Something Epic is Brewing.. The Rising of the Shield Hero, Season 2 Episode 11 “Kizuna” [Review]

Have we finally found out what the bad guy’s aim is? Kind of..

Who would have thought?! People can die in this anime and it was done so spectacularly. Being the throwaway antagonist he is, Kazuki moves prematurely to show Kyo that he can “man up” to take down the new Katana Hero. In the most gory and shocking instance, he splits in half! This might have been one of the most unexpected events to happen all season in an jarring instance, only to be undone later.. This show lacks any real lasting consequences..

After a typical “nice to see each other once again” first minute between Kizuna and Glass, it was nice to see something significant happen before the intro played. Everyone knew Kazuki was toast if he actually moved from Raphtalia’s attack. At no point did I actually think Kazuki would purposefully move to split himself in half. The most gory of scenes happen at the most anti-climatic of times and I’m okay with that.

The Show’s Main Plot Creates “Schools of Thought”

Naofumi, the realist. Kizuna, the pacifist. As a story line and plot point, I think everyone from the very beginning of the series can foresee the path that some characters would eventually want to save every world without destroying the other. It looks like the vehicle to introduce that line of thought comes through Kizuna. Hence, the name of the episode being formulated around this character. From a practical sense, what if there isn’t a way? This is just how reality and the world works? This is closer to Naofumi’s logic, at least up until now. He’s at least willing to entertain Kizuna’s idea to save each other’s world. Later on, it is revealed through a new character, Kyo’s true aims and how it coincides with Kizuna’s will to save all worlds. At least that is what we’re led to believe..

Finally a “Good” Bad Guy?

When I say “good” bad guy, I just mean somewhat interesting—in a funny ditzy way, similar to Yor of Spy x Family. Finally, we get one of those epic kind of entrances that I’ve been screaming for to only be for a goofy kind of character like Yomogi. An entry like this screams bold and intimidatingly strong. It turns out to be more comedic than anything. All the characters get to show off a little bit of their abilities as we get to see Naofumi and L’arc’s party work together for the first time outside of their farming experiences.

Still, the audience gets to experience the reaction from the point-of-view of the characters. Every scene has moments that is purposefully supposed to elicit something out of the character and viewer. To me, that’s the best kind of art when you and the character are experiencing the same visceral reaction.

By the end of the scene, it is revealed that the sword that Yomogi had was given to her by Kyo. It was meant to blow up while fighting the whole squad. Thus, making her some kind of “kamikaze.” The fight scenes were really just another way to show Naofumi and L’arc’s party in a different light, working together. Like in episode 3, we get to see everyone get in on the action and make a few highlight moves. The fight concludes in an unsurprising way—the whole squad confronting Yomogi about Kyo.

Yomogi & Kyo are Childhood Friends

Yomogi is another very hard-to-swallow pill of a character. First half of the episode she’ll do anything for Kyo. All of the sudden by the end of her and Kizuna’s conversation, she wants to atone for everything Kyo has done. Childhood friends? All of the sudden you realize now that Kyo is a first degree d-bag?! When it comes to this show, some things just don’t make logical sense in its portrayal, but the motivations to want to stop Kyo makes a ton of sense. There’s just very little resistance in the pacing of the change of a character’s arc. That’s pretty much how its been all season. If you think about it too hard, it may ruin your viewing the experience.

I’ll leave it to the anime gods to help us fill-in some context by the season’s end. To sum up the season—so far, so bland..

Kyo & Kizuna Want the Same Thing

Or so what Yomogi thinks..

The beginning of the episode harps back to the point of the main plot when Glass reveals to Kizuna about the waves. The way this universe works between their worlds is to kill or be killed. Kyo is willing to sacrifice lives to stop the waves and Kizuna wants to save everyone. If we take a look back at the Spirit Tortoise, its whole purpose and existence means the same for Kyo’s goals. You have to take some lives to save others. Don’t think this line of thinking doesn’t happen in reality like war. It’s humanity’s fatal flaw. It’s part of nature that we can’t avoid. Kizuna in this case, is the pacifist in this regard. If Kyo does end up doing everything to try to save all the world, then it would make a lot of sense in terms of his actions up to this point. If he ends up just being this guy that wants to lay waste to the world, then well.. it might be time to evacuate the premises before show becomes a dumpster fire.

Ending Recap

Kizuna, insisting that she wants to take a chance to talk it out with Kyo—Naofumi isn’t at all buying that Kyo is that kind of guy. Frankly, that is a really great point. It’s one thing to sacrifice yourself by knowingly fighting for your country and one thing to trick someone into self-detonating.

As Naofumi and the crew get their weapons and armors upgraded from the blacksmith, Kizuna notices something gone awry. Looks like Kyo manifested an early bird wave special called the “Wave of Calamity.” We are close to the season’s end and its still not quite clear what Kyo’s aim is. The whole episode hints at 2 schools of thought: sacrifices must be made or the pacifist route. Now, it ends in a confusing way as Kyo actually conjures up the waves himself. What the heck does this all mean?

Last Thoughts

Issues I’ve Had With This Season

There’s just been an amalgam of issues I’ve had from this season like the weird incongruent actions of what the viewer is suppose to perceive like characters’ motivations, actions and why they feel so strongly one way or another. Why does Naofumi feel the need to get revenge Ost? How the heck did Raphtalia recover so fast and then get so tired again like in the previous episode? In this episode alone, we’re supposed to believe that Yomogi was close childhood friends with Kyo, but couldn’t see pass all his evil deeds? There’s just so many illogical moments that doesn’t add up as you think deeper into answering the question of “why” for every scenario.

What This Episode Does Well

If there’s one thing this episode did well was elicit very strong elicit reactions. About 3 times this episode, I was genuinely surprised and hyped because of how the scenes were presented. When Kazuki split in half, I legitimately couldn’t believe that that happened. When Yomogi arrived into town to confront Naofumi and everyone else, I became very hyped. Character judgement aside, that whole sequence of events was executed very well from the Yomogi entrance to the dialogue and then the action sequences. As Yomogi, the ditzy “I thought Kyo was doing everything for the greater good,” explains to Kizuna a bit of backstory; we’re led to believe Kyo is doing this for the greater good and that she’s been turning a blind eye this whole time. Of course by the end of the episode, it turns out Kyo seemingly doesn’t actually want to save everyone from the waves, but creates one before Kizuna and everyone else can convince Kyo to stop.

The contradictory reasoning of Kyo’s actions leaves his motivations still up for interpretation. The cliffhanger makes it seem like Kyo is indeed a very bad person, but still leaves the door open for Kyo to reveal that he’s been doing all of this for the greater good. If there can be one redeeming quality about the character Kyo, it’s going to have to stem from this angle.

For this episode as a whole, I thought the animation was decent, but not great. The music felt appropriate for the scenes and the most impactful moments that needed to land, landed. Does this show have some flaws? Yes. Is it still an enjoyable watch? Yes.


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