THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO SEASON 2 EPISODE 12 REVIEW: A Satisfying End To An Imperfect But Solid Season
The final battle is here! And though it ends just as expected, the buildup to that is truly an emotional moment—one of the best this season.
Different Lives, Different Perspectives
The episode begins with an interesting take on the two characters that drove the entire season forward: Naofumi and Kyo. They are both gamers, both simply living ordinary lives. But that’s the only similarities they had, and such differences heavily tied to their own personalities.
Kyo, unfortunately, is a detestable and hateful individual even in his previous life. As a game addict, he had lived for the games alone, reveling in the imaginary power it gave him. He was a trash talker, and he did hated the world he had lived in until it drove him to take his own life.
On the other hand, Naofumi was simply an avid gamer, seeing it as a hobby rather than a life. And unlike Kyo, he lived with a positive outlook.
The contrast between these two is obvious, especially with the way they were summoned. While Naofumi was forcibly called upon, Kyo was reborn in that other world. However, perhaps it is because of this that their fates had been sealed as enemies. Despite his previous experiences, Kyo never strived to change. Instead, he became more arrogant, more unstable, and eventually turning into a villain who simply wished to cause chaos and destruction.
The Light of Compassion
Naofumi’s battle with Kyo is the typical good vs evil, unlike the one in season where it is a matter of survival for both worlds. But it is because of that that we get to see Naofumi’s inherent compassion shine against the darkness.
As expected, Naofumi’s hatred for Kyo is boundless. Not only is he triggering a Wave, but he turned Kazuki into a mindless corpse using the soul of the Mirror Vassal Hero, who had been missing until this point. The Book Hero had caused Naofumi no small amount of grief, and it is only natural that the evil dragon fueling the Wrath Shield would exploit the opportunity to takeover Naofumi, fueled by Kyo’s taunts.
And at first, it worked. Naofumi became the vengeful and hateful hero once more, to the point that every negative thought he has to for his party, even against Rishia, would come out.
But while his words may have some truth in it, particularly for Rishia, Naofumi is still a good individual. Not only that, but a part of Ost also lives inside him as the Spirit Tortoise Shield, and as always, she will keep watching over and help Naofumi in his moment of need.
In the end, as typical and cliché as it sounds, light and good prevails. Naofumi reaffirms his resolve to fight back on his own volition, as the Shield Hero, and together with Raphtalia and Filo at his side, Kyo is finally vanquished for good.
Farewell To New Friends
Kizuna’s world is saved, and now Naofumi’s party must return to their own after a long and difficult journey. It’s really heartbreaking to see them parting ways with Kizuna’s group, especially after everything they had went through together and considering that the only way to travel is by riding the Waves. But despite that, it is clear that the bonds which had formed between them are strong enough, and though they are literally worlds apart, the friendship between the heroes would remain forever.
The final battle is not as epic as the ones before, particularly the Naofumi vs Glass scene in season 1. Instead, we got to see an emotional and heartwarming fight, which fits the character-driven narrative of this arc.
As far as this entire season goes, it does have a lot of pacing and narrative issues. But regardless, it is a good sequel to the previous one filled with character development and several amazing moments. And judging by the brief teaser at the end, the third season is looking to be even better.
Episode score: 8.5/10
Season grade: B-