Crunchyroll Expo 2020: The Rising of the Shield Hero Panel

by Kalai Chik,

The anime adaptation of Aneko Yusagi's The Rising of the Shield Hero turned heads with its 25-episode debut season. Last year's Crunchyroll Expo revealed the series was green-lit for second and third season, and after today the wait is over. Season two will premiere sometime in 2021, and the third season won't be as long of a wait.

This year's panel for Shield Hero features Keigo Koyanagi (series composition), Masahiro Suwa (character design and chief animation director), Junichiro Tamura (producer from Kadokawa), and MC'd by voice actress Sarah Emi Bridcutt.

Following up on the excitement of last year, the panel began with a Q&A focused on reflection and production. Tamura shared he was surprised to see a variety of languages and support from fans around the world commenting on the Shield Hero videos. Regarding what episode drove the most excitement, Koyanagi confidently claimed episode 21, aka Myne's “execution.” As reference, Crunchyroll's post of that scene has 2.8M views on YouTube, making it the most popular clip from the series.

On a more relaxed note, character designer Suwa voiced his surprise at how popular Raphtalia was, but he thought she and Naofumi make a “great combo.” Conversely, his favorite character to design was The Pope because of how hard it was to pin down. Otherwise, Suwa tried to keep the designs relatively simple to make it easier for others to draw.

The next set of questions focused on the care and level of detail taken in terms of the script and the character designs. Although Koyanagi said it was difficult to convince the audience to keep watching and build excitement for the following episodes, Bridcutt assured that he did a great job based on the sheer volume of reactions from Twitter and streams of the show.

When asked if there was anything memorable from the voice recording sessions, Tamura said his impressions of the characters had changed once he heard the voice auditions. In addition to the main cast, he had help picked the candidates that fit characters that show up later in the series. Looking back at last year, the panelists voiced how encouraged and motivated they were after interacting with fans overseas. Although the autograph sessions were more than what they expected, they all thoroughly enjoyed their time seeing fans face to face and receiving words of appreciation and fanart. They wish they had more to show last year, but luckily they have more to reveal.

Unfortunately, they couldn't reveal all their secrets for what's to come, but what they could talk about was how production for season two is rolling along. Producer Tamura divulged how the script and other parts of anime production were proceeding, but there was no information on how much of the story the next season would cover. Of course, the question that many fans—and Sarah Emi Bridcutt herself—had on their mind was, “Will Myne be back?” No clear answer was given, but Tamura encouraged people to stay tuned for characters who might return. Auditions for the upcoming season are underway.

In the meantime, because Masato Jinbo had replaced Takao Abo as director for season two, Tamura reiterated that there are many surprises to look forward to. Before closing off the panel entirely, surprise guests Kaito Ishikawa (Naofumi), Asami Seto (Raphtalia), and Rina Hidaka (Firo) all separately shared their reflection of season one and their characters through audio. Even though there was no video recording accompanying their audio, all three actors couldn't hold back their tension and excitement to reprise their roles. For those who can't wait for next year, Rina Hidaka puts it best: “Season two will be here soon!”


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