One of the series I looked forward to being adapted was The Rise of the Shield Hero after stumbling onto it years ago.
I got a chance to read the first few chapters of its first light novel volume and binge read the whole manga adaptation.
The moment I heard that there would be an anime, I was, of course, ecstatic. It made me happy that its getting the recognition it deserved.
Hence, me writing an entry about it now.
But before I start anything, I want to clarify that this post will be my review of the anime adaptation.
As I have mentioned before that I am familiar and is a fan of its source material and manga, there’s a lot of things to compare between adaptations. However, I want to focus more on the anime in this current post. My entry for the comparison will come in the future.
Now, let’s proceed.
The Four Cardinal Heroes are a group of ordinary men from modern-day Japan summoned to the kingdom of Melromarc to become its saviors. Melromarc is a country plagued by the Waves of Catastrophe that have repeatedly ravaged the land and brought disaster to its citizens for centuries. The four heroes are respectively bestowed a sword, spear, bow, and shield to vanquish these Waves. Naofumi Iwatani, an otaku, becomes cursed with the fate of being the “Shield Hero.” Armed with only a measly shield, Naofumi is belittled and ridiculed by his fellow heroes and the kingdom’s people due to his weak offensive capabilities and lackluster personality.
When the heroes are provided with resources and comrades to train with, Naofumi sets out with the only person willing to train alongside him, Malty Melromarc. He is soon betrayed by her, however, and becomes falsely accused of taking advantage of her. Naofumi then becomes heavily discriminated against and hated by the people of Melromarc for something he didn’t do. With a raging storm of hurt and mistrust in his heart, Naofumi begins his journey of strengthening himself and his reputation. Further along however, the difficulty of being on his own sets in, so Naofumi buys a demi-human slave on the verge of death named Raphtalia to accompany him on his travels.
As the Waves approach the kingdom, Naofumi and Raphtalia must fight for the survival of the kingdom and protect the people of Melromarc from their ill-fated future. (MAL)
The Rise of The Shield Hero or Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari, in Japanese, is a great isekai anime that was released early last year, 2019.
What made it good, for me? Well, it’s because of its interesting premise and intriguing characters.
The series follows, initially, the typical formula of an Isekai anime, the main character got transported from the real world to an alternate universe. The story, then became interesting when it took a dive. Our main character got caught into a crime which he didn’t commit, which resulted to him being ridiculed by many.
This plot point became a highlight in both good and bad ways.
Good, because it shows how this series doesn’t try to follow the typical isekai route where the MC is too OP immediately. It also shows a different take of the isekai genre and it definitely made an impact on everyone who watched this series.
And that leads us to Bad. The series definitely left a bad taste to the anime fans, especially after its first arc. Just like Goblin Slayer, critics criticize the series harshly because of its slavery, misogyny, and dark themes. In other words, people are not liking the fact that the anime just went “there”, which was something people are not used to.
In my opinion, I love that the series went deep and show us, viewers, a possibility that could happen when someone gets transported to another world. It’s not always fluffy, rose-colored fun life, its another side…a darker plot that we are not used to when it comes to the isekai genre. I can’t really say I am a fan of the said genre, but I do enjoy watching the shows about it. Like what I had been saying for a long time, having a repetitive formula in a story is boring and it paints a bad picture to the genre, but definitely, this series was a breath of fresh air for being different.
It’s unfortunate that a lot of people were not happy or were triggered by the series. I don’t blame them, after all, the themes the series touched were quite heavy and controversial, but I also think some people who criticized the anime went overboard and made a big deal out of it without even giving the series a chance to prove itself and properly address its main message.
I mean, the series is not about slavery or the misogyny, it’s a legit underdog story about a guy, Naofumi, who was appointed as a hero out of nowhere, getting the “lamest” weapon out of the 4 legendaries, then forcefully hit the rock bottom and trying to climb back up with only his self and a limited reach of resources. His downfall made him bitter and he shuns the world, but his compassion to help the need is there. Yes, he sometimes was a jerk, but all throughout the series he actually slowly change for the better. And that, for me, is beautiful, as it shows us character development.
Along with Naofumi were his comrades, Raphtalia and Filo, whom he trusts dearly. Raphtalia was a slave that was saved by Naofumi. At the beginning, it was clear that the MC only sees her as a tool as he couldn’t fight head-on. He needed a sword, so he trained her. They grew close and she became his lifeline to humanity. The turning point in the first arc was definitely one of my favorite moments of the series as it highlights Naofumi’s struggle and how his connection with Raphtalia saved him from his own darkness. I love it.
And then there’s Filo, a filolial who’s really strong, amazing, and hella cute when in human form. At first, I find her really really annoying, either in manga or in anime, but I then grew to like her as the series went on. She’s not like any other loli’s in other animes. She’s actually useful and her outburst and cute moments were quite reasonable. Her relationship with Naofumi is also cute. At first, I was a bit not a fan of them as I don’t want the MC’s team to be like the groups we see in other series, where it became a harem. Good thing, their relationship is not gross as it was more familial.
Other characters were introduced all throughout the series and they left an impression on me. Each one of them had a purpose to the story. I mean, even the background characters that I thought would be of no use, turned out to be amazing people. That writer definitely utilizes the characters.
Now, about the antagonists and the other 3 heroes, they sure are annoying. I am not a fan of Mine, just like other people, as she is literally a b*tch to the core. There are other new antagonists introduced later on the series that definitely left me curious. They were quite an interesting bunch and they definitely made me want to look forward to the next seasons to know more about them and where they came from. For the other heroes, they are pretty much useless in their own way. Even with a lot of clues and moments shown to them, their pride and denial continue to get in the way of them realizing WTF is going on around them. They also think they are almighty and powerful, which I find really funny. Anyway, I do understand why they think that way, I just can control my feelings as I really find them annoying, and a bunch of no use.
One of my favorite things about this series would be its OST. The soundtrack was done by the same person who made the Made in Abyss OST, Kevin Penkins. I already am familiar with him after I watched and listen to his other works like in Norn9 & Under the Dog. I haven’t watched MiA yet but I had seen the first episode and that definitely left me an impression. I can’t really say if he did better or not, but he made the series a lot better with majestic choice of music. You can feel more about every important moment of the series because it’s full of feels music. It strikes right through one’s soul. I love it.
However, I am not that positive with its art and animation. Overall, the art and animation were okay, but it was nothing special. I find the overall color palette of the series dry. Though, I do admit this kind of color scheme fits on some moments, it doesn’t mean it could be for every scene. The character designs were a bit disappointing. I dunno why but Naofumi looks a lot older than he should be, I mean he’s supposed to be around the same age as the other heroes. Raphtalia looks too mature immediately. Sigh, maybe this is just me being nitpicky as I had been exposed first on the other adaptations that these new looks of the characters are weird to me.
Overall, The Rise of the Shield Hero Anime is an amazing isekai anime. It is not the best as it has its flaws, but it’s better than the isekai animes we usually see. And that made this series standout over the rest, positively or negatively.
I know that negative reception this series got might have put you guys off, but believe me, this anime is more than that, and you guys will definitely enjoy the heck of this.
This series will have a 2nd and 3rd season in the next couple of months so its better if you guys start watching this series now. Definitely a recommendation.
Oh man. It took me a while before I could finish this. Yeah, it’s a bit long, I didn’t really expect it. I had been struggling putting out content as I just want to watch animes and listen to podcast. Especially after my work from home and the whims of my family, it is quite tiring.
Just bear with me.
Anyways, I hope you guys will like this new post of mine.
I will try to post more in the next couple of days.
This has been Will Sirius and THANKS FOR READING!!