“Fīro” ( フィーロ)
Honestly my favourite series of the Winter Season and we move on from the awkward duel in the last episode and hopefully away from the Cursed Shield that Naofumi unwittingly unlocked in the last episode.
Whilst we love the drama of The Promised Neverland, the strangeness of Mob Psycho 2 and the dramatic story telling of Dororo (we do also love the cute Fairy Tale vibe of Grimms Notes and the kick ass action of Magical Girl Spec-Ops which we will be getting up to date with again soon) I think just the casual pacing of The Rising of the Shield Hero makes it so much better then the others.
Whilst a lot happens in all the others and the main characters are the centre point of the story I feel like Naofumi is a guy we can all relate too.
It is a bit of a cliche thing to say but at the end of the day the best characters whether it be in anime, books, films or anything else are those that we can emotionally connect to on a certain level and Naofumi is 100% one of those people.
Most people have been bullied, most have had people accuse them of things or been cheated out of things. We see Naofumi as a gentle soul who was thrown into a world and made to be its hero even though from the very start he wasn’t actually ever seen as a hero. We’ve seen him struggle to survive and find a nastier side to him but also seen that no matter what shit happens to him, no matter how much this world tries to bury him that gentle, loving soul is still there.
He never had to care for Raphtalia, he never had to do much work in the Wave let alone save a entire village of strangers but these are things he did. In this episode he continues to show that side even when the other side, the one accusing him of all sorts, is there screaming in his face in defiance.
When Malty and Motoyasu show up to Lute Village, the one that Naofumi saved, they explain at spear point that the village basically belongs to Motoyasu now and that they would tax people entering and leaving the village by 49 more coins then a simple stay in the inn cost. Naofumi stands up for the village and against even more cheating laid at his feet, this time witnessed by some group working with a Queen, manages to save them from basically ruin.
This episode did a few things.
It showed that the other heroes aren’t going to take what the King says lying down. I said that just because they stuck up for Naofumi in the last episode doesn’t mean they’ll do anything to proactively help him and I was wrong, they continued to stand in his corner against the King in this episode fighting for his right for the mere 500 silver coins that the King was willing to pay him for his part in the Wave (compared to the 3800 and 4000+ the other heroes got.)
Not only that it showed that the Queen of another land is well aware of what is going on and what struggles the Shield Hero is facing.
We see that Motoyasu isn’t really the one in charge of his party at all, he’s going along with the ride because a pretty girl, now known Princess, is pulling his strings. We kind of knew this already but whilst he has a nasty side to him we saw how well she could manipulate people in the first episode, it is how Naofumi got in this position, and I don’t think Motoyasu really knows what is happening.
After all don’t forget to the other three heroes this is all a game.
Once more though we see the real side to Naofumi. We see him smiling and having fun, we see him refusing money from the Village for helping them and we see him ignoring Raphtalia trying to be a slut by getting her curse tattoo back but this time across her boobs.
It just makes moments like this one where he wins, even against the odds, better.
Actually what this episode was really about was introducing another young girl to the party, after getting Raphtalia’s tattoo back (she wanted it as a sign of respect to him) Naofumi buys a egg that hatches into a Filolail that constantly during the episode evolves until it fully evolves into a girl.
I liked the bird version, the one that he rode to beat the Dragon in the race, the fat one was cute but I’m not sure I get why it is suddenly a girl. We’ll see what the explanation is in the next episode, I mean it can’t be any more weird then Raphtalia turning into a adult because she’s leveled up…