The Rising of The Shield Hero
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Rising of The Shield Hero ?
Well, that didn't take long.
I expected the supposition I made in last week's review about the seeds to come up again at some point, but not right away. Still, in retrospect I guess this is where it would make the most sense to deal with it – with Naofumi just traveling around doing business and bulking up his reputation. Hence we get a largely self-contained story about out-of-control magic seeds and the devastating effect they have on the villages that initially benefited from them. The scenario is stock fare for fantasy RPGs: defeat the plant creatures and find some way to neutralize the threat posed by their source. The one interesting twist is that the whole scenario is the result of good intentions gone awry by another hero (or at least I'm going to assume that this was carelessness rather than the result of some evil plot by Myne), although the notion of essentially using a magical version of genetic engineering to correct the seed's dangerous properties is mildly interesting as well.
The other matters besides this scenario are bound to be the greater draw, as the whole thing with the plants never seems like much of a threat even when Raphtalia is theoretically endangered by getting wrapped up by a tentacle-vine. Team Naofumi gets another chance to show off how well they can work together to defeat foes, with Naofumi's use of an air shield to provide a stepping stone for an ally's leap being a neat trick. Naofumi also gets to expand the capabilities of his shield further, and more haremesque tones start creeping into the picture when Filo boldly mentions wanting to make Naofumi her mate while consistently making Raphtalia jealous. Perhaps it's intended to be a reminder that Raphtalia isn't actually that grown-up, despite her appearance?
Raphtalia's appearance also brings up the first brazen fanservice scene in the series. While the first episode might have had just a touch of teasing from Myne, there haven't been many opportunities for sex appeal since then, so I have to wonder if the hot springs visit was primarily intended to work some into the story. Regardless, I'd have to give the series' handling of Raphtalia's cheesecake shots high marks; they make her look sexy without being incongruously lurid, and the way her tail was used to prevent the need for censorship in one shot was amusing.
On the downside, the gradually growing number of artistic inconsistencies is getting worrisome. While the plant creature fight was well-choreographed, the animation quality was messy, and drop-offs in scene detail and character rendering are becoming more frequent. Finally, there's the ongoing issue raised by the expanding capabilities of Naofumi's shield. Given the weapon's versatility, it seems ludicrous that anyone should be prejudiced against its wielder unless there was a broader plot behind it. Guess we'll learn more as the series progresses.
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