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From left to right: Raphtalia, Naofumi, and Filo.
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The Rising of the Shield Hero (盾の勇者の成り上がり Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari) began as an ongoing Web Novel on "Let's Become a Novelist" written by Yusagi Aneko and illustrated by Seira Minami, with over 900 chapters released as of 2019. The series was later picked up by Media Factory Books with the first volume published on 22 August 2013. The series currently has twenty-two volumes and a drama CD out.

Naofumi Iwatani, an Otaku from present day Japan, was summoned into a parallel world along with three others to become Heroes and protect it from calamity. Each of the four Heroes receive a legendary weapon unique to them, with Naofumi becoming the Hero of the Shield. However, the Shield was looked down upon as useless, so Naofumi was left without companions, while the other Heroes gained several. One person, the beautiful Princess Malty S. Melromarc, took mercy on Naofumi and agreed to fight by his side, but within one day she had betrayed him, robbing him of his stuff and falsely accusing him of one of the vilest of offenses. His name dragged through the mud and treated like a criminal by the people he was summoned to save, Naofumi becomes unable to trust anyone.

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With no one willing to associate with him, Naofumi is forced to resort to purchasing slaves. He buys a tanuki demi-human girl named Raphtalia and an egg who hatches into a Filolial, who he names Filo. He also recruits Rishia Ivyred, the daughter of a fallen noble, and the Hakuko siblings Alta and Fohl Fayon. Like this, his journey in a parallel world begins, as he and his companions must venture through the world, solving the mystery of the Waves that threaten the fabric of reality, fighting against the bigotry and institutionalized discrimination that demi-humans face at the hands of humans, and eventually seeking revenge on Malty.

The light novel three side-stories and a spin-off web novel, The Reprise of the Spear Hero. A manga series of side-stories called A Day In The Life Of The Shield Hero began on Seprember 27, 2018.

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An anime adaptation was announced on July 7 2017. It premiered on January 9, 2019 and ran a total of 25 episodes. On September, 2019, Crunchyroll announced that it's been renewed for a second and third seasons. The second season was originally set to premiere during 2020. It was rescheduled for October 2021, but got delayed again to April 2022.

Naofumi, Raphtalia and Filo joined the cast of the crossover Isekai Quartet during its second season that premiered on January 2020.

The series also crossed over in Grand Summoners which featured Naofumi, Raphtalia, Melty and Filo as possible summons.

Compare to The Hero Laughs While Walking the Path of Vengeance a Second Time and Redo of Healer, two other Isekai Light Novels starring a protagonist summoned from his home and promptly betrayed by a Villainous Princess, but have the protagonists go down much darker paths in seeking their revenge.

Beware of unmarked spoilers.


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The Rising of the Shield Hero provides examples of:

