The Rising of the Shield Hero, despite early on potential, mostly thanks to its tone of drama, loses quite a bit of luster by its last episode.
|Genre(s)||Isekai, Drama, Action|
|Good If You Like|
|Isn’t For You If You|
|Myne||Bridcutt Sarah Emi|
|King Autocray||Nakano Yutaka|
|Queen Mirellia||Inoue Kikuko|
|Pope Balmus||Sugou Takayuki|
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For reasons unknown, Naofumi, Ren, Motoyasu, and Itsuki find themselves transported to the Kingdom of Melromarc and expected to defend the kingdom against waves of demons. Now, why do these waves happen, how many must be defeated, is there a way home? Some questions are answered, and some not. But, before the lead character, Naofumi, can even begin, he is accused of raping one of the princesses of the kingdom, Myne. Due to the accusation, and Melromarc being a matriarchy, Naofumi is seen as a social pariah. One that doesn’t end up in jail solely due to being what is known as a Cardinal hero.
Thus leaving Naofumi, early on, with a massive handicap. For on top of his reputation preceding any and all interactions, he is cursed with being the shield hero. Meaning, he is only able to defend from attacks and can’t go on the offensive. Luckily though, despite his reputation, those like Dorei-shou, a slaver, only care about money. Leading to Naofumi purchasing two allies. The first being Raphtalia, a demi-human fox, and Filo, a demi-human whose demon form looks like a Final Fantasy Chocobo.
Together, they support Naofumi, who becomes a paternal figure to them, as he faces off monsters in the field, as well as the other heroes, specifically Motoyasu, the waves, and much more.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- General: Anyone else wonder if Elhart gets any flack for still backing Naofumi despite his less than popular antics?
- Episode 8: How powerful is Filo to be swallowed whole, by a dragon, and yet not have a scratch on her?
- Considering the waves hit each kingdom, and Fitoria seemingly was handling them alone, how quickly did she squash the other waves and why didn’t she ever help the cardinal heroes? Especially when it came to Glass and the others?
- So if Raphtalia and Filo didn’t get to choose their class upgrades, would it have been so terrible to tell us what they did get?
- How does Filo breathe underwater?
Naofumi’s Suffering Early On – 90
Isekai anime (Person travels from their world to an unfamiliar one, often with new powers) feels increasingly common. However, while most establish themselves as comedies like How Not To Summon a Demon Lord, or straight dramas like Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash), we were given something in the middle with The Rising of the Shield Hero. It wasn’t overly funny, but was capable of being light. Yet, between Noafumi being accused of rape, embracing being a social pariah, and dealing with people thinking he was capable of rape, it got dark multiple times. Though, better than being dark, in terms of piling stuff onto our protagonist, it was able to harness a sense of emotion. All the while, not trying to seem overly sympathetic. Which is rare for our viewing habits since usually when shows go “dark” it is just by having something graphic rather than tap into the fact the characters should be seen as real people.
Raphtalia – 89
Case in point, Raphtalia. She lost her family in a wave, humans massacred her village, and she was enslaved. Her background is heartbreaking enough to cry. Making Naofumi, albeit callously at first, training her to be his sword, and raising her almost like a daughter something which crafts many emotional moments. But, even without noting her relationship to Naofumi, Raphtalia’s story of survival is tragic and showed how great the writing could be, even past the show’s first few episodes.
Raphtalia, Filo, and Naofumi’s Relationship – 88
Tapping into the aforementioned family relationship Naofumi crafted, truly, during the majority of the show, when Naofumi isn’t dealing with waves, the Cardinal Heroes, or royals, that is what makes the show. Granted, in the long run, you may feel they could have had this group’s side quest be shorter and dedicated to other things. However, considering how their relationships allowed Naofumi some form of depth, cracked open Raphtalia, and created this adorable father/daughter relationship, it became a lifeline when the show began to lose its luster.
It Teases Seeing Other Kingdoms But Never Leaves Melromarc – 65
From a kingdom ruled by demi-humans, and one which has mercenaries, we are teased about various worlds which could be of great interest. However, despite Naofumi hating it in Melromarc, and the King not caring for him one bit, they never get the opportunity to leave the kingdom. They are trapped, and we are forced to watch Naofumi run around Melromarc until he is coerced to return to the capital.
We Don’t Learn Much About Naofumi’s Life Before Melromarc – 64
Naofumi barely, if ever, after the first episode, talks about his family or life before Melromarc. That includes with Raphtalia who goes from being like a daughter to someone who is in love with him. All of which seems strange since it isn’t like Naofumi hated his former life and is glad he got away. He had a relationship with his little brother and seemed like he wasn’t a NEET. Not to say his life was a dream but you’d think there would be a reason or drive for him to want back home, talk about home, and even wonder what his brother was doing.
