1) The hook
People were really hyped during the early episodes of The Shield Hero because of the Outrage culture. Just like it happened with Goblin Slayer some seasons before, the premise triggered the social justice warriors, which caused the defenders of the light novel to write long essays concerning how they are full of crap as usual, as well as how the show is actually a subversion of isekai. In turn, that attracted a lot of random people who got curious because of the controversy. Something which was expected with a touchy premise that includes fake rape allegations and pro-slavery themes.
As per usual, what matters the most is the execution and not the initial hook. Whatever the show was going for proved to be a dud. The hook in the beginning was just to lure people with rage and to keep them for as much as it could with the promise of justice porn. And by that I mean everyone was waiting impatiently for the protagonist to prove his innocence and make those who were responsible to pay. Which eventually he does. Pretty easily.
Despite the initial impression you were given about the protagonist, about not being overpowered, and not having every woman falling in love with him in a few seconds, he ends up being bland and one of the same shit. He is yet another neet otaku loser, who gets transported to a different world that works like a generic videogame, gets ultra powerful very fast, and amasses a harem of pretty girls who all love him for being bland and grumpy.
On top of that, he is entirely passive, which is not what you want from any fighting hero to be. Naofumi is constantly told what to do, instead of thinking for himself, and is then praised for doing what he’s told.
-Buying the slaves was not his idea, it was proposed by the slave merchant.
-Doing the missions that help the villagers was not his idea, it was the villagers asking for help.
-He did not want to be a team with the other heroes, the chocobo queen demanded it or she would kill him.
-The plot is retroactively proving him right for being passive and treats it like a heroic feat, when in reality he only comes off as a robot.
Also, Naofumi’s idea of working together as a team comes down to mocking the very people he is supposed to work with as a team, which should have had the exact opposite effect. Basically, the constant need of the author to provide justice porn, contradicts what they are supposed to be doing. And as it turns out the teamwork part was needless, since Naofumi didn’t have to say a thing in order to make the others to calm down and work as a team. That archbishop dude wanted to kill them and even went as far as revealing his evil plans right in front of them. He became a common enemy of the heroes by wanting to kill them. They automatically became a team in order to take down this enemy, so Naofumi did nothing besides mocking them.
But it’s okay, since character motivations make little sense in general. The iconic fake rape allegations for example, initially had no in-story reasoning. They just happened because the nobles wanted to incriminate Naofumi, and because the author needed to somehow create sympathy towards the protagonist via unreasonable victimizing. Many shows do the same as a lazy way of making the audience to hate people with authority, and for giving the moral high ground to the victimized protagonist. It’s almost like this is a light novel, aimed at otakus who blame society for not doing anything worthwhile with their lives and seek empowerment fantasy in the form of a jobless otaku with nothing but revenge porn on his mind… Oh, wait, that is exactly what it is.
Also, when the nobles and the clergy revealed the reason they did all their evil crap, it was just a shallow ‘because we don’t like him’. Yeah, it was that cheap, and on top of that it contradicted their very agenda.
-The cartoonishly evil religion hates the Shield Hero because the previous heroes of the same class were allied with the furry kingdom. So basically, they hate the current hero for nothing, since he didn’t do something to hurt them. He just belongs in the same class.
-The dogma of the cartoonishly evil religion is against the cute furry waifus, thus they seemingly justify their hate. And I say seemingly because they don’t, since the hate came before the Shield Hero had cute furry waifus. They hated him before he even got to have cute furry waifus.
-The Shield Hero was normally supposed to be summoned at the furry kingdom. The cartoonishly evil religion cheated and summoned him in their kingdom, so they can hate him. Which means, they have the nerve to blame the guy for forcefully appearing in the place they rigged for him to appear.
-If the cartoonishly evil religion hadn’t framed the Shield Hero, he wouldn’t be forced to buy cute furry waifus as aid in battles. So by framing him, they got exactly what they were trying to avoid. And no, this is not smart writing by having a self-fulfilled prophecy. It’s backwards reasoning.
-The cartoonishly evil religion is also suicidal. Before the second monster invasion, they had the excuse of not needing the Shield Hero for defeating the monsters. After the second monster invasion, they clearly need the Shield Hero, because he’s the only one who is not incompetent. By continuing to slander the only person capable of defeating the monsters, they effectively doom everyone, including themselves.
