Isekai shows are always rife with potential waifus. It is one of the biggest appeals of the genre, dating all the way back to its explosion in popularity a while back. Among these women, there are many who could lay claim to the title of Best Girl, but few have a better stake at that throne than Raphtalia from The Rising of the Shield Hero. Despite her questionable origins in the show, she becomes the most appealing character over the long term.
This week’s Waifu Wednesday, we’re celebrating the return of the raccoon girl, Raphtalia, and how she carries the show on her adorable shoulders.
Who is Raphtalia?
Every hero needs a partner to rely on, and every shield needs a sword to do its striking. That is where Raphtalia comes in as part of Naofumi’s party. Being the Shield Hero, he doesn’t have the attack abilities that his compatriots do; instead, he has to find someone to do the attacking for him. Raphtalia starts out as weak and helpless, but quickly gets a level up, both in power and in age, allowing her to become the physical attacker of his party.
But she doesn’t just bring the pain when it comes to the battles that the two face as they try to save the world. Raphtalia also becomes the emotional core of the group, playing both big sister to Filo and partner to Naofumi. As he struggles with the disdain that comes with being the Shield Hero, she is the one who builds him up and assures him that he has value. He might be the legendary hero of the group, but she is the one carrying the party.
Why we love her
We’re going to come out and say it; raccoon girls are underrated. In a world where catgirls dominate anime and surrounding popular culture, Raphtalia is carrying the banner for the round ears and fuzzy tails that we didn’t know we needed. But she’s more than just a pretty face. Her physical skills make her the most exciting character to watch during the beautifully animated action scenes in The Rising of the Shield Hero, while her affectionate nature leads to many of the more wholesome and heartwarming moments in the show.
It is that balance and multifaceted development that makes Raphtalia feel more natural and real than any other character in the show. While most of the other women in The Rising of the Shield Hero can either be easily categorised by the obvious trope they embody or are so irredeemably terrible that they border on satire, Raphtalia stands out as well-rounded and organic. Her appeal comes from the fact that she has so many parts to her, and all of them get the chance to shine.
Why you’ll love her
Usually when a woman is tasked with being the emotionally mature one of a group, she is relegated to the position of Party Mom. While this is a trope that can be done well, most often it is written as someone nagging or pestering the others to act more like them. Raphtalia, thankfully, doesn’t often fall into this trap. She supports the group without trying to hold them back and actively takes part in the fun that they have together.
Raphtalia is equally likely to cut you down with her sword or melt your heart with a single look, which is exactly how I like my waifus. She’s the biggest reason why the upcoming second season of The Rising of the Shield Hero is on my “to watch” list for the year. And if you’re eager to get caught up on the first season of the anime, you can stream it over on Crunchyroll.
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