Ino Yamanaka (山中いの, Yamanaka Ino) is a kunoichi of Konohagakure‘s Yamanaka clan. She and her fellow members of Team Asuma are their generation’s Ino–Shika–Chō trio. no is the only child of Inoichi Yamanaka and was a popular student during her time in the Academy. There, she met Sakura Haruno, who was teased by other kids for her large forehead. Ino defended Sakura from the bullies and encouraged her to embrace her forehead rather than hide it, becoming good friends with her. Over the following years, Ino’s guidance and friendship helped Sakura become more confident and develop into her own person. However, when Sakura found out that they had a crush on the same boy, Sasuke Uchiha, Sakura approached Ino, telling her of her liking towards Sasuke. Sakura than took it to end their friendship, starting their dislike towards each other in the beginning of the series.
From a young age, Ino has been confident, friendly, bold, and outspoken, occasionally lashing out at others if their personal habits bother her. She is generally more motivated than her teammates Shikamaru Nara and Chōji Akimichi and tends to take charge of them, a characteristic she would later pass on to her son, Inojin. Shikamaru, despite finding most girls “troublesome”, typically offers no resistance to Ino’s forceful behavior, being unwilling to deal with her reaction if things don’t happen her way. She is also prideful in her appearance and often tries to lose weight by dieting in the hopes that it will make her more attractive to boys; she even jokingly suggests that Chōji should do the same to attract girls. Ino is quite knowledgeable about different types and meanings of flowers, sometimes making analogies to them when talking.
Despite her assertiveness and uppity demeanour, Ino is a compassionate and kind person at heart, having been raised to embody the meaning of the bush clover: a blunt, candid love who treasures the bonds with her friends. It is these qualities that earned Sakura Haruno’s friendship, defending Sakura from bullies who teased her and helping her become confident. Their warm friendship developed into a bitter rivalry over the following years, fueled by competition for Sasuke’s affections, ninjutsu and even trading insults, with Ino as “Ino-pig” (いのぶた, Ino-buta) and Sakura as “Forehead Girl” (デコリーン, Dekorīn, English TV: Bilboard Brow).
After the Chūnin Exams, Ino becomes impressed by Sakura’s growth and they rekindle their friendship, while maintaining their rivalry on more amiable terms. She cares greatly for her teammates as well, being relieved that they survived after the failed Sasuke Recovery Mission, promising her sensei Asuma Sarutobi to look after them after he dies, and during the Fourth Shinobi World War, encouraging them to stay strong in the face of danger. By the time of his death, Inoichi believed that Ino had truly blossomed into the bush clover of the Yamanaka Clan, and is proud of her bonds with her friends.
Ino had the same infatuation on Sasuke that most other girls in their Academy class had, due to his good looks and cool personality. Even after Sasuke’s defection from Konoha, Ino largely retained her feelings for him in Part II: she cried when he was declared an international criminal, and pictured him as the “love” the bush clover symbolises during the Fourth Shinobi World War. Ino meets Sai in Part II, who not only replaces Sasuke on Team 7, but also strongly resembles him in appearance. For this reason, Ino becomes immediately smitten with him, flirting with him when first introduced and blushing when Sai called her beautiful.
Although her Infinite Tsukuyomi dream reveals she likes the idea of Sasuke and Sai fighting over her, Ino’s affections ultimately shift toward Sai, showing a deeper desire to know more about him as she risks her life to save him in Shikamaru Hiden. Sai reciprocates Ino’s feelings and the two marry years later, having a son, Inojin. Even after many years together Ino’s love for Sai is as strong as ever, occasionally acting how she did when they first met. As a mother, Ino’s personality is relatively the same, but she has greater respect for her clan and its traditions, insisting they be passed down to the next generation to form a new Ino–Shika–Chō.
Ino has fair skin, blue eyes (sometimes seen as green in the manga), and long platinum blonde hair worn in a ponytail, with bangs framing the right side of her face. Her hair is seen in different lengths: in Part I, her ponytail extends to her waist, but it is later cut and grows to shoulder-length; in Part II, the bangs grow to cover half of her face, her ponytail becomes waist-length, and she sports a red clip on the left; in the The Last: Naruto the Movie, her hair is hung loosely and extends to her calves; as an adult, her hairstyle returns to its shape in Part II, but her ponytail reaches her upper-back and sports a black clip. In Part II, Sai mentions that Ino is very beautiful.
Ino regularly wears a purple outfit consisting of a high-collared blouse and matching apron skirt. In Part I, she sports this attire with bandages on her abdomen and legs, small hoop-earrings, her forehead protector worn as a belt, and for a time, white arm warmers. In Part II, Ino’s outfit is slightly more revealing as she discards her forehead protector and bandages while exposing her midriff and wears mesh armour on her thighs, elbows and knees.
She also replaces her hoop earrings with studs, a gift from Asuma Sarutobi. During the Fourth Shinobi World War, Ino dons the standard Konoha infantry flak jacket and assorted clothing. In The Last: Naruto the Movie, she wears a longer skirt that reaches her ankles, high-heeled sandals and pink lipstick. As an adult, Ino wears her purple outfit again exposing her midriff with one mesh warmer on her left arm and open-toed sandals. She also dons the standard Konoha uniform while on missions.