-The cartoonishly evil religion gets completely rewritten into a different organization. At first they needed to resort to slander against Naofumi, because they were unable to kill him directly. And then out of nowhere they have a magic weapon that is as powerful as the four heroes. Why were they accusing the Shield Hero all these months when their plan was to kill him? Everybody believes their lies, so there is no need for all this nonsense. Why didn’t they kill him all this time when they had such a powerful weapon and he was far weaker? Why were they hiding this super weapon and weren’t using it against the monsters? Why did they even need the heroes to save the world when they have weapons and chocobo waifus that are far more powerful than them? Why are the other three heroes considered blessed when they casually decide to kill them? Why do they have monarchy and not theocracy if they can casually kill the royal family in front of a thousand people and get away with it? There is absolutely no consistency, as if the author is an incompetent idiot who just wrote a crappy light novel for horny teenagers without critical thinking... Oh wait, that is what he actually is.
-And as icing on the cake, all villains are one dimensional jerks who smile smugly and love to torture and kill innocents for fun, because they can. Because what a better way to justify your justice porn if not by having sadistic one-dimensional nobles who exist just to make you hate them and wish to see them dead. And obviously, the only one who can stop them is the self-insert protagonist.
Even on the good side, the slaves in Naofumi’s team have horribly rushed character progression. The author never gave them more than a single episode for growing up into the forms they maintain throughout the rest of the show. Because why should you spend years on properly nurturing anything? Just skip all the build up and go straight for the outcome. And it’s strange to see how despite everything growing up so fast on this world, their lifestyle is still the same one as we have in a typical medieval world.
Adding to that, whether they are slave raccoons, or birds from loot boxes, or random encounters with princesses in the wilderness, the protagonist’s allies are all cute girls who make every other male to be jealous of Naofumi. Did I mention how they are all around the age of 12? What does that say about the author’s sexual preferences? Especially when he has his protagonist showing them around like a possession to be proud about. And also to constantly antagonize each other over who gets to have the self-insert’s attention, like in any typical harem. And the protagonist is constantly ignoring their flirting, since that is the only way you can show a male character respecting women. And in order to make it clear he’s not an asshole for ignoring them, you add one-dimensional evil rapists who want to rape the waifus, so he will be ‘forced’ to protect them.
It’s especially laughable when Naofumi makes fun of the Spear hero for taking advantage of the cute girls in his team, when his own team is also consisting of nothing else besides cute girls, whom he also took advantage of by buying as slaves. So basically, it’s ok when he does it and wrong when anyone else does it. Ironically, Naofumi’s furries do not correct him on this obvious hypocrisy and instead support him, while also making fun of the Spear Hero. This is only making the hypocrisy bigger.
Naofumi eventually saves the life of the thot that accused him, after spending the whole show in trying to make her pay. He doesn’t want her to die, but to be humiliated by having her name changed to slut. That is apparently enough, although she is still in the team of the Spear Hero and still constantly tries to mess with him. After all the crap she did, she gets away with it lightly, because the author only wants her to be humiliated non-stop and everyone acts as if there is nothing wrong with that.
In general, the civilian population is a bunch of sheep with no thoughts of their own. Throughout the series they believe everything they are told right away. And before some of you say that’s exactly how the real world is like, people don’t do a 180 in a couple of seconds. One moment they demand to see the ones responsible to be punished, and the immediate next they change their minds, after a couple of words from the validated self insert that is Naofumi. Does it make any sense? No, it’s just done for justice porn.
