Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari

Title:Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari
The Rising of The Shield Hero
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Kinema Citrus
SETO Asami
Naofumi Iwatani, a modestly otaku sort of young man, was looking at an odd book in a library when he was somehow transported to an alternate reality that was described in it. Much to his own surprise, he is hailed as one of four legendary heroes whose services are needed to avert an apocalyptic end to this world. As luck would have it, however, he is by far the weakest of the four, being equipped only with a defensive shield (though it has strange capabilities). Things do not go well for him, and before long he is impoverished and operating entirely on his own.

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OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3639#628]
(Seven episodes watched):

Well, I was beginning to fear that there might not be a single truly intriguing and fun anime this season (Winter 2019), but here we have one. While this is another story taking place in an alternate reality which happens to operate much like a video game (with 'levelling up' and stuff like that), this show quickly grabbed my full attention and stood out as having some unique touches. For instance, Naofumi getting the embarrassing role of being the 'shielder' for an adventuring team, namely a defensive player that is often looked down upon. And then he is betrayed, framed, and winds up as an outcast--his fall comes as quickly as his rise. It looks like one heavily handicapped person will have to avert the apocalypse all by himself, which is intriguing. Having been scorned by the elites, it looks like he will form his own adventuring team out of whoever he can find. Naofumi is transformed into an angry and bitter man, but given what he has had to endure you can't blame him. Episode one is actually around 45 minutes long, which was fine with me. In general, pretty neat: an intriguing tale which makes sense, is more sophisticated than most, and moves swiftly along. This may well be my favorite show of the season.

I finally watched episode two and it did not disappoint me. Naofumi buys a cheap female slave, a half human, half raccoon 'demihuman', named Raphtalia, and procedes to train her as his offensive fighter. He is stern and demands much of her, but clearly comes to care for her and doesn't want her to get killed. At one point he almost sacrifices his own life for her sake. This is neat; I like the way the minds of the two main characters are taken seriously and also the chemistry between them. Yes, I think it's safe to say that this is my favorite anime of the season.

Episode three didn't impress me quite as much. Raphtalia has somehow transformed from a traumatized child into a confident and mature grown woman (and a deadly swordswoman) overnight. Was there an episode 2.5 that I missed? She almost seems like a different person now. The first 'wave' of the apocalypse arrives and is fought off, but in general I felt that this episode didn't really advance the plot much--or maybe it advanced it so much so fast that I couldn't keep up. Episode four was good. Another attempt is made to frame and humiliate Naofumi, but it doesn't go as smoothly as the first one. What was this 'curse mode' (or something like that) that comes into play? Why is Naofumi so confused about whether he can trust the Raphtalia? Are the two factors related? We get an explanation of sorts why Raphtalia bounces back and forth between a mature appearance and a childlike one--I had previously thought that it was just carelessness on the part of the animators. There seems to be a trend here--this show doesn't explain what's going on as well or as soon as it should. Still, it remains my favorite of the season. I felt a distinct thrill at the moment when the Curse Mode was activated.

Episode five sort of took a break from the main plotline and was almost a comedy, what with the strange pet that Naofumi and Raphtalia acquire--Filo, a (flightless?) bird that grows rapidly to the size of a horse, which is what they are used as. Not nearly as sophisticated as episode four.

I read some reviews written on ANN after the first episode, and was surprised to find that several hated this show right from the start because of the false rape accusation (made by a woman), that it included. At least one reviewer interpreted it all as a sign of misogyny on the part of the author himself. Nobody gave the show more than three stars. I would argue that if Myne, the false accuser, is the worst character in the series, Raphtalia (also a woman) is the best one. She talks Naofumi out of completely losing all trust for other human beings which he was moving towards. But why did Raphtalia agree to become a slave again in episode five (and why did Naofumi allow it?)? That seems like a cheap gimmick to titillate male Japanese teenagers. As a result I was on the lookout during episode six for sexist themes, and I suppose there are some, but not much more than usual. Episode six was largely another lightweight, borderline comedy episode as Filo grows and matures. She can transform into a lolicon human girl if she pleases, and Raphtalia shows a touch of jealousy. The gruesome way Raphtalia slew a monster made me laugh.

Episode seven left me feeling that this show is drifting towards being a goofy comedy and is drifting away from the serious and gripping tale it started out as. That is not a good idea! While he's still somewhat cynical, the question of whether Naofumi will lose his trust in all fellow humans seems to have been unceremoniously discarded. And why are the characters fooling around when the next wave of the apocalypse is looming (it is, isn't it?)? If there's time for this, I wonder if this will be a two season show rather than a one season show as I had assumed.

Last updated Wednesday, March 13 2019. Created Monday, January 21 2019.

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