Last month Manga Entertainment released the first half of The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 1. This popular isekai adventure got off to a solid start and now I’m back to check out the release of Part 2, to find out if it remains entertaining.
Naofumi and his party are in trouble. They’ve been framed for kidnapping princess Melty (who is travelling with them to reunite with her mother, the queen) and with the Sword, Spear and Bow heroes refusing to listen to reason, the group find themselves on the run.
Melty suggests the party take shelter in the home of a nobleman she knows, but on the way, they pass through the region of Seaetto, which Raphtalia once called home. Remembering the deaths of her family as well as the loss of her village when the first Waves hit, Raphtalia is understandably upset – but things get worse when she comes face to face with the man who forced her and her friends into slavery.
This half of The Rising of the Shield Hero begins fairly dark. As we explore more of Raphtalia’s history, we’re treated to stories of her time in slavery, as well as the fate of those she loved. It’s hard to stomach but proves an incredibly moving arc, making us care more for Raphtalia than ever before.
If there is one thing the anime has been good at, it’s making you care about the cast. The initial story arc at the beginning of the series with Naofumi being framed for a crime he didn’t commit made you feel for him. Perhaps not as heavily as for Raphtalia, but you were still more likely to feel sympathy than not.
The other nice thing this half of the show does is that it finally brings an end to the hostility between the heroes. It’s not that things are perfectly okay by the end of the season, but a lot of story threads begin to wrap up and show the cast what has been going on. It’s satisfying to watch after the frustration of no one listening to anyone else.
If you didn’t enjoy the first half of the series, I don’t think Part 2 is likely to change your mind. While it’s better paced, the writing can still be poor in places and you begin to wonder how any of these misunderstandings could happen in reality. It’s melodramatic and that’s fine if you can put up with it, but like in Part 1, it’s liable to put some viewers off.
Despite The Rising of the Shield Hero being an ongoing light novel series, the anime manages to find a sensible place to end the story. It doesn’t answer all the questions we have, but it does bring a close to most of the immediate problems our heroes have been facing. With both a second and third season already confirmed, it’s safe to say that we’ll be seeing more of the cast soon enough to continue their adventures.
This half of the season continues to be animated by Kinema Citrus with music by Kevin Penkin. The studio and composer have continued to do a great job, both parties leaning into the JRPG feel of the show. Part 2 is filled with more battles than Part 1 and the team manage to animate these well and keep a consistent quality of animation.
There are a new opening and ending theme for this set of episodes. The opening is “FAITH” by MADKID, while the new ending theme is “While I’m Next to You” by Fujikawa. While I was again not a fan of the opening, the ending captured the softer and more emotional side of the series well.
There weren’t any substantial changes to the voice cast for this half of the show either, but I did want to mention how great Raphtalia’s Japanese actor Asami Seto (Aoi Tomosato in Symphogear, Mai Sakurajima in Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai) is. As previously mentioned, this release includes an incredibly emotional arc for the demi-human and Seto’s performance manages to capture Raphtalia’s feelings wonderfully. Her cries of sorrow will haunt me for days to come, I’m sure.
As previously mentioned, this release comes to the UK thanks to Manga Entertainment and is available on Blu-ray, DVD and as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack that includes a special 200 page light novel. All three releases include Episodes 14 – 25 of the show with both their Japanese audio and English dub. On-disc extras include textless opening and ending videos as well as trailers.
Overall, The Rising of the Shield Hero has proven itself a worthwhile isekai series. The series isn’t perfect and the criticisms levelled against it are fair, but if you can look past its issues, then there is fun to be had here. With a further two seasons yet to come, fans of the show have a lot to look forward to.