Late in the show, more heroes from a different world appear. They were constantly helping Naofumi and the rest to level up, defeat the monsters, and protect the people on the ships. Then all of sudden they want to kill everyone. The reason is so convoluted, it becomes impossible to follow. They want to destroy this world, so the world they came from will be spared. Which by the way it’s a lie, it will be destroyed anyways, but we need some sort of new fake allegations now that the justice porn is over. That aside, they are not fighting with the monsters so the world will be destroyed, they are fighting against the monsters which is the opposite of what they are here to do. So, the ‘logical’ explanation is, they are good people, they don’t want to kill innocents, they only want to kill the four heroes so the monsters will have nobody able to stop them. Which by the way it’s a lie, because there are a dozen more people far more powerful than the heroes, so the monsters can still be stopped. And also, their sense of justice is so stupid, they actually believe that if they only kill the defenders of the world, they would totally not be responsible for the deaths of all those innocent people. Oh, but wait, not everyone is going to die from the monsters. Only most of them. Yeah, only most of them will die, that really makes a difference. Also, even if they are here to kill the heroes, they fight the monsters and help the heroes to level up and become harder to kill, although they are here to kill them. The ‘logical’ explanation for that is that they didn’t believe those four were the heroes they came to kill because they were too weak, so they might as well befriend them and help them get stronger, although it doesn’t matter because they are going to die anyways. So basically they befriend people they know they will eventually stab in the back. And obviously they couldn’t simply ask someone to confirm if they are the heroes; that’s too much work man. It’s not like they are here to find and kill the heroes, which is why everybody knows who the heroes are besides them. But wait, there is a ‘logical’ explanation even for that. They didn’t ask anyone to tell them where the heroes are because they had to level up first. You see when you cross over from another world the videogame logic of this stupid show dictates that you lose your levels because it’s a different videogame, so they had to grind all over again. But wait, there is more. They leveled up way faster than the four heroes because they still kept their weapon mastery skills, which gave them an easy mode for beating monsters. So much for being a different videogame if you can carry over your skills. Don’t tell me all that are not completely convoluted, because they totally are. And yet the fanboys insist that it’s very simple to follow. All that is so simple to understand. There is absolutely nothing hard to comprehend. The Shield Hero has a perfectly easy plot and you have to be really stupid not to get it.
3) The plot
During the initial episodes, the plot was edgy, dark, and kind of depressing in tone. It falls apart after the fourth episode by becoming another generic empowerment fantasy. Up until then nothing was easy and uplifting, but the introduction of the second harem girl, a fat chocobo that transforms into a perky loli, every cliché in the book popped its ugly head. Comic relief, fan service, cockblocking romantic advancements, easy victories, constant ridicule of the opposition, and non-stop ego-stroking.
-The rival heroes who during their introduction were presented as super smart and calculative, quickly turned into complete idiots who can’t even walk without tripping over their own feet. Every single thing they do turns to a disaster and it’s up to Naofumi to clean after their mess.
-The vicious nobles who at first were sinister and sneaky in their plan to ruin Naofumi’s reputation, proved to be incompetent buffoons who’s only defining features is being evil and idiotic.
-The world where nobody supports the Shield Hero, is quickly proven to be full of people who are constantly supporting him (peasants in need), wish to enter his team (soldiers during the monster invasion), defend him every time he is accused (queen’s spies), and even plot armor him when he is about to be killed (Fitoria).
-Naofumi’ shield was supposed to be weak and unable to be used for attack, but soon became able to cast every ability imaginable, and to have enough firepower for blowing up entire mountains.
-The girls Naofumi travels with, which were supposed to have depth and mental issues, constantly do typical fan service shenanigans. Going to hot springs, getting molested by tentacle monsters, never shutting up about how awesome Naofumi is, fighting over who gets to be his lover, and constantly yelling about how they can’t live without him. The best part is how most of the fanboys refused to accept that the show was a harem. They considered it as nothing more than comedy for easing the depressing mood. Yes, because we totally need comic relief in a 20 minute episode. It’s not like you have a whole week to relax until the next episode begins. And it’s not like so many liked the early episodes because they didn’t have harem comedy. No sir, they liked the show a lot more when it had comic relief every 5 minutes. Because god forbid if we can sit down and watch something without being constantly distracted.
4) Videogame logic
Because of the videogame logic of this world, the allegations which make up the whole conflict of the show could have instantly been proven false, if anyone had bothered to use a slave crest that forces the target to be truthful. So basically, the core conflict had little thought placed behind it, and was one that could have been fixed in a few seconds if everybody wasn’t deliberately ignoring the ability of the slave crests. The excuse in-story is that they are very expensive to use in a trial. And yet Naofumi used them three times on his waifus with no financial problems. Did you see any villages starving to death because of all the money he spent for printing a few crests? Of course not, because they don’t exist.
