“Konmei no naka de” ( 混迷の中で)
With another Royal in place in the Capital, this time seemingly to support Naofumi, maybe his life will get easier?
Time will tell on that one because Melty doesn’t actually do much in the episode. Her job is to stop the King from making the Shield Heroes life difficult but as we see in the episode he is still being treated badly by the King to the point that if he wants to level up both Raphtalia and Filo he’ll have to go to another countries Dragon Hourglass to do so because the King has banned him from using this one.
I’m happy that Raphtalia didn’t say anything about his treatment of Melty, it was a simple “maybe you could have listened” but her and Boss just knew the pain that Naofumi had been through due to the Royal family so didn’t act like he should have been nicer. It was a good touch in a series that is brilliant at these little moments.
Most of the episode was a ending point in the story of Naofumi cleaning up after the other Heroes.
We’ve had the living plants from Motoyasu, the Dragon from Ren and now a village displaced and left starving to death because of Itsuki removing a despot from power. Turns out that Naofumi has been cancelling their rewards for these Quests at the Adventurers Guild knowing the pain and suffering that they have caused the people left to deal with their acts of heroism. He basically calls them out for playing the hero but not actually caring what happens next and whilst Itsuki just thinks he’s going around stealing his rewards and credit I think he’s gotten through to Ren.
In fact that small bit we saw from Itsuki in this episode makes me think he might actually be the nastiest of the Heroes.
He might have stuck up for Naofumi but he doesn’t believe his actions are causing problems and I’m not sure he’s going to bother to go and find out. He is enjoying playing the hero which is fair enough but is he ACTUALLY being a hero?
Naofumi is a hero, he’s gone from village to village helping out and when the victims of Itsuki’s heroism are begging in front of him in this episode he opens a kitchen up to feed them and talk to them not because he has too but because he wants to. Time and time again Naofumi does things because he wants to do them and hides his need to help others behind a “how much money can I make from this” kind of attitude when in actual fact he doesn’t really care one way or the other about the money. If someone is really in need it takes the minimum of force from Raphtalia and Filo for him to cave in and do what we knew he was going to do in the first place and if he truly believes people can’t afford his ridiculous prices then he doesn’t actually ask for it.
It is why Naofumi is known as a healing hero that saves people and Itsuki is known as some random adventurer with a bow.
Whilst Itsuki might actually like that in some kind of messed up Robin Hood kind of way at the same time it’ll have a big effect on how others see them. Outside the Capital where the Kings influence isn’t so great people are seeing the acts of Naofumi for themselves and making a completely different picture of the Shield Hero then what the King wants there to be. Maybe people still whisper about him behind his back, maybe they don’t even really know who he is or what his reputation is but he’s slowly getting a reputation for being a healer who comes and sorts out problems left by others that are killing the nation as a whole.
Naofumi is a hero of this world.
Itsuki is playing hero in this world because he can’t be in his own.
Ren at least seems to be worried that his actions did hurt people and I can see him being the only hero in the end who really ends up on Naofumi’s side. I do think our boy Motoyasu will at some point figure out what is going on but at the same time I just can see Ren as being very much like Naofumi. If Naofumi had been one of the other heroes, if he hadn’t been treated like crap from the start I think he might have traveled a similar path to Ren so whilst Ren has had it socially easier so still has that thought in his head that he’s in a game world and he just has to clear things like a game he also has that compassion for the people that Naofumi has he just hasn’t had to embrace the world in the same way to survive that Naofumi has had to.
I really like Ren and I love that we get to see different sides to the other Heroes and learn more about them. All three of the other heroes are very intricately written characters with very different weaknesses and strengths, they view the world differently but they are also being shaped by how they interact with the world like Naofumi. It would be easy to have Motoyasu as the one being used by Malty and only him and Naofumi actually being important but Ren and Itsuki get stories told about them in rumours running around in the episodes and when they appear you learn more about them and who they are.
It is one of the things this series does best, it continues to tell a complete story. It is like reading a book not watching a show made up of individual stories. Something Naofumi see’s or hears in one episode can come back to have bigger meaning or be part of developing a character or relationship later in the series. It remembers everything that has gone before it and builds on that world instead of playing each episode like a new blank page and I like when something you heard a little about here or there becomes a important part of the story and I love how every character no matter how small their part in the story seems to be has a proper background and importance to the world around them.
By the end of the episode the young knight who had been chasing Naofumi in the last episode and a bunch of his friends have joined Naofumi for the next wave which is going to be in the next episode which will be interesting.