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EP. REVIEW: The Rising of The Shield Hero

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Joined: 03 Jun 2016
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:10 am Reply with quote
zztop wrote:
A gentle reminder the Shield Hero anime was made with the Western audience in mind; over the usual Japanese target.

Some backstory - the original Shield Hero webnovel is a cult classic amongst Western webnovel readers, because it was one of the 1st to be fully fantranslated to English. (Also one of the 1st to use the cliche of struggling underdog actively spat upon by the world around them.)

Crunchyroll’s producer saw the viewer potential based on this internet popularity and pitched Shield to their Japanese counterparts at Kadokawa, who were seeking a light novel anime to sell to international anime watchers. (This is also a Kadokawa x Crunchyroll co-production.)

So about 3 or 4 years ago, KADOKAWA was looking for a title to make it big overseas, and during that time Crunchyroll and KADOKAWA were talking about some candidate titles. Crunchyroll producer, Sae Ho Song, pitched The Rising of the Shield Hero series to me, and he thought it was a great idea and we went forward with it!

I'd expect both sides to be aware of any controversy associated with this series (especially Crunchyroll; they suggested it in the 1st place) although there is a chance they could've underestimated Western social reaction trends.

I asked around on other forums if the franchise was very popular in Japan - they answered that it isn't that big; the physical sales of Shield Hero's LNs can't compare to the sales generated by titles like Overlord or Reincarnated into a Slime.

Shield Hero is still among top 30 most popular series in Narou. While It isn't as big as Overlord or Slime, it's still popular enough to guarantee an anime adaptation even without Crunchy involvement. Though without Crunchy we will probably get Shield Hero with Death March or Smartphone quality instead of what we get now.

Also note that #Metoo movement only got big and out of control in the last 2 years, while Crunchy pitched the idea 3 or 4 years ago. Assuming that Shield Hero has a good production schedule for a 2 cours show, by the time #Metoo movement got big they already too far in production to cancel.
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Joined: 20 Jan 2019
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:34 am Reply with quote
To start,

To the writer of this article, thanks for staying as unbiased as possible. You stick to the provided information, and only commented on that.

This reply will likely contain spoilers, but I'll keep it to a minimum.

spoiler[I've honestly been disappointed with the anime so far. I've read the entirety of the light novel, and a good portion of the manga as well. I realize there will be derivation from the series in it's creation, but it's been digging itself a hole by providing information that WAS NOT available to readers right away in the light novel. The best example, Is when it is stated that the country he is in, is matriarchal. This was a major reason that things change later in the story. It had a proper place to be mentioned and it was CERTAINLY not in the first portion of the series. Later, when the queen returns, she takes charge on the hero's side with the comment, "oh? Didn't you know? This country is matriarchal."

The other portion is the amount of information given to Naofumi. He was not given any explanations, from anyone, about anything, at ANY time, aside from the fact that waves were coming. He was told, LITERALLY, nothing else in terms of information. He was never told about the hourglass (at least not in the manga, I can't remember clearly if he was told in the light novel, but I'm confident he wasn't).

There's so many problems I've had with the anime adaptation that I can understand the questions and, somewhat, the hate, that the first two episodes have brought.

I'm afraid that the people behind the adaptation are going to ruin a truly beautiful story that I loved and shed tears for. This story has a place in my heart, and I'm honestly offended that more care hasn't been given to it's animation. I have been waiting for a long time to see it and now, I don't want to keep watching out of fear for just how far it will tarnish the story's beauty, creativity, plot, and, most importantly, the emotions the story is supposed to bring to the reader.]

To all of you out there doubting this story, I beseech you to read the light novel. I promise that you will fall in love with the story, just as I did. Please take the animation with a grain of salt and do not allow it to form your only opinion of the story too strongly.

Thank you to everyone reading the entirety of my message, and I hope you enjoy the tale of The Rising of The Shield Hero.

{Edit}: I edited your post and spoiler tagged much more of it. There was several other parts beyond the single sentence you put tags on that contained spoiler material. Moving forward please tag all material that has spoilers including discussion on source material (manga or LN). ~ Psycho 101
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:18 am Reply with quote
This whole hubbub over this Shield Hero has reminded me of a controversy concerning a favorite anime of mine.

While I can sympathize the pressures reviewers get sometimes when it comes to controversial anime, I can understand why some people can be so aggravated on how people would cast their own moral judgement on anime.