Also, the king owns the whole kingdom, so it wouldn’t cost a thing if he uses crests in a trial. I mean, he didn’t because that would prove he is a scumbag, but the fact remains. It doesn’t cost a thing to him. As it doesn’t for the queen, who used one in the trial without starving a million children. Essentially, the author had no idea how to prevent everyone from spamming crests and said ‘errr they are expensive I guess’ before allowing everybody to use them whenever it suits the protagonist and without any penalties. More specifically, when he enslaves waifus, and gets his justice porn by placing it on the bitch princess during the trial.
The funny part is that they didn’t even need magical crests that would conveniently force the bitch princess to speak the truth. If they had bothered to ask the guy who sold Naofumi the armor, he would reveal the lies of the princess, since she didn’t find it somewhere and then gifted it to the Spear Hero. It’s his armor, right there!
On top of all this mess, the dreaded videogame logic ruins even the concept of money. During the pilot episode, the heroes are given coins to buy their equipment. Why do they have to pay for anything? They were summoned against their will to save the world. Just give them the best available armor so they can save your sorry ass. An excuse could be so they won’t ruin the economy, but what good is money if they are all dead? And it becomes even messier later on, when Naofumi is constantly given stuff for free as thanks for helping people out. Also, turns out the magical weapons can literally clone anything for free. There was literally no need for money since day one, so what was the point of giving them coins? The author had no idea what he was doing, and he definitely did not thought of the economy collapsing because of it.
The videogame logic ruins even the need to have a team and go on missions. There is no need to do any missions, because there is nothing to actually gain from them.
-Some missions give them money, which they don’t need because their weapons can clone anything they want.
-Mundane stuff like food and drinks are free for heroes who are here to save the world.
-Monsters during missions give you experience points for leveling up, but there is no need to bother as there are special events where you can level up like crazy by beating trash mobs.
Despite the videogame terminology, everything constantly comes down to getting power ups in the middle of the battle by triggering a hidden ability, or turning to the power of friendship. What is the point in having rules, if powers come and go depending on what the plot says will happen?
-They try to make it seem like the backlash from using major attacks comes at a cost by losing enough blood to fill a swimming pool, but then Naofumi casually waits defenseless for 5 minutes, as everyone else around him are busy talking to the queen than saving him, thus making it seem like his injuries are not serious. He can take it like a champ.
-The villains stand still while the heroes talk in the middle of the battle.
-The heroes use mostly long ranged attacks, even when their weapons are short ranged. This makes the battles dull, since they are just standing still and fire projectiles. It also makes the Bow Hero to seem like he got the crappiest weapon, since he is supposed to be the only one using arrows and be useless in close range.
-The three heroes use the exact same one attack all the time, making the battles repetitive on top of dull.
Regarding the touchy subject of slavery, which caused the controversy and made the show so popular… it’s garbage. Naofumi was accused of owning slaves in a setting where slavery is legal and by nobles who all have slaves. Hypocrisy, anyone? It never gets any deeper than that, and eventually it’s just an excuse for harem shenanigans. No sir, Naofumi is not forcing cute girls to fight on his side, and is certainly not going to have naughty moments with them at the hot springs. He bought them! Plus, the slave chicks clearly state that they love being slaves. Raphtalia in particular is given her freedom when someone removes the slave tattoo from her body. But she immediately rushes to get another slave tattoo. On her boobs I need to point out, since we need fan service for this garbage to sell. This validates the victimized protagonist by having the cute animal ear waifu proudly stating how she loves being manipulated as a slave. You don’t want to disagree with a cute animal ear waifu, do you now? Look how cute she is and has a tattoo on her boobs, she can’t be wrong. And as simple as that Naofumi once again has the moral high ground to do whatever the hell he wants.
6) Plot armor
The chocobo waifu plot armors Naofumi from the dinosaur, the spy woman plot armors the 2 heroes from the energy attack, the 2 heroes plot armor Naofumi from the Pope. There is never any sense of death in the show if they can survive all the time like that. And don’t get me started on why the Pope didn’t confirm the death of the 2 heroes before trying to kill the other 2, or how they never show how Sword and Bow survived the explosion. Eventually, even the queen plot armors the heroes from the church, and proves how the allegations were false by using a slave tattoo. Something everyone could have used since day 1. And essentially Naofumi didn’t have to do a thing about clearing his name. He could have sat on a bed for months and just wait for the queen to solve everything. There never was any urgency, there never was any actual threat, and he was plot armored from all sides.
