Publisher One Peace Books have been bringing popular light novel series The Rising of the Shield Hero to the West since 2015. The company is also releasing the spin-off series The Reprise of the Spear Hero. Today I’m here to look at the first two volumes of the manga adaption of this spin-off to find out if it’s an entertaining read.
The story begins with the Spear Hero Motoyasu being sent back in time to the moment he and the Sword, Bow and Shield Heroes were first summoned. While his stats and abilities are left intact, Motoyasu finds himself otherwise starting from square one in this world.
However, this gives him a chance to begin anew and protect Shield Hero Naofumi from the hardships he went through in the timeline Motoyasu came from. The Spear Hero does all he can to protect Naofumi, but Motoyasu soon learns that he must be prepared to put his life on the line for his fellow heroes. Should any of them die, Motoyasu is fated to travel back in time, fated to live the same days over and over until all of his friends are safe.
Perhaps more importantly to Motoyasu is that this new start also gives him the opportunity to claim the Filolial (a bird-like creature) Filo for himself! In Motoyasu’s old timeline Filo belonged to Naofumi and was the love of Motoyasu’s life (even if she didn’t return those feelings), so this time he’s determined to find her egg and raise her himself. His search sees him raise a lot of Filolial, but each one is equally loved by our idiot hero.
If you’ve watched the popular The Rising of the Shield Hero anime or read the light novels, then you’ll be very familiar with Motoyasu as a character. Despite his beginnings as a sort of villain, he quickly becomes someone Naofumi can rely on. As a protagonist, he’s either endearing or frustrating, depending on your feelings for him in the main series. His personality is sure to rub many people the wrong way with his airheaded and stubborn nature!
Having read the first volume of The Reprise of the Spear Hero light novels before I knew where the story was going in the manga adaption (of which two volumes adapt a large chunk of that first light novel). The manga doesn’t linger on lengthy exposition like the original does, instead opting for a show-and-tell approach to its storytelling.
This means that Volumes 1 and 2 of this series feature their fair share of action scenes. Either with Motoyasu battling evildoers seeking to harm Naofumi, or simply raising his Filolial’s levels. The artwork is handled by mangaka Neet (Mayo Chiki!), and I think they manage to strike a nice balance between depicting the cast in humorous and more serious scenes.
While the character designs do seem to be a bit less detailed than what we’re used to from the light novel illustrations and anime, Neet’s work still captures our heroes well. They’re significantly cute (which works in a manga led by comic relief Motoyasu), but give off the aura of true heroes when required. The manga, on the whole, is quite busy with a lot going on from page to page, but it’s easy to follow.
One problem I had with the first volume of the light novels is that it spoils significant portions of The Rising of the Shield Hero, which the anime hasn’t yet adapted and I hadn’t read about. However, in this manga adaptation, the spoilers are contained in a ‘Summer of The Rising of the Shield Hero’ section, which is easily skipped if you don’t want to be spoiled on the main series. Ultimately this makes the manga a much more appealing option to readers like me who have yet to read a lot of The Rising of the Shield Hero or simply want to experience Motoyasu’s story.
As previously mentioned, The Reprise of the Spear Hero Volumes 1 and 2 come to the West thanks to One Peace Books. The manga has been translated by Nathan Takase and the translation reads well with no problems to note. There are currently 6 volumes of this manga adaption in Japan and One Peace Books currently have Volume 3 scheduled for release in December.
Overall, The Reprise of the Spear Hero’s manga adaption proves a worthwhile read for fans of the franchise. Being less spoiler-ridden than its light novel counterpart, this proves an easier sell to those who might not be up-to-date on The Rise of the Shield Hero and simply want to see more of Motoyasu.