In the classic anime, Nephrite is sent to gather energy for the Dark Kingdom. At one point is disguises himself as Tuxedo Mask to lure in girls who might be Sailor Moon. He suspects that Naru is Sailor Moon but when he finds out that she isn't he and drains Naru's energy surprised at how much he gets.
After a series of failures Nephrite decides to find the Silver Crystal to avoid Queen Beryl's punishment. He would use Naru once more in his plan as he transferred his last Youma into her to use as a middleman before it transferred again into Princess D so that the later could steal a crystal but it later turned out not to be the Silver Crystal.
Zoisite would take pleasure in his failures wanting him out of the way so he would not be competition for searching for the Silver Crystal. When Nephrite called upon the stars to locate the Silver Crystal, he was delivered the Black Crystal, which showed him an image of Naru. He approached her asking about the crystal giving a vague story about needing it. Naru thinks that it is a jewel from her family store and gets it for him. But it turns out not to be the Silver Crystal either. The Black Crystal keeps reacting to Naru. He decides to take her but a Youma Zoisite sent to watch them attacks thinking that they had the Silver Crystal. Sailor Moon shows up and destroyed the Youma. When Sailor Moon attempts to fight Nephrite Naru gets in the way forcing Sailor Moon to stop and Nephrite escapes.
Zoisite sends three monsters to kidnap Naru. Nephrite rescues her but is killed by one of them shortly after.
Generally viewed as a tragic romance. It is fairly popular in the fandom and the most popular ship for both characters. Many fans found there ending sad and emotional. The chocolate parfait is a popular element of the pairing and it is common for fanart to feature the parfait. An archive for Naru/Nephrite fanworks also exists, namely The Nephrite & Naru Treasury, as of 2019, the website is still accessible and holds over 40 fanfictions. There are only over 20 works on Archive of Our Own and over 90 on Fanfiction.Net.
The ship is also controversial and for it's age-gap and arguably pedophilic-nature. Naru is a 14-year-old girl, whereas Nephrite is an adult man, albeit he is not human and his age is never confirmed but his appearance is typically that of an adult or older man. The way the relationship developed arguably evidences grooming behaviour. Nephrite establishes a relationship with Naru for the single purpose of finding the Silver Crystal. He is manipulative towards her, while Naru is depicted as innocent, experiencing her first crush. The scene when Nephrite enters Naru's bedroom, uninvited, and looks at her naked body for the Silver Crystal, is criticised by many fans to be uncomfortable and creepy. Much like Naru/Nephrite, a lot of other Sailor Moon ships have age-gaps and are considered uncomfortable, most notably MamoUsa, who are 17 and 14 during the show's first season.
Despite it's controversial nature, the Naru/Nephrite-centric episode Naru’s Tears: Nephrite Dies for Love is still popular episode of the first season of Sailor Moon and was praised for its tragic nature and redemption arc for Nephrite. It is often considered as one of the most emotional episodes of Sailor Moon.