Created By: Aneko Yusagi
Directed By: Takao Abo
Studio: Kinema Citrus
Audio: English, Japanese
Format: DVD, Blu-Ray, Limited Edition
Classification: 15 (BBFC)
Licensed By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: Part One 22/6/20, Part Two 27/07/20
Laid back University student Naofumi Iwatani is in the library one day, upon opening a strange book he is pulled inside and awakens in a new World. More specifically, the Kingdom of Melromarc. The ruler of this Kingdom has summoned four heroes from across different times and realms, to help protect his country from the next Calamity. Naofumi is known as the Shield Hero and from the start he is belittled by everyone in the court, including the other three heroes that were summoned alongside him. Cast aside and betrayed, Naofumi sets out on his own path to level up, even though all his stats are only for defense. Our Shield Hero must work around this World’s order if he has any hope of surviving the Calamity.
Now this show gave its own twist to what I thought was going to be your run of the mill Isekai anime. Instead of a character being summoned into a fantasy world full of magic and mythical creatures, where he is more often than not, made into a hero and becomes best friends with the Country’s Princess. The Rising of the Shield Hero flipped the tables when it comes to our lead character. By taking Naofumi, a Japanese Uni student who enjoys playing RPGs and reading light novels. As he says himself, he’s just a guy with some otaku interests but isn’t a shut in. This poor guy gets summoned into another World, a place that is almost identical to what you would find in a fantasy RPG. Unfortunately for Naofumi, he is chosen as what could only be described as the most undesirable Hero according to the King. Naofumi is framed for a crime he certainly didn’t commit, is given an unfair trial and is left with no help from the Court. With his defense being his only strength in battle, Naofumi sets down the path of buying a slave in order to make them his sword in battle. Even in a World that has so cruelly treated him, Naofumi perhaps unknowingly, saves a young girl’s life and gives her a meaning to live. Want to know the truth behind the great Calamity that will soon descend upon the Country, well you have to watch the show to find out more.
Naofumi once lived a life without care, just floating by with Uni, back living at home and even given an allowance, so he had no need for a part-time job to fend for himself. It was a cushy life to say the least. All of a sudden he is thrown into this new World, a place that degrades him both physically and mentally. For perhaps the first time in his life, Naofumi must fend for himself and later for that of a small girl. This World certainly changes him, and I don’t know if it was for the better. He saw and experienced the ugly side of Humanity there, but he has also done much good for people. Alongside him we watch as the little demi-human girl he bought named Raphtalia, levels up both in skill, class, physically and character wise. All of this happens over such a short amount of time. Raphtalia has had a difficult time from the start of the Calamity, having lost loved ones, her home, her freedom and almost her life on more than one occasion. She is such a strong willed character, more so than Naofumi in a lot of ways. From Naofumi’s perspective we see just how corrupt most of the Royal family is, the other three Heroes failings as people, the mistreatment of demi-humans and the single mindedness of the ruling King as he withholds important information on how far the devastation of the Calamity goes.
There are massive amounts of action in this series. It reminds me in some aspects of Log Horizon. Where people were transported into a World, much like an RPG with Kingdoms and rulers already set up in place. A civilisation that has been in existence for ages, and yet the new players must find out how to adapt to this new World. By learning where they are best suited, how to survive both in the wild and with people of importance such as Lords and Kings. Both places contain their own monsters. Then we have the great Calamity and it’s countdown clock which predicts when each wave is going to hit. Although we still don’t learn all the secrets as to what causes it, who is really attacking and will it ever end, the battles remain fierce. It’s not long before just the duo of Naofumi and Raphtalia soon outclasses that of the other three summoned heroes.
The Rising of the Shield Hero was first created back in 2012 as a web novel series by Aneko Yusagi. This author’s name is an alias, as both their gender and identity has been kept secret all this time. Regardless, the web novel was picked up for publication in 2013 as a light novel. With 22 volumes at present and still going, it has been translated into English by One Peace Books in North America. The following year the series was adapted yet again, this time as a manga by Aiya Kyú. Following the success of the books, it once again was given yet another manga and light novel spin off that took the story from another point of view other than the shield heroes. And then finally in 2019, the anime was released by Kinema Citrus studios, who also animated Made in Abyss.
The Rising of the Shield Hero is currently on the FunimationNow app for streaming, or you can buy the physical release from Manga Entertainment UK. Not only is it getting a standard DVD & Blu-Ray release, but Part One will also be available as a Limited Edition. This release will include both the DVD and BluRay discs, as well as rigid box to house both parts of the first season, as well as a 120-page Artbook, 4 Metallic Art Cards, Linkable metal keychains of Raphtalia, Filo, and Naofumi, Vinyl sticker shields, and a Fabric poster of Raphtalia and Naofumi.
It has also been announced that the show will be getting a second and third season!!