The Rising of the Shield Hero

Spoiler Alert!

There’s no class today and you don’t have much money to spend, so now you’re at the library to read some light novels again.

You browse through the shelves and pull out a book…along with a few others by accident!

As you pick the books off the floor, one of them catches your eye.

“The History of the Four Legendary Weapons”

Maybe just a quick glance…

“When calamity befalls a certain world, four heroes will be called forth from other worlds to defend it. These heroes each wield one of the Four Legendary Weapons: The Sword, the Spear, the Bow and the Shield.”

Isn’t a shield more like armor than a weapon?

Inside the book, you find a picture of a beautiful woman with a condescending, haughty smile. Just looking at it makes you a bit nervous…

Hmm? The pages are turning blank.

Suddenly, you’re…falling?!

Moments later, you land on a cold, hard floor.

“It worked!”

Huh? What worked?

You get to your feet and look around.

You’re in a large hall that looks a throne room in a European Medieval castle. At the far end are two thrones. On one of them, there sits a regal-looking old man wearing a crown. He regards you with apprehension.

Next to you are three other young Japanese men, holding a sword, a spear and a bow. They’re wearing modern-day clothes too.

Why does your right arm feel heavy?

Looking down, you find…a shield?!

“Oh Heroes of Legend! Please save our world!”, says a man in black robes.

You cannot help but smile. A classic fantasy adventure! It’s every otaku’s dream!

As you look over the people in the hall, you glimpse a beautiful, red-haired young woman. Where have you seen her before? Perhaps you could form a team with her later…

The Rising of the Shield Hero (の勇者の成り上がり, Tate no Yūsha no Nariagari) is a web novel, light novel series, manga and anime written by Aneko Yusagi (アネコユサギ, Aneko Yusagi). There is also a spin-off manga.

Suddenly transported to another world, the 20-year old college student Naofumi Iwatani learned that he was summoned by King Aultcray Melromarc XXXII as one of the Four Heroes who must save the country of Melromarc from the Waves of Calamity, a series of invasions by non-native monsters of unknown origin. While the other three Heroes receive the Sword, the Spear and the Bow, Naofumi receives the Shield as his legendary weapon. Because the Shield is considered the weakest of the four weapons, no one is willing to join Naofumi except Myne Sophia, a beautiful human magician. Both of them spend a day together shopping and fighting a few battles against monsters. The next day, Naofumi wakes up and finds Myne, his armor and his money missing. A moment later, several guards forcefully escort him to the castle, where Myne accuses him of raping her last night in front of the King and the other three Heroes. Despite Naofumi’s protests, the King quickly declares him a criminal to the country at large.

Now a penniless outcast, the bitter Naofumi eventually meets a shady slave trader who tells him that slaves have magical seals that prevent them from lying to or betraying their master. Liking this idea, Naofumi purchases a young demi-human girl named Raphtalia and trains her to fight. During a Wave, they help fight off monsters attacking a village and evacuate its people, earning their gratitude.

At a feast held by King Aultclay, the Spear Hero, Motoyasu Kitamura, challenges Naofumi for Raphtalia’s freedom. Naofumi proves himself the stronger fighter, but is beaten when Myne uses her magic to help Motoyasu win. Despite the obvious cheating, the King declares Motoyasu the winner and reveals that Myne is actually his eldest daughter, Princess Malty Melromarc! Furious with Motoyasu’s presumption, Raphtalia chooses to remain as Naofumi’s slave. The Sword Hero and the Bow Hero then call out Malty and the King for their duplicity, allowing Naofumi to leave with his dignity intact. During a later visit to the slave trader, Naofumi purchases a monster egg that later hatches a baby female Filolial, a giant flightless bird used for riding or pulling carts. Named Filo by Naofumi, it grows quickly in size over three days and takes on the form of a young girl with blond hair!

In addition to taking on quests to help others, Naofumi takes up trading to earn a living. During this, he meets Princess Melty, Malty’s younger sister and heir to the Melromarc throne, who is ashamed of her sister’s and her father’s actions. After a failed coup by the local Three Heroes Church, Queen Mirellia, the true ruler of Melromarc, finally returns from abroad, exonerates Naofumi and punishes both Malty and the King for their callousness by stripping them of their status as royalty. Although things get better for the Shield Hero, the Waves remain a constant threat and Malty continues to cause untold misery for everyone. For the first time in a long while, Naofumi dares to hope again.

