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|“||I hoped the whole place burned to the ground, the whole damn world.||”|
—Naofumi , Volume 1, Chapter 7
Iwatani Naofumi (岩谷尚文) 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.
Naofumi was once a successful otaku University student before being summoned to Melromarc. His past experience with Malty Melromarc has made him dark and cynical, but he is still a generally nice person. Although he experiences a slow start because of the Malty incident and is on a much lower level than the other heroes, he is still able to keep up and even occasionally outshine them. He is also the only one who treated the world as a world and not a game, even though he sees many similarity to game.He was framed of a crime by the country and subjected to harsh treatment.Being a shield hero, he has no offense power and needed companion which he could neither afford nor trust.The church of Three Heroes hired many fake heroes of the shield to commit crimes and to ruin his reputation further.Later, all of this brought to light by the queen and she banished the church of three Heroes while proving Nafoumi's innocence. According L'Arc, Nafoumi was described in public as fraud, extortion, Abduction, vile demon who will execute anyone who stand in his way, though some were literally correct, but not actually true.
Nafoumi started with serious of disadvantage, the other three hero had somewhat experience of this world by the game they played while he had none. Before he was even summoned, the country Melmorne considered the other three heroes to be a savior and shield hero to be evil, this is because of the constant war with the nation which worshiped the shield hero. The crown gave the other three hero with trained adventures, crystal ball to learn magic, funds, guild jobs, information of using the legendary weapon and even respect, While Nafoumi was framed of rape, all his possessions were taken, denied of any jobs, crystal balls etc. He was even denied funds. Most of the guards and general public gave him a scorn and felt discomfort seeing him in their nation. He has no attack features and No one joined his party, due to his bad reputation. This forced him to look for alternatives, He first bought slaves to fight for him since he doesn't have any attack power, learnt magic by studying books instead of using crystal ball, peddled for funds to survive & to buy equipment for him and his party.Knowing his own weakness and limitation, he choose to defend the villages and save them from the monsters of the wave rather than to fight the wave itself.
All this turns out to be blessing in disguise. By saving the villagers from monsters of the wave, many came to help and respect him. They even gave him materials, let him stay in the inn for free, gave books to learn magic, built him a carriage for peddling, made clothes & armor for him and his comrades at a reasonable discount. By peddling he not only earned money but also trust of commoners throughout the nation. People begin to doubt the teaching of the church of three hero of shield hero being evil. By literally learning magic he was able to read any magical words which cannot be read by crystal balls.Despite consuming too much time to learn, it is more powerful than the one obtained from crystal ball. Nafoumi's comrades who are slave becomes more reliable and trustworthy in comparison to the adventures assigned for other heroes.The adventures assigned for other hero either left or tried to kick others out of party, some even betrayed the hero. The queen revealed that there were many changes in other heroes party from the one assigned for them. When Nafoumi unlocked slave shield, it increased the power of his slave which rivaled that of the other heroes, this made Nafoumi and his party outshine most incident where other hero failed, despite the refusal by the king for class up.
He also cleared the mess which was created or worsened by other heroes. Without his own knowledge his reputation among the people raised and shook the very core of the national religion which teached the shield hero being evil. This forced the church of three hero to act desperately which lead to their downfall. They tried to assassinate the second princess and pushed the blame on to Nafoumi and told the other heroes that the reason for his rise in support in public was because of brainwashing shield which at least one of them believed, finally the church of three heroes reveled their true intention and tried to kill all the heroes and their comrades, since all of them in one way or another responsible for the people's decline of faith in the religion. Despite the disadvantage, Nafoumi pushed himself and destroyed the enemy saving himself along with other hero and their party. The queen who just returned from her diplomacy, cleared all of the fake charges made against Nafoumi and punished those involved in conspiracy against Nafoumi. She promised to make up for all his past trouble and give preferential treatment in return for his co-operation in the fight against the wave. The queen requested Naofumi to sta, as his choice of moving to any country may lead to war because of the ill treatment towards him by Melmore.After considering much possibility, he decided to give the nation one more chance in exchange for better treatment.It took some times for him to be in equal footing with the other hero.He was some what treated with well deserved respect in comparison to the past.
Later, it was reveled that Naofumi too had believers in this nation as well, such as the voluntary who join with him to fight the third wave, dei-human adventures and the noble that support the demi humans. It was also mentioned by the queen that the adventures who tried to fake Nafoumi by joining his party in the first three days of summoning were brutally murdered without able to be recognition, the Knight leader who tried to hurt Naoumi was also murdered, the dress which he sighned for a voluntary Knight was stolen and sold at the highest prize in auction at siltwelt.
