Isekai shows are oversaturating the anime market these days. It is a genre that refuses to die and it seems like that ideas for these shows are scraping the bottom of the barrel. However, despite all of this, it wasn’t the synopsis of Tate no Yuusa no Nariagari that captured my attention but a spinoff light novel revolving around Motoyasu, the Spear Hero. After reading the book, I didn’t fully quite understand what was going on and decided to give the parent series a try. How did this isekai fare amongst all others?
Naofumi stumbles upon a book about the four legendary heroes when he realizes the book isn’t finished. Before he knows it, he is summoned to another world along with three other heroes, seemingly from different time periods. The heroes were summoned to save the world from waves of demons that spawn when the dragon hourglass runs out of sand. All of them are oddly accepting of their new surroundings and everything seems to be going well until Naofumi, who drew the straw being the Shield Hero, ends up getting shafted when it comes to people wanting to party up with him. This is resolved when Malty defects from the Spear Hero to the Shield Hero’s party but this ends up being the beginning of Naofumi’s problems.
After robbing him in his sleep and falsely accusing him of sexual abuse, the Shield Hero’s reputation is completely destroyed. He is forced to embrace the hatred and get by on his own through seeding dealings, one of which introduces us to Raphtalia, everyone’s favorite waifu of 2019. After Naofumi buys her, he ends up treating her in ways she could only hope: with respect. He helps her overcome her fears and Raphtalia, in return, swears to be Naofumi’s sword. Thus, this begins Naofumi’s journey where he must fight off the waves of demons all while enduring the hatred of the people of the world.
As soon as the sexual assault thing hit, I sat back with a bowl of popcorn and watched all of the wannabe SJWs try and slit the throat of this series and watch it bleed dry. It was absolutely cute and hilarious watching all of them make their cases in such a way where they probably didn’t even watch the rest of the series to see just how wrong they were. They were handed an agenda on a silver platter and they tried to run with it but after about a week (which is the average length of time where people on the internet stop giving a damn about any issue whatsoever), they sank back into the SJW caves as the show carried on untouched and unphased by their failed efforts.
I, on the other hand, a person who doesn’t let these kinds of topics bother them because I’m smart enough to know it’s just a work of fiction that has no real impact on my life whatsoever, pressed forward with the series and I’m glad I did because, while the story did become a little stagnant in parts, it was still pretty good up until the end when the final credits rolled. You got to see Naofumi walk a dark path and while he was pulled out of it a few times in a manner that seemed like an obvious plot device, the show still held my interest each week which is more than enough for me to give it a thumbs up. The show did have a decent-sized cast of characters, each of which added their own flair and flavor to the show so let’s take a look at them.
Naofumi Iwatani is our Shield Hero and he came into this world filled with hope and excitement that something pulled him away from his ordinary and mundane life. Then he gets the biggest middle finger in the world and is forced to endure ridicule, being framed for crimes he didn’t commit, and just general distaste from anyone who happened to look at him. Still, any main character put into this situation would probably run and hide and try and find a way to peacefully solve the issue… but not Naofumi. He took the bull by the horns and embraced the hatred, transforming into a severely jaded asshole who wouldn’t let the world take advantage of him anymore. Still, underneath that jaded façade, Naofumi’s true passionate self still lingered and you saw that through our next character…
Raphtalia is the waifu of 2019 for so many people. She is the second coming of Rem… a girl who would do anything for Naofumi. A girl who cares for him deeply and would fight by his side not only to protect him but to do so just because she felt honored to. Naofumi, even when he was direct and frank with her, still exuded his tender side and showed her a great deal of charity. Through Raphtalia, you got to see Naofumi’s true self shine through from time to time. Those little nuances served as a constant reminder of the pain and misery that he has to go through on a daily basis but it also shows just how much a little kindness can also go because of the effect it had on Raphtalia. Raphtalia can also relate to Naofumi because of her turbulent past as well. While she wasn’t in the same situation, she knows the emotions Naofumi is going through all too well. It’s because of that relative situation that she can come to fully appreciate him. Too bad she just gets friendzoned the entire show. Poor furry waifu.