The Reprisal of the Spear Hero (槍の勇者のやり直し, Yari no Yūsha no Yarinaoshi) is a spin-off manga in which Motoyasu’s soul is sent back in time to the day of the Four Heroes’ summoning in Melromarc. Retaining partial memories from his original timeline, he quickly becomes Naofumi’s ally in this story. The Menu of the Shield Hero (盾の勇者のおしながき, Tate no Yūsha no Oshi Nagaki), a short manga written by Tendo Akano (赤野天道, Akano Tendō), features the food Naofumi and friends eat during their travels.

Clockwise from top: Naofumi, Raphtalia, Filo

Main Characters

Naofumi Iwatani (岩谷 尚文, Iwatani Naofumi), the Shield Hero, a former college student and an otaku. Disillusioned by Malty’s cruel betrayal, he became grumpy, cynical and mistrustful. While still selfless at heart, Naofumi is wary of trickery and takes a tough stance with strangers, such as asking for upfront payment for his services. Over time, he gradually learns to trust and love others again, particularly Raphtalia and Filo. As the Shield Hero, Naofumi can create and use dozens of different magical shields that grant him a wide variety of strong defenses (i.e. magic resistance, poison resistance) and power-ups (i.e. Defense up, Agility up). One of his most powerful shields is the Shield of Wrath, which draws upon his soul to create powerful counterattacks. In his endeavors as a part-time trader, Naofumi has become skilled at negotiation, cooking, crafting accessories and making healing potions.

The Shield of Wrath

Raphtalia, a tanuki (Japanese raccoon dog) demi-human fighter. Formerly a slave, she has become brave, confident and compassionate during her time with Naofumi. Since he was the first human to treat her with some kindness, Raphtalia is in love with him despite the fact that he considers her to be more like a daughter. Because she is a demi-human, her body quickly grew into that of a young adult as she grew in power (leveling up) along with the Shield Hero. She still retains some childish attitudes, such as getting jealous of girls who spend time with Naofumi for any reason. Because the Shield Hero has almost no offensive skills, Raphtalia has trained herself in swordsmanship and some illusion magic to back him up.

She’d rather be with him than be free

When she was 10 years old, Raphtalia was orphaned when her village was attacked during the first Wave and was taken as a slave by Melromarc knights immediately afterwards. She was then passed through several owners until she was sold to the slave trader. It is later revealed that Raphtalia’s late father was actually a prince from her home country.

Filo, a Filolial Queen. Caring, boisterous and somewhat silly, she has a short attention span and a ravenous appetite. Like most Filolials, she enjoys pulling carts, particularly Naofumi’s carriage, and has a strong dislike for dragons, her race’s natural enemy. Due to being in close proximity to a legendary weapon (the Shield), Filo grew into a Filolial Queen and gained the ability to take on a human form. She quickly learns how to fight and coordinate with her friends in battle and later becomes even stronger after she is chosen by Fitoria, the Queen of the Filolials, as her successor. Filo can also create tornados and enhance her speed with her natural skill in wind magic. In human form, she wears a magical dress that transforms with her so that it doesn’t get destroyed when she changes form.

Filo takes on a dragon zombie

Personal Thoughts

Finding himself at rock-bottom and driven by his desire for vengeance against Malty, Naofumi found it hard to trust people again, particularly if they happened to be beautiful women. At first, he trusted Raphtalia only because she was his slave, but he treated her decently and her loyalty to him grew to the point that she actually wanted to be his slave if it meant that she could have his trust. Through consistent selfless deeds, Naofumi becomes a hero in the eyes of those he helps and many people in Melromarc gradually find it hard to believe Malty and King Aultcray’s insistent claims that the Shield Hero is evil.

Naofumi sometimes has goods for trade in his carriage

The greatest source of misery in this story isn’t the Waves of Calamity, but one sociopathic, spoiled brat – Malty. Caring only about herself, she lies to, seduces and manipulates others into doing what she wants, only to casually betray them when they are of no further use to her. For people such as her father and Motoyasu, Malty constantly flatters them and convinces them to act on their most selfish, destructive desires, no matter how much suffering they bring to others. In hindsight, it was more or less fortunate that she betrayed Naofumi so quickly! If backed into a corner, Malty would shamelessly beg for mercy, even from those she already betrayed.

This story demonstrates the dangers of extreme selfishness, especially when one is deluded, malicious or self-righteous. Such people inevitably harm others and are hated by everyone no matter what they believe or say. By contrast, those who are consistently helpful and unselfish will gain love and respect from others, even if there are people who try to slander them.

Moral

Who you are is defined by your actions, not words or beliefs.

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