The Rising of the Shield Hero Episode 1

The Rising of the Shield Hero Episode 1

The Shield Hero

The Rising of the Shield Hero is the latest entry into the isekai genre, and was chosen by those of you over on Twitter to be added to my weekly review lineup. Before I get into the rest of the review, just be aware that I have a love-hate relationship with isekai anime, so if you think this is the best anime you’ve ever seen, I’m sorry in advance.

With that said, episode one of Shield Hero was pretty decent overall, and I do think that I’ll enjoy it going forward more than TenSura and SAO: Alicization, the other two isekai anime of the season. But, it’s not the plot that makes me hopeful for this series, it’s the characters.

If you’ve been around my blog before, then you’ve probably read this same exact line at some point, but for me, characters make a series. The plot, art, animation, music, everything else can be bad, but if the characters are well written and compelling, then it still has a shot at being a good anime in my eyes.

But, this first episode is double-length, and we have to wade through the first half before we really get to know the protagonist, Naofumi Iwatani. That’s right, this first episode is actually two episodes long, just not split into two actual episodes the way Boogiepop and Others was.

Before I get into the actual contents of this episode, I also want to say that I watched the episode one preview on Crunchyroll before the episode “actually” aired, and I noticed something strange at the end, the episode suddenly cut out without any credits.

This has been corrected in the official release of the episode (I checked), and I can’t help but wonder if this was intentional. The OP is now present at the end of the episode, as is the case with many first episodes, so were they trying to hide the OP until the official release date?

It doesn’t matter now, but it’s something to think about. When I finished the preview I didn’t feel like I had actually seen the whole episode due to the way it suddenly cut out, but for all those who watched the preview and are wondering if they missed anything from the full release, the answer is no.

The Four Heroes

At the start of the episode we’re introduced to Naofumi Iwatani, a pretty standard 20-year-old, who claims to be a college student even though there’s no other indication of this being the case. Interestingly, unlike many other isekai protagonists, Naofumi isn’t a shut-in otaku.

However, maybe he would have been better off as a shut-in because one day while browsing books at the local library, he was sucked into a fantasy world after looking at a book about it. Great, now I have to stay away from books too along with all the other things that could send me to another world like tractors, convenience stores, mirrors, knives, video games, God, etc.

Bonus points (and maybe a special Discord role?) to anyone who can name isekai series in which the protagonist is sent to the other world via those methods in the comments.

Once in the fantasy world, Naofumi discovers that he’s just one of four “heroes” who have been summoned to protect this world from waves of enemies which will be attacking soon. Each of the heroes wields a legendary weapon of a different class, and, you guessed it, Naofumi is the shield hero.

Along with a shield hero there’s also a sword hero, spear hero, and bow hero. We also learn that although all four of these heroes are summoned from Japan (because of course they are), they each come from alternate versions of Japan. I’d like to think this will play a role at some point, but it probably won’t.

These other three heroes are all extremely arrogant and believe themselves to be entitled to fame and fortune simply because they were summoned as heroes. To put it simply, they’re not the most likable guys, but they do have a better understanding of this new world than Naofumi due to their familiarity with fantasy games.

Griefing the Shield Main

Unfortunately for Naofumi, not only does he have less knowledge about this fantasy world than his fellow heroes, but it’s revealed that he won’t be able to party up with them, and so each hero needs to form his own group. This would be fine, except nobody wants to party up with the shield main.

Not only has word gotten out to the other adventurers that Naofumi is less knowledgeable about the world than the other heroes, but it would seem that the shield hero is widely understood to be the weakest of the four heroes. Since he has essentially no offensive capability, no adventurers want to have to carry him.

The other three heroes, on the other hand, have no shortage of adventurers willing to party up with them. The spear hero is even lucky enough to have a party of all women, something Naofumi was hoping for himself.

After making a scene and asking his fellow heroes to share their party members with him, one of the women who joined the spear hero finally takes pity on Naofumi and agrees to join him. Since he only has one party member, Naofumi is given 600 gold coins compared to the 400 the others received.

Now, let me tell you, from the first second that Myne agreed to join Naofumi I already knew she was going to steal everything he had and leave him. If you didn’t see this coming from a mile away, then you have a long way to go, my friend.

Myne gets Naofumi to buy her brand new armor, then takes off with it, his own new armor, and all of his remaining money in the middle of the night. To make matters worse, she also makes up a story about Naofumi sexually assaulting her, which causes the other heroes, adventurers, and townspeople to hate him.

But, this is actually where I started to really like the series because once Naofumi has been broken down and made into an outcast, his character can truly become unique. In fact, he begins to become somewhat of an anti-hero, and I hope this continues on for the rest of the story.

A New Beginning

Now that Naofumi is hated by everyone other than the blacksmith (who appears to believe him, but still can’t associate with him due to it being bad for business), he can get down to business. He trains out in the fields fighting against balloon monsters by himself, and when it comes time to turn in his spoils for money, he threatens shopkeepers to force them to take his business.

Naofumi has decided that since he can’t go home until all the waves of enemies attacking the world are defeated, he might as well do his part. Make no mistake, at this point he isn’t saving the world because he believes it should be saved, he’s simply doing what benefits him the most.

Naofumi Iwatani from the anime series The Rising of the Shield Hero
Naofumi Iwatani

And, this is one reason why I think Shield Hero has some real promise as a series. Too many isekai protagonists fall into the white knight category, with the only other notable one who doesn’t being Ainz from Overlord, who’s the bad guy of his respective series.

But that’s not all! Naofumi also isn’t our typical overpowered protagonist from the start. I have no doubt that he’ll become strong in time, but too many series simply either start with their protagonists as the strongest, or skip to a point at which this is the case. I want to see the struggle to get to that point.

Which brings me to the next thing I like about this series, the world building. You don’t need a large world for a series to be good, but you should have your world fleshed out. It’s only the first episode, and we’re already introduced to the leveling and progression system in some detail.

We learn that as Naofumi levels up, he unlocks different shields he can use. These shields all have their own abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, and if he masters a particular shield, then its attributes can be applied to any other shield he equips.

It’s likely that this isn’t specific to legendary weapons, and so we may see his future party members able to upgrade their equipment in the future of the series. It’s also not yet known if this is something exclusive to weapons, so armor and other various skills or spells may work the same way.

I really hope the leveling and skill tree systems of this game continue to be explored, because to me, that’s probably the one thing I’m looking forward to even more than Naofumi’s character development. If done right, this could be a fairly long-lasting series, and for now, I wouldn’t be against that.


At the very end of the episode we’re “introduced” to the first real member of Naofumi’s party. Her name is still unknown, but she’s a demi-human who’s being sold as a slave. She appears to be a dog-girl of some sort. I’d say fox, but her ears seem a bit too rounded.

I’m interested to see how Naofumi adds her to his party in the next episode. Will he buy her outright? Will he break her out by force? Will he threaten the slave trader? Will she be given to him as a gift? Depending on how this occurs, we may learn new things about his character as well.

So, what are your thoughts on this first episode of The Rising of the Shield Hero? Do you think it’s better than the other two major isekai anime of the season (TenSura and SAO: Alicization)? Personally, I think this has the potential to be better than both of them, but only time will tell.

If you enjoyed this review or found it informative, then let me know by clicking the like button ❤ down below. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any upcoming content or whatever else. Who knows, maybe after liking one of my tweets, you too can be sent to another world.

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My review of the next episode is available here.

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