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The Rising Of The Shield Hero: Naofumi's Powers Explained

In most forms of fantasy, the sword is the universal symbol of the hero. From King Arthur to Luke Skywalker and beyond, the characters we love in fantasy stories almost universally show off their might and skill with this iconic weapon. However, while some might say that the gun or — if you're the philosophical type — the pen trumps the blade, men like Naofumi Iwatani from "The Rising of the Shield Hero" know firsthand that it's the shield that truly reigns supreme.

Like many other isekai protagonists, Naofumi was summoned to an alternate fantasy world for one purpose — to become a hero. As the chosen wielder of the Legendary Shield, he arrived to this new world already possessing qualities befitting such a title. Unfortunately, a betrayal at the hands of Princess Malty S Melromac left him falsely branded a rapist, and his heroic aspects became tainted with a cynical streak a mile wide.

Thankfully, that didn't stop Naofumi from becoming the hero he was always destined to be. Through hard work, and a healthy dose of positive companionship, Naofumi managed to somewhat redeem his name while becoming one of the most powerful people across multiple worlds. Because despite the fact that The Shield Hero is incapable of dealing much damage, Naofumi's powers are still staggering.

Naofumi's shield is the ultimate swiss army knife

As the wielder of the Legendary Shield, Naofumi is literally incapable of wielding any other kind of weapon. However, that still makes him far from useless. Just like support classes in competitive multiplayer games, sometimes it's more helpful to back up your teammates than inflict damage. In that regard, the Legendary Shield is basically the ultimate support weapon. It may prevent Naofumi from holding a sword, but it can transform into any number of other shields based on objects and creatures he encounters.

Thanks to this handy feature, Naofumi has dozens upon dozens of different shields at his disposal at any given time. Some create large magical barriers that double as floating platforms, some allow him to improve the quality of consumable items like potions, and even still some let him absorb and detect magical energy. A few, such as the Prison Shield's Iron Maiden ability, even allow Naofumi to actually deal damage, and a lot of it at that (albeit at the cost of all of his SP).

And that's only counting the shields he has in Raphtalia's world. In the light novels, Naofumi gains access to even more shields from other worlds, such as the Curse Series of shields and the Vassal Mirrors (via Shield Hero Wiki). However, Naofumi still has one obvious disadvantage in that he still has no practical method of offense. Thankfully, he has friends to help him with that.

Naofumi's real weapon are his friends

While Naofumi may not be suited to extended combat on his own, he really shines in a group setting. Aside from the shield's bare defensive abilities, the many different shields in Naofumi's collection also allow him to support allies and team mates. First and foremost in his list of companions is Raphtalia, the demi-human slave girl who serves as the sword to Naofumi's shield. Though he technically owns her, Naofummi treats Raphtalia as an equal, or even a daughter-figure, and her expertise with the sword eventually makes them into a fearsome duo. Of course, Naofumi has more than Raphtalia on his side, with characters like Filo and Atla later serving as prominent members of his team.

While these characters are the main damage dealers of Naofumi's party, Naofumi does an excellent job at defending and supporting them. The aforementioned barriers created by his Air Strike shield, for instance, can be used as both defensive walls and mobile platforms. Likewise his potion-enhancing ability helps him heal his friends. If he needs to, he has certain skills which enhance the abilities of others, like the Voice Gengar shield, which acts as a megaphone for Filo's damaging shout attacks. And, in the events that they need to get out of dodge, his portal shield gives him the ability to teleport himself and others to certain locations. These abilities, along with others like them, make Naofumi an absolute support beast who always has his friends' backs.