Over 3 long years of waiting, we’ve finally get to see what comes next for Naofumi and company
The episode starts off with Naofumi in Raphtalia’s home village of Lurolona. He then comes acrossh Rishia and Keel, as it looks like the old lady of the village have been training them up to improve in their specific areas of talent. Rishia is working on the “Hengen Muso” style to control “ki” and it looks like Keel is working on basic swordsmanship.
Randomly, a “wave” of bats come down to chase down some of children villagers and Filo & Raphtalia end up fending them off. Once Naofumi absorbs a part of the bat into his shield, something unexpected occurs as the countdown to the next wave stops.
Then, we get a meeting between all the heroes and the queen to figure out what the whole deal is with all these bats. The queen figures that the “Spirit Tortoise” has revived within its kingdom of the same name. Supposedly, this Spirit Tortoise “brings disasters every few centuries.” As in character as the Bow(Itsuki), Spear(Motoyasu) and Sword(Ren) heroes have been the entire series, they bail out, noting that their one true job is to “protect the world from the incoming waves”—leaving Naofumi to ponder his next moves.
Apparently, the disaster is “coming from the far east and will eventually hit Melromarc & Naofumi’s village,” per the Queen. Once again, Naofumi will have to bootstrap his way through carrying the majority of the weight on his shoulders, alongside with Filo, Raphtalia and newly minted slave, Rishia.
Important Character Alert
The very first episode of season 2 informs us of 2 major elements of this arc. That is Rishia being a significant character alongside Naofumi’s party and the next plot involves another calamity-like event surrounding the revival of this unknown “Spirit Tortoise.” Rishia, on her quest to become stronger to the get the approval of the Bow Hero, Itsuki, decides to accept the power boost by becoming Naofumi’s slave.
As much screen-time that Rishia received, there is clearly an emphasis in developing her character. There isn’t much depth to her character, other than the aforementioned. Her motivations to want to be of useful servitude for the Bow Hero, by training under Naofumi’s party is pretty clear enough. It was emphasized by Itsuki and again by his party member, Gald, just how significantly weak she is. Like the transformation of Raphtalia in season one, this season looks like its going to shine the light on Rishia’s development as a character.
As Naofumi’s crew get closer to the Spirit Tortoise Kingdom, they overhear rumors of the” other 3 dead heroes.” Rishia almost abandons the party to go find out if the rumor was true, further emphasizing her quest to serve the Bow Hero.
Making out the Plot
Naofumi said it himself that this Spirit Tortoise situation is basically another “wave-like disaster.” Before advancing to the main plot of defeating the next wave, it looks like Naofumi and crew will have to take what seems to be a side-quest of some sort. To his benefit, the wave timer did stop, so there is an out for Naofumi to take the actions in trying to solve this Spirit Tortoise disaster, as the imminent danger of the wave is temporarily on hold.
By the episode’s end, a mysterious woman shows up to request being killed by the Shield Hero himself.
Animation and Action
Kinema Citrus was the studio that animated the first season and the second season is being done in conjunction with DR Movie , which is a South Korean based animation studio that has worked with many other big name companies like Madhouse and Studio Ghibli. They contributed to some older classic titles like Claymore and Tenjo Tenge.
Right off the bat, you don’t really notice anything significantly different compared to the first season. There are a couple times when the actions sequences ramped up, that we were able to judge how the animation fights would look like. The studio used Naofumi using his “Cursed Shield,” in order to show off their “animation chops.”
So far, the animation looks pretty good and on par for what we should expect for an anime in 2022.
Why Naofumi is Such a Great Character
Since you are here reading a review of the first episode of The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2, you probably already have a pretty good opinion on why you like the show. I just wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate what makes Naofumi such a great character and how the story elements really put him in very relatable and intriguing positions.
What stands out the most about Naofumi is that he has to carry the weight or burden of everyone around him. By being the Shield Hero, he can’t necessarily fight by traditional means like the other 3 heroes. He HAS to have a team that is willing to fight for him. There are a few famous variations of the phrase to “die by my shield;” to “go out on your shield.” Or even, “come back with your shield.” Obviously, the common denominator is the shield and what it represents. Like it or not, Naofumi has to be the world’s shield. While there are many ways you can interpret this, I find it pretty damn cool to see Naofumi finding various ways to save people that isn’t the stereotypical shonen-like trope of “I’m just stronger than you.” He has to grow mentally. He has be a good leader. He has to be a good teacher. He has to be the glue that brings people together. He has to be the person that everyone relies on the most. Because to “die on on your shield,” means you have to rely on the one person with the responsibility of carrying the world’s burdens and that character is Naofumi.
If you guys are reading this and haven’t reached an adult age where you, yourself is the last line of defense; meaning all the responsibilities fall onto you. You may not understand how relatable Naofumi is to adults. When you are a youngster, there is always a fall-back person. It might be your parents or the fact you never accept self-ownership for your own reality. Naofumi represents THAT GUY. He HAS to be THAT GUY or the world around him falls apart. In this case, cease to exist.
Something that is mostly out of your own control is literally other people. That is what the other 3 heroes represent. These 3 dimwitted, thick-headed heroes seem to be working more for themselves, rather than working together. That fact is further highlighted by Fitoria this episode, stating the same as she did the previous season, that she would kill all 4 of them to summon new heroes—if they don’t find out a way to work together.
Having the Cursed Shield be such a significant part of Naofumi’s abilities is a great way to instill so many relatable elements to his character. By using the Cursed Shield, he “loses himself.” His ability to empathize and care for others really enters a deep pit. It’s really a testament to the growth of his character, that he has so many people surrounding him that care about him to want help pull himself out of that darkness that the Cursed Shield puts him in. When you carry the weight of everyone on your shoulders to take on the world, its nice to know you have people that can help lift you out of perilous situations that you may be forced in.
What this season sets up for is another adventure with the characters we already know, while building up the character significance of Rishia. There isn’t much compelling new elements to this new story, as the main character said himself, that this is just another “wave-like disaster.” It seems too obvious and will probably be multiple twist and turns in the plot as the season continues. As the episode was ending, it was very a+b=c kind of a boring episode. At the very end, they had to leave with some kind of a cliff-hanger as a mysterious woman appears to ask the Shield Hero to kill her.