The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2: God damn it, Jobless Reincarnation.

I don’t think there has ever been a show that has been wholly eclipsed by something else than this one has. A show I have enjoyed and defended even when it was anime’s favorite whipping boy. I still stand by that, but I also have to look at the world for what it is, not what I want it to be. So after the cut let’s take a dive into the second season of The Rising of the Shield Hero and see what’s up!

My title for this post wasn’t being mean or jokey. I honestly think that you can sum up many people’s reception to this second outing with that phrase: God damn it Jobless Reincarnation.

Let me back up a bit here though. A few years back, the first season of The Rising of the Shield Hero came out and was both warmly received and unfairly attacked by the anime fandom. Those attacks, an unlucky combination of people having zero nuance, and coming out during a tense political climate made it so Shield Hero was the whipping boy for the online anime fandom. Some of it could be understood, but the vast majority of it was unfair, especially when looking at the whole season, Shield Hero was a solidly written, well animated fun isekai romp that had a forward moving plot, cool characters, and some great musical beats. I praised the show a lot during the year it came out, and I looked forward to the second season.

The Spirit Tortoise wasn’t the big epic fight the fanbase led me to believe.

But that was before Jobless Reincarnation came out.

That show, with its beautiful animation, excellent plotting, and its long-game style of a character arc completely wowed viewers. It raised the bar on what the isekai genre can achieve, and as I feared, made most of what had come before look bad by comparision. I have not hid my adoration for the series, both in the written and animated form. However I wasn’t going to hold the heights of this show against Shield Hero. It should be judged on its own merits, and not what another studio and project has done. I was going to give it a fair and honest chance, something very few in the anime fandom were going to.

There are very few times when another anime completely eclipses something in the same genre. Jobless did that here.

So it was shame to see that the second season of Shield Hero ranges from ‘meh’ to just ‘bad’.

Whether it was a rushed sense of plotting, or a lack of character. Shield Hero’s second season seemed unable to reignite the fire that the first one had. Despite the good musical cues and fun characters in Raphtalia and Filo, the entire season had a sense of rushing through its material and not giving it any time to breathe. The biggest example is the introduction of the Ost Horai, the familiar of the spirit turtle, the big bad of the seasons’ initial part. She is a character barely developed, yet when she ends up dying near the climax of the first half, it is treated as this massive loss that changes the characters forever. And I’m sorry, you can’t expect the viewers to feel the same way when we’ve barely spent any real time with the character. It reeks of laziness and sloppy pacing, and no series, not matter how I feel about it, gets a pass on something like that.

The show wants you to care so much more than you do about Ost and her death. But I felt nothing.

The rest of the season is pretty ‘eh’ in terms of what happens. The adventure in the other world feels rather trite, with the new characters introduced not having enough time to get developed, or changing allegiances so fast that it gives you whiplash. Naofumi seems to have frozen as a character, still dealing with his rage issues. Filo is just there, Melty is a sadly absent, and Raphtalia despite getting a great upgrade for a weapon, is more of a supporting character compared to her role in the first season. The entire spirit tortoise arc itself was a bit of a disappointment, especially after it was hyped up so much by the fanbase. That’s probably on me, but I still have to call it like I see it.

I love that this spirit weapon is a fucking fish rod. That’s just great.

Readers of this blog know I don’t go negative often. That I despite ripping a show apart unless it really deserves it. I can find the good in any piece of anime, and The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2 is no exception. There were times I was glad to be back, enjoyed the characters, and lost myself in a world that, for its time, was one of the best isekai out there. Yet I cannot deny that this show has been wholly replaced by Jobless Reincarnation which just does everything it does far better. Coupled with that rushed sense of pacing, and trying to force the viewer to think something is important when it isn’t. I can’t deny that I left this season feeling disappointed. Yet things may look up for it, and perhaps the third season will get the series back on track. I’m willing to give it another chance and I hope you do to.

Raph-chan > Anya

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