Anime to Watch: The Rising of the Shield Hero
Go check out Shield Hero!
My roommates and I had an anime night recently. We all pick a show we’re interested in, and we watch the first episode of each to see how we feel about it. One of my roommates got us to watch The Rising of the Shield Hero. Shield Hero was one of the biggest anime hits of 2019, and I was eager to give it a try. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if I would continue after the first episode. I’ve never been a big fan of the whole game-world type of anime, like Sword Art Online, Overlord, and No Game No Life. I struggle to get into those kinds of shows, so I was nervous about how I would feel about Shield Hero. Surprisingly, I got invested within the first few episodes, and I understand why it’s such a popular show.
This will be a spoiler free review, because I couldn’t predict some of the twists and turns in the show. I enjoyed freaking out at each surprise, and I'd hate to ruin that for anyone. The bare bones of the plot revolves around four heroes being brought into an alternate medieval-type world to fight off waves of monsters. The heroes are based on four weapons: the sword, spear, bow, and shield. Obviously the Shield Hero, Naofumi Iwatani is the main character. Unfortunately for Naofumi, he starts his adventure with everyone hating the Shield Hero, and holding up the other three as better heroes.
What I really enjoyed about Shield Hero is the characters, particularly Naofumi. Usually, I love characters that are lovable idiots trying their best. However, it’s always nice to have a complex character that challenges you a little bit. Naofumi is definitely that welcome change. I liked that he was kind of a jerk and totally played up that role to everyone around him. You could see where he’s coming from; why should he have to be kind to everyone if they’re already going to be hostile to the Shield Hero? It didn’t make him super likable, but it made him an interesting antihero. I wanted to see what he would do next. That being said, I also found it easier to root for him as the episodes went on. The more outrageous the hatred aimed at him became, the more I kept face-palming to myself and wondering when the other characters would finally see he’s actually doing the right thing (most of the time).
If it took a while to warm up to Naofumi, I kept watching the show for characters like Raphtalia and Filo. They’re so caring and sweet, and it was great to see them kick ass every single episode. Raphtalia is probably my favorite character at this point. She’s honest and wears her heart on her sleeve, but she’s also incredibly resilient and strong. She was awesome to watch.
Besides the characters, Shield Hero has a lot of other things going for it. The character designs are really cool. I love Naofumi’s outfit to the point where I’m considering it as a future cosplay option. The score is unique, and I love the string instruments they use to put you in the time period that the characters are in. From what I heard of the sub, the voice acting is also strong. My roommate watched it subbed and liked it, whereas I watched it dubbed. The dub was super well done. I originally chose to watch it dubbed because once I saw Billy Kametz was Naofumi, I knew it would be good. He has yet to disappoint me. Another voice I thought was super spot on was Xander Mobus as Motoyasu and Faye Mata as Myne. They were so good at making me angry, and I have to give credit for the emotional reaction I get out of these characters.
As I said before, this review is spoiler free, so I can’t go into the story too much. That’s because the story is also an element to this show that totally kept me engaged. I was never bored, and there was always a twist that I couldn’t predict. I like being surprised, or trying to guess what would happen but being completely wrong. Episode 24 has a twist that completely took me by surprise, and I know I’ll think about it until season two is released.
That’s right! We get another season of The Rising of the Shield Hero! That means you have plenty of time to go watch it and catch up. Happy watching!