It was really a great anime series. Anime Cliche was in the minimum and both the story and the animation was fantastic.Side Character development was a little lower then needed though. I enjoyed it more than I anticipated.Can't wait for the next season.
As someone not overly fond of anime, I found Rising of the Shield Hero to be a total mess that somehow kept me watching. I'd need a full novel to air my gripes with the show, but I'll try to keep it short.
Starting out as a pretty standard Isekai, the course of the anime is upset by an early misadventure, making our hero pretty unwelcome in the world he was summoned to save.
I've only come to be familiar with the Isekai genre, in which the characters, often Japanese teens, end up in a video game type world with an absurd level of strength relative to the average person, but RotSH fits the mold very well.
From the very beginning, our heroes are barely surprised to be summoned in another world. One has a bow, another a sword, a spear or a shield. "Yeah we've seen that in MMORPGs, move along" they say, despite apparently not being aware of what a tank is. The show goes on a whole story arc insisting on the importance of the lives of NPCs, despite having a literal health bar shown on screen.
The characters are cliche to such an extent it can become amusing, they are completely oblivious to the bad intentions of people around them. Most of the cast is completely one-dimensional, those accompanying our hero in particular have almost no agency and behave in a comically irrational way that sometimes border on deranged. The backstories of the secondary cast come out of nowhere and just serve as confirmation that they strictly conform to the cliche archetype they're meant to represent.
Despite that, and much more (passive protagonist, unengaging story, poorly defined world), the anime does attempt to embark on a more elaborate story than a standard Isekai and depicts more complicated interactions between characters, even if it fails at doing so. If you're just an occasional watcher of anime, I wouldn't recommend Rising of the Shield Hero, but some anime aficionados might be interested in its nonstandard story and dark themes.
This anime sets up some great concepts but seems to have a lot of trouble following through effectively. The Shield Hero is unable to wield any weapons, making him practically useless offensively. (Although how does that work exactly? What if he picks up something like a baseball bat? The rules for this are glossed over.)
At first he seems to overcome this weakness by carrying around weak monsters he can use as weapons. Secondly, he manages to form a companionship with someone who can provide him with offense. Then we start seeing hints that he would find creative ways of using "defensive" powers in an offensive way. Okay. I'm intrigued. But instead of building on this, his weakness just gets kind of forgotten and he just starts getting powers that are explicitly offensive. He doesn't even have to learn a valuable lesson to earn these attacks. He just gets them because he got a bit angry one time. Yay~
There are also some very strange story moments. For example, his two main companions are enslaved to him by a "curse" placed on them. Even though they are perfectly willing to follow him (and crush on him constantly -- of course they're both part of his loli harem), for some reason it was necessary to magically enslave them. One of them is even said to be put through a lot of pain just in order to have this curse applied. This is our (anti)hero torturing and enslaving people he actually likes -- for no reason! It's just weird.
The moment that really made me lose interest in this series is in episode 13 when some random soldiers have what is essentially a magic video camera, to record the shield hero's team defending themselves against some soldiers. THEN this video footage is essentially photoshopped to make it look like they're having a murder spree. THEN they use a magic TV projector to wander around the country showing this footage to all the common people to show how nasty he is. The lazy ways in which the Shield Hero is constantly getting set up as a bad guy just boggles my mind.
Overall, it's been kind of awkward and lazy. On the plus side, adult Raphtalia is pretty cute, and I felt the series was strongest when it just focused on them as a pair (though she's still technically underage, ugh).
What started off as a really good Isekai Anime with minimal Cliché, slowly gained some flaws and a couple times went a little too hard down the path of Loli, so much that it essentially sidetracked the series. However, by the end of the season I found myself enjoying the show quite a bit. I think there's a lot left unexplained and unexplored with the first season so I'm glad that the show won't be stopping here.
Being the largest Isekai franchise out there, it's hard not to try and compare this to Sword Art Online. And all-in-all, I'd say this series is messy but still no where near as shallow and convoluted that SAO got at certain times in the series. It is all too easy for these types of shows to get swept up in the balance between "gotta grind more" and "woah just got overpowered out of nowhere". For example, the sudden rage shield introduction seemed poorly executed and the "curses" sudden appearance has also gone rather unexplained.
I'm not familiar with the Manga, but I hope this show takes the opportunity given with season 2 and really sets itself apart from the mistakes of past Isekai animes. The first 5 episodes were a rock solid introduction which is something I can't say about most Anime.
To sum up, Raphtalia is really cute and needs some more cool attack moves, but please keep the story rolling instead of diving head first into a Loli harem with insanely OP cute power.
A great anime. I'll miss it! This was the first anime I started when it aired. :smile:
Started off much stronger than it ended imo, but really enjoyed it anyway. Off to the light novels!