Rising of the Shield Hero Raphtalia has a hairy tail and animal ears on his head, but he’s not a raccoon. Here’s what an animal really is.
The Rising of the Shield Hero a dark but exciting Isekai series scheduled to return in the spring anime season of 2022, with its fan favorites from the unfortunate Naofumi Iwatani to the beloved half-man, Raphtalia and the winged Filo. Half-men like Raphtalia are in a difficult position in this world, but their fate is turning right.
Shield Hero Fans met Raphtalia early on, a girl with a standing animal ear and a hairy tail. However, she is not a typical anime cat girl, nor is she a raccoon or a fox, as some have suggested. It is actually based on the tanukira, a species of dog that lives in Japan. Witnesses are everywhere in pop culture, and Raphtalia is just the latest example of many.
History and Anatomy of the Tanuki Raphtalia
Raphtalia, from the Kingdom of Melromarc, was born about ten years before Naofumi and the other cardinal heroes arrived to save the land from the waves. He lived as a Tanuki-based half-man in the seaside town of Lurolona until slaves stormed the city and captured him and his friends. He was later sold to the cruel nobleman, Idol Rabier, and put back on the market when Naofumi bought him and joined his party as a swordsman. Raphtalia was later given the opportunity for revenge against Idol Rabier, defeating him in a single battle.
It’s Raphtalia Shield Herois an excellent example of how the physical characteristics of half-men can age rapidly after levels rise and soon resemble a girl in her mid-teens rather than a child after spending a few months at Naofumi’s party. Nevertheless, it retained all of its animal features, including the straight witness ear and the branded tail. The witness traits of Raphtalia pay homage to the popularity and cultural significance of those living in real Japan, where they have always played a significant role in folklore and art and continue to do so today.
While the witnesses are physically similar to raccoons and badgers, they are distinct species, and the Japanese species are slightly different from the Asian mainland. The term “tanuki” is sometimes mistakenly translated as “raccoon” or “badger,” which can further aggravate the confusion. In Shield Hero, Raphtalia’s strong attachment to Naofumi may suggest that the witnesses are monogamous creatures, with the mother and father raising their pups together until the young people leave the nest. These animals are usually very sociable and can live in flocks.
They witness in other Japanese animes and pop cultures
Witnesses are often featured in traditional Japanese folklore, but also in modern anime films and TV series. They are often humanoids, or refer to the alleged ability of a species to deform. Apart from Raphtalia in Shield Herowitnesses also appear in animes such as BNA: Brand new animal. The protagonist of this Netflix series is the humanoid witness, Michiru Kagemori, who lives in a world where beasts like him and humans live together – but often contradict each other. Michiru must discover the truth about how Beastman, a witness from a former man, has changed, while also dealing with issues of oppression and discrimination. It can remind fans Beastars and western animated film Zootopia.
Tanuki characters also appear in other works. The 2019 Japanese video game Team Sonic Racing featured in the witness character, Dodon Pa, while in the 1994 Studio Ghibli animated film Pom Poko it includes a group of intelligent witnesses who use their shape-shifting abilities to keep developers away from their homeland. Finally, the Animals can pass the game series features a returning tanuki character, Tom Nook, whose name is similar to “tanuki.” Raphtalia can be quite unique Rising of the Shield Herobut he is far from alone in folklore and popular media.
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