One of my favorites is a victim of this, sadly. It was kind of a big deal back then.
It wasn't to the level of this series(or Darling in the Franxx, Goblin Slayer, or even SAO for that matter), but I do remember a good number of people having a problem with a certain scene in a certain episode.

As much as I would love to see a new generation of fans introduced to it, I dread to think an anime I hold in high regard seen in the eyes of today's anime fan. I don't think they would understand...
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Cardcaptor Takato

Joined: 27 Jan 2018
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:55 am Reply with quote
Is every Shield Hero thread going to be rehashing the exact same debates for the next six months?
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Luke's Yu-Gi-Oh! Channel

Joined: 11 Dec 2016
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 4:10 am Reply with quote
Episode 1 Comments/Feedback

After watching the 1st episode I can tell this is going to be really good.

I hope that bitch and hero gets what they deserve for betraying Noifumi like that, now he has mud as a reputation for doing absolutely nothing.

I love how he can intimidate others with those weak monsters.

Looks like he might have found a new partner though through this slave trader.

Episode 2 Comments/Feedback

That is one awesome opening theme and video, I am a bit worried though but what looks like him going berserk and his power going out of control.

Making medicine is a great skill for him to have, helps the party but can continually give him a source of income.

Fight monsters, sell medicine, upgrade equipment, rinse wash and repeat, slowly but steadily they are making progress.

Naofumi was able to use Raphtalia's past to his advantage there to defeat that dog monster, kinda like using reverse psychology in order to help her overcome her past.

Either way that was an impressive kill, I wonder what LV those 2 were at the time, that dog was LV 15 so now wonder they got a lot of EXP for it, the rope skill also comes in handy, he can use that for many situations.
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Van the Man

Joined: 20 Sep 2017
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:06 am Reply with quote
I kind of figured that nobody on ANN would even do streaming reviews of this regardless of its popularity because of how charged the previews were. And I knew if it did get daily reviews, it'd probably be Theron. Thanks Theron.

The political stuff I kind of welcome. These things should be said so they can be sorted out, a lot of what ANN said about the politics of the rape accusation came to my mind in some form or another and Unnecessary Exclamation Mark's response article was a great read that wouldn't have existed otherwise.

What bothers me is how most of the ANN staff wants to routinely denounce videogame isekai. Anime fans and gaming communities have a lot of overlap. It's pretty tone deaf to be calling that stuff out as "unoriginal" or "lazy writing" based on the premise of it alone. You (general you, not specific you) just sound like somebody who hates anime at that point, or somebody who started watching something in a genre they don't like and then didn't close the browser tab immediately after the genre signals were shown like the rest of us do.

Last edited by Van the Man on Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:27 am Reply with quote
Van the Man wrote:

What bothers me is how most of the ANN staff wants to routinely denounce videogame isekai. Anime fans and gaming communities have a lot of overlap. It's pretty tone deaf to be calling that stuff out as "unoriginal" or "lazy writing" based on the premise of it alone. You (general you, not specific you) just sound like somebody who hates anime at that point, or somebody who started watching something in a genre they don't like and then didn't close the browser tab immediately after the genre signals were shown like the rest of us do.

Yeah, game-lit and litrpg have a really bad rep when it comes to isekai and anime/light novels as a whole.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:28 am Reply with quote
wow, come on guys. I agree the preview guide had a couple really unprofessional entries but what Martin did here was completely fair. He didn't even say they shouldn't have adapted this because of the rape accusation, he just said it was a very bold move of them. if anything I take that as a compliment.

it is importance to notice that Naofumi was not ostracized by the citizens of Melromarc because shields are weak but because he is THE shield hero. now, the other heroes looking down on Naofumi is more interesting, this is one of the actual themes of the series as a whole, they are all self centered nerds who suffer from wanting to believe they are the protagonist, so of course they all come up with justifications in their heads as to why they are more powerful than the other 3, also why they are quick to jump the gun at Naofumi's accusation, in their subconscious he was just the antagonist they needed to properly establish themselves as the hero of the story. Naofumi would have probably done the same if he hadn't drawn the short end of the stick, and forced to see the new world from the bottom.

now onto the actual episodes.

needless to mention this is already looking and sounding great. I don't personally dig the opening song but I admit its structure made me feel really nostalgic , it remind me of anime from the late 90s early 2000s for some reason, I wonder if crunchy producing this had something to do with it.

regarding when Naofumi mentioned the princess in the book looked "slutty", he wasn't just judging her by her (actually chaste) appearance, it was written in the book he was reading how she had seduced the heroes one by one to later stab them in the back. I admit the anime didn't make a good job at conveying that he had been reading that book for a couple hours before being transported to the fantasy world, but on the other hand it is also ludicrous for so much people to have assumed he had deduced so much stuff from skimping a picture book. the only reason Naofumi didn't connect the dots is because he still doesn't know Myne was the princess all along (I am mentioning it here only because so many people already called her that).

what actually tuned me off the most from this series is the cringey AF game menu screen, though to be fair the anime seems to realize it and tries to brush them out of the way as soon as possible, so i am tankful there.

