Shikamaru is one of my all-time favorite characters.
His intelligence and surprising amount of power makes him anything but a drag. People like to downplay the second part of that statement, but let’s not forget that he did immobilize Momoshiki for a bit.
Also, Shikamaru Shinden is wild.
So to investigate his power a bit further, we’re gonna dive into hypothetical fights with other anime characters and list out a handful of folks that could probably beat him.
And don’t worry, the matchups are going to be more interesting than just throwing DBZ characters around.
10. Rudeus Greyrat
Anime: Mushoku Tensei
Let’s start off with Rudeus, because I think this fight is the most debatable.
In terms of intelligence, he might not be quite on Shikamaru’s level. But he isn’t exactly dumb either.
We saw him use his spell in extremely clever ways while facing the bandits – and he has only grown stronger since.
Plus, his new quasi sharingan is a force to be reckoned with, as it easily puts him on par with elite swordsmen.
But in a life or death situations, I think Rudeus would edge out the victory simply because of how ridiculous his powers can get.
We saw him summoning an entire storm with little difficulty. So I think the chances of him firing off a giant fireball that wipes everything out is just as likely.
9. Petelgeuse Romanee-Conti
Anime: Re: Zero
I want to include this fight here because I find it absolutely hilarious.
Shikamaru’s main murder tactic is sending out his shadow arms to go and strangle his opponent. Petelgeuse pretty much does the exact same thing – only he does it with his invisible arms that are above the ground.
So the fight would just be two men staring at each other for a second, and then one of them getting strangled.
However, since it’s quicker to grab the neck from the sky than it is from the floor, I think Petelgeuse has this one in the bag.
Especially since Shikamaru can’t see his attack coming.
8. Megumi Fushiguro
Anime: Jujutsu Kaisen
I just find this matchup so fitting thematically, as both combatants deal with shadows and such.
However, when Megumi goes completely berserk, I do think he has the upper hand. Even with a rushed Domain Expansion, Megumi can completely obscure the ground and make it hard for Shikamaru to control his shadows while also spamming his own summons.
And these aren’t you typical Naruto summons. So a single kunai is not getting rid of them.
He could go in for a few hits himself, as he’s better at hand-to-hand combat than Shikamaru. But I think just keeping his distance and letting his summons do the rest would be the safer bet.
Anime: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
This is another hilarious one that came to mind while writing this list.
Alessi’s Stand resides in his shadow, and its ability is to cause rapid backwards aging for anyone who comes into contact with his shadow.
But that power can also be transferred through one’s shadow.
So Shikamaru does his thing, catches Alessi, and then just turns himself into a baby.
Yes, the de-aging really is that quick.
From that point onward, even Alessi could handle Shikamaru. There’s also the chance of Shikamaru just throwing a kunai and killing Alessi on the spot, which I find equally as hilarious, but not a great consideration for this list.
6. Katsuki Bakugou
Anime: My Hero Academia
People often like to downplay Katsuki’s intelligence because of his loud mouth. But the dude knows his way around a battlefield.
He’s extremely cautious and would not take any chances once he saw Shikamaru’s shadow crawling towards him.
Since he can stay air-born as much as he wants, he would likely just attack Shikamaru while blasting around in the air, trying to off him from a distance.
Plus, he could use his explosions to create lots of bright light all over the battlefield – thus limiting Shikamaru’s choices for attacking.
Anime: One Punch Man
Garou is just an extremely quick learner, dissecting entire battle strategies in mere moments and calculating the best option moving forward instantly.
Take that & pair it with his superhuman speed and precision, and it would actually make him quite the matchup for Shikamaru.
I honestly think the fight would go like this:
Shikamaru manages to outsmart and catch Garou. He then thinks that he killed him.
Garou comes back half-monster mode having learned the ins and outs of Shikamaru’s shadows. Garou then proceeds to kill Shikamaru.
Because seriously, Garou is so incredibly tenacious that it’s like a second ability.
Anime: Akame ga Kill!
There are a few things to cover with this fight.
First off, Lubbock is deceptively smart, laying out complex and intricate traps to defeat powerful enemies.
Secondly, his ability is versatile as all hell – it gives him plenty of ways to attack, but also some nice mobility.
And third, he can get into the air rather quickly. So he can avoid a large chunk of Shikamaru’s kill potential.
I definitely do think that Shikamaru is the smarter of the two. But I think the gap in versatility would lead to Shikamaru’s downfall.
Anime: That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
This one might sound like a joke or like a diss towards Shikamaru, but hear me out.
This little dude got really strong in the second season. Plus he has an ability that directly counters Shikamaru. Namely, he can just hop into your shadow and then hop out when he pleases, meaning that he can use Shikamaru’s own ability as a gap closer.
In terms of strength, he both reacted to and deflected the attack of a big-time army general, meaning that he’s jonin level at the very least.
And since Shikamaru isn’t exactly known for his taijutsu, I think he loses this one.
2. Hisoka Morow
Anime: Hunter x Hunter (2011)
Hisoka is the master of using a simple ability to do amazing things. He’s quite a good match for Shikamaru in that regard.
He’s also insanely intelligent and powerful.
Being that his Bungee Gum has the properties of both rubber and gum, I think Shikamaru would have a hard time keeping up with the murder clown.
Hisoka could easily pull Shikamaru towards him, stick him to the ground, or even use Shikamaru’s kunai against him.
And Shikamaru can’t see chakra. So he wouldn’t see Bungee Gum either, while Hisoka is more than capable of keeping his eyes on the ground for any stray shadows.
This dude is a master illusionist so I don’t think it would be all that easy to actually trick him.
1. Zora Ideale
Anime: Black Clover
And finally we have Zora.
This is honestly the fight I would like to see the most, as I think it’s the closest and most interesting one by far.
Just like Shikamaru, Zora is a brilliant strategist who can correctly foresee the outcome of battles and plan around them appropriately, setting up traps and countermeasures wherever necessary.
He also likes to put up a lazy front quite often.
So why do I think that Zora would win?
To be honest, just because of versatility.
Unlike Shikamaru, Zora has multiple kinds of traps, not just his iconic uno reverse card.
He can trap you, paralyze you, or even slightly damage you, depending on what he puts down. So if we give both of these characters the prep time they usually need, I think Zora would barely win thanks to his kit.
But honestly I could see them becoming friends just as easily.