Hey everyone! Clint here with my first impressions on the anime, The Rising of the Shield Hero. The show’s protagonist Naofumi is a 20-year-old college student who is a self-proclaimed otaku (a derogatory word basically describing an obsessive nerd), living in modern-day Japan. One day, Naofumi was browsing novels at the local library where he stumbles upon a tale describing 4 legendary heroes each specialized using a specific legendary weapon. While skimming the story, Naofumi is transported into the story where he is assigned the role of Shield Hero. He meets the other heroes (Sword Hero, Bow Hero, and Spear Hero), who are other young men that have been transported to this world from different versions of Japan. The four heroes are told by the King that they are the only ones that can save the kingdom from waves of chaos that has begun to attack their world.
Unlike Naofumi, the other four heroes appear completely comfortable with their new surroundings, being that they have prior knowledge of this world from games they have played in their respective home worlds. They quickly demand that they are treated with respect as heroes and compensated generously. They also know, what everyone else seems to know about the Shield Hero, he is weak. To proceed on their journey, the four heroes must level up and work with a party, which can’t include one of the other heroes. Due to his lack of knowledge of the world and his low status on the hero totem pole, no adventurers choose to be in Naofumi’s party, until a young lady (Malty) leaves the Sword Hero’s party to join up with him. She takes Naofumi on a tour of the town, introduces him to a weapon’s dealer, and later tries to coax him into having a drink with her. Malty’s kindness is all a façade as her goal was only to betray Naofumi for personal gain. Naofumi is left with no armor, no money, no status, and no respect, and worst of all, he cannot return home until the waves are defeated or he dies. Filled with anger and resentment, Naofumi’s disposition shifts from nativity to competence.
Naofumi is likable enough, but he tends to overreact more so than any other character depicted in the series. Also, I find it strange that he overreacts to finding out that the Shield Hero is the weakest amongst the heroes, but he is calm upon arriving in the world in the first place. He isn’t concerned about the family he left behind. He doesn’t appear immediately concerned with the information of impending waves that he is expected to defeat. On the contrary, Naofumi seems intrigued by the idea of being a hero and saving this world. He is more concerned with potential female prospects than the fact that he has been ripped away from his home and thrown into a new world to fight for his life.
Overall, the show was decent. The animation was solid, and the music fit the tone of the story. I enjoyed learning about the world and how it compares to a virtual RPG with status bars and everything! One thing I felt was missing from the first episode was a good fight or at least a good showcase of strength. There was a situation where Naofumi was able to fend off a few street thugs, but mostly the show had little to no action. I understand this is a first episode world needed to be fleshed out for us to understand the world. But I feel a good action scene would’ve tied this episode together with a knot. Parts of the episode seemed a bit rushed and I could sort of feel that I was missing important information from the manga. It just seemed like episode 1 was 44 minutes of backstory and set-up. I am not sure what to expect moving forward, but I am interested in what happens next in this story and will be sure to watch the next episode.
I give Shield Hero episode a 7/10.