    #-C 
  • Accidental Proposal: After becoming Queen Melty, annoyed with Naofumi's teasing, gives him the title of Archduke just to get him stuck with as much pen-pushing work as herself. As this is usually reserved for the future King, Trash immediately seizes the opportunity to push them together.
  • Actor Allusion: As with Sword Art Online, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka voiced a black clad swordsman who played a VRMMO in an Isekai series.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In the anime, during Malty and Aultcray's execution, when Naofumi is roasting them in front of the audience before bestowing them with a Fate Worse than Death, Raphtalia is visibly holding back a laugh.
    Naofumi: The slave crest didn't react. She's so thick-skinned, she can beg a guy she tried to kill for her life, and mean it! With skin that thick, the guillotine might not cut through her!
    Raphtalia: Naofumi-sama...!
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: In the web novel, Raph-chan was created when Naofumi, under the influence of the New Seven Sins Shield, became convinced Raphtalia was dead and attempted to recreate her via genetic engineering. In the manga and light novel, Raph-chan is Naofumi's familiar created using a lock of Raphtalia's hair.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the anime, Melty's capable of performing a One-Hit Polykill on an entire horde of fish Mooks in the Cal Mira wave with a simple Zweit Aqua Shot, take turns into a flood about as wide as a ship, and matches Therese's blasts, whereas she wasn't even there in the light novel, and had a case of Can't Catch Up due to not joining Naofumi on Cal Mira to level grind. Presumably, she was tutored by her mother to improve her combat capabilities
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: The manga adaptation turns Aultcray and Malty into the butt of jokes as it goes on.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Mald and Rishia debut in the anime during Malty and Aultcray's punishment outside of the castle instead of at the feast afterward with full display of their relationship.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: The Light Novel generally establishes new abilities and elements of how the world works as Naofumi acquires or learns about them. The manga regularly waits to reveal a new skill or other system exploit until Naofumi actively uses it and an explanation is required, if any explanation is provided at all.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • While in all mediums she's a Nice Girl who acts as the Morality Chain for Naofumi, in the web novel, light novel, and manga, Raphtalia is fully up to doing a lot of morally questionable actions, including trying to kill other people if they are her enemies, without a second thought if it means keeping Naofumi and herself safe. The anime completely removes this aspect of her, making her a complete Nice Girl who thinks If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him! about her former tormenter, and when she thinks she accidentally killed him, she goes into a state of These Hands Have Killed about it until Naofumi reassures her that she's still a good person despite what she did.
    • Regarding the King and Malty's punishments when they were finally exposed. In the light novel and manga, Naofumi immediately demanded that they be executed, but Mirelia talked him down from that punishment. In the anime, Mirelia is the one who orders for their execution by beheading, but Naofumi's conscience gets the better of him, realizing he wouldn't actually be satisfied with just letting them die, and he requests they be spared. Though he plays it off as Cruel Mercy instead, wanting them to suffer indignity by taking away their royal names of Autocray and Malty, replacing them with "Trash" and "Bitch" respectively (with the former Malty also getting the adventurer aliases of "Bitchie (manga translation)/Slut (Japanese anime)/Whore (English anime dub)") after getting a verbal roasting. It helped earlier he'd had a premonition about yielding to his wrath and letting them be executed, and it scared him, no doubt due to Raphtalia and Filo being around him.
    • In the manga, with a sinister face, Naofumi also was about to kill a helpless Glass inebriated with the the luchol fruit juice. In the same circumstance in the anime, he tried to convince her to give up and retreat.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: In the web novel, Atla sees Raphtalia as her rival for Naofumi's affections, but doesn't do anything more than calmly state that she isn't backing down no matter what. In the light novel, however, she loses quite a bit of her politeness, ribbing and snarking at Raphtalia every chance she gets. As for Fohl, Atla's indifference of him turns into annoyance, with her calling him weak and (effortlessly) knocking him out several times, once simply because he was standing and blocking the way of a monster she wanted to fight.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Naofumi is far less embittered and angry about everything in the manga, and more prone to acting light-hearted.
    • The anime makes Naofumi come across as overall a better person due to not being able to truly adapt his internal thoughts and views on people like the original Light Novel did. Thus while he still is rough around the edges, he is more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at the start.
    • The anime largely downplays Mirelia's abilities as a chessmaster. In both the original Light Novel and Manga, she was manipulative to Naofumi and managed to convince him to be more lenient with punishing the King and Malty, with Naofumi even noting how clever she was to get him to agree to it. Heck, the outcome of it was her plan too and she was very stern on enforcing it. The anime maintains her political savvy skills, but she is much less stern and manipulative than the Light Novel or Manga. She outwardly shows regret at having to punish her family, and she instead opts to simply have them executed, though she admits had Naofumi not stepped in, she would have begged him to spare them. The Light Novel and Manga Mirelia is a firm chessmaster who despite being a Reasonable Authority Figure is still willing to manipulate them if it means the greater good, where the anime is more of a firm Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • The Motoyasu of the manga will happily cross lines that the Motoyasu of the Web Novel would not even consider crossing, at least not on screen and when in his right mind. For example, it takes Motoyasu falling under the effect of the Lust cursed spear to try and rape Filo. In the manga, he openly tries to kidnap Filo in public, using magical chains to negate her Super Strength while happily proclaiming his intent to sexually exploit her, and he has no excuse like Phlebotinum induced madness.
    • Malty's webnovel counterpart at least has the excuse of being the mortal embodiment of a sociopathic Jerkass God's malice and petty sadism, but her anime, manga, or light novel incarnation doesn't even have that. Being a spoiled rotten little brat is literally all there is to her.
    • Fitoria's manga and Light Novel adaptations are far more antagonistic than her web novel version.
    • Raphtalia's first owner in the web novel is never named but their actions are significantly different from those of Idol Rabier. Where Idol purchased demihumans slaves simply so he could torture them for his own amusement, in the web novel Raphtalia's first owner was having her trained as a domestic servant.
  • An Aesop: Those who fall victim to excessive Pride will bring only misery to themselves and those around them. An extremely self-centered ego will lead you to an untimely end, hated and unlamented by everyone around you. Just ask Malty and Medea.
  • Aggressive Negotiations:
    • In early volumes Naofumi's tactic when merchants tried to rip him off was to unleash balloon monsters on them in addition to threats about spreading rumors. As his fame and connections grow he changes his method to focus on threats.
    • The queen of Melromarc does this when news of the heroes' summoning reached everyone at the conference she was holding with the nobles of other countries.
  • Agitated Item Stomping: In volume 4, it's revealed that the Queen of Melromarc has her shadows set up framed pictures of Trash and Bitch to burn with fire or shred to pieces with ice as stress relief whenever news of their incompetence reach her ears.
  • Alternate Continuity: The light novel (and therefore the manga) is wildly different from the web novel. While the characters remain the same, for the most part, the events they go through are vastly different. Even the events that introduce the characters to each other and the audience change immensely. The biggest point of divergence is the Cal Mira arc; in the web novel it was simply a side-arc to flesh out the Three Heroes, but in other adaptations it becomes the scene of a Wave, as well as an introduction to Glass's companions that leads into an original arc following the Spirit Tortoise incident.
  • Alternate Universe: The Heroes quickly determine that while they all came from Japan they all originate from Japans in different universes. Their currency is slightly different, they have different politicians, and the world they happen to be summoned to is, to them, from very different games. In Naofumi's case it wasn't a game at all, but a book.
  • And the Adventure Continues: In the final chapter of the web novel, Raphtalia and Naofumi head off to fight against another god while leaving mortal fragments of themselves to have a new adventure in Raphtalia's world.
  • The Antichrist: The Church of Three Heroes believes that while the Sword, Spear and Bow Heroes are deities in human form, the Shield Hero is a devil sent to deceive the people.
  • April Fools' Day: The 2019 celebration had the writer post an Affectionate Parody of "otome isekai" stories, in which the heroine is a Yaoi Fangirl Earth woman reincarnated into Malty's body before she has a chance to stir the pot.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: The Hengen Musou style of combat was devastated when a genius practitioner declared that his skill with it meant he should rule the world, in direct conflict with the style's philosophy. The various members fought and many died, with the survivors vowing not to pass on the art. Naofumi suspects the genius was one of Medea's reincarnated minions sent to destroy a threat.
  • Ascended Meme: Or rather Ascended Fan Nickname. In the dub, during their first confrontation after the False Rape Accusation, the Weapons Dealer actually calls Naofumi "Shield Bro".
  • Babies Ever After: Chapter 377 has most, if not all the main characters founding a long line of descendants.
  • Badass Adorable:
    • Raphtalia, even when she physically ages as she levels due to the unique traits of demi-humans.
    • Filo, you have to be when your attacks are stronger than the Sword Hero, who has the highest attack power, and you are 20 levels below him.
  • Battle Harem: Subverted with Naofumi, played straight with Tact. Naofumi's battle force consists of his harem and non-harem alike; Tact's battle force consists solely of harem members.
  • Beach Episode: An extended one. All the heroes are sent to Cal Mira Island to level up. There's a bit of relaxation and fun in between political machinations and monster fighting, mostly to serve as a Breather Episode before another Wave and other story complications that occur at the same time.
  • Beast Man: Various types appear, from typical reptile and werewolf races to the less standard mole race.
  • Big Damn Heroes: On returning from the dimension gap, Naofumi is rather annoyed that he arrives just in the nick of time to save Melty.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The song playing in Episode 15 during one of Raphtalia's moments is actually a beautiful song sung in Swedish, not Japanese, catching many Swedish viewers by pleasant surprise and adding a whole other layer to the scene it played in.
