The Rising of The Shield Hero (Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari) anime makes Naofumi and Raphtalia seem like an obvious match. Naofumi’s intentions, at first anyway, were not quite as pure as you may think though.
Why did Naofumi decide to buy Raphtalia? Naofumi needed someone to attack for him, as he had no offensive ability. However, he had multiple options in the same price category in the Light Novel. He decided to buy Raphtalia because buying a female slave allowed him to pretend Myne was his slave.
A bit shocking for those of us who support the Shield Bro, right? Time for some elaboration below…
The choice between three slaves
In the Light Novel, the scene in the Slave Trader’s shop is greatly expanded. After Naofumi’s makes his budget clear, he is presented with a choice between three slaves. Apart from Raphtalia, there was also a Rabbit Man and a Lizard Man. The Lizard Man was already accustomed to combat, the Rabbit Man was cheaper.
So why go for Raphtalia? Why not buy one of the seemingly better options? Because it is the right thing to do? Because she wouldn’t survive without him? Well, no, not exactly… He picks her because by buying a female slave, he can pretend Myne is his slave. If she were to end up dying, he could pretend that it was Myne who died. Considering the controversy the first episodes caused, it is a good thing this line of thinking was omitted in the Anime!
The context behind the choice
Things got pretty dark pretty quickly, right? Well, that is because Naofumi was in a very bad place at the time, even more so than in the Anime. Besides, there is a lot of difference between what Naofumi thinks, says and does. The meal with the flag, the ball, the medicine: all of these things happened in the Light Novel too. Of course, he justifies them as protecting his investment, but we know better…
Let’s not forget the Light Novel tends to be a bit darker than the Anime. We also know where the two go from there, which is not much different from the Anime. So all in all, considering his state of mind, I think Naofumi deserves a pass here. There is also the fact that the Slave Trader himself initially planned to sell Naofumi…
Still, that doesn’t change the fact that this initial decision, which would shape the rest of the story, was not based on the purest of thoughts.