Naruto: How Mourning Clouds’ Civil War ALMOST Created the Fifth Great Ninja War

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Naruto: Shikamaru's Story -- Mourning Clouds by Takashi Yano and Masashi Kishimoto, available in English from Viz Media.

In Naruto: Shikamaru's Story -- Mourning Clouds, we get a more human look at Naruto's advisor and someone who's been his best friend since childhood. Shikamaru looked after Naruto as a teen, admiring his persistence and dedication in saving the shinobi world, ensuring freedom across all lands.

That admiration is why Shikamaru was eager to work as the Hokage's right-hand man, extending their vision of peace naturally. Unfortunately, this novel showcases a darker, more rash side of Shikamaru, and it almost causes the Fifth Great Ninja War.

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Naruto holds a Kage Summit of the ninja alliance, with Darui/the Raikage of Kumogakure, Gaara/the Kazekage of Sunagakure, Chojuro/the Mizukage of Kirigakure and Kurotsuchi/the Tsuchikage of Iwagakure all present. However, based on recent intel, Shikamaru is concerned over Kurotsuchi's actions.

Apparently, Kurotsuchi is also displeased with Konoha, especially after the attempted invasion by Momoshiki and Kinishiki, which almost ended the world in a manner that reminds her of the Fourth War against Kaguya. As the topic comes up, all Shikamaru's concerns are made valid as Kurotsuchi expresses a belief that Konoha is hogging all the power to fight against such threats.

Kurotsuchi believes all nations and villages should have equal access to this kind of firepower, pointing out they can't trust the Hidden Leaf, who has weapons of mass destruction like Naruto and Sasuke. Also, she's upset they didn't notify the others of their scientific progress, which only came to light when they saw Boruto cheating using jutsu tools. She thinks Konoha is lying, stockpiling ammo and becoming even stronger.

Shikamaru defends Konoha, claiming that everyone is doing the same -- though they're just doing it at a faster pace. Still, Kurotsuchi won't be guilted, and instead continues doling the blame out as she thinks Konoha needs to share all secrets with everyone so they can all be on equal pegging, and thus, less fearful of each other. While Chojuro agrees with her, everyone else has faith in Konoha. The lack of trust riles Shikamaru up as Naruto adopts the diplomatic approach, assuaging these two leaders.

Shikamaru thinks Kurotsuchi's points are unjust since Naruto and Sasuke put their lives on the line to stop Kaguya. More so, he doesn't want to make Konoha an open book and calls out Kurotsuchi and Chojuro on the real reason they are behaving like this. Shikamaru claims they want to leave the alliance to have an excuse to work for the Land of Earth and raid the Land of Flowers, getting the minerals and resources they need. Despite offering up solutions for everyone to work together, Shikamaru is fed up as he knows they'll ignore the science anyway.

Naruto knows, though, it's Kurotsuchi's feudal lord who's pressuring her into this, but Shikamaru doesn't care. He's too emotional, and for someone who plays chess/shogi, he isn't reading the room and moving pawns around. In fact, when he uses his shadow jutsu to restrain and trap Kurotsuchi and Chojuro, it almost boils over. Naruto calms him down and defuses the situation, but he can tell it's now one step closer to civil war.

Luckily, Naruto's patience pays off as the feudal lords vote at the Continental Summit to stop a war. The alliance quells the envy and gives the would-be breakaways land that will fulfill what they need, encouraging Kurotsuchi to see the error of her ways. Especially after Naruto's heroic speech about love and unity, she understands she's misread his patience and generosity. In so doing, the old, bloody days don't return, and so, everything Naruto and Shikamaru worked hard for ends up being protected. However, as hopeful as they are, they know how fragile any alliance can be.

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