Shikamaru Nara (奈良シカマル, Nara Shikamaru) is a major supporting character of the series. He is a chūnin-level shinobi of Konohagakure's Nara clan and a member of Team Asuma. Along with his team-mates, he makes up the new generation of Ino-Shika-Chō, just like their fathers were before them.
Shikamaru was born into the Nara clan to Shikaku and 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 and Naruto 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.