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Warning: this article is full of spoilers. Read at your own risk or choose another article to read instead.
So, we are back to talk about Naruto. The adventures of the holder of the Nine Tailed Fox Kurama and his ninja companions are apparently endless. As we mentioned before, one of the strong points of this story is human relationships. We see alliances and enmities form, grow, develop and break in the course of Naruto’s adventures. Masashi Kishimoto, the creator of Naruto, knows well how to balance action, adventure, traditional Japanese culture references, and the occasional tender/emotional moment. Thus, this anime has some of the most unforgettable pairings in the anime world. But not all is about NaruHina (Naruto and Hinata), NaruSaku (Naruto and Sakura) or Sasusaku (Sasuke and Sakura). This still ongoing franchise has had a diverse cast of characters to love/hate or both. The result is that we have something (or someone) for all the fan’s tastes out there.
In short, in this article we are departing from the most popular couples of the Naruto universe to give attention to, what is in our opinion, an underrated one: Shikamaru and Temari. Let’s not forget that their clans have relevancy in Naruto’s world and that both characters have been present in the story since the protagonist’s childhood days. They even were invited to Naruto’s and Hinata’s wedding! It is no surprise that they are featured in all the anime seasons, in Naruto: Shippuden the movie, the OAV Hidden Leaf Village Grand Sports Festival!, and the game Naruto: ninja council. And yes, they also have their own light novel, called Shikamaru Hiden: A Cloud Drifting in Silent Darkness.
However,let’s go back to the Shikamaru and Temari we know from the anime, shall we? Our couple has well defined personality traits and backgrounds. This makes them a worthy pair to revisit and remember. So, without further ado, here we have…
5 reasons why Shikamaru and Temari fell in love.
1. Because Shikamaru is a cool guy.
Since his introduction in the very first episode of Naruto, Shikamaru is shown to have a very laid back and relaxed personality. This guy literally has his head in the clouds, avoiding responsibilities (including exams) and confrontations. He wanted to become a ninja in the beginning because he thought it was going to be fun, so, this makes other people be caught onward by his abilities. Deep inside, he has a remarkable intelligence and strategical knowledge, but only a few people know at the beginning.
Thus on his first encounter with Temari during the Chuunin exams, Shikamaru was uninterested in fighting with her, until she attacked. He looked distracted while Temari was rapidly calculating her enemy's abilities, but after a long battle, Shikamaru succeeded in moving her towards a hole where he could project his shadow, immobilizing her from behind. But, when he was going to give the final blow, he said the time for fighting was almost over and that it would be troublesome to attempt to defeat her again. Needless to say that the combat savvy Temari was surprised at the turn of the events. She didn’t know that Shikamaru had this side to him, which takes us to our next reason…
2. Because Temari is a fearless girl.
Strong voiced and stronger willed Temari appears for the first time in episode 20, where she wins and loses at the same time against Shikamaru. This ninja with the giant folding fan can be described as rather blunt and not empathic towards enemies, even to the point of cruelty. Nevertheless, when we find that Temari’s father is the Sand village’s leader and has the difficult mission of increasing the quality of their ninjas, we understand her isolated nature better. Actually, Temari’s responsible personality is the ideal compliment for Shikamaru’s free-spirit and an important motivation that ultimately pushes him to improve himself.
We can see a clear display of how their personalities coincide on episode 125, when Temari was sent to rescue Shikamaru from Tayuya. He wanted to simply retire, but she simply leveled the forest to kill the enemy, without mercy. Then, Temari asked Shikamaru how he think she did in the battle, so he made observations on her scary but beautiful smile. Yeah, a little bit weird but… love has its own weird side too.
3. Because of Shikamaru's confusing relationship with women.
There’s a reason why Shikamaru avoids trouble, and apparently, the women in his life have had a big impact on it. First of all, enter Shikamaru’s mother, a strong willed housewife and ninja who apparently dominates over Shikamaru’s father. His teammate Ino also falls in the strong and aggressive personality archetype, so Shikamaru usually does not offer resistance, doing her bidding despite finding it “troublesome”.
As Temari fits this pattern, we can assume they are the perfect partner for each other, although Shikamaru is not the ideal romantic, “shoujo” guy with her (The anime Naruto is anything but a shoujo, of course). One of the very first things Shikamaru thought about Temari during the Chuunin exams confirms it, because he decided that a man should not be defeated by a woman, but neither can he hit a woman. Shikamaru becomes able to cope with his relationship with Temari later in life, when his father shares the following words of wisdom to him: “No matter how strong-minded a woman is, she will show kindness to the man she loves”. Which takes us to our following reason…
4. Because of Temari's kindness.
Temari’s family went through difficult times not only because of her father’s attempt to improve the ninjas of their village, but also due to guarding her younger brother Gaara, who has the One Tailed beast Shukaku living inside of him. Thus, she developed a strong and trustworthy personality in order to show to her brothers that they can rely on her.
Temari has a soft side too, which she shows frequently only around Shikamaru. Even her girlfriends tease her in episode 316 of Naruto Shippuden, saying she likes an intelligent guy. Temari looks comically flustered and quickly denies it. However, when it’s in front of Shikamaru, Temari is not afraid to show it.
Temari is also concerned about Shikamaru’s improvement. For example, in episode 261, with the assembling of the Shinobi forces and other preparations for the war, Temari demands Shikamaru to “look alive” and don’t let his father down, as he is the leader of their battle division. She also is shown to believe he would be a great hokage in episode 379, as he has a clear understanding of people’s hearts and motivations.
5. Because they have similar values.
Although this couple has different and complementary personalities, they share a core set of values. We see them together more frequently as the anime progresses, sharing moments as casual as simply walking down the streets. But being raised as ninjas and having amazing skills to calculate their opponents’ movements, these two also are a great pair in battle. They were in the same division at the times of the Shinobi war, where their main motivation was to protect their friends together.
In the end, we fans find out that Temari and Shikamaru got married in Boruto: Naruto the movie. They both have become responsible citizens of Konoha Village, helping Naruto and involving their clans in the negotiations processes. The couple even has a son called Shikadai, who fights against Naruto’s son in the Chuunin exams and loses in a very similar way his father did in the past. Some things never change, but here is life proof that a well-balanced couple can have their deserved happy ending if they share the same noble objective in life.
Through the many adventures, humor and amazing action in Naruto, we can also find how different people get together and find their place in life through self-improvement. One of the main mottos of the series is to not give up, after all.
In the case of Temari and Shikamaru, they worked together slowly but constantly to become great team-mates, ninjas, and later a romantic couple. Although they don’t show it in a classical or cute way, these two care for each other and are always there for each other. So, if there is one lesson we can learn from them, is that we can’t judge people in a black and white fashion. If these two would have done so, they would have never ended up together. Instead of that, they eventually understood their interior motives and employed their differences as best as they could. Thus, Temari became more relaxed and Shikamaru more responsible, bringing balance to their relationship and becoming one of the best couples of the Naruto universe!
Which is your favorite ShikaTema moment? Would you like to see more of them in future episodes of Naruto and/or Boruto? Or how about a ShikaTema OAV, wouldn’t that be cool? We are open to all your comments and suggestions. See you soon!