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The Naruto Sidekick Who Should Have Been Hokage All Along

In the "Naruto" universe, Hokage is the title given to the military and political leader of the Hidden Leaf Village. A kind of combination between a general and a mayor, the Hokage are some of the most influential political leaders in the Land of Fire. Generally, Hokage are considered the strongest ninja in the village, and as a result they draw the respect and admiration of the villagers they protect. This is the main reason why the show's eponymous protagonist makes it his lifelong goal to become Hokage. But while Naruto (voiced in the English dub by Maile Flanagan) eventually reaches his goal and becomes a village hero, there are other ninja just as qualified.

After all, Naruto isn't the only strong ninja in the Hidden Leaf Village. He's certainly not the smartest. As a result, there are many Leaf Ninja who, despite being overwhelmingly weaker than Naruto, could potentially do a better job than him. Perhaps the greatest example is one of Naruto's childhood classmates, Shikamaru Nara (Tom Gibis).

Why Shikamaru would make a great Hokage

Realistically speaking, there's a lot more that goes into being a political leader than just raw strength. The idea that the Hidden Village's strongest soldier should be its leader is therefore a little suspect. Wearing the Hokage mantle requires a lot more than just toughness and ninja skills. There are a slew of administrative tasks that need to be completed every day, as well. For that reason, Shikamaru Nara would be the ideal candidate for the Hokage position.

Despite being an avid slacker, Shikamaru is one of the most valuable assets of the Hidden Leaf Village. Like Naruto, Shikamaru has a burning drive to preserve the village's future. However, he uses his unmatched intelligence to solve problems, not just his muscles. He was born with an I.Q. over 200, and has served as an advisor to every Hokage since Lady Tsunade (Debi Mae West) took the mantle when he was just a teenager (via Narutopedia).

In the end, this makes Shikamaru one of the only people both intelligent and experienced enough to handle the duties of Hokage. Naruto, while brimming with both strength and moral righteousness, specializes more in combat than politics. And while the Hokage may be a military leader, they're still defined by how well they handle their administrative and political duties.