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The Rising of The Shield Hero (2019, Kinema Citrus Co.)

Anime Reviews

The Rising of The Shield Hero (2019, Kinema Citrus Co.)

Tate no Yūsha no Nariagari

Worth A Watch

Twenty year old Naofumi Iwatani is a college student with an allowance that lets him stay at home enjoying an Otaku life. One day a book drops to the ground while at the library which tells of four Cardinal Heroes being summoned to the other world of Melromarc; each wielding a different weapon - sword, spear, bow and shield.

Other than Naoto who is stuck with a shield, everyone else feels right at home with their roles and immediately sees it as as a game they're used to playing. Only each of them are from a different Japan.

As Naofumi isn't well-travelled, rumours has it he is completely incompetent, especially with only a shield. Soon, Naofumi finds himself completely betrayed and the foreign world casts him aside, treating him like trash. Fed up of being walked all over, he makes a stand and buys a demi-human slave named Raphtalia from a dealer who becomes his "sword" and first companion as they experience battles together.

While the other heroes are supported with rewards from the royal family, Naofumi is resented and must make his own living. Now they must survive the Waves of Catatastrophe and fend them off to save the world. Before long, he's known as the Saviour of the Heavenly Fowl.

Watched this because of the hype and thought this was going to be a pure fantasy world show so was a bit surprised when it turned out to be another kind of stuck in a video game world show again. Fortunately the RPG element isn't too heavy and you just see some menus most of the time.

First episode was a double-length special and it's quite captivating seeing Naofumi get back on his feet to make his stand in the foreign world. He's stuck with his shield, unable to wield any other weapon but he can evolve it to gain other abilities such as buffs.

It's odd how all the natives are aware of levelling up too which is also another odd part of the world setting. It starts off good seeing how he decides to stop being too gullible and make his own stand in the foreign world, but instead of toughing it out alone for a while until he meets someone who appreciates and emphasises with him, he buys a demi-human slave for a loyal companion. Bit of an odd move since it makes him look almost as bad the people that tread all over him. The slave is a "doggie girl (or racoon in this case)" character too which suggests the submissive kind.

Once their adventure kicks off though, it's more like a parent smacking their kid when they're being disobedient so it doesn't get to sadist levels.

As with most fantasy shows, there's some form of fan service but very rare. Demi-humans grow up as they "level-up" too so a few episodes in and Raphtalia isn't a little girl any more. Naofumi gains a few more female companions and you can guess which direction it goes.

It's great to see Naofumi and his companions overcome difficulties as he constantly gets framed and gains an ill reputation but by half way through the series you're left wondering why the other two heroes Ren and Itsuki still can't think by themselves and be suspicious about what's going on and continually be manipulated by the ill intentioned Princess Malty. It just seems silly they haven't changed since the start of the show despite what they've experienced.

And since Malty "Myne" and Motoyasu are used for silly bad guys always get beaten jokes similar to Pokemon's Jessie and James, it gets to to the point where the constant conspiring from Melty becomes unbelievable because you'd think they would start to suspect something's amiss (actually it's very obvious as most shows go) but when are they going to move on and reveal it? Wait, Naofumi needs more party members or a bigger harem. It becomes a very tiring diversion quick.

I guess we need some kind of break from all the the world is a cruel place tales. Thankfully there are other kind of comedy scenes despite the cruel times Naofumi has to go through.

It's an interesting show as you watch how Naofumi and his new companions overcome hardships despite being constantly bad-mouthed and abused by the people around them.

Malty and Motoyasu aren't the only odd plot device. Some points don't quite make sense either such as the queen crying helplessly when in trouble even though she is a master of magic herself. You start to see where the story's going to go. After the 2nd wave with a huge spike in difficulty, the story seems to be stuck on building up the history of the heroes.

That said the wrap-up for Naofumi was good when it finally got to it and Malty getting new "names" but, we're also left with a mystery in the short prologue afterwards.

Aesthetically the art and animation is good, fitting the fantasy genre well. Not much creativeness but enough to hint who the bad guys are. There's hardly any fan service or gore compared to most fantasy shows. Creature designs lack creativity but the Dragon Hourglass looks pretty cool with the subtle "blinking eyes". I thought the theme songs were by "Wofl Heads with a Mission" but just a similar heavily synthsised rap songs.

As Naofumi treats the world as his new reality, the rest of the heroes continue to go around slaying powerful monsters irresponsibly just like the MMORPGs they usually play which end up doing more harm than good.


S2 picks up swiftly after the first when Naofumi has inherited his own piece of land but suddenly the countdown to the next Wave of Catastrophe has stopped. It seems an incident similar to a in-game event has happened and they must fight The Turtoise of the Spirit Turtle Kingdom which originally existed to gather souls and prevent the waves. Not long later, he finds himself transported to another world where "Waves" seem to be a different tale and meets more "heroes" like himself.

Everything shifts from a Western fantasy aesthetic to an oriental Sino-like one as they face one of the four legendary gods that resemble Genbu. Naofumi's harem grows by yet another member but thanks to the nasty experience with Malty, he's fairly much become immune to feminine charms now. Again, sometimes the direction just feels off as Naofumi gains yet another party member who voluntarily becomes his "slave".

There's no more conspiring and it's suddenly like your usual fantasy show, good versus evil, heroes here to save the day but, it also creates a new obstacle for Naofumi's party to overcome and become tighter knit together. The "three stooges" don't get much of a role this time.

There's a pretty epic battle with multiple forces joining together and it's kind of fun watching Naofumi and co travelling to another (game) world with their levels reset. Can't forget about his ever tempting cursed shield of course.

There's more gore this season. As before there's a bit of a prologue but not so long, only one episode but more like bonus filler scenes rather than a teaser for the next season. Not too bad of a filler for expanding the cast until the next mystery.

S1's ending has been the best theme song and art so far.

S3 we're suddenly thrown into a kind of PvP colliseum kind of match. This time they're preparing to face Suzaku the Phoenix. As the other Cardinal Heroes are missing, Naofumi decides to seek out the lower ranking Vassal Heroes, AKA Seven Star Heroes.

Yet another member of the harem, Sadeena "Nadia". All I see is Kallen from Code Geass since she's voiced by the same voice actress, Ami Koshimizu, haha. Then there's another loli Syne, a Vassal Hero from yet another world. Ratotille an exiled alchemist and monster expert. That said, we actually have a few other pairings going on besides our protagonist's ever growing harem.

Once again a certain someone is pulling the strings of the heroes and we see a bit of back story about them; Ren The Sword Hero and Itsuki The Bow Hero mostly as hinted in the OP. Good to finally see them getting some development but it's still kind of repetitive like the start of the series as if the author couldn't think of a better story for them or, something that wouldn't overshadow Naofumi's so they just go with the rinse and repeat setup. It kind of ruins the show a bit.

Also the new village Naofumi's gained rights to. It's nice to see the characters growing up. Other than that, we also see some more world building revealing more about Cursed gear and how they're not limited to Naofumi's shield. Waves also start feeling like a side story which is kind of like the show starting to lose its bearing just like the rinse and repeated three stooges.

Opening art style reminds me of Falcom games with its heavy highlights so kind of wonder if it's just artists influenced by the style or they're actually ex-Falcom staff like Makoto Shinkai was. There's a bit of journeying CGI in one episode that reminds me of the Game of Thrones OP.

Despite the shortcomings, this season probably has the best "boss fight" in the entire series so far. We're left with yet another big cliffhanger like in S1 and seems we're up to 13 of the light novel series so plenty of material left for another season.

Tate no Yuusha


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