Outerhaven Anime: First Reaction – The Rising of the Shield Hero

My interest in checking out this show stemmed from a light novel I was given to review called The Reprise of the Spear Hero, a spinoff from the main story of this series. While it was one of the hardest reviews to write, not being familiar with the original work, I decided to add The Rising of the Shield Hero (Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari) to my watch list. I checked out the 45-minute pre-air from Crunchyroll and have formulated some thoughts… am I among the rest of the internet who is giving a ton of backlash to this show?

Let’s Go!

First Impressions

Right off the bat, we have our main character Naofumi Iwatari transported to another world when he reads a book that suddenly has blank pages when talking about a Shield Hero. Once he arrives in the other world, he finds himself as that shield hero along with three other heroes that were also summoned. Immediately, he feels something is off when the King flat out ignores him. Turns out, legends says that the Shield Hero is completely useless and nobody places their faith in him. This is evident when the King assembles a bunch of possible party members and not one of them picks Iwatari…. That is until Myne takes pity on him and joins his team, defecting from Motoyasu (the Spear Hero)’s team.

Naofumi begins his adventure by killing orange balloon-like monsters and going to town to buy gear. After a hard day of not getting much done, he and Myne sit down to eat dinner. That night, Myne disappears along with Naofumi’s money, gear, and reputation! Turns out, she ran back to the King and told a false story that Naofumi had raped her. With his reputation destroyed and no way to prove his innocence outside of his word, he is cast out into this foreign world to fend for himself. He uses the bad reputation to his advantage, doing a complete 180 with his character. The episode ends when he meets a slave merchant and finds a girl who still has her human form. I would say more but episode abruptly cuts off right then and there.

So, apparently people have an issue with the whole “pretended to be raped” scenario. I, for one, don’t really care because that kind of stuff just rolls right off my back. Stuff like that isn’t why I’m not really buying into this show. The real reason is that the story just seems rather mediocre. Maybe it’s because the isekai genre is so oversaturated that it’s hard to be impressed by anything coming out. I mean, when you have titles like “The Hero and his Elf Bride Open an Pizza Parlor in Another World” floating around out there, it’s kind of hard to take the genre seriously anymore. Can we just go back to having pure fantasy anime, please?

Be that as it may, I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters. Sure, Naofumi gets the short end of the stick and it was pretty clever of him to use that to his advantage. Not many main characters will do what he did and it’s a nice departure from the typical clueless, timid, and spineless main characters that anime has become infected with over the years. If Naofumi’s name was Shinji, he would have gotten into the damn robot without hesitation or question!

With a pre-air, there wasn’t an opening or an ending so skipping that section.

Worth Watching?

MAYBE – I’m not completely sold on The Rising of the Shield Hero just yet. Typically, a first episode of an anime in this genre would go out of their way to make a bigger impact but this just felt run-of-the-mill. Shows in the past like Shiki and Steins;Gate started off slow and finished in an amazing fashion so it’s worth sticking with this one for now. While I wasn’t completely impressed with the first episode, I didn’t think it was downright terrible either. Maybe because I didn’t grow up in an era where mommy got offended pulled me out of football because the coach told me I sucked that I have thick skin and don’t let some of the story aspects presented here bother me. What bothers me more is if an anime can carry itself across a finish line while holding my attention or if it dies before reaching there. This is one of those shows where I’m going to wonder if it can go the distance. I want it to prove to me that it can.