My bad! I know this is a late post but it’s better than nothing! It took me awhile to assemble my thoughts while balancing other projects. But again, thank you for exploring this series with me! Here are my last thoughts for the first season of The Rising of the Shield Hero (2019)!
Episode 24: Bromance Broken
Honestly, we haven’t seen any fighting-against-the-Waves action in a while so I was pretty excited for this episode! Not only that, I also couldn’t wait to see Naofumi being able to dish out against the monsters with the new brotherhood he had formed with L’arc. But the moment when he looked to L’arc with sincerity, L’arc turns away…
When the giant Narwhal monster appears, the Three Heroes (minus Naofumi) all use their Meteor attacks but to no avail. Honestly, they’re like Magikarps: their go-to and only attack involves “Meteor” whatever but it doesn’t do jack-squat, just like Splash for Magikarps. Are you sure they’re the world’s only capable saviours? Instead, with methodical teamwork, Team Naofumi, L’arc, and Therese were able to take down the Narwhal. Yay. 🙂
But then, enter plot twist: L’arc pretty much says “Unfriend. We enemies now. And I gotta take you out. And not the fun way.”
Excuse my language but NANI THE F***?!
According to the Shield Hero Wikia page:
Though they have nothing “personal” against Naofumi, L’Arc and Therese reveal they are also Heroes from another world which was also on [the] brink of destruction due to the Waves and for their world to survive they want to take out the heroes of this world to ensure that this world faces destruction and theirs will be spared.“– Shield Hero Wikia page
To me, this doesn’t make any logical sense. Even if they are from different worlds, what reason does L’arc and Therese’s world needs to attack Naofumi and Raphtalia’s world? It’s not like the world of the Four Cardinal Heroes is the one behind all the Waves– just like L’arc and Therese, they’re victims from it, too! I mean, I haven’t read the light novel or manga but it seems HIGHLY unlikely that the Melromarc kingdom is causing the Waves… that would mean that the Four Cardinal Heroes are employed just to solve a problem they started on their own in the first place! So wouldn’t the logical thing be that the two different worlds team up together to fight for a common cause against the Waves AND NOT EACH OTHER??? They would both benefit from helping each other!
As Team Shield Hero fights against Therese and L’arc, Naofumi struggles to understand why L’arc would betray his trust. In a way, his moment of trying regain his friend back reminded me of Naruto and Sasuke’s relationship, with Naruto representing Naofumi and Sasuke representing L’arc. And just as Sasuke pursues Naruto for power, L’arc pursues Naofumi in order to protect his world.
And, as if things couldn’t get any worse, Glass comes in to take L’arc and Therese’s side, revealing that they are from the same world destined to destroy the world of the Four Cardinal Heroes. Dun dun duuuun.
Episode 25: And That’s a Wrap
Long story short for the first half of the episode, Glass asks Naofumi what he was truly fighting for. But hiding his true feelings of wanting to return home, Naofumi says he’s fighting to protect his team. As a result, he defeats Glass by making her drunk and got saved by the time. I understand they were hinting at the power of the Lucor berries being able to disable people but I just thought that it was kind of a cheap way to take her down. But I guess the real finale between Naofumi and Glass will be saved for later… whenever that happens…
Even though Naofumi lost his BFF L’arc, he was able to recruit a new member named Rishia, who has been making small cameos throughout the series until now. She was originally from Itsuki’s party but was later kicked out because she stole his thunder, not like he had any to start with. LOL It’s noble for Naofumi to recruit her because he empathizes with her experience but she’s going to have to prove her worth later on. In my opinion, she just reminds of the useless, typical side characters that appear often in Bleach: only for comedic relief and one-dimensional character type with no real depth.
And as the story starts to wrap up, Naofumi reveals to Raphtalia that he is the landlord of Sayette, thanks to the Queen granting his reward, and helps the town to become stable again. But even with all this effort to make her happy, it is to Raphtalia’s dismay.
Raphtalia pleads Naofumi to stay with her or else she will be #foreveralone. I understand that this scene was supposed to be emotional but the moment when she started to slide down his body, which I know is supposed to be an indication of her overwhelming grief, I just kind of laughed. Sorry. I know. I ruined this moment. Her sliding motion just reminded me of this:
And probably the most controversial part of this episode was this scene:
There’s so much discussion if this was considered a hug or a kiss. I’ll throw my hat in the ring: I think it’s a hug. Why? 1) I think it’s too early for them to have a kiss for the story in general considering the fact that there is so much more to this narrative as the extended light novels and manga suggest. 2) If it were a kiss, I feel that Raphtalia’s ears would be facing more towards his face rather than the side. What do you think? Make sure to comment below on your thoughts! I would be glad to hear from you 🙂
And as the characters look up to the new flag of Sayette, it ties a full circle to the dream that he experiences in Episode 1. The flag symbolizes the new home he’s established with his new family.
And all is well.
Thoughts and Recap
Trigger Warning: The unpopular opinion starts here.
I felt that the story-telling was lacking. Case in point: Naofumi gets blamed for everything and was always guilty until proven innocent. This problem kept on repeating throughout the series that it became predictably exhausting. I understand that the name of this show is called Rising of the Shield Hero but there are different problems that he could’ve faced that would’ve been more effective to overcome and to show character growth rather than defaulting to the slander/lies that Malty kept on spewing from her mouth. Also, Naofumi always had to resort to using his Cursed Shield Series, which he fully knows that it causes others to get hurt. As a result of taking all of the world’s problems on his shoulders while feeling isolated as he uses the Cursed Shield Series, he always gets the pep talk that he’s not alone. Again, this is important to have the main character be reminded of the support behind him but it being overused starts to become more cheesy than meaningful.
Also, I think they should have just ended the series on Episode 21 because I felt that viewers should’ve been given the moment of salvaging the sweet justice served well for Naofumi. But the fact that the writers chose to start a new arc with the last three episodes
- Cheapens and erases his well earned moment
- is meant to raise the stakes of the plot (in my opinion, this build-up was rushed), considering the fact that it’s the world of Melromarc versus the world of L’arc, Glass, and Therese’s now
- To keep fans in suspense and hyped for a possible Season 2 (which hasn’t been confirmed yet but fans have high hopes).
Another part that bothered me throughout the series was that most episodes, especially in the beginning, included montages of the characters in their daily activities. I understand that the anime is adapting a long, ongoing series and they have to shorten some details for convenience but, I felt that that method was lazy storytelling. If anything, that thought should have made the dialogue much more precious to write rather than hiding behind slideshows of their activities. Don’t just show. Tell. But even if you do tell, tell wisely–the viewers should be learning alongside the characters and not to be lectured at. Therefore, storytelling is a craft of effectively immersing the viewers into the eyes of the characters and their world. If you want to see an anime that exemplifies these elements, then I suggest you watch Dororo (2019), where each episode uses effective narrative explanations without being condescending; each character has an important contribution to the plot; and you learn about the narrative world along with the characters. As I watched these two series at the same time, I found myself constantly gravitating to the action/storyline of Dororo over Shield Hero. Sorry. Dororo, in fact, is written by the “godfather of manga,” which is reasonably a well deserved title because of its stellar storytelling and it equally deserves you attention.
Overall, I wouldn’t say it was that horrible: the beginning got me hooked. But towards the end of the series, the passion and the energy that I felt for the series slowly waned away. I’d give the series a rating of 7/10. Do I see myself revisiting the series? No. Do I see myself hustling to watch Season 2? Sadly, no.
But again, thank you for sharing this experience with me! If you like to read my episodic reactions to anime, I suggest you follow my ongoing posts on Fruits Basket (2019)!
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