When he became a genin, Shikaku was partnered with Chōza Akimichi and Inoichi Yamanaka under an unknown member of the Sarutobi clan.
In the anime, nearing the end of the Third Shinobi World War, his team was assigned to deliver a request for a peace treaty between the Konoha and Iwa. Anticipating the Iwa shinobi to turn hostile, the meeting was strategically held at the borderline of the Land of Wind, knowing that the Fourth Kazekage would oversee the meeting should a battle breakout on his land. During the Nine-Tails' attack on Konoha, Shikaku and his team-mates assisted in the village's defence. He wondered if it was Minato who had deflected the Nine-Tails' Tailed Beast Ball.
Shikaku debuted in the anime during the Chūnin Exams, attending a festival with his former team-mates and giving Inoichi Yamanaka a hard time for having a daughter. When Shikamaru came to pick him up, he instead asked his son why he was not enjoying the festivals.
During the Konoha Crush, he fought alongside his former team-mates to repel the invading forces and used the Shadow–Neck Binding Technique. He is later seen at the Third Hokage's funeral after the failed invasion.
Sasuke Recovery Mission
Later, when Shikamaru failed during the course of the mission to save Sasuke, and some of his team-mates suffered severe injuries, Shikaku spoke with him. He encouraged his son to keep his responsibility as team captain, as it might be that a team on a mission without him could have several casualties, but, if he was there, that team might end up with no casualties.
Akatsuki Suppression Mission
Shikaku appeared following Asuma Sarutobi's funeral, comforting Shikamaru about Asuma's death and offering to play shogi with him. After Shikamaru avenged Asuma and they played shōgi again, he discussed the concept of the "king" with Shikamaru before defeating him.
Shikaku was later shown to have survived Pain's destruction of Konoha, along with Shikamaru and Shiho. Apparently having some knowledge of senjutsu, he told his son not to interfere with Naruto Uzumaki's fight with Pain, and they instead regrouped with nearby villagers. He and Inoichi went searching for Pain's real body soon afterwards, only to run into Naruto, who had defeated Pain. When Naruto told them not to follow him to Pain's base, as he wished to speak with Pain alone, Inoichi argued that talking wouldn't solve anything. However, Shikaku, remembering Shikamaru's words about Naruto, convinced Inoichi to comply. When Pain then revived all those who he had killed, Shikaku realised he made the right choice in trusting Naruto.
Five Kage Summit
After the invasion, Shikaku was one of five Konoha villagers to be summoned before the Fire Daimyō to discuss the village's response and reconstruction. With Tsunade in a coma, Danzō Shimura also suggests selecting a new Hokage. Fearing that Danzō might be appointed to the position, Shikaku nominated Kakashi to become the next Hokage. Much of the council agrees, but Danzō is able to undermine Kakashi's credentials. Shikaku tried to persuade the council not to take Danzō's ideals into account, but despite that, the daimyō decided to appoint Danzō the Sixth Hokage. In the anime, after he returned to the village, he was seen with Homura and Koharu telling them that the members of Root were unusually restless. Afterwards, he was seen asking his son to talk to him about something.
Naruto the Movie: Blood Prison
During Naruto's flashback to the members of the village when he was gathering natural energy to enter Sage Mode, Shikaku can be seen amongst the villagers.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Countdown
When Danzō was killed, Shikaku was once again called before the daimyō, this time to appoint Kakashi to the position. The meeting was interrupted with news that Tsunade had woken up, bringing an end to the proceedings. As one of Tsunade's first acts, she convened a war council to decide the village's plans with the approaching Fourth Shinobi World War. Shikaku and Shikamaru attended, although Shikaku believed his son was too young to be there. Later, when Tsunade travelled to Kumogakure to meet with the other heads of the Shinobi Alliance, Shikaku went with her and stayed by her side during the meetings. Shikaku advised that she agree with the other Kage by sending the jinchūriki into hiding.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Confrontation
Shikaku is appointed the Chief Battle Strategist of the alliance and remains at headquarters with Tsunade, A, and Ōnoki. He advises the Kage on battle tactics in how to best to mobilise the troops against theWhite Zetsu Army and the various reincarnated ninja. His repeated usefulness earned the Raikage's praise. When news of Mū's reincarnation reaches headquarters, Shikaku considered reforming the original Ino–Shika–Chō to deal with him until Ōnoki opts to go instead. He soon afterwards devised a strategy to seal Kinkaku that involved the new Ino–Shika–Chō, which he relays to them through Inoichi's telepathic abilities. After they defeated Kinkaku, Shikaku tasked Shikamaru and his team mates with defeating the reincarnated Asuma as the current Ino–Shika–Chō, being Asuma's former students, are best choice to subdue Asuma without casualties.
