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Raphtalia - The Rising of the Shield Hero Season Finale

The Rising of the Shield Hero Finale Review

Episode 25 Review

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After 25 episodes, the first season of The Rising of the Shield Hero comes to a close. Episode 25 ends with a nice bang and wrap-up of the series so far. The last episode left off at the end of the battle of Naofumi alone against the heroes of the other world.

Since fighting in the last wave, Naofumi’s battle against Glass is very different. Naofumi has her on the ropes. Its very obvious from the amount of effort Naofumi is shown putting forth is much less than how hard Glass is working to defeat him. Without even resorting to the rage shield, he can weaken her with one of his lesser shields. It really is no contest for Naofumi.

Battle for the Fate of the World

There is a choice for Naofumi this episode. Amidst the action, Glass declares her resolve for fighting for the people of her world. In a moment of clarity Naofumi can see the plight of her people, and he is taken aback with her ambition. Its quite different from how he sees the world. Naofumi was conscripted to fight for this world against Glass and her people. He has so far felt isolated from it. What reason does he really have to continue to fight for it? The obvious answer is to fight for Raphtalia.

For the better part of this whole season, Naofumi has been beaten down by the establishment. Many of the people of this world hate and revile the Shield Hero. The Rising of the Shield Hero episode 25 does a great job of reminding us that there are others out there this whole time that have been on Naofumi’s side. I really expected the moments where Naofumi is listening to Glass to spend more time looking back on the bad. Instead it looked to the good, best represented by Raphtalia.

When Raphtalia joins Naofumi in the fight against glass, its obvious that the Shield Hero has made his choice in what to fight for. Raphtalia means the world to Naofumi and is the anchor keeping him grounded amid the chaos that has surrounded this character through the season. She is always the first to caution against destroying himself with the rage shield. She is the one to bring him back from the brink the first time it activated. Having Raphtalia come through to fight for him it the perfect representation of where this character is meant to end.

The Future Waves

This battle against Glass, L’Arc, and Therese was definitely destined for a draw. Naofumi only just gains his true conviction this episode to truly fight for the world he lives in now. It would not be fitting to end it here. There is more out there for Naofumi to discover. Ending this fight in essentially a stalemate of a drunken other-world heroes is the best way to formally introduce Lecia.

Even the Shield Hero realizes after the wave ends that he doesn’t have the full resolve to do what must be done to end the Waves. Naofumi knows he needs to become stronger and build out his party to prevent any more destruction at the hand of the other world. Introducing Lecia. The character has been around since the beginning as a member of the Bow Hero’s party. Even in the last couple of episode she has had slightly more than a background role cowering in the back.

Lecia, the Newest Member of the Party

There are two big thoughts I have about the introduction of the character to the party. The first is that the reason she is tossed from the Bow Hero’s party is weak, but it is fitting in the parallels to Naofumi. She is falsely accused of breaking Itsuki’s favorite item. Overall that seems like a weak reason to be dropped from a party. It just goes to show how dumb the other heroes are.

The second issue I have with the introduction is how quickly the show glosses over her attempt on her own life. She jumps out to sea in order to end it all, and the show moves past something really dark in a really fast way. I understand that this is the last episode, and they want to make sure everything is setup for a future season, but this is a really serious thing to overlook. I like that there is a new party member for Naofumi, I just wish there was more time to take something like this a little more seriously.

Wrapping Up the First Season

Like any good season finale, The Rising of the Shield Hero episode 25 does a great job bringing back everyone and reminding us of all the characters that helped Naofumi. The choice that Naofumi makes earlier in the episode is definitely made with Raphtalia in mind. It is really punctuated by seeing all of the characters from throughout the first 25 episodes that made a difference in Naofumi’s journey here.

Despite how alone Naofumi looked in the very first episode, he still managed to build a support line along the way. From the blacksmith to the demi-humans of Raphtalia’s village, they made an impact on Naofumi. In another way, he made an impact on them. He is the hero of this world, and this episode really reinforces how a hero should be strive to be seen by their people.

I know there is a lot of tease for future seasons in the early part of this episode. I just wish that at the end we could have been left with something more beyond a look-in on the other Cardinal Heroes. Obviously the other world and their heroes still stand, but that is the overarching plot of the story. With some time on our hands before the next season, it would be nice to know where it will start.

[Source and Further Reading]
[Episode 24 Review]
[Image via Crunchyroll]