Episode 11 – The Rising of The Shield Hero Season 2

It’s honestly quite surprising how, 11 episodes into its run, it feels like this season of Shield Hero was just getting started. After the last episode both untied our heroes and gave us a rather solid character arc, this week’s entry is admittedly a step back, with some rather awkward pacing and a bit of a confused purpose overall. I think the episode works best as setup for a potential climax as our team gathers together and prepares to fight Kyo. I like the banter between the characters and the fact that the other heroes seemed to have fully let their guards down in front of Naofumi and crew, but that only makes up about a third of the episode. The rest of it is spent on establishing Kazayama ‘s resolve her as she tries to remain optimistic despite being the one with the least amount of knowledge about the present situation. That is actually kind of interesting : her prison her has ironically led her to have a more optimistic outlook on the future compared to everybody else, who are obviously jaded due to the harsh circumstances they have needed to endure. I like her conversation her with Naofumi where she seems adamant that there has to be a way to solve the problems of both worlds outside of destroying each other. When Naofumi asks what she’s going to do if there is no response, and she stubbornly says that she’ll still find a way no matter what, I wish the episode did a bit more with that. I don’t think the show realizes that it can be edgy and thoughtful at the same time, and these big moral dilemmas are the perfect opportunity to make use of that contrast.

Instead, I feel like the episode spent a little bit too much time with everyone trying to convince Kazayama that she is working for a clearly maniacal madman. This is kind of the downside to having your main antagonist blatantly act like a cartoony, over-the-top villain – even if he says what he’s doing is for a good cause, it’s a little bit hard to empathize with any of his followers who cannot recognize at least the potential of being betrayed in the face of such clearly-telegraphed villainy. It also doesn’t help that all of the people we’ve seen work for him so far have been duplicitous in their own way, like the guy that Raphtalia cut from last episode (who dies in one of the most pathetic and random ways possible) here). I think the show was trying to have a parallel between Kazayama and Kyo’s childhood friend where they let their optimism and desire to see the good in everything blind them from the clearly evil things happening right in front of them. However, I feel like that parallel needed to be more developed than what we get here in order to justify the amount of time we spent on it. Also, like I said before, it helps if the issues that they are stubborn about aren’t so clear-cut, because it makes it hard for me, as a viewer, to get behind their mentality even if I understand why they’re not as cynical as everyone else.

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This is not a bad episode overall as I do command the ideas and elements that it tries to play with. While I feel like it could’ve fleshed out those ideas a bit better, it can still make up for a lot of that next episode.

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The Rising of The Shield Hero Season 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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