“The Rising of the Shield Hero”
What They Say:
It turns out that Glass, like L’arc, is also a hero from other world. Naofumi barely fights off their combo attacks and then corners Glass in a one-on-one battle, but is then faced with an all-important question: does he truly wish to protect this world?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The season wraps up with this episode and it’s certainly been an interestingly paced journey. The last couple of episodes got things into motion well but before that we had more epilogue-oriented than I expected after the heroes dealt with the Pope. But, for my money, the first half dozen or so episodes were among my favorite of the run as it really felt like the show staked out unconventional but far more interesting material, especially for an isekai series. Naofumi’s time on the outside of everything helped to forge a far more interesting hero and one with an expected harder edge that’s needed to actually survive after coming from a much softer lifestyle. There are issues you can have with how things unfolded and the nature of the world, but I’m glad it wasn’t just an easy pleasing cookie cutter piece that looked to make everyone happy and safe.
What I do like here is that in fighting against Glass in this red sea environment is the reveal that she’s like the other Heroes as well, a Fan Hero, and that tied with L’Arc gives it an interesting angle as they’ve been summoned to fight for their own reasons as well. As the old saying goes, the villain never sees themselves as such in their own story, what they’re doing is justified. That doesn’t leave Naofumi in a position to go easy against her but he does try to tamp things down and deescalate the situation, which Glass just isn’t having any of as she knows her role in all of this drama. She must be defeated if he’s to actually protect this world and that finally has him calling into question the truth about the Waves themselves and just how terrible the situation is as a whole. There has to be a way to win for all, but the way it reinforces that only one side can win is well presented here with Naofumi’s struggles.
While the battle does end in the favor of Naofumi and the others, it’s one that feels more of a draw than anything else as it’s a final battle delayed is all. The episode does spend some decent time with what remains working through somewhat familiar epilogue style material, often with Naofumi narrating, but with a really strong visual quality that allows the world to feel engaging – something that was a big part of its strength early on. All of it is pretty fun in a light way with the journey continuing on and some of the reconnects that we get, especially when they come across Melty and she has the reward from the Queen that gives him governorship over the demi-human population from the area they helped before. It’s his intention to set up shop and make a home in this area and to do right by the people there. There’s a standard “gaming” aspect to it of course with his plans, and it all falls into place easily, but it’s exciting and leaves you wanting to see the fruits of what Naofumi is seeding here.
The finale plays out pretty much as you’d expect and it does it well, deferring a bigger battle to come and a greater understanding of the Waves and what’s at stake along with it. It’s all laid out clearly enough, however, to make it satisfying in that regard though. What the show does is ease into its standard epilogue approach and sets us up for a bigger life to come, showing the real choice that Naofumi has made. It’s all good gaming wish fulfillment material when you get down to it but there’s an uplifting and exciting feeling to it as well as most who play games like this want to achieve and put things in a great place. This series was not without its controversy but it’s one I’m glad I set aside some time for every week to watch and keep up with along with all the shorts I do. Definitely worth watching and forming a larger and fuller opinion on and I hope there’ll be more.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll