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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 heroes, the Shield Hero (盾の勇者 Tate no Yuusha?).

Appearance

Naofumi is a roughly 20-year-old young man with black hair and fairly sharp features. He has a rather slim build and a permanent scowl on his face as a result of his mistreatment and cynical outlook on the 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.

Personality

Originally Naofumi was an extremely trusting and positive person, he was also enthusiastic about his situation when initially summoned, but all of that changed shortly after when he is betrayed by princess Malty. Left penniless, framed for rape, and hated, Naofumi becomes distrustful, cynical and spiteful towards the world. He becomes unable to trust anyone who is not his slave as a traveling companion and begins preparing for betrayal because he expects people to try to deceive him or rip him off. This betrayal left him in an almost permanent state of anger and hostility, even though he usually acts calm and level-headed on the surface. This bites back as he unknowingly pushed away genuine believers of the Shield Hero and Siltvelt envoys without knowing.

His hatred for Malty is without limit, to the point where he has become completely apathetic and ignorant to the advances of women in general, and even sometimes expresses disgust and hatred purely on the grounds that the other person is the same gender as Malty early on, though he never voices this to them. Due to Raphtalia and Filo, he becomes less inwardly hostile towards women over time, but is still evidently unable to notice their advances, Raphtalia herself, when her Slave Crest was being renewed, even asked him what he thought of her body, which had to be exposed for the application of the crest, only for him to completely miss the point. He was rather amazed when the Slave Merchant was willing to pay 15 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 (she would ironically prefer he treat her more like a woman though). By the time he sets up a base of operations in Rock Valley, he is visibly kind to the slaves under his command but not soft, as he still would not hesitate if discipline was called for. He comes to care enough about Filo to fly into a rage when he thinks she's dead, despite constantly finding her annoying. He, in fact, has a rather unique opinion of slavery and a very business-like outlook in general. the prime example is when he bought Raphtalia; he fed her well, gave her medicine, sheltered her, defended her from bullies and even treated her well when she was good. He genuinely earns her affection through his treatment of her, to the point where she chooses to remain his slave when given the option to leave him. In his mind all of these actions were taken because they're practical, I.e. an unhealthy, unfed and half dead slave would be useless, so he genuinely can't understand why someone would mistreat them or neglect their health. He never mistreated or exploited any of the slaves under him and has disciplined them only when they refuse to do as ordered. This same treatment extends to literally all of the slaves he comes to own, with them even coming to treat him like a parent figure in return. He also spoils and rewards them when they give it their all and perform well like giving a ball to Raphtalia and cooking for all his slaves even in the middle of the night. This action caused Rishia (one of his comrades who later became one of his slaves) to wonder if Naofumi was their slave instead of the other way around. He is also considerate of others to a certain extent, as he was willing to share a room with other adventures since his allotted room was taken by other heroes and party members which could have resulted in ordinary adventures who paid a hefty amount to travel to Cal Mira island being evicted from the boat.

He is also very observant, dislikes being ripped off, and will definitely not tolerate being stolen from; for example, his grudge against Malty grew noticeably when he realized the man stole what was to be his new Shield and made a point to personally defeat him. When merchants tried to rip him off or he saw bullies picking on Raphtalia, he sends literal monsters at them, since he himself can't attack. He can be somewhat of a sadist in this sense, to the point Raphtalia actually tried to warn those same bullies to run away.

He is realistic in his approach, 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 like holding a grudge and enjoys the misfortune of those he hates.

He is someone who can be reasoned with, Unlike the other heroes. He decided to stay in the nation, after listening to the arguments of the queen and Fitoria for why he should stay. He never received any funds from the crown until the end, even after the queen took charge, as the nation was suffering from spirit tortoise rampage. Instead, he received a territory at his request.

Despite being the most villainous and having the evilest approach, ironically Naofumi is perhaps the most effective of the heroes at getting things done, he corrected the problems the other three either started or worsened, and managed to deal with the Spirit Turtle, an act which required him to cheer up the allied troops, raise their morale, organize them, and effectively lead people his past would undoubtedly put him at odds with. The latter case is especially important because the other heroes unleashed it, to begin with. He also has some morals, as he was willing to save the people who berated him.

Background

Before 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 Naofumi 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 obscene words 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 was always top of his class and even manage 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 in his allowance. Whenever Naofumi needs to save money he would either go to a bookstore or a library. There on that faithful day, Naofumi decided to go to the library and found The Record of the Four Holy Weapons.

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Trivia

References