The Wave is Coming // Shield Hero Ep. 3 Review
The Rising of the Shield Hero Episode 3 Review:
I wonder how much time has passed in the third episode of The Rising of the Shield Hero. Raphtalia has grown significantly and both her and Naofumi are stronger in level and now loot. Everyone can see Raphtalia for the young woman that she has become, but Naofumi is blind to this for some reason. There is something else though. The blacksmith alludes to it early in the episode that there is something to demi-humans, but he is cutoff. I hope we get to find out shortly. I get the feeling it is related to everyone’s attraction to her.
Even though Naofumi sees Raphtalia as a child, in this episode There are a few points where he begins to turn this thought around. She very literally calls him out for ordering the child’s meal from the inn. He is taken aback, but this is really the first time he sees it. Later during the attack he displays significant trust in instructing her to take charge of the evacuation. Naofumi is still learning to believe in Raphtalia in this episode.
The Other Three Heroes
Despite the title of the show there are three other heroes in this story. After inquiring about how long until the next wave we are whisked away to the great hour-glass. I really like the design of this multi-storied and multi-tiered hour-glass of doom. A literal countdown timer to all hell breaking out. At this place we meetup with the other heroes.
The Spear Hero is still a braggart. He still looks down on Naofumi for his unfortunate designation as the Shield Hero and for the crime that he didn’t commit. This scene really sells the tension between Naofumi and the others. He does not want to be anywhere near their presence, but he can’t get away fast enough. Motoyasu is also weirdly attracted to Raphtalia which slows Naofumi’s exit. This would have been an interesting place to reveal the actual nature of Naofumi and Raphtalia’s master/slave relationship, but it never happens. We just get a scene of Naofumi failing to see Raphtalia as her own demi-person. The other heroes are none the wiser.
Later when we see the Sword, Bow, and Spear Heroes, it isn’t until the final battle with the “boss.” We get some decently cool action shots between the heroes with the Spear Hero taking center stage for the kill shot against a giant Chimera. It looks like the heroes took the job of defending the kingdom as fight the biggest monster. From the actions of everyone around, the peasants are really being left to themselves. Fortunately, Naofumi has a heart of gold under that layer of darkness.
The Village of Lute!
Because the show is based on a character who himself cannot do much to attack, it is inevitable that much of the action will focus around saving people. Naofumi clearly has a soft spot for the people of Lute who are directly under the wave of monsters. Here is where he is mature enough to realize Raphtalia needs to escort the civilians out of the village. After the scene with the other heroes it is nice to see him acknowledge Raphtalia in a positive light. It is also here that many other characters make some interesting choices.
Its clear that the heroes are going to need to inspire the people of the kingdom, but when the peasants turn around to help the Shield Hero you have to question how smart they are. None of them are really equipped to fight the zombies or giant wasps. One of them holds up a pitchfork to a giant armor wearing zombie. Not particularly smart.
The knights of the kingdom also make some questionable choices. They burn down half the village in their pursuit of destroying the monsters of the wave. Even Naofumi and Raphtalia are caught in the firestorm. There isn’t much consideration for the village or the people there. Confronting these irresponsible knights leads to one of the best scenes of the show.
Inspiring the People of the Kingdom
There is a moment where Naofumi threatens to let the knights fend for themselves against the wave. I really believed that he was going to let them die when one of the giant monsters attacked. He made it clear that if they are going to disrespect him then he has no reason to be the Shield Hero. It surprised me when he does utilize his ability as the Shield Hero and saves them. His action inspires them to help clear the village they just about burned to the ground. It is inspiring to watch.
Between his actions saving the villagers and knights, the Shield Hero’s actions are starting to turn people around. People still don’t love him because of the false allegations, but the story has shown us the path to redemption for our protagonist Naofumi.
[Further Reading and Sources]
[Episode 2 Review]
[Images via Crunchyroll]