First Impressions (Light Novel): The Rising of the Shield Hero

Because I’ve read some of the manga awhile back, this isn’t exactly my first impression of this story. I won’t go into more detail regarding the series in general—will leave that for another time—but for now, I’d like to share just a little bit on how much I enjoy Tate no Yuusha.

Light Novel: The Rising of the Shield Hero「盾の勇者の成り上がり」Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari

      Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari vol     Cover_2_eng

  Vol 1 in Japanese                                    Vol 2 in English

Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari is a Japanese light novel series written by Aneko Yusagi. It started in 2013 and was originally published online, but is now being published by Media Factory with illustrations by Minami Seira. There are currently 14 volumes to the light novel series and they are currently being translated and published in English by One Peace Books. It has also been adapted into a Manga series.

I started out with the Tate no Yuusha manga a year ago and actually searched the internet for English translations to no avail. It was only yesterday that I chanced upon the translated volumes at the bookshop. I… didn’t even need to think much before throwing my money at the cashier. In all the MMORPG kinds of stories where ‘the protag is adventuring in a game-like fantasy world’, this one is definitely at the very top of my list.

Naofumi Iwatani is a regular Otaku who spends his days on games and manga. He is suddenly summoned to another universe and told that he, along with 3 others, are 4 legendary heroes equipped to save that world from a prophesized destruction. There’s the Lance, Sword, Bow… and then there’s Naofumi, the Shield Hero. Seen as the weakest of all the Heroes, Naofumi’s short-lived excitement turns to pitch-black hatred as he is betrayed, penniless and left alone to fend for himself with no clue on the way back to the world he came from. Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari follows Naofumi’s adventures as he struggles to survive and show the world what the Shield Hero is really capable of.

As of writing this post, I’m in the middle of the 2nd translated light novel.

WARNING: Battles, violence, blood, gore but it’s all pretty mild and there’s not much you need to look out for…so far. You’d expect these kind of things in a fantasy adventure anyway, but I won’t be surprised if it gets more intense later on. Mentions of traumatising pasts and PTSD. And of course, not forgetting some betrayal, hatred, bitterness and unfairness. That’s pretty much the same in every world out there. I feel like you have to be at least a little open-minded to fully enjoy this story. No worries though, it’s not that dark.

I used to be an avid reader of novels before plunging deep into manga. Manga has totally spoiled my patience in reading. You know the saying, “A picture speaks a thousand words”. I was just discussing this with some friends today — A panel of illustration often shows us all we need to know about a setting or situation without having to go through a paragraph of words. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like novels anymore, it’s just that I prefer reading comics and manga because I am a lazy asshole.

Tate no Yuusha is, comparably, a very easy read. There are never long descriptions and everything is very precise and to the point. I guess that’s what you can expect from a ‘light novel’, which is currently perfect for this lazy asshole. Plus, Minami Seira’s illustrations are a total bonus. I love imagining how characters look in novels, but having a face to go with a name is even better.

Shield01c

Vol 1 illustration

The thing that interests me the most about this story is the fact that the ‘hero’ isn’t some happy go-getter with the best of morals and spirit; Naofumi’s pretty much the opposite of that — He’s jaded, straightforward and vengeful — which is what makes him such an entertaining character I want to continue reading about. Compared to the manga where you often experience multiple point of views from different characters, the light novel is written in first person perspective from protagonist Naofumi. He speaks to the realist in all of us and I feel like his values, priorities and thoughts are often similar to my own as well. I really like Naofumi’s character.

I guess Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari might not be something anyone and everyone can really get into — it’s really good in my opinion (and I love it a lot), but I know it can’t be considered something great. Maybe you guys can give the light novel (or manga) a try anyway and tell me what you think. In the meantime, I’ll TRY VERY HARD TO patiently wait for all the light novels to be published in English…

Writing a ‘First Impressions’ on something other than a manga or anime, especially when I know quite a bit of the story already, is pretty tough. I hope this excerpt makes up for my shortcomings in this post:

“You are the Shield Hero, yes?”

“Well, yes, but…”

What the hell? They sounded oddly aggressive.

“The king has summoned you. You will come with us.”

“He’s summoned me? Okay, whatever. But before that, I’ve been robbed! We need to catch the…”

“You WILL come with us. NOW.”

One of them grabbed my collar and pulled me forcefully.

“That HURTS! Listen to me!”

But they held my arms tightly and pulled me along with them. I was basically in my underwear. There was no dignity in this! Why was I being treated this way?

“Myne! Please hurry!”

But the knights would not listen. We left Myne in her room, and they dragged me back to the castle.

The carriages I’d seen before were apparently prepared to bring me back to the castle.

And so, without ever understanding why, I came to be seen as a criminal by the town.

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3 thoughts on “First Impressions (Light Novel): The Rising of the Shield Hero

  1. I think I just saw this manga at the library and I was wondering what it could be about! xD Sounds really interesting, I think I’ll start with the manga bc I too am a lazy asshole LOL

    Like

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