The Rising of the Shield Hero (Light Novel)

Alt title: Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari (Light Novel)

Vol: 22+
2013 - ?
4.514 out of 5 from 592 votes
Rank #640
The Rising of the Shield Hero (Light Novel)

Naofumi Iwatani, an uncharismatic Otaku who spends his days on games and manga, suddenly finds himself summoned to a parallel universe! He discovers he is one of four heroes equipped with legendary weapons and tasked with saving the world from its prophesied destruction. As the Shield Hero, the weakest of the heroes, all is not as it seems. Naofumi is soon alone, penniless, and betrayed. With no one to turn to, and nowhere to run, he is left with only his shield. Now, Naofumi must rise to become the legendary Shield Hero and save the world!

Source: One Peace Books

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It’s hard to evaluate something so well done justly.  While I do not agree with or find everything about it favorable, it is pretty close to perfection as any light novel can get.  The translations are not perfect since I frequently find a few grammatical errors or misspellings, but it’s better than average and very readable.  What’s most refreshing about this series is the honest and believable reactions by Naofumi when framed, insulted, or assaulted.  I don’t think I can recall any comparable manga, novel, or anime so profoundly direct and honest about consequences and reciprocation.  It’s so refreshingly rare, this uniqueness alone nearly carries the whole story.  It’s this dynamically bad and counterproductive good set of relationships from the various characters that really sell the story and make it so hard to stop experiencing.  It’s a singular addictive hook that can keep a reader coming back.  Not only is Naofumi a pretty good and capable lead character but he has qualities rarely seen accumulated in one character without at least equally crappy counter qualities as if having great skills or talent is bad in many a manga/anime worlds.  He’s a solid character.  You may be offended by what appears a bit of a loli harem theme, but the reality is deceptive.  In a way that’s very logical and imaginative, not all humanoid beings are the same or age the same, besides that, Naofumi has a tendency to treat all his companions like children at a daycare center even after they mature.  That is part of the wit and charm of the story.  I’m getting a tad annoyed at how some foreshadowing never materializes just like in MANY other LNs.  Those who may have issues with the video game cross over elements and references, do note that most of it doesn’t happen until he much later chapters so it’s impact is a tad deadened plus, for the most part, video game elements really only referees to the heroes not regular adventurers, residents, or soldiers.  While levels are mentioned or used by non heroes too, that could almost as easily be a realistic reference to rank, skill, or level similar in real life the way one can become a 9th degree black belt, for example, and outside heroes, that’s really the only none hero video game reference.  He claims he has no offense but by chapter 21, two shield forms have attach abilities and/or effects yet the author appears to forget why he wrote. Things click more so in a big reveal about how this all really came together.  Rather than acting like a creepy lolicon, Naofumi acts responsibly.  The reasoning to endears you to his struggle and a realistic struggle it is.  Trust is the question.  We all have some issues with trust but it’s worse than average for Naofumi considering what he goes through.   All in all, this is one of the surprisingly best stories I’ve yet encountered.  So far, the manga, anime, and novels seem to share equal billing here.

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