The Rising of the Shield Hero (盾の勇者の成り上がり)
Created By Aneko Yusagi
After an epic first episode, I expect the entire series to be worthwhile, and so far it has been engaging and exciting.
A Swordswoman in Training – Episode 2: “The Slave Girl”
Episode 2 introduces a new character, a demi-human named, Raphtalia. Raphtalia and Naofumi are similar to one another because they are both outcasts. No one trusts Naofumi after he was accused of rape. As for Raphtalia, she lost her family during the Wave of Catastrophe and is now a slave. However, Naofumi doesn’t treat her like a slave but instead, he raises her like his own daughter or sister. Naofumi buys her food, clothing, and toys, and teaches her how to fight. There’s this strong familial bond they have with each other that will most likely grow as the series progresses.
However, in this particular episode, we learn that Raphtalia fears the monsters in the Wave of Catastrophe. When trying to get a valuable ore, the two come across a dog monster which is similar to the monster that killed Raphtalia’s parents. This leaves Raphtalia petrified, and so Naofumi decides to buy some time so that Raphtalia can run away, but she decides to face her fears and kill the monster. Raphtalia chooses to remain with Naofumi and help him stop the Wave of Catastrophe so that other kids don’t suffer losing a loved one like she has.
Overall, I can understand the hype for Raphtalia. She’s adorable.
The First Big Battle – Episode 3: “Wave of Catastrophe”
In this episode, we finally see the heroes going up against the Wave of Catastrophe, which is the only reason why they were sent into this world.
Now Raphtalia hasn’t heard the rumors about Naofumi until she witnesses how the other heroes mistreat him at the Dragon Hourglass. The other heroes don’t view him as part of their team and they tell him not to hold them back. In this particular scene, you see that Naofumi still feels a sense of betrayal towards them which won’t resolve until they are forced to work as a team. Yet, in the end, Raphtalia remains loyal to Naofumi because she sees him in a different light: he’s the only family she has now.
However, we see Naofumi’s identity transform as he was able to save a town that was hit by the Wave of Catastrophe. While the rest of the heroes went to attack the main monster, Naofumi decides to protect the town where the swarm of monsters was gathering because no one seemed to warn or call an evacuation for the townspeople. Naofumi took it upon himself to protect them even though no one accepts him. In fact, while battling the monsters, Naofumi questions himself as to why he’s protecting people that don’t care about his well-being nor respect him as a hero. Yet, when the townspeople and even the military soldiers recognize his bravery and efforts, they decide to help him stop the monsters from attacking the town. In the end, they successfully save the town and Naofumi earns the respect of the townspeople.
In this episode, we see what separates the Shield Hero from the rest of the heroes. While the others are looking for fame and glory, Naofumi is actually protecting people with his shield. He cared more about the lives of others and was willing to sacrifice his life for them despite all the hostility against him. The shield is equally as important as the sword because they both can be used for protection.
From Rock Bottom to a Soft Landing – Episode 4: “Lullaby at Dawn”
When you think you are doing the right thing, but you made a mistake. This world has a screwed up government system.
The heroes celebrate their success at the King’s Palace. Yet, after hearing that Raphtalia is a slave and being forced to fight against her will for Naofumi, Motoyasu challenges Naofumi to a duel. If Motoyasu wins, he will free Raphtalia from slavery, which he thinks he’s doing her a favor. Just before Naofumi was about to win the duel, Melty interferes by using her magic, causing Motoyasu to win. When Naofumi accuses Melty of interfering, no one believes him. Naofumi later finds out that Melty is the princess and so, he realizes that no matter what he does, no one will believe him since the King has power over everyone. Naofumi ends up succumbing to darkness until Raphtalia tells him that she believes in him and promises to remain by his side.
So out of everything that happened in this episode, my favorite part was when Raphtalia stood up against Motoyasu and tells him that she doesn’t need to be saved. She also questioned Motoyasu’s strength because she doubts that he is able to take care of a demi-human slave like Naofumi can. I also like the part where the other two heroes came and defend Naofumi by proclaiming that Melty intervened.
Yet, in this episode, we see just how important Raphtalia is to Naofumi because she is able to show compassion towards him and she is the only one who can save him from succumbing to all the ill rumors and darkness in this world. Also, now that she is free from slavery, she still proves her loyalty by remaining at Naofumi’s side.
In fact, rather than seeing Raphtalia as a child, Naofumi sees her as a woman now, in which he states that he will have to get used to seeing her as an adult. Naofumi is also able to finally taste the food, which suggests that he’s slowly getting accustomed to this world and accepting his role as the Shield Hero. He feels a sense of belonging since Raphtalia sees him as a good guy as opposed to an outsider.
On a side note, though, I hope Melty gets punished for her actions. She annoys me.
A Chicken Race – Episode 5: “Filo”
I kind of got my wish. Melty can’t get away with everything as easily anymore.
In this episode, we discover that someone is secretly helping Naofumi and Raphtalia against Melty and the King: a woman with royal power and authority that Melty cannot challenge.
Motoyasu and Melty enter Lute village—the town that Naofumi saved during the Wave—and declare that they are now in charge of this region and are planning to tax people who enter and exit the village. Yet, a group of mysterious warriors interfere with Melty’s plans and so, in order to claim the town, Melty challenges Naofumi to a race: Motoyasu’s dragon versus Naofumi’s filolial. In the end, Naofumi won and when Melty accused Naofumi of cheating, his name was cleared by these mysterious warriors. We don’t know much about them but we can safely assume that they are on Naofumi’s side for now.
In fact, we see Naofumi’s group of allies grow. After saving Lute village, many merchants and shopkeepers give gifts to Naofumi as a way to say “thank you” for saving one of their relatives during the Wave of Catastrophe. Also, two of the heroes, Ren and Itsuki, intervene when the King decided to not give any money to Naofumi. Although they may not be friends, Ren and Itsuki value justice and honesty, and so when they have evidence that Melty cheated, they were willing to come to Naofumi’s aide. Also, they heard stories of Naofumi’s bravery and efforts in protecting a village, and so they believed that Naofumi deserves payment. Even though they turned their back on Naofumi in the beginning, I think these subtle moments could be considered evidence that they are trying to possibly reconnect with him. (But this is just my opinion!).
The main focus of this episode though is the new friend that Naofumi and Raphtalia made: a gigantic chicken creature called a Filolial. Naofumi names her Filo for short. At the end of this episode, Naofumi and Raphtalia become shocked when she transforms into a “human girl.” (Of course, this series wouldn’t be complete without some harem going on. :P)
After watching these first few episodes, I can confidently say that I’ll commit to watching this series to the end. The story is intriguing. The pacing isn’t too slow. Also, there are some fun characters as well as some annoying ones that we love to hate.
You can watch this series on Crunchyroll.