The Rising of The Shield Hero
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 16 of
The Rising of The Shield Hero ?
I've criticized this series often for being too light on its world-building and too circumspect about filling in crucial details, but it looks like episode 16 is finally pushing the series in a stronger direction on that front—from a surprising source, no less!
I was pleased to see at least some follow-up from Sword Guy and Bow Guy on what Naofumi told them to investigate a couple of episodes back. It looks like they finally took him seriously and have now discovered a hidden trove of books. Given Malty's reaction to this and how well-hidden the archive was, something must be in there to undermine the Three Heroes religion which seems to be so prominent in Melromarc. Signs are increasingly pointing toward this secret being at the heart of Naofumi's troubles, though the “why” is still elusive. This might only be a nudge at lessening some of the antagonism between Naofumi and the other heroes, but any movement toward reconciliation will be helpful at this point.
Then there's the revelation that Filo isn't necessarily the only budding filolial queen around. The girl with wings in the opener is now revealed to not only be another queen, but also have been around for possibly hundreds of years, ever since she was raised by one of the original Cardinal Heroes. Since Filo is pretty powerful despite her youth, that naturally means that this Fitoria is stupidly strong, enough to single-handedly take down the T-Rex monster plaguing Naofumi's party without breaking a sweat. She reveals some interesting details to Naofumi that he should have been told from the start, and that makes the machinations in the Melromarc palace look even shadier. The country is monopolizing its heroes, which suggests a power grab on a massive scale; perhaps they're let other nations get ravaged so they will be comparatively easy pickings after the heroes leave?
Whatever the case may be, Fitoria seems less concerned about that situation (presumably because she's an outsider with a mission that transcends such pettiness) and more concerned that the heroes aren't cooperating. Since they won't talk, she's prepared to use force to push them together, or at least I presume that's what her threat at the end of the episode means, since she doesn't seem menacing enough to kill off the heroes. Her comments also seem to suggest that she's basing this attitude on having seen the heroes self-destruct in the past and how damaging that was, so she's not going to let it happen again. Unless I'm reading too much into this?
Either way, the technical merits this episode were pretty sharp during the fight and chase scenes with the T-Rex, with some generally good CG modeling, but they languish outside of those action scenes. The musical choices are more consistent and effective throughout, with some nice bits of humor involving the filolial once things settle down. Overall, it's a solid episode that introduces a significant new character and broadens the scope of the story's world-building.
The Rising of The Shield Hero is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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