    • Several spells include "erst" or "zweiter", German for first and second respectively. Additionally "air strike" sounds identical to "erst reich", or first kingdom.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Malty, who not only tricked Naofumi into purchasing her items but also robbed him before accusing him of rape. She never gets better.
    • The king as well. He does gets better...after 300 or so chapters.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: Firearms, planes and armed vehicles in the world that the heroes are summoned to behave somewhat differently than their earth counterparts. Bullets are subject to status magic, which makes their effectiveness scale with the user's level. This has the effect of making them comparatively weaker to magic or plain arrows at the same level, so users need to have a high level to make effective use of a gun. Most, if not all the people who have guns use magic-based propulsion rather than gunpowder due to the fact that it's stronger (at the cost of bullet speed) and that gunpowder incurs maintenance and other costs that are not worth it in the long run.
  • Blatant Lies: There are several told throughout the story which hold absolutely no water if given even a second of thought. Unsurprisingly, they usually involve Malty.
    • That the Shield Hero tried to rape Malty. The Shield Hero at the time is level 1 and Malty is already an accomplished fire mage. If he had tried, she could have subdued him easily with her magic if not simply fried him extra crispy.
    • That the Shield Hero was drunk when he forced himself on her. Later chapters show that Naofumi never gets drunk.
    • That the Shield Hero has a brainwashing ability. Considering that the genesis of his problems is that he was accused of rape, this is patently false since he would have used it then to cover his tracks. Even if he had unlocked it sometime later, he would have stayed in one place to build an army rather than wandering around the countryside with a couple of companions. Strangely he never uses this supposed brainwashing ability when accused of having one which would have been the best time to use it. Fortunately, Motoyasu is the only one of the heroes genuinely stupid enough to believe this, and the rest are fanatical cannon fodder that were more likely brainwashed themselves by the Church itself.
    • That Naofumi, the Shield Hero, somehow kills both Ren and Itsuki along with their parties with no survivors. For one Naofumi's party would have been heavily outnumbered. Secondly Naofumi's Shield has very little in way of offensive capability outside of the situational Wrath Shield. Thirdly, the Bow and Sword heroes, along with their party, left no remains due to the power of the attack that killed them. Face it, if Naofumi had access to that kind of power, the capital city of Melromarc would be sporting way more blast craters than intact buildings.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: By some bizarre logic (and probably due to misunderstanding of the German inserts in the original text), Erst Shield, Naofumi's signature skill, somehow got turned into the "Air Strike Shield". Even Kaito Ishikawa calling the skill out so many times apparently didn't help the cause.
  • Bookends: In the first few chapters Naofumi, on learning that Motoyasu was killed due to having too many girlfriends, curses him. In the epilogue Naofumi, caught in a tug of war between Raphtalia and Atla, is cursed out by every one of his net friends, his brother, and a priest for having two beauties after him.
  • Bonus Boss: As the world runs on RPG mechanics, it naturally has one in the form of The Spirit Turtle. It is possibly the largest and strongest monster in-universe which the previous Legendary Heroes could only seal instead of defeat. Like any special boss, three of the four current Legendary Heroes had to go out of their way to find and fight it. However, when it turns out that they are unable to defeat it, it causes untold amounts of death and destruction for a month after it's released, which forces Naofumi and co. to step up and deal with it.
  • Brainwashed:
    • When Melty stands up for Naofumi, Malty claims he's used the Shield to brainwash her. Despite there being absolutely no proof, and the obvious In-Universe Fridge Logic of Naofumi not using his alleged Brainwash to get out of that mess, the other Heroes buy this (or at least, Motoyasu is the only one stupid enough to keep buying it).
    • Itsuki ironically unlocks this power after crossing the Despair Event Horizon and awakening the curse of pride for his legendary bow as a result. Naturally, Witch and what's left of the Three Heroes Church sees fit to take advantage of him in this state.
    • A dagger used by the rebel conspirators is cloned and infects anyone it cuts, turning them into "Justice zombies" who are subordinate to the conspirators.
  • Brought Down to Normal: During the first meeting with Tact, Naofumi loses his shield. He adjusts quite well to the situation and even voluntarily loses his replacement weapon, the Cane, so he can demonstrate to his enemy that he doesn't need that power to win.
  • Came Back Wrong: When Naofumi becomes a god, he believes he can resurrect people but decides to hold off for fear of damaging their souls and mind. Medea doesn't care about that and never told her minions about the penalty of her reviving them repeatedly.
    • Back from the Dead: However after Medea lost, the revived people stay (alive) in the living world and regained their free will.
  • Canis Major: The Cerberus-like monster that attacked Raphtalia's village was bigger than your average person. The LN adds a twin-headed black dog that attacked Naofumi and Raphtalia in the mines and was at least as large as Naofumi.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Raphtalia in Episode 2, having nightmares of her parents' death during the first wave.
  • Central Theme:
    • There are good reasons to become a cynical, misogynistic prick, but you still need to grow out of it.
    • Treating someone like trash is never a good idea. You may just need their help the most.
    • How should you treat a society that betrayed you?
    • Actions speak louder than words. And by extension, thoughtless actions have very real consequences.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Everything Naofumi learns about the other Legendary Heroes between the second and third waves ends up coming up later, as he has to clean up the result of what they did.
  • Cherry Tapping: Naofumi, much to his dismay.
  • The Chosen Many: The Seven Star Heroes and the Vassal Heroes. They possess abilities similar to the Four Legendary Heroes, and are considered heroes themselves. However, there are some important differences.
    • Their weapons are much more lenient with selecting their wielders. A ceremony can be performed to summon a wielder from another world, but if it fails, then anyone can become its wielder. Most of the Seven Star Heroes are natives of the world, and normal adventurers becoming one is considered common knowledge.
    • The death of a Seven Star Hero has no effect on the Waves, unlike the Four Legendary Heroes. If one is killed, their weapon can immediately choose another wielder if an eligible candidate exists. There can even be multiple candidates for a single weapon at the same time.
    • They exist independently of the Waves, and will select their wielders in times of conflict. Most of their wielders were chosen long before the Four Legendary Heroes were even summoned, and many of them have heroic accomplishments predating the Waves.
    • There are two of them to each of the Legendary Heroes. They can copy weapons and absorb materials to learn new skills like the Legendary Heroes, but each also possesses a unique method of strengthening their weapons. An individual Seven Star Hero is weaker than a Legendary Hero, but still much stronger than a normal person. As a whole, they are powerful enough to drive back the waves should the Legendary Heroes fall.
    • Whereas the Four Legendary Weapons are distinct from each other, most of the Seven Star Weapons overlap with the Legendary Weapons or each other to some capacity. They often share identical uses, unlockable and copied weapon types, and even skills.
  • The Chosen One: The Four Legendary Heroes, who are summoned from different worlds to fight the Waves. Their Legendary Weapons grant them abilities and skills that allow them to surpass the abilities of an ordinary person, as well as unique functions like alerts about the Waves and automatic language translation. The four are also connected to each other, since if even a single Legendary Hero is killed, the Waves will grow stronger. Furthermore, another set of Legendary Heroes cannot be summoned until the rest of the current set has been killed.
  • The Church: There are several, with the Church of Three Heroes being especially prominent early on. The Church worships the Bow, Sword, and Spear as gods while demonizing the Shield. Other Churches worship all Heroes equally, while the Shield is worshipped in Demi-Human countries.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: While all the legendary armaments share a base power such as absorbing material for new forms, each one is different because of the hero's belief in what they can do. If the hero believes that another hero's strengthening method works then it will also become available.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The legendary weapons must always remain on the hero's person, though their size, appearance, and location can be adjusted to render them inconspicuous. Fitoria reveals that the heroes can eventually take them off. Granted, her weapon is a carriage, and had 10 generations to figure it out.
  • Combination Attack:
    • Skills and magic can be combined to make more powerful attacks.
    • In volume 4, Motoyasu and his party attack Naofumi with this, then Filo and Melty later uses this method of attack to retaliate shortly after.
  • Corrupt Church: The Church of Three Heroes, not only do they have a human supremacy mindset, they try to kill off the heroes with cloned Legendary Weapons once their hold on the country was to be removed.
  • The Corrupter: The soul of the Zombie Dragon Naofumi slew and absorbed into his shield now rests within him. When using the Rage Shield, the Dragon soul tries to urge Naofumi into giving in to his Unstoppable Rage and destroy everything around him.
    • Gets worse once he also takes a piece of the Demon Dragon's core from Kizuna's world.
  • Cosmic Retcon: The Weapons have the ability to rewrite parts of their wielder's home worlds to allow them and anyone they take with them to return. Ren had died in his world but this was reversed when sent back. Naofumi's world was revised so that Raphtalia had been his penpal and after coming to Japan as a foreign exchange student became his girlfriend. When Atla was retconned in she became the daughter of a wealthy businessman and Naofumi's childhood friend.
  • Crapsack World: High-level monsters appear and kill indiscriminately until they are stopped by deadly force? Check. There is a giant magical hourglass showing when it will happen, each and every time? Check. Humans Are Bastards? Check. One of the most honest and upright merchants in the setting is a slave trader? Check.
  • Create Your Own Hero: The Church of the Three Heroes works with King Aultcray to summon the Four Legendary Heroes, but both proceed to treat one of them like crap for several reasons. Naofumi Iwatani, the man in question, is forced to strike on his own with zero external support, unlike the other three, and not only becomes the only one of the four that is actually worthy of being a Hero, but he ends up being the focal point of the efforts to destroy the Church and render the King completely powerless.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • The Pope gets eaten alive by Naofumi's Blood Sacrifice magic at the end of their battle.
    • For noble women, the worst possible fate is being sent to the King of Faubley as a bride. He views women as entirely disposable tools for his pleasure and them being in agony provides at least half of his pleasure; most only last a few weeks. Malty lost an arm and an eye on her first night with him. Naofumi compares a recording of said night to a guro film.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Filo for Melty and her mom.

