The Rising of the Shield Hero is a Japanese light novel series written by Aneko Yusagi. Originally published as a web novel, the series has since been published by Media Factory with an expanded story-line featuring illustrations by Seira Minami. As of February 25, 2019, twenty-one volumes have been published.
The novel series was adapted into a manga series by Aiya Kyū and published by Media Factory, with thirteen volumes released as of April 23, 2019. Both the novel and manga series were licensed by One Peace Books and were published in North America starting in September 2015. The 25-episode anime television series adaptation produced by Kinema Citrus premiered in January 2019. The anime series is licensed in North America by the Crunchyroll-Funimation partnership.
An anime adaptation was announced in June 2017. The television series is produced by Kinema Citrus and directed by Takao Abo, with Keigo Koyanagi handling series composition, Masahiro Suwa designing the characters and Kevin Penkin composing the music. The series premiered on January 9, 2019 on AT-X and other channels. It will run for 25 episodes. The first opening theme is “RISE,” performed by MADKID, while the first ending theme is “Kimi no Namae” performed by Chiai Fujikawa. The second opening theme is “FAITH,” performed by MADKID, while the second ending theme is “While I’m Next to You” performed by Fujikawa. For episode 4, Asami Setō sang an insert song titled “Falling Through Starlight” as her character Raphtalia. Both Crunchyroll and Funimation are streaming the anime. Crunchyroll streamed the show in both the original Japanese version and the English dub. However, Funimation indefinitely delayed its release on its streaming service.
- Naofumi Iwatani
- Naofumi is the Hero of the Shield, he was a university student who was summoned from another world after finding a book about the Four Heroes. Originally an open minded person, he becomes cynical and mistrustful of others due to being looked down by his fellow heroes, subjected to religious prejudice from citizens, and being robbed and falsely accused of rape by Myne. It is only after Raphtalia defended him and proclaimed her loyalty that Naofumi began to slowly open up to those around him and realizing his mistakes. Viewing his role as a Hero burdensome, having been summoned against his will, Naofumi shows little remorse in using underhanded tactics to ensure the survival of his party despite the criticism of his fellow Heroes/allies. Generally reluctant to trust strangers, often asking to be paid upfront or using slave curses to prevent lying, he tries his best to live up to the expectations of those who have placed their faith in him or treat him as an equal.
- After defeating Kyo and ending the threat of the Spirit Tortoise, Naofumi is given control of Raphtalia’s hometown. He soon plans to rebuild and make a makeshift army to fight against the Waves and remaining Guardian Beasts, purchasing the original displaced inhabitants and other slaves to repopulate. He often enjoys pretending to be the villain, much to Raphtalia’s annoyance and the amusement of his allies, and working as a merchant/craftsman in his spare time. Believing he’ll one day return home, he considers himself a foster parent to Raphtalia and Filo and desires to make sure they can protect themselves in his absence.
- Although Naofumi has a slow start because of the public’s perception of him and being unable to attack enemies directly, he is still able to keep up with his fellow heroes and even outshine them due to unlocking a wide variety of shields that boost his allies and passive skills. Given his high defenses, he is able to shrug off most attacks and displays immunity to most poisons, being only vulnerable to attacks that use his stats against him such as Hengen Muso. His strongest shield, the Shield of Wrath, allows him to counterattack opponents with cursed flames that rise with his anger at the cost of temporarily decreasing his stats and threatening to allow his inner darkness to take control.
- The Vassal Katana Hero and Tanuki Demi-human. Originally living in a village on Melromarc’s coast, Raphatalia was left orphaned in the wake of the first Wave to strike the world. Shortly after, she and her fellow villagers were captured and sold into slavery by Melromarc’s Royal Knights. First purchased by a nobleman, she is physically and emotionally tortured out of racial resentment towards Demi-humans and left a shell of her former self. Near death and suffering from panic attacks, she was sold back and later purchased by Naofumi who, unable to fight himself and spite towards Malty, desired to use her as his sword in the coming Waves.
- Under Naofumi’s protection, Raphtalia becomes a skilled swordfighter and is able to find closure from her past traumas. Able to see past Naofumi’s cynical nature, she falls in love with him and does her best to help him overcome his resentment towards others and losing himself to the Shield of Wrath, even volunteering to have her slave curse re-applied after it is forcibly removed as a sign of devotion. It is later revealed that through her Tanuki herritage, she is a heir to the throne of Q’Ten Lo, her father having eloped to Meloromarc and putting her at odds with her distant relatives.
- Technically a 10 year old girl, being a Demi-human, Raphtalia’s body is able to age to that of a young women as her levels increase. Due to this, she often gets annoyed when Naofumi treats her as his daughter or is oblivious to her feelings; the latter believing she is only focused on getting stronger. While traveling in Kizuna’s world, she is chosen as the wielder of the Vassal Katana (Sever Star Hammer in the Web Novel). She also specializes in Light/Dark magic and is able to turn herself and allies invisible or generate illusions.
- A Filolial Queen. Hatching her from an egg purchased from the Slave Trader, Filo is the youngest of Naofumi’s allies. She is part of a monster species called Filolials that enjoy pulling carts, and having been raised by a Hero, develops into a Queen. As a Queen, she resembles a large flightless owl and possesses higher attack strength and speed than normal members of her species. In addition, she possesses the unique ability to shapeshift into a young blonde girl with wings, retaining the strength of her true form.
- Young and boisterous, she has a short attention span, has a ravenous appetite, and often fights Raphtalia and Gaelion for Naofumi’s attention, much to his and others annoyance. Also highly impressionable, she has been shown to pick up on some of Naofumi’s habits much to Raphtalia’s distress. A capable learner, she is able to use advanced wind magic spells and many of the teachings of Hengen Muso with minimal instruction. Her skills are recognized by her Queen predecessor, Fitoria, and is given some of her power.
- In spite of her sometimes overbearing personality, Filo is able to quickly make friends with others and takes other Filolials on as her underlings. True to her Filolial instincts, her favorite hobby is to pull a custom cart Naofumi made for her. While in Kizuna’s world, due to Filolial’s not existing, she is transformed into a species called a Humming Fairy, losing her strength in favor of being able to fly and cast magic through singing.