Overall Rating: 7.4/10
We open with a woman I am assuming to be a queen, speaking with a mysterious spy/scout about a plan the king is currently engaging in. The queen inquires about the Shield Hero specifically, learning about the Melromarc kingdom’s resistance to work with him. Currently, it isn’t clear if the woman is from a different kingdom or not.
We return to Melromarc Castle where the 4 Cardinal Heroes are receiving their rewards for withstanding the previous Wave of Catastrophe. A clear preference is shown towards Motoyasu when he is rewarded slightly more than the other heroes. Once again, Naofumi is shafted as the King refuses to offer him any for asinine reasons. Itsuki and Ren (The Bow Hero and The Sword Hero) speak up for Naofumi, acknowledging that he should be properly compensated for his efforts.
Raphtalia insists that her slave crest be reinstated despite Naofumi’s assurance that she doesn’t have to. The slave trader offers to purchase Raphtalia now that she is strong and healthy; Naofumi picks at Raphtalia by toying with the idea.
Naofumi inquires about some small eggs the slave dealer has on display. The eggs are monster eggs that either produce a filolial (a bird-like creature often used to pull carriages) or potentially a valuable dragon. Naofumi acquires a monster egg feeling that having a monster in his party would be beneficial, offering a bit of additional support to Raphtalia.
Although Naofumi did not receive a proper reward from the kingdom, news of the aid that he offered Lute village during the Wave has reached the merchants of Melromarc, several of whom had family members. The merchants, reluctantly, begin offering Naofumi certain details, assistance, and perks. We learn the Naofumi and Raphtalia both have affinities for certain magic types and that they can improve by studying certain grimoires.
Team Naofumi ventures off to stay in Lute Village for the night where the filolial “Filo” hatches. Filo quickly imprints on Naofumi viewing him as her mother. In two days, Filo grows from a palm-sized bird to the size of a rideable ostrich. She proves to be a significant addition to Team Naofumi as soon enough the Shield Hero finds himself in a race against Motoyasu for control of Lute Village.
The Rising of the Shield Hero is an “Isekai”, a subgenre of Japanese media where the protagonist is transported to an alternative world in which they are often destined to save. It is intended for The Rising of the Shield Hero to feel like a video game adventure, and I must say, they are succeeding. Initially, the show comes off a bit slow, with more context and dialogue given than actual action. But when understood through the scope of an actual game, the show begins to feel more authentic. When we play an action RPG, we don’t immediately jump into a heated battle every time we pick up the sticks. Often, there are down times where we must improve our gear, level up, grind, investigate, and socialize. Then after who knows how long, we venture off to engage in a quest we have acquired. The world that Naofumi finds himself in is unique and I find myself a bit intrigued by the details of the world revealed throughout the journey. By the time I finished the episode, I felt as if I just got in a small gaming session on a fun, familiar RPG.
As far as the story goes, it is nice to see the other Cardinal Heroes speak up for Naofumi when he was unjustly declined his reward. I’m sure that Itsuki and Ren are beginning to recognize that something underhanded is occurring. This was potentially the time for Naofumi to reach out to them, possibly defend himself against the false accusations of the Kingdom. But, instead, he stubbornly storms off with Raphtalia as soon as he receives his reward. It is still unclear why Motoyasu is receiving such favoritism, other than Myne simply preferring him to the other heroes. Doubtfully, I hope that Team Motoyasu won’t continue this “I’ll get you next time, Shield Hero” complex since they need to come together and defend the world.
Overall it was a great episode, but I wouldn’t mind a tad bit more action, which is sure to come. Missing this episode would not be wise since there were several critical details of the narrative sprinkled throughout. Also, it is always fun to see the slave dealer who I predict will serve a crucial role later. I give this episode a 7.4/10.