander, Temari tells Shikamaru that, as Gaara's proxy, he is effectively in command. Shikamaru, Chōji, and other members of their division are later sent to provide support for the First Division. They meet up with Ino - sent as backup from her own division - and they team up to help Darui fight Kinkaku. Shikamaru restrains Kinkaku with his shadow but only barely holds him long enough for Ino to use the Mind Body Switch Technique on Kinkaku, leading to Kinkaku's capture within theKohaku no Jōhei. Ino–Shika–Chō next engages the revivedKakuzu. As they prepare to face him yet again, he points out that he is not the only ninja to have been revived: Asuma is on the battlefield too.
As Asuma's students and thus experts on his fighting style, Shikaku leaves fighting him to Ino–Shika–Chō. Shikamaru goes after Asuma with his shadow to create an opening for Chōji to attack him, but Chōji is reluctant to attack their late teacher. While Chōji struggles to find his resolve, Shikamaru tries to hit Asuma with his Shadow Imitation Shuriken Technique. Asuma blocks it with a kunai and goes after Chōji, forcing Ino to transfer her consciousness to Chōji's body and fight for him. Shikamaru looks after her unconscious body, using his shadow to make it imitate defensive actions against white Zetsu. With encouragement from Shikamaru, Ino, and even Asuma, Chōji finds the resolve to fight. Shikamaru again uses his shadow to create an opening, allowing Chōji to fling Asuma into a cliff wall. Shikamaru pins him there with Asuma's old Chakra Blades. Defeated, Asuma congratulates them on their perfect teamwork before being sealed.
The battle continues into the night and Shikamaru assists Chōji in mopping up the rest of the revived ninja. Before they can claim victory, Tobi appears on the battlefield with the Demonic Statue of the Outer Path. While the Statue wreaks havoc, Tobi goes after the Kohaku no Jōhei and the Benihisago. Remembering information given to him by Temari about the Statue and the tailed beasts, Shikamaru deduces that Tobi plans to use the brothers'Nine-Tails-chakra. Tobi calls Shikamaru a worthy adversary for figuring out what he had planned and has the Statue attack him. He is saved by Chōji while Tobi escapes with the brothers. After the attack subsides, Shikamaru is seen planning with the rest of his team and Tenten.
The next day, in order to counter the mayhem of the White Zetsu Army clones that had infiltratedtheir ranks until Naruto arrived to differentiate them, Shikamaru has everyone draw circles around themselves that they were not allowed to leave or enter another one. When Ino asks him if they couldn't just ask questions to confirm each other's identity, Shikamaru tells her that's there too big a chance that an enemy could simply guess the right answer. He later tellsDanwho Naruto was and his dreams of becoming Hokage after Dan initially mistakes him forNawaki.
After being informed by Inoichi from HQ that Naruto and B were fighting the "masked Madara", Shikamaru and the rest of the Konoha 11 rush to his aid. As he runs, he tells Chōji that he'd expect nothing short of Naruto overdoing things on the battlefield and because of his short temper, he wasn't one to calmly think a plan through, so Naruto should wait for him.