Overall Rating: 6.4/10
Naofumi is quickly becoming a jack-of-all-trades. With his recent acquisition of Filo, a carriage, merchant connections, and his potion enhancing aptitude, Naofumi is finding himself to be an individual of high demand. Upon request, Team Naofumi ventures to a small village that has been overtaken by a plant-based monster and ends up changing it forever.
Initially, I believed this would be a strong episode, but by the end of it, I was disappointed. The plant-based monster was cool, especially with its ability to infect the villagers like a parasite. I was hoping that the parasitic aspect would play more of a role. For instance, it would be cool if the monster plant was able to control infected villagers to fight for it. Or, if a member of Team Naofumi got infected by the monster and a new quest had to be conquered to save their comrade. Instead, the episode wrapped up the situation at the village quick with a simple hack from Naofumi. Too simple. Even though the kingdom officials treat Naofumi unfairly, the citizens definitely appreciate the Shield Hero’s abilities.
The remainder of the episode focused on the relationship between Raphtalia and Filo who are competing for Naofumi’s affection. They find themselves having to rely on each while seeking out a precious gift in some nearby mountains. I understand wanting to highlight the two female leads, Raphtalia and Filo, but I felt like their mini adventure was rushed. At first, I felt it was unnecessary entirely, but after further reflection, I could see why the relationship between Raphtalia and Filo needed to be emphasized. They both have a connection with Naofumi and if they are going to be working together to protect him, some trust needed to be developed. That’s fine. I just was not impressed with how the episode led into the Raphtalia-Filo team up with the sole motivation of impressing Naofumi. It would be refreshing if they expressed a bit more individualism rather than always glorifying the Shield Hero.
Criticism aside, it was an okay episode, but nothing exciting. Honestly, there were parts of the episode that were downright awkward between the members of Team Naofumi. Is Raphtalia technically old enough to drink? Should Naofumi have such seemingly innocent, yet questionable relationship with Filo? She is technically a monster bird that hatched from an egg, I guess. This was not one of my favorite episodes thus far, but I am not losing hope in the Shield just yet. Every anime has filler, right? I still appreciated the sense of watching a game playthrough and this is definitely a game I would play (if someone would actually take the time produce a quality RPG) and the isekai theme continues to strongly shine through. I give this episode a 6.4/10.