How Raphtalia’s age and love for Naofumi shapes The Rising of the Shield Hero

The Rising of the Shield Hero season 1
The Rising of the Shield Hero’s young Raphtalia. Pic credit: Studio Kinema Citrus

Raphtalia is one of my favorite characters in The Rising of the Shield Hero. This girl’s story is one of hardship, pain, endurance, and love.

And anime fans shipping Naofumi x Raphtalia have many questions: How old is Raphtalia in Shield Hero? Does Naofumi love Raphtalia? Does Naofumi marry Raphtalia? (Which is why Raphtalia’s age in this fantasy world is so relevant.)

In my last article, I talked about how Raphtalia’s relationship with Naofumi Iwatani differs depending on what media you’re using. This article will focus mostly on the anime version.

I’ll also be mentioning future events not covered by the anime, but this will be near the end.

There’s no word on if the anime will cover these events, as they’re in the light novel series and is still ongoing. The web novel has some exclusive content, as well.

But if the anime does adapt some of these events in Shield Hero Season 2, or even the already announced The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3, then fans will have a lot of things to look forward to, as well.

The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 1
The Rising of the Shield Hero anime quickly showed an older Raphtalia. Pic credit: Studio Kinema Citrus

Does Naofumi love Raphtalia from the start?

Raphtalia’s introduction is pretty much the same in the anime, manga, and light novels, but before we get to that. Let’s start with what we know about her childhood. Raphtalia was born and raised in a small coastal village outside of Melromarc.

This village would be hit by the First Wave, and sadly, Raphtalia would lose her parents to it. But fate wasn’t done being cruel, because a short while later, a group of guards came in, killed the adults, and sold the women and children as slaves.

Raphtalia has had many owners, but most have never been named. Her first master was said to have been kind. They just wanted a servant and treated her well.

But due to her night terrors, they sold her back and Raphtalia would have a repeat of this with her next master. Her night terrors were too much for them to handle.

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Raphtalia’s third owner would be cut from a much darker cloth. His name was Idol Rabier and he enjoyed torturing demi-humans. The one bright spot in Raphtalia’s life was that her best friend Rifana was there with her.

Rifana developed a horrible cough and died there. Rabier blamed Raphtalia for her death and continued to torture her until she broke down and developed the same illness that claimed Rifana’s life.

Rabier sold Raphtalia back to the slave merchant where she stayed until Naofumi bought her. Due to his recent betrayal, Naofumi wasn’t in the best mindset, and Raphtalia could sense this.

When she looked into his eyes, she saw he was angry at the world and was convinced he would kill her. The above events are covered in the anime to an extent.

But volume 1 of the light novels and after chapter 8 of the manga show the whole thing. Be warned, it’s not pretty. But she survived.

Raphtalia is the main heroine in The Rising of the Shield Hero. She’s Naofumi’s slave, friend, daughter, and so much more. To Naofumi, Raphtalia is the first person he can trust, but their relationship certainly did not start as a romantic form of love since Malty’s betrayal had caused Naofumi to become inwardly hostile toward women.

How old is Raphtalia in Shield Hero?

Raphtalia is the first one to believe in Naofumi and stay by his side. Even when she had a chance to leave without being recaptured by the slave trader.

She stayed with him. This is where fans get confused. Raphtalia’s age is technically 10 based on the number of years that had passed, but in this fantasy world, people biologically develop differently. Due to her being a demi-human, her body matured until she looks like a 17 to 18-year-old.

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At some point, Raphtalia developed romantic feelings for Naofumi. But Naofumi sees her as a child. His daughter… that he also doesn’t mind sending to the front lines to help him grind.

In this video from Crunchyroll, we see that Filo, the second member of Naofumi’s party, and a monster he hatched from an egg asks Naofumi if he is her father.

Naofumi says no, he’s, her owner. But when she asks about Raphtalia, he says she’s like his daughter. Raphtalia says she isn’t but that doesn’t bother Naofumi.

Why Naofumi and Raphtalia’s ‘kiss’ shouldn’t be interpreted as romantic

Even though Naofumi trusts Raphtalia, that doesn’t mean he’s going to develop romantic feelings for her. What’s really frightening is that season 1 only covers a 4-month period.

This means Raphtalia hasn’t been dealing with adult matters for very long. And Naofumi has said countless times that he’s going to go back to his world once the Waves are gone.

And nothing Raphtalia has done will change his mind. This brings us to the end of season 1 and a scene in the manga. In the anime, Raphtalia and Naofumi hug each other.

In the manga, Naofumi kisses Raphtalia’s cheek to thank her for staying with him. Neither of these acts automatically means a romantic relationship will start, but the story continues.

Why the Naofumi x Raphtalia ship is moving too fast

Since Raphtalia spent her first 10 years as a normal kid, instead of adventuring we can assume that demi-humans typically can age at the same rate as a human.

This is backed up by how when the anime’s first season ends, Raphtalia’s level is in the 70’s and she hasn’t aged further. This could just be the game mechanics that work in the world.