Filo is a chocob…. Er… Filolial. A bird that, in some special cases such as this one, can transform into human form. Thanks to imprinting, she regards Naofumi as her parent when she hatches from her egg. Despite this, she quickly realizes who Naofumi is and, just like with Raphtalia, Naofumi shows her kindness and that causes her to adore him as well. In fact, there’s a nice little lover’s tease between Filo and Raphtalia but Filo is more like the daughter admiring her big brother while Raphtalia is just salivating at the chance to get her some of Naofumi’s “other shield.” Filo did come off a little annoying at times; however, and it took a while for her to grow on me but in the end, she still didn’t really stand out as my favorite character. Then again, she is very young and child-like so I guess she fit the role she was intended to serve.
Melty Melromarc is the sister of Malty and the heir to the kingdom. She’s unlike her “bitch” of a sister and actually wants to help Naofumi. I won’t go any further due to spoilers but she becomes a character to help enhance Naofumi’s grudge against the kingdom and really help draw that stark contrast between trusting someone and not. Her and Filo hit it off as friends though and some of their moments are just too cute for words.
The Other Heroes (and a Bitch)
Aside from Motoyasu, the Spear Hero, Ren (the Sword Hero) and Itsuki (the Bow Hero), barely get any screen time and when they do, they’re not exactly painted in a good light. Most of the series’ focus was on its titular character; however, the other heroes did add to the story in their own right. You got to see their conflict of opinions over Naofumi but the problem I had with them was exactly that. In the beginning, it’s almost as if they don’t believe anything that’s happening to the Shield Hero. Then, without any explanation, they begin to second guess their thoughts and even come to dislike Naofumi. If there was some better explanation as to why they had a change of heart (other than possibly hanging around Motoyasu too much), it would have made them more believable. Going from possibly sympathetic to ones who look down on Naofumi with no real reason to just didn’t make any sense.
Art, Animation, and Sound
When you weren’t in a battle, the artwork was your standard fare of nice scenery and average animation. Kinema Citrus seemed to pour all of their budget into the fights, which were stellar by the way, and ignore everything else.
Character designs left a little to be desired. It’s like they put a ton of effort into Naofumi and Motoyasu and then shrugged when it came to Ren and Itsuki… especially Ren who looked like a tweaked Kirito from Sword Art Online.
While the battles were one of the shows strongest points, the soundtrack was the other. I actually bought it when it came out and have it ripped to my PC. I love the music to this show and it’s no surprise because the composer also penned the music to my 2018 anime of the year, Made in Abyss. Of course, I’m talking about Kevin Penkin. When you hear amazing composers in anime, you think of Hiroyuki Sawano, Yoko Kanno, and Yuki Kajiura. After Made in Abyss and now Rising of the Shield Hero, Kevin Penkin is doing his best to add his name to the best anime composers of today.
The only sigh I had from the OST were the two opening themes from MADKID. Both “RISE” and “FAITH” just felt like average themes to me and I don’t believe they really made a true impact on the series. I actually found myself skipping the openings quite a bit because I just never cared for the way they sounded.
While The Rising of the Shield Hero isn’t going to win any awards (in before this show sweeps the Crunchyroll anime awa… oh wait… My Hero Academia is airing this year. Nevermind! I didn’t say anything!), it did tell a decent isekai story. We were given a strong main character with a set between his legs in a journey to fight for a world that shunned him. Any person would have just given up but Naofumi aimed to prove everyone wrong. While the journey was rather rocky, it was still interesting to watch. There are some bittersweet moments along the way that will bring a smile to your face while there are others that will truly frustrate you in a good way.
Despite all of the good things that it did, the show really just felt like an average iseaki. ReZERO had it’s hook of time travel by death, Sword Art Online gave us the virtual reality hook, GATE gave us a satirical look at tanks vs swords & shields, and Overlord gave us the formula in reverse with a guy trying to take over a world rather than save it. Each one of those shows had a major gimmick. The Rising of the Shield Hero’s hook was a guy falsely accused of sexual assault and shunned by a whole country. Take that one aspect away and you’re left with a mediocre isekai about fighting waves and leveling up. The show just didn’t do anything to stand apart from the rest of the crop but yet, we still kept watching because there was an intangible hook that kept us interested.
Either that of you needed a weekly reason to blow through a box of tissues and some Vaseline while you contemplated just why you’re attracted to raccoons. Who in the hell in their right mind would be attracted…
Excuse me, I need to go…
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Tate no Yuusa no Nariagari
Tate no Yuusa no Nariagari offers up a rather mediocre isekai experience but it does have the hook of its emotions and characters to make it all worthwhile.
- Amazing fight scenes
- Killer soundtrack
- Characters that are engaging
- Standard story
- Drags at times