The Rising of the Shield Hero lives up to what its trailer hyped and may provide oh so much more.
Air Date (Available Early With Premium Membership)
Action, Adventure, Drama
Good If You Like
Anime Where Lead Character Is Sucked Into Foreign World
Strong Dramatic Element
Pending Doomsday Battles
Shows Which Have an RPG Vibe
Isn’t For You If You
Prefer Less Talking, More Action
Introduced This Episode
Bridcutt Sarah Emi
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Naofumi was just your everyday guy. He went to school, played video games, didn’t socialize much but wasn’t necessarily a shut in either. Also, he is part of the reason his younger brother didn’t end up a NEET. But one day, while just checking out a couple of light novels, he comes across a peculiar book. One about four warriors with cardinal weapons and before he knows it, he is sucked into the world of Melromarc.
It is there he learns three other young men, Ren, Motoyasu and Itsuki, from a different version of Japan, too were summoned by this country to save them. Save the country from what exactly? Well, waves of demons which their soldiers tried to fend off but apparently cannot do until the end of time. So, they summoned the legendary heroes who wield a sword, a lance, a bow and arrows, as well as a shield. Naofumi, with his unfortunate luck, drew the shield. A piece of equipment that is looked down upon by not just his peers but the king and when it comes time to create a party, no one volunteers to stand with him. This is despite a war chest of 600 silver coins a month.
Well, that isn’t completely true. One of the adventurers who originally sided with Motoyasu, Myne, decides to join Naofumi. However, by their 2nd or 3rd day, it becomes clear her intentions are tainted, as are maybe Motoyasu. Especially as Naofumi is accused of a grave act and instantly becomes a social pariah.
Yet, with no way out but death, and the shield protecting him, to a point, from such, Naofumi decides to work alone. On top of that, to survive, he embraces this sordid reputation to a degree. Not to the point of becoming a criminal but certainly not being Mr. Nice Guy anymore. Though, with the introduction of an animal eared slave, maybe he may learn to trust once again.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
Was Motoyasu in on Myne’s plan and did the others think Naofumi was truly capable of the crime he is accused of?
It Gives The Kind of Drama Which Seems Lacking In Action Anime
When it comes to the action genre, as seen with Goblin Slayer and many others, violence is usually the initial hook. From there, we may get a handful of emotional moments, as a backstory is developed, but the drama doesn’t usually go beyond the pivotal moment of their life. In The Rising of the Shield Hero, we get something completely different. A part of me wants to say, rather than be an action/adventure title with dramatic elements, it is the reverse. For with the betrayal Naofumi experiences, so changes the tone of this show. It goes from that usual, fish out of water vibe, to a certain level of darkness.
Now, it is from this darkness you see the possible greatness of this show. For in Naofumi being betrayed by everyone he was familiar with, it decimated his old persona and left him with nothing but his foundation. One which believed in honor but wasn’t above haggling for a deal and now being willing to use force to gain some sense of fairness. Yet, unlike many a hero we’ve seen like him, it doesn’t appear that he has totally closed himself off and now is heartless.
How is this shown? Well, with him taking note of the girl with animal ears, who he sees in an initial dream, we see a being which will maintain his sense of humanity. On top of that, said being could also deliver a harrowing story and her venture to trust again, especially a human, could bring quite an emotional element to the story.
On The Fence
The Action Is Eh
Being that all of the heroes start on level 1, they can’t take on monsters that would create noteworthy fights. They take on this orange looking Pacman figures who aren’t fearsome in the slightest. Also, the way they fight them doesn’t push the idea that battles will be what this show is primarily dedicated to in terms of screen time or design effort. At least early on.
The Rising of the Shield Hero begins with great potential to be one of the top anime this season. It has a seriousness to it which not many shows in the action genre have and the only iffy thing about it might be the fights we see. But, taking note our hero is taking on low-level monsters, and the monsters they fought originally were before the tone shift happened, it may be too soon to judge that element of the show.
Leading to why this is being given a positive label. While not a revolutionary anime, The Rising of the Shield Hero being an action anime which doesn’t rely on gore but character development feels different. Especially since it is using the emotion of betrayal and feeling ostracized to draw you in rather than putting our hero in life or death situations. Making it seem the much harder route is being taken and with it already doing well in episode 1, it brings great hopes for the rest of the season.