    D-H 
  • Deceased and Diseased: The zombie dragon whose corpse Ren leaves behind.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: See The Page
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: For the modern Japanese Heroes the existence of slavery and public execution as a form of entertainment seem barbaric. Naofumi is squicked by crowds cheering for executions but reminds himself that even on Earth this used to be considered perfectly normal.
  • Deliberately Bad Example: Naofumi's antiheroic qualities and Hero with Bad Publicity status may be tough to deal with, but he acts nothing like the other summoned heroes, who are all varying degrees of Jerkass and dumbass.
  • De-Power:
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • A group of bandits Naofumi's party defeats claims they'll get away with their crimes by claiming the Shield Hero attacked them for no reason. It didn't occur to them that hearing their plan would convince Naofumi to kill them instead (though it was a bluff on his part).
    • After her royal status is revoked by the Queen, Malty, then named Bitch, later Witch, is VERY prone to acting without thinking of any consequences whatsoever, and will act and lie impulsively, even if the result would only harm her.
    • Ren, Motoyasu and Itsuki treat the world like a videogame, and never stop to consider the consequences of their actions because of it.
      • This shortsightedness proves disastrous when the three of them try to fight the Spirit Turtle. A Bonus Boss so powerful that the previous Four Heroes could only manage to seal it away, which beats them and goes on a rampage before Naofumi and his companions are able to stop it.
    • Naofumi gets fed up during the battle with the Church of the Three Heroes and decides to lay into everyone with a long "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Unfortunately, this distraction prevents everyone from exploiting a giant opening, giving the Pope enough time to charge up for another attack. He even tells Naofumi how foolish it was of him distract everyone.
    • The Three Heroes are plenty guilty of this, due to their belief that they're in some kind of game world that doesn't require any actual thought and tact to solve any challenges. This results in a string of bigger, avoidable problems that Naofumi and his party had to deal with themselves, and their obvious ignorance is not lost on the citizenry and even the Corrupt Church that worships them. It isn't until they find themselves in the exact same situation Naofumi was unjustly thrown into because of their own incompetence that they finally start to grow out of this.
    • King Aultcary has no concept of long term consequences and it becomes blatantly clear he didn't put any forethought into his choices as the story goes on.
      • Summoning all four heroes in Melromarc was only the start of his bad decisions. The intended method is for one hero to be summoned in one kingdom each. Summoning all four heroes quite rightly angered the other countries that were at risk from the waves and war was a genuine threat, leading his wife to put out the political fires he started.
      • Doing his best to screw Naofumi over at every possible opportunity was especially short sighted. Regardless of his personal feelings or Naofumi's limited ability to actually contribute to fighting the waves at the start, the Shield Hero is still one of the Legendary Heroes needed to combat the waves so doing everything in your power to sabotage one of the best chances of survival you have is idiotic to the extreme.
      • The king's condescending and entitled attitude towards Naofumi left the latter just about ready to take off and abandon Melromarc, leaving them with the other three increasingly lackluster Heroes that would have likely died during the waves. The anime actually worsens how bad this behavior is because Aultcray continues to antagonize and threaten Naofumi well past the point that the Shield Hero could quite literally kill the king and walk away unscathed. It's only sheer luck that Naofumi doesn't kill him on the spot at this point.
      • The above points become exponentially worse when it's revealed that Demi-Human countries would have worshipped Naofumi as a divine figure. He'd already ticked them off by summoning all four Heroes to his own country so the revelation that he'd been actively and harshly mistreating a figure of worship would have pushed war from a likelihood to a certainty. The Queen has to keep exactly how badly Naofumi was treated because of her husband hidden to avoid that outcome.
      • The kicker to all of this? Melromarc is a martiarchy. The Queen is the highest power in the country, not him, and he only got away with everything because the Queen was busy smoothing things over from his decision to summon all four Heroes to Melromarc in the first place. Once she finds out what he's done and returns to do something about it, he suddenly finds himself in a pickle.
  • Did You Actually Believe...?: While preparing the executions of Tact's harem and family they were told that if they spoke against him they might survive. When it becomes clear they won't, Naofumi demands to know if Malty actually believed he would let her get away.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Two in-universe examples.
    • The Vassal Katana possesses equivalent skills to the Sword, such as the former's Stardust Sword to the latter's Shooting Star Sword. Eclair receives the Katana in the Web Novel, while Raphtalia takes up the role in Light Novel.
    • The Bow's counterpart is the Vassal Projectile, which has also access to skills such as the Air Strike line. The Bow itself bestows Rishia with the Vassal Projectile so that she can stop Itsuki.
  • Distant Epilogue: In the epilogue Naofumi and Raphtalia return to her home village after centuries have passed in the world while they were fighting gods elsewhere.
  • Dracolich: The Dragon that Ren killed came back as an undead until Naofumi slayed it a second time... even then, its spirit still dwells in the shield.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The first scene in the anime is of Naofumi in his barbarian armor, Raphtalia with a ball made from Balloons. Then he wakes up in his bed in Japan.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: This gets showcased quite handily in chapter 377.
  • Eaten Alive:
    • The fate of Raphtalia's parents during the First Wave, devoured by a Cerberus-like monster.
    • Subverted by Filo. It looks as if the Zombie Dragon killed her in one bite, but she'd only been Swallowed Whole and dug her way out from inside.
    • Naofumi's Blood Sacrifice magic eats the Pope alive, screaming all the while.
  • Embarrassing Damp Sheets: A young Raphtalia ends up wetting her bed. In tears, she expects Naofumi to hit her but instead he comforts her.
  • Empathic Weapon:
    • Deconstructed. What happens when your Legendary Weapon also reacts to your worst emotions? The result is the Curse Series, the Superpowered Evil Side of the Legendary Heroes' weapons, which only become accessible when the wielder flies past the Despair Event Horizon. While they do grant powerful moves and are terrifyingly powerful, they also eat away at the user by intensifying the associated emotion (i.e. hatred or greed) until it is the user's only motivation — and that doesn't take into account the other detriments.
      • Naofumi uses Blood Sacrifice and is left with 1/3 decreased stats for a month. Then, later on, he used a move called Sacrifice Aura, and it debuffs him, Raphtalia, and Filo for 2/3's of their stats for an astounding three months.
    • In volume 5, Naofumi crafts a bracelet at Therese's request. The Bracelet ends up being so high-quality that Therese conveys to him that it's overjoyed and can't wait to be used into battle. It also expresses sadness at being used against him when Therese and L'Arc turn on Naofumi.
  • Empty Levels: The main reason Naofumi can be so much stronger than the other heroes, despite being incredibly outclassed by them on paper. Naofumi focuses on honing all aspects of his skillset, while the other heroes focus on raw power.
  • Equivalent Exchange: The Vassal Whip allows one to sacrifice their levels for a stat boost. They can do the same to others as well.
  • Et Tu, Brute?:
    • Naofumi's reaction when Malty turns on him at the beginning of the story is utter shock.
    • In episode 21 of the anime when Malty is about to be executed for treason and for framing Naofumi she looks up to Motoyasu for him to save her. To her surprise and her dismay he looks at her with a look of shame, literally turns his face away and stays completely silent. The subsequent look of shock on Malty's face encapsulates this trope perfectly and makes her desperate enough to beg the man she originally betrayed, Naofumi, to show mercy and save her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: They're not evil per se, but Ren and Itsuki are still pretty much uncaring jerkasses. And yet even they were disgusted by the treatment Naofumi had received during the banquet and his following duel with Motoyasu, such that they spoke out on his behalf against Malty and the King. Afterward, they were even more disgusted when Motoyasu claimed Naofumi had brainwashed Raphtalia, even when the latter was comforting an obviously crying Naofumi after fervently declaring her belief in him.
    • While the King did everything in his power to make Naofumi's life hell, he's just as appalled as everyone else when Malty's attempt to have her own sister assassinated is revealed during the trial.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Ren, Motoyasu, and Itsuki have one when the Pope of the Church of the Three Heroes uses a weapon that allows him to mimic their Legendary Weapons. Naofumi would have had a similar counterpart but the Church views the Shield as a devil and so the Pope did not use it.
    • Tact serves as one to the four Heroes and Trash as he has all of their negative qualities while lacking any of their redeeming factors. Notably the most prominent members of his harem act as counterparts to Naofumi's companions.
  • Evil Weapon: All of the Legendary Weapons can become evil through the Curse Series, corrupting their users with the Seven Deadly Sins.
  • Evolving Weapon: The Legendary Weapons. Letting the gem of the weapons absorb materials from monsters and other objects unlocks weapon forms based on those materials, granting new skills and stats. Some skills are only unlockable when the wielder reaches certain stat requirements. A reason why Naofumi never gets any attack skills with his shield, as his attack stat will never be high enough to unlock them.
  • Exploited Immunity: Naofumi's immunity to intoxication is exploited during his second encounter with Glass. When Rishia detonates barrels of alcohol around them, Glass becomes too intoxicated to fight while Naofumi remains unaffected.
  • Extreme Close-Up: After Naofumi is cornered and accused of kidnapping Princess Melty, he appears willing to cooperate to avoid as little bloodshed as possible. That is until someone shouts "You mustn't listen to him!" and the camera quickly zooms onto Malty.
  • Faking the Dead:
    • Itsuki and Ren faked their deaths, and the deaths of their companions until the right time to strike against the priest of the church of the three heroes. To be fair, said enemy didn't bother to check for corpses because the attack he used should have left nothing to look for.
    • Malty is sent to her certain death and her corpse is later returned. This is later revealed to have been a homunculus created by Tact's harem to hide her survival.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Many demi-humans and humans loathe each other. Demi-humans and beastmen are prejudiced in places where human supremacists have strong power like the Melromarc Kingdom. A throw away comment that in demi-human countries, it's reversed.
    • The above is the reason why Shield Hero is also shunned in Melromarc Kingdom. Because the previous Shield Hero treated demi-humans and beastmen fairly, he wound up revered by demi-humans and beastmen in turn. So, most of current!Shield Hero's allies are non-humans because the higher-ups at Melromarc Kindgom refused to give him proper funding, followers and information to protect them and the world. Though this is averted with Melromarc's civilians and the non-bigoted members of the royal knights, since Naofumi doing a proper job protecting and assisting the common folk earned him their respect.
  • Festival Episode: Naofumi's village hosts a large festival, which Naofumi views as a great opportunity to make money.
  • Forced Level-Grinding: After Tact is defeated the level of monsters around the world rises dramatically. Just to survive everyone has to level grind.
  • Forced to Watch: Tact's execution is delayed so he can watch as every one of his comrades, friends, and family members is executed in inventive fashions. Made even worse by them calling out for him to save them.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the second chapter of the web novel, where Naofumi and the others were just summoned. It wasn't lost on Naofumi that King Aultclay was glaring dismissively at him the whole time hinting at the real reason why he was rudely blown off despite supposedly being as important as the other chosen heroes.
    • Ren was the only hero who noticed the menu icon in the corner of their vision before it was pointed out when they were first brought before the king. The Legendary Weapons have many features that can only be used if the weilder believes they exist. Since the Three Heroes believed they were transported into their games, they can access many abilities that Naofumi initally can't since he didn't play a game similar to the story. Ren was only one with the menu visible at the start since his version of the game was a VRMMO.
  • Formula with a Twist: The premise of the show is simple: "What if the Isekai Hero had a Joke Weapon?". But it takes this premise and creates a unique Deconstruction of the genre. Also, the reasons for why the hero is mocked and hated by the populace are fleshed out to explore a Crapsack World full of racism and zealotry where the standard genre tropes are definitely not what they are cracked up to be.
  • Fugitive Arc: Naofumi's party ends up on the run due to a conspiracy by the Church to kill Melty and frame him for it.
  • Gainax Ending: This would have been the case for the web novel if chapter 356 was the ending, as originally planned.
  • Genre Blindness: Everyone who discriminates against Shield Hero. People familiar with the rules of RPGs know he's essentially the only legendary-tier support class, while all the other heroes are DPS specialists. In a regular MMORPG setting, high-DPS party members are generally much more common than support, but if a party can't recruit at least one support member the chances of surviving major dungeons generally plummet. Since Shield Hero can only lose his support class by getting killed, he only needs to be concerned with staffing DPS fighters.
    • It's explained that the reason why they think the Legendary Shield is worthless is because the each of the games that the other heroes played had a defensive class that was seen as completely useless, and was simply removed instead of being buffed or rebalanced. Even so, it doesn't excuse them rudely writing Naofumi off as the useless one of the group from the start, or obnoxiously accusing him of "cheating" when he and his party winds up performing better then all of them combined just because their similar at best games didn't have an effective tank. Though, it's implied that the latter was done partly out of jealousy as well as disbelief.
    • As for Melromarc's royalty, it's implied that they secretly knew Naofumi would excel once he had party members, which is why they set up the rigged duel with Motoyasu to take Raphtalia away from him. They just couldn't stand the idea of the "Shield Demon" actually succeeding at his job in any capacity, and decided to kick him down before he could properly stand up.
  • Genre Savvy: Experience with games, light novels, and manga leaves the Heroes far more prepared for their adventure than expected. Naofumi is even able to deduce the nature of the Big Bad due to his savvy.
  • Godlike Gamer: Three of the Four Heroes (of the Stock Light-Novel Hero variety,) who were adept at a certain MMORPG that resembles the RPG Mechanics 'Verse they've been pulled into (the specific one varies since they all come from alternate realities,) giving them a leg-up on understanding the mechanics of the world. It becomes a Deconstruction, however, when this knowledge gives them a very myopic view of the world and how their actions affect it (often causing them to do more harm than good) because they treat their adventures as a game. Naofumi, meanwhile, doesn't have the same MMORPG experience that the others do, and thus is more down-to-earth and has a better understanding of the wants and needs of the people around him, meaning he does more good with his exploits without even explicitly meaning to.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Spirit Beasts function as this. The more people they kill the longer the Waves are delayed; the Waves can be completely stopped at the cost of two-thirds of the world's population. Naofumi deems this a last resort.
  • Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: The coins are 100 copper to 1 silver, and 100 silver to a gold from what has been said about the economy of the light novel. Also, Naofumi pointed out a silver could pay a day's worth of food and lodging, so 50 silvers to go in and out of a village was too much for the villagers to pay Malty and Motoyasu. That meant to leave and come back inside the village would cost 3 month's worth of living expenses.
  • Good Princess, Evil Queen: Inverted. Queen Mirelia is a Reasonable Authority Figure in stark contrast to the sociopathic Princess Malty.
  • The Goomba: Balloon-type monsters are to this world what Slimes are to Dragon Quest.
  • Groin Attack:
    • When Naofumi used his balloon monsters during the first duel with Motoyasu he made sure to place several in the groin, kicking them to make sure they stayed in place.
    • After Filo sends Motoyasu flying with one of these, Naofumi teaches her to do it whenever she sees him. This happens frequently enough off-screen that Motoyasu ended up buying a groin protector, which Filo promptly broke.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: A few characters will temporarily join or accompany Naofumi's group mostly to fill in necessary roles and firepower he's missing. Melty, for example, joins the group during the Fugitive Arc and serves as the resident wizard.
  • Hanlon's Razor: The corollary to this principle (Grey's Law) is indirectly referenced by Naofumi during his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Motoyasu. Naofumi tells him that Motoyasu may only be incompetent rather than malicious, but he's so incompetent that the two might as well be the same.
  • Happily Married: Many characters get this in chapter 377. The chapter is read as a treatise that occurred centuries after the main story.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Naofumi's slaves. While his actions are intended for Pragmatic Villainy, it resulted in this and Undying Loyalty from his slaves. This rather annoyed him while his allies defended him from Controlled!Itsuki's accusations.
  • Harem Seeker: A common trait among Medea's reincarnated minions. They are apparently of the belief that they can convert anyone into a harem member, no matter how unwilling.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Naofumi's ability to boost his party member's growth with his shield's supportive powers allows them to surpass the other Heroes for a brief time.
  • The Hero: Four of them in fact: Hero of the Sword, Hero of the Spear, Hero of the Bow, and Hero of the Shield. There are also the Seven Eight Star Heroes and the Heroes of Glass' world.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Atla. Made even more ridiculous in that she doesn't have to die, if only they were not interrupted midst war with Houou.
    • Granny also sacrifices herself so the Heroes can escape from Tact's trap.
    • Ren died protecting his childhood friend from a murderer on a killing spree. Then he got transported to another world.
  • Heroic Team Revolt: Motoyasu and Itsuki's parties eventually get fed up with their antics and abandon them.
  • Hero of Another Story: The other Heroes count as this for Naofumi as each is fighting their own battles and working on behalf of the people off-screen. This ends as a result of the Spirit Turtle incident destroying their credibility and Naofumi becomes their de facto leader.
    • Fitoria crosses paths with Naofumi periodically and has been secretly fighting any waves that occur too far from populated areas for the Heroes to reach.
    • Glass has been fighting an on-going battle to protect her entire world from destruction and even after allying with Naofumi still returns periodically to continue her fight.
    • Arc becomes this to Naofumi and Raphtalia after they become god killers, mostly fighting on his own but periodically teaming up for difficult enemies.
  • History Repeats: One of Malty's first acts in the story is to rob Naofumi, falsely accuse him of raping her, and join Motoyasu's party for 'protection'. Later, after convincing his party to abandon him during the Spirit Turtle arc, she hooks up with Ren and makes the exact same accusations against Motoyasu. And then she betrays and robs Ren...
  • Horse of a Different Color: Filolials are the premiere animal in the fantasy world of the story for acting as beasts of burden, whether as mounts or carriage-pullers. Design-wise, they are basically Chocobos in every way except name. One inherent aspect to them is that they are genetically pre-disposed to having a mental need for carrying things around, even the higher-ranked Filolial Queens, something that talking Filolials like Filo make quite clear.