Headquarters is later informed that the jinchūriki have escaped their confinement. Tsunade and A leave to confront them, leaving Shikaku in charge during their absence as he found himself dealing with the White Zetsu soldiers that have infiltrated all portions of the Allied forces. Shikaku analysed all he knew of the White Zetsus' abilities and the information he came across while preparing for the war to create the perfect response. As Shikaku tried to come up with a counter measure against the infiltrators, Katsuyu asks whether or not they should inform Tsunade and A of what was happening, but Shikaku declines saying that he was put in charge of the situation at headquarters while the Kage tried to stop Naruto and B. After careful consideration, Shikaku realises that the only way to uncover the imposters was to use Naruto's new ability to sense negative emotions through the use of the Nine-Tails' power as well as using his shadow clones to cover a larger area. After hearing this, Mabui says that there is no way A would allow Naruto to participate in the war, although Katsuyu informs them that this might not be entirely impossible due to A finally allowing Naruto and B to pass.
After hearing this, although in disbelief, Shikaku immediately contacts Naruto and B through Inoichi's telepathy and informs them of the immortal army and Madara's Eye of the Moon Plan, also warns Naruto that Madara will not listen to reason and will see his plan to the end. Later, when Gaara tells Naruto that he hopes his reason for being on the battlefield, Shikaku tells him that might be impossible due to the situation. He then tells them that he would explain as he had decided to leave the explanation until they had finished fighting Mū.
After hearing the progress that the Alliance was making on the battlefield thanks to Naruto, Shikaku exclaims that they had the upper hand on the battlefield and that all that was left was capturing Madara, who is making a bee-line towards the jinchūriki, by concentrating their remaining forces on attacking him.
Later, in the anime, the Sound Four are also summoned to the battlefield. After Neji, Shikamaru, Kiba, and Chōji seemingly defeat them, the Sound Four and Konoha-nin are struck by a strange techniquethat has left them in a comatose state. After learning the truth of the technique, that it removes the victims soul and transports it to another location, it is explains it can be dispelled like genjutsu, by pouring chakra into the actual technique. However, it has a seal that prevents even Inoichi, equipped with special enhancement tools, from being able to detect or communicate with them. When Naruto contacted HQ, Shikaku explained the situation, encouraging Naruto to save his son and the others.
As the Allied Shinobi Forces seeming to have taken a decisive control of the war, the mild celebration at headquarters is cut short by Ao's detection of a new presence on the battlefield. After hearing that the real Madara Uchiha had appeared on the battlefield, headquarters try to decipher who the masked man really was then. After feeling a huge tremor he asks Inoichi what was going on. Inoichi reports that the Fourth Division was under attack. After confirming that it was definitely Madara's doing, he turns to Tsunade saying that if they continued to lose troops at this rate they'd be in trouble.
As Tsunade prepares to leave headquarters using Mabui's Heavenly Transfer Technique, Shikaku tells her that they should use the Flying Thunder God Technique to mark Katsuyu instead, but Tsunade states that she would just use her Yin seal instead. Remembering this, Shikaku tells her that it was still a big gamble to use Mabui's technique for someone that was very unlucky when it came to gambling but Tsunade tells him that gambling her life is a different story altogether. When A decides to head to the battlefield as well, despite Mabui's pleas, Shikaku deems that the crisis battlefield is the needed time for the commanders to move out into the front lines. Contacting Genma, he tells him that he should prepare to teleport Mei to Tsunade who was heading to the battlefield.
Assuming the role as leader again at headquarters, Shikaku asks for the status of the other battlefields. After hearing this, he orders them to inform the First, Second, Third and Fifth Divisions to back Naruto and B up as soon as their fights are over. After receiving intelligence from the Ao and the other sensors, in an effort to boost everyone's morale at once and get backup for the men fighting Tobi, Shikaku requests that Inoichi communicate with all the members of the Allied Shinobi Forces and tell them their position.
Fourth Shinobi World War: Climax
Later, when the Sensing Water Sphere became severely distorted, Shikaku ordered Inoichi and Ao to check on the situation to confirm his assumption. Formulating a strategy during the time Naruto took to chide the opposition, Shikaku relayed his plan to all the members of the Alliance via Inoichi. But when their initial efforts to trap the Ten-Tails failed upon the beast's maturation, Shikaku began to gather intel in order to formulate a new battle strategy. When the beast begins firing off Tailed Beast Balls in far off distances, Shikaku asked Inoichi where the attack was heading, but soon realised that the opposition was targeting HQ. Telling the others that there was nothing they could do but continue to fulfil their duties until the very end, Shikaku had Inoichi patch him through to the Alliance one final time to give them his final plan of attack and to say farewell to his son before HQ was destroyed by the Ten-Tails's attack.
