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Fanfic / Chiaroscuro (Naruto)
aka: Chiaroscuro

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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."
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:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Hinata prevents Sasuke from going rouge.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: The only reason why Kakashi gets away with half the stuff he pulls.
  • Anti-Hero: Many of the shinobi have darker characterizations due to psychological issues.
  • Ascended Extra: Shikamaru and Ino get this as a result of replacing Sasuke and Sakura in Team 7.
  • Brick Joke: In chapter 5, Shikamaru finds a bag of sunflower seeds in their tent bag and tosses it. In chapter 51, the team notices an out-of-place patch of sunflowers growing among the trees. While Shikamaru wonders where it came from, Kakashi suggests that it might have fallen out of someone's tent bag.
    "Normal people don't store sunflower seeds in tent bags."
    Kakashi-sensei honest-to-goodness giggled.
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  • Boring Yet Practical: Kawarimi, Henge, and the Headhunter are often used, and for good reason.
  • Broken Ace: All of the child prodigies are described as this.
  • Calvin Ball: Somehow ninja chess ends up involving playing cards and kunai.
  • Chekhov's Armoury
    • Chekhov's Classroom: The history lesson on Uzushiogakure sets up most of the framework for sealing later on in the story.
      • The kids' first C-rank to Tanyu is also revisited multiple times.
    • Chekhov's Gun: The identification wristbands given to the competitors during the Chunin Exams. Shikamaru manages to hack the seals and uses them to incapacitate Orochimaru.
    • Chekhov M.I.A.: Remember how the Wave arc is skipped in favor of an original first C-rank? Zabuza and Haku don't die, so they eventually reappear as Mei Terumi's subordinates, and help her infiltrate the Akatsuki.
    • Chekhov's Skill: Shikamaru first comes up with an offensive use of the Kawarimi during the bell test. It's used to save his life from Orochimaru.
    • Forbidden Chekhov's Gun: Shikaku's "original technique" wasn't just a random power-up. It was actually a rediscovered version of Kaguya's Will Manifestation technique.
  • 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.
  • Cutting the Knot: Because Kimimaro's bones were too strong for regular attacks, the Akatsuki simply immobilized him with a genjutsu and choked him to death instead.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Shikaku creates one, which he teaches to Shikamaru. It's later revealed to be a rediscovery of the same technique Kaguya used to create Black Zetsu.
  • Dark Humor: The characters often laugh at cruel things, including their own comrades dying, because the only other alternative is to be scared.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Played with.
  • Dope Slap: Naruto gets this a few times in the beginning, from Ino.
  • Dumb Blonde: Averted. Ino is sneakier than she looks. Naruto also wises up more than in the main series.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke:
    "Giant, bloodsucking, parasitic insects. Are you sure it wasn't a lawyer?"
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
    "Great Heavenly Rotation!"
    There were great gasps from the crowd. "What is that technique?" they were saying.
    Obviously, Shikamaru thought, it involves greatness, the heavens, and rotation.
  • 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.
  • I Lied: "Ninja."
  • 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.
    • Kakashi and Shikamaru arguing about cheating at board games.
    Shikamaru: That only works if you're five.
    Kakashi: Actually, I was born on a leap year, so technically, I'm six.
    Shikamaru: No you weren't. You were born on September 15th.
    Kakashi: September 15th on a leap year.
    • Another quote from Kakashi:
    "There is a limited amount of chaos available in the universe. Therefore, if we create a regular amount of expected chaos, it will deter the unexpected chaos from also joining in, because the space it requires will already be taken up by the chaos we prepared for."
  • It Amused Me: One has to wonder how many of Kakashi's pranks are actually part of a greater scheme.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Sandaime, though it's clear that he doesn't really want to do it, and that he's very guilty over it.
  • Morton's Fork: The Friendship Rule is deconstructed heavily. If you choose a mission over your teammates, your friends die. If you choose your teammates over a mission, your other friends depending on that mission also die.
  • Noodle Incident: Involving rice cakes, apparently.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    "What sort of things?"
    "What soft of stuff?"
  • Shout-Out: the proctors of the Chunin Exams are two guys named Shi Masa and Moto Kishi.
  • Technicolor Ninja: Averted. One of the first problems the rookie sensei set out to correct are the clothing choices of their students.
  • 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


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