    I-P 
  • Illegal Religion: In the aftermath of the fight with the high priest of the Three Heroes Church, the Queen of Melromarc deems said religion heretical and promptly abolished.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Blood Sacrifice and the other abilities Naofumi uses creates Iron Maidens designed to do this. He kills the High Priest using it.
  • Interrupted Suicide: This is implied to be the main purpose of the Curse Series. Naofumi theorized that when a hero is at their absolute lowest point, the Curse Series unlocks as a self-defense mechanism to keep them from committing suicide. Repeated use of the series does alter the hero's personality, but at the same time it does keep them away from suicidal thoughts.
  • Involuntary Suicide Mechanism: Any reincarnater who tries to expose information about who they serve will die, and their soul will then be destroyed. Only some reincarnaters were informed of this.
  • Irony:
    • The first person to prove themselves trustworthy to Naofumi by always dealing with him honestly and never betraying him is a slaver. Whereas even the blacksmith briefly believes Naofumi is a rapist, the slaver just treats him as a recurring customer who also brings good business indirectly.
    • As part of her negotiations to stop the other countries from declaring war, Queen Mirellia gave up Melromarc's rights to use the Seven Star Vassal weapons to make up for King Aultcray hoarding the Four Cardinal Heroes. The Vassal Weapons actually choose their own wielders, and most of them end up choosing citizens of Melromarc anyway across the different adaptations.
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet: Part way through their fight with Motoyasu's party, Naofumi's group notices how all of the guards that were at the gate have gone missing. Filo's sense tip her off and she bunches everyone up before telling Naofumi to shield them from the Fantastic Nuke that's about to hit them.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Motoyasu calls Naofumi out on owning a slave. While initially dismissive of his outrage, much later Naofumi concedes that from the perspective of most modern Japanese it really was something that could be seen as villainous.
  • Karmic Death:
    • The Pope is killed by Naofumi's Blood Sacrifice after he tried to kill the latter as a false hero and a demon.
    • In the Light Novel, Rino, a girl Malty sold into slavery simply so Motoyasu's attention wouldn't be monopolized not only manages to betray her after sneaking into the reincarnations group as a Double Agent, but manages be the one to kill her. To add insult to injury, after stabbing her repeatedly she also lays claim to the Vassal Whip that was in her possession to finish her off by blowing her head clean off it's shoulders. That said, thanks to the Third Army's ability to revive their soldiers and allies if they can keep their souls intact, given they managed to flee the fight with Malty's soul, its likely this death won't stick for her. Still major karmic payback for her though.
    • In the web novel, Malty had a history of getting innocent men killed with a False Rape Accusation, and her first death involves her being raped and tortured to death by her uncle. She also attempted to burn her enemies to death, her little sister included, with her fire magic, and ends up burned at the stake before her soul is consumed to make her second death stick. Prior to this, the chronic liar was gullible enough to believe that she and other members of Tact's harem would be set free despite their many, many crimes if they publicly turned on him, which they did without a second thought.
    • Mald and the other former members of Itsuki's party were burned alive via the bronze bull for their betrayal and attempted overthrow of Queen Mirellia. Bonus points for their method of execution being based on Itsuki's curse series-exclusive Finishing Move. Just before his execution, Mald collapsed on his knees and begged pathetically for mercy.
    • After causing so much needless pain and misery across the various Worlds, Medea finds herself stopped and beaten into the ground by Naofumi and Raphtalia, who had just become Physical Gods themselves. Her first counterattack is rewarded with the former two restraining her and buffing their allies, giving them the opportunity to vent their own feelings of frustration and hatred on her as well. After getting free, she attempts to use her powers to erase Naofumi from existence like she tried to before, only for him to bounce the attack right back at her and completely wipe herself out of existence instead. Having been killed in every world, parallel timeline, and alternate universe, not only are the various worlds finally liberated from Medea's destructive influence, but barely a trace of her memory was left as a result.
  • Karmic Jackpot: As bad as things start out, Naofumi's selfless actions (no matter how much he tries to deny it) have done a lot for him in the long run.
    • His fatherly attitude towards the members of his party have made them both unquestionably loyal to him, his desire for them to be capable of defending themselves leading to them becoming very skilled against the various monsters and mad men they encounter.
    • Unlike the other heroes, Naofumi has no interest in personal glory and often prioritizes the protection of the common folk. Because of this, the peasantry of the kingdom comes to know of him as a hero in-spite of the lies that the nobles and the other heroes spread about him and will often compensate him for his help generously.
    • His desire to avoid escalating conflicts, as well as his Pragmatic Heroism has caught the attention of the Queen of Melromarc Kingdom, leading to the King and Princess Malty to be dually punished for their corrupt actions against him. Out of all of the heroes, he seems to be the one she respects the most, even encouraging him to marry her second daughter in the light novel.
  • Karmic Rape: Malty. For all her chronic backstabbing, her name is changed to "Bitch". Later, after all the times she manipulated men and accused Naofumi of raping her, she is sent to become the bride of King Faubley, a man whom she cannot manipulate, and who has raped and tortured 99,999 other women before her, and becomes lucky woman number 100,000.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: People were delighted when Naofumi was proven innocent and the King and Malty were punished.
  • Killed Off for Real: The Queen of Melromarc Kingdom, Granny, and Atla. In revenge for this, Tact and Malty are killed off for real.
  • Level Cap: There are two level caps which can be uncapped.
    • The first cap is level 40 which can be overcome by visiting the Hourglass of the Dragon's Era and paying a small fee. This prevents most monsters and outlaws from moving past this level, reducing the overall danger they pose. Naofumi is temporarily stuck at this cap due to the King forbidding him from using his countries' Hourglass.
    • The second cap is level 100 and is believed to be the maximum level. Gaelion confirms it is possible to go beyond level 100 but lacks the knowledge of the required rituals until he becomes the Dragon Emperor.
  • Level Grinding: Naofumi starts off spending his days slowly grinding through balloon monsters to gain a few measly levels. Once he gets Raphtalia he is able to eventually branch out.
    • Cal Mira Island's awakening offers an efficient version of level grinding as the monsters provide extra XP until the adventurers reach a point of diminishing returns.
    • Filo's carriage is used to grind the level of Naofumi's slaves. Filo can kill monsters simply by running them over with her carriage so Naofumi loads it up and has her run at high speed across the countryside, with the people in the carriage receiving large amounts of XP for no effort.
  • Lighter and Softer: The manga adaptation is this to the light novel. It should be noted that Naofumi is still the same Anti-Hero, and he does almost the same things, it's just that we don't get to read his more hateful inner thoughts and opinions. The anime is lighter than both of them since it removes certain scenes that portray Naofumi in a much less heroic light. And the dub tones down the darkness even further, by making the dialogue a bit more civil.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Demi-humans are largely human aside from their ears and tails.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": Filo the filolial, who Naofumi did not put tremendous effort into naming.
  • Lost in Transmission: The various shrines located on the Spirit Turtle had detailed explanations from past Heroes on how and why they sealed it, rather than killed it. The writing has deteriorated to the point that the key phrases are illegible. Naofumi later attributes this to intervention by the entity behind the waves.
  • Lover Tug-of-War: In the epilogue Naofumi is subject to one between Raphtalia and Atla. On the day of his wedding to Raphtalia.
  • Magikarp Power: At first, it seems that this full trope only applies to Naofumi since his Legendary Shield has no direct means of attacking aside from the Wrath Shield, and making full use of the shield forms he's powered up over the course of the story helps when he has to fight on his own. Later on, this winds up fully applying to all the other Heroes and their Legendary Weapons as their current powers fall short in the face of increasingly tougher monsters, and it's stressed that they need to get stronger if they want to get their job done. In the latter's case, it's deconstructed since they initially don't have the drive or patience to properly train and power up their weapons, fully believing that they could just coast by without giving any dedicated effort, and just accuse Naofumi of cheating when his hard work pays off. It isn't until the three undergo their own Despair Event Horizon like Naofumi did near the beginning of the series that they start taking things seriously and become more motivated to live up to their titles as heroes strength-wise.
  • Magically Binding Contract:
    • Slave Crests function this way. When applied to someone, they become physically incapable of disobeying their master's orders. If they do, the crest gives them a magical electric shock until they do what they were told to do.
      • These crests also have other purposes which required a little bit of creative thinking. During a court trial, a Slave Crest can be applied to someone with the Judge as their master, who then orders the witness to "tell the truth." This would make the Slave Crest shock them if they lie when asked a question, giving a very obvious tell if someone is being dishonest. This is how Malty's rape charges against Naofumi are dismissed, as she's such a Compulsive Liar that she lies even under threat of shock. When she gets zapped by the Crest with such intensity that she's knocked flat on her back, it's clear that Malty is lying, and the charges are dropped.
    • The queen of Melromarc signs one to gain Naofumi's trust. If something bad happens to Naofumi or his slaves, she will suffer the consequences alone.
  • Manchurian Agent: "Justice zombies" are able to act completely normal and fool even their close friends and family. Thanks to this enough people were populated to stage a country-wide rebellion. When their sabotage or infection is revealed they become actively hostile and attempt to infect others while shouting propaganda.
  • Manipulative Editing: A band of knights use a crystal ball to record Naofumi's party fighting off their assault after the knights tried to kill Princess Melty. They then retreat and have a group of mages alter the recording with their magic to make it seem like "the Devil of the Shield" and his minions butchered the knights with wicked smiles while "kidnapping" Melty.
  • Matriarchy: The Melromarc Kingdom.
  • Meaningful Rename: As part of their punishment for abusing Shield, the Queen lets Naofumi rename the King and Malty to Trash and Bitch. Much later Trash willingly accepts his new name after his wife's death.
