Shikamaru After Asuma’s Death!
After Asuma’s death by Akatsuki, especially Hidan and Kakuzu, the show displayed the impact of this shinobi’s death on everyone more specifically on his team and even more so on Shikamaru.
Nara Shikamaru is shown all day and all night apparently thinking about his sensei evident by the bag under his eyes and passing of time. Shikamaru became restless and even lost his appetite. Shikaku notices his son’s crippling depression and calls him to play shogi, as they are used to, even though the games they play is different from the others. When Shikaku realized that Shikamaru was playing recklessly, he breaks his silence by telling him and asking what he plans to do next, but not in the game, and while the conversation continued, Shikaku focused his one-sided dialogue on being careful and he asked his son again what he was going to do next and as the conversation continued Shikamaru’s body language slowly change, he starts to sit with his back straight, ready to play, and as his father continues to question him about his fallen mentor and how much he cares for his son. The last time he asked what he was going to do next, Shikamaru stared blankly at his father, he hesitated to put his shoulders piece.
Shikaku kept telling his son that he was proud of him and that he was smart and talented and that he didn’t want to see his son’s funeral. Then came the realization when Shikaku told him about, “The Dead of Asuma” with all the rage boiling inside of him, Shikamaru knocks down the shogi board this realization is matched by the candle being shot out which changes the room lighting from dark orange to empty gray. Shikaku understands that his son is fighting over something he cannot control and cannot prevent, the past. The sage leader of the Nura clan said something that we don’t quite hear in Naruto, but also in life that goes against the norm where the Jonin is expected to be strong-willed and emotionless. Shikaku urges Shikamaru to let go of all fear, anger, and sadness, which are the first steps to sadness.
Shinobi have seen so much death, loss, and pain that they accumulate each and every experience inside of them. These ninjas are taught not to express their feelings or even to show that these incidents are work-related. They become so desensitized to death around them that they force themselves to move on and never give themselves time to process openly and mourned the loss.
The scene became even stronger because of the person in it, Shikamaru is considered one of the smartest ninja on the show second only to his father. Shikamaru is intelligent, a very logical and rational person but often logically rational people, are not in tune with their emotions because emotion and logic are seen and known to be mutually contradictory. Most of the characters on Naruto have showcased some form of emotion at least once when death occurs, but the genius Shikamaru we know and love till this scene was very lazy and emotionless and always said how was a drag but hearing his chilling sobs really enforced his devastation.
Shikamaru lost one of the most important people in his life, and Shikaku knew his son’s restlessness and desire to take revenge, so the head of the Nura clan forced his son to let go of the anger and rage that had built up inside him.
Shikaku’s role as a caring father making his son let go of all the emotions really caught everyone’s attention. It was so carefully portrayed, written, and managed to remain true to the dynamic between the wise father and his wounded son.