I actually find more fault with episode 2, I think it was a bit too rushed Naofumi's adjustment from bitterness wasn't presented as well as it could have. specially the moment he backed down the order he gave raphtalia to kill the dog, it needed maybe 10 to 15 seconds more of raphtalia showing pain so him softening up (while facing mortal danger no less) felt more organic, maybe have her shaking more or stumbling a couple times, it just seemed to me as if he went from "kill this thing now!" to "it seems like to much for you" extra quick
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:30 am Reply with quote
Key wrote:
Now, I'm not saying that it's never appropriate - in fact, cultural context is often critically important in comedies, or in theatrical formats that are uniquely Japanese - but a fantasy series heavily based on Western-influenced RPGs and using a setting much more Western than Far Eastern is not the strongest place to make such an argument.
Strange idea. Cultural context is critically important in comedies but not in more serious dramatic genres - why? Western-influenced here is "medieval Europe setting is used," it doesn't mean they suddenly threw away they views, culture and traditions and subscribed to the latest and wokest version of Western ideas. Cultural context is not limited to strange building and funny clothes, these are just most visible aspects of it.

"incredibly ill-timed given what's been going on in the real world lately" - maybe because it was written years ago for completely different audience? You saying they have to pay attention to Western social context while denying them the same courtesy. I am kinda curious how they supposed to fix it in your opinion. Don't make the anime? Wait 10 years before the whole things blows over? Rewrite the story?

I think they made the right choice - ignore the "issue" altogether. Nothing good comes from trying to pacify every minority. The final result of this is "cute someone doing cute things" anime and there is plenty of it. Not every title is for everyone. Fight for being inclusive and diverse usually leads to exclusion of huge groups of people.

My background is actually much more in tabletop RPGs, and in those tanks are considered practically essential. Going into a combat-focused adventurer without 1-2 tanks (or characters who can at least effectively double as tanks) in a table of 5-7 is often practically suicide.
TTRPG seems to be completely irrelevant here though. If you are claiming deep knowledge of relevant context you should probably mention your vast experience in playing Japanese RPGs/MMORPGs. Otherwise your judgement about "silly people don't understand anything about tanks" is rather egocentric and lacking context which is quite important even though it is not a comedy.

None of the four heroes demonstrate any reverence toward tanks. Three of them explicitly say that tanks in the games they played were useless and Naofumi accepted it as something completely natural. More importantly, author didn't expect the idea to be strange for the readers.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:17 am Reply with quote
Cryten wrote:
Sincerely thank you Theron for posting those reservations. Personally its exactly these reservations that I want to know a bit more about before I get into the series. The false rape into slave owner base story has me worried and has stopped my sampling the first 2 episodes. What I dearly want to know before I trial this series is: - Is it going to turn into one of those bitter revenge stories where the protag turns into a anti hero or anti villain who destroys the complacent in gruesome fashion in a big revenge arc. - or is it going to grow the characters in a more natural place of seeking refuge and healing followed by growing the character out.

I am not really interested in a Count of Monte Christo style spite/hate killing series. I really want to know if the whole embracing the bad rep story is going to play out that way. Cause I am still a bit intrigued.

The MC does eventually take his revenge against the princess (along with another character), though it takes a while before that happens (but trust me, it's worth the wait). And, no, he doesn't become an anti hero, but he still has the ville and corrupt attitude from being betrayed by his companions, though he does help out a bunch of people later on in the story.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:54 am Reply with quote
Shield Hero feels to me like a story that had trouble finding its footing. I get the impression that the author wanted to write the story of an ostracized hero rising above oppression. They first try to implement this by focusing on how the king ignores him. Tries again by making the other heroes look down on him. Again by showing that no one would want to work with him. And finally, settles on the false accusation.

