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

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

And anime fans sending Naofumi x Raphtalia have a lot of questions: how old is Raphtalia in Shield Hero? Does Naofumi like Raphtalia? Does Naofumi marry Raphtalia? (That’s why Raphtalia’s age is so relevant in this fantasy world.)

In my last article I talked about how Raphtalia’s relationship with Naofumi Iwatani differs depending on the media you use. This article will mainly focus on the anime version.

I will also mention future events not covered by the anime, but this will be towards the end.

There is no word on whether the anime will cover these events as they are in the light novel series and are still ongoing. The web novel also has some exclusive content.

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

The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 1
The Rising of the Shield Hero anime soon featured an older Raphtalia. Photo credit: Studio Kinema Citrus

Does Naofumi love Raphtalia from the start?

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

This village would be hit by the First Wave, and unfortunately Raphtalia would lose her parents to it. But fate was not cruel, for a short time later a group of guards came in, killed the adults and sold the women and children into slavery.

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

But because of her nightmares, they sold her back and Raphtalia would repeat this with her next master. Her nightmares were too much for them to handle.

The third owner of Raphtalia would be cut from a much darker fabric. His name was Idol Rabier and he enjoyed torturing demi people. The only bright spot in Raphtalia’s life was that her best friend Rifana was with her.

Rifana got a terrible cough and died there. Rabier blamed Raphtalia for her death and continued to torture her until she collapsed and contracted the same illness that claimed Rifana’s life.

Rabier sold Raphtalia back to the slave trader where she stayed until Naofumi bought her. Due to his recent betrayal, Naofumi was not in the best mentality, and Raphtalia sensed this.

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

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

Raphtalia is the main heroine in The Rising of the Shield Hero. She is Naofumi’s slave, girlfriend, daughter and many more. For Naofumi, Raphtalia is the first person he can trust, but their relationship certainly didn’t start out as a romantic form of love, as Malty’s betrayal had left Naofumi internally hostile to women.

How old is Raphtalia in Shield Hero?

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

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

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

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

Naofumi says no, he is her owner. But when she asks about Raphtalia, he says she looks like his daughter. Raphtalia says no, but it doesn’t bother Naofumi.

Why Naofumi and Raphtalia’s ‘kiss’ should not be interpreted as romantic

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

This means that Raphtalia has not been involved in adult affairs for very long. And Naofumi has said countless times that he will return to his world once the waves are gone.

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

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

Why the Naofumi x Raphtalia ship is moving too fast?

Since Raphtalia spent her first 10 years as a normal child, rather than going on an adventure, we can assume that demi-humans can typically age at the same rate as humans.

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

But it also implies that demi-people stop or age slowly after a certain point. For the sake of Raphtalia, she is now a young woman.

But now let’s talk about the light novels and how the anime could turn out. The light novel series and web novel started to diverge early on because of the extra storylines and details, especially when Volume 16 is reached. But there is no guarantee that the anime will stick strictly to the books.

So consider this a big spoilers warning.

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

She forced her to return to her childhood form, but she was still able to help the group escape with her illusion magic. Fortunately, she can do some grinding and regain her adult form.

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

Furious, Trash 2 and his allies try to capture Raphtalia and his company, but that’s when Naofumi and the rest of the gang show up! Since Raphtalia is now a Vassel Hero, her slave brand has been permanently removed (but let’s face it, she was never his slave).

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

Though she admits that the newly named Raph-Chan is useful, Raphtalia is put off by having a creature based on her genetics and magic. Some time later, Naofumi gains dominion over the land on which Raphtalia was born and decides to rebuild the village. (The ending of the anime’s first season actually jumped ahead in the timeline to reflect this event for a happier ending.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Naofumi and Raphtalia decide to explore Q’ten Lo’s castle and learn all about Raphtalia’s parents. As they search, they find inscriptions that reveal the true purpose of the heavenly emperor.

To be the “pacifier of the spirit tools”. After reading them, Raphtalia gains better control over her powers. Naofumi returns to Lurolana Village and performs a level-up ceremony for the monsters and creates a Raph species.

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

This unlocked the “Blessed Series” for Naofumi and freed the emotions that the “Cursed Series” had suppressed. Naofumi starts to cry and Raphtalia protects him.

Wanting to know the truth behind Atas’s death, Naofumi and the party head to Faubrey, where they are ambushed by Takt. The heroes are forced to retreat, but can only do so if Raphtalia covers them.

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

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

Naofumi arrives in the Glass World and the two team up to defeat the enemies and reclaim the Vassel Scythe. (In the web novel, Raphtalia uses the Vassel Hammer.)

And yes, Naofumi eventually marries Raphtalia… but so far that has only happened in web novel Chapter 378. But that point in the story has not been reached by light novel Volume 22, which came out in Japanese and English in 2019 in Dec 2021.

However, at that point in the light novels, Raphtalia x Naofumi is official since they started dating as a couple and there is talk of marriage and marriage. Naofumi plans to take Raphtalia back to Japan when he returns to his own world.

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

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