A companion lost, but another one is found.
Episode 9 is a somber yet fun and emotional episode. For the first time, Naofumi doesn’t have Raphtalia by his side, and her absence has obviously affected the Shield Hero in a way that is on par with Myne’s betrayal back in season 1.
This episode picks off immediately right where the previous left off, with a pissed-off Naofumi and his party successfully teleporting to Sikul. And right off the bat, the Shield Hero wants to return and save Raphtalia. Unfortunately, the Dragon Hourglass has been sealed on the other side, leaving our hero no choice but to proceed.
Losing Raphtalia has broken the calm demeanor that Naofumi managed to cultivate ever since the season started. Gone was the level-headed and patient individual who refused to kill Ost even if he had to; instead, this is the Shield Demon returning with a vengeance. Someone who would snarl and grow irritated at the smallest provocation, bolstered even more by the reawakened presence of the evil dragon inside Naofumi.
Thankfully, Naofumi is still pretty reasonable, listening to Kizuna who took them to Sikul. Unfortunately, the people of Sikul are wary after realizing that Naofumi came from another world, even going as far as to assume that he will destroy their world.
Though Kizuna’s presence has calmed the people of Sikul, the situation is still not looking good. Raphtalia is taken away, and Naofumi is suffering again from anger management issues. Thus, they have to find her soon, and fast.
It’s a good thing that there is a person who could help them: Ethnobalt, the Boat Vassal Hero.
Despite his limited screen time and quite a lack of personality, Ethnobalt is an intriguing character. He’s obviously knowledgable and in good terms with Kizuna, even keeping her cute shikigami for her, and he’s an overall friendly individual. But probably the interesting part about him is that he is not a human; much like Fitoria, Ethnobalt is a monster who could turn into humans, and who protects their world from threats.
His skills are also useful, as he is capable of creating shikigamis, a type of monster companion who could track the person from which their components were derived from. Thus, Naofumi gets a new companion, a raccoon that looks like Raphtalia.
Thanks to the raccoon shikigami, Naofumi’s party is able to pinpoint Raphtalia’s location: Raybul. But the odd thing is, Glass is in the same.
Upon arrival, it is clear that Raybul is yet another unusual country. For one, it is more modern, though still keeping the aesthetics of a Japanese culture. It is also the home country of Kazuki, so the group has to be wary.
And coincidentally enough, it is where Filo had ended up in.
The poor filolial has went through a miserable and nearly traumatizing experience, having been captured by monster slavers. Forced to sing and perform in a crowd, it is indeed a miracle that she was even found by Naofumii, thanks to her voice.
The Shield Hero’s furious reaction is only natural, but the funny thing is Rishia’s, who is acting more and more like Naofumi, willing to kill and even torture the slaver for what he did to Filo. Of course, Kizuna acted as the voice of reason, and they managed to rescue Filo without much bloodshed.
The reunion between Naofumi and Filo is a tearjerker, akin to a father finding his lost daughter. The interesting thing here is that despite being transformed into a different species that just barely resembles a filolial, Naofumi still recognizes Filo, proving that he treats her much more than a pet companion.
With that reunion, the party continues their search for Raphtalia who, unbeknownst to them, is taken to a prison.
Overall, episode 9 is a heartwarming tale. The drama is good here, and the voice acting even more so. Admittedly, the pacing seems to be quite fast, though that is to be expected considering the length of this season. Nevertheless, the plot is progressing in a good direction.
Episode score: 7.5/10.