A Ninja Called Shikamaru
"I thought I could be a ninja, make some money ...
and then marry a woman, who is not so petty and not so ugly.
We would have two children. The first is a girl and the next is a boy...
When our daughter would have been married and our son could be fully independent, I would retire from my job...
I would play shoji or go everyday leisurely, living out the would. And then I would die before my wife...
I want to live this kind of life... "
In NARUTO Manga, Shikamaru should be an ordinary character. He is not handsome enough, but not ugly; he is not cool enough, but not common; he is not strong enough, but not weak; he appears not that little, but not that much.
In a word, he is not outstanding from any aspect. He is the one can only be found with a magnifier in the group photo of leaf village ninja.
Although he is this kind of person, he always appears in the top five in many Popularity Polls.
Shikamaru has a special point in NARUTO--his view of live--that is what we quoted above. His view of life is not greatness, but not vulgar. That is what Shikamaru wants, and that is the main reason why his fans like him. One of key themes of NARUTO manga is to pursue the meaning of life.
Almost in every big fight, both sides would look back their life and have a debate about the meaning of life; just like the debates among philosophers in the ancient Athens, who lost in the debates, who lost in the final fight.
Apparently, NARUTO shows fights between ninjas, but it actually shows us debates of life philosophy; just like the Fashion shows on TV, the view of life is often defined by a specific occupation, such as policeman, lawyer, chef and so on.
In NARUTO, one ninja is one carrier of view of life. Many ninja burden this heavy theme, even Akimi Chichoji, who loves eating a lot, also worried about the meaning of life.
But Shikamaru is different. He almost never discussed this with others because he already has a goal that can be realized without trying hard. He is not confused on this.
Different from Naruto, who is always active and rash, or Uchiha Sasuke, who is always playing cool, Shikamaru gives us a calm feeling.
This calm comes from his deep belief of his view of life, while those who always talk about it in fact don't make sure of it, like Natuto, Sasuke, Orochimaru, or they will not want to prove it to everyone they met.
Of course, just due to this, they are the main roles and readers gain the echo from their fights and progress.
Another reason why Shikamaru is so popular is that he gives us a feeling of safe. Imagine it, a group led by Shikamaru and the other led by Naruto, and it is obviously the former is safer.
This safe feeling comes from Shikamaru's strong sense of responsibility. In the task of bringing Sasuke back, before they departed, he said to teammates:
"I have not deep connection with me and I don't like this guy. But Sasuke is one ninja of leaf village, and he is our fellow, so we should try our best to save him back.
This is the style of Leaf. Although I am such a person, I will not afraid of this trouble. Because my move is crucial to your lives."
As for sense of responsibility, we must mention his another typical pet phrase:
As to responsibility, Shikamaru always tries to avoid it, even if in the chunin test, such a big issue that can inspire people, he was pushed off the bleachers and forced to have a reference.
We can learn his sequestered thoughts from the title of this episode "the cloud is really good...The man with zero passion"
But retiring from the world doesn't mean to escaping his responsibility, just like what he said to teammates before leaving In the task of bringing Sasuke back.
Shikamaru doesn't want to involved in troubles but it doesn't mean he is unwilling to take responsibility rashly at uncertain circumstance; once he promised, he would keep it.
We often see the situation that people promised rashly to take responsibility of work, marriage and friend, and then the passion passed, they would give up when they faced difficult. This is just the escaping attitude of common people.
In the view of life in NARUTO, people always have a good feeling of being admitting when they made a promise, such as the moment they sit down in the new office, the moment lover lay on their chest, the moment they said "I will take it." to friends on the table beating their chest. But don't forget that means we have new responsibility.
Usually, we can not take them, or we are unwilling to try hard. We just want to enjoy the feeling of being admitted of that moment.
Look, if Shikamaru were like Orochimaru, without sense of responsibility, how could such a strong personality charm come out just through view of life that is not so great and not so vulgar?
So, Shikamaru's indifferent view of life is not the reflection of idealist, but a dream comes from realism.
I like Shikamaru. I want to be like him to find the dream that I believe deeply and try hard for my responsibility.
Naruto Manga is still ongoing, you can watch it on Mangahere!!!