This escalation of stakes leaves the impression that the author had a rough time ironing out the hero's struggle and motivation. In an effort to make the story more personal to the protagonist, the author began to belabor the point that he is to be the outcast. This can backfire as the plot can come across more contrived than natural. I honestly feel that this point is at the core of all the controversy. People reading into the contrivance. Honestly? I just chalk a lot of it up to inexperience. Which makes sense in my head as I believe this was the author's debut novel. Confused

A lot of points have been made about the matriarchy and whether or not it should have been revealed at this point in time. I feel it should. Puts the cards on the table. Otherwise when you introduce it further down the line it just looks like retroactive continuity. That opens up a different can of worms revolving around suspension of disbelief. Will you be able to see the retcon as anything other than a retcon? Rule of thumb is that you don’t really want viewers asking those kinds of questions. Doesn't end well.

I have a lot more thoughts on this show, but I want to keep this concise. Razz
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Get off my lawn!Get off my lawn!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:17 pm Reply with quote
S0crates wrote:

Someone clearly never played during the McCree era of Overwatch (would kill any tank even through healing), or the World of Roguecraft (World of Warcraft when rogues were OP and could kill anyone with gray gear). Anime smile

Then you had Dragon Age Origins where you're better of abusing healing and mana potions and going full DPS team (Storm of The century would kill your tank and dps regardless).

Then you have all them Final Fantasies where the tanks are basically useless without some mage boosting them.

And who the heck plays a tank in Mass Effect?

Oh man, the best RPGs have no tanks. Tanks only became a thing with WoW I believe and then everyone started copying it. It's boring gameplay in my opinion and even in WoW it's much more fun with double Frost Mage in the arenas anyways.

Yeah, that's why I specified MMO as opposed to single player western rpgs like Dragon Age, as the world seems specifically based on Japanese MMOs much like SAO and other isekai anime. The other heroes also seemed to act like this was an online RPG in their universes.

I'm glad you brought up Final Fantasy, as that illustrates it well. You can get through FFIX while never putting Steiner back in your party, sure, but FFXIV has a party finder system where you get a bonus if you join as a class currently "in need"... and tanks are in need the vast majority of the time. (This is also what I meant by "in demand" rather than what is the most powerful class at the moment. As in, you see people posting "LF tank for static" and such pretty often) Sometimes, it switches to healer, but those two roles tend to be more valued since they're seen as more demanding, resulting in most players being DPS. If you do run off before the tank, you're just going to get yourself killed.

Oh, and in that game, even a weaver with a non-offensive needle equipped can kill the level 1 monsters right outside the city Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:27 pm Reply with quote
S0crates wrote:
Tanks only became a thing with WoW I believe and then everyone started copying it.

The tank archetype long predates WoW. Grouping, raiding and PvP in WoW's immediate predecessor MMORPG, Everquest, for example, revolved quite heavily around them, and EQ was only borrowing the idea from still earlier D&D-esque influences.

Last edited by NeverConvex on Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:33 pm Reply with quote
In the first two episodes, it is already hinted as to why the Shield Hero is so hated.

spoiler[- Demi-Humans are hated and despised by the common people of this country.]
spoiler[The Shield Hero is considered a savior by the Demi-Humans.]

Is it that unrealistic for a person to be hated by everyone? People usually lose their common sense, when hate is on the table. That woman who made a post on Facebook to a friend that went viral, is one such case. When her plane landed, she found out the people of Earth hated her, and she had already lost her job. So really, the idea of everyone hating you, does happen, and it is not an unrealistic plot point.

I like Shield Hero, but even I have to admit the show has had its boring points

I am also thankful we got Theron, as that other reviewer told everyone exactly what he thought of fans who liked this series in his own way.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:03 pm Reply with quote
Dude first and foremost he didn't take any points away for it, he just said it was bold of them. secondly in case you didn't know this anime is being produced (planned and financed) by an american company thinking mainly in its western fandom, the shield hero wasn't even remarkably successful in japan, why do you think it is just now that it even got an adaptation
Dude, he said it was "incredibly ill-timed" and I asked why he thinks Japan has to follow Western vocal minority and, if it decided to do so, how it could be done at all. I think these are very reasonable questions.

If Crunchyroll co-produced it, obviously the "controversy" in question doesn't have universal support even in US which makes "ill-timed" comment completely pointless. Apparently Funimation is excited about streaming Shield Hero. The show is very popular. It certainly looks like it was an incredibly well-timed move.
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