On the other hand , the other three heroes acted foolish, thinking this reality to be a game. They took everything lightly, even believing them-self to be immortal and their defeat are leading to a special event. This self proclamation of immortality disturbed both Nafoumi and queen. Despite, Nafoumi being much lower in level, the other heroes begin to feel inferior to him. During the information exchange they tried to extract his information for getting stronger, but he used it against them to get info from them.Nafoumi realized that this reality resembles similar to the game which convinced other hero that they were living inside a game. For the first time Nafoumi, who always angered for the unjust done by other three heroes toward him, felt pity for them.
He realized that the trust among the heroes is essential for to use the weapon strengthening method of other to work and shared this information with other heroes, who never believed him. He realized that they might die with this attitude. Fearing that the wave might increase in strength because of the death of heroes, he forced them to work hard and train. Feeling boss around, they decide to increase their level above Nafoumi. Trying to gain more strength the other heroes released (web novel) the spirit turtle in hopes of defeating it. Soon the reality slapped them hard with their brutal defeat, Until Nafoumi under the queen headed the coalition force and succeeded in defeating the spirit turtle.
After the three heroes became MIA, and with how Naofumi became the only hero that succeeded in slaying the Spirit Turtle, people had then began the belief that the heroes, other than the Shield, were false heroes. Thus, most of the countries, besides Melromarc, had decided to place restrictions on the movements of the heroes.Melromarc the only one that would accept them while also making the attempt to have rumors die down. Though gossip did not stop which became evident as a role reversal began where Motoyasu, Ren, and Itsuki had began to experience similar conditions that Naofumi had went through, initially because of Bitch, while Naofumi himself was greatly praised as a great hero and received praise and all other positive treatment from the public. They were subjected to the scorn of public with random people throwing stones, denied jobs from guild, unable to approach the crown fearing of punishment for crimes, also betrayal of their comrades, individually used and betrayed by bitch, awoken their own curse series which pushed them into doing crimes such as extortion(Ren) and brainwashing(Itsuki) and completely broken(Motoyatsu). On the other hand Naofumi became the lord of a land which happens to be the former village of Raphtiala, in hopes of rebuilding the village for the demi humans. Mirelia then depended on Naofumi to monitor the three heroes so that they can make amends for their mistakes.
Originally Naofumi was an extremely trusting and positive person, he was also enthusiastic about his situation, when initially summoned, but this all changes quickly after he is betrayed by 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 planning for events where people try to deceive him or rip him off. This betrayal has left him in an almost permanent state of anger and hostility, even while he usually acts calm and level headed on the surface.This also bites back as, he unknowingly pushed away genuine believers of shield hero and Sieltwelt without knowing.
His hatred for Malty is utterly without bound, 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 as 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 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 neglect their treatment and 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 mother figure in return.He also spoils and rewards them when performed earnestly like giving ball to Raphtalia, cooking for all his slaves even if it was in the middle of night. This action caused Rishia(one of his comrades and later slave) to wonder if Nafoumi was their slave instead of the other way around. He is also considerate to others to a certain extant, as he was willing to share the room with other adventures, since his allotted room was taken by other heroes and party members which may result in discarding ordinary adventures who paid hefty amount to travel to Cal Mira island.
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.
Despite being the most villainous, 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 moral, organise 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 moral, as he willing to save the people who berated him .Though his allies wants him to behave heroic and forgiving, he acts otherwise like holding grudge and enjoys at the misfortune of those he hate list.He is more realistic in approach, as He sold the demi-human slave hunters to SiltWelt and used that money to buy back all of Raphtalia villagers.
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.
Animals have liked Naofumi since he was young. When he walked around the mountains, wild birds naturally perched on his shoulders, and he encountered wildlife easily. Once he encountered a bear, and played dead to try to survive. Rather than attacking, it started licking his face. He later learned that playing dead didn’t actually work.
Naofumi was initially the less-liked child of the family, an all the pressure of his parents expectations were placed upon his brother and he simply lived without having to meet these expectations. One day, when his brother started acting out because of this, it was Naofumi who introduced him to Galga themed games, and managed to provide him with a hobby to relieve his stress. Despite being an educated student and having a number of skills under his belt, as evidenced from his ability to quickly adapt to living unaided in the world, he is noted to have had poor grades in school.