The Rising of The Shield Hero
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 24 of
The Rising of The Shield Hero ?
NOTE: Since I will be traveling overseas next week, there is a strong possibility that the review of the last episode will be a few days later than normal.
On several occasions, I have levied criticism against The Rising of the Shield Hero for acting without a due sense of urgency, but it has also proven capable of moving the story along swiftly when necessary in the past, and this episode is one of those times. Perhaps because we're one week away from the season's end, episode 24 speeds through all the preparations for the next Wave and gets straight to beating back the main waterborne threats it poses, so it can devote half the episode to a big plot twist and ensuing fight.
But first let's consider the Wave. The fleet of ships the Queen quickly assembles for the fight finally provides the context for the water scenes in the opener. The fight against the giant narwhal-like creature is satisfyingly dynamic, with L'Arc and Elizabeth's participation making a good fit with Naofumi's team's tactics. That the other heroes are still both pathetically ineffective and show no signs of getting support from their underlings is disappointing, like the series is making them look bad purely so it can make Naofumi look better by comparison, but the action is good enough that I can overlook that for now.
However, this is all just setup for the big reveal that L'Arc and Therese are actually Heroes for a different fantasy world, and for some reason they have to eliminate the Heroes from this world in order to safeguard their own. The bonus twist is that Glass, the fan-wielder who showed up during a Wave several episodes ago, is one of their compatriots and thus also another alternate-world hero. This claim of theirs raises a whole boatload of questions, the biggest of which is why they think they need to do this. These two are clearly fighting for the sake of good; they're definitely not keen on wholesale slaughter, they also seem reluctant to be carrying this out. Do the Waves ravaging this world mean that the Waves won't ravage their own? But if that's the plan, why care about bystanders at all? And why is Glass only showing up when the Waves manifest? Settling the conspiracy against the Shield Hero may have partly solved one batch of mysteries, but this is a whole other can of worms whose true nature still awaits discovery. With only one episode left, I don't see it getting fully explained this season.
At least we should be getting some good action next episode. Team Naofumi is starting to get on a roll with their combo moves and teamwork, enough to give L'Arc and Therese a worthy fight on their own. I don't see how they can hold their own if Glass also attacks, but discovering that is part of the fun. Kudos again to the musical effort throughout this episode, which manages to be very effective despite also being subdued.
The Rising of The Shield Hero is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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