It’s a whole new world!
Episode 7 brings a new and exciting arc into the season. While the previous once focuses on taking down a powerful monster, the new arc returns to the root that made The Rising of the Shield Hero engaging in the first place: an MMORPG-like adventure!
Back To Zero
This episode begins eerily similar to how Naofumi came to Raphtalia’s world: waking up in a dungeon. Of course, the situation is vastly different too, though one thing is the same for both cases.
Naofumi is level 1, including his Shield.
It is only to be expected, as this cross-world travel is the same as hopping to a different server in the usual MMORPG, though Naofumi and Rishia has kept their equipment. Shockingly, but not really surprising, Raphtalia is back to being a child, which in itself is a nice callback to the first time she met Naofumi.
But things are not the same too. While Raphtalia is indeed level one again, she is no longer the weak and scared child she had been. Her determination to help Naofumi remained even if she has reverted back to her old self, and her fighting prowess, albeit reduced, is greater than before.
Also, her ravenous appetite has returned, which is really cute and endearing to see again.
A Strange Island
Given their situation, it’s only natural that the party would need to level up and get back their original strength. But as they’ll discover early enough, it won’t be easy as they are essentially trapped in a monster-infested island.
It feels very much like the first few episodes of the first season, even down to the balloon-like mobs, called White Cardboard in the new world. But unlike before, Naofumi and Raphtalia are experienced now, and they have the added assistance of Rishia.
Unfortunately, they are still low-leveled despite racking up kills, and they soon found just how dangerous the island is after encountering a Kappa. Naofumi, once again, becomes a literal shield for Raphtalia, and things would have taken a tragic turn if not for the arrival of another… Cardinal Hero?!
The Hunting Hero
Kizuna Kazayama is yet another interesting character, perhaps even more so than Ost. She’s bubbly, optimistic, and friendly, and she saved Naofumi’s party in the nick of time. But more than that, she’s just like Naofumi in several ways, most notably her lack of offensive capabilities against humans. And as evident by her name, she is also a Japanese, and her interactions with Naofumi because of this is fun to watch.
One curious thing to note here is that Kizuna knows Glass and L’Arc, but doesn’t know about the waves. Though judging from how she talks about them, Kizuna is really good friends with the ‘supposed’ enemies.
The Island, known as the Infinite Labyrinth, is indeed a prison, which Kizuna has been the sole inhabitant of until Naofumi’s arrival. Her backstory is sad, as she was captured and thrown into the island by her enemies, where she spent several years trapped in. But though she almost gave up, she continued and clung to the hope that she would escape eventually.
That hope would soon be answered by Naofumi, and once again his ingeniousness save Kizuna at long last, giving her the freedom that she rightfully deserves.
Episode 7 sets the stage for another arc full of potential. Once again, the series is giving us a chance to see Naofumi start from square one, and it should be fun to watch how the Shield Hero would grow in a brand new world.
Episode score: 8/10.