7) Retroactive answers
As I have proven time and time again, the writing of the show is crap. The crest bullshit, the money bullshit, the heroes from another world bullshit, and many more don’t make any sense. Yet the fanboys somehow don’t see it. It’s because the show hides its problems by providing answers to questions long after the audience bothers to care about their validity. It’s all done for retroactively proving the Shield Hero right, even if that contradicts what was stated earlier. It works with people who have no critical thinking, since when you reveal nonsensical motivations late in the story, the dumb audience perceives it as a plot twist or a major revelation, instead of bad writing. Thus whatever complains you might have about the show are instantly shut down by the defenders, who will claim ‘you didn’t know that at first and it’s explained later in the story, thus your complaints are moot’. The thing is, nobody was watching the show just to get answers for what is going on with the monster invasion or why the church hates the Shield Hero. Everyone was watching the show for the revengeporn and the pedophilic memes concerning Naofumi’s harem. There was no mystery to solve and therefore late explanations did nothing to save face. Especially when they did not fix any problems and certainly did not make the show better in the longrun. The Shield Hero is complete trash and the mere fact it has so many supporters and a popularity that eclipses most other good anime is a stigma to the community.
To be honest, I'm not sure why many are hating this due to what happens in the first EP. That crap happens in real life, and it or something like it is needed to help move the story.
The overall story is pretty generic. Some person or group gets zap to a fantasy game like world. They have to do xyz to get out. During the time they can pretty much live their life like they want. The difference between this and the number of others that went down this path is unlike most of the other stories. The main person is starting from the very bottom, and the world they are trying to protect hates them. There is some of where the girls around him are wanting to sleep with him. But up to late, it really didn't show at all, and I suspect it won't get much deeper outside a few ep in the future.
Note, one thing I'm not a fan of is how the main person is able to overcome mostly everything. It is starting to feel like they are moving to God like than someone struggling and in real danger. Like it is the one trap many shows fall into where the main person is way too OP sooner or later.
I most likely won't edit this review. But assuming the main person keeps becoming more and more OP. I can see this becoming more and more boring. This is the problem I'm running into with other shows like that time I got reincarnated as a slime. Like if they want to go down the path of mostly everything ends up being about the fight/adventure. Then I need to feel there is a real chance that people can get hurt or die. Where right now it's just annoying until the person gets cured.
Side note to anyone making any anime
If they want to keep making the main person more and more OP. Then I suggest any future anime makers take note and make the show about something other than the adventure/fight. With no risk, it's boring. But if the anime starts focusing on the social aspects. Then this could be worth while even with the main person being OP.
But to have a great show, you need to mix the 2. Re:Zero is a good example (even if it's not perfect). There is a real risk the main person will die (and they tend to do). But it also looks at the social a bit. Re:Zero messes up because they don't use logic. In that one, the main person could simply make some easy painless poison, and use that as a reset since all the actions of EVERYTHING should be 100% the same as before.
When i started watching Rising of the shield hero i was kinda hyped and couldnt wait for new episodes because of the interesting plot of a "hated" main character and the 4 heroes that got summoned with each of their weapons, i really liked the first episodes and the way he got betrayed by almost everyone near him, but then in the newer episodes they have almost completely skipped the main plot and is just following around the mc with his wagon raccoon girl and bird loli helping random people. at this point the anime has turned into some weird isekai harem anime.
the anime hasnt finished airing so i cant for sure say im completely dissapointed but the way this anime is going is dissapointing.
I wish for Filo to die.
This anime put me on a lot of rollercoasters. I know people think "oh wow its another (Isekai) " Yes. But its fresh it is something that is enjoyable to watch. At first I was sceptical, prolly same boring story super op off the back no storyline complete harem. Non of that. I watched the first ep, Got me enraged, Had to continue to find out more. Mc kept going down hill further and further till he almost reached a breaking point. Everything changed the more he adventured. Even with all odds and people againct him his will was strong. (I watched 12 ep in one sitting) I give this anime a 9/10