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|“||I hoped the whole place burned to the ground, the whole damn world.||”|
—Naofumi, Volume 1, Chapter 7
Naofumi Iwatani (岩谷尚文 Iwatani Naofumi?) is the main protagonist of The Rising of the Shield Hero. He was a university student before being summoned to another world, where he had to fight against the waves of calamity, as one of the 4 heroes summoned, the Shield Hero (盾の勇者 Tate no Yuusha?).
Naofumi is a 20-year-old young man with a slim build, fairly sharp features and black hair which spikes in all directions. He has a permanent scowl on his face as well as a cynical outlook on the world, due to Malty's cruel betrayal on him and his mistreatment upon his arrival to the other world. The armor he wears is called the Barbarian Armor and he is always equipped with his Legendary Shield. The armor in question is noted by others to suit him, even though one would expect a bandit leader to be wearing it.
Naofumi was originally an extremely trusting and positive person, he was also enthusiastic about his situation when initially summoned. However, his mentality changed abruptly after he was betrayed by Princess Malty.
Left penniless, framed as a rapist, and hated, Naofumi becomes distrustful, cynical and spiteful towards the world. He could not trust anyone as a traveling companion except when they had a slave contract. He always assumes others are trying to get something from him.
The Princess' betrayal left him in an almost permanent state of anger and hostility, although he masks them behind a calm and level-headed personality. This mentality bites him back as he unknowingly pushes away genuine believers of the Shield Hero and Siltvelt envoys.
His hatred for Malty is without limit, extending to the point where he becomes completely apathetic and ignorant to advances of women in general. Early on he even expresses disgust and hatred of females purely on grounds that the other person is of the same gender as Malty, though he never voices this. Due to Raphtalia and Filo, he becomes less inwardly hostile towards women but is still oblivious to their advances; when Raphtalia's Slave Crest was being renewed, she had asked him what he thought of her body, which had to be exposed for the application of the crest, he remained oblivious. At one point in time, he was rather amazed when Beloukas was willing to pay 35 gold pieces for Raphtalia after she became a beauty as well.
Eventually, he recovers more of his caring side and begins treating Raphtalia like a daughter rather than a slave (though she would prefer that he treat her more like a woman). He silently notes that he wouldn't let himself die until Filo and Raphtalia achieve happiness. By the time he sets up a base of operations in Rock Valley, he is visibly kind to the slaves under his command while maintaining his strict attitude, as he still would not hesitate to call for discipline when needed. He cares about Filo that he flew into a rage when he thought she died, despite constantly finding her to be a handful.
Naofumi purchases slaves, with the justification of giving them a better life. When he bought Raphtalia, he fed her well, gave her medicine, sheltered her, defended her from bullies, and rewarded her. He disciplines slaves, however, if they refuse to obey orders. He earned her loyalty through a caring yet stern treatment, such that she chooses to remain his slave when given the option to leave him. These actions were taken because they're practical and beneficial to him in the long run― an unhealthy, unfed and half-dead slave would be useless, so he can't understand why someone would mistreat or neglect slaves.
His treatment of Raphtalia extends to all of his slaves, with them coming to treat him like a parent figure. He spoils and rewards his slaves when they give it their all and perform to his expectations, cooking for them in the middle of the night when they were hungry. His humane slave ownership causes Rishia to wonder whether Naofumi was their slave.
Naofumi is considerate of others to an extent, willing to share a room on a boat with other adventures and preventing what could have resulted in these ordinary adventurers, who paid a hefty amount to travel to Cal Mira Archipelago, being evicted from the boat.
Naofumi is also very observant, dislikes being ripped off, and does not tolerate being stolen from; for example, his grudge against Malty grew noticeably when he realized her ally stole what was to be his new Shield and made a point to personally defeat him. When merchants tried to rip him off or saw bullies picking on Raphtalia, he sends literal monsters at them, since he himself can't attack due to only being able to wield a shield. He can be somewhat of a sadist in this sense, to the point Raphtalia actually tries to warn these bullies to run away.
