Fanfic / Chiaroscuro (Fanfic)

But I never forgot my father's boogeyman, and all throughout my life, his words – words that he didn't even know I had heard – would haunt me.
"Those who walk the shadows may very well become one with them."
Chapter 1

Chiaroscuro is a Naruto fanfiction by boomvroomshroom. It is set in an Alternate Universe where Shikamaru is born hardworking like his mother instead of lazy like his father. Because of that, he beats out Sasuke for Rookie of the Year and ends up being put on Team 7 under Kakashi along with Ino and Naruto. (Sasuke is put on Team 10 with Asuma, Hinata, and Choji; Sakura is put on Team 8 with Kurenai, Kiba, and Shino.)

Though it starts out similar to canon, it very quickly devolves into something a lot more complex, involving original missions and plenty of scheming within Konoha and the rest of the ninja world. Despite the "smarter and darker" setup, Chiaroscuro does well in avoiding the overpowered hero pitfall by consistently setting up believable challenges and mistakes, caused by incomplete information rather than logical errors. It also regularly features many different types of intelligence, such as strategy, logic, deception, self-awareness, and maturity, and with it, strong yet relatable characters.

With its distinctive blend of humor and drama, Chiaroscuro definitely lives up to its name.

(Not to be confused with Chiaroscuro, the art trope.)

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Fanfic/Chiaroscuro provides examples of:

  • Boring Yet Practical: Kawarimi, Henge, and the Headhunter are often used, and for good reason.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Ino defeats Lee in the Chunin exams by spamming genjutsu and then hitting him when he is busy taking off his leg weights.
    • Even Kakashi admits that Raikiri is too loud and flashy to be a reliable technique. He has other original techniques, but up until Orochimaru, no one lived to tell the tale.
    • Sakura also counts, when she gets around Neji's Byakugan by using auditory genjutsu instead.
  • Cool Big Sis: Ino, after she understands Naruto a bit more.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Even goes down to explaining some important details like always researching the terrain and targets before starting a mission.
  • Dumb Blonde: Averted. Ino is sneakier than she looks. Naruto also wises up more than in the main series.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Averted. Hinata prevents Sasuke from abandoning the village by calling him out on his selfishness and punching him in the face when he tries.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Kakashi messes with the Suna nin by eating fresh sushi in front of them. And then claiming he got the fish from "ponds" (mirages) out in the desert. And then claiming he ran faster than the speed of light to catch them.
    • This gem from Ino.
    "That's alliteration. Anyone who uses alliteration in an insult is automatically disqualified from candidacy for being the team boss when sensei isn't around."
  • Shout-Out: the proctors of the Chunin Exams are two guys named Shi Masa and Moto Kishi.
    • Three of the random Genin nominated for the Chunin exams were named after well-known manga artists – Tite Kubo (Bleach), Hidekaz Himaruya (Axis Powers Hetalia), and Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball Z).
    • Three more Genin were puns of manga titles – Tama Gin (Gin Tama), Ina Yashu (InuYasha), and Ruroshin Kenrouni (Rurouni Kenshin).
  • Training from Hell: Team 7's D-ranks included chasing Tora…through the Forest of Death.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 14 is the first of many.

Alternative Title(s): Chiaroscuro