Rising of the Shield Hero: Web Novel, Light Novel, Manga or Anime?

The Rising of the Shield Hero (Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari) is a story told across different platforms. If you have reached this page, chances are you have watched the anime and want more. But then you quickly discover that there is a web novel, light novel and a manga series to choose from. What is the difference between them and, ultimately, which one should you get? Having some knowledge of all of them, I help you decide below.

So what is the difference between the web novel, light novel, manga series, and anime? The Web Novel is the original, condensed story that was available for free. It was picked up for commercial publishing and then turned into the much expanded Light Novel. The Manga (comic) and Anime (show) are both based on the Light Novel.

The differences between them and my own opinion are discussed in more detail below. We also briefly discuss the spinoff Reprise of the Spear Hero. Spoiler level: minimal. Some minor plot points of the early story are discussed.

Rising of the Shield Hero Web Novel


The Web Novel is the first version of the story, the one that started it all. It started in 2012 and has since concluded. As is not uncommon for Japan, it was freely available to all interested readers and then caught the interest of a publisher. This published version is better known as the Light Novel version. The Web Novel is as such the first, most “raw” version of the story.

We owe a lot to the Web Novel as it is what started it all. In fact, as the first fully translated work in its genre, it could very well be the reason we received the Anime in the first place. That being said, the Light Novel expands heavily on the Web Novel. It also features illustrations. While the Light Novel’s story does diverge from the Web Novel at some point, this was by choice of the author.

That is why I would say that the Web Novel is worth a read when you’re done with the other material, but until then I would recommend the Light Novel instead.

Rising of the Shield Hero Light Novel

The Light Novel is a heavily expanded version of the Web Novel and is still ongoing. It features illustrations the Manga and Anime base themselves on. It is the version I would recommend for those who want more Shield Hero after finishing the anime.

Despite being a somewhat faithful adaptation, there are quite a few differences between the Light Novel and the Anime. The Light Novel also offers a lot of extra information.

It’s definitely worth starting from the first Volume, even if you have already finished the Anime. That being said you will definitely not be lost if you decide to pick it up where the Anime ended. In the end, the choice is yours.

The Light Novel is still ongoing, but already quite a bit ahead of both the Anime and the Manga.

Buy the Light Novels (physical or digital copies) at Amazon (affiliate link).

Manga Adaptation of Rising of the Shield Hero

The Manga is a visual presentation of the story, based on the Light Novel. Its content is checked by the author of the Novels and its visuals are checked by the illustrator of the Novels. This makes it a very solid adaptation.

It is faster paced than both the Light Novel and the Anime. Some examples of things that happen both in the Anime and the Light Novels, but not in the Manga:

  • Naofumi hiding a small number of coins behind his Shield as he sleeps to later throw in Motoyasu’s face
  • The elder villager saved by Naofumi who turns out to be a badass martial artist

That is not to say there is no extra info in the Manga. There definitely is, especially in the short extras at the end of each volume. There are also some definite improvements over the Anime, such as the depiction of Raphtalia’s fight against a certain nobleman which was censored in the Anime.

Buy the Manga (physical or digital copies) at Amazon (affiliate link).

Anime Adaptation of the Rising of the Shield Hero

It is the norm that Animes are based on Mangas. This is not fully the case for The Rising of the Shield Hero, however, as explained above. While the Anime does draw inspiration from the Manga for minor characters, it mainly takes its inspiration directly from the Light Novel. This includes a lot of content that is not included in the Manga.

The first season of the Anime has 25 episodes and was very well-received. The second season has 13 episodes and is also decent, but doesn’t quite reach the level of the first season.

Watch the Anime at Crunchyroll

The Reprise of the Spear Hero

This is a spin-off story focusing on Motoyasu. It is a “what if” story where he gets fatally injured and is sent back to the day he was summoned. Although the setting is the same, some plot points change. In this version, Naofumi is not falsely accused and this has a big effect on his personality.

There is a Web Novel, Light Novel and a Manga version of this ongoing spin-off. As I have yet to read this spin-off, I cannot give my objective opinion about it yet. It is however written by the same author as the original story, so it could very well be worth a look.

John Winkels

In recent years, the amount of series I watched and read has reached three digits. I love digging deep into different versions of the source material (anime, manga, light novels) and sharing the results with you.

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