The Rising of the Shield Hero Second Cour: Consistently Consistent

So the curtain has just drawn on The Rising of the Shield Hero, so far the other “big isekai” of 2019. While some had dismissed the show because of the controversial first episode (that I believe is a great idea, but just sloppily executed), others have stuck around and seen the show through to the end. I gushed about this show in my look at the first half, and now I return to take a look at the second. Does it hold up? Or like its sister series That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime, does it lose momentum in the back half? Join me after the cut as I give you my thoughts.

Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari
I’ll miss these characters, but not the moral grandstanding from some viewers.

 

Now I don’t make that comment on Isekai Slime to be humorous or crass. I truly believe that both Shield Hero and Slime are sister series, in that they both represent to me, the best of “basic isekai.” While both follow that generic Isekai route of the NEET shut-in becoming a god with a harem or at least a few girls in tow, both of them approach in different, but familiar ways. Slime had a wonderful slow start, that resulted in the excellence of the Shizu-arc, which still remains one of the best moments of last year and in Isekai generally. However after that Slime was never really able to maintain that level of quality, and while never a bad series, there was a notable decline in the story following.

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Naofumi lashing out at his fellow heroes is the series most cathartic moment, but thankfully there is much more development for these guys to come.

Shield Hero however opts to go a different route: maintaining a solid and consistent quality from start to finish, albeit without any major story beat or arc that really stands out. While Shield Hero never does have it’s “Shizu moment,” that would have made it really great, this does prevent the show from having any real noticeable decline in quality. Shield Hero is a solid, well made, well acted, well animated and well told story from start to finish, with (in my opinions) no real clunker episodes that drag it down. The story is lean and mean, and the characters are developed just enough that they never lose interest throughout, and no story arc overstays it’s welcome. No Shield Hero isn’t a “great” isekai by any means, and I’ll admit that the show has fallen in my rankings of the anime of 2019 due to the arrival of strong new ones like YU-NO and Kimestu no Yaiba, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Shield Hero did what few shows are often able to do: maintain that consistency.

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Malty’s comeuppance in the show is well deserved and leaves enough for the plot-line to continue. Bitch got what she rightfully deserved.

That I think remains the shows greatest strength, that ability to never stray away from the comfortable middle ground it had built itself. Some will lambaste the show for not taking more risks, or for playing it too safe. I think there is some merit to that, but there is also just as much in a piece of art that knows it’s playground and doesn’t stray too far from it. Shield Hero was an absolutely fun show to watch week to week and I always enjoyed every moment I spent with it. That alone earns it a spot in my best of lists, just sadly no longer at the top.

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Filo and Raphtalia do well in the second half having their own episodes to flesh out their characters. Melty (who is not pictured) is also a welcome addition to the cast.

If you have passed on The Rising of the Shield Hero because you are fed up with Isekai, or didn’t care for what people were saying about its “controversy” I suggest you give it a second look with fresh eyes and expectations firmly in check. It’s no Saga of Tanya the Evil or ReZero, but it also isn’t a Master of Ragnarok or Death March to the Parallel World. I hope we get a second season as there is so much left to cover in this series, and the Light Novels are also fully completed. I do think this isn’t the last time we’ve seen this show (it’s VERY likely the cast is showing up in Isekai Quartet’s second season) and it is as I said at the start of this post: consistently consistent.

Also the music is on fucking point.

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And who doesn’t love Raphtalia pouts!

 

 

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