According to most Naruto fans, Sasuke Uchiha is the titular hero’s closest and truest best friend. There’s no denying that Naruto and Sasuke have an extremely important bond. But while their friendship is one of the most predominant in the story, Sasuke is far from Naruto’s best friend. Instead, that honor goes to Shikamaru Nara.
Though it may not seem like it at first, Shikamaru has always been one of Naruto’s greatest friends. Since the beginning, he’s always been in Naruto’s corner and was willing to be by his side when no one else would. Though Sasuke seems like the obvious choice, Shikamaru is undoubtedly Naruto’s real best friend, and there are many reasons why.
10/10 Unlike The Others, Shikamaru’s There For Naruto From The Start
At the start of the series, Naruto was shunned by everyone in Konoha, even the other kids his age. Just like the adults of the village, his peers avoided him and constantly put him down. However, there was one who treated him like an equal even then.
Shikamaru never saw a reason to shun Naruto, and he even made an effort to get to know him. Despite what others may have said, Shikamaru went against the rest and gave Naruto someone to talk to when he had no one else. Although the other kids came around years later and soon grew to love Naruto too, Shikamaru was there from the start.
9/10 Shikamaru Was The First Friend Naruto Made
Shikamaru was probably the first friend Naruto ever made in his entire life. When all the other kids turned him away, Shikamaru gave him a chance, and soon, the two were inseparable. After a while, Choji joined in on their antics, and the three became an iconic young trio, getting into all sorts of mischief together around the village.
Without this early friendship, Naruto may not have turned out to be the kind and loving kid everyone knows and loves. Shikamaru gave Naruto a chance, and it ultimately took him down the right path.
8/10 Shikamaru Treats Naruto With Respect
One thing that makes Shikamaru’s relationship with Naruto stand out among the rest is that he treats him no differently from anyone else. He gives Naruto the same level of respect he would any of the others, even when his peers are quick to put him down.
Even as children, Shikamaru trusts Naruto, even when the adults around him warn him otherwise. Throughout their time at the Academy and on into their ninja careers, Shikamaru has remained one of the few members of the Konoha 11 to truly respect Naruto.
7/10 Shikamaru Accepts Naruto Even Before They Become Friends
Shikamaru and Choji were some of Naruto’s very first friends, even when everyone else was against him. However, Shikamaru initially had no intention of befriending the young outcast. Despite that, he found he couldn’t bring himself to avoid him.
Something drew him to Naruto, even when he claimed he wasn’t interested. Though he didn’t consider Naruto a friend at first, he still accepted him pretty quickly. He saw Naruto’s daily suffering and questioned it, deciding instead to help make his life a little better.
6/10 Shikamaru’s Always Quick To Help Naruto Out
Whenever Naruto needs a helping hand, Shikamaru is almost always on the job. Even when he’d rather be doing anything else, he still tends to go out of his way for him, no matter how much of a “drag” it is.
Whether it’s a small favor or a perilous mission, Naruto can pretty much always count on Shikamaru when he’s in need. While the others are willing to help just as much as the series progresses, Shikamaru remains consistently the only one to have Naruto’s back no matter the situation.
5/10 Shikamaru Stands Up For Naruto More Than Anyone Else
Shikamaru is just about always on Naruto’s side, no matter the situation. Though he’s not always his most vocal supporter, he stands up for him when the going gets tough. Sometimes it’s not as apparent, but Shikamaru has his subtle ways of showing support throughout the series, and he’s often the one to convince others to trust Naruto.
Later on in the story, Shikamaru is easily Naruto’s biggest supporter, and he’s often quick to come to his defense when needed. He’s been there for Naruto even when some of his closest friends were against him, showing how loyal he truly is to his childhood friend.
4/10 Shikamaru Helps Naruto Search For Sasuke, Even When Others Want To Quit
When Sasuke first leaves the village, everyone works together to bring him home. Shikamaru and the rest of the gang are quick to help out, knowing all too well how important it is to both Naruto and Sakura. But as their failures pile up, Shikamaru remains one of the few hold-outs to stay by Naruto’s side.
Even Sakura begins to doubt whether they should continue, but Shikamaru remains faithful, knowing there’s no way to change Naruto’s mind once he’s decided on something. Though only Naruto is capable of bringing back Sasuke, he couldn’t have done it without friends like Shikamaru backing him the whole time.
3/10 Shikamaru Shows Naruto Empathy & Support After Jiraiya’s Death
After Jiraiya’s tragic death, Naruto is completely beside himself with grief. Shikamaru is one of the few characters who really understand what he’s going through at the time, after losing his own mentor before. During Naruto’s time grieving, Shikamaru comes to support him, giving him empathy and understanding.
Shikamaru also reminds Naruto of the many things in the world left to fight for, giving him the strength to bounce back from this devastating blow. Shikamaru consoles Naruto in a way no one else can. His support is a big reason why Naruto’s able to get back up and fight another day.
2/10 Shikamaru Supports Naruto’s Dream Of Becoming Hokage
Everyone knows about Naruto’s life-long dream of becoming Hokage, but few actually seem to believe he can accomplish it. Most seem to wave him off, hardly taking his words seriously. Even Shikamaru seems to come off that way sometimes, due to his indifference. However, he’s actually one of Naruto’s biggest supporters.
Especially near the end of the series, Shikamaru is adamant about Naruto fulfilling his dream, and he even actively helps him make it a reality. Few others believe in Naruto quite like Shikamaru does, and it’s honestly partially thanks to his undying support that Naruto eventually does become Hokage.
1/10 Shikamaru’s Naruto’s Right-Hand Man After He Becomes Hokage
When Naruto finally achieves his dream and becomes Hokage, he appoints Shikamaru as his right-hand man. It’s easy to assume that Naruto would want Sasuke or even Sakura for the job instead, but Naruto trusts Shikamaru with this position more than anyone.
After years of friendship, they’ve formed a strong bond built on loyalty and trust, so Naruto knows he can rely on him completely. Shikamaru has always been the one by Naruto’s side since the beginning, and he’s sure to continue fighting alongside one of his oldest friends long into the future.
NEXT: 10 Characters Who Would Have Made Better Nine-Tails Hosts Than Naruto