  • Merged Reality: The waves are caused by two worlds coming into contact. If this occurs often enough eventually the worlds will begin to merge, destroying one or both of them. Previous instances of this occurring resulted in the presence of Demi-Humans, who were not originally native to the world, as well as half of the Legendary and Seven Star Weapons.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: Ren is devastated when he learns that the dragon he killed was the father of a young girl who was enslaved by the same people who convinced him to kill said father.
  • Morton's Fork: In chapter 336, the legendary Whip has two candidates to wield it, Rat and Taniko. However neither wants to become a Hero due to their respective bad experiences with Heroes.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Naofumi is a type 3. He is able to safely consume handfuls of a grape that need to be diluted for safe consumption. Even eating half of one is enough to cause alcohol poisoning in most people; Naofumi doesn't even get a buzz..
  • Never Learned to Read: Although the Heroes can speak with the locals, they're illiterate in the language. Naofumi addresses this by learning to read with Raphtalia's help.
  • New Life in Another World Bonus: Four "heroes", including Naofumi, the protagonist, are summoned to a RPG Mechanics 'Verse and assigned a legendary weapon. This weapon cannot be removed, and the heroes are not allowed to wield any other weapon, but the legendary weapons can absorb different materials (such as those obtained from defeated monsters) to unlock various transformations with different abilities. Naofumi, being the Shield Hero, becomes an extreme Stone Wall who is practically immune to damage from weaker foes, and can use his shield to protect himself against attacks from stronger ones, at the downside of having pitiful damage (it takes him several minutes to defeat a single Balloon monster) while others can one-shot them. At first, he compensates for this weakness by relying on his teammates for offense while he focuses on protecting them. He soon obtains a second Isekai Cheat that propels him above the other heroes: the Curse Series, special shields that offer immense power at the price of causing him to be overwhelmed by his emotions and risking losing control.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • The heroes aside from Naofumi are all guilty of this as the results of their actions lead to consequences that are just as bad or even worse. These include:
      • Ren kills a dragon but doesn't properly dispose of its corpse. Its rotten corpse not only polluted the land and attracted a bunch of monsters, its sheer hatred makes it come back as a zombie.
      • Motoyasu tries to save a village from famine by planting a magical seed. Unfortunately it turns out to be a Man-Eating Plant.
      • Itsuki kills a king that was heavily taxing his people. It doesn't solve anything, as the rebel-manned government continues to tax the people like before.
      • Naofumi's "Reason You Suck" Speech in Episode 19 enables the Pope the recharge his weapon, while he's wasting time bringing up arguably petty grudges instead of dealing with the actual threat in front of them.
    • After Mirelia loses her patience when the Three Heroes arrogantly dismiss the training regiment she set up to teach them actual combat, she crossly belittles their skills and tells them they will no longer receive compensation or quests in her country, unless they prove themselves by investigating a series of monster attacks in the southwest of Melromarc. Unfortunately, her speech bruises Ren, Motoyasu and Itsuki's egos and makes them determined to prove they were better than they actually were. Combined with their general ignorance, they come to a very far-fetched conclusion that the Spirit Tortoise, a behemoth Guardian Beast capable of leveling continents, is responsible and try to kill it by themselves without any plan or support. When they predictably fail and are abducted by Kyo to be used as batteries for the monster, it leads to the destruction of numerous countries and the deaths of thousands of innocents. The Queen herself lampshades her failure to Naofumi for allowing it all happen by riling up the trio and then letting them roam free despite knowing how Lethally Stupid they were.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Let's face it, Motoyasu's competence as a Hero skyrocketed after Malty predictably betrayed and ditched him after the Spirit Tortoise incident. The resulting snap in his sanity ironically made him useful.
  • Not Completely Useless: The Ø series Weapons are flashy and completely useless against virtually every opponent, doing 0 damage and, in Naofumi's case, having 0 defense. However they are the only series that can hurt gods such as Medea.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Motoyasu's death resulted due to him not wanting to choose one of his two female friends over the other. Both girls responded by stabbing him to death while arguing over who would go to heaven with him.
  • “Not If They Enjoyed It” Rationalisation: Filo is heavily implied to ravish Melty while under the effect of a magic induced lust. Neither is as upset about this as they'd have reason to be and hardly anything is said about it afterwards.
  • Not the Intended Use: A Slave Crest is a Magically Binding Contract that forces the recipient to obey their designated master under pain of electric shock if they don't. During a trial with a well-known Compulsive Liar as a witness, a Slave Crest was branded to them with the judge as their master, who ordered the witness to "tell the truth." When the witness continues to lie anyway, the shock of the Slave Crest is a very obvious tell that they're lying.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Naofumi when he realizes how insane and dangerous Malty really is at the beginning of the story.
    • Malty and Aultcray when they realize that Mirelia is going to dethrone them for their actions.
    • Malty has this twice in a row in the manga when the Three Heroes Church makes it clear that they intend to kill her along with her sister and the other Heroes. The one person present (Naofumi) that could save her was not only the same person that she ruined the life of from the start, but also kept trying to kick him down even further out of pure sadism, and the latter outright told her and Motoyasu to their faces that they can all die for all he cared, since by that point Ren and Itsuki were seemingly dead, and the only other Hero left was so stupid that he was partly responsible for the whole mess. Her response was to Freak Out as she made a pathetic attempt at denying all responsibility for her actions while trying to bail on her own party.
    • Aultcray has one in the anime when he pushes Naofumi too far by threatening his companions, and the latter responds by swearing to kill him if he so much as makes an attempt. It's implied that it doesn't just finally dawn on him that Naofumi is very much capable of doing so by himself, but that he was mere inches away from being killed on the spot for acting out of pure spite.
    • Malty gets one in the anime when Melty walks in on her tampering with Naofumi's food.
    • In the anime, Naofumi tests a new skill to copy any shield weapon he touches. Elhart is aghast at this power since Naofumi's essentially stealing his work. It gets worse as Raphtalia and Filo keep bringing Naofumi more of his shields to copy.
    • Medea's last words in the web novel are her screaming in terror and desperation when she realizes the Attack Reflector is going to Ret-Gone her for good.
  • Otaku: The Legendary Heroes are all otaku and Naofumi eventually determines that all of the previous Legendary Heroes were also otaku. Medea's reincarnations are also otaku whose minds are notably warped by her influence.
  • The Peeping Tom: In Chapter 100 the other Heroes attempt this while Naofumi deliberately abstains.
  • Pet the Dog: Ren and Itsuki come to Naofumi's defense when he lost against Motoyasu in a duel due to Malty attacking him in the back.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Zig-zagged. Ost Hourai tells Naofumi that if he decapitates the head of the Spirit Tortoise that it'll go down. It does... but not completely for very long as the one other thing she neglected to tell him is that both the head and heart need to be taken down near-simultaneously to truly take it down permanently. Filo and Raphtalia do their utmost to successfully decapitate it completely with a massive amount of help from the others that joined him in the excursion, though since they destroy only the head and the heart regenerates it later, he realizes that all of that effort ultimately amounted to nothing in the end, due to not having known about taking down the heart at nearly the same time as when the head is destroyed in advance.
  • Physical God: Naofumi and Raphtalia eventually becomes this. At least in the Web Novel.
  • Pixellation: The combined Envy and Lust Curse series of Motoyasu's spear turns the blade into something that is covered with mosaic in-universe.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: In Episode 2, Raphtalia says the trope verbatim when Naofumi tries to perform a You Shall Not Pass! on the two-headed dog monster. After they defeat it, she hugs him and tearfully begs him to please not to die and leave her alone.
  • Poison-and-Cure Gambit: In Chapter 22, Naofumi poisons a guard, who he then tells will die unless he receives an antidote from him. He uses it to turn the guard into a guide to find Melty.
  • Popcultural Osmosis Failure: An interesting non-generational example in episode 10 of the anime. Itsuki mentions the Comes Great Responsibility line verbatim, which causes Naofumi to do a Spit Take all over Filo. When Itsuki asks him what's so funny, Naofumi responds that he didn't realize he was bitten by a spider. Itsuki, coming from an alternative universe version of Japan, doesn't get it.
  • Power at a Price: The Cursed Form of the Legendary Weapons each evoke different consequences that linger for months.
    • The Wrath series is the most direct, causing serious physical harm to the wielder and reducing stats by up to 30%.
    • The Gluttony and Greed series reduce EXP and levels, lower quality of drops and turns any high-quality equipment and money that the wielder touches with their hands into dust.
    • The Pride and Sloth series inhibit SP gain and in later stages it reduces the wielder's willpower to nothing, turning them into yes-men
    • The Envy and Lust series supposedly have effects that would affect severely the user's mind, but Motoyasu was already broken before that could happen so those had no effect on him.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The Light Novel and Manga go into great length about the various shields Naofumi finds on his travels, as well as the effects they give him. Since stopping to explain each shield, how he got it, and what they do is harder in an animated format than a book or manga, the anime adaptation will usually show Naofumi getting certain important shields, but show that he has collected several other shields during the background by way of showing all the various shields he has on his status screen.
  • The Promise: In volume 4, Fitoria talks a bit about the vow she made to the first shield hero to defend the world. She will make good on this promise by killing Naofumi and the other heroes if they do not stop fighting amongst themselves and start cooperating in the waves.
  • Psychic Powers:
    • Itsuki is revealed to have come from a world where people with ESP is common, himself having an ESP ability which raises his accuracy when aiming.
    • Itsuki guesses that Naofumi also has both the ESP abilities of intoxication immunity and animal charisma which somehow also includes demi-humans and beastmen.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: The reincarnated minions of Medea are delusional and have no consideration for anything other than their own satisfaction.
  • Public Execution: Happens twice, both times being large public spectacles with cheering citizens. Naofumi finds both the executions and the cheering disturbing but understands it's part of Melromarc's culture.

