The Rising of The Shield Hero
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 23 of
The Rising of The Shield Hero ?
While The Rising of the Shield Hero hasn't been devoid of the occasional dip into humor, this episode (up until its final scene) was easily among the series' most lighthearted content.
The comedy starts quickly, with an ongoing gag about how Naofumi is the only one of the four Cardinal Heroes who doesn't get horribly seasick. Motoyasu has already been a punching bag for a while now, but it looks like the story is intent on giving that status to the other two as well, when they get so sick that they have to be carried off the boat on stretchers. The episode later pokes fun at them again with Filo's fishing scene and more later when they bicker over spawning sites for monsters. This series' devotion to portraying them as fools would probably be even more noxious if it hadn't gone out of its way to make them transported gamers interacting in a game-like world. When even characters who were born into this fantasy world talk about leveling up and special events and such, you may be carrying that spirit of things too far.
At least some of the later comedy scenes are fresher and sharper. Watching Raphtalia's expressions during the dinner scene is a treat, as she gets some great faces while dealing with that annoyingly prejudiced knight who goaded her into a fight in the previous episode. The penguin-shaped diving suits were also good for a chuckle, especially Raphtalia's perturbed reaction to Naofumi only considering her swimsuit in practical terms. Really, can you be that dense? Discovering that Filo can swim well was a surprise, but it does make things simpler for her.
While not exactly comedy, several of the scenes with L'Arc and Therese are pleasantly lighthearted, especially since they refuse to believe that Naofumi is the Shield Hero because the reality is so different from his reputation. But what will happen when they do finally accept it? As genial as that relationship has been, I have to think that a blow-up could occur once they finally realize the truth, since some of the comments they made last episode are a little too specific to ignore. Therese uses an unfamiliar magic type makes me wonder if the “Guardians of Another World” title for next episode isn't referring to them, but if so, how does that angle fit since they don't seem to be associated with the Waves?
This leads to the episode's big revelation; the underwater building briefly seen in a previous episode houses another of those special hourglasses, and that means the Cal Mira Archipelago is not safe from the Waves, the next of which is only two days away. That's a pretty big shakeup to finish out the season on, but the series has shown before that it doesn't waste time on building up to its Waves. Looks like the last two episodes are going to get messy.
The Rising of The Shield Hero is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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