Praised by many for his genius, Shikaku was a tactical, and analytical master. His clan kept a medical encyclopaedia, thanks to which Tsunade was able to save Chōji Akimichi due to the detailed research that was done on the Three Coloured Pills. Garnering praise even from Kumogakure's Fourth Raikage, he was accredited as the reason why Konoha had always been such a difficult opponent. As testament to this, during the Fourth Shinobi World War, Shikaku was assigned the position of Chief Strategist and later Proxy Commander of the forces. Most, if not all, of the strategies that Shikaku concocted ended with positive results for the Alliance and allowed them to secure the upper hand during the war. When HQ was targeted by the remaining enemy forces, Shikaku, resolute in his duty, was able to pass on one last strategy to the Alliance part of which involved the use of Kurama's chakra which the beast would later praise him for. Before being killed, Shikaku seemed regretful when telling his son Shikamaru that all he was able to do for him as a father was play shōgi, however, his son noted that was more than enough because he also grew up watching his father. Shikaku, likewise was confident enough in his son to leave the rest of analytical aspects of the war to him.
Years after his death, he would posthumously gain a grandson, Shikadai, when his son married Temari.
- The iron clad rule of battle strategy is to take the advantage by mobilizing troops.
- If the enemy advances from two directions instead of engaging both sides you counter by attacking one side with your full force.
- Black Spider Lily
- Ino-Shika-Cho Formation
- Ninja Art: Shadow Possession Jutsu
- Ninja Art: Shadow Stitching Jutsu
- Ninja Art: Shadow Strangle Jutsu
As a jōnin-level shinobi and head of his clan, Shikaku was undoubtedly a very powerful shinobi. According to Kakashi, Shikaku's talents would make him a highly-capable Hokage. His skills and reliability garnered him high respect from other powerful ninja, such as the five Kage, especially A and Ōnoki, the former trusting him enough to lead and command the entire Allied Shinobi Forces in the Kages' stead while they went to face Madara.
Like other Nara, he had mastered many of his clans secret techniques which revolve around the use of shadows. His prowess with these were witnessed during the Konoha Crush when he effortlessly bound and killed several invading shinobi. In the anime, he also displayed great control over his shadow able to use the Black Spider Lily technique to bind several shinobi, while at the same time freely using a tendril of his shadow to move his comrade to safety.
Along with this, Shikaku could work flawlessly with his team-mates, Chōza and Inoichi, due to the strong bond forged between their clans and their long-standing friendship. This was again seen in the anime most prominently where Shikaku was able to use his techniques to support his team-mates as well as garner support for his own techniques — for example using Chōza's large shadow to facilitate his use of the Black Spider Lily technique.
Above his ninjutsu skills, Shikaku was even more renowned for his intellect. He had carried on his family's tradition of keeping a medicalencyclopaedia filled with various information, such as remedies for theThree Coloured Pills of the Akimichi clan — which Tsunade has praised him for. He regularly defeated his son Shikamaru — who himself is a genius with an IQ of over 200 — at shōgi, without the latter realising that the game was even lost.
During the Fourth Shinobi World War, his years of experience and skills were put to great use. He was appointed the Chief Strategist of the Allied Shinobi Forces and showed himself to be a shrewd tactician and strategist, able to quickly and calmly analyse a great deal of information, anticipate actions and use it to quickly formulate or reformulate highly effective plans. Because of these skills he was praised by the Fourth Raikage who stated that he now understood why Konoha had been so hard to take down. His skills once again became useful when the remainder of the Allied Shinobi Forces assembled to face the Ten-Tails, as he was able to put together a strategy utilising all the villages various ninjutsu, in mere moments, even though they had only recently shared information about their techniques with him. This feat lead Temari to praise him for his skills.
- (To Shikamaru) "No matter how strong-minded a woman is, she will show kindness to the man she loves."
- (To the invading Suna shinobi) "Oh, come on. If you've never heard of the Shadow Bind Technique, then you'll love this next one: the Konohagakure's Shadow–Neck Binding Technique."
- (To Shikamaru) "Even if you quit being a shinobi, missions will still occur. Someone will carry them out. Your companions will just go out with a new leader. So then, maybe your companions will die… but if you're their leader that time, your companions may not reach that end… If you look at this time as an experience and you learn from it, maybe you can carry out your missions with less problems. If your companions are really important to you… before you think about running away, consider that you may become greater for the sake of your friends!"
- (To the new generation Ino–Shika–Chō) "Legends from the distant past are always exaggerated, but eventually, someone outdoes them… that's when new legends are born!"
- (To the new generation Ino–Shika–Chō) "If he's powered by the Nine Tails, you're powered by the bonds of Ino–Shika–Chō! Have faith in your teamwork."
- (To himself) "Cool head, agile mind."
- (Last words) "We do what we have to do until the end, it's our last job. Connect me to the people on the battlefield, I have a strategy to stop the Ten-Tails."
- Shika means "deer", but Shikaku can mean "assassin". It is also a game of logic. It can also mean "square" when written "四角".
- According to the databook(s):
- Shikaku wished to fight his son, Shikamaru, in shōgi.
- His hobby was looking after deer.
- Before Shikaku was killed, he told Shikamaru to get rid of a "certain something" in the wooden box on the left-hand shelf of his closet without Yoshino finding out.