    R-Z 
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Played straight. When dragged before the King in response to the rape charge, Naofumi is told that even attempting to sexually assault a woman is a capital offence in Melromarc.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Queen. She treats Naofumi with far more respect than most.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Naofumi tells the Three Heroes that their RPG mindset is really detrimental to both themselves and to everyone around them, and that this mindset is causing more problems than it solves because the world doesn't just sort itself out once they've completed their quests and their thoughtless actions have very real consequences, something that annoys Naofumi because he ended up as the one to clean up after the other heroes' messes. They don't really take his words to heart until the Spirit Tortoise Incident which leads to each of them experiencing the consequences of their actions first hand.
    • After the Spirit Tortoise incident, Elena flat out tells Motoyasu all his flaws to his face, sending him into Heroic BSoD.
  • "Reborn as Villainess" Story: Parodied in the April Fools' Day chapter. Along with the other four heroes, an Office Lady from a world where the events of Shield Hero are popular fiction finds she's been reincarnated as Malty, one of the antagonists. Just like the other three heroes were based on common fantasy protagonist archetypes, she comes to the realization that she's become the Villainess heroine. She debates to herself whether she can turn her fate around or succumb to something even worse, depending on if the version of Melomarc she reincarnated into was based on the main canon (where she ends up punished for her deeds) or that of The Reprise of the Spear Hero (where the main character is out for her blood). When Motoyasu speaks up at their summoning instead of Naofumi, indicating she's in the beginning of the latter, she has a panic attack.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Naofumi in the anime, when he triggers the Cursed Shield.
  • Red Herring: In the trial scene of the anime, Malty pulls this In-Universe by bringing up the fact that the Three Heroes Church targeted the other Three Heroes and the royal family, claiming she would never be part of such a plot. Technically it was true since the Slave Crest didn't react, but it's made clear that it was an attempt to distract the Queen from her crimes, to which the latter catches on.
  • Reincarnation: In Glass' world it is believed that souls eventually reincarnate, so Soul Eaters are used to prevent criminals from reincarnating. Tact is more-or-less confirmed to have been reincarnated with his memories from an alternate Japan as are Medea's other minions.
  • Revenge by Proxy: What Naofumi's summoning as the Shield Hero amounts to. Melromarc hates demi-humans and beastmen, and the latter worships the Shield Hero for the benevolent actions of the previous one. Not only does this result in the Church of Three Heroes demonizing the Shield prior to the events of the story, but this also led to Naofumi being ignored and treated like garbage even before Malty threw a fake rape accusation at him. It's also implied that just the first three heroes could be summoned without the Shield Hero, but was done so anyway just to spite its legacy even further by making the current wielder out to be both a malicious demon and a useless liability to the public. Unfortunately for the main conspirators involved, this gradually backfires on them BIG TIME.
    • The King threatens to go after Naofumi's companions when he tells him off. Naofumi's responds with a Death Glare so fierce that it makes him recoil, and a promise that he will never let the King take anything from him again.
  • RPG Mechanics 'Verse: Everyone in the world of the story explicitly speaks in RPG terms, such as levels, stats, hit points and so on. Deconstructed since three of the four heroes saw fit to treat the world as one big game because of this, and carelessly wind up causing problems as a result.
  • Ring of Power: One of the Legendary Weapons of Syne's world was the Legendary Ring. It's currently missing.
  • Sacrificial Lion:
    • The death of Atla has a massive impact on Naofumi and avenging her becomes his short-term goal, her death also angers Ren to the point of unlocking his own wrath series weapon.
    • The Queen and Granny are killed to prove Tact and Malty are the new villains and to complete the King's move toward redemption.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Justified in that the users are the King and his daughter Malty. Averted in that the Queen has to clean up his mess when he decides to summon the heroes without the consent of the other countries, and then strips both her husband and eldest daughter of their royal status once she gets back.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Averted as Naofumi doesn't have the funds to do so and he totally intended to do this, if he did not have other methods to go back to his own world.
  • Secret Test of Character: Ake and a group of knights wanted to volunteer and help the Shield Hero out during the Third Wave and approach Naofumi to join him. He sternly tells them that they need to earn a quota of silver to pay for some of his charms to come along, much to Raphtalia, Filo and Elhart's annoyance. When the knights return with the money, Naofumi gives them the charms for free, and tell them to use the money to buy better equipment for the fight. The whole thing was to prove if they were genuine about helping Naofumi fight the Wave.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: See Fantastic Racism above. The Shield Hero was revered by demi-humans and beastmen, humans at Melromarc Kingdom refused to give him proper capital and information. Later he turned to ask help from demi-humans and later treat them fairly like the previous Shield Heroes.
  • Send Me Back:
    • On his second day, Naofumi demands this right after being dragged to Melromarc castle and finding out Malty lied to everyone about him raping her. To his chagrin, he won't be able to until the waves are taken care of. Or so he thinks.
    • Naofumi is banished to his home planet at one point and is able to return to a comfortable life alongside Raphtalia. Despite this he can't stop thinking about his comrades stuck in battle with the goddess Medea and wishes to return. The Shield obliges.
    • Ren is similarly banished and jumps at the opportunity to return.
  • Seven Deadly Sins:
    • The Curse series of the Legendary Weapons align to the sins. Unless a trusted person can snap them out of it, the sin consumes the wielder's mind.
    • The new Seven Deadly Sins as outlined by the Vatican in 2008 appear as a separate Curse series which Naofumi accidentally unlocks, turning him into a megalomaniac.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: Normal clothes don't change along with Filo when she switches between human and bird form, so Naofumi and Raphtalia need to get her some tailor-made clothes made of a special magical thread that change with her.
  • Ship Tease: Hilariously defied. When Raphtalia and Motoyasu spend an entire day together on Cal Mira, the latter does everything in his power to woo her and treat it like a date. The day ends with her opinion of him being drastically lowered—largely because he insisted on hitting on other women as the day went on.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slave Brand:
    • Slaves are branded with a mark that can be used to cause them pain if they try to disobey a direct order from their master. This effect isn't absolute, as Naofumi notices that Raphtalia has been learning what she can and can't get away with. Naofumi's particular abilities allow him to give powerful bonuses in growth to anyone branded as his slave. Naofumi has those who join him after discovering them receive the brand so that they will benefit from this.
    • In some, but not all, adaptations, a slave brand is placed on Princess Malty upon finally being taken to task for past actions. The brand is specifically meant to compel truthful answers to interrogation, but the culprit is such a compulsive liar that they continue to lie even while fully aware of and having experienced the effects firsthand.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Rishia/Licia, Mald/Mard, Filo/Firo, to name a few.
  • Stable Time Loop: In the light novel, Naofumi teleports into the past and plays a critical role in the downfall of the nation of Piensa. The remnants of Piensa founded Melromarc and it's entirely possible the Church of Three Heroes first demonized the Shield Hero due to Naofumi, setting up the future where he would travel in time to stop Piensa.
  • Staged Populist Uprising: A rebellion in Melromarc is revealed to have been masterminded by Malty, the Church of Three Heroes, and Itsuki's former companions using mind control to make the people support them.
  • Stat-O-Vision: Status magic, an ability possessed by everyone that lets them view their levels and stats. Heroes can also use it to manage their weapon tree and item inventory.
    • In the anime, status magic is a hero-exclusive ability.
  • Status Quo Is God: Deconstructed. As the Shield Hero, Naofumi was looked down on from the very start as the useless liability of the four heroes by seemingly everybody, and it appeared to be because of his purely defensive focus. Things only got worse for him when a false rape accusation was dropped on him, and everyone wanted nothing to do with him as a result. Turns out it was part of a conspiracy by Melromarc's Church and royalty to undermine the Shield Hero legacy for its connection to the demi-human and beastman history, and Naofumi himself was basically collateral damage by unwilling association. They WANTED him to be (or at least be seen as) both a useless liability and a repulsive monster from the very start, and the moments he shows to be much more capable then they expected him to be or becomes more beloved than the other heroes, their response is to either go out of their way to deny him any chances to grow stronger, or try to pin more false accusations on him in a desperate attempt to keep his negative social status the same. Eventually, the ringleader of the Three Heroes Church just went "screw it" and tries to kill him directly with a magic Kill Sat when it's obvious he and his party were too strong to be put down, when the combined might of other (misled) heroes and the fanatical knights wasn't enough.
  • Stone Wall: Naofumi. Being the Hero of the Shield naturally makes him one. Once he reaches a high enough level, basic enemies literally cannot hurt him, allowing him to grab lower level monsters and use as weapons. During his duel with Motoyasu, Motoyasu is able to hurt him thanks to having a higher level, better gear, and an actual weapon, but most of his attacks don't do much damage. Taken to an extreme in the final arc. After becoming a Physical God, he adjusts his power so that his defense is through the roof and his attack stat is zero. He can't even do a single point of damage.
  • Straw Loser: Ultimately Zig-Zagged. At times, everyone who isn't Naofumi and/or his party seem to exist mainly to serve as varying levels of antagonists. Myne tells many Blatant Lies just because she can, but this only applies to people living in Melromarc's capital simply because she's royalty, as Ren and Itsuki's testimony following the rigged duel implies that a number had to be threatened into going along with it by the king. Motoyasu is amongst the people who believe Myne, but he has several other flaws which don't do him any great favors, which is also true of Ren and Itsuki to a lesser extent - moreover, the three Heroes are all Genre Blind to the consequences, thinking that this is "just a game" instead of taking it seriously like Naofumi does.
    • Overall, while the nobility and other heroes have a constant habit of either assuming the worst or blaming him for everything short of the waves, the general populace only have second-hand knowledge of what Naofumi supposedly did, and seeing him and his party display more competence than all his detractors combined as they perform their hero duties has him celebrated instead of shunned and tend to lend him their help when needed, such as the Blacksmith and the witch who helped teach Naofumi's party about magic and fashioned Filo's shape shifting clothes.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: The reincarnated minions of Medea all have delusions of grandeur which leads them to act in destructive manners.
  • Summon Everyman Hero: The four Legendary Heroes were ordinary otaku until their summoning. Past Heroes were also Japanese otaku. However, because they are normal people, none of them have actual training with weapons, and three of them treat the world they are in as a videogame, causing a lot of problems that only get solved because the fourth player (who Had to Be Sharp and has had to learn on his own things the other three took for granted) helps solve those problems.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: What the four legendary weapons and presumably the vassal weapons are on paper, capable of theoretically anything as long as the user either puts in the right materials or utilizes weapon copy on weapons of the same type. Doing this also gives the user a minor but permanent boost in a certain stat, meaning the user can become formidable by gradually stacking these benefits. Unfortunately, Naofumi is the only one who can be bothered to do so since the others are convinced that Level Grinding and their individual methods of getting stronger are the way to go.