The Other Cardinal Heroes Aren’t Developed – 63
But, to make things worse, when it comes to the other heroes, we learn their name, age, that they aren’t from the same Japan timeline as Naofumi, and that’s it. After that, all we get is pure personality, and with each one so rooted in an archetype, they seem like they could be interchangeable with other Isekai anime.
The Queen’s Secret Army Wasn’t Fleshed Out – 62
The shadows Queen Mirellia use are of great interest and help build her into an interesting figure on the show. Especially as it is made to seem between being trapped or in exile, she needs them to do what she cannot. But, in time, we learn Queen Mirellia was just conducting peace talks and the shadow army not only loses notoriety but even the girl we often see, she isn’t named or developed. They just exist.
Despite The Class Upgrade Being Made Into A Thing, We Didn’t Really See Any Notable Change – 61
One of the big things halfway through the season is Naofumi’s crew reaching a level cap and needing a class upgrade. Something they fight hard for and even try to leave the country to do. Yet, when they finally get to upgrade not only do we not get to see any notable changes, but we are told Filo and Raphtalia didn’t get to choose their upgrade. Leading to a firm establishment of the show building us up to moments where it falls on its face.
On The Fence
The Show’s Villains – 70
From Myne to the pope, Motoyasu as well, the show didn’t really have a solid villain. And while Glass seemed like she was perfect for that role, she is only in about 3-4 episodes. Also, there are huge gaps from when the show starts and her first introduction, then until we see her again near the end of the season. Leaving us with clowns for villains and Naofumi’s emotions becoming the closest thing to a formidable adversary on the show.
The Action – 71
For an action anime, there aren’t a huge amount of battles which you can say were choreographed and drawn in such a way it was stunning. Mind you, it isn’t like the art style is AAA, big budget, or anything like that. However, you will rarely, if ever, feel anyone’s life is legitimately threatened and barely will there be moments when you are shocked by a new move or how a battle finishes. A lot of the time, battles service the story but don’t act as the exclamation point they feel like they should be.
What You’re Left With Is A Origin Story – 75
The 25 episodes you watch ultimately feel like an unnecessarily long origin story. One of how the Shield Hero, Naofumi, started from the bottom, slowly won the hearts of the people, cleared his name, and then accepted his life in Melromarc could potentially be permanent. Which kind of sucked since it made all of the side quest he did, which did attribute to him leveling up, feel like filler. Not of a useless variety, but something which certainly could have been cut and not have caused much of a disruption to the story.
Despite A Sense Of Culture Presented, Many Aspects Go Ignored – 72
The Rising of the Shield Hero isn’t without giving Melromarc and the world at large a sense of culture. We learn the history of villages, human and demi-human interactions, are introduced to local religions, as well as the various governments. However, a lot of it may feel surface level. For example, we know there are two major religions, one which is dedicated to the shield hero and the other to their peers. As for why this split? That isn’t gone into in depth. We are told the Shield Hero has been one of the more kind heroes, towards Demi-humans anyway, but why there is a legacy which preceeds Naofumi isn’t gone into.
In fact, a lot of what the last set of heroes did isn’t really uncovered despite how that information could greatly help the new heroes who know nothing of this world. And it just adds up from there. Leaving you feeling that that so much gets touched on but no sooner than a facet of the world is introduced, the show moves onto the next topic.
Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)
The sole issue of The Rising of the Shield Hero is that it is the kind of anime which focuses more on building a large foundation versus creating an actual structure. And while we are shown blueprints of where things could go, given reasons to have faith by getting heartbreaking episodes, season 1 feels unfinished – even after 25 episodes. Leaving you to wonder if The Rising of the Shield Hero, like Black Clover and others, was meant to go on for 100 episodes or more – hence how the season end?
Which is why this is being labeled to stick around for. While there currently isn’t any word if we’ll get a second season, one could only hope things don’t end here. For if this is truly the end, the show will be left feeling a bit lackluster considering multiple high points throughout the season.
Has Another Season Been Confirmed?
Yes – A season 2 & 3.
Thoughts On Another Season
As noted, the main issue with season 1 is lack of information. So with Naofumi’s present setup, if this show was given an additional 10 episodes or, god forbid, 25, there is a lot of ground to cover. Just venturing to the other three kingdoms, and meeting the rulers and how things work there, could easily fill a whole season. Add in the complicated matter of how Glass’ world conflicts with Naofumi and how one or the other must die for the waves to possibly end, and another season would be welcomed with open arms.