The Rising of the Shield Hero Episode 15

The Rising of the Shield Hero Episode 15

Raphtalia

Episode 15 of The Rising of the Shield Hero may have been the worst episode so far. The only reason I say “may” is because any episode which involves Motoyasu and Myne’s shenanigans is also automatically a pretty bad episode.

But, why was today’s episode of Shield Hero so bad? The main culprit here is pacing, but the dinosaur at the end of the episode didn’t help either.

So, what do I mean when I say that the pacing killed this week’s episode? As an emotional background episode, it was never going to be fast paced, but it was painfully slow. The reason it was so slow was mostly due to the unnecessary flashbacks which served no purpose in the long run.

Allow me to elaborate. In this case, the flashbacks were used to make us familiar with the characters of Keel and Rifana so that the end of the episode hit harder. The first problem with this is that it didn’t work. Even by the end of the episode I didn’t care about either one of them.

With that in mind, we come to the second problem, which is that everything the flashbacks gave us, we could have been given without the flashbacks. I don’t mean to say that we should be told, not shown, but we don’t need to be shown everything. Some things are better off simply being implied.

For example, we don’t need to be shown the horrors that went on in the dungeon because we can already imagine them simply by seeing how the dungeon looks in the present. That was just one of the many ways this episode wasted time and slowed the pace down to a crawl.

The Past

But, although I felt that 90% of the flashbacks in this episode served little to no purpose, I guess I should talk about them considering they made up such a large portion of the episode at hand. Basically, they tell Raphtalia’s story from right before wave zero up until she’s bought by the slave trader.

Before the wave strikes, we learn that one of Raphtalia’s childhood friends, Rifana, hopes to one day meet and marry the legendary Shield Hero. This may not seem like a very important piece of information, but it adds to the idea that, for whatever reason, the demi-humans view the Shield as their patron hero.

I’ve gone over this before in regard to the demi-human countries of Shieldfreeden and Siltvelt, so I won’t be discussing it again at this time.

Keel and Rifana from the anime series The Rising of the Shield Hero
Keel and Rifana

We’re then shown that after the destruction of the wave, it was Raphtalia who convinced the rest of the villagers that they should rebuild the village. However, it didn’t take long for the military to arrive and begin rounding up the remaining demi-humans.

They were then shipped off to Lord Idol Rabier’s estate, where they were imprisoned in an underground dungeon for his amusement. He tortured, killed, and probably did other things to the demi-humans who were now his playthings.

Eventually, Raphtalia is sold off to the slave trader. And, we can assume she was the only one to be sold because the fact that she wouldn’t cry or scream while being tortured made her less amusing to Idol. But, while life as a slave elsewhere probably wouldn’t be as bad as staying in Idol’s dungeon, it meant she was separated from Rifana.

Rifana-chan

As a character, there isn’t all that much to Rifana. We know that she was kind and gentle because Raphtalia tells us so, but she doesn’t really get much more development. This is a big reason why the discovery of her death at the end of the episode doesn’t have much of an impact.

However, you may recall that I predicted Rifana would be alive and well, and that we would meet her at a later point in the series. For now it seems like my prediction was wrong, but I’m still not entirely convinced this is the case.

Yes, the skeleton found in Rifana’s cell was wearing her clothing and holding the small flag Raphtalia gave to her, but for some reason I still think that wasn’t actually Rifana and that she’s alive. If I’m right, then that would completely undercut what little emotional impact this episode had, but I still think I’m right.

The circumstances surrounding the discovery of her death are just a bit too suspect. Most of the cells were vacant with the exception of three which still housed prisoners, so why was her body the only one left to rot away in a cell?

My guess is that Rifana was eventually sold off like Raphtalia was, and that the skeleton found in the cell was actually her new cellmate after Raphtalia left. Rifana probably passed the flag off to this new person as a way to pass on hope of escape.

That still doesn’t explain why this one skeleton is the only one in the entire dungeon, but I still feel like my reasoning makes sense. Just you wait, when we eventually do get to either Shieldfreeden or Siltvelt, the real Rifana will be there, alive and well.

