I sometimes neglect the anime side of my blog which, given the amount of viewers who come here from a post on another anime blog, really isn’t a good idea. Plus anime is fun to talk about and not a lot of my friends who I see regularly will watch it regularly anymore, fewer still are watching ongoing anime.
The Rising of the Shield Hero was one that caught my (and many others’) attention last season, and I’m very happy to see it carry over into this season. It took the very over-done imo now setting of “modern-day boy finds himself in game/fantasy world” and added a new spin on it. This time he fell in from reading a book, and was summoned with an established in-world identity as one of the four chosen heroes who can stave off waves of calamity and save the world. The catch being that his particular hero, the shield hero, is an outcast, and more of a commoner’s champion, and obviously he is just a normal person with this title thrust upon him.
Then he is falsely accused of rape by his one party member and the shit cycle just continues as she manipulates the king and others despite apparently being a known problem child. Then again this week’s revelations about the matriarchal lineage certainly puts the king’s behaviour into a better and more believable context.
I really felt for Naofumi after the first episode. Myne knew exactly the right cards to play to use both her status as an attractive woman and a princess to best turn everyone she could against Naofumi, and she continues to do this at every turn. She had, until the last episode, all three other heroes wrapped around her finger in this way, and continued to abuse her powers as royalty to attempt to get in Naofumi’s way as much as possible.
Losing trust in someone is an awful feeling, and when they go and weaponise this as Myne has done, and continue to run a crusade against you for really no good reason, it all piles up. Eventually it gets too much. While I luckily have never been in Naofumi’s exact position, a former good friend has been an equivalent of Myne in my life this academic year. Every time I see her I wish she would be hit by a bus, a tree would fall on her, anything to remove her from my life because an apology is never going to come my way, as much as I deserve one.
The rage shield moments, and Naofumi’s internal monologues while possessed by it, are the real deal as far as relatability goes. Watching Naofumi fall into a state where it feels like everything is against him, no-one has his back, even when followed loyally by Raphtalia and after all the gratitude shown by the villagers he has helped, is exactly how I feel a lot of the time, and I suspect many others, because it is so easy to let yourself get consumed by all the shit and not realise the good people in your life, because it feels like the bad ones are taking over. Naofumi probably has some form of depression, and it has been created very faithfully.
But then the creators also capture the opposite side – that of getting out of this hole – excellently through Raphtalia. There’ll always be one person who can make you feel better, and when they see you hurting, they’ll be there, whether you ask them to or not.
Seeing Raphtalia’s devotion to Naofumi and unwavering loyalty reminded me of the friends I do have. It reminded me that whenever you’re caught up in despair like Naofumi when he enters the rage shield, that there is a way out. Maybe no-one will come rushing to you like Raphtalia, but there’ll be someone on the other end of a phone call, text, or message, who will if you can only reach out, and you’ll know who they are.
This is one reason I’ve found The Rising of the Shield Hero such a compelling anime to watch, and one which, even when I fell behind on other anime this season, I would always stay up-do-date with. I’m really excited to see where it will go next, especially now that one of the other heroes is finally starting to see through all the lies as well.