He has a realistic approach to most things, as he sold the slave hunters to Siltvelt and used that money to buy back all of Raphtalia's villagers, much to the horror of Eclair and Raphtalia for his unorthodox actions. Realizing that he couldn't hand over the bandits to the guards, he extorted everything from them, as the guards may take the bandits side over him. Though his allies want him to behave heroically and be forgiving, he acts otherwise by holding a grudge and enjoying the misfortune of those he hates.
Naofumi, unlike some of the other heroes, is reasonable most of the time. He was convinced to stay in the nation after listening to the arguments of the queen and Fitoria for why he should stay even though he never received any funds from the crown until the end, even after the queen took charge since the nation was suffering from the Spirit Tortoise's rampage. Instead, he received a territory at his request.
Despite having the most villainous attitude and having a rather evil way of solving things, ironically Naofumi is perhaps the most effective of the heroes at getting things done. He even corrected the problems that the other three heroes either started or worsened. He also managed to deal with the Spirit Tortoise, an act which required him to cheer up allied troops, raise their morale, organize them, and effectively lead people whose past would undoubtedly put them at odds with him. Despite being portrayed as this unheroic and evil character, he still holds a basic set of morals, as he was willing to save even people who had berated or otherwise wronged him.
Before being summoned to another world, Naofumi was a sophomore in college. He indulges himself in video games, anime, and other otaku activities to the point where he would put his hobbies in front of his actual studies.
Naofumi's parents thought of him as a lost cause and decided to focus all of their attention on his younger brother by sending him to a famous prep-school in hope to secure his future. But the pressure was too much for him, he was worn out by the stress of studying and turned into a troubled teen. He started dying his hair different colors and speaking profanity around the house.
Naofumi knew it was because of him that his brother turned out this way. Because Naofumi was spoiled by his parents and had the freedom he never had, Naofumi took the liberty of resolving his brother's troubles. He thought the best way to fix him up was by introducing him to gaming simulator type games, his brother was hesitant at first but quickly got hooked and became an otaku himself. Because Naofumi's brother found a way to relieve his stress, he rededicated himself to his studies. Afterward, he became top of his class and even managed to get into a good high school.
The results of Naofumi putting his brother back in place caused his parents to spoil him even more by giving him a raise on his allowance. Whenever Naofumi needs to save money, he would either go to a bookstore or a library. It was this habit that led him to The Record of the Four Holy Weapons.
- Naofumi was summoned to this world while reading the book, "The Record of the Four Holy Weapons." As such, he is also the only hero among the Four Heroes who did not die prior to being summoned.
- Naofumi can hold his liquor very well, as he ate multiple Lucor Berries without passing out or the least bit tipsy (Few Lucor Berries are dropped in a barrel of water to make alcohol. Eating one of these can risk your health).
- ↑ The Rising of the Shield Hero Light Novel Volume 5, Chapter 5 - But still, I could't stand to let him go on calling me kiddo
- ↑ The Rising of the Shield Hero Light Novel Volume 1, Chapter 2 - "I'm 20 years old"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The Rising of the Shield Hero Light Novel Volume 1 colored illustrations
- ↑ Light Novel Volume 1, Chapter 1 - My parents know this about me
- ↑ Light Novel Volume 1, Chapter 1 - Instead they sent my brother to a famous prep-school"
- ↑ The Rising of the Shield Hero Light Novel Volumes 1-13 (official translation)
- ↑ The Rising of the Shield Hero Light Novel Volume 1, Chapter 1 - I'm a sophomore in college"
- ↑ The Rising of the Shield Hero Light Novel Volume 10, Chapter 13 - I'd been able to stand up to it as a hero around level 75, but that was only because of my hero adjustments essentially made me about four times stronger at the time
- ↑ The Rising of the Shield Hero Light Novel Volume 9, Prologue - Over the past few days of training I'd manage to get to level 75
- ↑ The Rising of the Shield Hero Light Novel Volume 1, Chapter 3 - "It kind of seems like we all came from different Japans"
- ↑ The Rising of the Shield Hero Light Novel Volume 1, Chapter 2 - Equipment: Small Shield (Legendary Weapon)
- ↑ The Rising of the Shield Hero Light Novel Volume 1, Chapter 5 - "It's the Legendary Shield"
- ↑ The Rising of the Shield Hero episode 22, Four Heroes Council