You thought this episode was meant to give Raphtalia an emotional backstory and a lost friend to continue fighting for, but it was actually an elaborate introduction to a character we’ll meet in the future.

I should also disclaim that I have not read the light novels or manga so anything I say about the future of this series is purely speculation. You don’t need to worry about spoilers when I make predictions about the future of this, or any, series.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Finally, how could I possibly review this episode without acknowledging the 14-ton reptile in the room? I almost don’t even know what to say about this latest development in Shield Hero. Why is there a Tyrannosaurus Rex?

This is a fantasy anime, so sure, anything goes I suppose. But, at least try to be consistent with the fantasy. If dinosaurs were already established to be roaming around this world, and then we came across a T-Rex that would be one thing. But referring to a T-Rex as an ancient evil that had been sealed away by the previous heroes makes no sense.

And, there’s one very important reason why this makes no sense: dragons.

A Tyrannosaurus Rex from the anime series The Rising of the Shield Hero
A Tyrannosaurus Rex

You see, when dragons exist in the world, they’re automatically the top dog when it comes to reptiles. Even your standard dragon is:

  1. At least as big as a large dinosaur.
  2. Able to fly.
  3. Able to breathe fire.
  4. Probably magic resistant to some degree.

How is a T-Rex supposed to compete with that? It can’t. And that’s exactly why considering a T-Rex as some ancient evil that had to be sealed away rather than killed makes no sense when dragons exist. Obviously dragons are more powerful and dangerous than a T-Rex, which is easy to kill by comparison.

I’m not saying that a dragon has to be the most powerful thing in the world, but by default it’s more powerful than a dinosaur. It’s kind of like if pegasus were common in this world, and then someone discovered a regular horse and considered it to be superior because it couldn’t fly. It literally makes no sense.

Conclusion

But, what did you think about this episode of The Rising of the Shield Hero? Did you find the pace of this episode to be as unbearably slow as I did? Do you believe that Rifana is actually dead? And, what are your thoughts on the introduction of a dinosaur?

If you enjoyed this review, let me know by clicking the like button ❤ down below. You should also follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any upcoming content. I tweet out every time a new post goes live, so it’s the best way to stay up to date.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about becoming a supporter and the benefits you’ll receive for doing so, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of the next episode is available here.

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2 Replies to “The Rising of the Shield Hero Episode 15”

  1. By far the worst episode of the show. It doesn’t even make sense to begin with. The words Naofumi says to Raphtalia go 1000000% against his characters arc. It basically destroys what he has been doing for 14 episodes. Now the shows has nothing to grab on “killing them makes you no better” trope used correctly
    this is far and away the incorrect use.

    -It’s inconsistent with Naofumi’s existing values

    -Naofumi had existing, pragmatic reasons to spare this guy’s live if the plot needed him, doubling down on the inconsistency issue

    -Raphtalia has no reason to believe killing Idol would be problematic

    -A “no killing” rule was never established explicitly during this story, and therefore was never given purpose or weight before its usage.

    None of this was necessary for the plot, given that it is inconsistent with all possible source material The only reason he said this was just for them to go to the basement and for the T-Rex to be summoned at the end by the “evil” dude. And thanks to this Raphtalia’s backstory didn’t even hit me a little bit.
    Also, you are telling me that a retarded fat dude can break a seal that was created by the heroes in the past to seal a monster? Nice plot device.

    1. First of all, I completely agree with your stance on Raphtalia’s backstory not having the desired impact. But, I’m not entirely sure I agree with your point about the no killing rule.

      Yes, I think you’re correct when you say this goes against Naofumi’s character up to this point. I even mentioned in last week’s review that I didn’t think Naofumi would stop Raphtalia if she chose to kill Idol. However, I never really expected Raphtalia to kill him anyway.

      What I expected to happen was for Raphtalia to almost kill him, then decide on her own that she wants to be better than him. The only part of the equation here that didn’t make sense to me was that Naofumi was the one to bring up this no killing ideology. In fact, it would have made more sense if Melty or Filo were the ones to bring it up. Really anyone other than Naofumi would have worked.

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