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The Real Reason Shikamaru Was Created In Naruto

For many manga readers, Masashi Kishimoto's "Naruto" is the story that got them into the genre. The manga, as well as the anime series, follows the plucky Naruto Uzumaki, an orphan boy who has the Nine-Tailed Fox sealed inside him and dreams of becoming Hokage, the greatest ninja in the land. The series was adapted into two animes, "Naruto" and "Naruto: Shippuden," as well countless movies, video games, and even a 2015 sequel called "Boruto: Naruto the Movie." Even after its end, Kishimoto's work has had a huge impact, both on fans and other creators, and it isn't likely it will be disappearing any time soon. 

One of the most popular characters is Shikamaru Nara, Naruto's friend and classmate. Known for his Shadow Imitation Jutsu, Shikamaru has been heavily featured in the series, given deep storylines about grief and proving his worth time and time again. However, some may not know that Shikamaru wasn't always in Kishimoto's plans for the world of "Naruto." In fact, there is a specific storyline that serves as the inspiration for the character's creation.

Shikamaru can outmatch everyone

Masashi Kishimoto revealed in an interview with Fuji Television (translated by a fan Yagami1211) that Shikamaru's conception occurred while he was writing the Chunin Exam Arc. When he asked to flesh out the exam process, he had the idea to create a character that would outmatch his classmates. He wanted Shikamaru to be the only person in Naruto's generation to pass, and though he is the only one officially named Chunin, the test is interrupted by the arrival of Orochimaru. Shikamaru has obviously proven to the higher-ups that he has what it takes, but it is disappointing not to be able to see him at his best.

That isn't the end of Shikamaru, though, and Kishimoto had many opportunities to flesh the ninja out. He shines during his battle with Temari (whom he eventually ends up marrying), and he must deal with the trauma of losing his mentor, Asuma. His intelligence gives him an edge over his enemies, which helps him on his quest to get stronger and be worthy of the Nara name.