The Rising of the Shield Hero: Season 1/ Episode 1 “The Shield Hero” [Series Premiere] – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

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The Rising of the Shield Hero lives up to what its trailer hyped and may provide oh so much more.

Creator Aneko Yusagi
Director(s) Abo Takao
Writer(s) Koyanagi Keigo
Air Date (Available Early With Premium Membership) 1/9/2019
Genre(s) 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
Naofumi Ishikawa Kaito
Ren Matsuoka Yoshitsugu
Motoyasu Takahashi Makoto
Itsuki Yamaya Yoshitaka
Myne Bridcutt Sarah Emi

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The Introduction

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.

Naofumi (Ishikawa Kaito) with a shocked expression on his face.
Naofumi (Ishikawa Kaito)

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

  1. 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.

A slave that Naofumi is introduced to at a slave market.

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.

First Impression: Positive (Watch This)

The slaver glad to see Naofumi is interested in his slaves.
Slaver: I knew it. You have everything it takes to be a most wonderful patron.

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.


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What Would Your Rating Be?


  1. I’m curious as to how this will play out as an anime. I found parts of the light novel a little off-putting (mostly Naofumi’s character because he has quite the transition from how we meet him before and after the accusation and it feels really extreme when reading it). So far the anime has done a pretty good job and I am glad they went for the longer first episode as it gave them time to set things up properly. Looking forward to this one.

    1. I too found it kind of strange how abrupt the shift was but with given enough time to adjust, I appreciated it. It allowed the show to be dark but not because of so gruesome death but rather the accusation of a gruesome act. One which, in the action genre, often isn’t taken as serious as it was in this episode.

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