A Role, paired with a Rule, is an integral and central concept and theme within the story. A literal definition of a Role is the purpose assigned to a person by the world to ensure its continued existence,10 while a symbolic definition of a Role can be interpreted as one’s destiny or fate that they are tied to. Both definitions are used commonly within the story, so its exact meaning at any given moment is determined by the context surrounding it.
Roles have a massive impact on a person’s life as it can control how one lives, what expectations are placed upon them by the masses, and what they are weak or strong against. The Protagonist Role of the Wanderer makes them extremely susceptible to any Rules that have any abilities related to washing away because their Role has marked them unable to stay at any place forever, always wandering. Boogeyman’s Role pins his entire existence on the belief of children fearing him. If he were ever to be forgotten or no longer feared, he would die a conceptual death, so his Role dictates that he must scare children to sustain his own life. Many characters express frustration with their own Role, though feel as if they have little to no power to change it.
Unlike Rules, a person can only have one Role at a time. Additionally, two people cannot exist in the same world that hold the same Role-Rule pair.10 Anybody trying to come into Tokyo that has the same Role and Rule as another already in the city will not be able to be summoned.10
To change one's Role is akin to changing one's destiny or purpose in the world. While difficult and often highly situational, it’s not impossible to change, trade, or even discard it outright. A Role may be enforced upon a person by the masses, but ultimately a Role is determined from the identity at the root of one’s soul according to Maria, so the power to change a person’s fate often lies within themselves. The changing or abandonment of a Role can be triggered by a complete change in one’s mindset to abandon their original Role, trading a physical object that is tied to a Role, or some other specific and miraculous event impactful enough to change a Role.
Triton was able to give Dagon his Role of the All-Father simply by wishing to discard it in exchange for his highly desired Role of Educator once he had fully accepted his new Role, a mindset change which took a year to finish converting.
An example of changing Roles through an object would be Astarte handing her title of the Most Beloved (which was not specifically mentioned to be a Role, but acts as a close metaphor for it) to the Protagonist through the trade of her festive horn accessory. This was possible because the title was seemingly tied to the decoration, and whoever wore the decoration would be marked as the Most Beloved by the world of Canaan.9
Notably, the Protagonist was able to change their Role from Wanderer to Dragon by obtaining the Ring of Solomon from Mononobe and fully reuniting with Lil' Salomon at the end of Chapter 9, a series of events which had never happened in any loop prior. It’s important to note that the Role change was likely a result of the Ring and Lil’ Salomon granting the Protagonist a power never before seen and not just the uniqueness of the events happening in general.
List of Role-Rule Pairs
Roles/Rules in italics are currently unofficially translated titles.
|Fisher King||???||Abundance (Cauldron/Holy Grail) |
Dragon (post-Ch. 9)
|Rending (Boundless Tail) |
Omnipotence (Ring of Solomon)
Other Indra iterations
|The Hero (Second)||Hero (Discarded)||???|
|Triton||All-Father (Given to Dagon)
|Witch of Orleans||???||Binding|
Examples of Other Roles/Rules
- Rán, Aegir's spouse from the world of Yggdrasil, possessed the Role of the Plunderer. However, she would later give up her body and entrust all her memories into her Sacred Artifact, the vast ocean itself, thus becoming one with the sea. Her Role would live on in Yggdrasil's ocean, becoming a System itself that steals and hoards living memories. The System divided itself into nine devices called the Daughters of the Waves to gather memories from wandering sailors more efficiently and effectively.11
- According to Shinya, the Role of the Sacrifice is for someone who is offered up for the benefit of their home world. He may be alluding to the Three Beasts of Eden, though this is never confirmed.11
- The fae in the world of Tír na nÓg possess the Rule of the Changeling, which allows any injuries they sustain to be transferred onto someone else. The only way to defeat them is to eliminate them instantaneously, such as with Balor's Evil Eye.
- According to Alice, she and Sanat Kumara share the same Rule of Memory Manipulation, though this is unclear if this is meant to be their actual Rule as it does not fit the usual naming convention for Rules.22
- Taishakuten's Rule of Thunder likely applies to all iterations of Indra that exists in other worlds. It is not specified if his Rule of Storms apply to other Indra iterations as well.6 20
Examples of Matching Role-Rule Pairs
- Perun from the world of Kitezh shares the same Role and Rule as Zeus from Olympus, blocking him from entry. Zeus currently uses Shinya as his proxy.10
- In the newly created world of Yggdrasil (Fantastic Boyfriends), Horus had stolen the title and power of Demon King from its rightful owner Nekros because of his similar power to raise the dead. Once Horus was defeated and the Black Core was removed from his body, Horus would lose the title of Demon King, giving Nekros the opportunity to take back his power.10
- The original Daikoku from the Land of Wa shares the same Role and Rule as the Exception Mahakala. If it wasn’t for Okuninushi inhabiting his body, he would have been barred from entering Tokyo.
- Suzuka's Rule of Revelation only applies to one of her three swords. The other two Rules are currently unknown.
- In the Raiders of the Lost Isle event, Triton gives away his Role of the All-Father to Dagon in exchange for the Role of Educator. It's unclear if Triton regains his original Role or keeps his Role of Educator after Dagon's defeat, and what his Role is in other loops.
- The Protagonist is the only character to have their Role change during the progression of the story, going from 'Wanderer' in the beginning of the Main Quest to 'Dragon' at the end of Chapter 9.