The Rising of the Shield Hero Episode 1 Review
Well, we’ve got this season’s Goblin Slayer with divisive rhetoric already being thrown about and once again it comes down to subject matter with rape sitting at the centre of the controversy (or in this case a rape accusation without grounds which for some viewers links too closely with women in the real world getting accused of lying about sexual assualt). Though we’ve also got slavery, a matriarchal society apparently ruled by a king and a general focus on a character who is ultimately going to hate pretty much everybody. So yes, this one rubbed some people the wrong way particularly in light of current social contexts. I’m less put off by it, though having read the light novel and already dealt with my issues with the subject matter there, the anime actually came more or less as expected so I’m just kind of riding this one out.
I mentioned in my review of the first light novel of the Rising of the Shield Hero that Naofumi is not a particularly likeable protagonist. Neither before he is betrayed nor after do I feel much in the way of sympathy for him though he does produce a number of cringe worthy moments. That said, the anime kind of captured him perfectly as he initially comes off as super generic, then super naive, and finally super angry. And that’s probably the problem with Naofumi. We don’t really get a middle ground. We get a forgettable introduction to a character who is fairly quickly thrown in over his head and then his personality is warped and if the books are anything to go by, he’s going to stay warped for a fair while.
It isn’t that he doesn’t have room for complaint. Honestly, the Kingdom summoned him and then treated him like dirt from the get-go with petty snubs, whispers and rumours, and finally outright taking everything from him, including what little reputation and moral standing he had, and more or less leaving him to die. For a Kingdom in dire need of heroes you would think that someone would have more sense and yet these characters act in a perpetually stupid manner that is kind of later explained through politics and religion but to be perfectly honest that doesn’t really justify the blatant idiocy of snubbing the guy you summoned to save your world. And yes, I get there are three other guys there but clearly you thought you needed all of them.
This first episode is double length and runs about 45 minutes, and it is kind of needed. There’s a lot of set-up to get through and by the time we’ve summoned the character, met all the heroes, established their personalities and parties, dealt Naofumi his fall from grace and then managed to portray the new Naofumi trying to cover all of that in twenty minutes would have been madness and ending the first episode without covering all of that would have been close to pointless. So there’s a great choice from the beginning.
Another fairly solid choice is in the voice casting for Naofumi. Kaito Ishikawa really brings him to life in this first episode and while some of the lines and moments could have fallen really flat, the performance managed to really keep my attention. I knew going in I didn’t like Naofumi’s character initially, and yet this first episode managed to keep me more or less on board with him and the vocals had a lot to do with that.
Visually it is so far neither particularly impressive or poorly done. I don’t actually recall if there was an OP or not (that’s pretty terrible), and honestly don’t remember any of the other music either.
Realistically, The Rising of the Shield Hero is more or less exactly what the synopsis makes it out to be and while the story will certainly get more interesting later (provided it follows the source) for now it is reasonably generic isekai fare with a slightly more hostile protagonist. That said, because it is pretty straight forward with just a little bit of edge, it will probably be enjoyable enough, provided the subject matter doesn’t throw you off.
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The Rising of the Shield Hero Clear Folder
- Light Novel Volume 1 Review
- Light Novel Volume 2 Review
- Light Novel Volume 3 Review
- Episode 1: What To Do When the World Turns Its Back On You?