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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 becomes unable to trust anyone who is not his slave as a traveling companion. He always doubts people, expecting them to betray him, deceive him or rip him off.
The Princess's betrayal left him in an almost permanent state of anger and hostility, even though he masks them behind a calm and level-headed personality. This mentality ends up biting him back as he unknowingly pushed away genuine believers of the Shield Hero and Siltvelt envoys unknowingly.
His hatred for Malty is without limit, it even extend to the point where he has become completely apathetic and ignorant to the advances of women in general, and early on he even sometimes expresses disgust and hatred purely on grounds that the other person is of the same gender as Malty, even 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. For instance, 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, only for him to completely miss the obvious point. At one point in time, he was rather amazed when the Slave Merchant 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 (even though she would prefer that he treat her more like a woman). 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 comes to care enough about Filo that he flew into a rage when he thought that she had died, despite constantly finding her as a handful. Naofumi has a rather unique opinion on slavery and has a very business-like outlook in whatever he does. A prime example of this is when he bought Raphtalia: not only did he feed her well but he also gave her medicine, sheltered her, defended her from bullies and even rewarded her well when she was good. He genuinely earns her affection through his caring yet stern treatment towards her, to the point where she chooses to remain his slave even when given the option to leave him. In his mind all of these actions were taken because they're practical and beneficial to him in the long run, 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 refused to do as ordered. This same treatment extends to 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 his slaves when they give it their all and perform to his expectations. Naofumi first shows this when he gave a ball to Raphtalia and eventually cooking for all his slaves even in the middle of the night to satisfy their hunger. His humane way of caring for his slaves caused Rishia (one of his comrades who later became one of his slaves) to wonder whether Naofumi was their slave instead of the other way around. Naofumi is also considerate of others to a certain extent, as he was willing to share a room on a boat with other adventures since his allotted room was taken by other heroes and party members. His actions prevented what could have resulted in these ordinary adventurers, who paid a hefty amount to travel to Cal Mira island, 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 the other Heroes, is someone who can be reasoned with. 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 who's 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".