  • Tautological Templar: Every last person who falls under the influence of Medea or one of her fragments becomes absolutely convinced that he/she is the epitome of righteousness whose actions are invariably noble and just regardless of the actual consequences. It takes being directly betrayed by their patron to snap them out of it, and even then a few, like Tact still don't get it.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The four Heroes can't stand each other, even after Naofumi's innocence is proven. Despite Fitoria and the Queen warning them that they will surely die and doom the world if they can't cooperate against the Waves, it's an uphill battle for them to actually fight as a team.
  • Theatrics of Pain: While fighting Naofumi, Raphtalia and Filo, the Melromarc soldiers fall grasping their vital areas as if they're dying. This is because when when the footage is edited, they can make it look as if Naofumi's party were brutally murdering the soldiers instead of defeating them non-lethally.
  • The Power of Trust: One of main character Naofumi's biggest flaws is the fact that he's had his sense of trust viciously beaten out of him by a conspiracy to destroy his reputation by people he thought he could trust. He's so distrustful after the incident that he refuses to get more party members until it becomes clear that he absolutely needs them, and his first two companions are slaves magically bound to obey him no matter what. Over time, however, he comes to genuinely trust in his party members, to the point that they're among the only people he really trusts. Meanwhile, Motoyasu has the exact opposite problem: always trusting in his companions even when one of them is feeding him obvious lies to manipulate him, to which Naofumi eventually calls him out, pointing out that there's a difference between trust and blind faith.
    • It's later revealed that this is literally Naofumi's power. Each of the legendary weapons has a unique method of powering itself and it's various forms up, which also extends to the Vassell weapons as well. Whilst some weapons allow one to enhance their stats directly, increase the power of various weapon forms through expending 'energy', rare materials, or even money on them, Naofumi's unique 'power-up' method is increased effectiveness from levelling for those who are in his party, meaning they get increased stat boosts from fighting alongside him and levelling up together, making them stronger than people of the same level normal are. Several of Naofumi's more powerful shields are unlocked through items gained from his non-human allies donating parts of their bodies willingly to his shield's care, representing their trust in him. Naofumi also later figures out that all the power-up methods can work on the legendary weapons simultaneously, but only if the wielders earnestly believe they do. Despite his cynical skepticism, Naofumi is able to believe in the results brought about by the other heroes' efforts to begin making use of the power-up methods all at once, whereas the other's earnest refusal to believe mean that they're limited in their efforts to get stronger then him, even with his inability to attack directly.
  • Unflinching Walk: Raphtalia does it in Episode 14 when she confronts Idol, the noble who enslaved her and her village after the first wave. She doesn't even twitch when he hits her with his whip and once she's close enough, she swats it out of his hand with her sword.
  • Unskilled, but Strong:
    • The Cardinal Heroes are all given powerful weapons that give them unique abilities that take them from normal people, to almost demi-gods in raw power. However, the series very heavily shows that all four of them are only as strong as they are because said weapons give them innate bonuses that allow them to do. There are several times in the series where all four of the heroes fight someone who is a genuine threat because they are a trained fighter, or have tools they can use to even the odds. Even Naofumi, the most unlikely to be this trope, is only stronger than the average fighter thanks to the Shields raw power.
    • Motoyasu, Ren, and Itsuki compared to Naofumi, both because their Legendary Weapons are actual weapons and their levels are higher than the latter's for a while. Deconstructed in that for all their put-downs toward Naofumi for being stuck with a "useless class", the latter still manages to be the biggest threat of the four due to actually bothering to master each one of his shields and fully exploiting their abilities, heightened stat growths and permanent bonuses towards himself and his party, but he's also the only one fully solving problems (half of them that the former three wound up causing, no less) as a result by taking the situation seriously and utilizing other less flashy but useful skills such as cooking and potion-making. He was even able to put Motoyasu on the defensive in their first fight despite being twenty levels lower through a clever use of his mastered shields and resources, and only lost because the duel itself was rigged from the start. Compared to Naofumi, and even Raphtalia and Filo in the first part of the story, it's almost like the other heroes lack the "strong" part as their offensive hero skills barely scratch the enemy of the week.
  • Unstoppable Force Meets Immovable Object: Brought up by Motoyasu during his duel with Naofumi, referencing the story of the unblockable spear and the unbreakable shield. Naofumi reminds him that in that story, the spear broke first.
  • Unwanted Harem: Naofumi has one consisting of Raphtalia, Filo, Melty, Atla, and more.
  • Unwitting Pawn: At the beginning of the series, it only takes a few choice words for Malty to seal the fate of Naofumi's reputation in her favor.
  • The Victim Must Be Confused: The Church of the Three Heroes try having Naofumi branded as a wanted criminal for kidnapping the Princess Melty. When Princess Melty tries explaining to the three heroes that she had left with him of her own free will, the Church and her sister Princess Malty tries rationalizing this as being the product of an ability to brainwash people that they believe the Shield Hero possesses. This is quickly shot down by Naofumi, citing that the other three heroes do not possess such an ability and that it would be very unlikely that he would have it.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Filo in her gigantic Filorial form has the exact same little-girl voice as her human form. This applies to all other Filorial Queens as well.
  • Void Between the Worlds: When Naofumi returns from his home dimension he perceives the gap as an infinite black space filled with shining lights which are each dimensions.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: When Naofumi is framed for killing Melty the knights use doctored recordings of him apparently strangling her as a wanted poster.
  • War from Another World: The Waves of Calamity are the result of two or more worlds being fused together, with wars and battles with creatures from one world being poured into the other.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Due to the many handicaps that come with being the Shield Hero both on a metaphysical level (having high defense but absolutely no offensive abilities) and on a social level (the King possessing a personal vendetta against him and the bad reputation he was dealt with), Naofumi and his allies are forced to focus more on thinking on their feet in the heat of the moment, as well as a variety of non-combative skills (such as crafting and magic). This is in heavy contrast with Ren, Motoyasu and Itsuki, each of them valuing raw strength and whatever perks that come with being The Chosen Many. This is deconstructed later in the series, Naofumi's CombatPragmatism, his willingness to work together with his teammates and general Street Smarts of the world around them having made him and his team much more effective as heroes despite being on a much lower level then the rest of them. Not only that, but the fact that Naofumi takes the dangers of the world seriously and takes responsibility for his actions has earned the respect of the many people he has saved.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The general view on the Hero of the Shield. At first.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • After dealing with the messes the other Heroes caused, Naofumi berates them for their short-sightedness.
    • Melty calls out Motoyasu when he attacks Naofumi in the middle of the capital and causes a lot of collateral damage, pointing out that no real hero would carelessly put people in danger.
    • The Queen calls out Naofumi on his harsh attitude making things harder for her, including turning down offers of help during the deepest parts of his depression.
    • The Church of the Three Heroes is doing this towards the Heroes in what they believe to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist method. Well, up until the Pope tries murdering them in cold blood, being entirely willing to wipe out Malty AND Melty in the process, and the Pope proclaiming himself to be God as he tries to wipe out everyone that dares challenge him.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: With the possible exception of Kizuna, no hero is good at naming things.
    • Naofumi always names his monsters based on a chunk of their species name (Filo for his Filolial, Raph-chan for his Raphtalia-based familiar).
    • Motoyasu names all filolials whatever color it happens to be. (Green, the green filolial, Marine, the blue filolial, Crimmy, the crimson filolial, etc.)
    • Ren assigns names similarly to Motoyasu, but with an added chuuni flare.
  • World of Jerkass: Played With. The moment Naofumi is summoned into Melromarc, we get a sense that something isn't right when he is treated differently compared to the other three heroes. It soon escalates when he is accused of forcing himself on Malty and almost everyone treats him with fear or scorn based upon her word alone, making it seem exactly like this at first glance. However, while few within the capital city treat him well (at first), people living in the country at large/outside it - having little contact with the specific royalty/Church perpetuating the status quo, and an outsider's perspective regarding the rumors - don't have the same attitude. In fact, the general public realizes that whatever they've heard to the contrary, he's still doing more to help people than the other three Heroes combined, and another country ruled by demi-humans outright worships the Shield Hero because such heroes have always been kind to them.
  • World Tree: Naofumi is not amused when he returns in the final chapter and discovers that the crepe tree he created during his Mad Scientist phase has become known as the "God Tree".
  • Womb Level: In order to kill the Spirit Turtle, Naofumi and co. had to go inside of it. It turns out that it can defend itself from intruders going inside its body, and even its heart has its own means of fighting.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The Fatal Flaw of the other three Heroes. All three embrace their roles as Heroes, acting like you would expect the protagonists of a generic fantasy world of its genre. However, later arcs show this as a bad thing; by thinking and acting like the protagonists of a fantasy world, they all make incredibly stupid mistakes that hurt many people and cause many to question how they can even be labeled "heroes".
  • Yandere: Motoyasu was killed by two before he was summoned.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: Time in Glass's world moves at more than double the speed of Melromarc's. Time in Ren's moves even faster.
    • The game Kizuna booted up as she was summoned let players experience five years in a single day.
  • You Are Not Alone: One of the roles Raphtalia and Filo fulfill is to show Naofumi that he does not have to shoulder everything the world throws at him alone. One of the anime's beginning sequences shows this by having Naofumi struggle to hold off a magical attack with his shield, but then having Raphtalia, Filo and Melty appear to help him.
  • Younger Than They Look: Often the case with Demi-humans, who grow up to match their Levels and Stats rather their age. This is particularly obvious for the Shield Hero's party members who level up a lot faster because of their Adverturer life style and the plethora of growth bonuses that the Shield Hero can unlock and use. Raphtalia goes from malnourished 10-year-old to looking like a healthy young adult in a matter of weeks.
    • Filo can count considering that she looks like an elementary school girl in her human form after a month or so after hatching from her egg. Fitoria later proves that this is a trait among Filorial Queens, whose human appearance looks no older than Filo's despite being Really 700 Years Old.
    • This trope later applies to most of Naofumi's demi-human slaves and Motoyasu's filorials.
  • Your Soul is Mine!: Soul Eaters from Glass' world are monsters that devour the souls of their victims. Domesticated ones are used to prevent the souls of criminals from being reincarnated, as happens with Tact and his comrades.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: In Episode 2, while facing the twin-headed dog monster and Raphtalia becomes paralyzed with fear, Naofumi tells her to run away while he holds it back. Considering that he had no offensive capacities whatsoever, it was unlikely he could have survived hadn't she snapped out of it.

Alternative Title(s): Tate No Yuusha No Nariagari, The Rising Of The Shield Hero

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Different Japans

The Four Heroes all quickly discover that they each come from a parallel universe.

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