But it also implies that demi-humans either stop or slowly age after a certain point. For Raphtalia’s sake, she’s a young woman in the meantime.

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But now, let’s talk about the light novels and how the anime might turn out. The light novel series and web novel began to diverge early on due to the extra story arcs and details, especially once Volume 16 is reached. But there’s no guarantee that the anime will strictly stick to the books.

So, consider this a major spoilers alert.

Naofumi and his friends decide to go to Glass’s world, but when they step into the portal, Raphtalia, Glass, L’arc, and Therese are sent to a special prison, and Raphtalia’s level is reset to 1.

Forcing her to resume her child-form, but she was still able to help the group escape with her illusion magic. Fortunately, she’s able to do some grinding and regain her adult form.

Shortly after, they come across a selection ceremony, where Trash 2 is attempting to claim the Vassel Katana. But it flies away from him and into Raphtalia’s hands.

Enraged, Trash 2 and his allies attempt to capture Raphtalia and company, but that’s when Naofumi and the rest of the gang show up! Since Raphtalia is now a Vassel Hero, her slave mark is permanently removed (but let’s be honest, she hasn’t been his slave ever).

Naofumi begins to train Raphtalia and she soon learns how to use the skills and weapon forms. During the time they were separated, Naofumi made a shikigami (familiar) using his blood and some of Raphtalia’s hair to find her.

Though she admits that the newly named Raph-Chan is useful, Raphtalia is put off by having a creature based on her genetics and magic. Sometime later, Naofumi gains the Lordship over the land Raphtalia was born on and decided to rebuild the village. (The end of the anime’s first season actually jumped ahead in the timeline to depict this event in order to provide a happier ending.)

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He would also attempt to buy all of the villagers who were slaves, but he couldn’t obtain them all. Sadeena (the guardian of Raphtalia’s family) reveals that Raphtalia is the legitimate to the throne of Q’ten Lo, due to Raphtalia’s father being royalty.

While she’s processing this, Naofumi decides to give Raftalia a miko outfit, but when she’s trying it on, assassins try to kill her. Sadeena explains that wearing this outfit is a declaration that she’s trying to claim the throne.

Naofumi decides to head to Q’ten Lo to prevent more attacks. They make their way through Siltvelt, and they discover that the current Heavenly Emperor is being used by an outsider Makina.

Raphtalia reluctantly agrees to become the new Heavenly Emperor, while Naofumi and the others carry out a revolution in her name. They capture the former capital and Raphtalia takes part in a ceremony that gives her Heavenly Emperor powers.

Raphtalia’s ancestor challenges her to a duel, and Raphtalia learns several techniques because of it. The group takes down Makina and confronts the Heavenly Emperor, only to learn that he’s Raphtalia’s younger cousin.

They decide to fake his death and take him back to their village. Raphtalia wants to be a good leader, but she leaves her world in the hands of Raluva and other leaders while she’s gone.

Naofumi and Raphtalia decide to explore Q’ten Lo’s castle and learn whatever they can about Raphtalia’s parents. While they search, they find inscriptions that reveal the true purpose of the Heavenly Emperor.

To be the “Pacifier of the Spirit Implements.” After reading them, Raphtalia gains better control of her powers. Heading back to Lurolana Village, Naofumi conducts a level-up ceremony for the monsters, and made a Raph species.

Raphtalia didn’t like it, but the new Raphs helped protect the village. Raphtalia fought in the battle against the Phoenix, but due to outside interference, one of her rivals Atlas was killed.

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This unlocked the “blessed series” for Naofumi and released the emotions that the “cursed series” had been suppressing. Naofumi begins crying and Raphtalia protects him.

Wanting to know the truth behind Atas’s death, Naofumi and company head for Faubrey, and get ambushed by Takt. The heroes are forced to retreat, but can only do so with Raphtalia covering them.

Just as she’s about to be captured, the Vassel Katana transports her back to Glass’s world, and Raph-Chan 2 makes one of Takt’s harem girls look like Raphtalia.

The Glass World is in chaos. Several Vanguards of the Waves have betrayed and are now attacking its heroes. The Vassel Boat and the Vassel Scythe have been stolen, and Raphtalia rushes to help them.

Naofumi arrives in the Glass World and the two work together to beat the enemies and reclaim the Vassel Scythe. (In the web novel, Raphtalia wields the Vassel Hammer.)

And, yes, Naofumi does marry Raphtalia eventually… but so far that’s only taken place in web novel Chapter 378. But that point in the story hasn’t been reached by light novel Volume 22, which came out in Japanese in 2019 and in English in December 2021.

However, by that point in the light novels, Raphtalia x Naofumi is official since they began dating as a couple and there is talk of marriage and a wedding. Naofumi intends on bringing Raphtalia back to Japan with him when he returns to his own world.

It should also be noted that the Shield Hero web novel ended with a harem ending, which received a lot of backlash from readers. Hopefully, “best girl” Raphtalia’s love for Naofumi will win in the end in both the light novels and the anime.

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