First Manga Appearance: Chapter 34
First Anime Appearance: Episode 1
Name Meaning: Yamanaka= Among the Mountains, Ino= Boar or a Sign of the Zodiac
Note: Ino, takes the part of the Boar in the Hanafuda "Ino(Boar), Shika(Deer), Chou(Butterfly)" card combo hand.
Character Study: Being introduced as Sakura's chief rival, Ino has renewed her friendship with Sakura. Ino continues to focus on fashion and self-image but remains a loyal friend to her comrades. And though she has followed a similar skill development path as Sakura, she has not shown the same level of improvement as her friend.
Chuunin Exam | DB 1
Pre-Timeskip | DB 2
Post-Timeskip | DB 3
Height: 162.2 cm
Weight: 46.0 kg
Registration ID: 012604
Hidden Village: Leaf
Team: Asuma Sarutobi, Nara Shikamaru, Akimichi Chouji
Academy Grad Age: 12
Chuunin Exam Age: 14
Jutsu: Shintenshin, Shinranshin, Shousen
Yamanaka Ino is a member of Team 10, with Nara Shikamaru, Akimichi Chouji and sensei Sarutobi Asuma. Ino is a friend and rival of Haruno Sakura, having first befriended her in the ninja academy where kunoichi were trained to use feminine traits to go undercover. Noticing Sakura was being bullied by classmates for her forehead, Ino defended her by scaring the bullies off with "poisonous" flowers. Ino is very deeply versed on flowers, as her parents are florists. As the girls grew older, their affections both turned to the same boy and they declared themselves competitors for the affection of Uchiha Sasuke.
Ino is introduced to the series as having a bitter and petty squabble with Sakura, jealous at how she was placed on Sasuke’s team. Her personality is viewed as domineering and loud, one of the reasons Shikamaru is reluctant to approach women. However, later, she is the one who leads her team into protecting the lone Sakura from a vicious assault by the Sound Trio; Dosu, Zaku and Kin. Although the combined efforts of her team failed to keep the trio at bay for long, it bought Sasuke enough time to recover and dispatch them after dislocating Zaku’s arms. Noticing Sakura had sliced her hair off to free herself during the handicap struggle, Ino offers to trim her hair and make it look presentable. While taking her aside to do so, she also growls about showing off in front of Sasuke, becoming even more frustrated when Sakura replies that she simply took the initiative.
Despite their brief display of bonding, fate once again tore at them when the random selection machine pitted them against each other in the Chuunin exam preliminary rounds. The two fought fiercely, reflecting on their changing status. To show their dedication, they both put their forehead protectors on in the traditional manner, going at each other for a second time. Things seemed bleak when Ino taunted Sakura about having no unique moves to use, then used deception as she cut her own long hair off, secretly using her chakra to turn her sliced strands into rope to tie Sakura down to ensure an accurate mark for her signature technique, Shintenshin, which would suppress Sakura’s personality and allow Ino to control her body. However, when Ino wandered into Sakura’s mind, she encountered a repressed version of Sakura’s true emotions, the "Inner Sakura", which forced her out. A double KO ended the battle as both of them collided with simultaneous blows.
Ino later showed up as a spectator for the exam’s finals. She and Chouji watched on as Shikamaru surprisingly gave up his match. Chouji foresaw the event, but Ino was blindsided by his choice. A short time after Ino was trapped under Kabuto’s mass sleeping spell and was unconscious for most of the Sand and Sound invasion. She also played a small role in giving Chouji some encouragement before the rescue mission that he and Shikamaru were given, mostly on girls and his weight. This would mark her last main appearance in part 1 of the manga.
The anime-exclusive episodes gave her some more screen time. Ino was on hand with her usual team to apprehend two major criminals, the Legendary Stupid Brothers, stopping them in their tracks with a more potent mind-controlling skill learned from her father. Ino also joined Anko on a mission to investigate rumors of a sea monster, but ended up a damsel in distress for a large part of the mission, coming through at the end to cause the incapacitation of Tsurugi Misumi by tying his own arms around support pillars, which then gave way and crushed him beneath. A particularly humorous episode had Ino posing as a princess, who was courting another person of high status, but had gained weight and required Ino to play her part. Naruto joined the mission, adding to the confusion as a more seductive and flirtatious version of the princess. Eventually, the princess revealed herself, causing her suitor to admit he preferred "big-boned" women.
Ino reappeared in the second part of the manga, now with an outfit change and new hairstyle. Though brief, her spotlight would return later when it was revealed she had been trained in medical skills, the same as Sakura but most likely to a lesser degree, seeing Sakura’s tutor was one of the best medics in Konoha’s history. However, she was devastated to find that her former team leader, Asuma, had been fatally wounded by Akatsuki’s zealot, Hidan. His last words to her were for her to never give up and lose to Sakura. Ino and her teammates would then set out to hunt down Hidan. The team along with Hatake Kakashi located Hidan and Ino did her part to help combat Hidan's partner Kakuzu while Shikamaru fought Hidan one on one. Shikamaru eventually succeeded in taking out Hidan and soon Kakuzu was brought down, bringing some measure of revenge for her former sensei.
Undoubtedly, Ino’s greatest tie to any character is Sakura, considered her rival for Sasuke’s affections, despite the fact that revenge is all he lives for. Some people have paired her with Shikamaru and later Chouji upon Shikamaru’s stronger link with Temari. A few even think there may be something between Ino and Sai, though this is most likely due to Sai's strange approach at offering pleasantries, choosing to say the exact opposite of what he really feels. Sadly, like most of the females in the series, Ino suffers a lack of exposure and character development.
BSS: Before Series Start
ASS: After Series Start
(All dates approximate - There is no official comprehensive timeline)
12 Yrs. BSS - Ino Born.
6 Yrs. BSS - Joins Ninja Academy.
0 - Series Start, Graduates Academy.
6 Mo. ASS - Enters Chuunin Exam, Loses to Sakura in prelims.
7 Mo. ASS - Knocked out during Third Test by Kabuto's Genjutsu.
10 Mo. ~ 3 Yrs. 3 Mo. ASS - Increases skills and strength, Passes Chuunin Exam.
3 Yrs. 3 Mo. ASS - Meets Naruto again, Helps save Shikamaru from Hidan and Kakuzu, Says goodbye to her sensei as he dies, Seeks revenge against Hidan and Kakuzu with her teammates.