“Akatsuki no Komori-uta” (暁の子守唄)
It is hard to imagine this is only the fourth episode, it continues to be hard to imagine with such a jam packed episode where the entire world changes for Naofumi and Raphtalia.
What it is that the Shield Hero has ever done or why he has to be set up to be made the bad guy we have yet to figure out but this week we learn just how deep this entire plot is.
Things we learnt include Myne being the King’s daughter and just how deep the plot runs to ruin the Shield Hero. How the King is able to help Myne get her own way by silencing a room of people who saw her cheat in the duel between Naofumi and Motoyasu so that people continue to turn on the Shield Hero who has, to this point, still done nothing wrong.
We also saw that the Heroes aren’t part of this plot. Right now Motoyasu is too far into it to want to back out, he’s been used just like Naofumi but to admit he was wrong also goes against what he believes, he’s allowed great sorrow and hardship fall on Naofumi in the belief he deserves it because he would go out of his way to hurt women. He then took the “victim” of his misdeeds and has her next to him at all times. To admit that she lied, the Princess of this world lied, would bring shame on him as well as meaning he had to call royalty liars and cheats.
Whilst he is in too deep Ren and Itsuki aren’t and they DO call out Myne’s cheating, shocked that the King would allow it just to show up the Shield Hero. They even attempt to open Motoyasu’s eyes to the obviously decent relationship between Naofumi and Raphtalia, whether it dawns on him or not I don’t know but I’ll hopefully believe this is the start of people actually gaining respect for him.
For me the most important part of the episode wasn’t Raphtalia’s speech, it wasn’t her bringing him back from the brink of being over ran by the power of Curse which he’s managed to unlock after realising how badly he was being treated in this world for no reason, but the fact he got his taste back.
Why is that more important?
In the long run if the King doesn’t want Naofumi to be liked he won’t be liked. Villages outside the city might respect him more because of what he does for them, people like Boss will see the truth of who he is and actions will speak louder than words to poor people. The Shield Hero might take a while to be spoken about in the same breath as the others but Naofumi himself will be respected.
Also the other heroes might realise that sometimes things are stacked against Naofumi but they aren’t going to go to outright war with the King and Myne to prove that some other person they don’t know not from this world is right over the Princess. They are here to finish a job and hopefully go home after.
We have SEEN that Raphtalia is by his side and whilst the speech finally nails it into Naofumi’s head so for the first time in a long time he actually see’s Raphtalia and realises how much she’s grown we as a audience knew this all along. We knew that his kindness had won her over and the second her took the curse off of her so she didn’t have to fight against the Dog Beast she was scared of then her curse has basically been off. She’s not been a slave since that moment he just hasn’t realised it because he’s so caught up in all the bad things happening to him he doesn’t want to trust anything in this world.
Why this was so important is that it shows that he himself has opened his eyes. He’s seen the worst that this world can throw at him and now knows that people will see through the bullshit and stand by his side. It is like his own personal mist has been raised from his eyes and he can finally see the world without all the ugly getting in the way.
This also opens him up to being able to meet people who might side with him meaning more help for Raphtalia.
It just means that Naofumi is starting to actually see hope in his life and as he’s a decent main character who has been through a load of bullshit that he didn’t deserve it was a nice moment to show that actually right now his life is getting better.
Really liked the episode, liked seeing the battle between him and the Spear, the fact that he could beat one of the other Heroes even if he didn’t use the most Heroic means and that we got to see others wake up to who Myne truly is. This is consistently one of the best shows going at the moment, most of them are consistent in what they are doing right now but this one has a story and character that just make you want to get behind him more then anything. Just another great part of a very good story.