Rising of the Shield Hero
Naofumi transported to another world as one of seven heroes needed to fight monsters appearing from portals. At first things seem fine as the heroes come up to speed on how they'll need to train to fight increasingly strong waves. But not long after forming a party, Naofumi is betrayed by his partner. Worse still each of the heroes is bound to a particular weapon, and Naofumi is only allowed to use a shield.
Left in abandoned and in a state of despair, Naofumi turns to buying a demi human slave girl in the hope that she may be able to assist him. The road will be long and hard, but now from the lowest point, the shield hero will rise.
While I intended to praise this anime in many respects, I realized I only like parts, and I feel indifferent and/or sceptical about the direction it's going in. As a whole I think it's pretty good watch though.
Shield Hero borrows a few MMO features to explain how Naofumi perceives the world, but doesn't lean too heavily on the MMO crutch. It doesn't take long for everything to go wrong for Naofumi, with the anime laying it on pretty thick in a way that feels contrived. I'm not complaining since I don't want to watch 10 episodes of Naofumi getting shit on for proper character development, so it's an acceptable shortcut. Naofumi becomes very cynical and jaded, leading him to meet Raphtalia.
Raphtalia is a sickly slave girl who is also at the lowest point of life, waiting for illness to claim her life. Naofumi pushes her to live and fight for him. She slowly gets stronger, finding purpose and hope. It's the story of Naofumi and Raphtalia which I really loved and most remember this anime for. It's an endearing story and a great way to develop the relationship and characters. At some point I realized Raphtalia was no longer doing much in the anime, having become "another character" later on.
Naofumi has various adventures, using his abilities and wits to actually help the people of the world, not just act as a demi god like the other Heroes. I enjoyed these parts sprinkled throughout the show, between the Heroes fighting waves, and other character related stories. That leads into the bigger plot detailing what the waves of monsters are, who the Heroes are, and why they fight. I'm not sure if I'd consider it a feature, but the anime goes in very strange directions as it goes. Like fighting a giant turtle that will kill just about everyone.
Despite my fondness for the development of Naofumi and Raphtalia, this anime really struggles with character development. It likes to dump more and more characters on you, then expects you to give a damn about them. Those that get development seem to get it a good while after their introduction which is the reverse of how it should go. In season 2 there is also the introduction of a super annoying villain who is basically just a huge asshole just so you'll hate him. That's basically it. As aggravated as I got with him, towards the very end it reveals a bit about his past and I got even more annoyed they didn't push that near the beginning of his introduction.
I like Rising of the Shield Hero more than I should, and think the lingering fondness for the first few episodes biases my opinion. Overall I'm pretty mixed on my opinion which goes up and down depending on what's going on, and the situation and characters shifts quite often. While front loaded with the best content, I still thing it's a decent show, depending on how much you like the good parts and get annoyed by the bad parts (or what annoyed me anyway). Although still lacking a conclusion, I think it's worth picking up.
Screen Caps: >
«- back to reviews
reviewed by archen in 2021