A Surprise Ending! The Rising of the Shield Hero, Season 2 Episode 4 “Ruins in the Fog” [Review]

After an action packed episode 3, episode 4 cools us down as Naofumi’s party figures out what to do with the Spirit Tortoise’s back.

How Rishia’s Character Development Advances the Plot!

After the first scene of the episode, it was clear this episode was going to lean heavily on the development of Rishia. We finally get an explanation of her history and how she became so infatuated with the Bow Hero, Itsuki.

Born into impoverished nobles, Rishia grew up with 2 parents and no siblings. For some devilish reason, another noble levied illegal debt against Rishia’s family that they couldn’t pay back. In return, they took Rishia as payment. It was here that the young Bow Hero acted as the “white knight” and saved her and her family from these nobles.

I didn’t know being a poor noble was a thing. Is that like having the cheap version of the iPhone? Anyways.. There wasn’t anything particularly special about Rishia’s backstory. Given that multiple people hinted at her being a lot stronger, I am sure there is a lot more that needs to be explained that may be a bit more compelling for a guy viewer like myself.

As they camp on the Spirit Tortoise’s back, Rishia talks about being lonely and being the only child. This scene is really developing off the previous camp scenes of how much their relationship has grown. Ost acting as the more mature-experienced older sister and Rishia as the scared and naive younger sister. Ost even mentions how much Raphtalia and Filo “seem to act like sisters”, subconsciously hinting to us that Ost and Rishia are building a similar type of bond.

“Camp scenes” should just be synonymous with “character development.” This must be the third time they’ve done it this season. The timing and feel of it flowed pretty well, especially coming off such an action packed previous episode.

When Queen Mirellia takes Naofumi’s party to the shrine, here we learn about 2 things: Naofumi can barely read spell books and it is a piece of cake for Rishia to do so; hinting at her natural talents. Following that scene, Naofumi and the Old Lady converse about changing her role in the party. The Old Lady refreshes us again about her talent for manipulating ki.

Rishia’s unseen abilities are bound to show up soon!

Then, they run into the tablet with the language from the “Four Cardinal Heroes,” which turns out to be Japanese writing from Naofumi’s world. This maybe the biggest revelation for the bigger plot regarding the waves and Naofumi’s role. As Ost starts to recall how to truly defeat the Spirit Tortoise, the building collapses in, destroying the shrine with the important writing on it.

After Ost explains how to defeat the Spirit Tortoise, Naofumi calls out the next order that includes sending Rishia back out of danger. Calling upon the earlier exchange between Ost and Rishia’s conversation about the Bow Hero & serving Naofumi, she develops the courage to tell Naofumi that she is going along with him anyways. For the first time, Rishia is being something gutsy and courageous.

I think it’s been pretty clear what the writer wanted to do with Rishia as a character. At first, it seemed like they were going to force feed us her at the beginning of the episode. Besides doing the whole camp scene again, the anime did a good job portraying the significance of her progression as the plot moved along.

Ost Hourai’s Character Development

Ost Hourai’s character development is more compelling and more of a mystery compared to Rishia’s. Looking at Rishia, she follows an easy script of relatable experiences and having a scared little girl-like personality. Ost, on the other hand is a character that still doesn’t make any sense. As they were walking on the Spirit Tortoise’s back, she finally said the one thing we were all wondering, “why the hell isn’t anyone booing me?!” She manipulates and steals souls. Raphtalia and the others responded in such an unsatisfying way that just seemed so incongruent with what an ordinary person would say.

How does a person just randomly show up telling everyone what her existence means (manipulating wars & stealing souls) and everyone just accepts it? This may end up being my biggest criticism of the entirety of season 2. Still, that is what makes her character development more interesting compared to Rishia. The fact that they are the 2 that are bonding makes a lot of sense from a writer’s standpoint. Ost may be the only person that can relate and provide the wisdom that Rishia needs for her development.

The fact still remains that the protagonist, Naofumi, trusts her and is using her for the mission regardless. I guess the characters don’t really have any other option than to trust her. It would still make a little more sense to have slight confrontations with her, but I digress.. That is another layer of intrigue from Naofumi’s point-of-view that may make more sense as the season continues. At this point in the series, he is clearly depicted as the smartest decision maker around. If he trusts her, then there might be something we are not seeing as of yet.

That trust is once again called upon when the shrine collapsed. With the Spirit Tortoise getting ready to revive, Ost recalls that “to defeat the Spirit Tortoise, you’d have to destroy its heart.” That heart is located deep into the shrine. As the episode winds down to advance to the next stage of the story, Ost and Rishia have another bonding good feel moment with Naofumi, Raphtalia & Filo.

This is What We Know About Ost Hourai

So far, what we know about Ost Hourai is that she is a Spirit Tortoise Familiar. Her main goal is to stop the Spirit Tortoise from rampaging because if they take too many souls, there would be nothing left to protect. She seems to be a kind, protective and valuable member of Naofumi’s party. Her and Rishia have bonded in a way that has helped Rishia grow as a character. Randomly, she gets headaches that started from the previous episode, when Rishia was reading a book.

As the story progresses closer to the Spirit Tortoise’s heart what do you guys think will be revealed about Ost Hourai?

Last Thoughts

You can’t have an episode end on some basic character development right? The tension ratchets up as Naofumi’s party advances deep into the Spirit Tortoise’s intestines to reach the Spirit Tortoise’s heart. In a surprise cliffhanger, Naofumi runs into 2 familiar characters we haven’t seen since the last season, L’arc and Therese. In an even bigger surprise, the third person with them is a character they all fought against in the last wave, Glass!

This episode was all about using Rishia & Ost’s character development. Rishia is a very easy character to relate to and understand, while Ost still remains a mystery. As Rishia starts to fortify her resolve, I’m sure more of her abilities will be shown, as hinted by Naofumi and the Old Lady’s conversation. Ost Hourai has displayed an astonishingly heroic characteristic, despite her background. As we get closer to closing out this arc, I hope we are given a satisfying answer as to what she really is.

Overall, this episode did a nice job piecing together an episode with a lot of character development without making it feel forced. This was a very good episode contrasting the last and I hope the next couple episodes start to pick back up on the action.

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