The Shield Demon and his party are back!
The Rising of the Shield Hero finally returns with an all-new season, and things are not looking good from its very first episode. There are new friends and allies, but there is also a new threat—one that is powerful enough to potentially stop the Waves.
A Relatively Peaceful Life Shattered
Continuing from where the last season left off, the new one begins with a brief glimpse of Naofumi’s life as the leader of Lulorono village, Raphtalia’s hometown. It is nice to see that many of his allies has taken residence here, helping him manage the territory while he saves the world. And though the scenes are short, we have an idea of how Naofumi runs the place. It is quiet, peaceful, and the populace truly respects him.
Meanwhile, Naofumi has changed. Gone was the cynical and vindictive Shield Hero that we often saw in the previous season. Instead, he is now less rough in the edges, though his strict persona still remains. As for Raphtalia and Filo, nothing has changed much and they are still as loyal and supportive of their master as ever.
Unfortunately, as is the nature of these things, such tranquility never lasts. Lulorona is attacked by strange monsters, and although Raphtalia and Filo managed to repel them, a revelation sweeps that victory away: the countdown for the Waves has stopped.
A New Enemy
It is only natural then that the Four Heroes would be called to face the threat. But as expected, only Naofumi is willing to fight the Spirit Tortoise, an ancient monster capable of destroying the world. It is really annoying how Motoyasu, Ren, and Itsuki brush off the danger callously, as if it was a mere side quest for them. And maybe it was considering how they view the circumstances of the summoning.
But Naofumi is different. And unlike before, he is fine with helping Melromarc to deal with the monster. It is worth noting that Melty has decided to oversee Lulorona in his absence, and that the Queen treats him like a friend, showing how much Naofumi has gained their trust due to his actions in the last season.
However, before Naofumi could start defeating the Spirit Tortoise, he must first train the newest addition to his party: Rishia.
As seen last season, Rishia joined the Shield Hero’s party after being banished by Itsuki for supposedly being weak… or is she? Rishia is an interesting character in that, while she is clumsy and a crybaby, her resolve to grow strong is strong and unwavering. This stems from her admiration of Itsuki, and her desire to help him save the world.
But is she really that weak? There are hints that her potential is just hidden, waiting to be unlocked. After all, her Ki manipulation is exceptional, implying that her skills are simply niche and tailored for a specific skillset.
It is interesting that Raphtalia would suggest that Rishia becomes Naofumi’s slave just as she and Filo are, granting the green-haired girl the benefits of the Shield Hero’s power. Naofumi is initially hesitant, of course, knowing the risk of such a setup. But Rishia’s determination proves stronger and she finally becomes Naofumi’s third slave.
Onward To The Spirit Tortoise Kingdom
With preparations complete, the party finally heads to the Spirit Tortoise. We have a brief montage of the group enjoying themselves during their travels, and it is really cute and endearing to see Rishia being treated as a family, especially by Raphtalia.
During their trip, Fitoria makes a short appearance as she contacts Filo(who knew that those cowlicks act like antennae?) to monitor Naofumi’s progress and also reveal an interesting tidbit about the Spirit Tortoise. As it turns out, the monster is related to Fitoria’s cryptic warning to Naofumi, in which a great sacrifice must be done if the Heroes fail stop the Waves.
The party’s arrival in the Spirit Tortoise Kingdom didn’t get them a warm welcome from the citizens who are now mostly refugees. Indeed, the atmosphere is gloomy, made even worse by rumors that the Three Heroes were already killed. Thankfully, the rumors were false according to Fitoria, though it is really suspicious that it would spread in the first place when they didn’t even want to fight the monster.
Whatever the case, things got from bad to worse as the area comes under attack by the same monster that struck Lulorona. And so the Shield Hero party got into the action once more to protect the refugees. Interestingly enough, Naofumi had to use his Wrath Shield to eliminate what could be considered as low-level monsters, which is pretty terrifying. After all, if the monsters are strong enough for the Shield Hero to use his greatest weapon, then the Spirit Tortoise is definitely on a league of its own.
Episode 1 is an epic return for a beloved series. A big part of it had focused on Rishia, and it is nice to see a different character get some development. The action scenes are awesome as always, the opening song is a banger without spoiling too much, and the introduction of a mysterious figure in the ending sets up an engaging cliffhanger.
Episode score: 7.5/10.