The Rising of the Shield Hero (Winter 2019) – The Curse

There is an assumption the Isekai genre has conquered the anime industry. Even though it’s true or not, every season, there must be one anime with such the genre. With the title which is sometimes weird, the genre is planting a doctrine to fans who are new to anime. While I’m a bit skeptical here, we need something new. We need original anime again, not following the same pattern and a fresh new idea. And from the sky, a savior light appeared and “The Rising of the Shield Hero” tried to unite everything.

Okay, I read the manga and actually, I didn’t have much expectation in this show. The impression with a little bit of “Taxi Driver” might be a new idea. Travis Bickle and Naofumi Iwatani seem to have the same characteristics, initially innocent characters, but the society and the system alienated both of them. Yeah, I also wanted if Naofumi spoke to himself while facing the mirror and saying, “You talkin’ to me?” I was hoping for that. The description of Naofumi’s life can be said like that, as he is our main character, the shield hero, society immediately alienates him. However, this show cannot be compared to the genre, especially our MC, which is always like such.

You know what I’m talking about. Overpowered, God-like power character, Gary Stu, very easy to solve problems, and a lot of harems. And by the way, this is a zero to anti-hero story, not zero from a hero. He starts to buy the cheapest slave, a demi-human, at the auction and tries to train her. And this is where the anime community nosebleed. Because we already have Holo from “Spice and Wolf” so why not? Yeah, it’s hard too to think considering this anime, when it first aired, has a lot of controversies. But, just getting rid of the crap and let’s talk about this show.

So, the story goes from the main character, Naofumi, who always tries to be exiled every time he meets “elitist”. I don’t know why I use that term but it’s okay. Yet, I’m not too trying to assume this is stressful because the plot isn’t too dependent on the genre. It’s just about our main character, along with other side characters such as Raphtalia and Filo, trying to help Naofumi in a precarious circumstance. Every time Naofumi is being cornered, they are always there so if there are no two of them, Naofumi is nothing. On the side of society treated him like a scumbag, I like the grim characteristics of our main character. The societies are exiled but we sympathize because what makes it in the first place is one reason.

For an Isekai genre, the story doesn’t only race against the development of our anti-hero character. But, it’s more complex than you think. The story combines a lot of conspiracy in it. There are anti-government, anti-religion, and other agendas. For a fantasy show especially Isekai, this is new. In fact, if I take a linguistic in my college and try to research this show, then this is my thesis. Yet, it’s strange if I’m introducing “anime” in front of my lectures and maybe, it’s just a little awkward.

It’s easy to say this anime belongs to waifu-baiting, remembering there is a little fanservice on this show as well. However, you can also hate it for such a reason and it seems, you just make me like an idiot. If you want to find these shows because of the sexual allegation agenda or anything, then we are all idiots. The show isn’t really bad at doing these. It’s just self-explanatory, to begin with. It’s a show about our anti-hero who just wants to find his charm and his adventure after his backstory leads him to this Isekai. At least, we also never know the reason and common sense. But, why not?

Naofumi is a kind of guy you want to hang out with, talking to, with so much backstory, is just one reason why we root him. Why is he like that, we know everything. Behind the scene, he is so kind to everyone, but has a deep hatred for other heroes and “government”. Because, all this time, we’ve never got the Isekai genre, or maybe Fantasy, which has a very clear motivation and morality in its main character. Other heroes are just useless, don’t have opinions but also never think critically and never stands on its own. This reason makes Naofumi very, very rootable for us, for the audience, for fans. He realized if he was exiled, he realized he wasn’t in the real world, and we also realized Raphtalia was innocent. Hold on!

I mean, it’s Isekai. So, why worry about this? Yeah, I also think that the ending of this show can’t reach the manga and it’s very difficult to think like that. But, you, at least, can be satisfied with the scene between Naofumi and the Queen of Melromarc deserving of everything, after the first episode to the finale. The animation is just decent and there is a CGI, might be difficult to enjoy as well. But, it needs time so you can adjust. The performance is at the top-notch and the soundtrack is just Isekai-ish.

“The Rising of the Shield Hero” changes the genre, modifying Isekai, with great narrative, comes with something we don’t really bother or annoyed with. Because this is a fantasy anime. The rest is very difficult to incorporate into the genre. Living in a fantasy world, video games pulled you into its world, but Naofumi, on the final day, was Travis Bickle. This is one of the shows deserve to be analyzed more in terms of story, agenda, and character. The system feared and hated Naofumi.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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